How to stop spam bots on phpbb3

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Apr 18, 2009 in Tech |

Over the past couple of months I’ve been having a bit of an issue with spam bots signing up, and posting spam all over my forums. I spent the best part of 2 days trying to combat this but to no avail. I was just about to tear my hair out, when I stubled accross a brilliant idea over at

The idea was to create a custom field which was compulsery on signup.

Custom profile fields are a feature of phpBB3. They allow you, as admin, to easily add fields that a user can fill out to their profile – such as location, age and so on. It is possible to use a custom profile field to help and prevent spam bots from registering on your forum.

Adding a new custom profile field

Firstly you need to login to your admin forum and click the Users and groups tab

Users and groups tab

From the left hand menu select the Custom profile fields from the Users menu

Users menu

This will show all the custom profile fields currently added. Add a new one from the box in the bottom right of the page.

Add new profile field

Use a name in the textbox such as ‘stop_spam’ or ‘no_spam’ (17 characters max, a-z and underscores only allowed). Select Dropdown box from the dropdown box and click Create field

The settings

You’ll now be shown a more detailed form. The field type and identification fields should already be filled in. Make sure that the Display profile field option is set to Yes and the Display on registration screen and Required field options are checked.

New profile field

Enter some text for the bottom 3 boxes. In this tutorial the Field title is Are you a spambot?, the description is Sorry we have to ask and the options are just Yes and No.

Once you’ve entered this text click Profile type specific options and you’ll be taken to the next stage in adding the custom profile field.

Add profile field options

The default settings here should be fine. Both drop down boxes need to be set to Yes. This means that “Yes” is the default option when on the registration page and that a value of “Yes” will cause an error. This means that whoever is registering will have to change this value to “No” – the idea being a spam bot would not know to do this so won’t be able to sign up to your forum. Click the Language specific options button. This will allow you to translate the text you entered (Are you a spam bot, etc) in step 1 to any other languages installed on your forum. Once that has been completed click Save.

That’s it! This won’t stop all spam bots however it will help to prevent some spam and it is a very easy system to implement.

Using just 1 field didn’t work for me, however adding 2, worked just a treat, my registration screen look like the below, and since implementing a couple of days ago, no more spam bots !!

Reg screen

Reg screen

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