Starting your first forum – No programming skills required!

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Hi there. If you’re reading this, it probably means you want to get an online discussion forum started. The following is a list of things you’ll need before we begin:

  • A web hosting account (If you don’t have one yet, sign up for Dreamhost)
  • An FTP client (Windows users, download FileZilla. Mac users, download Cyerduck)
  • A brain

Now that we have that out of the way, we’ll need to download the files for our forum package. Please visit MyBB’s download page and click “Download Now”.
Now, we need to get our web host’s upload information. Please ask your web host for this information. It may be in a welcome email from them, or in your online panel.

  • FTP/SFTP username and password
  • MySQL database, username, and passsword

Once you get the FTP info from your host, open your FTP client (FileZilla or Cyberduck) and connect to your server. If you have a list of folders, open “web”, “htdocs”, “www”, “”, or whatever it may be called. Then, open up the MyBB zip file we downloaded, and drag the contents of “Upload” to your web folder.

Waiting….. waiting….. waiting………………
Once it’s done, visit your site URL with “/install” added to the end. If your site URL is, go to
You should be presented with a setup wizard. It will look like this:

Click Next, “read” the license agreement, then click next again. Are you at a page that says “Database Configuration”? Good. Fill in the info your host gave you. Click next. The rest of the installation process should be pretty self-explanitory. You will then reach here:

Now, visit your site! You should see a plain, boring, empty forum. Let’s spice it up a bit, shall we?

Once you’ve logged in with your username and password, find the term “Admin CP” in the navigation panel, and click it. You may be asked to re-authenticate.

Now click “Forums and Posts” in the button bar. Use this panel to add all your categories and boards, it isn’t too difficult, start with the “Add new forum” tab 🙂

Once your board layout is how you like it, you may want to give it a new theme. Here are some sites that let you download themes for MyBB:

Once you have found a theme you like, download it. Inside the zip file, there will be two things. A folder, and an XML file. First, open the “images” folder in your FTP program, and drag the folder in (the entire thing, not just the contents).

Then go back to the Admin CP and click the “Templates and Style” tab. Then, click “Import a theme” and import the XML file. Then, in your theme list, click “Options”, then “Set as default”.

To give your site a logo, just drop an image in your FTP folder, then specify the location by clicking “Options”, then “Edit theme” by your newly imported theme. Find “Image Directory” and change it to where you put the image.

If you need any help just visit MyBB’s help forums and ask 🙂


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