Starting free forum with proboards

HallofFamer

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Sep 6, 2010
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Exactly plus to be honest if you have no money or anyway to afford these very cheap methods, then you must really ask yourself do i really want to run a forum? For me giving up ownership of a forum to proboards defeats the object of running your own boards, How can you say its yours when clearly according to their TOS its not?
You are completely right. Although foruming is not just about investing money or time, it does require at least a certain degree of dedication. If you cant even bother to spend a few dollars a year on hosts, you may not as well wish to run a forum that bad. If its just for fun, then umm...
 

catzmeow

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Mar 7, 2013
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Hi everyone,

I've been reading many threads and I still need some direction on creating a forum. So, this is what I have decided so far...

community focus: women travelers
community budget: $0.00 :hopeless:

Since I have no budget for my forum, I'd like to start off with a free forum. I am a member on several proboards communities and I like the way they are set up and the simplicity of the designs.

Anyway, what do you all think? Have you had experience with proboards? I'd like any information you have about the proboards (good or bad).

Thanks!
Our first forum was with proboards, and then we moved to paid hosting and using MyBB software.

Pro's: proboard is pretty easy for a beginner to use and does offer some pretty good spam protection built-in (we were hit hard when we moved to paid hosting and switched software). It is easy to change the look of the forum and to moderate.

Con's: You lose all of your database. By that, I mean that you lose thousands of posts, all of your members have to re-register, they lose whatever reputation they've built up, and it's super annoying for them.

I would say that we lost about 50% of our registered users when we shifted.

I personally would suggest that you start off with an inexpensive hosting plan (I pay $14.95 monthly for more bandwidth and server space than I may ever use), and use free software like MyBB.

The only downside, to me, with MyBB is that the support forum for MyBB is not as supportive or well-organized as the proboards support forum, so if you are a relative noob, you will spend a lot of time searching for plug-ins and guidance that you need.

Proboards had some built-in plug-ins that I still miss on my current software.
 

HallofFamer

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Indeed, Proboards sucks for both being a forumware and a company that runs with this software. Their forumware is nowhere in the league with both paidwares VB/IPB/Xenforo/Burningboard/UBB and freewares like MyBB/PhpBB/YABB/SMF/PunBB/Zetaboard. I can easily name 10+ forumwares better than their crap, and their notorious TOS only makes this matter even worse lol.
 

japanguitars

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Joined
Mar 15, 2013
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Have you had experience with proboards? I'd like any information you have about the proboards (good or bad).
if you like not being able to export/convert your forum to another service or the monitoring & targeting of your forum by proboards staff then by all means join them.
I wouldn't.
 

pclinger

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Jan 30, 2013
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if you like not being able to export/convert your forum to another service
Our new ProBoards v5 software does allow you to export all of your posts/PMs (just login using your email/password at www.proboards.com, go to Account Settings > Export). The data exports to an easy to use CSV format.

Patrick Clinger
 

bauss

Adherent
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Jun 2, 2012
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Our new ProBoards v5 software does allow you to export all of your posts/PMs (just login using your email/password at www.proboards.com, go to Account Settings > Export). The data exports to an easy to use CSV format.

Patrick Clinger
Even with that feature it's pointless to grow a forum on proboards, and then lose all the SERPs when you move your forum to a new host. It's better to start with your own domain name, and hosting.

It's not hard to install a forum software. I could teach a 5 year old how to do it...
 

HallofFamer

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Even with that feature it's pointless to grow a forum on proboards, and then lose all the SERPs when you move your forum to a new host. It's better to start with your own domain name, and hosting.

It's not hard to install a forum software. I could teach a 5 year old how to do it...
Indeed, proboards is nothing but trash, always was and always will be. What proboards is similar to child abduction, in which they either lie or hide information to keep you unaware of the danger you are in. Many criminals do claim things like 'Hey, the kids willingly followed us, we aint doing this without their consent', but all I have to say is lol.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
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Nov 24, 2005
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I'm not saying you can't grow big on proboards.

But once you do it become glitchy and slow.
That's not the case with this big board running ProBoards.

Link: http://horsegossip.proboards.com/

You have to consider also, what it would cost you paying to run a forum of that size per month on hosting bills. I mean.. do you really want to be paying, or could even afford the cost of running a Big Board? It's a valid question most don't think about when their forum is very small costing next to nothing to keep online. They run it free above I linked to, they don't even use their own domain name with it, that's how bothered they are. And once you have a large forum going with ProBoard, it's really in their own best interest to keep it running well because ProBoards are making money out ads displayed on it, so big boards are their biggest money making asset when you think about it.

I'll admit there can be a few glitches with the forum software, but then you get bugs with all forum software popping up. I have recently reported two spotted on my ProBoads (now confirmed), but is being looked into and one of their developers has even been creating an account on my forum to keep testing if fixed OK yet.

And this is what ProBoards say about having a large community with them.

With ProBoards' free forum hosting service, there are no limits on bandwidth, the size of your membership, number of discussion threads, or forum activity levels. You are welcome to build a community of monumental proportions. Our forums are built to scale for large communities!
 
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cheat_master30

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My opinion is that the problem with Proboards isn't server resources, size or anything of that nature, but ownership. Sure, your forum can grow large on Proboards... but you then can't take the data and move someone else without a lot of hassle and inconvenience.

That might be fine for someone who doesn't take forums seriously or even want to truly 'own' their site, but for many people, using them is a bad choice because it locks them into a specific host and script, as well as makes them stuck with whatever stupid rules and guidelines Proboards chooses.

