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phpBB3: Optimization Tips

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Below we have listed some common way to help optimize your phpBB3 site.
  • 1: Keep your application up to date. It is important to upgrade your forum when a new version is released. Latest application versions contain important bug and security fixes.
  • 2: Disable the search function for guests and allow it only for registered users. This will block attacks that use your forum’s search option.
  • 3: Do not add extra mods unless you really need them. Adding many mods to your forum can significantly increase the size of its database and thus cause high server load. You should use only mods that you actually need.
  • 4: Protect your forum against spam bots. If your forum is attacked by spam bots, thousands of topics and posts can be added to it in a very short period of time. This will greatly increase the size of your phpBB database, which in turn will slow down your forum.


To prevent your forum from being overrun by spam bots, you can make the following changes to your forum’s configuration:

  • 1: Enable the visual confirmation for new users. You can do this from the “Visual confirmation settings” menu under the “General” tab in your forum’s admin area. In this menu set the following settings as follows:
  • 2: Enable visual confirmation for registrations: Enabled – By enabling CAPTCHA in your forum you will require new users to enter a random code matching a displayed image. This will prevent mass registration of spam bots.
  • 3: Enable visual confirmation for guest postings: Enabled – This will require from your guests to enter a code matching a displayed image before posting. By doing this you can allow normal visitors to post without registration but block spam bots from posting in your board.

* GD CAPTCHA: Yes – Set this option to yes in order to use the newest CAPTCHA that phpBB3 supports.
* GD CAPTCHA foreground noise: Yes – This will make the image even harder for bots to recognize as text.
* GD CAPTCHA background noise x-axis: 9
* GD CAPTCHA background noise y-axis: 11 – From the experience we have gathered supporting thousands of phpBB3 forums, those are the best values to have a secure CAPTCHA image. This is the perfect balance between a recognizable by humans and at the same time hard for bots image.

  • 4: We also recommend optimizing the database. To perform the optimization, log in to your phpMyAdmin and select the database whose tables you wish to optimize. A list with all the database’s tables will appear. Tick the tables you wish to optimize, or simply click [Check All] to select all tables. From the [With selected:] drop-down menu choose Optimize table. This will execute the OPTIMIZE TABLE SQL query on the selected tables and they will be updated and optimized.

Finally, we suggest visiting following URL for more information on how to optimize your phpBB installation:

For more articles about phpBB3, please click here.

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