How to create your own free forum

Would you like to have a forum on your website where visitors can go to ask questions, provide feedback, or post information? There are two basic ways to do this: software you install on a server or a forum hosted elsewhere.

If your website is with a paid host, you should be able to install forum software. Most major hosts will provide Fantastico or Simple Scripts (SS) that will install it for you. Go to the Fantastico or SS control panels and choose a forum script. A couple that are provided are: phpBB and Simple Machines Forum. Follow the directions and these are fairly easy to set up. You will have a front end (the part that visitors see) and a back end (your control panel where you can set the appearance, permissions, other administrative details).

If your website is with a free host, you probably cannot upload to their server, so a free forum hosted elsewhere is the way to go. Simply perform a Google search for “free forum” and lots of sites will come up. These are free because the host places ads on your forum. Sometimes you can get the ads removed for a small fee.

Two such free hosts that I have tried are: YouForum.cc and OwnForum.org. YouForum is very simple and quick to set up. They have about 42 themes to choose from and you can add a logo, etc. There is a strip of Google ads across the top of the forum, but that’s it. There are no popup or popunder ads. OwnForum is based on phpBB and is fairly simple to set up but the themes are more difficult to work with than YouForum. You can also add a logo but I had trouble with it. There is a strip of Google ads across the bottom of the forum, and again, no popups or popunders. With both of these you can handle all the administrative details like user permissions, how users can post, passwords, forum rules, censored words, etc.

Once you have your free forum set up, you will want to integrate it into your existing website. The way to do this is with an iframe coding. YouForum actually provides you with the embedding code for this that you can just copy and paste. Here’s the code you will want to use:
You can change height and width as needed to fit your website.

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