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Author Topic: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)  (Read 71815 times)

Offline KahneFan

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How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« on: December 26, 2008, 03:11:57 PM »
I've seen many people come on here and ask "How do I build a forum", so I'm hoping this might help.

For this example I will be giving probably the easiest meathod. You could host it yourself, but that's a much longer/harder process that most (new) forum owners don't need to bother with. There's also free hosts, but most of those won't give you your data when you want to leave, so I'm going with a host you pay for.

1) Find a host
 - 1a) When finding a host make sure they offer free programs/software such as... SMF :)
 - 1b) More than likely if your host says they offer "cPanel", they (should) offer SMF plus much more.

2) Sign up for a domain name and hosting account.
 2a) Please know that it may take up to 24 hours for your new domain and hosting account to actually work.

3) Go to your hosts cPanel or free program area and find SMF. More than likely there will be an "install" button... click it and follow the directions.
 3b) If the installation asks "where would you like to install SMF" and gives you something like: yourdomain/______ and asks you to fill in the blank, leave it blank if you want your forum to be your home page. If you want to have a separate home page and then have people click "forum" to go to your forum, then type "forum" in the blank. Please understand the second option means you have to create a home page or front end of some sort (and that's a whole other story). Note: You can move your forum to a /forum folder later if you want to build a home page.

4) As long as everything was completed, you should now have a forum. Now you should be able to go to yourdomain.--- and start working on your forum.

I will be a little more specific now and give an example of the host I use. I use GoDaddy, which some people don't like, but to me they are extremely easy to use. Plus, if you ever want to move, it's pretty easy to move to a new host.

1) Go to http://www.godaddy.com
2) Click Hosting
3) Sign up for (minimum) Economy Plan. I suggest going to the Deluxe plan since it's not much more, but gives unlimited web sites if you want to build more than 1.
4) Add a domain (if you don't have one already)
5) Complete Registration
 - again, be aware that you may need to wait a day before step 6
6) Go back to GD and sign in to your account.
7) Look for "My Products" --> click "Hosting"
8 ) Your account should appear --> click "manage account"
9) Click "Content"
10) Click "GoDaddy Hosting Connection"
11) Click "Message Boards/Forums"
12) Click "Simple Machines Forum"
13) Click "Install Now"
14) Select your domain and click "continue"
15) Fill in the blanks:
 - Database Description: (you can leave as is)
 - database password: (something you'll remember)
 - confirm db password: just retype above
16) "Install it into a folder:" {erase what is there to make your forum your main site} or {erase what is there and type "forum"}
 -  Note: You can move your forum to a /forum folder later if you want to build a home page.
17) Fill In The Blanks:
 - Admin Name: (this will be YOUR username on your forum)
 - Admin Password: (this will be your password on your forum)
 - Verify Admin Password: (retype above)
 - Email: (your regular email address)
 - Forum Name: (this will appear on the top left of your forum)
18) Click "Finish"
19) GoDaddy will automatically set up your forum and it should be live in about 10 minutes or so. They will usually send an email to the address you listed to let you know when your site is complete.
20) Go to your new site!

21) Leave your forum as is and start getting new members, or
 - 21b) Come back here and ask bunches of questions on how to customize your forum  ;)


I used to use a host that had cPanel, but I no longer do, so if any has cPanel and would like to list steps to installing SMF through cPanel, feel free.

If you have any questions after reading this, please feel free to post them and we'll be happy to help.

Offline phpMyTony

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 03:13:58 PM »
Can I just say, well done :)
My dad uses GoDaddy, and I use cpanel aswell!

Very great guide ;)

Offline H

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 04:35:16 PM »
Moved topic here. The other board is intended for management strategy etc although that isn't too obvious at the moment.

Cpanel is good although I'd recommend staying away from godaddy (for hosting, not domains :)). Searching this board for godaddy should give you multiple reasons why!

I know that the doc team are currently re-working the install section so you might be interested in joining the doc help squad :)
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Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 11:11:17 PM »
I know that the doc team are currently re-working the install section so you might be interested in joining the doc help squad :)

Is there a section of this board to help with this.


Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 12:59:33 AM »
Thanks. The difference here though is my instructions include pre-install and I would think SMF instructions would be post install. I've seen a lot of people who ask how to start from scratch, not just after install.

Offline bgk forums

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2009, 08:58:39 PM »
Hey, I'm new here and found this post on Google. Yes, I know it's old. I just hope this is one of those forums where those newly replied to threads get to be up front. This is probably just an account I'll use on this thread, so the name (bgk forums) is my soon-to-be forum website, all about black ghost knife fish (or just BGKs  :) )

Since you use GoDaddy.com, I'm assuming they have SMF? Do they also have cpanel?

