Frequently Asked Questions

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The FUDforum FAQ provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Please consult this FAQ before asking questions on the Support Forum. However, if the answers are unclear, or if you require additional information, please ask anyway!

Contents

General

Does the FUD in FUDforum stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt?

Good heavens, no! This is a general and unfortunate misconception.

FUDforum stands for Fast Uncompromising Discussion forum.

How is FUDforum licensed?

FUDforum is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License. In short, this means that FUDforum is free to download, use, distribute and modify. However, if any of these modifications are released to the public, that code must also be released under the same license as FUDforum. The copyright notice in all the source files must ALWAYS be left intact. Any modification or removal of this copyright is illegal under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence.

Installation and upgrade FAQs

What do I need to get started

Before installing FUDforum, please review the prerequisites in the Install Guide. When done, download the installer and follow the instructions. It should only take a couple of minutes to have a full working forum installed.

Note that we also offer special "pre-installed" versions of FUDforum:

The installer shows a blank page or question marks?

This normally happens with old FUDforum 3.0.1 and earlier releases when the PHP setting detect_unicode is enabled. The unicode detection algorithm chokes on the binary content within the installer. To fix this, create a .htaccess file in the same directory as the installer with the following contents and rerun the installer:

php_flag detect_unicode off

Note that some hosts disable '.htaccess' completely. In addition, hosts that uses phpexec cannot specify PHP settings via .htaccess. In such cases you will have to change this setting in your php.ini file or ask your hosting provider to do it for you.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of X bytes exhausted (tried to allocate Y bytes)

This normally happens when users run an older version of PHP with a low memory_limit setting (default for PHP 5.3 is 128M) and FUDforum needs more memory to run. To fix it, increase PHP's memory limit, either by adding:

  • memory_limit = 128M to your php.ini file (recommended, if you have access).
  • php_value memory_limit 128M in your .htaccess file in the FUDforum directory.
  • ini_set('memory_limit', '128M'); in the install.php script.

Warning: gzuncompress() [function.gzuncompress]: data error

The installer or upgrade script will report this error if the file is somehow incomplete or corrupt. Please download it again and ensure you have the complete file before proceeding.

If you use FTP, please transfer the file in BINARY MODE as these files contain binary data.

If you still get this error, report the problem on the forum and also post the file's checksum so we can verify that it's complete.

Linux example:

$ md5sum FUDforum_upgrade_zl_2-8-1RC1.zip
8d4dde50488f0364f704e61b9aa7f306

Similar Windows checksum utilities are also available, for details see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Md5sum

Theming FAQs

How do I create/install a theme

Themes combine the forum's source code (logic) with templates (for layout) and message files of a particular language. The resulting files are deployed to the forum's web accessible 'theme' directory. You can define multiple themes to support different languages and/or layouts.

To install a new template set, create a subdirectory in the forum's data/thm directory and copy the theme's files to it. You will note that the Theme Manager immediately recognizes the new template set for use.

To create a new theme, create a new subdirectory in the forum's data/thm directory with the same structure as the default template set. Then only copy the files you want to modify to it (not everything!). Missing files (and sections) will always fall-back to the default theme. For more info, see create a new theme.

Why should I create my own theme instead of using the default?

Besides wanting to create a unique identity for your forum, users who want to change their themes should preferably create a separate theme to prevent subsequent upgrades (which may contain changes to the default theme) from overwriting their changes. If you don't plan to make any drastic theme changes, it's perfectly OK to use the default theme.

Why must I rebuild my theme after editing the theme's files?

After making manual changes to a theme's files (not required when you work through the on-line Template Editor, as you are supposed to), administrators must navigate to the Admin Control Panel -> Theme Manager to rebuild the theme. This is required for FUDforum to combine the theme's template, source and message files into the PHP scripts required to run the forum. The main advantage of this approach is that work is performed up-front, making FUDforum's scripts lightning fast.

What variables are available for use in a theme?

To see what variables are available for use, embed the following code into a template, compile it, and navigate the the relevant page to see the output:

<pre>
   {FUNC: var_dump( get_defined_vars() )}
 </pre>

This will print out all the variables available for that particular page.

