January 3

How To Change phpBB Header and Footer


Objective: To change the header or footer of your site to include items such as personal logos, ads, sign up boxes, etc

There are two files that control the header and footer:

For the header: overall_header.tpl

For the footer: overall_footer.tpl

These files must always retain their .tpl format, so if you use a text editor, always save as .tpl, rather than .txt. Even though they are .tpl files, they contain regular HTML coding that you can easily edit to look the way you want.

  • STEP 1: Log in to your website

    • The easiest way to find these files is through your FTP program. You can use cPanel, but FTP is much faster.

    • Locate the files by going to the folder where your forum is on your site. For example, if it’s in a folder called "forum," click on it to open it up.


  • STEP 2: Choose Template

    • Click the “Templates” folder.

    • Find the template you are using.

      • The default is "SubSilver" so if you’re using that, click it or simply click the folder for the template you are using.


  • STEP 3: Modify Template

Always keep a backup first in case you mess up!

    • Once you’re in there, you’ll find plenty of files to modify. You can modify the sign in page, view post page, whatever you want. It’s up to you to explore.

    • To modify in FTP, first download a back up of the files to your hard drive. Right-click the file on the website side (right side) of the FTP program and choose “Download”


Now you are safe to proceed.

    • In the online website portion of your FTP program (right side), right-click the folder you want to modify and choose “Edit”.


    • When you do that, you’ll see a bunch of html code. If you’re an HTML whiz, go ahead and modify it right there and click the “Save” Icon.


    • If you’re not an HTML expert, edit the file in WYSIWG editor.

Don’t save the file in a WYSWYG editor. It will mess it up. Follow the rest of these instructions carefully.

    • Copy the HTML code from the file. Start by clicking File -> Select All:


    • Once you’ve selected all the text, choose File -> Copy:


    • Open up your WYSWG editor. FrontPage was used in this guide but you could use something like Nvu or other editor.

    • Click the HTML tab at the bottom. You must open the HTML view for this step.

    • Open a new blank page, go to the html view and remove all the code that is in there. You want a blank file to work with.


    • Paste in your code from the .tpl file you are working on. Simply choose Edit  Paste in your web page editor all the while still in HTML view.

The HTML view will look something like this:


    • Now, go back to the WYSWG view of your editor and modify text, add links, ads, change your logo or whatever as you normally do with your editor:


Important Note about Images: Remember, you’re not saving this file in your editor, so the images won’t be loaded to your server when you publish, so make sure you use the URL of any images. If you simply use the insert image feature, the images on your forum will be pointing to your hard drive and no one will see them. Again, make sure the image is loaded to your site and you use the URL of where it is located.

  • STEP 4: Save New Template

    • When you’re done, go back to the HTML view & copy all the code.

    • Go back to your FTP program where the file is still open. Right-click and choose "Select All.”

    • Paste in the code you reworked in your WYISWG editor.

    • Hit “Save” and it’s live

Check that everything looks okay. If so, move onto the next file.

If you make a mistake simply, load your back up file to that same location and things will go back to normal. Then start over with these instructions making sure to follow them closely.


editing, forum, phpbb, web design

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