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WowBB Administrator's Guide

  1. Introduction

  2. Board Access Statistics

  3. General Settings

  4. Categories

  5. Forums

  6. Topics

  7. Users

  8. Themes

  9. Emoticons

  10. Advanced

  1. Introduction
  2. WowBB is a user-friendly PHP/MySQL powered forum software. For a detailed feature list, please visit

    This document covers the administrative panel of WowBB. If you think some parts of this document are not clear, please let us know, and we will improve the parts in question as soon as possible.

    • Top 1.1. Installation

      WowBB requires PHP, a popular scripting language, and MySQL, a widely used relational database server. If your web host does not offer PHP and MySQL support, you will need to use a web host that supports PHP and MySQL.

      WowBB requires one MySQL database to run. It is recommended that you give WowBB its own database for best performance. If you cannot do this, WowBB can happily share an existing MySQL database.

      If there is no MySQL database available for WowBB, you must create one, and associate it with a MySQL username and password. This can usually be done from a web-based control panel provided by your web host. In many cases, you can ask your web host to create a MySQL database for you, too.

      Once you have your MySQL database information ready, please visit the WowBB customer area, and click the Install button. The installation consists of 4 steps:

      1. Copying Files to Server
      Web Site Address: This should be the domain name of your web site such as or
      FTP Host (optional): You can leave this blank if you can use your web site address for FTP. Otherwise, type the host name of your FTP server.
      Username: The username you use to transfer files to your web site.
      Password: The password you use to transfer files to your web site.
      Language: The language of the board (can be changed later). The language is English by default.
      Install Directory: If the directory you entered does not exist, WowBB will attempt to create it. Make sure that the directory is accessible from the web. For example, if public_html is your root web directory, you may enter something like public_html/forums
      Corresponding Web Directory: The web directory that corresponds to the install directory. For example, if public_html is your root web directory, the corresponding web directory to public_html/forums is /forums.

      About Install and Corresponding Web Directories:

      Many web hosts provide a special directory named public_html, www, httpdocs, etc. for web pages, and you should upload your files or directories to that directory in order to access them from your web site.

      For example, if you would like to install WowBB at, and the special directory for web pages is called public_html, you can use the following settings:

      Install Directory: public_html/forums
      Corresponding Web Directory: /forums

      If your web host tells you that you can simply upload everything directly to your account without having to use a special directory, you can use the following:

      Install Directory: forums
      Corresponding Web Directory: /forums

      2. Selecting Installation Type
      • New Installation
        If you are not running a bulletin board supported by WowBB (see below), select this option.

      • Installation Over Existing Board
        If you already have a bulletin board supported by WowBB, and want WowBB to use its database, select the database format of your board. Before going any further, it is a good idea to make a backup of your existing board's database in case something goes wrong.
        • phpBB 2.0.x
        • UBB.Threads 6.x

      3. Creating Database Tables
      Database Name: This is the name of the MySQL database you want WowBB to use. If the database is not empty, you are strongly encouraged to make a backup of the database before going any further.
      Database Username: The username needed to access the database.
      Database Password: The password needed to access the database.
      Database Host: Unless your web host told you otherwise, you can leave the default setting (localhost) in place.
      Database Port: Unless your web host told you otherwise, you do not need to change the default port, which is 3306.

      If you get an "Unable to connect to DB server..." error after entering these settings, use your web browser's back button, and make sure that all the settings are correct. If everything seems ok, but you are still getting the same error, please make sure that the database name and username are correct as some web host control panels such as cpanel automatically add a prefix to your database and username.

      4. Creating Admin Account
      An admin account lets you access the WowBB administration panel with which you can manage all aspects of your board.
      Username: The username for the admin account.
      E-mail: The e-mail address for the admin account. This e-mail address will also be used as the board e-mail address. The board e-mail address can be changed later from Admin Panel > General > Core settings.
      Password: The password for the admin account.
      Retype Password: Retype the password to make sure that what you have typed in the password field is what you intended.

      Congratulations! Now, you can visit the admin panel, and start configuring your board. To visit the admin panel, you can use the Admin Panel link found at the bottom of every page of your board (you must be logged in to see this link).

    • Board Access Statistics
      • Top 2.1. Access Statistics Summary by Month

        The first thing you will see when you visit the admin panel is the board access statistics summary by month. This gives you a quick overview of the traffic your board gets. You can see daily statistics as well as browser and operating system breakdowns by clicking the links in the date column. The statistics are updated approximately every 24 hours.

        Board Stats
        The Stats Tab

        The meanings of columns:

        Visitors: The number of unique visitors. 1
        Visits: The number of visits your visitors made. 2
        Max Online: The maximum number of visitors who were on line at the same time.
        Page views: The number of pages viewed by your visitors.

        1  How unique visitors are calculated?
        Since everyone on the web has a unique IP number, WowBB compares IP numbers to decide whether a user is different from another. Please note that the number of unique visitors is not perfectly accurate due to a number of reasons:
        • Not everyone has a static IP number: most dial-up and some broadband users have dynamic IP numbers that change from time to time (sometimes within the same day).
        • WowBB keeps only a day's worth of IP numbers in its database. When a new day starts, it clears the IPs stored the day before. So, if a user with the same IP number visits your board on different days, she will be counted more than once.
        2  How visits are calculated?
        If a user visits a page of your board, remains inactive more than the session length specified in General > Session Settings (15 minutes by default), and visits a page of your board again within the same day, then she has made two visits, and so on.

      • Top 2.2. Access Statistics Details by Month

        In addition to revealing the amount of daily traffic, these links also show you the web browsers and operating systems used by your board's visitors.

        Note: The other field in browser and operating system breakdowns corresponds to automated robots (bots) and obscure web browsers. Bots can be search engine spiders that index your web pages (good), download managers (ok), or rogue robots (bad if they are e-mail harvesters used by spammers). WowBB can identify the Google, Yahoo, and MSN spiders (they are displayed under browsers).

