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You are using phpFox version earlier than 4.8.0? Please refer instruction for this article here.

This guide will help you through the upgrade process of phpFox v4 or higher. This is also for upgrading from phpFox v3 Nebula. If your version is below v3 Nebula, you'll need to first upgrade to that version before upgrading further.


Always check with third party developers of any apps, themes, modules or language packs before upgrading and note that most third party products don't work from one major version (v1, v2, v3, etc) to a new version. Even minor upgrades can have issues for third party products so always check first.


You MUST not upgrade with debug enabled. It will break the upgrade process. Only enable debug if you already are having problems upgrading the site.


Backup your site files and database before upgrading. This will help in case there is an issue with the upgrade (not common but can happen) such as faulty file upload, server glitch, internet issues, etc.


Download the latest version of phpFox from here. Refer to Downloading the phpFox Script for the instruction how to download it.

Once you have downloaded and unzipped the package, you should see something like this…

Then, you can upload those files and folders to your site's root directory.


  • Have to upload ALL individual source files onto the server, choose to overwrite existing files if asked.
  • DO NOT delete any existing files or folders (except for the one being overwritten by new files)

Hint: If you have cPanel you will have a File Manager that has an Unzip feature. You could ZIP up those files/folders and upload the one ZIP file. Then unzip it on your server.

Folder Permissions

Once you have uploaded all the files/folders. You need to grant full read/write access (usually 0777) to the following 2 folders:

  • PF.Base/
  • PF.Site/

Note: Once you have completed the install you can return the permissions for the folder PF.Base and PF.Site back to what it originally was set to.


Unless the blog instructions or our forum posts say to run the full upgrade routine, the next steps for Web Upgrader are not needed to upgrade builds (v4.1.2 build 4 to v4.1.2 build 5 for example). If upgrading a build, please skip the Web Upgrader steps and simply do the Final Steps and the Cron Job if you hadn't, then visit your site and clear cache. Remember, you must still run the next steps if we say a full upgrade is required.

Web Upgrader

Fire up your web browser of choice and visit your site by going

Check Requirements & Licenses.

The upgrade process will begin with a check for requirements. If all passed, click Continue to go up with the process.

The next step will require you to enter your PHPfox License ID & Key, which was sent to you via an email directly after your purchase.

Select phpFox apps to upgrade

Then you will select phpFox apps that you want an upgrade on your site. (this step is required from version 4.5.3)


The old apps will be replaced automatically, you should recheck the app configuration after upgrade process

Upgrade Process

After you have successfully entered your phpFox License ID & Key and selected phpFox apps to upgrade, the Upgrader will run all the required updates to your database until it is completed.


While upgrading to version 4.5.3 or later, you may face errors and most of those cases are caused by lack of write permissions on "PF.Site/Apps" folder when upgrading phpFox site with "File System" FTP option. In this case, we have some quick solutions for you:

- Solution 1: Update permission 777 to "PF.Site/Apps" folders and its subfolders/files recursively. Then you can follow our guidance to upgrade again and can use "File System" option

- Solution 2: Skip step to upgrading apps with phpFox by unchecking all apps. You can still use "File System" option.

- Solution 3: If you still want to upgrade apps while upgrading phpFox, please use "FTP/SFTP" option which FTP account has write permission on "PF.Site/Apps" folder

If you have faced any other issues or other solutions while upgrading phpFox, feel free to share us here.

Wait until the process finishes.

Set up Cron

Our version 4.4 and up requires a phpFox Cron Setup . This is for several things that used to be done via the old phpFox cron. That process doesn't run now. In order to have the old messages deleted, group notifications, importing/converting old v4 groups to the new Groups app, and several other important tasks, you must set up the cron.

Finishing Up

Once you've logged into your site after upgrading, you'll need to do the following in order to bring in template fixes/changes, new phrases, and new settings.

  • Run Rebuild Bootstrap Core routine.

This will delete any changes made to the default Bootstrap theme. Be sure you are never editing this theme. Always make a clone of it and edit that instead as this routine must be run on each upgrade.

  • Select Rebuild Core Theme from Maintenance menu.

  • Remove Files No Longer Used
  • Select Remove Files No Longer Used from Maintenance menu.
  • You will have options to choose from for this. You can manually do them, use FTP, or use SSH:

  • Once you select a method, if FTP or SSH, be sure to click Check Permission and Remove Files. It will then run the process and remove the old files for you.
  • If you are using version 4.5.x and having error 500 after doing this step, please refer to this doc.

  • Run Find Missing Settings.

  • Run Find Missing Phrases: Choose Languages from Globalization menu. Click on to arrow next to the language you are using and choose Find Missing Phrases.

Remove Installation Log

In order to prevent security risks, this step needs to be proceeded right after the installation is completed without any problem. Please go to folder  /PF.Base/file/log/and remove the installation.log file there.