My host migrated my forum [PHPBB 3.2.4] to a sub folder on a new server, but when I navigate to the folder I get the message ‘application/octet-stream’, and a download message.

I’ve tried several versions of php but it makes no difference.

Does anyone have any suggestions please.


What do you mean by “migrated”?

Did they move the phpBB or reinstall it for you on the new server?
Did they move your database there, too?
Did they give you a new FTP setup to be able to get to the new server?
Did they actually just move your files to the new folder?

Lots of questions to help you here. The stream issue usually means you are clicking on the folder using HTML or a browser. If so, the doubt the site can work like that. When you create phpBB systems, it creates a lot of pointers to the root of where it was installed. Therefore, none of the links to pages or backup libraries, well, they just don’t exist at this point. You would need to reinstall the forum on that folder.

Did they do this because you did not pay a bill? Hosting companies just do not move systems to folders on other servers without a reason. Can you give us more info please.


Many thanks for the answer…

I have my old website hosted with a forum in a sub folder /forum/

I developed a new site from scratch and updated my forum to the latest version

On the old site the forum and Joomla site share the same database so the update process has been a little complicated.

My host set up a holding folder and database so everything could be tested before going live.

The website is working with only a minor problem, but I can’t get the forum to

The people at PHPBB tell me it’s a server issue but my host says it’s not, and I’m stuck in the middle.

The migration was done by my host and yes I have ftp and DB access.

Any help or suggestions would be most welcome!


Well, you can not just move a site to a new server. Never works. And, moving a forum site to a new folder never works either. I will give you some ideas why they do not and then how you might solve it.

All forums use pointers to steer every single page in the forum to the correct pages needed in various folders and sub-folders. So, when moving from one folder to another, it can be done, but, you must know how to change the pointers built into the forum software. (phpBB is easy and more info on that below…)

Next, since forums use database which are set up in very specific ways, you normally can not move this layout to a shared database unless you have a way to keep your data separate from the shared data. So, as example, if you have phpBB and when you set it up, you used a prefix of “phpBB_” for the database tables, you would not have any issues as they could be the same on the new server. But, since you let someone else handle that change, it is hard to say what they did. Using the phpbb_ as a prefix is the standard install for this forum software. You can see a list of them here: phpBB Tables List

So, first step is to log into your old server’s control panel and bring up your phpMyAdmin page and review your phpBB tables. If they look like the ones in this link just posted, they are standard. Next, log into your new server’s control panel and the phpMyAdmin page and review the tables in your new database and see if they match. If they match, you are all set for this part. If not, you will have to fix the names the hosting company used when they copied your database to their shared version.

Lastly, you will need to fix the pointers for where the forum code was stored into the new folder layout.
I looked around for you and found it was easy to do. Here are the steps…
Log into the phpBB’s Admin Control Panel (ACP) ( On the new server, of course! )
Select the Server-Settings
Select the Script-Path
Change this pointer to the new path to the new folder

And, that should re-link up all of your scripts correctly. After that you should be in business!
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


Hello, many thanks for the detailed answer.

I’ve checked the database and it’s been transfered over correctly as you describe.

Sadly, I’m not able to log in to the ACP as I just get a white screen.


Okay, in this case, several things could be the cause. At least we ruled out the database.

Now, in the new server, the connection to the database would be different. It can be just that problem.
But, first, you need to know a few things to fix it.

Which versions of PHP are on both servers? If the same, great. If not that might be an issue.
Check in your hosting control panel and see what version of PHP is on each. Let us know if different.

If same, the last step would be to change the config.php file to point at the new server instead of the old one.
Edit it and put in your new hosting info. Host, username, password, etc. The host is most likely the only
one needed. But, it depends how the hosting company copied the database over. Did they keep the same
users and passwords that are allowed to access the database? If not, you need to create new ones and
put these into your config.php file.

That should do it… Well, hopefully… Good luck!


Hi Ernie,

Many thanks for the reply.

The database connections have been checked and are correct as they have been changed.

There are several php versions available on the control panel, and I have tried them all and the support community tell me the board is compatible with the version I’m using.

The config.php has been updated to reflect the changes.

If the wrong details had been entered it would give a message like ‘unable to connect to MYSQL’, but all I get is a white screen and a download message.

Any other suggestions would be most helpful…


What address are you attempting to go to? It would be your new URL or the IP address and your folder and then your phpbb index page…

So, assuming the DB is okay. And, the folder is okay. And, you altered the config.php file.
And, it still is not showing anything, it must be something in the file index that is not working correctly.