    • General Settings
    • The settings under the general tab of the admin panel affects your entire board. Here, you can change the name of your board, the format used to display dates, the contents of the welcome e-mail sent to new members, and many other things.

      There are 8 sets of settings. To view the settings in a set, click the name of the set on the left. When you are finished with modifying the settings, click the Save button.

      General Stats
      The General Tab

      • Top 3.1. Core Settings
        • Language:
          The default language of the interface of your board. If a user does not choose another language, this will be the default for him/her.

        • Board Name:
          The name of your board. This will be used in various places such as your web browser's title bar, the current location (you are here) line displayed under the board logo, the default welcome e-mail sent to newly registered users, and so on.

        • Base Directory:
          The directory where WowBB is installed relative to your root web directory. Do not change unless you moved the entire WowBB installation to another directory.

        • Homepage:
          The directory or URL users will be taken to when they click the Home button.

        • Board Logo:
          The full path to the board logo image normally displayed at the top of every page.

        • Board E-Mail Address:
          All e-mails sent by WowBB such as welcome e-mails, forum digests, and new post notifications will be sent from this e-mail address. In addition, this is the official contact e-mail address given in some messages displayed by WowBB.

        • Theme:
          Changes the appearance of the board. If a user does not choose another theme, this will be default for him/her.

      • Top 3.2. Board On / Off

        You may sometimes need to temporarily turn your board off especially when switching hosts, or doing maintenance on your web site or board.

        • Board On / Off:
          If you turn your board off, only super moderators and administrators can access your board. Everyone else will see the message below.

          Important note:
          If you log out while your board is off, you will not be able to login again! If you have accidentally logged out, here is how to get your board back online:

          1. Download the config.php file in your board's base directory to your hard disk via FTP.
          2. Open this file with a text editor such as NotePad. Find the following line:

            define("BOARD_ON", 0);

            and change it to:

            define("BOARD_ON", 1);

          3. Now, save and upload it back, and your board should be online again.
        • Reason to make your board offline:
          This is the message your users will see when the board is offline. To revert to the default message, erase all the text and save.

      • Top 3.3. User Registration
        • New Registrations:
          If you do not want to accept new members, set new registrations to off. However, administrators will still be able to register users from the users tab of the admin panel.

        • Activation E-mail:
          A welcome e-mail that contains a special activation URL will be sent to new users if this setting is on. You can change the text of the welcome e-mail (see below).

        • Welcome Message:
          This is the default text of the e-mail newly registered users receive.

          Welcome to WowBB Forums.

          Please click on the following URL to activate your account:

          Alternatively, you can copy & paste the URL in the address line of your browser, and press Enter.

          Please do not modify or erase the activation URL because without a correct activation URL your users may not be able to activate their accounts. To revert to the default welcome message, erase all the text and save.

      • Top 3.4. Date Format

        You can specify how dates and times will be displayed across your board here.

        Note: The date & time (09/24/2004 8:40 pm) displayed here are for demonstration purposes only, and therefore there is nothing wrong with the date & time of your board.

        • Date Format:
          Specifies how dates will be displayed by default. Users can specify their own date formats.

        • Time Format:
          Specifies how time will be displayed by default. Users can specify their own tme formats.

        • Alternate Date Format:
          When the alternate date format is on, last topic and last post fields are displayed as the time elapsed. For example, One day two hours ago. Alternate date format is off by default.

      • Top 3.5. Session Settings
        • Cookie Lifespan:
          A cookie is a small file saved on a user's hard disk by the web browser. Among other things, WowBB uses a cookie to store the username and password of a user to eliminate the need to login repeatedly. The default setting is 5 years, but can be set as low as 1 month.

        • Session Length:
          When a user visits your board, a new user session starts. A session ends when a user remains inactive more than the session length by either doing nothing or leaving the board. A session does not end as long as the time difference between two consecutive user actions is less than the session length. Session length is used to count the number of visits, and to compile the Who's Online section.

          The default setting is 15 minutes. Do not set this too high because the Who's Online section can easily become inaccurate.

      • Top 3.6. Cache
        • Smart Cache:
          When turned on, smart cache can speed up the generation of certain pages such as the board home and topic lists in forums. Smart cache is on by default.

        • Browser Caching:
          Normally, web browsers store copies of recently visited pages to improve page download times. However, on busy boards pages can quickly become outdated, and if you want an always fresh page, you might want to turn this setting off. However, please keep in mind that this may slow down both users on slow connections and the general response time of your board due to increased number of web page requests. Browser caching is off by default.

      • Top 3.7. Search Engine Optimization
        • Search Engine Friendly URLs:
          Transforms many forum URLs to a format even the most picky search engine cannot complain about. For example, /view_topic.php?id=6&forum_id=2 becomes /forum2/6.html.

          Important Note:
          In order for this feature to work, your web host should be using Apache web server with "mod_rewrite" enabled. If you are sure that mod_rewrite is enabled on your server, find the htaccess.txt file in your board's base directory and rename it to .htaccess (don't forget the dot).

        • User Links:
          When user links are off, all links to user profiles are removed except when displaying a topic in order to help improve Google's PageRank distribution across your board.

      • Top 3.8. Miscellaneous
        • Mana:
          If you would like to completely disable mana on your board, set this to off.

          What is Mana?
          WowBB uses an advanced iterative algorithm to determine the most respected users. A user "adds mana" to other users she respects, and the more mana she has, the more the increase in recipients' manas. A user can also change her mind, and remove mana from someone to whom she added mana before. However, the more members a member adds mana to, the less the effect of those mana additions.

