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Old 01-25-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
Daudio
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Default What BB software for a small community ?

I recently realized that a small community I belong to could be served by an online forum, and my web hosting could support it without too great an effort. And that leads me to some questions.

1) I know that bulletin board software has been dicussed here quite a bit, but things change and requirements differ, so what bulletin board packages would you suggest for me ?
I have UNIX hosting.
I don't want to increase my hosting costs with database (MySQL) capability for a while.
The bb/forum usage should be small, as I said it is a small community.
I don't want to spend a lot of time configuring the software and moderating the posts.

2) How (and if) can I put the BB software in a subdirectory(or something like that) of my personal web site and have a new domain name point to it there, so it looks like it has its own seperate domain, but I don't have to pay for another hosting package ?

3) There might be an opportunity to sell some advertising to a small number of business that cater to this community (brass scale model locomotive rebuilders and repairers). But I don't have any idea how much that would be worth, and how much to ask for. Any ideas or guidelines ?

Thanks for any help...

   
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Daudio
… so what bulletin board packages would you suggest for me ?

I don't want to spend a lot of time configuring the software and moderating the posts.
I didn’t realize you could have a BB without a database, so I can’t help you there.

But the most common board software must be phpBB; it is often found already installed on servers so you just have to set it up. But it definitely requires MySQL, so I guess that’s out.

On the other hand, a $4/month plan at GoDaddy includes up to 10 MySQL databases as well as forum software. I have never used GoDaddy as a host, but some members here have and should be able to tell you how they are to deal with.

You may not need to spend a lot of time configuring software, and none at all moderating posts if this is a small reliable group. There are always occasional updates, though, some of them for security or reliability issues, so some work will be required from time to time.

   
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Daudio
I have UNIX hosting.
I don't want to increase my hosting costs with database (MySQL) capability for a while.
I think the other questions are secondary to this statement. The majority of board packages use PHP/MySQL. PHP5 does have SQLite, a flat file database system which does not require MySQL and is suitable for small applications whic are not "database hungry". However, I have not seen any BB software making use of this as it does depend on having PHP5 installed on the server and since almost all UNIX hosting packages have MySQL included these days there would be little point in development.

Perl based bulletin boards can use flat file databases with great effect. The WebMaster World forum, which is enormous, runs on such a system. The forum software, BestBBS will soon be made available from the developers though bestbbs.com

RA BBS is a Perl/flat database board which may be worth a look. However, with such boards the user base is quite small, and often the software has a lone developer!

When deciding to use a BB you also have to consider the experiences of your likely participants. Most will already be familiar with phpBB and vBulletin and may find alternative layouts and systems less easy to use.

I think it best that you look for as many suitable Perl solutions as you can before making any decision. Some of them are free, so provide the opportunity to install and test without any outlay except for time.

   
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:44 PM   #4
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I use Go Daddy as a host for a couple of domains, and it's fine. I don't have a forum on either of those domains, but PHP and MySQL are both available there.

I used phpBB for well over a year, and it will do what you want. It isn't pre-installed on Go Daddy, but it comes with full installation instructions and there's a support forum for it. I also used banner ads with it, using phpAdsNew.

These days my forums are in vBulletin, but you can see an example of the banner ads by following this link.

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by annc
These days my forums are in vBulletin, but you can see an example of the banner ads by following this link.
Heehee, my Mozilla/Firefox ad-killing user stylesheet takes good care of that - the only trace of any advertizing I see is the text "How to advertise on DressageIT". These days, I'm surprised to see an ad anywhere, though a few ads on Yahoo! mail creep through every now and then (must look into that).

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 05:16 AM   #6
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Heehee, my Mozilla/Firefox ad-killing user stylesheet takes good care of that - the only trace of any advertizing I see is the text "How to advertise on DressageIT".
I imagine Ann hopes her forum members do not run that software, as the ads are the sole source of revenue for her site!

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 05:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ktinkel
I imagine Ann hopes her forum members do not run that software
I thought every FireFox user runs the Adblock extension? I very rarey see an ad, and when I do it is immediately added to the Adblock list.....

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 05:26 AM   #8
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I thought every FireFox user runs the Adblock extension? I very rarey see an ad, and when I do it is immediately added to the Adblock list.....
Not me. I do block popups and prevent animation — those two take care of the most annoying ads.

I visit very few commercial sites, but have many friends who support their sites through local advertising. What ads I see do not cause much pain.

Do you have another suggestion of a way site managers can cover the cost of running forums?

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:12 AM   #9
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Do you have another suggestion of a way site managers can cover the cost of running forums?
No I do not - I wish I did have a good way of creating a revenue stream from a site. I use Google Ads on several of my sites, but have to accept that a lot of visitors are not going to see them.

   
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Do you have another suggestion of a way site managers can cover the cost of running forums?
Contributing members. This is a category of membership that pays a subscription fee. It is voluntary, and sometimes an extra chat section is offered as a perk for subscribing.
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