Simple Machines Forum

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Below is a quick article with some information about tweaking simple machines forum for performance.

Avatar Uploads

We've had problems with users who had avatar uploads enabled in the past, and after some experimentation we came up with what we feel is an excellent solution!

  1. Log in to your forum as an admin user.
  2. Click on the Admin link in the main menu bar.
  3. In the left menu bar, under Forum, click on Attachments and Avatars.
  4. In the submenu that appears, click on Avatar Settings.
  5. Change the Upload Directory configuration setting to a directory within the documentroot of your site.
    For example, if your forum is located at /home/myuser/example.com/smf/, try changing it to /home/myuser/example.com/smf/uploaded-avatars/
  6. Change the Upload URL to http:// url which maps to that directory.
    For example, if your forum is located at /home/myuser/example.com/smf, and you've set the directory above to /home/myuser/example.com/smf/uploaded-avatars, and your forum's URL is http://example.com/smf,
    change this setting to http://example.com/smf/uploaded-avatars/
  7. Click on the 'Save' button at the bottom of the page.
  8. Create the directory you referenced above, with an ftp client, shell, or otherwise.
  9.  ???
  10. Profit!

Any newly uploaded avatars will be placed in this directory.

Disable Compression

While your site will use a little more bandwidth, it will use far less cpu / memory resources if you disable compression.

To do this in SMF follow these steps:

  1. Log in as an admin user.
  2. Click on the Admin link in the main menu bar.
  3. In the configuration section of the left menu bar, click Server Settings.
  4. In the submenu that appears, click on Feature Configuration.
  5. Uncheck the "Enable Compressed Output" checkbox".
  6. Click on the 'Save' button at the bottom of the page.

And you're all set! This will drastically reduce the resources consumed by your forum, with only a little added cost of more bandwidth usage.

DreamHost Servers were Migrated

If your account was moved to a different server on DreamHost you will need to POTENTIALLY change some settings in the Settings.php file, as well as to the themes Directory path.

To change the Settings.php file settings:

  1. Log on VIA FTP or your Shell account to modify a php file.
  2. Navigate to the root folder of the forum and open Settings.php in a text editor
  3. Within the file, alter the "$boarddir" and "$sourcedir" paths to their CURRENT location
  4. Save and close

To change the theme's directory path

  1. Log in as an Admin user.
  2. Click on the Admin link in the main menu bar.
  3. In the configuration section of the left menu bar, click Themes and Layout.
  4. In the submenu that appears, click on Themes and Settings.
  5. Select your current Theme's name (all the theme's directory will need to be changed, but priorities!)
  6. In the "This theme's directory:" field, alter the path to be the CURRENT location, as if you were logging in VIA FTP or a Shell account
  7. Select Save and voila!


SMF has a problem with the "extra web security" option under Manage Domains, and it must be turned off for it to function properly. It tries to use semicolons ; to separate GET arguments and mod_security does not allow semicolons in URLs.