How to create a Forum Website using phpBB

create a forum

An Internet forum site is a great way for individuals who are passionate about a hobby or other pursuit to get in touch with and chat about this same idea with other individuals who share their same passion.

Some people just like the idea of setting up a forum for the fun of it. However, there may be a money making opportunity in it for you. Some of the ways that you can make money from this endeavor include selling advertising space, charging a fee for membership, or doing a little affiliate marketing.

I am going to provide you with step-by-step instructions so that you can create forum using phpBB.

Why Choose phpBB?

The first reason has to do with the fact that phpBB is an extremely popular forum platform. Millions of people use the thousands of active forum sites that are powered by phpBB every single day. It is likely that you are already a member of a forum site that uses phpBB.

Also, it’s free. This will allow you to start your forum without a large financial investment. The only things you will have to pay for are domain registration and hosting.

phpBB offers users a wide range of features that include:

  • A built-in functionality that provides private messaging
  • A customizable registration process
  • Customizable forum styles
  • Many security features, including built-in anti-spam
  • An advanced post moderation system

An Alternative for Commercial Use

Individuals who would like to make money from their forum site may choose to use vBulletin instead of phpBB. Despite the fact that phpBB offers extensive functions, vBulletin is considered a more premium choice and gives you the opportunity to create sites that look more up to date. It allows the creator to have more control over the appearance of their site and provides more integration with social networking platforms. And because it is a commercial product, you can always contact vBulletin’s support department if you need help or experience any problems.

vBulletin is a great product and an alternative for individuals with ambitious goals. However, phpBB has a lot of potential. Even big names like OpenOffice, Fujitsu, and Ars Technica us it. So you’re in good company if you make the same choice.

What You Need to Get Started

There are a couple of things that are needed to get your phpBB forum site started. I will outline these things in the short list below. Don’t be nervous. I will take you through each step of the process.

  • A means to pay for your domain registration and hosting, like a PayPal account or credit card
  • A web hosting account along with your own domain
  • A web browser
  • Enthusiasm for the subject you have chosen
  • Time that can be used to get conversations started and to interact with forum members
  • Some ideas for content

Deciding on a Domain and Hosting

Before you can get started, you need an address for your website, which is a domain. Also, you need a place where you can host your website, which is a web hosting service. Take some time to learn about the different options and then find one that works for you.

Install phpBB

In this part, I will help you get started using a basic phpBB site. From there, I will talk about customizing the site. These instructions will apply to most web hosts, but it would be good for you to look for a specific guide for the installation of phpBB depending on the host you have decided to use.

  1. Go to the cPanel login link. Enter the username and password that was given to you by the hosting service when you first signed up. You may feel a little overwhelmed by all of the cPanel options that are given, but you will find that this is actually quite easy to use.
  2. Find the ‘Software/Services’ icon located on the right. You may need to scroll down a bit find it.
  3. Click on the ’QuickInstall’ icon and then find phpBB. You will find it under ‘Forum Software’ on the left.
  4. If the domain has been set up properly, it will appear in the drop-down list. There will be a blank field where you can specify a subdirectory where you can install phpBB (for example: )For the purpose of this guide, I will assume that you want to place your phpBB forum in the root directory. This way, it will appear when people first visit your website. So this field should be left blank. If you were going to build a forum as a new section in a site that already exists, this option would be used to place it in a subdirectory.)
  5. Fill-in all requested information. As soon as you finish, click ‘Install Now.’
  6. As soon as the installation is complete, a login URL, used to administer your phpBB, will be given to you. Also, you will get a confirmation of your admin username and password. If you have installed phpBB right after beginning your registration and hosting, you may receive an error message, like ‘page not found.’ Don’t worry. It can take up to 48 hours for the domain registration to propagate across worldwide DNS servers.
  7. As soon as you are able to access the site, the front page of your new forum should appear when you visit the URL. Log in. After logging in, you will be directed to the forum homepage. At this time, you will see ‘Administration Control Panel.’ Click on it and you will be asked for your password again. This will give you site to the phpBB administration panel.

Customizing phpBB

When you start looking around the admin page, there’s a lot to take in. However, I will go through some of the basic steps to help you get your forum started.

  1. Let’s start by putting your own stamp on the appearance of your forum site. You can click on the ‘Styles’ tab to do this. It appears at the top of the admin interface.
  2. Next, look at the style called ‘prosilver.’ This one is active by default. Another available style is called ‘prosilver2.’ You can switch in by clicking on the’ install’ button located on the right side of the style.
  3. From there, find the ‘board index’ located on the top right of the admin panel and click on it. You can get back to the admin panel by clicking on the’ Administration Control Panel’ that is located on the bottom of the screen. Here you will find a variety of phpBB themes. Adding a different theme is somewhat complex, but other guides explain how to do this.
  4. While you are on this page, look around at the other general settings. Some are self-explanatory and you can alter them if you wish. When you finish, click on the ‘submit’ button located at the bottom of the page.
  5. If you would like to change the logo on your forum, you can upload one using FTP.

Managing Your PhpBB Site

Now that you have learned to create forum using phpBB, you are now ready to begin managing your site. You have certain responsibilities that involve keeping a close eye on posts and topics that promote illegal activity. Be sure to eliminate these quickly.

As the administrator of the site, you control your members. This means you can ban email accounts, IP addresses, and specific users. You can do this in this section called ‘users and groups’ found in the admin panel.

Now you are ready to start interesting conversations, share your passions, meet new people, and quite possibly make some money.

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