Guide to the ProBoards ACP Part 1 (Forum Settings)

While most of Forum Promotion’s members use phpBB, myBB, and XenForo forum software, some of us use ProBoards (PB). ProBoards is one of the leading free forum hosts on the Web today. This guide has been designed to help new and/or returning PB users navigate and understand the V5 Hydra Admin Control Panel (ACP) of ProBoards forum software. This is the first part of an eight part series.

GETTING STARTED

If you already have a ProBoards hosted forum, you will need to login to your forum’s “admin” account. Then, you can proceed to the ACP by way of the Admin on your navigation bar. If you do not have a ProBoards hosted forum, you will need to create one. You can do so by following the steps below.

  1. Goto http://proboards.com.
  2. Fill out the forum on the main page.

On the main page, you will see the option to “Create a Free Forum.” Underneath that text there is a forum you need to fill out that requires the following information:

  • Desired forum name
    • .proboards.com
    • .freeforums.net
    • .boards.net
  • Email
  • Password

*Note: The email address that you use to sign up and create your forum can be used globally with all other ProBoards hosted forums.

Once you have completed the first form on the main page, click on the “Start Building Your Forum” button to move on to the next step in the registration process. You will then be taken to another page that requires the following information:

  • Birthdate
  • Gender
  • Forum Category

After you complete the above portion of the form, you can click the button that says “Create Your New Forum.” You will then be taken to the final step of the registration process, proving that you are human. You will be asked to complete a reCAPTCHA. Complete the reCAPTCHA to prove that you are human and then proceed to click on the button that says “Create Your New Forum.”

You will then be taken to a page called Forum Created. Now, this page will contain a few offers for paid services that PB offers to their members. For the sake of this guide, ignore the offers and scroll to the bottom of the page. You should see a link to your forum with instructions on how to login.

*Note: If this is the first time you have ever used the email address with PB, you may need to activate your account by email.

Once you have successfully logged into your forum, you can proceed to the ACP by way of the Admin link on your navigation bar.

THE INITIAL LOOK AT THE ACP

PB ACP Initial Look

 

Click on the image above to enlarge.

As you can tell, the PB ACP is very user-friendly. You can access the different Admin areas by way of the ACP navigation bar, or the ACP Admin Home page. Each section has different options for modify and customizing your PB forum.

There are four ways to view the ACP. You can view the ACP “Overview”, which lists each admin category:

  • Settings
  • Themes
  • Structure
  • Plugins
  • Members
  • Security
  • Marketing
  • Upgrades

This option is provided in the screen shot above.

You can access the ACP in “Basic” mode as shown below:

ACP Basic Mode

The Basic mode gives you the simple, most basic options to modify through the ACP. This mode includes the very minimal options available.

You can also access the ACP in “Standard” mode as shown below:

ACP Standard Mode

The Standard mode gives you additional options added to the options that the Basic mode presents to you.

The final ACP access mode is called “Legacy.” You can view what Legacy looks like below:

Legacy ACP Mode

 

The Legacy view of the ACP allows you to access the core functions needed to create and modify your forum. This is the section that is most important as it basically spells out all of the things you need to get your forum started: Creating boards, modifying boards, categories, shoutbox options, theme and forum colors, member ranks, user groups, etc.

FORUM SETTINGS

On the Overview page mode, select the “Settings” option. Then, select the “Forum Settings” category. While I’m unable to screenshot the entire “Forum” tab, the basic Forum Settings layout looks like this:

ACP Forum Settings

As you can see the first tab open is the Forum tab. This tab give you the ability to change the name of your forum, set your homepage, set up access to the info centers, put the forum into maintenance mode and much much more.

The second tab is dedicated for the forum settings involving the Login and Registration options for your forum. Here, you can change the colors of your login page, make it a requirement for guests to login to your forum, disable or restrict registration, set up a redirect after registration, and set up a registration welcome PM.

The next tab, the third tab, grants you access to the Navigation options. This is where you can set up your forum’s menu. You can opt to hide or show specific menu items on desktop and/or mobile. You can even set up custom links to appear in your menu. This is an excellent option if you decide to add custom pages to your forum, but, we’ll discuss that later.

The fourth tab contains the forum’s Calendar settings. In this section you can opt to enable or disable the menu, include birthdays and display them on the forum’s calendar, as well as set the options for who can view and/or create events within the forum’s calendar.

The Social Media tab, which is the next option, allows you to set options that will enable your members to be able to share forum content via different social media platforms. Currently, ProBoards allows for sharing to the following networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • Tumblr
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Myspace
  • Email

There is also an option to upload a 200px by 200px social media icon that will be used to represent your forum on numerous social media plat forms.

The News Feed,  or newsfeeder option is located on the sixth tab. This section allows you to enable or disable the scrolling news feed. You can change the speed of the feed as well as the type of animation you wish for your feed to use. In the Headlines section of the News Feed options page, you can set numerous news feeds to be displayed on your forum’s homepage.

The next customizable option in the Forum Settings is the ShoutBox. The shoutbox allows your users to post in a live chat like way by way of this box. You can adjust the settings to suit your forum needs including whether or not to enable or disable it, allowing guests to use it, where each response appears at, and the size. It even gives you a live preview.

Moving on, you will come to the Directory options. This section of the settings allows you to list your forum in the ProBoards forum directory. You can list the forum’s name, category, and a description. You can also upload an image that represents your forum in the directory.

The second to last forum option is the Forum Directory tab. In this tab you can change your forum’s category based on the niche of your forum.

The final setting in Forum Settings is the Delete Forum tab. This tab allows you to PERMANENTLY delete your ProBoards Forum. It cannot be undone, so be sure you really want to delete your forum prior to doing so.

The “Forum Settings” options provides numerous options for customizing your forum’s main settings from the name of your forum to deleting it. It is one of the most important areas of the PB ACP. This concludes part 1 of my 8 part series into the “Guide to the ProBoards ACP.” Be on the look out for part two which should be released next week.

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