          For example, let's assume that your mana is 3 out of 4. If you want to add mana to someone then you basically add him/her 3 points divided by the number of members to whom you added mana before. If you added mana to one member before, the amount of mana you would add is 3/(1+1)=1.5 points. This is a dynamic process. Whenever someone adds or removes mana, the manas of all members are calculated from scratch.

          Finally, mana takes the normal distribution rule into account, and it gets increasingly accurate as you get more members.

        • Page Stats:
          Displays page generation statistics and the number of SQL queries executed.

    • Categories
      • Top 4.1. What is a Category?

        A category is an easy way to organize your forums. It is basically a container that holds one or more forums. Before creating any forums, you must create at least one category by clicking the New button.

        The Categories Tab

      • Top 4.2. Managing Categories

        To select a category click on its name. Then you will be able to

        • rename that category by typing a new name
        • change its order by using the Move Up or Move Dn buttons
        • delete it by clicking the Delete button (you can delete a category only if it contains no forums)

        To save name and order changes, click the Save button.

    • Forums
      • Top 5.1. What is a Forum?

        A forum is a place to have discussions on a certain subject or subjects. Users can post topics in a forum, and each topic can contain one or more posts.

        A forum must have at least one moderator. A moderator, as the name suggests, moderates a forum. Moderators can

        • edit topic titles and descriptions,
        • edit/delete any post in a topic,
        • open/close topics,
        • move topics between forums,
        • delete topics,
        • merge two topics into one,
        • make any topic appear at the top regardless of the sort order.

        The Forums Tab

        You can create a forum by clicking the New Forum button. If you cannot see any New Forum button, please make sure that you have created at least one category.

      • Top 5.2. Managing Forums

        How to Edit Forums:

        • You can edit the name, description, and moderators of any forum by simply clicking on the appropriate fields. To enter multiple moderators, separate the usernames of moderators with a comma (,).
        • If you want your moderators to receive e-mail notifications whenever a new topic or post appears in a particular forum, check the Notify moderators on new posts box.
        • You can change the order of the forums in a category by using the Move Up or Move Dn buttons.

        When you are done, click the Save button. If you check the Move all moderators to user group 4 box, all moderators will be automatically moved from their respective user groups to user group 4 (normally called moderators).

        How to Move & Delete Forums:

        • To move a forum from one category to another, select a new category, and click the Move to button.
        • The Delete button deletes everything in a forum. After you delete a forum, the search index will be rebuilt. Please be patient, this may take a while to complete depending on the total number of posts on your board.

    • Topics
      • From the topics tab, you can specify the topics/posts per page, the number of emoticon columns & rows, avatar & atachment sizes, active topic integration settings, and many other things.

        There are 4 sets of settings. To view the settings in a set, click the name of the set on the left. When you are finished with modifying the settings, click the Save button.

        The Topics Tab

      • Top 6.1. Topic Limits
        • Topics Per Page:
          The number of topics displayed on each forum page (default: 40).

        • Posts Per Page:
          The number of posts displayed on each topic page (default: 20).

        • Popular Topic Minimum Replies:
          The minimum number of replies needed to classify a topic as popular (default: 15). If you have a great number of topics with a lot of replies, you might want to increase this number.

        • Popular Topic Minimum Views:
          The minimum number of views needed to classify a topic as popular (default: 300). For high traffic boards, it is probably a good idea to increase this value.

        • Options Per Poll:
          The maximum number of options a poll can have (default: 10).

        • Time Limit on Editing Posts:
          Users cannot edit a post if this number of hours have passed after the original posting. Leave 0 for no limits (default: 0). We recommend a limit of 24 hours since otherwise anyone can edit old posts that should probably be left untouched.

        • Flood Interval:
          A user cannot send another post unless at least this number of seconds has been passed since his/her last post. Flood interval prevents accidental duplicate posts and reduces the motivation of a malicious user sending a flood of posts (default: 30 seconds). Do not make this too high otherwise some fast typing users may have to wait between posts needlessly.

          Note: Flood interval applies to private messages as well.

      • Top 6.2. Text Editor
        • Spell Check:
          When turned on, the spell checker highlights unrecognized words, and offers interactive suggestions. Requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or better and a utility called ispell that comes standard with almost all Unix installations (default: on).

          Note: If you are on a Windows system, you can download the Windows version of ispell at

        • Extra Toolbar:
          The extra toolbar for the WYSIWYG editor offers font selection, the ability to insert multimedia clips, and some exotic features including shadow and glow effects (default: on).

        • Emoticon Columns:
          The number of emoticon columns visible on screen (default: 4).

        • Emoticon Rows:
          The number of emoticon rows visible on screen (default: 3).

          If you have more emoticons than the product of the emoticon columns and rows (for example 4 x 3 = 12), a link named "More" will appear at the bottom of the emoticons list. When you click this link additional emoticons will be revealed.

      • Top 6.3. Avatars & Attachments

        Your users can upload custom avatars to represent themselves on your board. They can also pick one from ready-made avatars in the avatar galleries. WowBB comes with 111 original avatars divided into 8 categories. New avatars can be easily added by simply uploading directories that contain new avatar images to your board's images/avatars/galleries directory. WowBB automatically recognizes new additions. No special configuration is necessary.

        • Avatar Dimensions: 1
          The width or height of an avatar cannot exceed this value in pixels (default: 64).

        • Avatar File Size: 1
          The maximum file size for an avatar in bytes (default: 6144). If you increase the value of the avatar dimensions above, it is usually a good idea to increase the value of this setting as well.

        Your users can upload files from their computer and attach them to their posts if they have the permission to do so (see user permissions).

        • Attachment File Size:
          The maximum file size for an attachment in bytes (default: 102400).

        • Attachment Allowed Extensions:
          For security purposes, it is a good idea to limit the type of files that can be attached to posts. Separate allowed extensions with a space. Leave blank to allow all extensions (default: bmp gif jpg jpeg png txt zip).

