Create A Successful Forum Without Spending A Dime

The Equivocate

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The Equivocate submitted a new Article:

Create A Successful Forum Without Spending A Dime

So, you want to start a forum, along with everyone else on the web, but you don't have one red cent to your name? Don't get discouraged - you don't have to be rich to start a successful forum. Sure, having some money to spend definately helps, but with the right idea and enough drive, you can "Create A Successful Forum Without Spending A Dime." Let's go step by step through the forum creation process and look at how you can save money or eliminate costs all together.

First and foremost, you'll need software, and a place to run that software. We already know of the big three players; vBulletin, Invision, and phpBB. vB will run you anywhere from $85 to $160 a pop, Invision will put you in the hole $70, and luckily for you, phpBB is free. But if you're like me and phpBB isn't your thing, you do have other choices. XMB, MyBB, YaBB andwtcBB are all sufficient software, with MyBB probably being one of the best. Again, this is all subjective, and based on your planned forum's needs, you need to research them all and choose what's best for your forum.

With all these choices, it's not necessary to go with vBulletin or Invision, but these are two very good products and you may feel more comfortable using one of the two. If you absolutely have to use vB or Invision, there are ways to avoid paying for a license, and I don't mean illegally. It's possible for you to find someone to sponsor your license. This means they will buy the license, keep it under their name, but allow you to use it. In return, they'll probably ask for a static link, free advertising in return, or other services. Because it's hard to find someone that will do this, you should only do this if you're absolutely bent on using vB or Invision but don't have the funds.

Now that you've chosen your software, you'll need a place to host it. This will be the trickiest part, because it will be very hard to find someone to host your forum for free. This is the only part of the article that I will tell you that you really should get yourself a host for a few bucks a month (and technically, you haven't spent any money on the forum itself). But if you're still completely broke, head to some webmaster forums and ask around, usually someone is nice enough to provide you with a little space and bandwidth, most likely in return for advertising....

Read more about this article here...
 
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rex_b

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Feb 18, 2004
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Good article but the larger the risk the larger the reward.
 

dojo

Passionate admin
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Apr 27, 2005
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Excelent article.

I just want to add something. I also thought that a subdomain was good and free hosting. But then I spent half an year developing a site and then realising it's got a lot of potential. I have purchased a small hosting plan and a domain name .. moved and lost some of the traffic.

My advice .. don't start as low as this. At least invest few dollars in a domain and a host. it's a pity to have to move databases and all stuff from one place to another. Better start right ...
 

Black_Mesa

Teh Forum Guy
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Jan 7, 2006
Messages
102
All the money I paid for my website was the domain I bought. I have free hosting, and I have 500 mg, so I think that it isnt that hard to get free hosting, maybe you have to put some ad's on your site, but that's not to bad.
 

rex_b

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Feb 18, 2004
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3,754
I would like to say this article seems a bit misleading to me.

Starting a forum is never cheap and easy.

If you have nothing personally invested into your idea, then what motivation do you have to keep it alive?
 

LeeD

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Jul 1, 2004
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2,116
The article was well thought out, but I am not sure I agree with the premise. At the very end of the article you say:

The Equivocate said:
Good luck with your "investment"!

The whole article is about how to start a forum without an investment. :) To me, the only reason a forum is worth starting is if it will provide a valuable service (good information and so on) AND if it will be profitable. You have to think long term if you are really looking at this as an investment. Free hosting and free forum software will only get you so far IMO. So if you plan on growing and being a REAL help, then you must consider that it will take money to make money and be a success.
 

Zerce

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Aug 26, 2005
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Nice article... although I don't really recommend using phpBB. People use it because it has many hacks, but it is also very unsecure. If going for free software, my very favorite is Simple Machines Forum
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
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708
I use XMB and I can vouch for it. However finding hacks and themes for it is a biit hard.
 

Tha Champ

Enthusiast
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Oct 29, 2005
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176
Sweet. This improoved my registration rates. I guess 1 member a day is better than 0 :p
 

Nemisis

Aspirant
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Jan 29, 2006
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I love it. Thank you so much...I am running on a free site, and would love to get off of it. I had no idea about the Google Adsense...Now I do. Thanks! :)
 

harishkumar09

Participant
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
60
My question is , if I decide to host my forum on my own server , will the amount of money I make with adsense be sufficient to pay back the cost of hosting it ?
 
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