Basic Simple Machine Forum Guide

How to install a module in SMF

Simple Machine Forum, simply referred to as SMF is one of the most popular forum software. By default, it will enable normal forum functionality but with additional modules installed, you will be able to add more features to your forum and make it more interesting, functional and user friendly

This section will provide a step-by-step guide on how to install additional packages on your SMF website. The will help you add more functionality that you need on your website. So you can get the needed packages and modules and install them on your SMF website

Installing a module in your SMF website will involve three simple steps:

Step 1: Upload the Installation Package in SMF

Step 2: Install New Package in SMF

Step 3: Review the Installed Packages in SMF

Lets look at each of these processes and how to go about them.

Also read: How to optimize your SMF forum website

Step 1 Upload the Installation Package in SMF

In order to manage the packages you need to login as an administrator on your website. You can use the login form which is placed at the top left corner of your forum.


  • Log Into Admin Area in SMF

After you login to your admin account you should hover on the Admin button and from the dropdown menu, you then choose the Package Manager.

In order to install a new package open the Download Packages tab. After the tab loads scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Choose File button, which is positioned in the Upload a Package section. Navigate to the folder on your local computer where you have already downloaded the package. After the package is selected press the Upload button on right bottom corner of the page.


Further reading:

Simple Machine Forum Installation

Basic Simple Machine Forum Guide

How to optimize your SMF forum website

SMF Administration

SMF Configuration Tutorial

Simple Machines Forum Web Hosting


  • Step 2 Install New Package in SMF
After the package is successfully uploaded you should press the [ Install Mod ] link in order to install the package you have just uploaded
On the following page you will see several sections. They will provide more detailed information about the module you are about to install. Read this in full so you can understand what changes are about to be performed on your website. After you check everything press the Install Now button in the lower right corner of the page.
After pressing of the Install Now button you will be redirected to a page with status message for the installation. Your installation will be successful if you have done the right thing and then you can proceed to the next step.
  • Step 3 Review the Installed Packages in SMF


From the Browse Packages button between the Package Manager and Extracting section you will be able to check the installed packages. On the bottom of the page you will see the modules on your website and perform various configurations on them such as:
  1. Uninstalling the package
  2. List files of the package
  3. Delete the package if you wish. This could be done if you have found a more functional package better than the one you have installed or if you no longer need that functionality on your SMF forum.

You will also be able to check the version of the package and to see if it is up to date.
4. Modify Packages in SMF

Further reading:

Simple Machine Forum Installation

Basic Simple Machine Forum Guide

How to optimize your SMF forum website

SMF Administration

SMF Configuration Tutorial

Simple Machines Forum Web Hosting

Managing the Simple Machine Forum Board

Simple Machines Forum or SMF is a free online community builder. One of its main advantages is that its template structure allows full control over your message board and integration with your website. It is feature-rich yet resource efficient bulletin board.

The SMF forumboard allow management of the options and settings of the news and newsletter section within the Simple Machine Forum application.

In order to access the news and newsletter section you should login as administrator of your forum and then navigate to Administration Center>News and Newsletter. Please place one news item per box. BBC tags, such as [b], [i] and [u] are allowed in your news, as well as smileys. Clear a news item's text box to remove it.

The “News” page

This feature allows you to display a short news message. When the SMF is installed by default there is an SMF - Just Installed message. You can modify this message to some custom message as you wish. just click on the Click here to add another item after you write the message press the Save button under the section.

Newsletters and Announcements in SMF

This feature is very suitable if you need to send an email to some forum members or all members of your forum. You can check to whom you would like to send email from the checkboxes under the Membergroups. Once you are done with the selection of members, you can proceed to the Advanced section of the Newsletters page. On this page, you are able to see several options:

Email Addresses - Here you can add additional email addresses to send them the newsletter too
Members - you can add additional members to receive the newsletter
Excluded Groups/Members - Here you can select groups or members that absolutely can not receive the newsletter under any condition
Override Notification Settings - Send this to members even if they have chosen not to receive announcements.

Manage Newsletters in SMF

The “Settings” page

On this page the administrator of the forum can change the settings and permissions related to news and newsletters.