        • Inline Attachments:
          Enables image attachments to be displayed with posts (default: on).

        • Attachment Image Width:
          The maximum width for an attached image (in pixels). Images wider than this will not be displayed inline.

        1 WowBB does not check the avatars in the avatar galleries for these limits.

      • Top 6.4. Integration

        You can easily integrate a list of active topics (selected, popular, recent) to your own web pages by adding a single line of cut-and-paste JavaScript code. You can also specify how many lines and which fields would appear, and the sort order.

        Tip: As of WowBB 1.6, you can display active topics from a single forum only. Simply append &forum_id=x to the integration JavaScript code where x is the forum's id.

        If you would like to customize the visual appearance of the active topics on your page, please edit the following templates:

        • index_active_topics_header
        • index_active_topics_row
        • index_active_topics_footer

      • Top 6.5. Miscellaneous
        • Signatures:
          Member signatures appear at the bottom of posts, and may contain links and images. We recommend turning off this e-mail era feature as signatures often do nothing but clutter the display. A member's profile should be the place to provide information about himself/herself (default: off).

        • Post Sort Order:
          Specifies the order posts in a topic will be sorted. (default: Oldest to Newest)

        • Last Post Links:
          When turned on, users can click the arrows in the last date column to directly go to the last post of a topic. (default: on)

        • Always-on "Go to first new post" Arrows:
          These arrows normally only appear next to previously visited topics that have accumulated new posts since then. Set this to on, if you want them to appear at all times (default: off).

    • Users
      • The users tab allows you to manage users and user groups, mass e-mail your users, and create paid subscriptions. You can also manually register a user or resend activation e-mails to those who have not activated their accounts yet.

        The Users Tab

      • Top 7.1. Group Management

        WowBB comes with six pre-defined user groups:

        1. Unregistered
        2. Registered
        3. Banned
        4. Moderators
        5. Super Moderators
        6. Administrators

        Each group has different permissions. For example, unregistered users cannot normally post new topics or replies, and only administrators can access the admin panel.

        To select a user group, click either on its name or title. Then you will be able to:

        • view the list of users in it by clicking the User List button.
        • specify permissions for it by clicking the Permissions button
        • delete it by clicking the Delete button.

        Please note that user group names are for descriptive purposes only. For example changing 'Unregistered' to 'Registered' does not make the users in the 'Unregistered' group registered.

        When users post on your board, their group titles are displayed under their usernames. You can leave group titles blank if you wish.

        User group numbers from 1 to 6 are special; you cannot delete them. All unregistered users (aka guests) are automatically assigned to group 1, all new registered users are automatically assigned to group 2, and finally all moderators are assigned to group 4 if you choose to do so while editing your forums.

        To create a new user group, click the New button.

        To save name and title changes, click the Save button.

      • Top 7.2. User Management

        To view the list of users in a user group:

        • Select a user group by clicking either on its name or title.
        • Click the User List button.

        The first thing you will see is a list of up to 50 users sorted by registration date from newest to oldest. This list can give you a quick overview of the newest user registrations especially when you are viewing the registered users group.

        To see usernames starting with a particular letter, you can use the letter links at the top.

        If you want to look up a user or users, you can use the Look up User button. Partial names are ok. For example, if you type test and click the Look up User button, usernames like these can be returned:

        • test
        • just_test
        • testing
        • a test user

        Note: The Look up User feature returns users only from the selected user group, not from all user groups.

        To move users from one group to another:

        • Select the users you want to move by checking the appropriate boxes.
        • Choose a new user group, and click the Move button.

        To delete users:

        • Select the users you want to delete by checking the appropriate boxes.
        • Click the Delete button.

        Note: If you delete a user who has posted before, these posts will appear to be posted by a guest user with the same username in order to preserve the natural flow of discussions.

        To view and optionally edit a user's details click on his/her username. While editing a user's details, you can become that user by clicking on the Become this user link. By becoming a user, you basically take over the account of that user. To become "yourself" again, you need to logout and login again.

      • Top 7.3. Group Permissions

        To modify the permissions of a user group:

        • Click the users tab of the admin panel.
        • Select a user group by clicking either on its name or title.
        • Click the Permissions button.

        Sample Permissions for the Unregistered Users Group

        There are two types of permissions: board and forum.

        Board permissions apply to all forums, but many of them can be overridden by individual forum permissions. To specify permissions for a forum, select a forum from the drop-down menu, and click the Add Forum button.

        You can remove the permissions for any forum by clicking the corresponding Remove link.

        When you are done, click the Save button to save your changes.

        Below, you can see the complete list of permissions:

        • View All:
          Users can view all forums except forums that have this option unchecked.

        • Post New Topics:
          Users can post new topics.

        • View Others' Topics:
          Users can see topics posted by others. Users can always see topics posted by themselves.

        • Reply to Others' Topics:
          Users can reply to topics posted by other users if of course they can view them in the first place (see right above). Users can always reply to topics posted by themselves.

        • Post Polls:
          Users can post polls. Since polls can only be created while posting a new topic, new topic posting permission is required for posting polls.

        • Vote on Polls:
          Users can vote on polls.

        • Edit Own Posts:
          Users can edit their own posts. The group number 1 (unregistered users) is not eligible.

        • Post Attachments:
          Users can post attachments.

        • Download Attachments:
          Users can download attachments.

        • Search:
          Users can search. The results returned obey the topic/forum viewing permissions.

        Board Only Features:
        • View Member Profiles:
          Users can view member profiles.

        • View Who's Online:
          Users can view who's online.

        • Add Mana:
          Users can add mana to others. The group number 1 (unregistered users) is not eligible.

        • Private Messaging:
          Users can send each other private messages. The group number 1 (unregistered users) is not eligible.