It's especially relevant if you live outside the US, since Proboards presumably comes under US law.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
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Messages
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My opinion is that the problem with Proboards isn't server resources, size or anything of that nature, but ownership. Sure, your forum can grow large on Proboards... but you then can't take the data and move someone else without a lot of hassle and inconvenience.

That might be fine for someone who doesn't take forums seriously or even want to truly 'own' their site, but for many people, using them is a bad choice because it locks them into a specific host and script, as well as makes them stuck with whatever stupid rules and guidelines Proboards chooses.

It's especially relevant if you live outside the US, since Proboards presumably comes under US law.
It has nothing to do with not taking your forum seriously. Most people who want to move the forum database to their own hosted forum software, only want to do it so they can stick "their own ads up making money", instead of ProBoards making it, once the forum becomes big and they start seeing flashing pound signs. That in most cases would be the number one reason for doing it with most.

I would argue the opposite of what you just said. I went with ProBoards because of these few reasons, could have posted more.

One: I now know the forum can remain up and running without me getting fed up of paying for a dead board (which is main reason I've closed past ones). Don't care now about leaving it running for 20 years, it's free!
Two: I don't have to think twice should the board ever take off in the future and become much bigger, costing a lot more in running costs (would hate to spend years getting a forum to what I wanted, only then to close it down because it cost too much to run). I also don't have the expertise to start messing with servers to run a board board, so suits me to leave all that to ProBoards as the forum grows.
Three: They look after things to keep the board always running, upgrading it, everything. The site uses their forum software on their servers, I never need worry about the forum breaking - that's suits me perfect!

So actually, I went with ProBoards with a bigger intention of keeping this forum board around, than any other I've run before paying to be hosted. So your argument is flawed in my case.
 
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meetdilip

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I must agree, for certain customers, self hosted forums are a boon.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
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My argument would be this to CM30.

Why is so important that you OWN the forum? If your running a board for discussion, that's the "primary reason" for it being there (which should be the case). Not to show ads making you money, or sell on later making money. Then does it really matter who owns it? Just as long as it's always there for using for discussion as a hobby site you enjoy running, using best method to keep it going for future years to come that suits you?
 
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The Sandman

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My argument would be this to CM30.

Why is so important that you OWN the forum? If your running a board for discussion, that's the "primary reason" for it being there, not to show ads making money, or to sell on later making money. Then does it really matter who owns it, just as long as it's always there for using for discussion - as a hobby you enjoy running, using best method to keep it going that suits you?
Well, the other side of the coin is that it's the forum founder who does all the "real" work of making a community work by generating work either directly or indirectly. Once a forum starts generating revenue it's only natural that they feel entitled to some or all of it, even though they might not have even thought about making a profit at the start.

Not that money is the only reason for wanting to own your own board. Unless you own the board you really aren't calling the shots.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
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Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed doing same thing buying commercial forum scripts and paying the host my own forum board for 8 or 10+ years, until my view changed after seeing forum activity not what it was any more. I'm also not saying people shouldn't be entitled to make money out their forum, although.. don't agree with people running forums just for that.

End of the day, it's down to each person. Some always want to run their own forum and be in total control of everything, some don't really care any more about that side of things like me.
 
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GTB

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It's especially relevant if you live outside the US, since Proboards presumably comes under US law.
No big deal. Most people in the UK renting web hosts to run a forum, would usually rent a US based one (not UK). Meaning your forum still comes under US law where the server is located. In fact... over 10 years I've only ever rented one UK based server, all others was US based because they're cheaper to rent.
 
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cheat_master30

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I know that, but it's a point to consider. Indeed, I plan to move my site to a UK based host the minute US law becomes too restrictive or changes in some way I can't stand no longer.

It's why I'm planning for the worst, since I really don't like the way some of the laws in the US are going.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
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Hmm, I'd say that's debatable, the way the UK keeps coming out with these new internet censorship laws. Not sure which country is worse, the US or UK?
 

cheat_master30

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True. But it's nice to have the choice of what country you want your site hosted in, which free hosts can't offer you (and the fact you can't export your forum data makes this worse).

It also means you can:

1. Move your site when you yourself change country. Good I guess if you really, really can't stand the current government.

2. Move it to offshore hosting somewhere so that even if you get arrested you can leave it running.

Being able to choose where you want to host your data also means you can decide to obey your own country's laws and not those of the US where potentially important. Okay, it's not a big deal, but it could be useful if you run a UK forum and want to offer internet gambling or something, since it's a legal industry in the UK and illegal in much of the US. Also, useful if you can change the laws in your own country (via going into politics or petitioning or whatever), since you can then run a forum about a subject with no possible US based competition.

So it's useful to be able to move your site data at will.

Edit: It's also not exactly a UK specific thing. It's just more fair and practical for people living in all kinds of countries, since you can avoid having to obey US specific laws by going with your own paid hosting. Good if you live in Europe (anywhere), Australia, Canada, China, Japan, anywhere in South America or Africa or the Middle East... you don't have to obey the laws of a country you've got nothing to do with, especially if they do stuff seen as questionable. It's also why free hosting like Proboards based in any other specific country is a bad idea too, it locks you into obedience with a legal system you have no real world connection to if you want to keep your forum data.
 
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GTB

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I don't run a Gambling forum.

You looking at it all too deep for me. I only run a general discussion board, not KING DONGS illegal porn forum to be worried about which country it's hosted in.
 
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