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Do I have to have 2 different domain names? 1 for my main content page and 1 for my forum? If so how does it work? (Do I have to register the 2 domains and then could I still host them both with the same person? I mean can I pay the standard price for hosting and have multiple domains on the same hosting package or do I have to purchase different ones?)
How long does it take to set up a forum? The site is going to be small and simple but the forum is going to be the main attraction of the site. Is it easy to learn?
If the hosting package I am looking at includes a forum should it be easy to set up?
And my last question is, what happens if and when my "Monthly Data Transfer 250,000 MB" is used up before the month is over? Heavy fees? Is that enough right now, and how do I know when I need to upgrade my plan?
And lastly, is this a good package?
$9.99 a month
500mb disk space
Monthly Data Transfer 250,000 MB
Photo Galleries Included
There are a variety of forums available, some easy some not. The simpler ones to install / maintain would be ones like vBulletin, PHPbb, etc. They should not take too long to install.
If they offer a forum then it should be very simple to set up.
They should list somewhere what happens, either charge you extra money for bandwidth that exceeded the limit, or just take down the site.
Reliability (if you have a commercial site, this is the most important thing to look for)
SQL support (capability to create databases)
Cpanel (unless your experienced, you can choose a hosting company with webmin and pay less, but you may be really confused with webmin. If you are a beginner, make sure your package contains cpanel, or a user friendly control panel)
Most plans offer this and much more. You can download a free phpbb script and install it by running the "install.php" file in the browser. All you need to do is set up a database for your forum, and let the install script do the work for you.
25 gigs is plenty, and I doubt you will go over. And if you did, they shut down your site until the next month. You are NOT obligated to pay extra fees, with most companies, unless you tell them otherwise. Make sure you read the plan carefully though, just in case.
For what you described I wouldn't expect to pay more than $3-4 a month. I myself use a:
15 MqSQL database
blah blah blah
host which only costs me $7.49. Great tech support too, and they've had no downtime in the 6 months I've been using them.
Oh, and domain was included in that ;)
Another question I have is how hard is it to change the phpbb template, and at the top of the page where it has the Phpbb forum picture with the link how do I make that link to my main page?
You'd better think twice!
Converting your forum soft once you have big traffic is not easy due to immediate loss of SE traffic with url changes.
Hosting : if you're more than short term planning, avoid all package and hard discount stuffs. Bet on quality hosters you ve personaly heard about. When time will come, it can avoid some heart attacks, which has no price.
I also advice you to make your forum fully integrated to your site. Which i regret, but it is never obvious as you only get ugly heavy portal solutions.
And if you want full integration you have to build it yourself.
Should I have used somone else?
Also, I dont know php and am sure it would take me far to long to make my own forum. It would be nice though/