How to create a forum? How to have your own forum? In 2018, forums are still useful for chatting online. Users like these forums to discuss and share information, photos or videos.
The methods for achieving a forum have evolved in recent years and there are two solutions to make a forum:
- Use an existing forum engine and host it on its server.
- Use a free web host.
Depending on your computer skills but also your budget, you will have to choose between hosting the forum yourself or entrust the hosting to a free platform but have some advertising displayed.
We will explain why and especially how to create a forum or a message board. All about creating a discussion forum in 2018!
Do you need a forum?
A forum is primarily a community site that allows Internet users to gather and discuss in an orderly manner. Thus, the first role of the forum is to allow members to create topics for discussion and publish messages.
If you have a passion, the forum is the perfect website to create a community around what you love. Thus, many Internet users choose to create an RPG forum, gaming, on animals, football or cars and motorcycles. Everyone is free to create a forum on the theme of their choice.
If you are a brand or a professional, the creation of a forum makes it possible to gather the customers and interested persons in the same space online.
Football clubs and singers often see forums created by fans. This makes it easy to chat with fans and exchange information.
In summary, a forum is the best way to exchange between enthusiasts. If you’re looking to talk to people with similar ideas and interests, a forum is perfect for that!
Solutions to create a forum
Here is a comparison of the solutions that exist to create a forum online for free or not
Solution 1: Install a forum on its server
The first solution for creating a forum is to opt for self-hosting. In this case, you will have to install the forum software, host the forum on a server and administer it yourself.
Using a forum software like phpBB, Invision or vBulletin requires the creation of a database and a space on your server. The steps to follow to install depend on the motor chosen.
In any case, you must have a minimum of computer knowledge: domain name, management of a server, MySQL, PHP… Whether it is the installation of the forum system or its configuration, these skills you will need to set up your community.
For example, here is the tutorial for how to create a phpBB forum hosted on your server:
- Purchase the domain name of your forum via a registrar.
- Connect the domain name to a specific folder on your server. For example a folder named “forum”.
- Then download the phpBB installation ZIP file on their website.
- Unzip the installation file on your PC and transfer them to the chosen folder on your server for the forum via FTP software.
- Create a database and make note of the access information: database name, user name, address and password.
- Then, open your web browser and enter the domain name of the forum. You arrive on a configuration page.
- Fill in the database information and confirm the installation of the phpBB forum.
- Your forum is now created and accessible online.
By hosting your own forum and database on your server, you have control over your entire community.
However, this solution has a high cost. It takes 12 dollars per year for the domain name, 30 dollars per year for an SSL certificate to have a secure forum via HTTPS and 100 dollars per year for hosting. An average budget of about 140 dollars per year to create a forum on its server.
Some forum software is paying off unlike phpBB which is open-source. As a result, you will need to add between 300 and 500 dollars per year to create an Invision or vBulletin forum for example.
Solution 2: Create a forum on a free web host
The second solution is to create a free forum using an external service. Some platforms are specialized in creating online forums and offer you to create a completely customizable forum for free. Forumotion is one of the biggest host of free forums on the Internet.
By creating your forum on a free host, you enjoy a modern forum with advanced features. Indeed, Forumotion has specialized in creating forums for more than 10 years and has added many new features on their free forums: mobile application for forums, classifieds, CMS publications…
But there is a disadvantage: you will not have access to the database of the forum and the server on which it is hosted. Basically, you can do everything except migrate your forum on your own server or another host. This constraint is to know before creating its forum even if for 99% of the users of the free forums, it is not a constraint.
Therefore, no need for computer skills to create a forum on a free web host. The creation and customization of the forum are very easy and require a few minutes!
Here are the steps to create a free forum on Forumotion, the leader of hosting free forums in France for 10 years:
- Access the Forumotion website by clicking here.
- Click on “Create a forum” to access the free forums creation form.
- Then choose the “ModernBB” version and proceed to the next step.
- Fill in the information of your forum as well as yours.
- Validate the creation of the forum. Your forum is now available online, you just have to configure it and customize it.
Once the creation is complete, you can fully customize your forum: choose a theme adapted to the theme of your community, set up a custom domain name or secure your forum with the HTTPS protocol.
So, host his forum on his server or use a free forum host?
At first glance, it can be motivating to install a forum software on its server and to host it yourself. This solution can be interesting as long as you have the skills to host your own community. But also that you have a budget of 100 to 150 dollars per year for this forum.
A forum is usually a space to chat with friends or fans. It is rarely a professional community. As a hobby and passion, is it necessary to choose a paid solution to create a forum? The answer is no!
The creation of a free forum on Forumotion will meet all your needs. Above all, you will have all the necessary tools to support your community and animate it effectively. Indeed, Forumotion offers many options to evolve the forum and meet the needs of your members.
The free forums on Forumotion are optimized for search engines compared to forum systems such as phpBB or Invision for example. Indeed, the design is modern, the URLs are SEO-friendly and the forum is mobile-friendly. What create a forum that will be well indexed and therefore visit by many Internet users interested in forum discussions.
Finally, it is Forumotion who will take care of the maintenance of the servers (update of PHP versions, of the database…). In other words, you can create and fully customize your free forum without any technical constraints!