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Pre-Sale questions (From basic - complex (for me))

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  • Pre-Sale questions (From basic - complex (for me))

    Hello all,
    As you can probably see from when I became a member I became interested in using vbulletin back in 2004. For many reasons I didn't go foward with my ideas but now I am finally set & able to give it a try. I am extremely interested in buying vbulletin in the near future but I have several questions I hope can be answered here before I purchase the product. I would like to make it VERY CLEAR that when it comes to building sites, programming, etc. I am a COMPLETE NOVICE. I believe I have a cool idea and I am willing to learn. I apologize in advance if some questions are really basic. Ok here come the questions…
    1) First off I will be working on an apple computer. I noticed the manual is set in windows and was wondering if there will be any difficulty or differences working on a mac?
    2) I already bought the domain. What are the correct procedure for setting up the forum? I want to build a main page and a few other pages? Can that be done anywhere else then uploaded after? I guess the question is where does this all come together? Is there a backdoor login through my site that I load vbulletin and put it all together? (I know this might sound dumb but I literally have no idea how to build a site)
    3) I know I need to pick a host & I know they need PHP & MySQL but is there an estimate on the amount of space I will need and any other features I should look for? Any suggestions on a host?
    4) I see a ton of site that offer Vbulletin services from skins to actually implementing everything for you. I came across, which has a plethora of services. Has anyone used this site or something like it and do your recommend using them or another service. I guess the question boils down to how hard is setup, customization, & implantation?
    5) Is it simple to add advertisement (google ads, banners, etc.)? Is that something that is done through Vbulletin or do I have to learn that on my own.
    6) If I build the other pages using WYSIWYG software (like freeway express – for macs) can I add this to the site? Where is this all managed?
    7) How do you go about watching the content put on your sight. Are there ways to automatically block certain words and content. Are there moderator services I should purchase since I have a day job?
    7) Do I have to get a copyright, trademark, & LLC for protection?

    I'm sure there are many other questions that I will think of this week before I purchase the software but I want to thank you in advance for your help and insight. I am pretty set on using vbulletin and I just want to make sure I'm not getting in over my head.

    If there are any other questions you think a novice should know please let me know as well.

    Thank you VERY much,

  • #2
    Hi there;
    1) I would like to assure you that using Apple computer will have no problem with running vBulletin. I've installed vBulletin using other people's Apple computers before, and the procedures stands the same (you will need to use a few different softwares though).

    2) You will need to get a hosting account first; but you can certainly build them locally on your computer first, and then upload them later.

    3) Due to liability issues beyond our control (IE: "But you suggested host blah, and now they're down and I don't have my backup ... "), we do not officially provide any suggestions/recommendations. We do, however, have a "vBulletin Hosting Options" slightly lower down, and the community usually does help with provide recommendations on what they're happy with.

    4) Same as above reason, we cannot recommend on any third party services. Sorry.

    5) Yes, assuming you have your advertiser lined up, you can simply insert their code into your forum's template. We can also help you on where to insert them if it is not overly complicated

    6) You will need to upload it to your host... and the organization of that etc. is completely in your control. Your host may provide you an interface to upload files, or you can probably use an FTP client software to do that. [Google for "Mac FTP Client" will get you some results]

    7) vBulletin does offer a built in profanity filter which you can use to filter contents appearing on your forum. You will need to moderate it on yor own, or get some buddy of yours to help with other sorts of issues though. We do not provider moderation service nor can we recommend one (same as above reason)

    7... part 2) That depends on how you registered your firm locally. Using the vBulletin software does not change any of that. There is only one restriction that you cannot remove the copyright message for the vBulletin software at the bottom of each page. You can purchase a branding free option, but it will not allow you to rebrand the software.

    Please feel free to post back if you have any other questions
    Best Regards,
    Andy Huang


    • #3
      Hey Andy,
      Thank you very much for that speedy response - I am really impressed at the speed and depth of your response. I have a couple follow up questions if you would be so kind.
      1) What do you mean by using different software? Do you just mean apple just uses different steps or I am going to have to use 3rd party software?
      2) I guess the real question here is (and this incorporates a couple other questions) – Now that I have a domain and that’s it & lets say I purchase Vbulletin what else do I need and what are the procedures for setting everything up (what comes 1st,2nd,etc.). That includes a website. Is uploading the vbulletin board and the web pages I create done in a back office that is provided by my host? And do I custom make my pages with software like freeway express and add vbulletin in the back office of my host? Or is it done in the software itself?
      3) What should I look for in a host? What are all the requirements?
      4) So advertisers – lets just say Pepsi would give me code and there is an option within your bulletin to put that code in? How do you know what size banner can go there and how many can there be?
      5) As far as the legal stuff is concerned – do most people trademark there logo and copyright the site so it won’t be stolen? I just don’t want a lawsuit on my hands if I don’t catch something a user puts up.

