Problem connecting SMF to remote server


Apr 12, 2008
Warning: long post, but I want to make sure I provide all the necessary info. I found this forum while desperately searching for solutions to my problem, and I really hope someone can help me.

My forum got hacked Thursday night and someone deleted all tables in the database. We uploaded a full backup, and I can see everything is back as it should be when I browse through phpMyAdmin. All the tables appear to be there, and the tables all have records.

The problem is that every time I click the URL to my site, I get the following message:

Connection Problems
Sorry, SMF was unable to connect to the database. This may be caused by the server being busy. Please try again later.
My server is not busy. I assume I need to re-establish remote access to the MySQL database. And that's where I am hopelessly stuck.

I am not sure why the old way no longer works, but I am not very good at this stuff. The person who set up our site is no longer available; unfortunately, this person also refused to share info with the other admins when we set up our web site, kept saying, "I'll show you later," but never did. As one of the remaining admins, I have been able to manage our site adequately the last couple years, but I do most of the configuration and maintenance inside our forum via the SMF admin panel. I do backups via phpMyAdmin, but I don't do a whole lot else via the cPanel and always found the documentation a little scanty.

I am not sure why or how the connection broke. If I knew where to look, I could fix it, but I am at a total loss after searching and reading for almost 2 days now. I am now officially knee deep in information overload.

Just so no one thinks I am taking the lazy way out by begging for a solution here, I have looked through my host's documentation, knowledge base, and Flash tutorials. I have been through the cPanel documentation, as well as various links to cPanel tutorials posted on this forum. I have been to the SMF (Simple Machines) and phpAdmin forums and web sites and used Google extensively, but I am so totally stuck.

I suspect the fix is not that difficult and a simple tweak is the only thing standing in the way of getting the forum up and running again, but what is it?

Tech support at my host told me to "make sure that you have created the database user in the cPanel with the same password and granted privileges on the database "dbname_dbname." But where? And (dumb question alert!) why do I need to create a database user if one already exists?

I looked at the settings.php file in my \forum directory and, to be honest, this was the first time I had ever looked at this file, so I don't know whether or not all the db info there is as it should be. I know I did not give it the password I see there and can only assume the admin who defected did or the host reset it when they helped me get my backup in place the other night.

If anyone can PLEASE help point me in the right direction, I would be eternally grateful.

Hopefully helpful stats:

cPanel version 10 (at least I assume that's what cPanel x means)
SMF version 1.1.4.
PHP version 5.2.5
MySQL version 4.1.22-standard
Architecture i686
Operating system Linux


Apr 12, 2008
smf_members table gone!

I managed to get my forum's login page to display, but I no longer exist.

When I checked smf_members in phpMyAdmin, the table is empty, when it was full last night because I ran some SQL scripts against certain users, temporarily granting admin status.

So I registered a new user name, figuring I'd grant that person admin access via phpMyAdmin, so I could look around the forum to see how bad the damage is. I ran the following script:

UPDATE ‘smf_members’ SET ‘ID_GROUP’=1
WHERE ‘ID_MEMBER’=<my user ID>

This worked, but when I logged into the forum, I got the following message:

Your account is still waiting admin approval
Our forum is by invitation only, and all newly registered members must be approved by an admin, which we do through the SMF admin panel inside our site. Since I can't access the site, I have no idea how I can grant myself access so I can get in and look around, see how bad the damage is.

Can this be done via the cPanel (e.g., phpMyAdmin) or should I be begging users at the SMF (Simple Machines) forum, since that's the software our forum uses?