Can I change the URL format/ use SEO (search engine friendly) URLs?

The URL format depends on the theme you are using and what options you've enabled. Some examples:

Changes that can be made with the Default theme or the Path_Info Theme :

  • With the Enable URL sessions (S=) and Track referrals (rid=) settings enabled, URL's will look like this:
http://127.0.0.1/forum/index.php?t=index&rid=2&S=1963f7fce4b7d3db9175dc3a4d6e8b7b
  • With the Enable URL sessions setting disabled and Track referrals enabled URL's will look like this:
http://127.0.0.1/forum/index.php?t=index&rid=2
  • When you disable Track referrals as well it will be:
http://127.0.0.1/forum/index.php?t=index&

It is recommended to first make the preceding two settings and test them before moving on to the PATH_INFO settings.

Changes that can only be made with the PATH_INFO theme:

The PATH_INFO theme (in conjunction with the Use PATH_INFO style URLs setting) can be used to enable search engine friendly/optimized (SEO) URL's. If you enable this feature, a typical URL will look like this:

http://127.0.0.1/forum/index.php/i/

To do this, do the following:

1. Go to Administration -> Global Settings Manager -> Use PATH_INFO style URLs and set it to YES

2. Enable Path_info support in the theme. You can do this with the Default Theme by going to Administration -> Theme Manager -> Edit and select Path_Info for the template set and click Update, then Rebuild.

Other things to do to be SEO-friendly:

1. Search engines like keywords in the URL. The default URLs (even the SEO-friendly ones discussed here) do not have the forum or topic title in them, so they will have no keywords. Until it's integrated into the core product, you can following the suggestion at the end of this thread on how to add forum and topic titles to the URL.

2. Since search engines will ding you for duplicate content, you should also follow the suggestion below under Can I prevent search engines from indexing certain pages?.

How does one remove the 'index.php' part from the URL?

For the shortest possible URL, you can remove the index.php portion of the URL. The example URL above would then look like this:

http://127.0.0.1/forum/i/

This is done in four steps.

It is highly recommended you take a backup of your forum and/or any of these files you edit prior to attempting this change. If you mess it up, you can make your forum inaccessible.

1. Enable Path_info support in Apache. This will vary with your configuration. For a WHM/cpanel setup of Apache, this is done by creating a conf file for that user in /usr/local/apache/conf/userdata/std/2/<username>/<virtual hostname> called forum.conf and putting the lines below in it and then restarting Apache:

<Directory /home/<username>/public_html/forum>
       Options +Includes
       AcceptPathInfo On
</Directory>

Note: If you'd like to test that PATH_INFO has been enabled before continuing on with the following steps, try steps 1a-1d below:

1a. Create a file in your /forum directory called phpinfo.php that contains the following

<?php
phpinfo();
?>

1b. Point your browser to <yoursite>/forum/phpinfo.php/testpath-info

1c. If PATH_INFO is enabled, you should see a screen listing all your PHP variables, and one of them will be PATH_INFO and its value should be "testpath-info"

1d. Remove the phpinfo.php script, as having it there is a security risk.

2. Assuming PATH_INFO is now enabled, create a .htaccess file that adds rewrite rules to make PATH_INFO work without index.php. The example below assumes the .htaccess file is in the directory where FUDforum is installed.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*) index.php/$1 [L]

3. The next step is to tell FUDforum not to display the index.php string in the URLs

Open FUDforum/include/compiler.inc with a text editor and change

$cmpl['ROOT'] = 'index.php';

to

$cmpl['ROOT'] = '.';

4. Rebuild the theme and test. (Administration -> Theme Manager - Rebuild)

How do I disable the "Topic Description" field?

There are several ways to do it:

  • If you can use the field for something else, like a support status or product version or so, just change its description in your "msg" file and recompile your themes:
post_descr:                     Topic Description:
  • Remove the line referencing "post_descr" from your theme's "post.tmpl" file and recompile your themes.
<tr class="RowStyleB"><td class="GenText">{MSG: post_descr}</td><td><input ...

WARNING: {meta-content-language} is deprecated, please remove it from your templates

If you see this message during a upgrade or when you generate a theme, you need to edit your "header.tmpl" and replace all occurrences of

{meta-content-language}

with

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset={CHARSET}" />

Can I remove "Powered By FUDforum" from the footer?