        • Super Moderator Rights:
          Users can moderate (edit/move/delete ALL posts) in ALL forums.

        • Administration Rights:
          Users can access the WowBB administration panel, and that means absolute power. Be careful to whom you give this permission to.

        Common Scenarios:

        • Setting up Private Forums (Many Public Forums - Few Private Forums):
          If you would like to make your entire board public, but at the same have a few private forums (for example: invitation-only forums, premium paid forums, etc.):
          1. Select a user group from the users tab. This is the user group for which you want to make a forum invisible.
          2. Click the Permissions button.
          3. Select the forum that you do not want this user group to see.
          4. Click the Add Forum button.
          5. Uncheck the View All box of the forum you have just added.
          6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for other forums if necessary.
          7. Click Save.

        • Setting up Private Forums (Few or no Public Forums - Many Private Forums):
          If you would like to make most or all of your forums private (for example, member-only boards):
          1. Select a user group from the users tab. This is the user group for which you want to make most or all of your board invisible.
          2. Click the Permissions button.
          3. Uncheck the View All box of the board.
          4. Finished? Skip to the last step.
          5. Select a forum that you want this user group to see.
          6. Click the Add Forum button.
          7. Check the appropriate viewing/posting permission boxes of the forum you have just added.
          8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for other forums if necessary.
          9. Click Save.

        • Membership Approval:
          If you would like to give new users viewing and/or posting permissions only after you approve them:
          1. Select the registered users group (group 2) from the users tab. All newly registered users are automatically placed in this group.
          2. Click the Permissions button.
          3. Uncheck the appropriate boxes to limit the permissions of the newly registered users pending approval.
          4. Click Save.
          5. Click the Group Management link on the left, and create a new user group for approved users by clicking the New button.
          6. Select the new user group you have just created.
          7. Click the Permissions button.
          8. Check the appropriate boxes to give your approved members viewing/posting permissions.
          9. Click Save.

          Regularly check the registered users group for new members, and move the users you want to your approved users group.

        • Setting up a Private Support Forum:
          If you would like to set up a private support forum in which a user cannot see other users' posts:
          1. Select a user group from the users tab. This should be your customer group.
          2. Click the Permissions button.
          3. Uncheck the following permissions:
            • View Others' Topics
            • Reply to Other's Topics
            • Post Polls
            • Vote on Polls
            • View Member Profiles
          4. Click Save.

      • Top 7.4. Mass E-mail

        Mass e-mail allows you to send part or all your of users an e-mail.

        Mass E-mail
        Mass E-mail

        For this feature to work, in addition to an e-mail subject and message, you must specify at least one of the following conditions:

        • one or more user groups,
        • birthday before or after
        • registered before or after

        If you specify more than one condition, WowBB assumes an AND relationship between the conditions. For example, if you specify the following:

        • registered user group
        • birthday before February 24, 1991

        WowBB will send your e-mail to users who are in the registered user group AND whose birthdays are before February 24, 1991. In other words, both conditions must be satisfied in order for a user to receive an e-mail

        Users can opt-out by unchecking the "Allow administrator(s) of this board to send you e-mails" box from My Account > Preferences. This box is checked by default.

      • Top 7.5. Payment Gateways

        Payment gateways (also known as payment processors) allow you to collect forum subscription payments from your members. WowBB currently supports these payment gateways:

        In order to use a payment gateway, you must sign up with its provider first by using one of the URLs above.

        Payment Gateways
        Payment Gateways

        To enable a payment gateway,
        • Enter your gateway account in the Account field. This is a number for 2CheckOut and LinkPoint, and an e-mail address for PayPal. If you are a LinkPoint user, you may need to make additional changes in your LinkPoint account.
        • Check the appropriate Enabled box.
        • Click Save.

        Important Note:
        In order to offer paid subscriptions to your users, you must have at least one payment gateway enabled.

      • Top 7.6. Subscription Types

        Here, you can create one or more subscription types that your users can subscribe to.

        A subscription type consists of the following:

        • Name
        • Description
        • Subscription length (duration) in days, months, or years.
        • Subscription cost in USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, or JPY.
        • The user group the new subscriber will be moved to once the subscription is successful.

        Subscription Types
        Subscription Types

        To select a subscription type, click on any of its fields. Then you will be able to

        • change its order by using the Move Up or Move Dn buttons
        • delete it by clicking the Delete button.

        To create a new subscription type, click the New button.

        To save any changes you have made, click the Save button.

        Important Note:
        Not all payment gateways support all available currency settings. Use USD when in doubt.

        If at least one payment gateway is enabled, the subscription types you have created will appear under My Account > Subscriptions.

        My Account > Subscriptions
        My Account > Subscriptions

        Tip: You can link to the subscriptions page by using the following URL:

        where is your web site's address, and your_board is the directory in which WowBB is installed. Users must be logged in to see this page.

      • Top 7.7. Subscriptions

        The subscriptions section shows you:

        • how many subscriptions you have for each subscription type,
        • how many of these subscriptions are active, and how many are expired,
        • how much revenue you have earned for each subscription type, and how much your total revenue is.

        Subscriptions Overview
        Subscriptions Overview

        To see and optionally edit individual subscriptions, click on one of the subscription types.

        While viewing individual subscriptions, the status field can take one of these three values:

        • paid
        • pending (awaiting confirmation from payment gateway)
        • failed

        Individual Subscriptions
        Individual Subscriptions

        Clicking on usernames allow you to edit subscriptions:

        Editing a Subscription
        Editing a Subscription

        While editing a subscription, you can change the

        • subscription type,
        • start and expiration dates,
        • payment gateway used (this does not change the payment gateway originally used),
        • amount paid (this does not change the original amount processed by the payment gateway),
        • payment status (this does not change the original payment status record).