Groups allowed to edit news items - Select a groups that you would like to allow to add and edit news items
Groups allowed to send out forum newsletters - Select a groups that you would like to allow to send newsletters
Enable XML/RSS news - Allows people to link to the RSS feeds of recent posts made on your forum
Maximum message length - Here you can specify the maximum amount of characters to show for each RSS feed item

How to Protect a Simple Machine Forum Website From Attacks

Simple Machines Forum or SMF is a free, professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes.

It’s powerful and comes with a custom made template engine which puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board and with our unique SSI – or Server Side Includes – function you can let your forum and your website interact with each other. Simple Machine Forum is designed to provide you with all the features you need from a bulletin board while having an absolute minimal impact on the resources of the server. SMF is the next generation of forum software.

Once you have installed SMF, it is important that you secure it as it is usually the target of malicious attacks due to the huge traffic it attracts. You will need to restrict bots from your forum. SMF can be installed with one click via QuickInstall and Softaculous.

How to restrict bots from your SMF installation :

1. Email Activation
• Turn on email activation for all new registered members.
• Login to Admin panel » Administration Center » Registration » Settings
• Choose the method of registration for new members.
• This will not allow new members to post unless they activate their account.
2. Code Verification before posting for new members

• Login to Admin panel » Administration Center » Security and Moderation » Anti-Spam

• Change the value for “Post count under which users must pass verification to make a post” value to 10 (or more if you want).
• This will ask the user to pass verification unless they reach the above amount of posts.
3. Code Verification for new Registrations
• Login to Admin panel » Administration Center » Security and Moderation » Anti-Spam
• Enable “Require verification on registration page”
• This will make all the new registrations to enter a verification code in order to register on your forum.
• Choose among the various verification methods available.
Now You Have Achieved the Following:
• We have made the registration process difficult for the bots.
• And even if they manage to register they won’t be able to mess up due to code verification added in step 2.

How to backup a Simple Machine Forum website

Backing up a Simple Machine Website requires two simple steps. You need to backup the files and then to backup the database.

Backing Up the Files

You can download all the files usingyour favourite FTP software. This can be done using Filezilla or WS-FTP-Pro from Ipswich. There are lots of FTP software around and they will all be suitable for the file backkup. A second approach to backing up files will be to use the cPanel tool.

Backing Up Files in cPanel

You can simply select all files and click the "compress" button in cPanel. Choose a name for your file and select the zipped file option. Now proceed to compress the file. This will create a file backup in your public_html folder or in any destination of your choice in your website control panel.

Backup the Database

There is a database backup tool in cPanel which makes this process easy. That is the phpmyadmin tool. phpMyAdmin can be found under the database section in your cPanel environment. Click on the phpMyAdmin tool and select your database - the database you want to backup and click the export button to download your prefered database. You can use the phpMyAdmin tool to restore your downloaded database.

Backing Up With SMF Tool

You can backup your website database from within the SMF website dashboard. This wil be after you have successfully logged in with the required information for authentication. This can be done with the “Backup Database” option in the Administration Center of your SMF forum Admin > Forum Maintenance tab.

Make sure you save both structure and data of the database as well, either in two different steps or in one unique save.

It is always recommended to have backups created on weekly or at least monthly bases. Backups age good so that if your website have issues, it can be restored back to the point when it last functioned effectively without error.

How to edit footer link in SMF 2.0

Footer links add professionalism to your website and customizes a website. You can follow the article below to know how to edit the footer link in Simple Machine Forum.

Log into your SMF admin dashboard.
From the main page, click on the Admin link from the upper menu. This brings a second menu that appears just below the first. From there, hover over Configuration and click on Current. Select current theme

A third menu will appear on the screen below the second. Find and click on the Modify Themes link to continue to the next screen.

You will see the different themes you have available under the Modify Themes section. Find the theme you want to modify and click on the Browse the templates and files in this theme link.

This brings you to a page where you will see various sections of code. Do a find (ctrl+f) for the word 'footer' and locate the section that has the following code:

<div id="footer_section">

This is the beginning of the footer area code. From here you can edit the code with HTML.

After adding the code, select the Save button at the bottom of the page.

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