flatPHPbook. A free PHP guestbook engine.

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What is this flatPHPbook?

flatPHPbook is a PHP based guestbook engine, but unlike most other of its kind it stores the guestbook data in a flat text file and therefore does not require a database like MySQL installed on the web server.

Some of the features of this script are:

  • supports BBcode known from other boards and forums for formatting the posts or including links to other pages
  • can easily be translated into other languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Dutch and Swedish already available)
  • optional email notification for new posts that works on both Unix/Linux and Win32 web servers
  • page spanningallows to display the entries on more than one page if the number of total posts exceeds a set amount of posts per page
  • new posts can be previewed before they are submitted with the same formatting used in the guestbook
  • theme support via annotated external CSS file
  • admin mode: delete, edit or comment posts, and configure the behaviour of the script (uses cookies)
  • either both viewing and signing on one page or separated onto two pages
  • validates correctly as HTML 4.01 Transitional, and as far as I know it works with Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Opera and Konqueror


I wrote this script because I wanted to move to a PHP-yes-but-MySQL-no web hoster, and did not find any (free) script that fit my technical and aesthetic needs. So I just wrote my own! And I while I was about it, I thought that if I could not find that had all the features I wanted, maybe more people felt the same and would appreciate if I made my efforts public and free for them to use, too.
The name itself is not too nice, I know, but names like phpBook and phpGB were already taken, and I wanted to include the feature of storing the data in a flat text file.


To install flatPHPbook on your website, you need PHP version 4 (or higher), and that's basically it. I cannot guarantee it will run, but I tested it on different combinations of Apache (both 1.3.x and 2.x) and PHP 4.x.

I would like to hear from difficulties though, so I can improve the script!