    • Themes
      • The appearance of WowBB is fully customizable from the themes tab. There are three powerful tools that you can use:

        • A unique stylesheet editor with real-time preview to quickly change colors and fonts.
        • A template editor for full control over customization; best for inserting custom HTML code (adding banner ads is a popular one).
        • A file manager to upload files directly to theme directories, or delete existing files.

        WowBB comes with three standard themes:

        • default: Green borders with shadows - for white backgrounds only.
        • default2: Same as above, but without the shadows - for any color background.
        • shades: A blue theme with no custom graphics. Every color can be changed without having to upload custom graphics.

      • Top 8.1. Stylesheet Editor

        WowBB's unique stylesheet editor lets you change the colors and fonts used on your board, and previews the results in real-time.

        The Stylesheet Editor - Home Preview
        The Stylesheet Editor - Home Preview

        How to edit styles:

        First, choose the theme you would like to edit from the Theme drop-down menu below the preview.

        Second, choose a style to edit, and start playing with its properties. You can always reset a particular style by clicking the Reset button.

        Third, choose a different preview (Home, Forum, Topic, Private Messages) to see how your style changes affect different parts of WowBB.

        When you are done, click the Save button to save your changes.

        Notes about style properties:
        • Font face accepts multiple font names. Separate multiple names with a comma (for example: Verdana,sans-serif). If the first font is not available, the second font is used, and so on. If none of the fonts are available the default font is used.
        • Font size can be in different units (px for pixel, pt for points, in for inches, cm for centimeters, mm for milimeters, and pc for picas). Percentages are also allowed (for example: 120%). Do not put a space between the font size and its unit. For example: 11px is correct, but 11 px is not.
        • You can use the RGB (red-green-blue) sliders to specify a color or background color. Alernatively, you can directly enter values. If you choose to enter a color value, it should be in hex RGB format (for example: DBDFE3 -- do not use a # prefix).
        • Clicking the T button makes the color transparent.
        • Background image URLs should be enclosed in url(). For example: url(page_bg.gif)
        • The Extra line may contain custom style properties. There is usually no need to modify the properties in this line.

        Detail from the Stylesheet Editor - Forum Preview
        Detail from the Stylesheet Editor - Forum Preview

        Detail from the Stylesheet Editor - Topic Preview
        Detail from the Stylesheet Editor - Topic Preview

        Style Explanations:

        . BodyUse this to specify a background color or background image for your board.
        - TableThe most important style: Many of the styles below inherit the properties of this style. Note: Do not change the background color here; Change it in the . Inside Background style instead.
           . Header CellsChanges to this style affect the appearance of column titles (but not the links in them).
           . Inside BackgroundThe background color used inside all visible tables.
           . Category Row BackgroundThe background color of category rows.
           . Topic Row Zebra1The background color of the first alternating column of a topic row.
           . Topic Row Zebra2The background color of the second alternating column of a topic row.
           . Important Topic Zebra1The background color of the first alternating column of an important topic row.
           . Important Topic Zebra2The background color of the second alternating column of an important topic row.
           . Forum/Topic Top Row BackgroundThe background color the row above topics/forums.
           . Post Top Row BackgroundThe background color of the line displayed above every post.
           . Post Row 1 BackgroundThe background color of the first alternating post.
           . Post Row 2 BackgroundThe background color of the second alternating post.
           . Poll BackgroundThe background color of the poll.
           . Button Row BackgroundThe background color of any row holding buttons.
           . Highlighted Cell BackgroundThe background color of highlighted cells (for example when selecting private messages for moving or deletion).
           . User InformationThe area that displays brief information about a user such as his/her location and the number of posts. Normally located on the left of each post.
           . Clean CellA cell without borders (no need to change).
        - Pop-up menu #1User pop-up menu properties.
        - Pop-up menu #2Spell checker pop-up menu properties.
           . Item DimensionsPop-up menu item dimensions.
           . Disabled Item DimensionsPop-up menu disabled item dimensions.
           . Separator DimensionsPop-up menu separator dimensions.
        . Current Location Line TextThe "you are here" line normally displayed at the top of every page.
        . Status MessageConfirmation message (for example: Settings Saved) properties.
        . Status LineThe copyright and technical statistics text properties.
        . Title Bar TextThe title bar text properties
        . Toolbar ButtonText editor toolbar button properties.
        . Toolbar Button SeparatorText editor toolbar separator.
        . Text Editor - WYSIWYGWYSIWYG editor properties.
        . Text BoxesText box properties.
        . Emoticon TableEmoticon table properties.
        . PM ToolbarPrivate messaging toolbar properties.
        - Links
           . Generic
           . Generic (visited)
           . Generic (hover)
           . Number of Private Messages (new)
           . Number of Private Messages (visited)
           . Current Location (new)
           . Current Location (visited)
           . Category
           . Category (visited)
           . Forum
           . Forum (visited)
           . Button
           . Button (visited)
           . Selected Username
           . Selected Username (visited)
           . Selected Username (hover)
           . Spelling Error
           . PM Folder
           . PM Folder Selected
           . PM Folder Selected (visited)
           . PM Folder Selected (hover)
           . Pop-up Menu Item (hover)
           . Pop-up Menu Item Disabled
           . Pop-up Menu Item Disabled (visited)
           . Pop-up Menu Item Disabled (hover)

      • Top 8.2. Template Editor

        WowBB uses a number of HTML templates to generate its visual output. HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) is a simple mark-up language used to create web pages. HTML uses tags rather than commands, that is there are no variables, functions, loops, etc. one would expect to find in a programming language. However, WowBB extends HTML with a set of "control characters" (will be explained shortly). Tags are used to mark up blocks of text, which are then interpreted by web browsers. For example, to display a text block bold, just add <B> to the beginning and </B> to the end.

