actually free hosted forums aren't too bad. don't use them for your actual forum but you can use them to practice coding, or adminskills. ALSO if your website is down or has issues you can have your domain redirect to your freeforum as a temporary holdout for your members when your community is down
I was a long time user of ZetaBoards/InvisionFree, now that they are going to be no more, I moved on to Jcink, because it's the forum software that seems most similar to them. Free is always a plus, but Jcink is easy to customize and has a load of features for being a free forum host. It seems to also have an owner that cares about it too.