In my earlier posts I have mainly targeted existing forum administrators who already have their forum created and running. In this post I am going to explain to new administrators how to create a forum.
There are three things you need to carry out this task of creating a forum:
- Web Hosting
- A Domain Name
- Forum Software
We need to find a home for our forum. Think of a forum as a shop. For a shop to exist it needs a place in a mall. In internet terms our web host is our place in the mall. A web host allows you to store your files online which then in turn can be viewed by the internet. We need a web host to store our forum files. I recommend HostGator, I have used them for years and they even host this Blog! I am really confident in them.
A Domain Name
A domain name is basically an address. If people want to find you they type your address in a browser and bam, they are at your site. Buying a custom domain is really cheap and very effective. If you were to host your forum on a free web hosting service you would not get half the traffic you would if you had a custom domain. You should a select a domain that relates to your forum’s theme. For example, if I had a building website I would not chose cars.com for my domain, I would chose builders.com or something along those lines. For purchasing a domain I would go to NameCheap they are very reliable. To point your NameCheap domain towards your HostGator account check out this post.
There are many forum software available. They range from free to $195. The pricier does not always mean better. vBulletin is the most expensive coming in at $195. It is a great piece of software but can be very intimidating for new forum administrators. I would recommend either choosing MyBB or PHPBB3 to start off your forum and to build experience before purchasing vBulletin. MyBB and PHPBB3 are both free and have very comfortable admin panels so they are very good for beginner administrators.
Installing Your Software
Installing your forum software is very easy. See you forum software’s manual for specifics but it’s more or less uploading the forum package into the root directory and locating the install file and then running it. It could be made easier by installing the software via Fantastico. Fantasitco installs cms, blog and forum software with just a few clicks and can be found in your HostGator cPanel.
Check out another one of my posts which share five tips to starting your board which could make gaining an active member base that bit easier. Leave a comment and share you experiences of starting up your board.