Forum Administration

ProBoards Review – Best Free Forum Host

ProBoards – Best Free Forum Host

What is ProBoards? ProBoards is one of the leading free forum hosts on the Web; they have over 2 million customers. Of all of the free forum hosts on the Web, ProBoards is, by far, the best free forum host! ProBoards is the best free forum host because of their customer service, easily customizable forum software and easy administration.

Customer Service

When you try a new software for the first time, majority of the time you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. You have a lot of questions and you want answers quickly. ProBoards Support, ProBoards’ Support Forum, is an amazing resource to get help with your forums. The customer service provided by both the members and staff team of ProBoards Support is both fast and accurate.

ProBoards administrators/creators tend to the support forums seven days a week excluding major holidays. Aside from the administration team, a select few members that were hand-picked for global moderation and support also tend to the support forum. Between the various staff team members and regular members who are knowledgeable about ProBoards form software, all of your questions can and will be answered.

Aside from general Proboards software related issues, the staff and members of the support forum help users with customizing their own ProBoards forums. A lot of the staff and members have created a variety of quality plugins, template modifications and themes that are all free to use. They will even help you with graphic designs if you need it.

Easy Customization

ProBoards forum software is fairly easy to customize, as opposed to many other types of forum software. If you do not have experience with HTML and CSS, ProBoards offers a theme generator directly through the admin control panel. Another option, for those who are inexperienced, is to browse the theme library and install themes directly to your ProBoards forum with a simple click of a button. There are hundreds of quality themes available. For those that are knowledgeable of HTML and CSS, the UI for editing your codes is very user-friendly and easy to use. When modifying templates, there are tons of short codes to help you on your way.

Template modifications, which change the way certain parts of your forum look, can be found on the ProBoards Support Forum. There is a relatively large database of template mods that users can choose from. You can change the way your info center looks as well as the information that is displayed there. You can change the layout of how your different boards are displayed, user profiles and mini profiles, and so much more. All of the template modifications come with written instructions to make it easier for the inexperienced to be able to add them to their forums. Both members and staff members of ProBoards support create template modifications that are free for forum owners to use.

Aside from themes and template modifications, you can also customize your forum with plugins. There are over a hundred different plugins available to forum owners and the amount increases daily. There are plugins for forum currency and a shop to purchase items with that forum currency, google analytics, posting templates, and a whole lot more. As with themes, plugins can be installed directly from the plugin library to your forum with a simple click of a button.

With the built in theme generator and/or vast quantity of quality themes, plugins, and template modifications available, ProBoards is very easy to customize. Other forum software, such as myBB, does not offer the same type of support or theme customization options as ProBoards does. In my experience, ProBoards is the easiest forum software to customize as I’ve used other software such as myBB, phpBB, vBulletin, and others.

Easy Administration

The admin control panel for ProBoards software is user-friendly and exceptionally easy to use. See the image below:

Each menu item at the top of the ACP will grant a drop down menu for easy navigation to administrative settings. With ProBoards, there are many settings that you can change and customize. You can have unlimited user groups and user ranks, you can create custom pages to give your forum a website feel, and you can upgrade your forum to ad free for reasonable prices based on page views. All forum customization and administration can be done through the admin control panel.

Aside from the easy, user-friendly UI, a lot of the admin options that you edit automatically save for you. This is a great feature if you forget to save your work as you will not lose all the work you have done. The only exception to this is when you are editing code directly.

All in all, in my opinion, ProBoards is the best free forum host on the web. If you have never created a free forum with ProBoards, I highly recommend that you do so; this way you can try out the many different features on your own. If you are not a fan of ProBoards, I recommend that you give it another try. With the release of V5 Hydra, options are limitless and I’m certain you will find that you like it a lot more than you did before.

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Proboards was my very first forum host. I enjoyed them a lot until I really got started with members and over 1,000 posts. I was wanting to place my own ads but Proboards does not allow that unless you purchase their ad free package which was $4.99 per 10,000 impressions. Which is not a lot when you have around 50 people a day on your site. Even guests count as 1 impression per page they click. Also you are only allowed so many plugins with Proboards. Once you reach your maximum allowed they want you to purchase more room for extra plugins if you want them.
So I would not recommend Proboards because they rip you off every way possible.
I hope everyone reading this will not risk their chance of success with Proboards. However if you plan on spending around $200-300 a month on a forums site. Then sure go right ahead!
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  • February 15, 2015
Devin,
Majority of the time, people do not exceed their plugin allowance, so it's not an issue. As for the add free service and being able to add your own ads, it's not that expensive unless you have a humongous forum with a ton of traffic. It takes time to build that kind of audience. You should look at IP.board. Now they are a total rip off.
    D
    Well, I guess if people really wanna risk their chance to succeed with Proboards then go ahead and do it, but don't go looking to make money from it in the future.
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      • February 15, 2015
      Forum communities are generally for discussions, not for making money.
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        You would be surprised to know how many people are making online communities to make revenue in the process from it. How come you see many sites like Forum Promotion selling ad slots for hundreds of dollars? Also I am pretty sure that people would like to make some revenue to pay for their hosting costs, but anyway once again it's their choice. They only see 2 different opinions. Yours and mine.
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Bean, no offense but if your going to be paying $5 a month for a "free" forum hosting service that in my opinion does not allow a whole lot of customization to begin with, you might as well put that $5 towards a premium hosting service at a reputable cPanel host and have your own forum.
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    I couldn't agree more...That is some really good advice.
    If you are going to spend your money, make sure that you get your money's worth!
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  • February 25, 2015
Jordan, you don't have to pay anything per month unless you want to.
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I love ProBoards, their CS is top-notch and by far their features and overall theme designs are pretty neat. That and you don't have to host it, which is always a plus. :p
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    kaynil
  • March 30, 2015
Proboards is great for getting a small community out there and to try to get the hang of administering forums in general, hassle free. I used them for years and moved because I had my forum in two languages and back then that was against the rules. During the time I used they they were alright.

However I agree with devinfarmer and Thomje112 that if you are planning for the long term you better look to dive into buying your host and using a free forum software, that way you can always keep the database and have a lot more administrative and moderation control over it.

I thought I wouldn't needed when I started but then when I had to move out I had to start over and once I started using self hosted I know I would feel too constricted if I went back to self-hosted.

Anyway Proboards needs some love, they have been criticised too much and they have really been trying to become better and at the same time unique.
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