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Checking, compressing and distributing your template

Once exporting is complete you are ready to distribute your template so that others may use it.

Keep a clean house

The first step should be to go through your templates files and images and delete everything that isnt needed. You may want to keep some stuff so it might be wise to have a working template copy and one you distribute. Remove all unnecessary files from the distribution copy.


You may also want to include a readme file with your template. I usually include an HTML file with basic information about the template, who made it, who the copyright belongs to and its terms of use. I also include a blank image to use as canvas to help forum owners create their own forum logo, something many people have expressed appreciation of.

Copyright and credit notices

Most template designers also add a small copyright and credit notice to the footer of the template. It is recommended that you put your name, copyright with year and website link after the phpBB copyright notice. This is both a service to you as well as the users of your template as they can easily find your site when they need to get an updated version of your template or require support.

Compressing the template

When youre done its time to zip your files. You should compress the whole templates folder, the archive should contain a folder. The user should be able to extract your archive file directly in the templates/ folder.

If you are using Windows, open the archive and remove any thumbs.db files. These are used by Windows to store the thumbnails you see when viewing folders with images in Windows. The thumbs.db files take up extra space and may increase the archive files size by up to 80%.

It is recommended that you use ZIP compression as it is a compression format most people are familiar with. If you are using Windows you can use the Compressed Folder feature to create ZIP files however I tend to prefer third party applications.

Archive file naming conventions

The archive should have a name in the format templatenameYYY where YYY is your templates version. The first version is usually 1.00 ( but as you make minor changes such as fixing bugs and accommodating for template changes required due to changes to phpBB you need to increase the version number. Minor changes are usually affecting the second decimal (1.01, 1.02 and so on). Major changes such as adding graphics, making radical layout changes should affect the first decimal (1.10, 1.20) and so. It is important that you use a consistent and rational version numbering method as it will indicate the extent of changes between versions.

Final test

When your ZIP-file is ready you should test it. Extract it and use it at another forum, upload the files and add it in the Administration Panel (Administration Panel > Styles Admin -> Add) and make sure everything works as intended. This is your final pre flight check and your last chance to make changes and fix problems.


If everything is in order all that remains is release your template on the Internet. I recommend submitting it to and as these are the sites where most people go to find templates for phpBB. I also strongly recommend you make the template available for download at your own website.

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