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Brand new to forum hosting. What free service should I start with?

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  • Brand new to forum hosting. What free service should I start with?

    As you can probably tell, I am brand new to this site, and brand new to forum hosting. I actively post at several forums and would like to one day host my own that will hopefully get a lot of traffic.

    My question: I am not looking to spend to much money up front (no money at all, if possible), and am wondering what is a good free forums service that I can start with. I just want something that is good, free, and reliable that will help teach me about being a forums admin. I would like to upgrade to vBulletin once I feel comfortable with the way things work, but for now, I am just in the testing phase. I realize that vBulletin has a demo version, which I am willing to try out, but I would also like to use the free forums to build a solid community, before moving on.

    Also, I am sorry if this is somehow against forum rules, or if this is already covered elsewhere. Please let me know, and I would be happy to delete this thread. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    First you need a website on which to put a forum. If you're a beginner that means you need a hosting service and a domain name. Every hosting service I've seen offers some sort of freebie forum software. You get what you pay for, no freebie is nearly as good as VB. I don't understand the concept of practicing running a forum. Either you do it or you don't. How are you planning to attract members to practice with ? When you feel you've learned are you going to send them away ?

    Try doing a google search for web hosting. You'll turn up scads of cheap choices.

    Steve

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dpatel304 View Post
      My question: I am not looking to spend to much money up front (no money at all, if possible), and am wondering what is a good free forums service that I can start with. I just want something that is good, free, and reliable that will help teach me about being a forums admin. I would like to upgrade to vBulletin once I feel comfortable with the way things work, but for now, I am just in the testing phase. I realize that vBulletin has a demo version, which I am willing to try out, but I would also like to use the free forums to build a solid community, before moving on.
      SMF is free and it's a really great forum

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      • #4
        I do not recommend free forum hosting like EZBoard, ProBoards, etc. because it is difficult or impossible take your data with you once you get a real website and real forum. Most of those websites outright refuse to give you a copy of your data.

        Because of the huge popularity of EZBoard before the catastrophic blunder of 2005 where half their forums got deleted (along with all the backups), vBulletin wrote a "harvester" which actually crawls your EZBoard forum like a search engine, downloads all the threads and posts, and creates a data file you can import into vBulletin. Users still have to re-register and set new passwords though. I went thru this process and Jelsoft (makers of vBulletin) make it as painless as possible, but it's still better to import from a "real" forum.

        I would get a website for $4-7 a month and install phpBB. Most web hosts give you phpBB for free as a push-button-install script. It's a free forum and it's a piece of cake to import into vBulletin.

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        • #5
          thanks for the responses guys. I really am contemplating just jumping into vbulletin forums, instead of opting for a free forum first. My only concern is money.

          I don't mind the one time fee, but the annual fee might be a bit much for me at the moment. I guess I feel that it may go to waste, if I jump into it. I am currently a full time student and part time employee so I have little time to devote to this project of mine, but I guess a once a year fee isn't too bad. If anyone else would like to give me input, it would be greatly appreciated.

          As for the free hosting sites. The free forums will definitely be transferred to vbulletin, so I would like to know a good site that can transfer databases easily.

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          • #6
            vBulletin is either $85 leased per year, or $160 lifetime and anytime you want to buy a year of software updates, it's $30.

            Web hosting is $5-10/month.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by feldon23 View Post
              vBulletin is either $85 leased per year, or $160 lifetime and anytime you want to buy a year of software updates, it's $30.

              Web hosting is $5-10/month.
              oh, I thought it was $160 + $85 per year. Since its not, that makes it seem a whole lot better. Thanks for clarifying.

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