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Thread: Newb question

  1. #1

    Newb question

    I was looking all over the forum for a newb section because I didn't want to get crushed for the questions I am about to ask..

    I've been debating starting a forum for quite some time now and have researched quite a bit. I've been having a lot of people ask me when I am going to start it up. I have a few questions I hope I can get some help on. I was comparing hosts and narrowed it down to a few. I was thinking about fatcow, but was unsure what else I needed to start the forum if I purchased the web hosting service from them? Would I have to then purchase a vbulletin type software?

    I am looking for the unlimited bandwidth as well as emails. Maybe I can get a few pointers on here because I do see that there are some very knowledgeable people on here. Thanks in advance and I'm sure I'll have a million more questions....

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    Would I have to then purchase a vbulletin type software?
    Once you have purchased a domain name and web hosting, you simply need to install a forum software. vBulletin is a paid software so you would have to purchase it. If you are looking for a free software, take a look at SMF, phpBB, etc.

    Also unlimited diskspace/bandwidth does not exist. The host will always have strict limits in place to prevent you from using large amount of resources. Always a good idea to read the terms of service carefully.
    Last edited by CrocWeb; 03-27-2011 at 08:49 PM.
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  3. #3
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    vbulletin is a paid one... try something free that you can get from fantastico or softaculous.. most hosting company will have that feature in cpanel..

    as i can see, fatcow offers unlimited email/bandwidth as you are required...

  4. #4
    Thank you for the quick responses. I see that a lot of forums use phpBB so once I get my domain and host I'll look into them. Benny thanks for the other two and I am going to look into them as well.

  5. #5
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    no worries

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    USMCGRUNT, google around for phpbb3 templates to start it off with an easy to use, and most importantly FREE forum software.

    As for webhosting, make sure there is no limit on the emails you can create. storage space, etc. Also search around the forum here there are a few topics ranking webhosting companies etc.

    Your next step should be getting a domainname, you can go to namecheap.com or from your webhost(a lot of them offer a free domain with a 1 year prepayment or more)

    Hope that helps, good luck on your forum.

    Is it for the Marine Core (just guessing by your name )

    - Bo

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bo | TMZhosting View Post
    USMCGRUNT, google around for phpbb3 templates to start it off with an easy to use, and most importantly FREE forum software.

    As for webhosting, make sure there is no limit on the emails you can create. storage space, etc. Also search around the forum here there are a few topics ranking webhosting companies etc.

    Your next step should be getting a domainname, you can go to namecheap.com or from your webhost(a lot of them offer a free domain with a 1 year prepayment or more)

    Hope that helps, good luck on your forum.

    Is it for the Marine Core (just guessing by your name )

    - Bo

    Bo, thanks for the info. I am pretty sure that fatcow offers the domain name. The forum isn't exactly for the Marine Corps, but very close. I am quite positive a fair amount of Marines will look into it (hopefully)

  8. #8
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    yeap.. i think most hosting company will give free domain for a contract of like 1 - 3 years..
    Looking for shared or reseller or VPS Hosting ?
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    I am looking for the unlimited bandwidth as well as emails. Maybe I can get a few pointers on here because I do see that there are some very knowledgeable people on here. Thanks in advance and I'm sure I'll have a million more questions....
    You can get unlimited bandwidth at Godaddy, Dream Host, Blue Host and other Hosting. I want to suggest you, using free forum software would be better as it needs just one click software installation in most of the hosting plans.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    Bo, thanks for the info. I am pretty sure that fatcow offers the domain name. The forum isn't exactly for the Marine Corps, but very close. I am quite positive a fair amount of Marines will look into it (hopefully)
    Based on what I have read, Fatcow is probably not your option in regards to web hosting (definitely not worth signing up with them just for the domain name). Since you seem rather new, I'd suggest maybe registering your domain name at a registrar (like namecheap.com) and then setting up a separate web hosting account with a different web hosting company.

    As a general rule, I always recommend staying away from the companies claiming to offer unlimited diskspace/bandwidth as its almost always a red flag for sub par services.

    With that being said, here are some hosts I have come across on this forum that appear to have a pretty decent reputation..

