Want to create a web community as part of your marketing campaign? Seeking an inexpensive way to build and maintain a message board?
There are a couple of ways to building a forum. One is to learn up programming languages like PHP so that you can build your own forum. Fortunately for the majority of us who are not well-verse in programming languages, there’s another way to easily create and maintain a forum. And that’s to host your forum or website with a hosting provider who offers forum software. One such hosting provider is HostGator.
HostGator’s Forum Software
HostGator’s forum software are available from HostGator’s in-house script auto-installer called QuickInstall. It is being offered on all shared and reseller plans and upon request, for dedicated and VPS plans too.
You get a total of 6 forum software to choose from when you sign up with HostGator ie Advanced Electron Forum, bbPress, MyBB, phpBB, punBB and Simple Machines Forum. With these many choices, there is bound to be one that meets your requirements. Let’s take a quick look at them here.
Advanced Electron Forum
This free PHP and MySQL forum software is very simple to install and equally easy to use. Features included in the AEF are SEO tools, IP Ban, threaded mode for topics, export files & database and Domdrag for reordering categories, forums, emoticons.
If you are using WordPress, then you may be interested to use bbPress forum software. Specially designed as a WordPress plugin, it focuses on ease of use and integration and yet, at the same time, is packed with great features.
From my experience, bbPress is the best WordPress forum plugin.
MyBB offers an extensive yet controllable discussion board. Notable features include a large amount of plugins (from showing unanswered threads to displaying a forum user’s permissions) as well as allowing your visitors to change the way they view the discussions.
This free open source bulletin board software solution is probably the top free forum software in the market today. It is easy to use and has been a favorite among small business and special interest forums for awhile and I believe it will continue to be popular. It has a standard template as well as hundreds of customizable style and image.
punBB is another free and lightweight PHP discussion board. It aims to load faster than other forum software and thus, is less graphically intensive and has fewer features. But if it is speed you want, then you can consider punBB.
Simple Machines Forum
This powerful forum software offers hundreds of completely customizable features that allow you to create a forum that is uniquely yours. Their Server Side Includes (SSI) function integrates your forum and website for better overall control.
Why host a forum with HostGator?
Right. Some of you may be asking why host a forum with HostGator? That’s a very valid question. True, there are many hosting providers out there who are offering similar (if not the same) forum software. So why choose HostGator over the others?
Well, let’s take a look at what you most probably will need when you host a forum (in fact for hosting any type of website/blog), especially if you are a beginner.
You need lots of support especially if you are new to forum hosting. These can range from advices on which forum software to download to technical guidance on how to set up the software.
From my experiences, HostGator’s support is by far, one of the best in the industry. There is only this much you can learn from theory and no matter how much you have read up on web hosting, there may come a day when you would need someone to give you some answers to your challenges. Or even to help you in maintaining those forum scripts.
That’s when you want someone professional and knowledgeable to attend to you. And someone who’s available 24/7/365 too. Someone like HostGator’s technical support team.
Forums are attractive when the members are able to discuss the topics whenever they want. In other words, you will need to have the forum up all the time. A couple of short downtimes every now and then or scheduled maintenance are acceptable but if your forum is regularly inaccessible, your members would decide to look at other discussion boards!
At HostGator, forums (and websites) are hosted on reliable servers and this is backed by an uptime of 99.9%. guaranteed!
Is HostGator any good?
Generally, a forum is run on a tight budget. This means that your hosting provider not only needs to be reliable but also be cost-effective. HostGator has one of the most affordable shared hosting plans around with prices starting from $3.96 per month.
Other notable HostGator features include unlimited disk space and bandwidth, 45 day money back guarantee, free website submission and SEO tools. Now, won’t these features be helpful in your forum hosting journey?