Top 10 Forum Hosting Companies

Whats is Forum Hosting?

Internet is a useful media to socialize with many people who have the same interest with you. Internet forums are often established to cater to specific interest, such as politics, astronomy, blogging, cars, gardening, entrepreneurship and many others. They have become a great source of knowledge for many individuals and enthusiasts, while big corporate often use them to gather loyal customers and spread latest news on products and services. Hundreds of new forums are established everyday on the Internet, however before even deciding to build a successful forum you need to consider one important factor, the web hosting.

Early forums took form as newsgroup (such as Usenet) and mailing list, which allowed people to post messages and to discuss on certain topics. At this moment, some forums software packages can be bought commercially or downloaded for free on the Internet. PHP is the popular platform for forums, however many forum software are developed using ASP, Perl and Java. The records of posts and configuration settings are stored inside a database. Each forum offers varying style of design and types of features, from the most basic forum that provides text-only postings to highly advanced forum that can support multimedia files and thousands of active members at once. Certain forum software can be integrated into an existing website.

Although forums are often considered as a complementary feature in websites, some providers offer forum hosting plan for people who want to establish a purely forum-based website. Just like when choosing a normal hosting plan, finding a good forum hosting plan by balancing between features and cost given can be challenging. Preliminary research on the essentials is important to ensure a flawless forum operation. These are a few things you should seek from a good forum hosting plan:

1. Flexible web space: It is simply the hard drive space in the server used to store your data. Unlike, most websites, space requirement for a forum grows over time as people are adding new threats, replies and attachments. On larger forums, it is not uncommon to have the disk space to increase for about 50MB or more a month. A good forum hosting plan should allow flexible increase in disk space, to help you deal with surges of new members and posts.

2. Enough bandwidth: Just like web space, the bandwidth requirement of a forum website tends to increase steadily. With the increase in memberships, more people will open threads and add their comments which will require more bandwidth.

3. Near-continuous server uptime: Forum as an online social gathering site should have high server uptime, some companies may claim to have 100 percent server uptime, but they often fail to deliver it.

4. Robust database management: Make sure the hosting company can adequately support MySQL and PHPMyAdmin. A forum requires intensive and continuous connection to the database, as the result some hosting companies have dedicated database server to ensure high performance and superb reliability.

5. Powerful hardware: A forum requires more raw computing power than sites with static pages. Ask the company about the specification of it servers; make sure the servers have fast processors and adequate hard drive arrangements.

6. Support: The feedback section in your forum can provide valuable insight on how members are thinking about the forum. If the issues are related to things that are beyond your reach, such as performance and server security, the hosting provider’s customer service department should be able to offer effective solutions quickly.

The more effort you put during the forum hosting selection process can help you to get the best hosting plan possible and avoid future headaches.

Why Forum Hosting is Better for you

As internet usage and knowledge has continued to increase, more and more people are beginning to feel comfortable operating and hosting their own discussion forums. While they were once the mainstay of technical professionals who knew how to write and modify complex snippets of code, discussion forums are now part of mainstream internet culture. Given this evolution of purpose, it’s no surprise that forum hosting is among the most popular web hosting options online.

But, in a market that offers up to ten different types of hosting, why should you choose forum hosting over all of the competing alternatives? There are several key reasons to seek out a solid forum hosting plan as opposed to more traditional hosting options — and they have to do with affordability, ease of use, and overall purpose.

Forum Hosting Tends to be More Affordable
Many of the most expensive hosting options are priced at higher levels simply due to the fact that they’re designed to do everything — from discussion forums to blogs, multimedia streaming to eCommerce. A discussion forum host simply doesn’t have to accommodate these needs, nor charge users for them. Their forum hosting product is typically quite simple and basic; it is designed to host a forum at the exclusion of almost all other web hosting activities. This clarity and singularity of purpose means that less resources need to be devoted to each account and, when less resources are involved, less cost is typically invalid as well.

