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Free forum hosting recommendation

     
11:00 am on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Was wondering if anyone would be able to recommend a free hosting site? Seen many when googling. Am interested in the security and spam blocking....perhaps adding ads to it
1:08 pm on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well "free" suggests it will be funded by having ads on already. There may be issues either with the service provider or with your advertising network over serving two sets of ads.

Using a third party provider means that you should get a "plug and play" service with all the security issues off your shoulders and the bandwidth on somebody elses server. Personally I would go with a "free" hosted service to see if the forum was going to take off (many don't) and then either switch to a paid (ad-free) hosted service or install software on my server.

I have seen people complaining bitterly about forum providers because they expected particular features which hadn't been offered. As a rule of thumb if they don't tell you that a feature is provided then assume that it isn't.

3:01 pm on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Personally I would go with paid hosting. Its so cheap these days. Any reason for wanting to go with free (apart from the obvious)?

dc

3:50 pm on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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From the title assumed that the OP was looking for a managed forum rather than web hosting.
8:53 pm on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sorry wrote the first part badly - yes meant a managed forum rather than web hosting. Seen a lot of "free forum creation" sites (phpbb, etc) and thought it would be good to test having one. So wondered if anyone has played with any good free forum creation sites.
4:21 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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phpbb / punbb both are good but their anti-spam system is broken to death. vBullitin is the best, not free but recommended for serious webmaster.

I've also noted that many bloggers using bbpress to support their own community.

6:37 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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yes meant a managed forum rather than web hosting

Ah, that makes sense. I use punBB / phpBB myself. You can check out some of the free open source forums here:

[opensourcecms.com...]

They pretty much cover all the main free ones for you to test drive.

dc

7:18 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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phpbb / punbb both are good but their anti-spam system is broken to death.

Many hacks available to reduce bot spam to zero.

7:28 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Do you know what they are or where to find them?
8:04 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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PHPBBHacks is a major site for downloading mods, kind of like the HotScripts for phpBB hacks. I find it easier finding stuff over there than at the official site. A simple but effective workaround for stopping bots is called, "The Humanizer".

There are other things you can hack yourself like removing memberlist file from the server, and all links to it, stop the display of websites in profiles, etc. It's easy to modify, whatever you don't like just hunt down the files where they live and ax them or improve them.

6:19 am on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you use a free forum service make sure they allow you to get a copy of the database and make sure ther is no limits on it. If by any chance you ever want to move the contents of the forum to your own server it will be impossible without a backup of the database.

Having said that hosting is quite cheap and I agree with the other above. Get a host, installation and keeping them up to date are quite easy. Once you learn your way around, if for example you install phpbb3 to update a stock install to latest you only have to upload the new files overwriting the old ones then point your browser at the update script for the database. Takes literally minutes and requires no skill other than knowing how to use an a FTP program. It's when you start adding modifications to the scripts that it becomes an issue.

phpbb / punbb both are good but their anti-spam system is broken to death

The new image captcha in phpbb3 is quite good, no reports of any forum being spammed by bots. Other mesures have been taken to make it less desirable for humans to register, the memeberlist and profiles are hidden from bots.

As far as phpbb2 there is a big thread stickied in the phpbb2 support forum with about 20 mods listed for anti spam, the ones that ask a question are the best for fighting off bots. My experience is that it will eliminate them entirely. There's other mods for making it less desirable for human spammers to sign up..

7:01 am on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don`t have any spam on any of my punBB/ phpBB boards. I just used the spam prevention mods that are available and they seem quite effective.

dc

9:25 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all for your advice - I'll go have a play now :)
12:06 pm on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can also try the following site:
[forum-software.org...]

dc

7:35 pm on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Cheers - looks like that will keep me out of mischief for a little while :o)
 

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