This week, we have shown you how to install your own blog on Windows Home Server, powered by WordPress, as well as your own wiki, both of which you can do once you have installed PHP for IIS.  Now we are going to to show you how to install your very own personal forum, so you can go and create your own Windows Home Server community that kicks We Got Served’s ass! 🙂  The forum software we are going to use is phpBB – it is very well established and works very well. Now as to why you would want to install a forum, or why you want to install phpBB3 over something else?  Well, phpBB3 says it best on their About page!

Also, check out the WGS Wiki for the most up to date version!

What you will need

What to do

Before you do anything else, make sure php is already installed.  If it isn’t, click the link above and go ahead and do that first.

First of all, you are going to want to download phpBB and Image Magic and put them on a network share. Then you are going to either use Remote Desktop Connection or Advanced Admin Console to gain access to the server.

Install phpBB

First things first, install ImageMagick. This program will be used by phpBB in the background to render thumbnails while keeping them fairly decent quality. After that is done, open up the phpbb zip file and extract the phpbb3 folder to "C:\inetpub\". It should look something like this:

Now, right click on the phpbb3 folder and select “Properties”. Find and open the security tab. Click the “Advanced” button. Now, click the “Add…” button. Add the user "IUSR_SERVER", replacing "SERVER" with whatever you named your server. For instance, I named my server "UMMON", so I added "IUSR_UMMON". Now give that user Full Control. Enable “Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects”, and click okay.

  • This will reset permissions on the files, and will revert back to being unchecked when it is done.

Now find “Administrative Tools” and open “Internet Information Services.” Under your computer’s name there is three entries. Open “Websites”, and then find “Default Web Site.” Right click on it and open the “New” group and select “Virtual Directory.” Not Virtual Directory from file. Now give the alias “phpbb3” or whatever you want. This will be the path to your phpBB installation. Click “Next” and set the path to “C:\inetpub\phpbb3”. Click “Next”. It will give you options for the new virtual directory. Tell it to “Read”, and “Run scripts”. Now you are done setting up the web service side of it.

Virtual Dir

Now we just need configure the database.

Configure Database

Go the the start menu, and run “MySQL Command Line Client”. This will immediately ask you to enter a password. Enter the password you used when setting up MySQL. Now you need to create the database that phpBB3 is going to use. We’re going to the name “phpbb3” for the database. Feel free to change the name to whatever you want. It should look like this:

mysql> create database phpbb3;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)

Now that we have created the database, we need to create a user specifically for phpBB because using the root account is very unsafe and recommended that you never do it. So we are going to create the username and give it permission to use the new database. The username we are going to use is “phpbb3admin” and the password “phpbb3password”. It should look like this:

mysql> use phpbb3;
Database changed
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON phpbb3.* to phpbb3admin@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'phpbb3password';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

Now you have the database and the info you need. Again, you will need to remember this or write it down.

Configure phpBB3

Now navigate to your forum. It should look something like: "" and you should see a page like this:

Click The install tab at the top to start the installation. It will give you another welcome screen and go ahead and proceed to the next step. This page will list a number of requirements for phpBB3. Everything except some of the database should be green. As long as “MySQL” or “MySQL with MySQLi Extension” are available, you will be fine. Now click “Start Install” and you should see a page like this:

Enter in all the information that you see up there, except for what you have changed. Click “Proceed to Next Step”. It should tell you it was successful. Good. Now continue to the next step. It will ask you for Administrator details. Go ahead and set those how you want and then “Proceed to next step”. And again, and again. This time, most of the settings here should not need to be configured. phpBB does a pretty good job of detecting these settings. Proceed, and proceed again. Now you should see this:

Now go back to "c:\inetpub\phpbb3" and delete the "install" directory, or else you won’t be able to You are now done. Go ahead and log in and play around with your new forum!

Stay tuned for more later, and head over to the forum for questions or if you have ideas for more php packages!