phpBB is one of the most popular packages available for creating community based forum websites. Unlike WordPress where you can find millions of themes and plugins, the official phpBB site offers limited options for customizations. There are also very few themes available to have a good looking phpBB forum site. Milk is one such a pbpBB theme that allows you to have create a beautiful forum that will stand out from the crowd. In this article, let us explore Milk phpBB theme review based on our experience.
Before we proceed, you can check the demos here and below is how the forum will look like with Milk theme.
Purchasing Milk Theme
You can purchase Milk theme from themeforest which is part of the popular envato marketplace. The regular license of the theme is available for $27 which you can use on a single website. The price includes free six months support and all future updates. You can extend the support for addition one year by paying $8.63. All demos still shows $17 which is not correct, hope the author will update the demos with the correct price.
In our opinion, this is a standard price range for a pbpBB theme. The author also guarantees to refund the amount in case if the issues on your installation can’t be fixed.
Rating and Reviews
The author sold Milk theme to more than 3.5K customers in themeforest. It has a 4.84 average rating out of 5 from 150+ customers. After initial release of June 2016, the author updates the theme continuously till to date. This is a good evidence for you to purchase a theme that is being maintained regularly and rated high by customers.
The theme also supports pbpBB 3.1x, 3.2x and 3.3x versions.
Installing Milk Theme
After purchasing the theme, download the file from themeforest.
The download archive will have phpBB 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 folders.
You have to use the corresponding files depending upon your pbpBB installation version. The theme has two step installation process. First step is to install and enable the Flight Deck extension and the second step is to install the Milk theme style.
Related: bbPress WordPress forum plugin review.
Installing Flight Deck Extension
Under “2. Extension Files” folder, you will see the Flight Deck extension folder with a name “planetstyles” along with a zip archive (you don’t need this zip archive). Login to your FTP account on the server and upload the “planetstyles” folder under the “ext” folder. The installation path should look like “yourdomain.com/pbpBB/ext/planetstyle/flightdeck”.
After uploading the content, login to your ACP (Administrator Control Panel) and enable the Flight Deck extension under “Customise” tab.
Installing Milk Style
Follow the same process and upload “Milk_V2” folder available under “1. Theme Files” to your server under “yourdomain.com/phpBB/styles/”. Go to ACP and make Milk style as your default style under “General > Board Settings” section.
Whenever there is an update available, you have to delete the theme and extension and follow the above process to re-upload the latest version.
Milk theme offers four different templates that will change your pbpBB forum to a completely different style. You can have a dark base, rounded corner styles, with single sidebar and with double sidebars. You can change the sidebar to left or right position and choose the list of grid layout to showcase your forum list as you like.
It is also possible to choose boxed or fluid layout for your forum.
Milk Theme Features
The theme offers the following notable features other than those you can get default from pbpBB.
- Choose from grid or list layout from one of the demo templates.
- Built-in advertisement management system using official ad management extension.
- Theme sidebar with an option to switch to left or right side.
- Custom header section, logo, navigation and favicon.
- Choose from the preset color or choose your own.
- Fully responsive with option to set custom layout width.
- Social icons and collapsible categories.
- Custom footer with back to top button.
Related: bbPress Vs phpBB forum comparison.
Customizing Theme Settings
You have to customize all settings under “Extensions > Flight Deck (Control Panel) > Theme Settings” in your ACP.
You have numerous options to customize the header. Starting with the logo and favicon, you can upload beautiful background image for your header and adjust the logo / navigational link positions.
Milk theme offers two header features – one is parallax and other is animated particle header. You enable the option from Flight Deck extension’s control panel.
As you can see in the demo pages, the theme offer attractive preset colors. You can either choose from one of the preset colors or set your own color.
One part that attracted us to this Milk theme is having a customizable sidebar that is not possible with the default phpBB.
- Place advertisements in the sidebar.
- Add custom content blocks.
- Customize the content block header to suit your theme’s color.
- Showcase login or profile widget on the sidebar so that users can easily login or register on your forum.
- Show search box in sidebar.
Related: Review of Flatboots phpBB forum theme.
Post Profile Settings
Post profile is the meta data you will see beside the posts showing avatar, name, role and post count. You can change the position to left or right and also you change the avatar to rounded corner using “Avatar in last post” extension.
Milk theme allows you to add social icons on the footer section of the forum. You can enable this option in Flight Deck control panel and add your social profile links.
Other Default Features
Once you enable Milk theme as your default theme, the look of entire control panel will change to Milk style. You can manage all your tasks from the administrator or moderator control panels like any other style like checking posts waiting for your approval and approve/disapprove posts as a moderator.
Support and Documentation
The author offers support through themeforest support page. This means the support questions will be published publicly on the comments section of the theme’s product page. This is unprofessional method of offering support for premium products as you can’t leave sensitive data like FTP login details for troubleshooting. You can also directly send emails to author and get response. However, privacy and sensitive data handling are still problems with emails as well.
Milk theme also comes with detailed documentation that will be helpful to copy content block codes for sidebar. However, there is no dedicated support forum available with the developer site. It will be good if the developer use his own theme and offer a support forum. This will help customers to check the forum features lively and see the support response time.
Milk is one of the beautiful theme that allows you to change the traditional look of pbpBB forum. You can customize the header, sidebar, content and footer sections using Flight Deck extension of the theme. In our opinion, if you are capable of managing phpBB forum them Milk is a must try.
- Reusable demo templates.
- Responsive and modern look.
- Customizable sidebars with advertisement management.
- Custom header, footer and navigation.
- Price is at higher end.
- No dedicated support on developer’s website.