      Thanks a million once again! I am increasingly excited to finally get my ideas up and running and I appreciate your insight.


      ***Just another note*** I just went on freeway's website and I found this in there support page:
      "Bulletin Boards
      Freeway cannot build bulletin boards or a forum based site on its own. You will need some external code to do this.

      There are bulletin boards available for most server types, and quite a few are available for free. You would need to create an account on the server, and then link to the forum from your Freeway created site. One such service is provided by

      You can also download bulletin boards to install on your own server. For these to work, you would normally require some form of database running, so check with your ISP about what you can use before you commit to a solution. One fairly simple bulletin board to set up is This reqyuires you to have PHP and MySQL running on the server. Again, you will have to set this up separately from Freeway and link to it from your Freeway created site."

      Regardless of the forum software they suggest because I like vbulletin better they say I will have to download on the server and link it to my freeway created site. Is that a normal procedure and an easy one? Again, is that done in the "back office of the host"?

      Thanks again,

      Last edited by NYU02; Sat 23 Jun '07, 7:42pm. Reason: found more information


      • #4
        Hi there;
        1) By different softwares, I mean different editing tools. For example, in the install documentations, it says:
        To edit the config.php file, you will need to open the file in a text editor such as Windows® WordPad. (Note that we do not recommend that you use Windows® Notepad to edit config.php, as Notepad has problems displaying the line breaks in some file types.)
        On Apple computers, you will need to use any text editor equivelent. Since I'm not a regular Mac user, unfortunately, I cannot tell you the name of the application you would need.

        2) First step would be to find a host... This more than often will take some time... Details of this will be slightly touched upon in 3 below. You will then need to aquire a vBulletin license, and we have two options available for you; leased license or owned license. Leased license is only valid for one year and must be renewed in order to continue to use the software, where as owned license allows you to run it forever. You can decide which one you want based on budget availablility and which ever one suites you the best.

        After you've found a host and aquired a license, you can install vbulletin, and we have a detailed documentation on how to install vbulletin available. You can always ask us questions if you encounter any problems, and we will always be more than happy to help you resolve them within our abilities. As previously mentioned, you will more than likely require a different software to upload the software (in the documentation it mentioned SmartFTP, which unfortunately does not have an Apple version; there are other FTP clients available for Apple users though).

        If you create additional webpages, you can simply upload them (again using another FTP client) and organize them on your host. If you would need to add links to them in your forum, we can also provide you with tips on how to add linkings.

        3) When looking for host, you should look for starters what they can offer you. Don't be fooled and just look for high allocations on disk space and bandwidth; many hosts practice what is known as "over selling" which litterally means selling more than what they have to offer in hope that not everyone make use of their full allocation. When you find a host that suites your need, also compare their background and stability. If someone offers a lot of resources, but server is constantly going down, then you can't really keep your forum online. If a company is newly formed, and or are less regarded upon by everyone, there may be the off chance that they might go out of business and you may in turn lose your site and backups.

        Keeping those in mind, you shoul look for something that works for you, and your budget. A good place to start is our hosting forums as mentioned earlier, additionally, you can also look at popular places such as

        4) Generally speaking, Google and other ad providers will let you know the size of their ad, and you will be able to see the size etc. on their website. You can then think about where it would suite the best on your website, as well as whether or not it will interupt the flow of your visitor reading your website. Once you've decided on a location, we can certainly help you on the placements

        5) Legally speaking, if your web presence is a company, then it should be registered. If your web presence is related to just yourself (IE: forum for family members and friends for example) and does not require any legal protection, then you can consider not registering it. However, I am not too well educated in legal field, so to prevent any possible issues, you will more than likely want to consult with a lawyer locally, to find out all the legal requirements that you are obligated to be in compliance with and what not.

        Please feel free to post back if you have any other questions I can help you with
        Best Regards,
        Andy Huang


        • #5
          Andy, thank you very much! I have to step away from the computer for about half a day but I am going to take your advice and do some more homework and I'm sure I will have some more questions when I get back.

          Thanks again!


          • #6
            Hey NYU02,

            You can check out my site for Cool OSX Apps.

            For a free, easy to use, and intuitive text editor on the Mac, you should check out Smultron.

            You can also search for a great FTP editor on my site (link above) and you will find many results.

