When phpBB3 was released, the new CAPTCHA was supposed to finally beat the bots. Well… according to my three forums, that lasted until about February 3rd. I’ve been flooded with bot registrations ever since. On my old phpBB2 forum I’d installed a great mod that added a simple question to the registration form. It worked great, but I hadn’t found one for phpBB3 at first. It wasn’t needed then, but it is now.
After some searching, I’ve found the Anti Bot Question mod. As you can see from the 38+ pages of comments, this mod isn’t quite as easy as the author would have you believe. I had my fair share of issues getting this installed, but once it’s up, it’s GREAT.
To save you some grief, I’ll give you a heads up to the areas that troubled me.
- The mod shows an SQL database addition, and it lists 5 files les to edit. Look a little closer, there is actually a sixth file to edit! There is a separate .xml instruction file in the “templates” folder. You need to modify a file in the template you’re using, and it changes whether it’s based on prosilver or subsilver2. If you don’t do this, the field does not get added to the registration page.
- Follow the directions exactly. That sounds simple, but there’s one place you might get caught. The very first step has you add a line after ‘tz’ => request_var(‘tz’, (float) $timezone), Make sure that’s where you add it. There’s another line that comes first and is very similar. ‘tz’ => request_var(‘tz’, (float) $config[‘board_timezone’]),
- Purge the Cache. After you complete all the steps and upload all of your files, you’ll need to clear the cache of your forum. This is on the main ACP index page. You may also need to refresh your template files, but I didn’t have to do that.
That should do it!
In my experience, this is the one mod that effectively keeps bots from registering on a forum. While not easy, it’s definately worth your time.
There are a few things to update concerning this mod.
First off, you MAY not need this anymore. With the release of phpbb 3.0.6, there is a Q&A Captcha. There’s a catch, though. Your theme may not have the updated files to support it. Unless you create your theme based on one of the current phpBB default themes, you’ll probably have issues. In my case, I still choose to run this Anti Bot Question Mod.
Second, if you’re installing this Mod to 3.0.6, there are some differences.
For includes/ucp/ucp_register.php, you will no longer find
‘S_CONFIRM_CODE’ => ($config[‘enable_confirm’]) ? true : false,
Instead, you should insert your code after
‘S_LANG_OPTIONS’ => language_select($data[‘lang’]),
Other than that, everything seems to work about the same.