Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Get Rid Of Forum! Have a Social Network for Community

updated on Oct 13, 2016
Get Rid Of Forum! Have a Social Network for Community When people intend to have a public discussion place over the Internet for the clients, forum is talked as the solution usually. Today I introduce a different approach, using open source social network software to build your community instead of the common forum. The forum is weak on viscosity of users, activity stream, and center around individuals. It’s just the popular product when people don’t have social network in mind, before Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

There have been many arguments about Forums V.S. Social Network over the internet. I think the forum can be replaced with social network completely. The social network actually inherits all functionality of a common forum, but more focusing on individuals and PUSH. The significant benefits of this change for small/medium business include,
  1. PUSH: The community pushes messages to the users instead of the users look into the forum when they have the questions or problems.
  2. Center around Individuals: the platform takes every individual as the center into account. As a user, he/she can know the events about himself/herself easier and better. Take an example. A user asked a question in the community at some time, the answer could be pushed to him/her when somebody else gave a reply, via the activity stream.
  3. Easier for Community Development: benefits from #1 and #2, it’s easier to build up a self-service community and attract more users to devote into the discussions. You cannot expect to have a staff specially worked on answering various questions by yourselves, correct?

Some people concern about SEO performance? Don’t worry. Don’t imagine your own social network MUST be the same as Twitter and Facebook. By using some open source social network, you can enable anonymous access so that it’s also friendly to search engines. There are many terrific social network software, providing everything you can do with a common forum like SMF, phpBB, Discuz, etc, as following,
  • SocialEngine is a feature-rich social networking application built to support almost any concept in Web 2.0. SocialEngine includes all of the features that users have come to expect: blogs, albums, groups, discussions, messages, and much more. SocialEngine also keeps things simple; you'll find that philosophy demonstrated in the layout of SocialEngine as well as the well-designed backend code. Here is a live demonstration of SocialEngine.
  • BoonEx Dolphin - YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Match and Facebook - all in one, customizable and under your full control. You're limited only by your imagination - not by software. Dolphin Smart Community Builder is the universal, free and open source software that allows you to build any types of online community. With a huge variety of features & options, you can quickly develop your very unique and successful website.
  • Elgg is an open source social networking platform. It offers blogging, networking, discussions, community, collecting of news using feeds aggregation and file sharing features. Everything can be shared among users with access controls and everything can be cataloged by tags as well. Elgg is the all-in-one solution for webmasters looking for a community solution.

Social Network Hosting

Hosting Social Network?

In fact you don’t need to investigate the social network software by yourselves. There are some excellent web hosts have integrated the mature social network software with their web hosting products. What you only need to do is to pay a little money monthly and configure the layout and features of your own community in the visual administrative UI. It takes easy even if you don’t have technical knowledge. You can read Community Web Hosting here.

InMotion Social Network Hosting InMotion is the best social network/community web hosting provider. It provides a dozen of open source social network hosting solutions, including the most mature SocialEngine, BoonEx Dolphin and Elgg as I mentioned above. Besides the community features, InMotion offers one free domain name and unlimited disk space and monthly data transfer, based on Linux CentOS, Apache2 and MySQL5. And now it’s offering the special 50% discount for all visits from, at $3.49/month for 2-year contract. Unbelievable? Check out InMotion Social Network Web Hosting.