XF 2.2 Fatal Error on fresh install


New member
Hello everyone, I am trying to do a fresh install of XenForo on my shared hosting account with InMotion hosting. I've searched high and low in these forums and elsewhere and can't find a solution. This is XenForo 2.2.7 just downloaded the other day from XF. I'm on InMotion's shared hosting "Power" plan. I'm mildly tech savvy and have dinked around inside cPanel for years on my various websites but I would consider myself a novice on these sorts of things.

When I try to install, I get through the uploads fine, get through setting up and configuring the MySQL database fine, then move on to installation. When I run that, it thinks for a moment and then gives me the error: Fatal error: Illegal length modifier specified 'f' in s[np]printf call in blah-blah-blah-blah/src/vendor/league/flysystem/src/Adapter/Local.php on line 199

I've read in these forums that it's usually a PHP version issue. So I've tried changing my PHP version several times, with the same results. I've tried PHP 7.3, 7.4 and 8.0. I have seen that the line number for the error isn't always 199 but from what I remember it's always been in that same Local.php file. On one of these attempts, the installation seemed to go on longer but it eventually timed out with a 504 server timeout (InMotion's tech lengthened the response time for me due to that).

I've been in touch with InMotion tech service via their online chat. I've been bounced around to several techs who have tried to help, who have tried different things and seemed like they were trying. But the last one seems to have just given up, and said the following:
Thank you for contacting Support, That error is caused by NGINX causing a conflict with the installation. I have tested the installation on a none NGINX hosting server and it installed without any issue (tested it on PHP 7.4).

Even after disabling Caching for the domain it would not install. You may need to switch to a none NGINX hosting plan or a VPS to have this forum installed.

We do have other forums you can install as an alternative. In cPanel under Softaculous, you can install any forums listed there. (See screenshot attached)

Is this guy ********ting me, and just throwing in the towel to make me go away? Or trying to upsell me to a VPS package? I know nothing about web servers, NGINX and the like. But I've done some searches and seen plenty of references to people using XenForo on NGINX servers.

For what it's worth, I realize that a shared account isn't optimum for hosting a forum. But I've read quite a few posts in this forum from people that do, and that it works just fine for starting out. So I'm not inclined to believe that I can't install XenForo simply for the reason that I'm on a shared hosting account. Nor am I inclined to believe this guy who says that XenForo and NGINX are incompatible, again due to what I've read.

So what should I do next? I'd rather not go to the hassle of changing hosting companies just for this, as I have several websites hosted there and everything else works great and their service has been pretty good until now. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on other things I can try. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


New member
So I sent InMotion Chris D's reply and asked if they had anyone else in their outfit that could possibly take a shot at helping me with this. Here's what they wrote back:
Thank you for contacting support! Not to disparage their support, but that is not a very useful reply. What version of PHP is required? What about PHP extensions? What version of NGINX? What version of MariaDB? Is there supported minimum and maximum version? Are there specific file or folder permissions that need to be set? Like I said, we are more than willing to assist, but we need more information than just install it and it works.
I don't really feel like bothering either side any further with this so it looks like my forum experiment is on hold while I figure out what to do next. Thanks everyone for your input. It has been real and it has been fun, but I can't say it's been real fun LOL.


XenForo moderator
Staff member
There are tens of thousands of installations of all versions of XF1 and XF2 on all versions of PHP from 5.3 to 8.x, using nginx, apache, even Windows! with MySQL, MariaDB, Percona, without issue.

The server requirements are quite simple:
  • PHP: 7.0 (PHP 8.0 recommended)
  • MySQL: 5.5 (MariaDB / Percona also compatible)
  • PHP extensions: MySQLi, GD (with JPEG support), PCRE, cURL, SPL, SimpleXML, DOM, JSON, iconv, ctype
  • Common PHP functions must not be disabled
Don't waste any more time with InMotion and find a new host.
Even basic cheap shared hosting from GoDaddy works with no issues at all.

It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to install XF using cPanel.


InMotion support has replied:

Is there a way I can download a previous version of XF to let them try it out? In my Account Area it only let's me download 2.2.7 Patch 1.

Sorry I don't know what ea-php and alt-pphp is. As I said I'm a novice LOL. But I'm willing to learn if you're willing to teach. Can I find that information somwhere in PHPMyAdmin?
Some hosting companies use an additional system called cloudlinux to build a wall between you and other users, set the necessary limits, and similar things. Cloud linux edits all php versions itself. He calls it hardened php. this is usually referred to as alt-php. Alt-php is a form of php that causes the most problems, not only xf, but also many systems that need to be installed. If you are at a hosting company with a cloudlinux system, you are definitely using alt-php. Ea-php, on the other hand, contains php versions installed via easy apache, which includes original php versions that cpanel does not interfere in any way.

You should take into account that powerful systems such as xf cannot work in harmony with cloudlinux-installed hosting companies that have managed to announce their name as a disgrace in the literal sense of the word.

Finally, these php versions, which they call alt-php, hardened php, are the php garbage that turns the server into garbage that fills the server with the most php errors.


I am unable to answer because all I’ve ever done is install PHP, install nginx, install MariaDB and boom it works.

With all due respect to them, it is their job to configure their server, not mine. I’ve never had to help a hosting provider configure their server before. I’m not going to start now 🙂

Sorry you’re caught in the middle in all of this but I’m not trying to be difficult. This problem seems exclusive to them and apparently not even specific to XF so I’m genuinely not sure what more we can do.
You should add stay away from inmotionhosting to your xf requirements. 😃 x 99


New member
@DTS It looks like you managed to get XF installed.

Did you stay with the same host and they resolved the issue, or switch to a different host?

I bought one month of the cheapest shared plan on KnownHost just so I could see what it's like to actually install this thing. And yeah, it pretty much went flawlessly, with one small hiccup that their support person quickly fixed. I've exchanged a few more messages with the InMotion Hosting folks, which has not resolved anything. I don't like having some of my stuff at one host and some at another so if I continue to have a good experience at KH and IM never figures anything out, I'll probably just move everything else (5 websites) over to KH and upgrade to one of their better plans. It saddens me to do so because until this nightmare trying to install XF, I had been quite happy with InMotion. I migrated there from Bluehost a few years back and they were like a breath of fresh air at the time. I'm just glad that when I did, I decided to move my domains to NameCheap instead of to my new host, so I won't have to go through the hassle of moving those too.

I guess the silver lining is that this thread will serve as a warning to anyone in the future who does a search about whether to try using InMotion to host their XenForo forum. I hope it saves some people from the frustration I went through.