Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Best Simple Machines Forum (SMF) Hosting - The Best Web Host for SMF

updated on Nov 16, 2016
Best Simple Machines Forum (SMF) Hosting - The Best Web Host for SMF Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is a free, open source, and powerful software that allows setting up an online community in minutes. But only when it runs on a reliable and fast server, can its awesome features be taken full advantage of.

After reviewing 50+ reputed web hosts on the web, we finally recommend BlueHost as the best web host for Simple Machines Forum because this company is able to deliver the best SMF hosting service with excellent compatibility, reliability, flexibility, features, high performance, easy installation service and affordable price. Read the following parts to learn about the details.

Best Simple Machines Forum Compatibility

100% compatibility is the most basic requirement for running SMF on a web server. The application is written in PHP and uses an SQL database as the backend, and from version 2.0, SMF supports MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite. The latest stable release, SMF 2.0.5, has the following requirements on the system it resides on.
  • Linux or another Unix based operating system
  • PHP 5.2.0 or higher
  • MySQL 5.0 or higher/PostgreSQL 8.3.3 or higher/SQLite 2.8
  • Apache 2.0.x or higher
BlueHost is among the few web hosts that are confident to claim 100% compatibility with SMF. All of BlueHost shared servers have fully met or even exceeded those requirements above, as they come with the following features.
  • PHP 5.3 or higher & MySQL 5.0 or higher.
  • PHP run as suPHP to enhance the security.
  • Apache 2.2 or higher with mod_rewrite installed for URL rewriting.

Easy Installation for Simple Machines Forum

Not so many web hosts offer auto installation service for SMF users, but BlueHost is exactly an exception. Several years ago, the company developed a 1-click script installer named SimpleScripts with a large investment. Now SimpleScripts has grown to be one of the most easy-to-use auto installers that install and manage dozens of scripts including SMF.

With SimpleScripts, SMF users no longer need to go to to search for the system requirements, download the compressed files, create a database, configure the server, etc. All of these things will be done automatically by the installer. Besides, the installer will inform you once a new release or upgrade is available.

Outstanding Reliability & Performance

There are reasons why BlueHost is chosen by millions of people to host their websites. The most convincing one, as we reviewed, should be the excellent reliability. BlueHost officially guarantees 99.9% uptime, while the real uptime (monitored by ourselves) averages 99.97% in the past half a year. BlueHost's investment of millions of USD in the server and data center upgrade and maintenance makes sense.

As for speed, BlueHost is also a leader in the web hosting industry. The company runs its own custom Linux kernel and uses a nationwide fiber network to make sure customers' websites can be accessed in the shortest time possible. Besides, BlueHost provides resource protection which segregates the CPU, disk I/O and memory for each customer to protect customers from being badly impacted by abusive neighbors who consume too much server resources. At the same time, CloudFlare CDN is another highlight of BlueHost that helps improve the page loading speed.

Upgradable SMF Hosting Packages

BlueHost has 3 web hosting packages that are suitable for building one or several small to medium sized forum(s) with SMF. The packages are feature rich, coming with 1 free domain name, guaranteed server resources, cPanel control panel, advanced features like SSH, .htaccess, SSI, and some extras like $100 Google AdWords credits and anytime money back guarantee. Now the prices of the packages start from only $2.95/mo for visitors going through the promotional link below, 63% off the regular $7.99/mo.

BlueHost Promotional Link Activation

When a SMF forum grows in the scale and has thousands of daily visits, BlueHost offers upgradable choices to allow the owner to move it to a virtual private server(VPS) or even a dedicated server directly without wasting the time to transfer it to somewhere else. The VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting services from BlueHost are also rich featured, and affordable.

Technical Support

The quality of the technical support always shows how much a web host cares about the customers. Knowing this fact, BlueHost provides 24x7 technical support via live chat, email and toll-free phone number. The support is claimed to be 100% US based, never outsourced.

The support representatives at BlueHost are all experienced in resolving any kinds of issues, and knowledgeable in many open source software including SMF. The holding time is guaranteed to be less than 30 seconds on the average.


Coming with the combination of reliability, high speed, affordability and ease of use, BlueHost is recommended as the best web host for Simple Machines Forum. We have used the web hosting service from the company for several years, and we are deeply impressed. Our advice is that SMF users who want to have a worry-free SMF hosting experience should give a try to the service.

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