        Although you do not need to know HTML for basic template editing, basic knowledge of HTML gives you a better understanding of how WowBB creates its output. There are quite a few good HTML tutorials on the web. You can quickly find one by using a search engine.

        Two popular WowBB template modifications are:

        • Banner ad/disclaimer additions
        • Button/tab/link additions/removals

        To edit the templates of a theme, select Templates from the Edit drop-down menu. If the theme is not correct, you can change it from the Theme drop-down menu.

        Some of the most important WowBB Templates
        Some of the most important WowBB Templates

        The most important templates are displayed at the top of the template list:

        • site_header
          All WowBB pages start with this template. It displays the board logo, and main menu buttons (Search, Login, Help, etc.). The bottom of this template is usually a good place to add banner ads.

        • site_footer
          All WowBB pages end with this template. It is usually quite empty, and a good place to insert a disclaimer, if you have any.

        • table_header
          WowBB displays everything inside tables, and this template contains the table header code (top and left borders).

        • table_footer
          Bottom and right borders of the table.

        • button_set_start
          To display a set of buttons or tabs, you need to call this template first.

        • button_set_end
          To end your button or tab set, you need to call this template.

        • button1
          All the buttons outside tables (e.g. Search, Login, Watch Topic) are created by calling this template.

        • button2
          All the buttons inside tables (e.g. New Topic, Reply, Quote) are created by calling this template.

        • tab
          A tab is technically just another button. The only difference is the look.

        • tab_selected
          Selected tabs are created by calling this template.

        • main_menu1
          If a user is not logged in, WowBB makes the site_header template call main_menu1. This template contains the Search, Login, Register, Help, and Home buttons.

        • main_menu2
          If a user is logged in, WowBB makes the site_header template call main_menu2. This template contains the Search, My Account, Logout, Help, and Home buttons.

        Some of the above templates may be missing if you are looking at the templates of a theme other than default. As of WowBB 1.6, all standard WowBB themes inherit the templates of the default theme, and modify only the necessary templates. This makes it extremely easy to create and manage new themes, and theme file sizes can be reduced to as much as 1/15th of their original sizes. You can click on [included_themes] to view/edit the included theme(s).

        To edit a template, click on its name, and a template editor will appear:

        The Template Editor - Editing main_menu1
        The Template Editor - Editing main_menu1

        You can set the number of columns and rows and toggle word wrap in real time. These settings are saved once you have saved a template.

        If you realize that you had made an error after you saved a template, you can always revert to the original template by simply clicking on the Restore button.

        If you look at the screenshot above, you will see that there a lot of lines that start with !button1 in the main_menu1 template. If a line starts with an exclamation mark (!), WowBB interprets this as a template call.

        For example, the Home button is created by calling the button1 template with the

        $button_caption='<A CLASS="navbutton" HREF="/">%home</A>'

        argument (parameter).

        $button_caption is, as you might guess, a variable, and it is assigned the

        '<A CLASS="navbutton" HREF="/">%home</A>'

        value. But where is this variable?

        In button1, of course! If you look at the code of the button1 template, you will see that it creates a button by merging three images, and displays the argument we passed on top of the button images. Calling a template works just like calling a function in a programming language.

        There is one more thing to note: It is clear that the resulting button's label is "Home", not %home. But, how?

        Let's look at the full list of "control characters" WowBB accepts:

        #   Start template. A template ends where another starts
               Example: #user_profile
        !   Include template. Inserts a template inside another one, may take arguments
               Example 1: !table_header
               Example 2: !table_header($table_title='My table title')
        $   Variable. Replaced with a value
               Example: $user_email can be replaced with
        ?   Conditional printing. Prints the first argument if a variable exists or equals to a value.
               Example 1: ?if_variable_exists('prints the first argument' : 'else the second')
               Example 2: ?user_email('%user_email: ' : '%user_email_private')
               Example 3: ?if_variable='value'('prints the first argument' : 'else the second')
               Example 4: ?user_email=''('Hey that\'s our e-mail address! :)' : '')
        %   Text label. Replaced with corresponding text in selected language
               Example: %email will be replaced with E-mail in English and E-posta in Turkish.
        ~   Include theme. Makes a theme inherit all the templates of another theme.
               Example: ~default/main_templates.txt
        Important remark:
        The control characters #, !, ?, ~ must be the first characters in a line.
        There is no such limitation for $, %.

        No matter how long you search, you will not see any lines starting with # in any of the templates. The reason is that all the templates of a theme are stored in a file called main_templates.txt in that theme's directory (for example: themes/default). WowBB parses these template files, and create the template list you see as a result. If you wish, you can bypass the WowBB template editor, and edit the main_templates.txt file with your favorite text editor.

        You are not limited to WowBB's standard templates. You can create your own by simply starting a line with


        and add a few lines of HTML and/or control characters after it. At this point, you might have noticed that there is no "New Template" button in the template editor. To add a new template, simply click on any template, and add your template code at the bottom of it. Your new template will appear right below the template you have just attached your new template code.

      • Top 8.3. File Manager

        The file manager lets you upload files directly to theme directories, or delete existing theme files.

        To access the file manager, select Files from the Edit drop-down menu. If the theme is not correct, you can change it from the Theme drop-down menu.

        File Manager - Viewing the Files of the Default Theme
        File Manager - Viewing the Files of the Default Theme

        To delete files, select the files you want to delete by using the checkboxes on the left, and click the Delete Selected button.

        To upload new files, click the Upload button. You can upload up to five files at a time. If a newly uploaded file has the same name with an existing file, the existing file will be overwritten.

    • Emoticons
      • Emoticons are tiny icons that are used to convey emotions in posts. WowBB allows you to add, edit, or delete emoticons.