    MDDHosting, Stablehost, Hawkhost, Downtownhost

    Hope that helps!
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  11. #11
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    Bo, thanks for the info. I am pretty sure that fatcow offers the domain name.
    Perhaps they do, but don't let the $10 per year you'd save on the domain registering, sway you to a host. Based on my experience, Fatcow is not really a great host for a forum. Server performance was never all that great. Further, a forum will always be limited first by the CPU and memory used, and only second by the bandwidth. When you pay $5 for the hosting, you can expect to share a server with several hundred other customers. If your usage causes trouble on that server, your host will immediately turn you into a candidate for account suspension (coupled with a suggestion to upgrade to a more expensive hosting package/solution).

  12. #12
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    I have run "modern style" forums since 2003, and they can usually fit into a shared account. As you grow, so will your resource usage. But to be honest, it isn't disk space and bandwidth that will be the issue, but database and CPU performance.

    messing-about.com/forums/ is my oldest forum, and its now running with IPBoard. Like vB, it is a commercial solution that costs about $150 up front and then another $100 a year. I went with it simply because of the superior spam filtering you get with vB or IPB. I also host a non-profit's SMF forum at http://byyb.org/forum/ that is much smaller (less than 300 users), but takes up some CPU and database connections (which hurts a bit, since I donate that space to them).

    I'm with MDDHosting for my VPS that's running those two sites, plus 20+ others. You don't need a VPS to get started, and probably won't need one for a while, but I can recommend MDDHosting in terms of their support (very good) and the upgrade path they have ... when you need to grow, they can move you quickly and easily to another server. (No matter what other hosts tell you, it is NOT insignificant to move a forum!)

    I love community sites so if you need any input, let me know. My advice is free, and often worth what you pay!

  13. #13
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    How much time does MDDhosting's support takes to respond to a support ticket?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farrukh View Post
    How much time does MDDhosting's support takes to respond to a support ticket?
    32 seconds.

  15. #15
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    is that the average time ?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farrukh View Post
    How much time does MDDhosting's support takes to respond to a support ticket?
    I've had 25 tickets in to them, and in vast majority of cases the solution ... not just a response, but the solution ... comes in about 30 minutes.

    There were a few times it took longer. In one, they advised me within a few minutes that they were waiting for an update to WHMCS and it had to be added to their download section when it was available. The download appeared within 4 hours of the original ticket. In two other cases the issue took longer than 30 minutes, but only because I challenged the response. Come to find out they were right (it had to do with a passive FTP issue that one of my customers had, and it was probably a firewall on their computer).

    The answer above about "30 seconds" is also true; they auto-acknowledge your tickets like most everyone else. But they don't count that as a response, and neither do I.

    So, from my experience, with 25 support tickets, it averages 30 minutes for a resolution. Not a response, but a resolution.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fshagan View Post
    I've had 25 tickets in to them, and in vast majority of cases the solution ... not just a response, but the solution ... comes in about 30 minutes.

    There were a few times it took longer. In one, they advised me within a few minutes that they were waiting for an update to WHMCS and it had to be added to their download section when it was available. The download appeared within 4 hours of the original ticket. In two other cases the issue took longer than 30 minutes, but only because I challenged the response. Come to find out they were right (it had to do with a passive FTP issue that one of my customers had, and it was probably a firewall on their computer).

    The answer above about "30 seconds" is also true; they auto-acknowledge your tickets like most everyone else. But they don't count that as a response, and neither do I.

    So, from my experience, with 25 support tickets, it averages 30 minutes for a resolution. Not a response, but a resolution.

    Thanks fshagan for your review. Its appreciated.

  18. #18
    Thank you all for the valuable input. I took the boards suggestion and registered a Domain name today. This now keeps me out of having to choose a host that provides domain names. I am going to look into MDD as well as the others mentioned. For this being a forum, is there something instead of the unlimited bandwidth I should be looking for? And I would think that having a certain amount of emails would be a good incentive?

  19. #19
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    Maybe finding a host with upgrades on demand until you find out what your AVG usage is?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by nerdie View Post
    32 seconds.
    haha so true. They respond almost immediately (I'm trying to get out of the habit of saying "he").
    My personal blog -- rubiverse.net

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by flam316 View Post
    haha so true. They respond almost immediately (I'm trying to get out of the habit of saying "he").

