5 Interesting Ways to Create Your Own Forum Without Having to Run a Website

Simon Slangen 08-10-2012

how to create a forumA forum can be a great place for people of similar interests to congregate, talk, and discuss topics in more detail than your average IM conversation. We’ve written about a number of different forum users in the past, ranging from forums for students and instructors Piazza - A Q&A Forum For Students & Instructors To Be More Productive Last semester, one of my CS professors started class by saying that his superior was strongly encouraging (read: forcing) the teaching staff to use this new web-based discussion board called Piazza. As students, some of... Read More , to forums on computer security and skiing 2 Skiing Websites & Forums That Have Everything A Skier Needs For A Happy Life This winter I have got heavily into skiing. In fact, I have even written some cool articles about skiing applications on the iPhone. That was great when I was just getting into the sport, but... Read More !


There’s something for everyone. If that’s doesn’t suffice—if you’re looking for a private, or more specialised discussion board—you can always create your own forum.

One possible approach would be to pay for server space, and install the necessary forum software yourself. However, in some situations it’s possible to avoid these costs entirely, and cut down on maintenance by creating a forum without first purchasing server space. We’ll show you how.


Lefora is my favorite forum builder. It needs no more than a minute of your time to get up and running. Just enter your credentials, and you’ve got a brand-new forum running on a sub-domain with 2GB of storage. The basic package won’t cost you a dime.

how to create a forum

What can you expect apart from the 2GB of storage? A lot, apparently. Lefora comes with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, and makes embedding YouTube videos and images into posts as easy as pasting the URL in the post box. Also available are automatic spam detection, social integration, and widgets.



A more classic forum experience can be found using phpBB, one of the most prominent open-source forum packages. Chances are pretty good that you’ve been on a phpBB forum a few times during your adventures on the internet. Forumatic is also powered by the phpBB guys, and allows you to create a hosted phpBB forum in a snap.

create free forum

Several plans are available. The free trial—limited in features and pageviews, not in time—is a viable solution for small-scale communities. The cap is set at 30,000 pageviews per month. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan for more pageviews. This also earns you a myriad of other functionality, like attachment support, external JavaScript and CSS, and the ability to use your own domain name.

ForumUp is another free hosted forum service that uses phpBB to run the forum. Although you won’t have the kind of support that you have on Forumatic, ForumUp does come with fewer restrictions. As such, there’s no apparent limit on the number of pageviews and posts.


create free forum

Additionally, by paying a fee, you can remove the ads that are added to the forum by default, download back-ups of your forum data, and add custom HTML to the header and footer of your forum.


fBulletin takes a slightly different approach to the hosted forum, by involving Facebook. That’s right. Rather than giving you a subdomain forum, fBulletin gives you the ability to add a forum to a Facebook page. Additionally, once you’ve got the forum up and running, you can also embed it in another webpage.

create free forum


fBulletin supports the embedding of pictures and videos, BBCode and post subscription. Basic functionality is free, and you can upgrade your forum to add additional features and remove the ads that are added to the page by default.

Another less than standard approach to hosted forums can be found at Again, the idea is not to generate a subdomain forum, but rather to embed your forum on an existing page—just as easy as you’d embed a YouTube video. You do need a page to embed the forum on, but any webpage or blog supporting JavaScript will do.

how to create a forum

The free version gives you unlimited posting and members, while showing 15 recent topics and up to 5 sub-forums. For USD 5 per month, removes these caps and throws image uploads and a search feature in the mix.


What service will you use to create your forum, and what makes it earn your vote? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Related topics: Web Design, Web Development, Web Hosting.

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  1. atlant1234
    July 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    All types of paperwork of any subject, education level and complexity at WritingBy1Click ???

  2. dragonmouth
    February 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I prefer forums using the Beehive package. The biggest plus of Beehive is that you can address your post directly to any registered user, at any point in a discussion. This avoids having to search the entire thread for who responded to whom and when. With phpBB, once a post is off the current page, you don't know who posted what.

    • Simon Slangen
      February 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks for the tip!

  3. Honey
    January 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    You can also try a very convenient and easy to use forum....

  4. Edward Goldblatt
    October 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    The only forum service I need - or use - is InvisionFree.

  5. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    October 11, 2012 at 4:57 am

    I use Zetaboards. Pleansant to use and pretty customizable. My friend uses Jcink which is quite powerful, especially if you want to use it for specific purposes like *cough* roleplaying or the like. It provides many built in scripts for you to start whatever feature you want in your forum.

  6. Deekshith Allamaneni
    October 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    fBulletin seems to be pretty good approach for my blog page. thanks for the post.

  7. Alex Perkins
    October 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Its nice that services offer free versions and then cheap upgraded versions so that businesses and communities just getting of the ground have a fair chance.

  8. Ahmed Khalil
    October 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    very good thanks for the sharing, but i think it is still limited solution

  9. Strawberry
    October 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm


    Mine is hosted on Forumotion (
    In my opinion, that is the best free forums hosting, but I used Lefora before finding it.
    Good article.

  10. Vishal Mishra
    October 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Lefora is really great !!!

  11. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Thanks a lot for the useful article!

  12. Another Googler
    October 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Lefora is awesome . I use it.

  13. Anonymous
    October 8, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Just in time. I've been looking for effective ways to run a forum in a reasonable price. Will definitely try some of these and Lefora looks promising. However, I've been using Google Groups too and it runs just OK. Has anybody tried it yet?

    • Daniel Escasa
      October 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Google Groups, just like Yahoo!Groups, is fine for email discussions, although far as I can tell, you can't really create threads the same way that phpBB does (see the screenshots above). It does create threaded discussions, but only on posts with the same Subject. That causes some problems with those who subscribe to the digests, then reply to a message in the digest, by either replying to the digest (which is what most users do ), or creating a new post and cutting-and-pasting the Subject: line of the message they're replying to. Can't happen with dedicated forum sites.

  14. Karin Holmqvist
    October 8, 2012 at 2:08 am

    looks convenient if you want to discuss with a smaller group and/or for a limited time. 2 GB will then be enough as long as long as people do not post large files and most will never pass 30 000 pageview/month. The "only 15 recent topics" limits might be a bigger problem.