Forum Hosting Service

Interaction and communication make free forum hosting a great way to improve a web site and get visitors involved. The growing interest in online discussion opportunities has made these Internet features very popular. Users enjoy the opportunity to express opinions or trade information that these forums can provide. From the arts to politics to pop culture, participants in these online communities love to share their views. Selecting a forum hosting service that will best meet the needs of a particular web site need not be a complicated or costly endeavor. There are many web hosts that offer these services free of charge and there is currently much in the way of free software available as well. A little research can help users who are interested in adding forums to their web sites make a wise choice from among the many potential providers. Finding hosts that possess the necessary technological skills and reliability is key. Most hosts require that users monitor all forums for offensive content and take the necessary action if offenses occur. With at little homework, adding interactive forums to a web site can increase traffic and keep web visitors informed and involved.

The Internet has become a melting pot of ideas and opinions. There are millions of web sites that are dedicated to almost any subject or hobby imaginable. A free forum hosting provider can enable any web site to offer discussion boards or groups, message boards and other forms of interactive communication to its visitors. There are many features that should be considered when selecting a forum hosting service. Many web hosts offer forum capabilities without charge or at a minimal expense. Among the options to consider before selecting a service provider could include ease of installation, and the ability to upgrade as web traffic increases. Twenty four hour technical support is also important. When forums become popular, technical difficulties that force the site to go down for several hours does not encourage repeat visitors. One of the reasons for the popularity of these forums is the ability to gain information and advice. The Bible talks about the wisdom of seeking council from good sources. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." (Psalm 1:1)

Some of the options that are frequently offered by a forum hosting service are secure hosting capabilities, professional software installation, password protection, visitor and post statistics, and sufficient space and traffic capacities to support the forums. While creating forums on free sites is certainly an option, there are providers that offer these capabilities at a minimal cost while still providing quality service. A forum creator also has the option of making the forums self sustaining entities. This can be accomplished by either adding ads or advertising banners to a web site or by selling items for an affiliate. Anyone who is interested in free web hosting can find providers who offer hosting services that are completely gratis. It is always important to check out such issues as the speed of the server and the amount of bandwidth available before signing on. Other questions to ask could include whether or not a free provider plans on including adds, banners, or pop ups on a client's site. Another concern could be the level of control over the site that the client will be afforded. Can the client control modules and layouts? Is there sufficient technical support available in the event of a problem?

Most creators of these forums are expected to moderate their own sites and handle any issues that arise due to offensive content. Moderating these sites can require a considerable investment of time and this should be considered before moving forward with any kind of free forum hosting. Issues such as annoying spam that is intermingled with other messages will encourage even the most patient visitor to move on. Some moderators find it useful to enlist the skills of frequent posters to help out in this area. A forum hosting service will generally require clients to keep a handle on offensive content. Some examples of possible offensive content could include pornographic material including any references to the exploitation of children, excessive profanity, violent material, racial slurs, references to illegal drug activity or drug paraphernalia, hacking, password sharing, hate speech, illegal media material, copyright violations, obscenity, defamatory speech, threats of violence, verbal abuse, mail fraud, spam, pyramid schemes, national security threats, soliciting illegal conduct, or gambling related content.

Anyone who is seeking a free forum hosting provider is also most likely interested in increasing traffic to their web site. A major first step in increasing web traffic is search engine optimization. Search engine optimization basically means that the site has been created in a way that ensures that it will receive a high ranking on search engines. This can be accomplished through professional looking design as well as quality content that meets the needs of the user. Unique graphic designs can keep visitors to forums interested and coming back. Comments and links on related message boards or blogs can also draw visitors to the site. There are also services that will review a web site for a fee. These posted reviews can increase traffic by explaining the qualities of a site to potential visitors. Another approach could be to include many internal links to other web site content or related message boards on the site itself. This will encourage the user to visit many different pages on the site rather than just the one that they originally sought out.

Message Board Hosting

The tool of message board hosting is a great help in building a community of visitors who keep returning to your website. If the bulletin board works well, customers will keep coming back to post messages and receive replies to their posts. As the writer of Proverbs 15:23 says, A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!. The boards are also known as community forums, web boards, discussion boards, BBS, or just bulletin boards. This popular tool allows the web site administrator to continue to have contact with visitors or potential customers.

One does not have to have a great deal of experience in technology or web solutions in order to take advantage of message board hosting. Boards can be hosted by remote hosting sites for free, or in reasonably-priced packages which offer different levels of features. Most of the sites which offer free bulletin board hosting allow the administrator to customize the appearance and features of the application, so that it blends well with the rest of his or her website and is attractive and easy to use. Remotely hosted boards often require the presence of advertising banners or announcements, especially for their 'free' edition. Other configurations without such advertising are usually available for additional cost. These paid editions often offer special features, like spell-check or increased message capacity, which are not included in the free version. However, even in the free edition, users have access to a host of special features with which they can customize their forums.

A person does not even need to have a website to use these services. The message board itself can be the website. Features are easy enough that beginners can use them, yet more advanced features and custom capabilities for advanced users are found within the message board hosting site. Administrators can control the appearance and settings of the site, and have access to features such as message removal, IP address banning, message editing and administrative posts. Additional individuals can also be authorized to perform specific administrative functions if needed.

Many companies which offer bulletin board hosting utilize high speed, tier 1 broadband, and have good reliability and redundant networks in order to help protect a customer's information. Most offer phpBB based message board hosting. The term 'phpBB' stands for php Bulletin Board and is a popular Internet forum package. This bulletin board system is a computer scripting language which was designed to help produce dynamic web pages. It can be displayed on most web servers and used on almost every operating system or platform free of charge.

For those interested in trying message board hosting on their websites, the list of features with which to customize the installation is truly impressive. Customization of color, background images, fonts and buttons allow the website owner to design a board which has the appropriate look and feel which is desired. Templates are available for those who want a certain look, yet do not wish to tailor it themselves. Easy link and image posting allows those who do not understand HTML to include these items in the message board. Various choices of date and time configurations exist, and helpful search features allow users to locate posts by keywords or poster names. A threaded message format provides access to the latest messages without having to read through all the 'old' postings. Other features enable user polls and provide participants with email notification when others reply to their messages. A message counter notes the number of times one's message is viewed.

On the security side, IP address stamping gives users a sense of responsibility for the content of their posts. That way, no one can post inappropriate messages anonymously. Spam control features prevent valuable space being taken by annoying, unwanted communications. For users with a sense of whimsy, various 'smileys' may be included to add a colorful touch of emotion to the post. Although some users find these emoticons annoying, they can help clarify a poster's intent in the case of ambiguous sentences. Administrators are relieved to note that a 24/7 team of technical people are on hand to answer questions and resolve problems. One site had been specializing in message boards for twenty years, and prided itself in the personalized service its technical teams offered. Some sites even assign a specific team to each customer in order to further aid in providing truly personalized service.

One of the best aspects of bulletin board hosting sites is that a person can try several services for free in order to get an accurate picture of the types of features and the level of service which is available. If needed, additional message space and special features are still fairly inexpensive, compared to the results which can come from this endeavor. A dedicated group of customers who enjoy communicating with each other, especially if the communications have to do with the products or services which are being offered on the website, is of great advantage for the site owner. Customers can be informed on a regular basis about new products or receive information about special offers through the administrative postings, which can be sent whenever the need arises. Since they are enjoyable for the customer and profitable and useful for site owners, every business owner or website provider should take a careful look at bulletin board hosting.

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