    Hello flam

    If you dont mind me asking, Which package did you choose to go with MDD ?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Farrukh View Post
    Hello flam

    If you dont mind me asking, Which package did you choose to go with MDD ?
    The most basic package they offer.
    My personal blog -- rubiverse.net

  23. #23
    Since Ive gotten so many other answers I figured I'd keep going.
    I started using MDD as my host today and linked my domain. Are there any basic videos or tutorials for someone brand new on how to set up their website from scratch? I tried the how to videos in cpanel, but I am still extremely confused. Any suggestions would help. Thanks.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    Since Ive gotten so many other answers I figured I'd keep going.
    I started using MDD as my host today and linked my domain. Are there any basic videos or tutorials for someone brand new on how to set up their website from scratch? I tried the how to videos in cpanel, but I am still extremely confused. Any suggestions would help. Thanks.
    Assuming you want to use phpBB for your forum software, and you want people to reach the forum when they type "http://yourdomain.com" in their browser, go into cPanel and click on "Softaculous" in the "Software / Services" section. It will load, then click on "Forums" in the left column, then "phpBB" when the "Forums" section expands.

    Across of the top of the "phpBB" page will be a menu; click on "Install". You will get a page of options; you can accept the default on most except for:

    In directory: (leave this blank)

    Site Name: (your choice!)
    Site Description: (your choice!)
    Board email: (your email address)

    Admin Username: (put a unique username here, replacing "Admin")
    Admin Password: (put a fairly complex password here, but don't include special characters like "&", "$", "#", etc., as some of the scripts choke on them and you won't be able to log in. Use letters and numbers only).
    Admin Email: (your email)

    And then click "Install". Its amazingly fast.

    You will then do all your configuration of the forums from within the phpBB admin interface.

  25. #25
    fshagan, thank you for the help. I have successfully set up my phpBB. Now being new to this I need to find out what people use for their settings? And how to maximize protection for my website? Do you know how I access my controls to start designing my site? And can I take it offline while I am under construction?
    Sorry for all the questions, but you all are helping me a great deal!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    fshagan, thank you for the help. I have successfully set up my phpBB. Now being new to this I need to find out what people use for their settings? And how to maximize protection for my website? Do you know how I access my controls to start designing my site? And can I take it offline while I am under construction?
    Sorry for all the questions, but you all are helping me a great deal!
    It's all in the admin panel for phpbb. You can take it "offline" and work on the site with a message that it's offline people will see. You can do a lot of things to a phpbb forum, I used to do custom mods for them but people can be so demanding that I stopped.
    WHT is now used as the Universal Hosting Helpdesk.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeyr View Post
    It's all in the admin panel for phpbb. You can take it "offline" and work on the site with a message that it's offline people will see. You can do a lot of things to a phpbb forum, I used to do custom mods for them but people can be so demanding that I stopped.

    Zeyr, what do the custom mods do? I have seen them talked about quite a bit.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    fshagan, thank you for the help. I have successfully set up my phpBB. Now being new to this I need to find out what people use for their settings? And how to maximize protection for my website? Do you know how I access my controls to start designing my site? And can I take it offline while I am under construction?
    Sorry for all the questions, but you all are helping me a great deal!
    Start here: phpbb.com documentation and configure away!

    phpBB has some great, helpful people in their forums, so check them out. There are dozens (hundreds?) of options to go through to get your forum set up and tweaked just right, but you should be able to get a basic forum up and running in a day or so starting from scratch.

    One caveat: for all open source projects, there are a ton of add-ins, plug-ins or mods that are created by the user community. Some are fantastic and some are, well, crap. Be careful loading up on every mod available, every bell and whistle, because its a little like chrome on a Cadillac; too much and the thing looks like, well, crap.

    Start with the basic, out of the box configuration, and then go from there. If you add a mod, wait for a week to see if it causes any trouble. Makes it much easier to trouble shoot that way!

