SMF2.1:Ban list From Online Manual

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Please see SMF1.1:Ban list, SMF2.0:Ban list or SMF2.1:Ban list depending on the version of SMF you are using.

The Ban List sub-menu is found in Admin Center > Members > Ban List. It has four pages or tabs: Ban List, Add New Ban, Browse Ban Triggers, and Ban Log. These are all described below.

Like the Warnings System, Banning is also an optional feature, and also removes members rights, as a consequence when members have not observed the forum's rules, or expected standard of behavior. We call the removal of member rights "user limitations". Banning is the ultimate user limitation, because in certain cases, it can block a member from visiting or viewing the forum at all. Unlike the warning system, banning is not an automatically controlled feature, and is entirely subjective, usually a permission reserved only for administrators. For this reason, banning is a step which should be seriously considered, and not handed out frivolously.

Ban List

This is a list members who have been banned from participating in the forum. It is populated by data entered by administrators, at the time each member was banned. There are different levels, or strengths of banning, which will be explained below.

The data is organized into the table, in the following eight columns:

  • Ban name - This is the username of the member who was banned.
  • Notes - Here, you can place any special notes about the ban, which moderators or administrators want to share privately with each other.
  • Reason - This is what the banned member was told was the reason they were banned.
  • Added - This is the date of the banning.
  • Expires - This is when the ban will expire, if it will expire.
  • Triggers - This setting is for any or all of four kinds of data which are watched for by the server, to determine when a banned member tries to visit: IP address, Membername, Email Address, Hostname (owner of the email address domain).
  • Actions - This is the severity of the ban: full, partial, and how partial.
  • checkbox - This is used to remove entries from this table, by clicking Remove Selected button. There is no button to clear this log all at once. However, by clicking the checkbox in the column title area, it checks all the boxes in the table. Then Remove Selected button has the same effect that a Clear Log button has.

Add New Ban

This is the form for adding newly banned members to the Ban List. It's at Admin Center > Members > Ban List > Add New Ban. To complete the eight columns in the table, this form has seven fields which the administrator needs to fill in, for each banned member. (The date is added automatically when the new ban is added.)

  • Ban name - Enter a name you want to give to the ban. This would usually be the member's username.
  • Reason - This is what the banned member was told, is the reason they were banned.
  • Notes - Any special notes about the ban, which moderators or administrators want to privately share with each other, can be filled in here.
  • Expiration - This is when the ban will expire, if it will expire.
    • Never - This is a permanent ban, unless the adminstrator someday decides to rescind it.
    • Ban will expire after this number of days - Whatever severity of the ban, it will expire after the set number of days.
    • Expired / disabled - This setting works in 2 different ways. First, if you set the ban to expire after a certain number of days, then after that number of days has passed, the software automatically ticks this option. Second, if an administrator (or maybe moderator, depending on permissions) decides to end a member's ban, they can manually tick this option themselves. Either way, that member's ban has ended, and the member's existing permissions go back into effect.
  • Restriction - This is the severity of the ban: full, partial, and how partial.
    • Full Ban - This will prevent the member from even viewing the forum. They cannot access it in any way. If they browse to the forum's address, they will see a message, something like 'You have been banned and cannot access this forum.'
    • Partial Ban - This sets the severity of the ban: full, partial, or how partial; by using the three options below:
      • Cannot post - This option turns the forum into a read-only forum for the banned member. They will only be able to read the forum, but not participate in any other way. The member will see a warning message, explaining this condition.
      • Cannot register - The option prevents the banned member from trying to register again as a new member, using the same trigger variables, or pieces of data which are explained just below: username, email address, IP address or hostname.
      • Cannot login - This option prevents the member from logging in to their original account.
  • Triggers - These are any or all of four kinds of data which are watched for by the server, to determine when a banned member tries to visit. The server can watch for the IP address, Hostname (owner of the email address domain), Email Address, or Membername.
    • IP Address - To ban a user by their IP you need to enter all or part of the address. You can usually obtain this from your forum. See their user tracking page to find it. A complete IP address will always have four sections of numbers ( is an example). Inputting their full IP for a ban is okay, but is not always useful if this user has a dynamic IP or dial up. If you ban their IP, and they subsequently are able to log in successfully, it means they probably have a dynamic IP or dial up. However, most ISPs, even if they are dynamic, start with the same numbers (127.0 for example). If you ban a user with the full IP address,, and the next day they show up with the IP address,, it means the first few numbers are the same. You can, therefore, still ban them, by just typing in the first three sections of the address: 127.0.0.* instead of the full IP address. This works in most cases but some users' IP addresses still change after you ban them. This also does not stop them from using a proxy to visit your website.
    • Ban with a Hostname - A hostname is a string of characters used to identify the owner of the email address domain. Selecting this option might ban anyone who uses the same Internet Service Provider (ISP) or email address provider. For example, you probably do not want to ban whatever is the hostname for So be careful about using this option.
    • Ban by Email Address - You can ban a user by their e-mail address. You can do this in two ways. You can ban them by their full e-mail address or by part of their e-mail address. Banning a user by their full e-mail address is usually sufficient. Sometimes, however, a user may have numerous e-mail addresses. If the banned member uses a custom e-mail service which is not used by many people, instead of typing in their full e-mail address, type in something like * However you can't use this trick if they use a large e-mail providers like hotmail or gmail, because you'll accidentally ban a lot of members or even guests or visitors.
    • Ban By Username - To ban a member by their username, just type in their username. This will prevent the member from rejoining with that name; however, that member could register with another username. Also remember if a user is banned by username and their account is deleted, the ban will be deleted along with it. Then they could register again with that same username.

When you finish filling out the form, don't forget to click the Add button in the bottom, right corner.

Browse Ban Triggers

By this point, we have already learned that ban triggers are certain pieces of data (membernames, email addresses, IP addresses, and hostnames) connected to banned members, which the server is always watching for (because we told it to watch for them, when we banned the member). When the server recognizes that one of them has tried to visit the forum, it "triggers" the software to enter the information in this Browse Ban Triggers table. This can help you understand which triggers might be the most effective to use in your forum.

The table is found at Admin Center > Members > Ban List > Browse Ban Triggers. At the top of this table are these four links, by which you can sort the table, to find out which triggers have hit the server: IP Address | Hostname | Email Address | Username

There are four columns:

  • Banned entity - This is whichever of the above four links you have selected to examine: IP address, Host name, Email address, or Member name.
  • Ban name - This is the name of the ban, which is usually the member's name.
  • Hits - This is the number of times the specific trigger hit the server (or i.e. a measure of how many times the banned member tried to enter).
  • checkbox - After selecting which triggers you want to delete, click Remove Selected Ban Triggers button.

Ban Log

The Ban Log shows all attempts to enter the forum by members who have received either a Full Ban, or Partial Ban > Cannot Register. Like the Browse Ban Triggers table, it is automatically populated by server data, based on data entered by administrators for the Ban List table.

This log has five columns:

  • IP - This is the IP address of the banned member who tried to visit.
  • Email address - This is the email address of the banned member who tried to visit.
  • Member name - This is the name of the banned member who tried to visit.
  • Date - This is the date that re-entry by the banned member was attempted.
  • checkbox - This is used to remove the selected log entries, by clicking Remove Selected button.

Otherwise the log can be emptied all at once by clicking the Clear Log button.

Additionally, there is an option for automatic pruning, if as administrator, you feel it's the best option for your forum. See the Log Pruning section of the Logs page, to learn how to use it.