phpBB offers a range of dynamic features and functions that are sure to make it easy to create a powerful and authoritative online community. With easy to use post and reply functions, moderation tools, theming engine, an overall useful administration panel and the fact that is a 100% free open source application it is now wonder why phpBB is so often used by many popular communities.
However, the default functionality of phpBB may not always be perfectly suited to the vision of many webmasters, with additional features or options being needed to truly create the community that they want. This is where phpBB mods (modifications) come in handy and useful for all website owners as they allow the ability to enhance existing functionality or install completely new features totally. Modifications are often created by users from within the phpBB community and released for free within the official phpBB mod database, a central location to search, view and download mods.
Useful phpBB Modifications
phpBB modifications are organised into a list of categories that describe their overall use or added functionality. These categories include cosmetic, tools, security, communication, profile, anti-spam, entertainment and miscellaneous. There are hundreds of modification available for phpBB that can be downloaded from the phpBB database and installed onto your own forum with little to no effort. But, with such a large amount available it becomes time consuming to search through all of them to find the ones that you may want to use, or need to use. The following recommendations are some of the most popular, highly rated and useful modifications that are worth installing onto your phpBB forum to unleash it’s true potential.
1. Forum SEO
Forum SEO is one of the most widely used phpBB modifications, boasting 10,000+ downloads, due to the ability it adds to truly provide your forum with a better chance within search engine rankings. This is done by adding in the ability for forum owners to add custom forum descriptions on the index and viewforum pages instead of having to worry about phpBB duplication descriptions as it does by default. It also provides the options to include additional meta tags which can help to optimise your forum pages to better rank within search engines.
More information on the Forum SEO Mod can be found here.
2. Post Count Requirements
Due to such a large influx in webspam over the past few years forums are often targeted by spammers who sign up and post advertisements in existing forum topics which can become a nightmare for moderators and administrators to clean up. In an effort to combat this, Post Count Requirement allows administrators the ability to set specific post count requirements on individual categories and forums. For example, 1 category may need a total of 100 previous posts by a member in other areas of the forum before they can access or post in that category. This makes it a powerful modification for administrators to maintain and reduce spam in important categories and forum sections.
More information on Post Count Requirements can be found here.
3. Social Login
With just about all internet users having some sort of social media profile it makes sense to allow them the ability to register for an account and login to your forums through their social media profiles, instead of creating more account details that they need to remember. Big companies have begun doing this to provide a quicker and easier signup and login process for their users, and now you can to. The social login mod allows your members to sign up for an account, and login, via the use of over 20 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Foursquare and many more. By using the Social Login Mod you should see an increase in your registrations as it makes the signup process much easier which gives your visitors the extra push needed to sign up for an account.
More information on the Social Login mod can be found here.
4. Topic Preview
If you have an active forum that contains thousands of of different topics it can become time consuming for your members to individually open each topic to see if it is what they were looking for. In an effort to make this process easier, the Topic Preview modification allows members to see an excerpt of the topic by simply hovering over it’s title in the topics list, rather than having to open the topic and waiting for it to load the entire page. This is implemented through the use of jQuery, essentially allowing your members to have a peak of the topic before actually opening it.
More information on the Topic Preview modification can be found here.
5. Precise Similar Topics
One of the most important parts of running an online community, or any website, is that of retaining your visitors and members. It’s one of the biggest difficulties that many webmasters face and as a forum it’s important to maintain an active community otherwise people simply won’t want to sign up and take part in the conversations. This is where the Precise Similar Topics plugin becomes an invaluable asset to your forum. It will display a list of similar/related topics underneath the one currently being viewed by a visitor/member. This way, if they don’t find the information they are looking for in the topic they are viewing, the list will prompt them to visit one of a similar nature. Topics are matched by comparing the words in specific topic titles and capturing all of the ones that include the same keywords and strings.
More information on Precise Similar Topics can be found here.
Add Extra Functionality To Your phpBB Forum Today
Making use of the above modifications, or some of the many other hundreds in the official phpBB mod database, is a great way to increase the features at your disposal when running, promoting and managing an online discussion forum. One of the greatest thing about these modifications is that support can be easily obtained via the official support threads for each individual modification at the official phpBB discussion forums, making it easy for you to get the help that you need when installing and using any given modification.