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by fshagan View Post
    Start here: phpbb.com documentation and configure away!

    phpBB has some great, helpful people in their forums, so check them out. There are dozens (hundreds?) of options to go through to get your forum set up and tweaked just right, but you should be able to get a basic forum up and running in a day or so starting from scratch.

    One caveat: for all open source projects, there are a ton of add-ins, plug-ins or mods that are created by the user community. Some are fantastic and some are, well, crap. Be careful loading up on every mod available, every bell and whistle, because its a little like chrome on a Cadillac; too much and the thing looks like, well, crap.

    Start with the basic, out of the box configuration, and then go from there. If you add a mod, wait for a week to see if it causes any trouble. Makes it much easier to trouble shoot that way!
    Thank you very much for the help!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by desibabs4u View Post
    Yes such kind of hosting,you need everything unlimited...
    In practice, I haven't found that to be true. "Unlimited" usually refers to only two of the resources the web host is selling, disk space and data transfer (bandwidth). And things that don't really matter to the forum host ... like email forwarders, email accounts, etc.

    Forums take a pretty heavy toll on a shared environment, and most shared hosts have strict limits on processor, MySQL database connections and RAM usage as well. Those limits are the ones you are more likely to hit up against using a forum, IMHO.

    Disk space is probably the least concern; you can ask around to see what kind of disk space a busy forum consumes. All of the ones I host are under 500MB, except for two. One of those has over 7100 image files, 65k posts, and it is still under 1GB. It is easy to find a host with 1GB of disk space at an economical price.

    That same busy forum peaked at about 18GB of bandwidth last year, but usually runs at about 14GB. Not hard to find a host offering that either.

    But forums hit the MySQL database for every page displayed, and sometimes hosts ... yes, even "unlimited hosts" ... have limits on concurrent database connections. Some hosts ... even "unlimited hosts" ... have low PHP memory limits and won't change them for you, so SOME of your scripts crash and you may not have a clue what is causing it. You have one member who can't update a post, or an image doesn't get resized and you end up with "broken" forum posts.

    So, if you're planning on running a forum, find out what the software itself needs in terms of minimum server specs, PHP memory limit, MySQL database connections and RAM. Read their forums for problems people are having with their host to see if that software runs into problems with MySQL, the newest version of PHP, etc. Or find a host that is familiar with it, and ask what the limits in terms of growth will be; most will be able to tell you that once you reach some number of users on-line at the same time (concurrent users) ... it will probably be a number like 30, 40 or 50 members ... you will need to move from their service to the next level up (VPS or dedicated).

  31. #31
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    Most important point bud is never, ever, ever, have your domain name tied with your hosting account. It's the most stupidest thing to do

    Use GoDaddy or Namecheap as mentioned above & simply point it via the control panel to your hosts nameservers they provide when you sign up.

    For hosting. Good recommendations above but, as you know you get what you pay for & speculate to accumulate

    Forum member FernGullyGraphics at post #10 offers very good advice
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by USMCGRUNT View Post
    Zeyr, what do the custom mods do? I have seen them talked about quite a bit.
    The custom mods did what ever the person asking wanted. From the smallest portal mods to deep admin mods allowing the admin to browse all PMs ever sent on the system without the users knowledge. I've written mods for pulling game stats, allowing extra things in profiles, in forum games, moderator tools not available in vanilla, a mod to send all posts to both a live and backup MySql server, and something as simple as a stats generation.

    The problem came from upgrading and people not knowing the official code itself or my own coding to keep these upgraded (despite extensive commenting). So I was asked every upgrade to come redo everything. I got in trouble for writing the PM mod even though it was a request since it never informed the users all PMs were saved for the admin to see. Basically anything you want phpBB to do that it doesn't natively is a custom mod. So there's millions of things people can think of for you to do. I never once got a shout out, payment, links, or love for the work I did which why I got fed up and left people to figure it out themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by fshagan View Post
    phpBB has some great, helpful people in their forums, so check them out.
    I was one of the people mentioned above. While I may have never submitted mods to be on the official page for at least 2 years people apparently spread word of mouth enough that people knew I could do anything you want to phpBB and I ended up with stacks of requests and a "Thank You" once every 20 mods.
    Last edited by AquaCyclone; 04-02-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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