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How Much Does It Cost To Run A Forum?

Viktori

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I've always wanted to run my own forum, but I don't think it would be something I would try to earn with and more likely just do it as a hobby. I don't mind paying for the forum out of my own pocket, as long as it serves a purpose, and if someday it will be able to generate money to pay for itself then all the better since I'd hate to ask for donations.

That said, how much would be the minimum or average I should expect to pay annually to run a forum? Will there expenses other than what I would have to pay for a domain and hosting?
 
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Nymph

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Forums don't generally run high on bandwidth or disk-space costs, but if your user-base evolves to many thousands, it just might. It all depends on the topic of your forum, whether you allow embedded videos and such, but for a hobby or a mutual purpose, forums are cheap and an excellent way to get your voice heard. You should be good with free hosting to start. Then, when you gain enough traction, a small hosting plan will fit your needs fine for a long time to come.
 

Yorozuya

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You can always start a forum with some cheap hosting plan, as forums are not that bandwidth hungry in general. But if your forum ever becomes popular you will probably need a dedicated server to run it, or else it will be unbearably slow. The specs of the server will depend on the amount of traffic your site has and how much money do you have :) Don't worry though, a popular forum can make enough money to pay for its own hosting, and probably even more.
 

Viktori

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Thanks for the tips guys! I was just hesitant to pay for initial costs, even if it would just amount to a couple hundred dollars, since this is just a hobby and I would rather use my money somewhere else. From my research, it looks like I'd have to shell out about $60 for annual hosting and another $150 for the software. I don't mind foregoing the software and instead I'll just use a free one, would you say that's advisable? Also, is there any other hosting that could possibly cost me way less, since I'd just be experimenting to start and would much rather start off with a cheap hosting service.
 

Teekay

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You could get hosting for much cheaper than that, most companies have coupon codes that give you significant amount of discount on their usual price, makes you wonder the premium people are paying who don't use one. One year of hosting could be sorted from Hawk Host for just under $20 and around $25 from Namecheap. This is their basic plan but it should be more than enough for a forum.
 

Viktori

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You could get hosting for much cheaper than that, most companies have coupon codes that give you significant amount of discount on their usual price, makes you wonder the premium people are paying who don't use one. One year of hosting could be sorted from Hawk Host for just under $20 and around $25 from Namecheap. This is their basic plan but it should be more than enough for a forum.


Thanks for the tips! I looked into both of your recommended companies and I found that basic hosting would cost around $40-$50 with a regular price, so I'm assuming that I'd have to look for a promo code to offset some of the expense and get to the $20-$25 range? Or am I doing something wrong? Either way, I will be looking into it more so thanks again for your suggestion and advice. :)
 

Teekay

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Thanks for the tips! I looked into both of your recommended companies and I found that basic hosting would cost around $40-$50 with a regular price, so I'm assuming that I'd have to look for a promo code to offset some of the expense and get to the $20-$25 range? Or am I doing something wrong? Either way, I will be looking into it more so thanks again for your suggestion and advice. :)


Yes, I forgot to mention that those prices are after applying the promo codes. The same promo code for Hawk Host has been in existence for about 2 years. whts50v2 is a one off 50% off and for Namecheap, they have new ones every month or so.
 

Viktori

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Yes, I forgot to mention that those prices are after applying the promo codes. The same promo code for Hawk Host has been in existence for about 2 years. whts50v2 is a one off 50% off and for Namecheap, they have new ones every month or so.

Ah, nice. This certainly takes away my hesitation with getting a host service because I didn't want to experiment with an expensive one. I'll be looking into these options further. Thanks again! :)
 

sheble

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Ok this so easy. you can easily run your own forum. at first you have to find a forum temples, and then tow ways to run forum. 1st you can run on in a free host, if you do that then you can faced some problems like bandwidth problem if your visitor become large then your will fall... result site down. so free is not good every time..
2nd way find a good server and it will take 50$ to 80$. this kind of server will provide you best support. first time you can try with free server when you become a expert of it, then you can buy the server and start your forum properly ......
 

CodeMaster67

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Having run a few successful forums in the past ,I'd say depending on what resources you have and the amount of time, you should buy a domain and then get a decent host, I used a post to host company so I'd say it'll cost you about 4.00 bucks on start up and a few moments of your time. But then you have the "forum growth spurt" and that's when you'll have to move so I paid about 25 bucks a month to move to a fully managed server with a lot of space. So in total if you play your cards wisely, it'll cost over 1,800 bucks depending on how many years you will run your site.
 

wasi90lk

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If you do not want to spend much, I recommend you to try createaforum.com or mybb.com.

If you can spend $500, then go for Vbulletin.
 

Hanaseru

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I suggest not spending any money on the forum software until you know that you won't regret it. There are always forum converters.
 

jacktheking

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It can be as cheep as ''free''. However if you want a great hosting and a TLD Domain than i think $100 should be okay for you to had it in World Wide Web for one year.
 

Hanaseru

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For decent hosting and a top level domain, 40$ a year should be more than enough to sustain a low end or middle end forum
 

fancy

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I have also had the same idea and wish I could benefit from the contributions here. But the point of using my own pocket-from money seems new to me…I wont bother financing my own forum where members are contributing towards certain thing I am aiming to. Thanks Vicktori hope we shall benefit from this.
 

Zerth

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Well for a new forum there isn't much to pay since there isn't much members going on.
For domain, I usually get mine for $0.99 each year which is pretty cheap, but only thanks to some coupon codes.
As for hosting, it depends, I can find some $0.99 ones per month which are decent for a small amount of users, but you have to pay like a year's worth, so it may not be good.
But hosting monthly is pretty cheap and you could make it back if you have adsense or somet on.
 

Steverd

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I could run my forums for FREE if I wanted to use space I have on 1and1.com shared servers, BUT that could make for some very SLOW forums once it gets larger. So I am using a special Xenforo hosting service (I'm using Xenforo software) that cost only $15 a month and my forums are very fast. I just started the forums on a faster server from the start to save the major headaches of moving them down the road if my forums get large!
 

Darth-Apple

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If you don't mind using free software, a cheap hosting plan and a domain wouldn't cost you much more than ~ $70/year. I use MyBB on my forum, and while I would prefer to use paid software such as Xenforo, MyBB has met my needs very well and I have been pleasantly surprised. The hardest thing about running a forum on free software is finding a theme that looks very professional, or buying/making one. MyBB is known to be very easy to customize.

I wouldn't really recommend most free forum hosting services since they won't generally give you a database backup. It can be very frustrating to spend hundreds of hours building a successful forum, and then to be denied a database dump when it's time to move from professional hosting. Icyboards.com is a good free host, but most of the others are harder to recommend.
 

Leapswitch

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It basically depends upon the forum application you wish to use, its system requirements and the number of concurrent visitors/members you have on forum. If the forum is popular and has hundreds of concurrent visitors, then its better to order a decent 2 GB RAM VPS.
 

Bluesky1

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If you search for free forum web hosting, you may be able to set and run your forum for free.

However, running a forum is not always easy, and if you want to properly manage it and make it successful, you may need to either employ someone to manage it for you, or devote much of your personal time (and time is money) to manage it yourself.

Think carefully before you start.
 
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