Furthermore, many hosting companies typically have group licenses for discussion forum software and will provide that software to a user free of charge — included in their monthly fee. Because these licensing fees on their own can be quite expensive, especially for smaller forum operators, this is a net savings that’s worth pursuing.

No Need for Technical Knowledge or Setup
Web hosts offering discussion forum hosting plans typically support a number of software options, including SMF, phpBB, vBulletin, IPB installations as well as many other, smaller alternatives. This software already comes standard with the hosting forum package, and users can set it up in one of two ways. First and foremost, many hosting companies will ask the user to specify which forum software option they wish to use, and many companies will do the setup for the user automatically. That means no uploading of files, no need to go through the sometimes complex process of database creation, and no room for error.

Even if that service isn’t available, a good number of more user-involved discussion forum hosts will provide one-click installation solutions using cPanel’s Fantastico or a similar software installation interface, that removes all of the technical skills needed to get stated with hosting an online discussion community.

Designed for Optimal Forum Performance
Again due largely to a forum host’s singularity of purpose, their servers are designed for optimal forum performance. They understand the importance of a strong and capable MySQL server and a constantly-updated database technologies, as well as the importance of keeping their PHP and Perl installations — essential to all forum software — updated and in good repair.

Furthermore, their technicians are forum-centric and they know what’s required of these online communities. Their better experience in just this specific hosting purpose means they can provide better support that address both software and hosting server concerns at the same time. It eliminates bouncing between technical support representatives and departments — and, in many cases, it eliminates the need for technical support altogether.

A Great Option for All Forum Operators
If a discussion forum is in your future, of it’s your primary online activity, a discussion forum host just makes sense. They have all the expertise of traditional web hosts, but all of the forum-centric knowledge that helps pages load faster, software updates come quicker, and user satisfaction rate higher.

How to Choose Forum Hosting

Selecting the right kind of forum hosting for your forum is very important. This is because forums are difficult to manage and require too much maintenance. Most of the time forum owners might also need to hire extra manpower for the maintenance of forums.

Forum hosting has gained rapid popularity over the past few years because it serves as a basis for people to share their problems and get their solutions. Many businesses now have their own forums allowing customers to interact with each other. These forums also enable businesses to keep a tab on the issues which customers are facing from their services.

If you are planning to buy forum hosting, following considerations will be very useful.

1. Experience: The experience of the forum hosting company you are planning to hire matters a lot. The experience will tell you how good the hosting services are and how reliable is their forum hosting. Newer companies generally offer low cost hosting plans to establish a solid foundation in the industry; however, their services are generally not as good because of the lack of experience in the hosting industry.

2. Bandwidth and Storage: Forum hosting requires good bandwidth and storage options. This is because forums experience increasing traffic and to deal with such traffic, it is mandatory to have high bandwidth which can withstand the rise in the traffic. Also, you need to have special considerations regarding storage capacity for your forum. Initially the needs might not be much; however, with the passage of time, you might need more storage options. This is because when more and more users join a forum, the content increases and so does the storage need. While at it, make sure you have a larger database as well.

3. Scalability: As the business grows, the business needs increase and you might need more resources to handle your forum. When the current resources get insufficient, your forum hosting company should allow you to upgrade your resources and your hosting plan accordingly. Also, if the option of moving from shared hosting to dedicated hosting is available, it would be ideal for you.

4. Customer Services: Customer support is a vital element of the hosting industry. This is because clients may need technical help at any time of the day and they may require different accessibility modes to reach to the customer representatives. Therefore, make sure your forum hosting company has 24/7 customer support and is accessible via email, telephone and live chat. If all three options are available, it will be perfect for you. Also check out response time for each option and use the option accordingly. Sometimes forum hosting companies offer customer support all through the day, however their customer representatives do not know much about technical problems. Be sure you are not a victim of this problem.

5. Reliability: Nothing could go as wrong with a hosting provider as a high downtime. If the hosting firm does not offer 99.9% uptime guarantee, do not make deal with them. The higher the downtime is, the more clients you will lose because your website was offline.

These are perfect tips to find the best forum hosting for your business.