View Full Version : Advice on starting an online forum

15-07-2015, 05:51 PM
Hi everyone, I am seeking advice on how to set up a basic online forum for an interest group. Ideally members will need to sign up and log in to access the forum. There are no funds for this so I am hoping to start it up and run it initially. Any suggestions or recommendations will be appreciated.

15-07-2015, 07:37 PM
I have no experience of ProBoard (https://www.proboards.com/), but it offers free forums if you don't want to host a forum yourself.

Wikipedia: ProBoards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProBoards)

Whatever you choose, make sure you activate all the anti-spam options.

15-07-2015, 08:30 PM
Thanks. I had a quick look and it suits my needs. Wonder if its worth paying a monthly fee to get rid of the ads?

15-07-2015, 08:54 PM
What's your interest group? Will you be purchasing a domain name or trying to create it for free?

Theres many ways to set this up at zero cost.

Depending on your experience and how much time you'd spend on setting it up to how you want it, usually decides what forum you would opt for, many free hosts provide a lot of the popular forums and is easily set up through their auto installer scripts, many themes to choose if you are not going to theme it yourself and a lot of community made add ons just to give it more features.

I've not heard of ProBoards, but a lot of my interests in forums are the open source type due to having the ability to modify the source to my liking.



15-07-2015, 11:21 PM
It is for a project I am doing and there will be between 50-100 people to share, comments, advice on the project. Instead of sending emails all around I thought it is best to set up a forum to do this. I don't have the resources to purchase a domain or time to host one so am looking for a free site or for minimum cost. However I would like to be the initiator/administrator so that I can monitor the forum. I do not have any experience at all with setting up a forum so any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

15-07-2015, 11:49 PM
I also want to add that only the members are allowed to view and contribute to the forum. Is this possible?

16-07-2015, 12:47 AM
Depending on the forum it is possible.

You change how members are activated by maybe being more involved in the authorising part of it, where you have to view each application and approve each member. This is probably a better approach.

Other ways would be disabling registrations and manually creating each member.

I found working with groups in projects that forums are ok for news and updates or changelogs.

Discussions however can be a bit delayed in forums, in which we created a logged chat, so that if we were available, discussions be real time but we also would not miss anything by logging it and it helps to avoid short posts in the forum.

It just depends on the speed you need to work at, most of our projects usually needed better means of communications, including contacting people in other means if urgently required.



16-07-2015, 07:56 AM
You could just use Google groups. I manage one for my friends here to keep in touch with what we are each planning for the weekends works really well.

16-07-2015, 10:14 AM
You could try mybb.com I used it for several years... its pretty easy to get used to, there's lots of support in their own forums, and its fun to learn. And of course its completely free.

16-07-2015, 03:46 PM
Ooops... it was phpbb that I used. Really good.

16-07-2015, 06:40 PM
Oh..I had a look at mybb.com and it seems quite OK. Does phpbb offer free hosting as well? Their site have suggestions for hosting sites so I assume they don't offer free hosting. ProBoard, mybb.com and Google Group all offer similar features so will test drive them this weekend and let everyone know of my progress. Thanks for all your help. Keep any suggestions coming.

17-07-2015, 09:58 AM
Does phpbb offer free hosting as well? Their site have suggestions for hosting sites so I assume they don't offer free hosting.Nope, you have to have a site hosted for you. But a basic hosting package can be had for as little as $10 per month. If your members contributed just 50c each it would be affordable.

17-07-2015, 01:50 PM
Yes there is! and the setup is pretty much automated, so you don't have a steep learning curve at all - very easy.
Should be just what you are wanting actualy.
You can use their generic url or make a custom one of your own


Here's a you tube vid showing registartion and complete setup... in 5 minutes or so
Much diferent to the huge learning curve I had to go thru 14 years ago LOL

but not having to worry about server config or databases makes it easy - and again, is probably just what you need if you have no knowledge on forum structures at this time


17-07-2015, 04:55 PM
Had a quick look at the video and it seems quite simple and will suit my needs. Thanks. prophpbb and phpBB are different sites - URL are so similar that can be confusing. phpBB only offers software and does not host.

17-07-2015, 06:41 PM
You can get free hosting with most popular open source forums that can be installed with http://www.softaculous.com/ where you can demo each forum there and other software they provide.

The only thing is the subdomains available may not suit you.

You can sign up for https://byethost.com/index.php/free-hosting

They seem to be quite good from my own experience.