            Hope that helps, and if you have any questions about editing vBulletin on a Mac, don't hesitate to ask me!
            The Relationship Forum
            The Relationship Forum is the best online forum for getting advice and help about romantic and non-romantic relationships, dating and marriage advice, and love.


            • #7
              Hey bmc,
              Your site is pretty cool - thanks for the help? I guess I can direct this question to you since you use macs.

              I want to build a site using freeway (express or pro) with one of the pages being a vbulletin. Is that possible? If not is there another WYSIWYG software that you recommend although I hear great things about freeway.

              Also does one even have to do with the other - can I build a site using freeway and just add the bulletin with the host - im so confused about this.

              Thanks for answering novice questions,


              • #8
                It looks to me that Freeway is a web design tool that builds content pages.

                vBulletin is a forum script that requires PHP and MySQL. PHP is a programming language. MySQL is a database engine. vBulletin is written in PHP and stores the data in a MySQL database.

                Your website on the other hand will be build up of web pages and graphics.

                So you should have no problem setting up your website in Freeway and then putting a "Forum" button that takes you to the forum, and then a "Home" button on the forum that takes you back to your website.

                The only reason it would get complicated is if you use some kind of script(s) like a blog or calendar on the rest of your website that requires people to login, because I'm guessing you'd want people to login ONCE and their account be good for both the vBulletin forum as well as the rest of your website. That's a topic that is a bit complex and is handled at

                As for Mac applications for getting vBulletin up and running, as mentioned you need a text editor like SimpleText or bbEdit (bare bones edit) which will not alter the formatting of the file. Opening the configuration file in Word would probably mess it up.

                And you need an FTP program. A lot of Mac users use Fetch. I find it rather primitive and prefer FileZilla. It can be a little tricky to get FTP going but once it's set up, it's like dragging files from one folder to another and easy to use.


                • #9
                  Hey feldon23,
                  Thanks for that info - Just a little confused about some basics aspects of what you said.

                  "So you should have no problem setting up your website in Freeway and then putting a "Forum" button that takes you to the forum, and then a "Home" button on the forum that takes you back to your website."

                  This is where I keep getting confused: ( as a nonvice with no web knowledge) How do I link the forum with the site built in freeway? Is that done in freeway or elswhere. ALSO, I build the site in freeway BUT where is vbulletin built? (in it own software?) and where to I link the two? (at the ftp/host?)

                  Those are the links I keep getting confused about?

                  Also how hard is it to custom skin the forum and is that done in the software provided by vbulletin? Is it complicated?

                  *On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most difficult) how hard is it to create a custom vbulletin?

                  THANKS AS ALWAYS,


                  • #10
                    vBulletin is already 'built' - it is a complete web application. You get the files that make up the application, which you would probably place in a sub-directory (folder) on your website - for example You could then just link from your website to /forum, and go there. You can customize the forum to look like your website by editing the header and footer templates and the style options, which 'wrap' the forum in your websites look and feel.

                    If you don't want a 'website' to go with your forum (ie the forum will be the main thing your users see when they go to then you shouldn't really need to 'build' anything with freeway express, although you will probably find it helpful when editing templates. TextEdit is probably the only thing you need to get a working version of vB running.

                    Then you just need to edit one file (config.php) and tell it how to login to MySQL and what database to use. Your host should probably be able to give you this information. There is then an install script which you run, which populates a MySQL 'database' - a big data store basically, which holds all the users, posts, etc.

                    You then login to the 'admin control panel' and customize the application by editing templates, altering phrases, etc. You can also add plugins and products, which provide additional functionality or change the way that something works. This can be found at

                    You can (kind of) liken vBulletin to an application, and your 'website' to a word document or the such - you have to start from scratch with the word document, write your content, etc. But you install an app, and then customize it using the preferences panel. You don't have to write the app in the first place - the app in this case is 'vBulletin'. It's a bit of a rubbish analogy, and please don't think for a second that you can just 'install' vbulletin on a computer like that, it's just a way of thinking.

                    You might like to give the admin demo a go to see how vb 'works' and how you can customize it.

                    Regarding difficulty of install, as long as you can read instructions and have a tiny amount of intuition, I'd say 1

                    GoXplore! | The Big Design Company | Athena Protects


                    • #11
                      Let's say your website is Your pages that you built in Freeway will be something like:

                      then you typically put the forum in its own folder so there is no conflict between your files and it:

                      Setting up how vBulletin looks, at least as far as color scheme and borders, is done from within the vBulletin control panel. There's a whole CSS color control panel that you use to customize how it looks. You can replace any of the graphics used by vBulletin just by uploading different graphics.
                      Last edited by feldon23; Tue 26 Jun '07, 5:05am.


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