How to bridge phpBB3 with Joomla

Bridging is the process in which two web software programs are integrated in some way. The best Joomla extension for bridging with phpBB3 is called Mehdi's phpBB THREE bridge

Bridging is a complicated process, so this tutorial is targeted at intermediate Joomla administrators

This bridge allows you to separately enable visual integration and user integration. It requires PHP 5 to function

You'll need access to phpMyAdmin, an FTP client, and a text editor. You'll also need to have already installed phpBB3

As with all extensions we'll be showing you, start by going to Then, navigate to the Bridges / Forum bridges category and find the page for Mehdi's PhpBB THREE bridge

1) Click Download



Before we begin, you'll need to ensure that your main administrator accounts in Joomla and phpBB3 have the same name (i.e. admin)


If you have many phpBB3 users, you'll probably also want to ensure that as many users as possible register a new Joomla user account with the identical name before proceeding


If all phpBB3 users do not have a corresponding Joomla account, those users that don't will have to reset their passwords in Joomla

2) Let us begin. Scroll down to the Download now! button


3) Click it

4) Save the file to your computer

5) Locate and extract the archive


If your version of phpBB3 matches the number specified in this folder's name, you're in luck -- you don't have to edit any of phpBB3's files

6) Simply go inside this folder and upload all files contained in the hacked folder to your phpBB3 root directory, then do the same with everything in the bridge folder


If your version doesn't match, or if you're not sure what your version is, you'll have to edit and rename some files by hand

7) Start by downloading your entire phpBB3 directory to a subfolder here


8) When finished, copy the files quickprocess2.bat and begin2.txt from the others folder to the folder you just created

9) Hold down CTRL and select both files


10) Go Up


11) Press CTRL+C to copy


12) Press CTRL+V to paste, then scroll down to find the files

13) Double click the .bat file to run it


14) This command prompt will appear. Press a key to continue

15) Again, press a key


Notice -- many of the file sizes have changed to 1 KB


Scroll down


The original files have been moved down here, with inc_ added in the front


Scroll back up


16) Go inside the adm folder

17) Rename index.php in the same manner

18) Now, copy the index.php file that was created in the previous directory to here and open it with your favorite text editor

19) Adjust the current folder

20) Add a period to refer to the previous directory

21) Press CTRL+S to save


Return to Windows Explorer


22) Press CTRL+C to copy this file, then go up one directory

23) Rename file.php as before

24) Paste the file you copied with CTRL+V


25) Rename this one to file.php

26) Now, edit this file


27) Change index to file


28) Then change the folder to download


29) Press CTRL+S to save


30) Go up two directories


31) Go into the phpBB directory that was included with the bridge files

32) Enter the hacked directory

33) Then includes



34) UTF


35) Copy utf_tools.php


36) Return to the main directory

37) Enter our phpBB3 directory again


38) Go to includes


39) UTF


40) Rename the existing file as before

41) Paste the copied file


42) Then, open the inc_ file with the text editor

43) Add the following code to this line

44) Save and return to the main folder


45) Now, go to bridge


46) Open the selected file


Here's where you choose which kind of integration you'll want to enable later. For now, leave this alone

47) Update the URL and relative path


48) Save the file


49) Now, select all the files in this directory and copy them to our working phpBB3 directory

50) Paste the files


51) Overwrite all when prompted

52) Press CTRL+A to select all files in this directory

53) Now, upload everything to the phpBB3 folder on your FTP


54) Before testing the changes we made, we must first go to phpMyAdmin and execute the bridge SQL file

55) Choose your phpbb database

56) Go to Import


57) Browse for the SQL file


It's in the others directory


Scroll down


58) Click Go



The query was executed successfully; the table has been created


Scroll the menu frame down


If your Joomla and phpBB installations share a database, skip the following step


59) Click the link to the phpbb_users table. If yours is called something else, take note of that, since you'll have an extra step later

60) Click Operations


61) Scroll down until you see Copy table to


62) Specify the Joomla database

63) Type phpbb_users


64) Switch to the copied table

65) Click Go


66) Now, go to Joomla and install the component package contained in the others folder


For assistance with installing extensions, watch the second tutorial in this series


67) Now, choose the menu to which we'll add a phpBB link and go to its item manager

Scroll right


68) Click New



Scroll down


69) Click External Link


70) Enter a title


71) Enter a link to your phpBB folder

72) Click Save


Scroll down and right


73) Make note of the ItemID for the phpBB menu link; you'll need it later

74) Now, let's verify that phpBB3 still works. Go to its Admin CP


No error messages, so everything seems to have worked so far

75) Click Styles


76) Next to bridgesilver, click Install


77) Make this the default

78) Click Submit


79) Go Back


80) Click Deactivate


81) Now, go to General and scroll down


82) Under Client Communication, click Authentication


83) Select Joomla15 from the list


Scroll down


84) Click Submit



There's one final step before enabling the bridge


In the "others" folder, there is a PHP script called quickmerge2.php that will merge the phpBB user database with Joomla's


At the top of that file, there is a PHP variable called $myTable. If your phpBB user table is not phpbb_users, you will need to change that variable to the correct value


Then, upload the file to your root Joomla directory, run the script from your browser, and delete it from your FTP


After you run the file, you should see a page similar to this one. This phpBB3 installation had no additional users

85) All that remains is to update the config file we edited earlier. Re-open joomphpbb_conf2.php

86) Change this to 3 to enable visual & user integration

87) Enter the ItemID noted earlier

88) Save and upload this file, then go to the Joomla frontend to see if everything works

89) Click the phpBB link


Visual integration seems to have worked! Let's see about user integration


Scroll down


As you can see, the Editor account we were logged in to in Joomla was automatically transferred over to phpBB


At last, the bridging was a success!


This is the end of the tutorial. You now know how to bridge phpBB3 with Joomla

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