AutoMOD: Customization Magic for phpBB3

September 24th, 2009 by

One of the many site applications we offer is phpBB3, which claims to be “the most widely used open-source bulletin board system in the world.” Using phpBB3 you can create everything from large discussion forums to small game clan meeting rooms. It offers the tools necessary for moderation teams to maintain control of your site. A detailed permissions system also allows access to specific features as you see fit.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of phpBB3 is the ability to customize it by installing any of a number of available modifications. You’ll see a list of modifications later in the post, but first things first: Installation.

Unless you are familiar with the PHP coding language, installing these mods can be a daunting task. That’s where AutoMOD comes in! AutoMOD is a mod installation utility that will insert the necessary code into your phpBB3 site quickly and easily.

Five Steps to Install AutoMOD:

  1. Upload all of the files and folders from the “upload” directory to your site with the FTP client of your choice. Ensure that you maintain the correct data structure, i.e., files in includes need to go in the includes folder on your site
  2. Once the files are in place, browse to the install directory ( to run through the simple and painless installation.
  3. Don’t forget to delete the install folder from the server or phpBB3 will not allow anyone to use the site.
  4. To install the mod, upload the mod files and let AutoMOD do the work!
  5. After you upload your mod files into the newly created /phpbb/store/mods folder on the server, the mod will be displayed in the AutoMOD tab in the Administration Control Panel. Next to the name of the available mod is an “Install” link.

AutoMOD will check all of the code changes necessary and alert you if there is a problem; for example you may have already installed a mod that affects the specific code that the current mod needs to change. In this case, you will be shown the changes that are required for the current installation and you can make the choice to continue or cancel.

If there are any additional steps needed to complete the installation, AutoMOD will tell you exactly what’s needed. If you decide in the future that you don’t want the changes implemented by a particular mod, AutoMOD can remove it for you as well. How cool is that!

There are literally hundreds of phpBB3 modifications available. The official phpBB site hosts over 300 mods alone, all of which have been reviewed for security flaws and obvious bugs. You can transform phpBB3 from a simple bulletin board system into a feature rich content management system, a near LinkedIn clone, or even a blog.

Here are some of the more common and useful mods you may wish to look at:

  • Advertisement Management: Manage your banner ads, create rotating ads & filter viewers of advertisements
  • User Blog Mod: Feature rich blogging system that can be available to all of your site members
  • phpBB Smartfeed: Creates RSS 1.0, 2.0, and ATOM 1.0 newsfeeds so you can syndicate your site contents
  • SEO Mod: Optimize your phpBB3 site’s ability to gain ranking within search engines
  • phpBB3 Portal: Add a front portal page to your forum, effectively converting phpBB3 into a full CMS

With all of these mods at your fingertips, the Internet is your oyster!

Cody Erekson
WestHost Technical Support

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# 2nd November, 2009

Thanks a lot!!! It works perfectly

# 5th November, 2009

Good to hear. Feel free to give us any continuing feedback on its performance.

# 17th December, 2009

Can you put a download link (another than the official because it dont work) ???

Cody Erekson
# 25th January, 2010

Unfortunately the only place I know of to get the latest version is from the official phpBB website. Here is the direct link for the AutoMod page though:

Hope that helps!

# 14th February, 2010

(4. To install the mod, upload the mod files and let AutoMOD do the work!)

Where am I uploading the mod files?
Should I be creating a folder called mods in the store folder mentioned below? Or should that folder have been created by the AutoMOD installation process?

(5. After you upload your mod files into the newly created /phpbb/store/mods folder on the server, the mod will be displayed in the AutoMOD tab in the Administration Control Panel. Next to the name of the available mod is an “Install” link. )

arthur doohan
# 17th February, 2010

Greetings. I am struggling with AutoMOD. I have installed phpbb and got it working (no prob). I then upload the unpacked AutoMOD files and navigate to /automod/install/index.php – and get a blank page.

what am i doing wrong pls.

# 28th February, 2010

I’ve uploaded AutoMOD, however when I entered the install address, my site appeared in a outline-like form. What have I done wrong? Please help! Thanks in advance.

Cody Erekson
# 4th March, 2010

@David: If the /store/mods directory is not automatically created, go ahead and make it yourself. It shouldn’t matter either way. Ensure that you chmod store to 755.

@arthur: Generally a blank white page is indicative of a PHP error. If you are a WestHost client, please contact our tech support. We can help you enable PHP error logging to assist you in tracking down the exact cause of the error.

@Corrie: It sounds as though perhaps the admin theme is not being pulled up properly. It may still be possible to get through the install process; you only need to do it once. After it is complete, you won’t need to use it anymore so it will become a rather moot point.

# 5th March, 2010

You are Forbidden from viewing this page on this server.
Most likely due to no index.html file in the directory

I followed all the steps but this is the message I am getting. It appears that there is no other instructions about having an index file in the directory. If that is the case, then the AUTOMOD should have a self installed index.hmtl page.

What am I doing wrong?

# 6th March, 2010

I have uploaded the files and navigated to the install script with no issue. No how do I tell the script to install? Newb here and I can pretty much make it do nothing.

