It’s important to consider a lot of factors when choosing the best forum host. You have to find a host that offers a good support system with 24/7 technical support, 1-click installation and setup (including free setup), and 99.9% uptime. You need to look at the type of software that they offer including the different versions and more importantly, whether or not they provide the latest updates. The good news is that we’ve already done all the work and have rated the following hosts accordingly.
What is a Forum?
Most people have a general understanding of a forum as a group or space that facilitates open discussion on various topics. While the concept of a forum has been around for centuries, it has become much more relevant in recent years with the growing popularity of online social media platforms like twitter and facebook.
Advantages of Having a Forum
Pretty much any method of communication that enables instantaneous status updates, constant sharing of opinions, or increased feedback from peers and customers is going to be beneficial for your website. Even if you don’t want a forum-centric website, a forum is an easy way and affordable way to keep in touch with your websites’ visitors as well as give them any assistance they may need, especially if you have an e-commerce website. A lot of bulletin boards (forum software) are open source and free, so a lot of the time you don’t even need to bother with any additional cost.
Forum Software (Bulletin Boards):
Without getting into too much detail, you should know that you have a lot of forum software to choose from. At this point, phpBB 3 is considered the most popular and for good reason. It’s free, open source, has a large community of contributors, and has a user-friendly & extensive control panel for admins. However there are a lot of other good options out there like v-Bulletin which not only serves as a bulletin board, but also as a CMS complete with site articles, widgets and blogs. The only downside is that it’s not open-source and there is a licensing fee which ranges from $195.00 & up unless your web host offers it free. There are other popular bulletins such as bbPress from WordPress, miniBB, SMP (Simple Machines Forum, a common alternative for phpBB), PunBB, XenForo and more.
For any online forum, you’re going to need a compatible web host that supports the forum software of your choice or a variety of forum software. But a good forum host does more than just offer phpBB, they provide a choice of forum software including immediate installation and setup, reliable uptime and unlimited bandwidth.
Finding a good forum web host is nearly the same process as choosing any good web host. First decide on the type of plan you need. Most forums work well with a shared web hosting package, especially if it’s a small forum. Still it’s always a good idea to pick a web host that can easily upgrade your plan to VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting, in case your forum continues to grow beyond a shared host’s capabilities. A great advantage of choosing forum hosting instead of a standard hosting provider is that they help you construct your website around a forum and assist you with the installation of the software and setup. But the greatest benefit of having a forum host is that you need absolutely no experience or expertise to be able to setup your new forum. Your web host will have various guides and a technical support team that works 24/7 providing you with all the information you need to know to manage your forum.
Free forum hosting
The problem with free forum hosting is similar to the issues with free standard web hosting. Often there are not enough resources to go around to maintain an effective forum since you’re offered very low bandwidth, no unique domain name, and poor features as well as very little support or no support at all. But if you’re looking to start a small website with a forum to test out the service and you’re not worried about too much traffic or using it for a business, then starting with free forum hosting may be worthwhile.