Yes, you may remove the copyright from the footer, but please don't! If you must, please try to keep at least a small (or invisible) "Powered by FUDforum" with the link back to http://fudforum.org/ somewhere on your site.

Administration and Moderation FAQs

Can I move all the topics/threads from one forum into another?

You can select all topics on a page (single click) and bulk move them to another forum. If you have too many pages of threads in a forum, increase the number of topics per page (setting in user control panel / set limit in Global Settings Manager). This will allow you to select and move more messages at a time.

How do I move my forum to a new host?

Steps to relocate you forum to a new server:

Alternatively, transfer all the files and DB content (backup & restore), when done fix-up the symlinks and paths in GLOBALS.php.

How do I redirect users from my old to my new forum?

Edit the old forum's index.php file and add:

<?php $url = 'http://new.forum.url/forum'. $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];
 header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently');
 header("Location: $url"); ?>

Can I prevent search engines from indexing certain pages?

Users that use a PATH_INFO theme may want to add the following lines to their robots.txt file to prevent search engines from indexing redundant pages:

User-agent: *
Crawl-Delay: 2
Disallow: /forum/a/
Disallow: /forum/bl/
Disallow: /forum/d/
Disallow: /forum/ef/
Disallow: /forum/gm/
Disallow: /forum/h/
Disallow: /forum/i/
Disallow: /forum/il/
Disallow: /forum/ip/
Disallow: /forum/l/
Disallow: /forum/lk/
Disallow: /forum/m/
Disallow: /forum/ma/
Disallow: /forum/mar/
Disallow: /forum/ml/
Disallow: /forum/mn/
Disallow: /forum/mv/
Disallow: /forum/ot/
Disallow: /forum/pdm/
Disallow: /forum/pl/
Disallow: /forum/pmm/
Disallow: /forum/r/
Disallow: /forum/re/
Disallow: /forum/rm/
Disallow: /forum/s/
Disallow: /forum/sel/
Disallow: /forum/st/
Disallow: /forum/tt/
Disallow: /forum/u/
Disallow: /forum/uc/

NOTE: Your forum's URLs may differ.

Troubleshooting FAQs

My forum doesn't send mail? What's wrong?

FUDforum uses PHP's mail() function to send e-mail. If it cannot, it will complain in the forum's Error Log Viewer ACP. Ensure that E-mail notifications are enabled in the Global Settings Manager and the user's profile. If enabled, and you don't see any errors in the ACP, the mail was successfully handed over to PHP/ your system. At this stage it's out of FUDforum's hands. Ensure you system can deliver mail and if all else fails, check your spam folder.

My forum's date and time is wrong. How can I fix it?

For starters, check that your server's date and time is correctly set. Also, ensure that the forum's timezone setting corresponds with that of your server. Lastly, check if the timezone of your profile is correctly set by navigating to Control Panel -> Account Settings -> Time Zone:.

FUDforum shows dates in English or with special characters?

This normally happens when the wrong locale was selected for a theme. Navigate to the Admin Control Panel -> Theme Manager to change your locale. When done, rebuild your themes.

The correct locale depends on your operating system. For example, one should typically use german on Windows systems, but de_DE.utf-8 on Linux/Unix systems. If available, always pick a UTF-8 locale. Windows is the exception, as it doesn't have UTF-8 locales.

To get a list of installed locales on Linux (there is no equivalent Windows command), execute:

$ locale -a | grep de
de
de_DE
de_DE.ISO-8859-1
de_DE.ISO-8859-15
de_DE.UTF-8      <-- If possible, always pick a UTF-8 locale!
deutsch

I've messed up my settings and cannot log in

Settings are stored in a file GLOBALS.php in the forum's include directory. You may edit it with a text editor to fix whatever is required.

FUDforum shows a blank screen. What now?

When you browse your FUDforum site and you get a blank page, it usually means that an error occurred, but PHP is configured not to display it.

