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How to start a web based discussion forum? Suggestions needed! Please help!

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2008, 05:20 PM
jacksonvillechsi jacksonvillechsi is offline
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How to start a web based discussion forum? Suggestions needed! Please help!


Hi Guys,

A friend of mine is interested in starting a large internet forum to discuss hunting, fishing, target shooting, and other outdoors activities. He has asked me for some help in getting things started but I must admit that this is an area where I don't have a lot of experience. I've been involved with computers for many years now but mainly with general PC repair and the desktop support side of things.

I know these questions are rather general and may be hard to answer. I'm just trying to get some opinions that I can pass along to my friend.

1. What all would be involved in setting up a forum? I understand that he would likely use vbulletin or phpBB as the forum software.

2. Would he need to build a dedicated server and have it set up in a data center or could he use one of the "Unlimited" web hosting packages from a company such as Godaddy.com?

3. What type of costs are involved and what should he expect to pay on a monthly basis? Godaddy has hosting packages for $14.99/month with 300GB of space and 3,000GB of transfer. Would a package like this work?

As you can see I'm really lost when it comes to starting up something like this. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated.

James



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  #2  
Old 04-20-2008, 05:27 PM
tajidyakub tajidyakub is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonvillechsi View Post
1. What all would be involved in setting up a forum? I understand that he would likely use vbulletin or phpBB as the forum software.
Just that and finding a decent shared hosting provider where user can install the software (which is very common)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonvillechsi View Post
2. Would he need to build a dedicated server and have it set up in a data center or could he use one of the "Unlimited" web hosting packages from a company such as Godaddy.com?
3. What type of costs are involved and what should he expect to pay on a monthly basis? Godaddy has hosting packages for $14.99/month with 300GB of space and 3,000GB of transfer. Would a package like this work?
That really depend on how much traffic and load the forum will handle (eg. how much visitor, how much user, etc), in general why not start with regular share hosting, you could always upgrade later..

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  #3  
Old 04-20-2008, 05:52 PM
DDT DDT is offline
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Cool

Simple as can be. Most every host has free forum software (I suggest SMF for ease of use & features for a beginner--best of the free ones) then get a hosting account & your domain name and off you go.

No sense sepending money (and being confused) by a powerful & complex forum like vbulletin or Fusion (Fusion would be simpler if you want paid) and phpBB is a lot slower & has more popularity which=more people trying to hack it which=more patches.

GoDaddy is not the place to be (except for domain names) good hosts can be found for less and with better support etc. Some hosts will even support some 3rd party stuff like SMF... with GoDaddy-Nada.

So have fun...and don't start paying a bunch. I had a customer/friend with another website who decided he would do a similar "sportsman's" site for people around this very popular lake where he lived. He got it all tweaked out with current lake levels, fishing reports & everything--really nice forum...and it flopped. I never understood why.
So if he had been on a contract host like GoDaddy and paid for VB or other paid stuffit would have all been money wasted.

But if your forum takes off big-time all hosts (good ones) offer upgrade options and all the forums like VB, Fusion, etc. have importers to automate moving your posts & users from SMF or phpBB...no problems.

You just need a basic but upgradeable hoisting account. With efficient software like SMF you won't outgrow shared until you hit thousands users with 100's on-line at once.
Then you can consider going VPS or dedicated...and remember-unlimited never is, there's no unlimited anything, you get to big and there will be some fine print to shut you down. But to start I bet your first month you won't use 5-10MB disk space and 1-2GB trasfer. Depending on how popular the forum gets it takes lots of users & posts to even get to 5-10MB and 3-4GB transfer. Then it takes LOTS to grow beyond that to like 1GB storage and 100-500GB transfer. Forums just really don't use up much in resources unless they get really big & lots of people on at once (and lots of photo uploads & such extras)

Happy hunting & have fun

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Last edited by DDT; 04-20-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2008, 07:51 AM
carolejones carolejones is offline
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phpBB can normally be setup with any shared hosting plan that allows you to upload your own PHP (or cgi) scripts.

The install script is very simple to walk you through the process. For a new forum, you shouldn't require a lot of storage or traffic usage, so feel free to use phpBB with any web host company.

Once your friends website does start becoming popular though, that is when you need to reconsider where you are hosted at, and whether or not you want to upgrade the quality of service to a new web host company that charges a bit more, but provides more.

Good luck!

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