Have you checked your server logs to see if you have errors showing? Sometimes, you have to look in the
root folder for the phpBB part and look for an ERROR log. It would be a text file. If nothing there, you can
check the actual server logs. Usually, it is in the root of the server under a folder named 'logs". You would see probably a FTP log and a system log. Look in the system log one and look at the first or last log depending how it is displayed. Just look at the datetime stamps and take the newest ones. You can try to access your phpBB and then go and see if errors in either place are showing.

OH CRAP! Just thought of the problem! Make sure you do not have an .htaccess file in the folder! Rename it if you have one and retry. And, check if you have one in the root folder of the server for one too. If so, rename it. You can rename them back later if that does not solve the issue. If you had an .htaccess file in the phpBB folder, you would need to recode it to fit the new layout. Glad I thought of that because that was a problem when I moved a site this way… Try this one first! If solved, great we would need to see the file.
If not, check for errors…


Hello Ernie,

The address is

The server logs [in the root] are totally blank and there don’t seem to be any other logs in the phpBB folder.

Ther are 2 .htaccess files, one for the site and another for the forum and I disabled both and it made no difference.

Thanks again for your suggestions…


Paul, try this, place a normal file in your folder. An html file. NO PHP in it.
Something simple like >

<!DOCTYPE html>
<h1>Test Page!</h1>

Nothing more. Save it in the folder simply as test.html
I have seen some servers need the extension to be htm not html. So, maybe try both if needed.
Then go to the page: and see if the H1 shows up on the page.
If so, the server is putting out pages. If not, you will need to talk to your hosting company as your web
pages are not being served out.

If that works and it shows up in the browser, the next test would be a simple test.php file.
Just something like:
echo “PHP test page!”;
And save that as test.php and then go to and see if it shows up.

If the test.html shows up AND the test.php shows up, then it is your .htaccess file or an error in the phpBB
code. When you removed the .htaccess files, did you delete them? You should have copied them and then deleted them. And, I have found it can take up to an hour for this to take effect. So, delete them both, wait an hour and test the phpBB. If it fails at that point, put the two .htaccess files back.

Step by Step, we will solve this for you! Good luck!


I was playing with your server, remotely of course. If I type in the browser this address:
I get a file that does not display correctly. Meaning it does not show anything. But, once viewed,
it DOES show PHP code. So it appears that the index.htm file needs to be renamed to index.php so it
runs php code and not html code.

Make sense?

this makes me believe that when the “hosting” company moved your files, they did not move them correctly.


Hi Ernie,

The ‘test.html’ works fine , but ‘test.php’ tries to download

I tried creating a new folder ‘test’ and I put ‘test.php’ in there but whilst it didn’t try to download I also didn’t get any errors or the message ‘PHP test page’


Sorry to keep throwing in comments, but, I went to your /forum folder and now it lets me look at one of your pages, but, for some really odd reason, it is showing the PHP code. This should never happen!

Something seriously messed up with your “server”. It appears it is not a standard server, but, a cloud system.
So, I am suspecting that your PHP is not being served and it is just serving all your files out.

I looked up your site and it is a Wordpress Cloud server. Therefore, not sure if it let’s you run other libraries such as phpBB. I think you need to ask them if it is a normal server. Does not look like it. I can read your PHP files which is impossible on a regular server!


Contact your Host. The server is not setup properly for Php or at all. Even better, get a VPS account and learn how to admin your own server.


I’ve just messaged them again:

I just sent this to my host:

Hello Derek,

This is getting very frustrating…

As you are probably aware, I have 2 hosting accounts with you at present, 1 which hosts my old Joomla 1.5 site and an old version of phpBB forum, both of which are working fine.

I also have this development site which was set up to test my new Joomla 3 site and updated forum prior to going live.

As can be seen from all the correspondence I have been unable to get the forum working, firstly as the MYSQL tables weren’t migrated, and second because the config file wasn’t updated with the new server details.

I have spent some time trying to discover why when I try to access the forum it tries to download files instead of opening them and people are telling me it’s a server problem.

So I did a simple test; I uploaded a test php page to my old forum at and it displays as expected. I them uploaded the same file to and it tries to download.

I have also re-uploaded all the forum files to another folder in case anything was missing and had the same result.

Can you please ask an engineer to double check the server configuration and confirm everthing is as it should be as people are telling me to find another host.


This is the message I received this morning:

Hi Paul,

This has been corrected, as our hosting do not support AddHandler directives in the .htaccess file
I have commented out this entry and everything is working as it should.
Please clear your browser cache and test it again.

Janis Miciopulos | Support & System Administrator

So not an admission of guilt - they wouldn’t do that of course, but after about a dozen tickets somebody actually looked at the problem.

Many thanks to you all for your help…


I had a feeling it was the .htaccess file !

Mentioned that awhile ago. Very glad they helped you finally! Good luck with the rest of the site!


Yes, I think they had another below the root, which I didn’t have access to…

Thanks again everyone…