      • Top 9.1. Emoticon Editor
        Emoticon Editor
        Emoticon Editor

        Each emoticon must have a name, a code, and a URL. WowBB converts emoticon codes to their graphical counter-parts. Names are used for descriptive purposes.

        You can delete any emoticon by checking the appropriate checkboxes, and clicking the Delete Selected button.

      • Top 9.2. New Emoticon Additions

        To add new emoticons, follow these steps:

        1. Upload the new emoticons to a directory under WowBB's base directory (images/emoticons is usually a good choice).
        2. Type the name of the directory (for example images/emoticons) in the directory field, and click Add.
        3. You will see the list of all emoticons in the directory you have just entered.
        4. Choose the images you wish to add as emoticons by selecting the checkboxes next to them. Don't forget to fill the corresponding name and code fields.
        5. Click Save.

    • Advanced
      • Top 10.1. Backup & Restore
        Backup & Restore
        Backup & Restore

        While backup, export, restore or rebuild is in progress, do NOT close your browser window, and do nothing that could interrupt the ongoing process such as visiting another page or hitting the Refresh button. It is normal for these procedures to take a long time to finish especially when your database is big.

        Backup Database:
        Since databases can get quite big especially when you have a large number of users or posts, it is recommended that you do not include the search index in the backup as it can be created after restore. In addition, using gzip compression can greatly reduce the backup size.

        Important Note:
        If your backup's size is 0 bytes then mysqldump, a standard part of MySQL is not available in the server path. Please ask your web host to make it available.

        Export Table:
        Creates a tab-delimited text file from the database table of your choice that can be opened with many popular programs such as Microsoft Excel.

        Restore Database:
        Allows you to restore a backup. Please keep in mind that all existing data in your database will be replaced with the data in your backup. If your backup does not contain the search index, please rebuild the search index after restore.

        If your backup is larger than a certain size (normally 2 MB - check the number reported by WowBB) then you should manually restore the backup via telnet or SSH using the following command:

        mysql -u username -p database < backup.sql

        where username is your MySQL username, database is the name of your MySQL database, and backup.sql is the name of your backup file.

        Rebuild Search Index:
        Use this to rebuild the search index after restore if your backup does not contain it.

      • Top 10.2. Bans & Filters

        Banned IPs:
        Users having banned IPs are subject to the permissons of user group number 3 (banned users). Type one IP number per line. You can enter partial IP numbers. For example entering 192.168.0. will ban users having IP numbers Please try to be as specific as possible since you could unintentionally ban innocent users.

        Banned E-mails:
        Users cannot use a banned e-mail address for registering. Type one e-mail address per line. You can enter partial e-mail addresses. For example entering will ban all users having a e-mail address. Please try to be as specific as possible since you could unintentionally ban innocent users.

        Bad Word Filter:
        Bad words in posts are automatically replaced with corresponding replacements. Type one pair per line. For example test=t***. This will replace test with t***. It will also replace testing with t***ing and so on. For exact matches, enclose bad words in quotes. For example, "test"=t*** will only replace test, not testing. Note: The filter does not make any permanent changes on posts.

      • Top 10.3. Prune Users
        Prune Users
        Prune Users

        You can prune (mass delete) users

        • by user group,
        • who have less than x posts,
        • who have not posted since a certain date,
        • who registered before a certain date,
        • who have not activated their accounts

        All of the above options can be combined.

        For example, if you would like to prune users who registered before January 1st, 2004 and have less than one post (in other words no posts), you simply set the date in the last post before field to January 1st, 2004, and type 1 in the posts less than field.

        Note: If a user about to be pruned has any posts, these posts will appear to be posted by a guest user with the same username in order to preserve the natural flow of discussions.

      • Top 10.4. Prune Topics
        Prune Topics
        Prune Topics

        You can prune (mass-delete) topics

        • in a forum or in all forums by topic type (open, closed, redirect, important, announcement).
        • with less than x replies,
        • with no replies since a certain date,
        • started by a certain user

        All of the above options can be combined.

        For example, if you would like to prune topics nobody has replied since January 1st, 2004, you simply type 1 in the replies less than field, and set the date in the last post before field to January 1st, 2004.

        Important Note: It is a good idea to backup your board before pruning topics.

      • Top 10.5. SQL

        SQL stands for Structured Query Language. Developed by IBM in 1970's, SQL is a simple yet extremely powerful database query language, and WowBB uses SQL extensively. A typical SQL statement looks something like this:

        SELECT user_name, user_email FROM wowbb_users WHERE user_posts > 50

        If you do not specify a LIMIT clause in your query, only the first 250 rows will be returned.

        Some SQL statements can cause data loss. If you are a novice SQL user, it is probably NOT a good idea to execute SQL queries on a live WowBB database.

WowBB is alive and kicking again, now owned by Data 1 Systems, INC. We are determined to put the "Wow" back in WowBB by introducing the next major upgrade to WowBB in years; UltraBB 1.17
This update contains multiple new features, bug fixes and enhancements. A list of most of the changes since WowBB 1.7 can be found in the left menu here: UltraBB Public Support

Current WowBB lease customers can be upgraded to UltraBB 1.17 for absolutely free. All other license holders can be upgraded for a one time fee of $49.95.

Support for your existing WowBB or for your UltraBB upgrade will be handled in 2 areas. We have a public support area here: WowBB Public Forum

Private support will be offered via our support ticket system and new client area which is here:Client Area

Please bear with us as we import customers into the new system, and if you need support prior to your account being imported to the new client area feel free to leave a PM at the public board or contact us at

We now provide the hosting service for customers that were hosted by WowBB, your sites will reside on custom configured servers built in house by our staff and housed in private racks owned by us at a continually growing modern data center. All servers are monitored 24/7 by an automated program that alerts us when there is an issue.

Thank you and let us know if you have any questions-

The Staff at:
Data 1 Systems, INC.

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