Thursday, January 17, 2019


The dreaded day has come. For some time we have enjoyed the comfort of our CEFSG FORUM operating under the software system of pHpBB Version 3.0.14. It was the last and most stable of the 3.0 system and it did us well since the transfer to back in 2015.

Yesterday I received this message from our HOST at

Mike wrote:
Hi Richard,

This is a quick note that we will be having a temporary switch to 7.2 in a couple of minutes at 4.00 PM EST for the cluster that hosts your website. It will go back to PHP 5.6 at 4:30 EST

Note this is a good opportunity to check your application for compatibility issues and take note of any section of the website that might not be functioning properly. I have a report that shows at least one component of your website PHPBB requires attention.

This is just a reminder that our datacenter will not allow PHP5.6 after Feb 17, 2019.

Thank you for your inquiry.



We have received considerable support from Mike and the team at, most recently when we had the BOT attacks in December 2016 and into the Spring of 2017. As such, I am sure I will be able to count on them as we make the transfer to the new system.

Although the terminology looks similar, their reference to PHP 5.6 changing to PHP 7.2 is not the same as our need to transfer from pHpBB 3.0.14 to pHpBB 3.2. The first reference is to what is on the servers at and the second is to the software that we use at

Any of you that were on the system yesterday afternoon when they ran the test would have seen what happened - the pages came back flooded with ERROR reports. You would have seen a lot of text that appeared similar to this:

[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 370: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/functions.php on line 5282: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3903)

In the past, I have taken our pHpBB system through a number of upgrades, through all the 1.0, 2.0 and up to 3.0.14 which is the current system. All of these upgrades were made possible with a somewhat simple upgrade package. The upgrade we now must complete is a FRESH INSTALL of new software and then the TRANSFER of all the past information in the DATABASE. Any of the MODs (those are special MODULE packages that control "extras" on our system - i.e. the SUPPORT TOOL KIT) can NOT be upgraded automatically. They must be removed and then manually upgraded at a later date (I hope!). The day-to-day user would not be aware of these MODS, so it probably will not impact the user.

At present I do not know what other MOD packages would be impacted. I suspect it will be in items such as the STYLES that are shown at the top of the page when you are making a post. These are the components of the STYLE MOD that allows you to insert images, make tables, insert a video, etc. All of those we created AFTER the main pHpBB system was put in place.

Fortunately we have a month to complete this task. To do this, I create a new directory (with a different name) such as to which I download the new software and begin the upgrade process. I will start working on this in the next week on a "test basis", so you will not see that in progress until I am able to publish a TEST PAGE LINK. All the main structure would thus be built and tested BEFORE the transfer of the site. Then comes TRANSFER DAY! First of all. I must back up our existing database and all the files, then move those to the new system. This would probably happen early one morning when we have shut down the main system. If it all works well, it would be a seamless process. It may not be perfect at first, but we will sort it all out.

The change also has a significant impact on the WIKI system at as our current system is not at all useable on the new PHP 7.2 server system. There is a page that tells me we will have to upgrade the WIKI to MediaWiki 1.3.2. See "Software required to run MediaWiki" on this page:

This is what would happen if we went to run the WIKI without an upgrade, after they changed the server: ( has provided with a method to test the conversion of our old sites with this format) ... /Main_Page

Amazingly, the original MATRIX that was made in 2006 with Microsoft FrontPage appears to work with the new PHP 7.2 software, probably because it is very basic HTML programing that is not impacted by all the fancy code packages and MODS. You can see the test of the old MATRIX system here: ... ginal.html

PLEASE MAKE SURE that you BOOKMARK the Blog Site for the CEFSG that we use to make announcements when we are having system problems. You will find that at:

I will put a copy of this message on that site and then post any major notices as we go through the process. If there is a major change as to how to LOG IN, for example, it would be placed in that location.

If you have personal research on the site, or pages of information you frequently use, PLEASE make sure you copy (back up) any of that information so you have it for the future. For example, I keep a list of the commonly used HELP or INFORMATION pages. You can click "PRINT VIEW" in the top menu of any page and then PRINT the page (to a printer, a PDF file, or whatever else YOUR system allows). You can also ""Right Click" on any of those pages and VIEW or SAVE the Source File, or select "Save As" to save the page as a web page or HTML.

That is all for now,


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