<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/logo_phpBB.gif” /> Forums are a great tool to have discussions with other readers through the internet about any particular topic. You may have come across forums before at Whirlpool, Bit-Tech and many others. But how do you create your own forum so you can have your own very own site like those?
Anyone who wants to talk with their friends, make their own community, or own their very own website may want to setup their own forum. However, you may think that it is impossible to set one up as you have no clue about how to create a website, but don’t worry, here are 5 sites that allow you to easily create your own forum.
MakeUseOf has covered Forumotion before, and one of the good things about Forumotion is that you get to choose from 4 different forum platforms. These include: phpBB2, phpBB3, punBB, and Invision. You can also customise your forums with over 3000 themes.
There is also a large list of subdomains that you can choose from to match the type of forum that you want to host. But if you don’t want to go down the path of a subdomain, Forumotion allows you to purchase your own domain through the forum’s admin interface.
Forumotion also offers a number of features:
- The ability to send newsletters to forum members
- Invite your friends using contacts from your social media accounts and webmail accounts
- Able to install modules such as Portals, Blogs, Galleries, Point System, Roleplay Games, Chatbox and a Calendar
- Forum statistics and reports
- Instant account creation
Free Power Boards and Free Forums is another great forum provider that offers an great range of features. However, only phpBB is available. They offer a number of upgrades that you can add to your board such as domain names, the removal of ads and copyright banner. However, these all come at a cost.
The features are very similar to those of Forumotion such as a custom admin panel, over 150 different styles, a large range of forum mods, a recovery console, and 24/7 support. Visit the Free Forums Features Page for all the features that they offer.
The mods that you can install on your forum are:
- Activity Stats
- AJAX Chat
- Contact Page
- Image Resizer
- Inactive Member Reminder
- No Ads For Staff
- New Profile System
- Quick Reply
- Share This
- Show Topic in View Online Page
- Thanks Mod
- Welcome PM
Lefora offers a unique forum experience with the ability to add sidebar widgets and much more. Lefora offers the following features when you use it to create your own forum:
- Facebook, Twitter and MySpace integration
- WYSIWYG editor
- 10GB of bandwidth
- Spam detection
- Email notifications
phpBB doesn’t offer anything special compared to the sites above, but if you want a basic version of phpBB3, then phpBB Host is for you. If you can put up with the large banner that’s placed on your forum and love the unlimited bandwidth, members and posts, you can’t go wrong with phpBB Host.
Other features include:
- Attachment quota of 500MB
- Custom domain
- Over 40 different styles
- 24/7 forum tech support
- Forum import ability
There are also a number of mods that you can install as well such as:
- Post count requirement
- Welcome PM
- Top posters
- Manage attachments
- Quick Reply
- ACP notepad
- Custom Portal
You can check out the full features that phpBB Host and phpBB3 have to offer.
Pro phpBB is very similar to phpBB Host as you just get the phpBB3 forum with nothing extra. Pro phpBB doesn’t offer anything fancy, but doesn’t seem to have the obtrusive ad that phpBB Host has. If you just want the basic phpBB3 forum without the hassle of installing it on your own server, Pro phpBB is for you.
I was also going to review Boardster but never received an activation email; and ProBoards but the CAPTCHA wouldn’t let me register an account. You may also want to have a look at Vanilla: Fast, Free Forum Hosting.
Have you used any of these sites to create your own free forum? What did you think of it? Do you use another service? We would like to know.