Best Forum Hosting 2017 - Review, Ranking & Promotion

Forum Hosting
Forum hosting is designed to start a forum with the best performance and ultimate ease. After reviewing 100+ shared web hosts, we have come out a list of the best forum hosting rated by the compatible forum software, usability, reliability, technical support and price.

To choose the best hosting solution to start a forum or community over the Internet, please read through the reviews of the top five options showed in the following.
Rank 1 2 3 4 5
Editorial Rating 5.0 of 5 5.0 of 5 4.0 of 5 4.5 of 5 4.5 of 5
Customer Rating 1238 votes 1062 votes 333 votes 302 votes 271 votes
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Regular Price $7.99/mo $5.99/mo $10.95/mo $7.99/mo $5.99/mo
Discounted Price $2.95/mo $2.95/mo $3.82/mo $2.50/mo $3.92/mo
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Best Forum Hosting 2017

Since forum is commonly used by people who wish to express their views and communicate with others with rich experience, many hosting companies compete to offer forum hosting service. InMotion Hosting is no exception. And now, the forum hosting of this web host is starting at $2.95/mo via this promotional link. With the 90 days money back guarantee, customers can enjoy the hosting service worry-free and risk-free.

The hosting solutions from InMotion come with $250 advertising credits. Besides, when registering a new domain, customers don't need to pay extra money for it, because the hosting package includes one free domain name. Some advanced features are also available, such as SSH, .htaccess, Custom php.ini, Cron Job and GZip.

In addition, InMotion Hosting ensures the easy process for starting and hosting an online forum with the following features and services.
  • There are a lot of supported scripts for you to set up the forum with much ease, such WordPress, vBulletin, MyBB and many more. With the 100% compatibility for them, you can set up a forum with ease.
  • The 1-click script installer is available so as to help you install any of these scripts with ease.
  • The cPanel control panel is used to help you manage the files, database, security, backup, domains and many more with much ease.
  • To help you set up the well-designed forum, this web host also provides the free website builder, tons of free templates and the drag-and-drop editor.

Why They're the Best Forum Hosting

We rated the best forum hosting based on the supported software, ease of use, uptime, and price mainly. This doesn't mean we only consider these four factors. Instead, we also pay attention to some generic factors like technical support, speed and security.
  1. With more forum software scripts supported, customers can have more flexibility on setting up the best forum. The popular forum software of phpBB and SMF are widely supported. Moreover, some good forum web hosts also provide support for more than 10 software, including phpBB, AEF, XMB, UseBB, MyBB, Phorum, PunBB, SMF, FluxBB, bbPress, Vanilla, FUDforum, and miniBB.
  2. Forum web hosting usability determines how simple customers can start the forum after the payment. For instance, InMotion Hosting offers a 1-click installer, which can automate the installation of most popular forum software including vBulletin, SMF (Simple Machines Forum), bbPress, phpBB, and more. With this tool, webmasters can build their own forums in minutes. No technical skills are required. Besides, there are some other tools for people to get a powerful forum in no time – the Weebly website builder. This drag and drop site builder is quite easy-to-use, requiring no knowledge on HTML or CSS but several clicks. In addition, it comes with professionally designed templates that can be directly used on the newly built forum. Frankly, a great forum web hosting shall allow users to get started without any knowledge and experience on technology, software and web hosting.
  3. Reliability is an important indicator to evaluate a forum web host. We tested all web hosts truly by ourselves and used it for 3 months at least. As a user, we don't accept the unpredictable downtime. So we only recommend web hosts with 99.9% uptime.
  4. Price is another measure for forum web hosting as we consider most of users are individuals or small business owners. By considering the balance between price and quality, we think the reasonable price range of forum web hosting is from $3 to $6 for a month.

More About Forum Hosting

Best Forum Hosting
Forum web hosting is developed with the main emphasis on serving a wide range of forum applications, along with offering the basic services of a typical web hosting product at the same time. It usually provides comprehensive services that make it easy for forum administrators to start and maintain an online board with the consideration of later maintenance like upgrades and the installation of many add-ons.

Forum web hosting supports many forum software scripts, including the famous phpBB, vBulletin SMF, and IPB. Other forum scripts include XMB, Ikonboard, Snitz Invision Power Board, Ultimate Bulletin Board and YaBB. Remember that most of these forum scripts are written in PHP and are working with MySQL. PHP and MySQL are supported by almost all Linux and Windows web hosting providers. But with affordability, reliability and security considered, all the recommended forum web hosting in the list above are based on Linux platform.

Popular Forum Builders

In fact, there are a lot of forum scripts and software you can find online. When choosing them, you should consider about the charges, process for installation and configurations, ease of use of the platform, SEO, the compatibility with other development tools, flexibility, customization options and localization. Here, we'd like to narrow down your choices with the below popular scripts.
  • phpBB - This is one of the oldest forum scripts that was launched in 2000. With the constant development and update, this software comes with the advanced moderation capabilities, command-line interface support and AJAX functionality.
  • MyBB - MyBB is a simple, intuitive and open-source forum script. It comes with a lot of administration and moderation features, along with a wide range of plugins, templates and the theme editor.
  • bbPress - bbPress is built based on WordPress. In this case, for WordPress users looking to add a forum platform into the websites, bbPress is the most suitable option.
  • vBulletin - This is one of the most popular paid tools. Working based on the cloud-hosted version, vBulletin ensures the managed infrastructure that allows all the features needed for running a forum.

