Today in this article, I will be discussing my pick of the Top Three Free Forum Hosting websites that you can use to host your forum. I have used my time to try out and test the services the following has to offer. I do have my favorites and I will explain why in this article.
#3. FreeForums (http://www.freeforums.org/) – FreeForums runs on a forum software called phpBB. I have tried it, but I haven’t really liked it all that much. One feature I do like though, is that it has a donation feature. The payment; also known as Donation; will be sent to FreeForums, and in return, you will receive credits which will then be stored in your ACP Account. With this, you can use to purchase a domain, remove advertising and much more. So if you don’t know how to set up a donation link or don’t have a bank account, no need to worry.
The ACP Isn’t a standard phpBB ACP (I have always liked using the standard version). An advantage to using FreeForums, is that you can enable pre-installed mods, and there is allot to choose from. If you decide to go with FreeForums.org, you would probably need to familiarize yourself with the ACP, and how to use it.
This was scored a three, as I like the subdomain.freeforums.org, and the fact of the ACP is not the standard phpBB ACP. And last but not least, there being only a few advertisements on it.
#2. IcyBoards (http://icyboards.com/) – This is one that I have tried, but I am currently not using it for any of my forums, as I prefer phpBB as a forum software. When you register your forum, it will have advertising on it but as what I can see, it is covered in advertising. You get unlimited bandwidth, really good uptime and fast support.
A disadvantage to using Icyboards, is that the FTP access on IcyBoards is for the images directory only. I suppose that this is to avoid deleting any files that are crucial to the forum.
The ACP is the standard MyBB Admin Control Panel that you can customize. The forum software that you get when you register a forum with this site is MyBB. If you really like to use the MyBB Forum Software, this is the way to go.
Another feature of IcyBoards which I like, is that you can buy a domain and change the IcyBoards sub-domain into a premium domain. When having a premium domain, I will say it makes the forum look allot better. So this is quite a good feature in my opinion.
I have rated this as second, in the list of top three. This was because the Admin Control Panel is a standard MyBB ACP and that the advertising is at a minimum. I didn’t rate this as number one, as I prefer using phpBB as my forum software.
#1. ProphpBB (http://www.prophpbb.com/) – This is the one I use to host my forum. ProphpBB scores number one in my top three, as there is very minimal advertising placed on your forum and you get unlimited bandwidth. You also get 99.9% uptime. You also get really good support from this host. You get a phpBB forum when you register your forum, which I personally really like.
You can also request a backup to be sent to your email, just incase something goes wrong. All you have to do is email the support email address requesting a backup of your forum, and they will send you one.
One of the disadvantages of using this software though, is that you don’t get a custom domain when you register your forum, but if you want to get a custom domain, you can register one with Name Cheap and you can configure this in the ACP (Admin Control Panel). You would want to login into the Index Page of the ACP, and then go to the “Domain Management” page. There is more instructions on how do this in the ACP, located on the “Domain Management” page.
Another disadvantage, is that mods are quite limited. I suggested to them, to have a point mod added, and it got denied because of the potential of too much strain on the host. I suppose if you don’t mind not having advanced mods on your forum this is a good host for you.
You can also upgrade for a small amount of money, to gain more features on your forum. This is quite good if you want to make it more professional. These features are:
- Unlock the ability to upload attachments.
- Remove all advertisements from your forum.
- No rules requiring publicly viewable content. You can show all or none of your forum to guests.
- You can display your own advertisements In the Header, Footer, and after the first post in every topic.
- The ability to change the Copyright message at the bottom of your forum.
- Access to a special support forum just for Premium Members.
- Download backups of your forum, and generate local backups that you can restore from.
- Earn some good karma knowing you’re helping to support a great service!
In the end, I think it does depend on what forum software you prefer, and what you want to use your forum for. I’d personally recommend ProphpBB if you like phpBB, and I bet you would like a forum with minimal advertising on it, and reasonable support, just in case you encounter any issues.
Thank you for reading this article and I hope this was beneficial to you. This was written from my experience, and I hope you choose the right host that suits you best.