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Completely new to web development, need help with questions on creating a forum


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#1 Arrow92

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:29 AM

Hello friends!

 

As the title states, I have never ever done anything related to web building/designing. However, one of the things I want to achieve in the next year or two is to set up a forum for a youth group I help out with. While there are guides, and how-tos on how to do that, I'm posting this because there are some questions I have that I have not been able to find the answers to.

 

My apologies if the questions are extremely simplistic or maybe even a little silly. This is just something I would love to create. Having an online platform (such as a forum, not Facebook) where discussions can be created by the youths in my youth group would be a dream come true!

 

 

With that:

 

1. Is it possible to create and own a URL for free, without a particular websites/company's name on it?

-For example, proboards.com offers a .boards.net (which is fine) but I was wondering if it was possible to get a .com for free.

 

2. Websites such as proboards and prophpBB, are they free or the kind of free-up-to-a-certain-point i.e. you have to pay to get features?

-While I'm fine if they require payment for advanced features, I was wondering if they charge for very basic features

 

3. How much of skill and knowledge is required to be able to create my own forum?

-At the moment, my knowledge of web/forum designing and building would be about zero, so while I don't mind taking time slowly learning, I'm wondering what is required of me before I can build a forum.

 

4. Do you have any suggestions for software/websites that meet my criteria to create a forum?

-No payment

-Simple to use

-Good basic functions

 

 

Thank you for your time and have a good day! :)


"I am always ready to learn, although i do not always like being taught" - Winston Churchill

Who ever said that paper beats rock is a moron.Next time i see some one i am going to throw a rock at them while they hold up a piece of paper for a shield. - Anonymous


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#2 groovicus

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:28 PM

You generally cannot get .com domains for free; you can license a .com address from any number of places for under $15USD per year. If you are willing to compromise, there are other domains that are much cheaper, such as .org, or .info. Those will cost maybe 5 bucks a year (your mileage may vary).

 

Creating your own forum takes a tremendous amount of time and skill, and really, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of free options that cover a wide variety of needs. I use Vanilla as my forum software, but there are others such as SimpleMachine and YaBB. It really depends on your needs.

 

The next question you may have is 'How hard is it to set up my own forum?' That also depends on which options are available to you. If you are trying to set it up on your own server, it may take you some time, and you will have to refer heavily to the support documentation. I would expect that most of them have online communities on which you can lean for help.

 

Some hosting companies (I use Namecheap and GoDadday) provide forum software as part of the hosting package. In that case it is a matter of selecting the package on your host, clicking a couple of buttons, and entering some credentials. It is usually pretty painless, and if there are issues, there are huge banks of reference materials to help out, as well as the support that comes from a paid hosting account.

 

And of course price for a hosting package is going to depend on your needs. Namecheap has a hosting package under $5.

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not represent Namecheap in any way. :) I am just a fan of how their control panel works, and the quality of support when I did have issues.



#3 Arrow92

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:51 PM

Hello groovicus!

 

Thank you for your reply. My apologies in regards to stating I want to "create my own forum". I was actually referring to the forum software such as the ones you mentioned (SimpleMachine, YaBB). Perhaps "setting up my own forum" would have been a better way to have phrased it? :D

 

Oh and what is the difference between hosting it on my own server vs using a hosting company?

 

Thanks very much for your time! :)


"I am always ready to learn, although i do not always like being taught" - Winston Churchill

Who ever said that paper beats rock is a moron.Next time i see some one i am going to throw a rock at them while they hold up a piece of paper for a shield. - Anonymous


#4 groovicus

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:00 AM

From an end user standpoint, no difference at all. From your standpoint, hosting it yourself means handling the dns registration on your own, setting up the hardware and operating system on your own, setting up the software on your own, handling security issues on your own, maintenance, a solid internet connection, electricity, and upgrades. It sounds a little daunting, but it can be accomplished if you take some time to learn what you are doing (Weeks, not days).

 

On the flip side, if you choose a commercial hosting package, you mostly only need to worry about site content, and paying your bills. Most hosting providers have good software that will make things comparatively painless to set up. And as I mentioned, with a paid provider, you have someone to turn to when you have issues.






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