So far, we have touched on how FatCow is suitable for blogs and e-commerce websites. For this article, let’s have a look at how well suited this 100% wind powered hosting provider is for those wishing to create and manage an online discussion forum.
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Online discussions have gained popularity over the recent years having evolved from simple bulletin boards and into forums and threads. Topics can range from the general ones like discussing eating locations to specific ones like requesting for a specialist recommendation in a particular hospital to controversial ones like should the President step down before the next general election! Sometimes, the forum moderator would implement an opinion poll too by asking a question and inviting feedbacks via multi-choice answers.
SimpleScripts Application Installer
Forums require special scripts to be installed. Some of the more common forum scripts (they are free and user friendly too) are bbPress, phpBB, PunBB, Vanilla Forums and SMF. The good news is that FatCow supports all these scripts. In fact, FatCow has implemented SimpleScripts, which is an auto script installer for faster and easier installation of open source web applications.
By using SimpleScripts, you can very easily build a website with advanced features, such as a forum or a discussion board. Basically, you just need a few clicks of the mouse, and you can have a complete forum integrated or installed on your website!
Because of the nature of forums is akin to having an online community, they require fast server processing power and speedy network connection. It is important to check if the hosting provider that you have in mind has the capacity to allow for a smooth flow of threads and posts, especially when your forum gets more popular.
Here’s a short description of a few of the aforementioned forum scripts:
PHP Bulletin Board (phpBB)
For those who are new to forums, phpBB may be the solution. It is the world’s leading open source forum script and for a simple reason too. This script is very easy to install through FatCow Install Central (SimpleScripts) and they even have a tutorial to assist you with this in their Knowledgebase section.
It offers lots of style and images to choose from thus webmasters are able to create a unique forum easily.
Simple Machines Forum (SMF)
SMF is another free forum script but at the same time, provides premium features and a professional feel to it. It’s written on the PHP platform and uses MySQL database. It is feature rich in terms of forums and yet do not stretch the server too much.
Flexibility is one of its main features where the website / forum owner is able to have full control over the forum layout and integration between your existing website and the forum itself.
PHP GuestBook (PHP GBook)
Strictly speaking, PHP GBook is not a complete forum script, but is more like a mini discussion thread. But since I have just implemented this script on a client’s website, I would like to talk about this script today.
The PHP GBook allows website owners to set up their own guestbook. It does not require any MySQL database to run on as it is designed to be real quick and simple.
PHP GBook supports emoticons. You will be notified of new visitors signing in through emails. Why this is loved by many is that it comes with SPAM filter, IP banning as well as bad words filter (ie replacing them with **** instead) and preventing spammers completely!
So you see, FatCow offers a range of amazing features that go beyond simple website hosting. Regardless of whether you have a blog, has an online business or maintains a discussion forum, FatCow definitely has the right tool for you. And at the “right” price too, where hosting plans starts from as low as $56 per year for a 1-year plan and $44 per year for a 2 or 3-year plan.
It goes to show that there are still some premium things in life that do not require you to fork out huge amount of money to obtain them. You just need to know where to look for it and when to grab the opportunity.