Are you a forum owner, or would you like to be? Forums require a script and hosting to run. I’ll quickly go over some of the basics that you’ll need to setup your own forum. First off the script, I prefer vBulletin, but you can use IPB as well as free scripts like SMF, phpBB and MyBB.
I choose vBulletin for a number of reasons, one being the upgrades. As I previously mentioned, I had used phpBB before switching to vBulletin. I hated updating all the php files when you needed to do an upgrade on a modded phpBb forum. I’m not sure if the current version of phpBB has easier upgrades, but I’d had enough of phpBB. Time for vBulletin the professional forum script; I had looked at IPB (the other paid alternative) but was not impressed with the actual look of the forum from a users point of view. I used vBulletin for the first 9 months and it was great, then they released the plugin and product system which allowed mods to be with one upload and a click of a button. The product/plugin addition also made the upgrades much easier. You could update a fully modded forum in a matter of seconds, you still need to update each of the templates but you’re still saving time of updating php files.
One of the great addons for vBulletin is a product called vBSEO. vBulletin Search Engine Optimization in one single product. You can do a number of the tweaks that vBSEO does with other addons, but you can’t do everything and who really wants to install 20 hacks to take the place of one? Not to mention the strain 20 hacks will have on your forum and that’s just 20 more chances for a security exploit. vBSeo is the #1 SEO script for vBulletin, I will not start a forum without it. Even if it’s a very small forum, and low on funds, you have to take every advantage that you can in optimizing your forum for search engines.
So if you want the best forum possible, you’ll want vBulletin and vBSEO. Now we can talk a little about hosting. You should be able to get a good host for less than $10 a month to start off. Then as your site goes, you’ll need to extend your hosting packageto cover the traffic and bandwidth that your site will be consuming. If you want to host several sites, you may want to look into a VPS or virtual private server. That’s what I use on my websites it allows me total control that your shared hosting plans aren’t going to give you.
I’ll be posting some articles on building back links and advertising for your forums in the near future. If you do need any help setting up your vBulletin forum or would like to talk on the phone and brainstorm topics for your forum, you can contact me at my Professional vBulletin Services pages on one of my other blogs.