MiniBB Review

(February 10, 2007 13:42)
Last Version 2.4.1 (December 25, 2009). Released under GPL License.
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What is MiniBB?

MiniBB (aka Mini Bulletin Board) is a free PHP forum software on which you can build your online community. MiniBB main guideline is called the three S's directive: Security, Speed and Stability.

We are going to see if these three S are correctly respected.

Review Updates:

  • January 20, 2010: Review update with version 2.4.1 of MiniBB.

MiniBB is recommended for Small Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • PHP 4
  • PHP 5
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 1.3
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
How Forum Data are Stored.
  • MySQL
Operating Systems
Systems Supporting this Software.
  • GNU/LinuxGNU/Linux
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
Browser & Client Requirements
Compatible Browsers
List of Compatible Browsers.
Mozilla FirefoxMozilla FirefoxInternet ExplorerInternet Explorer
Google ChromeGoogle ChromeOperaOpera
Apple SafariApple SafariKonquerorKonqueror
Mozilla SeaMonkeyMozilla SeaMonkey
Required Plugins/Technologies
Additional or Basic Requirements from Client Side.
Languages supported by MiniBB.
Supported Languages:
Albanian Bosnian
Bulgarian Portuguese (Brazilian)
Belarusian Catalan
Chinese (Simplified) Czech
German Danish
Estonian Spanish
Finnish French
Galician Georgian
Greek Croatian
Hungarian Indonesian
Hebrew Persian
Italian Japanese
Korean (South) Kurdish
Lithuanian Latvian
Dutch Norwegian
Urdu Polish
Portuguese Romanian
Serbian Russian
Swedish Slovene
Slovak Thai
Turkish Ukrainian
Vietnamese Chinese (Traditional)

You could download additional Language Packs

Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons No Topic Tags -
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics No Sticky Threads No
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements -
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
  • Preview Button
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments Plugin Syntax Highlighting No
Message Rating
No Message Quoting Yes

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation Plugin
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
  • Pictures Album Manager
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
  • Custom Template Engine

As you can see, MiniBB works as a minimal container that could be extended using plugins. This explains that most classical features needs to be downloaded and installed separately, one by one.

It could be really hard and difficult for beginners, but, at least confers a perfect way to customize a bulletin board.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about MiniBB features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)

Most features related to users and user profiles are enabled and present in the core module of MiniBB.

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation No.
Moderator per section Yes
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
Shadow Topics
When a thread is moved, the previous position is kept in order to inform users of this modification.
Close/Lock Threads
Close/Lock Problematic Threads
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
User Registration No.
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
Guest Posting Yes
Multiple Administrators No
Send Warnings to Users
Inform users by email or PM that they infringe the board rules, and could be excluded for such behavior.
Forum/Section Restricted Access
ACL could be use to determine if a user or a group of users can access (in read only, post message) to some sections and topics.
User Banishment Yes

Administration & Support

Administration is simple and efficient. Perfect for all kind of users - beginners and advanced.

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
Administration Tools
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
Yes Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
No Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
Installation & Upgrading
Installation Method
How this forum software could be installed.
Installation Wizard
Upgrading Method
How this forum software could be upgraded.
Upgrade Wizard
Updates Notifications
The Admin Panel informs you when a new version is released.
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to MiniBB.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.

Vulnerabilities Advisories Criticality

Secunia Criticality

Secunia Advisories severity affecting MiniBB.

Vulnerabilities Impact

Secunia Impact

Secunia Advisories impact affecting MiniBB.

Customization & Social Networks

Add new features to your forum installation.
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Custom BBCodes Plugin Smiley Packs Plugin
Thread Icons
No Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
Integration with Applications, Social Networks, Intranet...
Social Networks
Users can share information from their social network account...
CMS / Blog Bridges
Integration with existing Web publishing tools.
User Accounts Integration
Do users be able to log in with their corporate, Google, Facebook,... accounts?
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).

Customization, of course will highly need the Plugin page of MiniBB, to respect the way it has been implemented.

More information about Synchronizing the MiniBB User Database could be found on the main website.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
XHTML 1.0 Transitional
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
CSS 2.
Click to see if it respects CSS norms.
Accessibility (WAI)
Web Accessibility ensures that the forum is usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.
No accessibility.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does MiniBB correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?

Final Words


MiniBB is a good forum software for people that loves customizing and installing only the features they would like to integrate. You first install the core module, configure the database, and after the installation process, you have a good start point of a simplistic forum software. From this point, you just need to download and install the additional features you need. However, you will probably often need be surprised to need to install really basic features (friendly URL, polls, file attachments,...), and it could take an additional times to prepare and release your website because of this problem.

In terms of the software and its source code, it is really well designed and regularly updated. The security fixes are known to be ready in the 24 hours after the announcement of a potential vulnerability, and this is really important and relieving.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (4)


and yes, the latest release contains no ads in the title... in general they always may be removed with no claims....


very innacurate review which is not true actually

This is a very innacurate review of the forum software I am using for 5 years already and could say it is much-much better in comparison what I've used previously.

Installation takes only couple of minutes and I don't know what could be damn simpler than that.

CMS / Blog softwares integration also User base integration could be done customly in almost all cases (of course professional skills are needed, but this is not the topic where a damn newbie should act). AFAIK miniBB is one of the few forum softwares whose authors really CARED about incorporation into 3rd party apps without destroying the core algorithms and scripts (as least it worked for my site perfectly).

Template Engine - None? It's completely templates driven, miniBB's own parsing engine is death simple, it can not be even compared by the speed with Smarty for example.

Syndication - it has RSS feeds addon with many variations.

Poll Creation - already received a note from authors there will be a super-addon never seen in other software.

Private Messages - the addon is available many times ago.

Custom BBCodes - AFAIK there is no problem with it. It can handle any code you program.

User Management - User Groups - that is not true. There are only some "special" users who can be mods, and there is only one admin-user. I don't care it's limited and the software is designed not to handle user groups and other users stuff... it's a CONTENT-ORIENTED board, that's the true and that's what I always needed in the term of SEO etc... I didn't care about the users or groups in general.

User List - there is an addon called "members list".

Anonymous Posting - No? damn... THAT'S THE MAIN POLITICS OF THIS BOARD! It has anonymous postings allowed BY DEFAULT!!!

Email Notifications - No?.. Absolutely not true. It has so powerful notifications system and easy at once.

Instant Messaging - No... well, no actually, but I don't need who cares about it on a bulletin board.

Captcha Protection - of course there IS an addon related.

File attachment with posts - that feature can be added with the plugin.

User Ranks - I don't doubt everything needed is included already, so it's in your own hands.

User Avatars - addon exists. User Signatures - addon exists.

It really the best forum software I ever seen. Of course it's a bit limited (you can not have EVERYTHING in 200 Kb package), but it offers much much more than other forum programs. And I definitely like the "minimalism"/zen idea which I naturally have been grown from.

lastnico's picture

The goal of

The goal of is not to give good marks to forum used by someone.

If a feature is not present in a forum software, it has to be said, so I don't understand why it's a problem for you to inform public that some interested features are not present. Someone like you who would like to have a simple forum will probably use PunBB or MiniBB, maybe because he would have see that some useless features are not present, so it needs to be said, even if you disagree

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.

hitechito's picture

AF is present in the software

AF is present in the software forum to say, so I do not understand why this is a problem for you to inform the public that a certain function is not interested. Someone like you who would like a simple forum or probably use miniBB phpBB, maybe he will see that there are some unnecessary functions, it must be said, even if you disagree

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