How to Create a Forum Successfully?

Creating a forum manually was a challenging task for beginners with little or no expertise previously, but it now gets much easier with the availability of dozens of forum software and the development of auto installers for the applications. As a detailed tutorial is still needed for most normal users, we have worked out some necessary steps that are required to accomplish.

Step 1: Purchase a domain name and a hosting package.

Before starting the site, you need to buy a web hosting package first to get a place for your forum to reside on. It is suggested to get a paid service instead a free one because the former not only makes the site more professional but also gives you more control over the site without numerous restrictions.

Then, you need to choose a proper domain name which is crucial for the future success of the forum. A domain name costs approximately $12 per year, but some leading web hosts nowadays offer a free one, which is really money-saving.

Step 2: Install forum software.

Generally speaking, there are 2 ways to get a self-hosted forum ready to use. As many web hosting companies provide easy-to-use website building tools, you can take advantage of the one in the hosting package to create a forum quickly. The other way, however, is to install a more professional forum software. As the latter way usually results in a more powerful and customizable site, it is more recommended.

Nowadays, most web hosts in the market support the 1-click installation and configuration for multiple applications. With the use of such a tool, it only requires several clicks on mouse to get software installed. If there is any trouble, usually you can find simple solutions in your provider's knowledgebase.

However, if you need more possibilities for customization from the very beginning, you may choose to install a forum application manually, which is a little bit time-consuming but really worthy. Doing this way, you are more like a pro. There are several steps required for this task, and before following the steps, you need to get FTP access and prepare an FTP client for data uploading.

Here, phpBB is taken as an example.
  1. Visit phpBB official site and download the latest stable version.
  2. Extract the file downloaded before on local computer.
  3. Upload all the files to your server. Remember to put them in a subfolder if you do not want to install the software in the root directory of the domain.
  4. Log into your hosting control panel and create a database.
  5. Open a web browser and visit http://www.yourdomain.com/install/ or http://www.youdomain.com/subfolder/install/ (in the case that the files are uploaded to a subfolder).
  6. Click the Install tab on the page. Confirm the server requirements and Proceed to next step.
  7. In the next page, check out whether everything is fine. If the answer is yes, move on to Start install.
  8. For Database configuration, fill in the required information for database type, server hostname, port, database name, username, password and table prefix. Then Proceed to next step.
  9. Confirm the Database connection and click the Proceed to next step button.
  10. When it comes with Administrator configuration, choose the default language, make up a username and password, and set the contact email.
  11. If nothing is incorrect, you can keep on clicking the Proceed to next step button and leave other things to the default value.
  12. The Final Stage will show you a congratulations page that you have installed phpBB successfully.

Step 3: Give a new look to the site.

There are millions of forums on the web increasing at a speed of thousands of new ones each day. In this case, you should take some measures to make your site stand out from the crowd, the easiest one among which is to use an attractive theme on the site to give it a fresh design.

Free themes are good for budget, but given that it is used by tens of thousands of people, you'd better consider a premium one which is responsive and rich-featured. Some large marketplaces like Theme Forest and Mojo Themes offer a large number of such kind of products at an affordable price.

Things to Remember in Running a Forum

To make your forum a success, the things discussed above are the most basic ones and there are many others that you should keep in mind. For either site performance or traffic reason, the following tips need to be taken good care of.
  • Keep the software updated.
  • Select a topic for the site and the target members.
  • Create several threads in each area to involve new users into discussion.
  • Think about news ideas like an award or a competition to attract people.

What Is a Forum?

An online forum is a discussion site where people can hold conversations by posting discussions, reading, and responding to the posts of other website members. It can focus on nearly any subject. Thy type of forum is also called a message board, bulletin board, web forum, and discussion group.

Before joining a forum for discussion, people are usually required to register. Depending on the setup of the forum, the registration might be moderated by and admin. Then they will be able to log in to post messages and communicate with others. Also, a posted message may need to be manually approved by a moderator before it is visible on the forum.

An online forum is hierarchical in structure. It could contain several sub-forums, and each sub-forum may have several topics. A single conversation is called a thread. Moderators are able to modify and delete threads, change software items and participate in other activities to help the admin keep the forum rules obeyed.

Besides, you have to pay attention that:
  • A forum is different from a blog. A blog does not usually allow all users to participate in, while in a forum, all members can make posts and start new threads.
  • A forum differs from a chat room. Members in a chat room chat at the same time, but people in a forum post messages to be read by others later. Also, the messages in a forum are longer in text and more topic-focused.
There are many forum software available which makes building a forum quick and effortless. The good ones include phpBB, MyBB and XenForo. You can go through their feature list and reviews carefully to select the one meeting your needs best.