Host your Own Forums with MyBB

This tutorial will demonstrate how to install MyBB on a Debian 10 server. Watch the video version here.

Prerequisites: You will need a server running Debian 10 (visit or if you don't have one.) You will also need a domain name (visit if you don't have one.) Point the domain name to the IP address of your server (a subdomain will work fine.)

Example parameters: In this example, the virtual host for MyBB will be called "forums". All passwords will be set to "P@ssw0rd".

Step 1: Log into your server as root (or use sudo) and make sure your server is entirely up-to-date:

apt update
apt full-upgrade

Step 2: Install the necessary LAMP stack prerequisites:

sudo apt install apache2 mariadb-server php libapache2-mod-php php-mysql php-xml certbot python-certbot-apache unzip

Step 3: Create a directory for the new virtual host and copy the default configuration file into a new file to define the virtual host:

mkdir /var/www/forums
cp /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/forums.conf

Step 4: Edit the virtual host configuration file:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/forums.conf

Set the server name, server admin, and document root options:

DocumentRoot /var/www/forums

Step 5: Enable the virtual host and reload Apache/httpd:

a2ensite forums
systemctl reload apache2

Step 6: Enable TLS with Let's Encrypt using Certbot:

certbot --apache

Step 7: Set up MariaDB/MySQL:

CREATE USER 'mybb'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'P@ssw0rd';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mybb.* TO 'mybb'@'localhost';

Step 8: Download the latest MyBB release onto the server:

wget https://your-download/link/

Step 9: Unzip the MyBB application files and move them to the web server/virtual host's directory, then remove the empty "Upload" directory:

unzip ./
mv ./Upload/* /var/www/forums/
rmdir ./Upload/

Step 10: Give Apache/httpd ownership of the MyBB application files:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/forums

Step 11: Visit the domain name of your MyBB site with "/install" at the end and proceed through the setup wizard.

Step 12: Access the Admin Control Panel in MyBB and configure any settings that were not set during installation, such as outgoing e-mail settings.

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