  • Open your webserver's error logfile file (error_log for Apache) for details of the error.
  • To display errors on-screen, edit your forum's index.php file (or the script that causes the error) and add the following lines to the top (after the <?php tag):
error_reporting(E_NOTICE | E_ERROR | E_WARNING | E_PARSE | E_COMPILE_ERROR);
ini_set('display_errors', '1');
ini_set('display_startup_errors', 1);
define('forum_debug', 1);
  • If all else fails, you may also need to put the following code in an .htaccess file in you forum or public_html directory:
php_flag display_errors on
php_flag display_startup_errors on
php_value error_reporting 2047

All my messages are empty, what is wrong?

FUDforum stores its metadata in the database and message bodies on disk in the FUDdata/messages directory (default setting, can be changed). If you can see your forums, users, etc., but your messages are empty, you need to check if your message files are still there and check if the webserver has read/write permissions on them. If required, restore them from a recent backup.

To trace the message path:

  • Pick a message and write down its message number (look for something like "message #528" in the header).
  • Query the file_id and offset where the message is stored. For example:
SELECT file_id, foff, length FROM fud30_msg WHERE id = 528;
10000	976757	2092
  • Look for the file with the selected file_id in your messages directory - in our case msg_10000.
$ ls
msg_10000
  • Check if the file contains the message body at the selected offset:
$ od -a -j 976757 -b 2092 msg_10000

FUDforum is slow, can I see the database queries?

Yes, navigate to the ACP -> Global Settings Manager and enable debug mode.

Alternately, edit index.php (or the required script) and uncomment the following line:

#define('fud_query_stats', 1);

Illegal mix of collations for operation 'UNION'

If tables have different collations, MySQL will report an "illegal mix of collations for operation" error. Go to the SQL Manager and execute:

ALTER IGNORE TABLE ... CONVERT TO character set utf8 COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci;

Incorrect key file for table...

This error indicates that your MySQL database must be repaired. Go to the SQL Manager and execute:

REPAIR TABLE ...;

I've moved my forum to a new server, how do I get it to work again?

If you are moving your forum's directories (copy, FTP, etc.) and database (SQL import) to the new host, not using the provided facilities as you are supposed to, you need to:

  • Recreate symlinks/stubs to GLOBALS.php. Note that each installation only has one GLOBALS.php file in the forum's /data/include/ directory. The others are symlinks or stubs that point to this master file. You may need to recreate these symlinks/stubs to point to the correct GLOBALS.php location:
./GLOBALS.php -> ./data/include/GLOBALS.php
./scripts/GLOBALS.php -> ./data/include/GLOBALS.php
./adm/GLOBALS.php -> ./data/include/GLOBALS.php
  • Edit your GLOBALS.php file with a text editor and fix all absolute paths within it to the correct locations.
  • Rebuild all your themes from the Theme Manager admin control panel.
  • Run this UPDATE statement from the SQL Manager to reset attachment paths:
update fud28_attach
set location = replace(location, '/old/forum/dir/', '/new/forum/dir/');

None of the above is required if you use the forum's Make forum datadump and Import forum data admin control panels as it automatically takes care of all these complexities.

Other FAQs

This is a great project! How can I get involved?

FUDforum is a community project and new contributors are always welcome to get involved and participate in the development and support effort. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Introduce yourself on the support forum.
  • Try to answer other user's questions (good way to show-off your skills and learn at the same time).
  • Proofread and expand the documentation on this wiki (note the edit links).

If you are a developer:

  • Install SVN and checkout a copy of the source code.
  • Develop patches and share them with the community.
  • Develop new plugins and share them with the community.
  • Request SVN commit access on the forum.

If you are a web designer:

  • Design new themes and share them with the community.
  • Propose enhancements to existing themes.

If you are a translator, see Translating.

We look forward to your participation!

Who is using FUDforum?

There are too many sites to list here (do a Google search to see for yourself). Here are a couple, just to show that you are in good company:

PS: Feel free to add your forum to the above list.

Who can host my forum for me?

If you don't want to install and maintain your own forum, contact one of the following providers to host your FUDforum solution for you:

"A large number of our customers have selected the FUDforum software and are satisfied with the excellent performance of their web sites."

Feel free to add your hosting offering to the above list (only if you provide specific FUDforum services).

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