In this post we’ll be describing the process to install a personal forum on your computer using the XAMPP server for Windows, and phpBB3, a free forum script with a decent number of features. We’ll be describing how to setup the MySQL database and the installation of the forum. You’ll need your local server set up at this point.
After installing phpBB3 you’ll be able to deploy a forum across your network (or Internet, if publicly accessible) which can be used for a variety of purposes, including discussion, file uploading, etc.
At the time of this writing, phpBB 3.0.3 is the latest phpBB version. Head to the phpBB website and hit the green block that says Download Latest Release. You’ll be directed to another page, and under Full Package, download either file (they’re both the same). Save it to your xampp/htdocs folder.
Head over to the xampp/htdocs folder and right click phpBB-3.0.3.zip and select 7zip, Extract Here (or equivalent, if using a different archive utility). A folder called phpBB3 will be created, which you can rename (I renamed it to forum).
(This section will assume that you have setup a password for XAMPP’s MySQL Database)
In your XAMPP folder, open xampp-control.exe, and start Apache and MySQL (so that both of them are running, as per the screenshot above).
Direct your web browser to the phpMyAdmin page, and enter your username (root) and your password, which was setup when you went to the XAMPP security page.
Once you login, you should see a Create new database section. Type in a name (I chose forum) and hit Create.
Direct your browser to the phpBB forum directory (mine would be http://localhost/forum/) which should autodirect you to the installation page. Hit the Install tab at the top, then hit the Next Step button at the bottom of the following page. You shuold then come to a page called Installation Compatibility (pictured above). Scroll to the bottom, and hit Start Install.
You’ll reach a Database configuration page. Leave all but the last four fields alone.
Hit Proceed to Next Step, and again, if the test connection is successful.
phpBB will ask for some basic information. Fill the form in, and hit Proceed to Next Step (3 times, if everything goes well).
The key thing here to change is to disable all board-wide emails. Once that’s done, you can Proceed to Next Step (twice). Hit Login at the end.
You’ll be greeted with this page, which looks eerily similar to the installation pages. As you can see from the big red box, you’ll need to delete the install folder (xampp/htdocs/forum/install/) (replace forum with whatever directory you chose). The blue message can be ignored.
Hit Board Index at the top right of the admin panel (or go to http://localhost/forum/) and see the results. You can add more forums and setup many other options via the admin panel (which you can always access with the link at the bottom).