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OT - setting up a forum

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  • OT - setting up a forum

    I want to set up a forum for the canine rescue I work with.

    We only have about 100 members, so I don't need anything that is too fancy.

    Can anyone suggest a software that is EASY to set up...and possibly cheap?

    What I'd really like is one that I can set up on the free as a demo, just so I can sell the idea to the group members.

    Right now we are using yahoo groups, and it has it's issues.

    I know there are people here that have set up forums, so that's why I ask.

  • #2
    phpbb is free

    Look for some of the packaged bundles of hacks. They can turn out to be pretty good. Be forewarned - you well end up learning .php .mysql and some server side applications before you are 1 year into this thing


    • #3
      Do you have your own server? Is a forum best or would a mail list be more effective? Each has their purpose though a mail list is less maintenance and less impact on day to day operations. Forums grow and grow and you finally have to decide to archive off something or face a growing cost of disk space and tape backup. Mail lists rarely break, but forums break all the time. Forums are time consuming to run right.

      I host a lot of mail lists but only one forum for a roller derby org - odd enough nobody's very interested in taking on a forum but many like the mail lists.

      Anyway - phpbbs and derivatives and look alikes work fine and are free, but you should buy a professional forum product. It will save you time in the long run and pay back the cost of the software. As has been pointed out, you will be put in the position of understanding more about Apache web servers, MySql, and PHP than you ever wanted to know. Then your users will start complaining about your ads


      • #4
        If you don't want to set up your own from scratch, or don't have a server of your own, there are some fairly decent free forum hosts out there. Delphi seems to work pretty well. Delphi forums require participants to register. Lots of options, thought I'm not sure how many are available for the basic free forum setup. However, they even host online attachments for non paying members.

        Another, with fewer features, but also free, is Voy Forums. Open posting (no registration), with captcha to keep the bots out:


        • #5
          I've set up and run several. See review at

          for a decent rundown.

          I've used several free packages but always end up using phpBB2. If your host has cPanel and Fantastico, it will even install phpBB for you, set up the database, etc. Use the basic install as your demo. If your members like it, make whatever mods you think would help at your leisure. Some of the security mods are worthwhile to keep out spammers. phpBB has a hefty number of well-documented mods.

          I have hundreds of members and thousands of messages on my fora, and phpBB handles them just fine.


          • #6
            Simple machines is free and very powerful. Every bit good as the stuff this forum runs or better. It kicks the crap out of phpbb.


            You can set one up for free at

            You wont need to know any coding. It is open source so if you want to tweek it you can.

   Runs it.


            • #7
              Originally posted by tattoomike68
              Simple machines is free and very powerful. Every bit good as the stuff this forum runs or better. It kicks the crap out of phpbb.
              I've set up a SMF forum. It's OK, I suppose. After using it for a day or two I went back to phpBB2.


              • #8
                I run and maintain 4 forums, and SMF is by far the most user friendly, and is more suited to those who don't have much experience. Also, if you want to add a portal, Tiny Portal integrates perfectly.

                I now only use phpBB2 for one site, and that's only because it uses a mod that isn't available for anything else. It's now very dated, and phpBB3 just doesn't have the mods available to make a it worthwhile contender yet.

                Vbulletin (that this site uses), is by far one of the most advanced and feature rich forum packages, but is overkill for lots of sites. You also have to pay to use it.


                • #9
                  Whatever yo do dont have an open forum as all the idiots in the world will gravitate and leave the forum in a mess. The one I had had so many idiots leave childish (and some not so )messages I ended it and havnt bothered since!
                  I have tools I don't know how to use!!


                  • #10
                    I've been playing with vbulletins demo...this one should work ok

                    price isn't bad....would you pay for the one time license, or buy the lease? ($160 vs $100 / year)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by snowman
                      I've been playing with vbulletins demo...this one should work ok

                      price isn't bad....would you pay for the one time license, or buy the lease? ($160 vs $100 / year)
                      For a mere 100 members? That's just wacky.


                      • #12
                        I wonder if yahoogroups would be an option?



                        • #13
                          We currently have yahoo sucks

                          it's not a hobbiest site where someone can spend hours upon hours learning their way around new software, i want it done for me...i also need something reliable....if i can set up the basic shell in a day and have it up and running, it'll be good. if the other software takes even three hours longer, I can work out in the shop and pay for it out of pocket.

                          the groups logistics can get to be a nightmare, from moving dogs 7 or 800 miles through five or six homes in a day to the multiple steps involved with an adoption...everyone needs to be able to communicate seamlessly. I have sat down with vbulletin demo for two hours and have a shell running with different users having different access capabilities, vbulletin gives me a file i can upload to the server to test compatibility....and for a few bucks extra, they offer me the ability to talk to someone on the phone to resolve any issues that i can't figure out.

                          if i'm missing something about vbulletin, PLEASE tell me. I thought that the software was A LOT more expensive than what it is.


                          • #14
                            Well, it's a lot more expensive than the free ones.

                            Any forum package will do what it sounds like you need.

                            The only thing I've seen vBulletin do that every other package doesn't do is allow different access levels for admins. Typical forum software allows the admin to set every user at a certain level - guest, member, mod, or admin. The admin can determine that, say, guests can read but not post, or that guests can read but not see avatars or use the forum e-mail or private messages, etc. Mods can do things members can't, admins can do everything. vBulletin allows a sort of sub-admin. That way you, the admin, can set up the forum and ignore it after appointing a sub-admin. The sub-admin can do the routine administrative tasks but isn't able to take over the forum completely. In some cases it might be useful, but most of us get along fine without that feature.


                            • #15
                              We need that option. Using one of the pages from the wikepedia article you posted, only two forum packages offer what we need, going through their "wizard". VBulletin and some other one which I do not like due to the formatting.