Ron Horsley
# 8th March, 2010

Trying to install AutoMOD and getting really frustrated. Installed phpBB3 successfully (3.0.7-PL1) and have it up and running. Then I went, downloaded AutoMOD’s latest version (1.0.0 RC3). I uploaded all the appropriate files to their respective folders in phpBB, uploaded the install folder (as I’d already deleted the original phpBB install folder per its instructions and security warnings). Then I navigated to my domain /forum/install/index.php and just kept getting the phpBB login page. I logged in, went to the ACP and all it does is keep giving me a red warning box saying I have to delete the “install” directory for security (again). AutoMOD is not installing anywhere in any way that I can see. Please help, thanks.

# 11th March, 2010

im getting the same thing as Ron. just a login page when i go to instal/index.php

# 15th March, 2010

Posted below is an error message I continue to get. Can you please direct me in what I’m doing wrong and how I can correct it, so that I’m able to install AutoMod?

Warning: include(../common.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in/home/*****/public)_html/upload/install/index.php on line 19

Warning: include(../common.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in/home/*****/public)_html/upload/install/index.php on line 19

Warning:include() [function.include]: Failed to opening ‘../common.php’for inclusion (include_path=‘/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in/home/*****/public_html/upload/install/index.php on line 19

Fatal error: Call to a member function session_begin() on a non-object in in/home/*****/public_html/upload/install/index.php on line 20

# 15th March, 2010

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_IF, expecting T_FUNCTION in /data/17/1/97/130/1234567/user/1234567/htdocs/forum/includes/db/db_tools.php on line 654

# 31st March, 2010

@ everyone who has issues like cory,

It seems the upload dir itself has been uploaded.
Try uploading the contents of the upload dir to the root of the forum.


Vinayak Wad
# 31st March, 2010

Excellent tutorial. Very helpful for us non-techies. Thanks a ton brother.

# 10th April, 2010

Hi Ron

I hit the same problem. Delete the contents of the cache directory (except the .htaccess and index.htm files). That will resolve the problem.

# 15th April, 2010

@Ron, did you figure it out? I have the same problem as you?

Noel Crowley
# 28th April, 2010

Having the same issue as Ron and Padraig. Anyone get a solution for this?

# 1st May, 2010

Ron and Padraig

I had the same problem and it’s an easy fix. After you login and are taken to ACP where you see the red warning box you have to enter the url in your web browser for a second time and then you’ll arrive at the Install AutoMOD screen.

# 6th May, 2010

hi i also had the latest version

when i navigate it say to login

i dont know what to do

the login page keep on appearing

# 19th May, 2010

I’ve uploaded the files, ran installer and nothing much happens after that, ZERO.

People tell me I should see a window with the automod logo, I see nothing, i get taken back to my forum.

I seek help at phpbb3 but what i can see with this mod you get very little.

maybe you could shed some light?

# 25th May, 2010

I am having the same problem I browse to auto mod and get a blank page on mozilla and a this page cant be found in ie 8

# 7th June, 2010

i uploaded in to my phpbb root foler. but there was an eror after i upload.
Wew i don’t understand.

# 21st June, 2010

Getting the same issue as Ron and Padraig… just goes right to login and then when i log in it tells me to delete or rename install folder before the board is usable…?? help?

# 29th June, 2010

Hi there, I just tried to install the AutoMod mod. All I did was unpack the archive and ftp the contense of the upload folder to my phpbb root dir. Since doing that the entire site is down.

The site is

Its a php based site, but only simple stuff integrated with the phpbb3 backend so it says welcome whoever or please log in on the main page

The board root is

I had just performed a board upgrade to the latest version and that had worked perfectly, so I was all confident doing the AutoMod install, but as soon as I uploaded the new folders the whole site is down. I tried removing them and re uploading them but no good. I can’t get to the acp or any php page in my site.

The whole point of the exorcise was to integrate WordPress blog, I had already installed it in its own dir /wp and that is still accessible but it is still standalone and not yet bridged to phpbb.

Please help!

# 29th June, 2010

As Tourex said:
I hit the same problem. Delete the contents of the cache directory (except the .htaccess and index.htm files). That will resolve the problem.

I had the same issue, going to /install/ and it taking me to the login and saying i need to delete the install page, deleted the cache and took me straight there!

Intalled without a hitch!

Alan Nuttall
# 8th July, 2010

“Could not upload attachment to ./../store/mods/”

thats what i get when i try to upload a mod called mchat
could really do with some help please. tried to get this fully working for around 13 hours straight now if not a bit longer =[

# 28th September, 2010


I’ve tried installing Automod to my forum and I’m having an issue. It keeps giving me this error:

General Error
Please download the latest UMIL (Unified MOD Install Library) from:

I have gone to the link above and uploaded the latest UMIL to my forum but I keep getting the same message I listed above. Is there any way to fix this?

Thanks in advance,


# 4th October, 2010

I guess one of the SOLUTIONS to note is that you MUST include “” in all the installations using AutoMod.