Updating phpBB

I’m one of two people who helps with sys admin tasks for the webcomic Twokinds – astute readers will recognise the comic name because I ended up doing the RSS and archive scripts for Tom too.

But recently I decided to update phpBB and the VPS. Get everything up to date wherever possible. The VPS was straightforward – it’s running CentOS, so yum update sorted everything out.

However, the forums were more trouble than I anticipated.

tl;dr – Don’t use the FTP upload function when updating phpBB, upload the zip file to the webserver, su to the webserver user and unzip and rsync the files over.

First off, using phpBB’s auto-update system is incredibly easy. To a certain extent. It merged the mods we made without any reported conflicts, but utterly failed when it came time to upload them. Unfortunately, phpBB can’t or doesn’t allow in place updates – you need to download a zip file of the changes, and then reupload it, or let it FTP into the server for you and replace the files.

I tried the FTP method twice – it said “successfully updated”, but it lied – the update never actually happened. Thereafter, I downloaded the zip file, and tried to FTP the files over. No such luck – I locked the permissions down earlier, and I wasn’t about the change them now if there were other ways.

So what I decided to do was to use rsync to move the files over. I unzipped the files into a folder, then sudoed to root to run rsync to move the files into the appropriate directory.

In retrospect, what I should have done was sudo to root, then su to the webserver user that has the correct privileges, because I had to do a chown later set the changed files to the correct user.



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