(it's at the top now!)

Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 10:00:34 PM »
They have SMF, but they use their own cpanel-type of site called the GoDaddy Hosting Connection. It's still click-install easy for SMF.

Offline efos

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how do i make my message alone appear in my home page
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2010, 12:08:51 AM »
how do i make my message alone appear in my home page at my forum?

Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2010, 03:10:12 AM »
I'm not sure if I understand what you're asking. But, you can use a portal system, like Simple Portal to create a "home page" for your forum. Then you can build blocks to contain any content you like: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1104

Offline earthluvinmama

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2010, 05:32:21 PM »
I'm a total novice and trying to set up my forum. These instructions were really awesome! Thanks for posting.

I got through step 18 and I'm now getting this message on my page...

You're on a windows server, and some crucial files are not writable. Please ask your host to give write permissions to the user PHP is running under for the files in your SMF installation. The following files or directories need to be writable:

•attachments
•avatars
•Packages
•Packages/installed.list
•Smileys
•Themes
•agreement.txt
•Settings.php
•Settings_bak.php


This is probably something very easily remedied when one know what they're doing...which I do not =(

I would be forever grateful if you could point me in the right direction. Thanks!


Offline 青山 素子

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 06:47:12 PM »
You'll need to contact your host with that exact message. They'll know how to fix it.
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Note: I am not a member of the Simple Machines Forum project.


Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2010, 07:16:12 PM »
The GD Hosting Connection shows SMF works with Widow & Linux, although I personally used Linux, so I'm not sure if Windows requires further steps. However, if contacting GD support does not help, you could try:

1) Download a FTP client (I suggest FileZilla
2) Run FileZilla
3) To log in:
 - - Host= www.yoururl.com
 - - Username = your username with GD
 - - Password = your password with GD

This should now log you into the actual hosting part of your website. If you don't know what you're doing ONLY do this:

If, when loading SMF, you loaded it to "yoursite/", then you should be on the top of your directory and you should already see the folders you listed above "attachments, avatars...". If you loaded SMF to a sub directory "yoursite/forum", then you will need to double click on the "forum" (or whatever) folder, THEN you should see the folders you listed above.

Look at the column labeled "Permissions" and make sure that all of the folders listed above are listed with "0755". If they are... you got me. If they are not listed with "0755"; right click on one of the folders listed and select "folder permissions" and change the "numeric value" to "755" and click "OK". Once you've done this to all the folders listed above you SHOULD be good to go.

Offline jk-dj

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2010, 11:50:23 PM »
I'm not sure if I understand what you're asking. But, you can use a portal system, like Simple Portal to create a "home page" for your forum. Then you can build blocks to contain any content you like: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1104

I have  SMF1.1.11 up and running nicely.  A front page was an afterthought...so, will Simple Portal work without having to move my forum to a sub folder?   I'm fine with manual install of the mod as needed, I just want some experienced advice before I hack up my already working forum.

Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2010, 01:20:03 AM »
Yes, you can add SP as an after thought and it will make its self your home page and move your forum as a link in the header. AND, if you were to use any of the "page" mods, which allow you to add pages to your site, you could link those from your new front portal page and make it just like someone was navigating a regular site. For example, if you wanted "About" "Contact" "Specials".... type pages.

Offline earthluvinmama

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2010, 11:58:20 PM »
Thanks for your help!! I'm up and running now.

Having issues with loading smileys, but that's for another topic  :)

Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2010, 12:35:01 AM »
No problem, glad to help. Just curios, as it may help others, did your host help or did the FTP work?

Offline openearth

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2010, 04:37:11 AM »
Hi,

thanks for a great post, exactly what i was looking for.

i also use godaddy and i had a question.  i want to start a forum and i want new members to enter their email address for me to collect and store (no i'm not a spammer :-)  i simply want to be able to contact members when i need to and to allow other members to contact each other through email. 

is this possible with godaddy?  and if so, how can it be done?

thanks in advance

denis

Offline KahneFan

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2010, 08:40:38 AM »
Are you sure you want members to have each other's email addresses? I would think using the private message system built in to SMF would be better so members couldn't spam other members as easily. I don't see that GoDaddy has any type of email/newsletter type of program. Personally, I set up an email address, then used that with Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Live Mail on my computer and I create groups that I use for a mailing list I have.

Offline punisher12

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Re: How To Start A Forum (from scratch)
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 07:24:10 PM »
I followed these steps and I purchased my domain and hosting from godaddy.com (for now). I went through all the steps and it have been saying that it is installing for the past couple hours now and nothing is working. Just wondering what I did wrong considering the steps says it should take 10mins or so for the site to be up and its been a few hours for me so far and nothing.