Sunday, March 25, 2012

How To Setup Free Forum


Before you begin this tutorial, you must have a web host and a domain. Previous I have shared how to get yourself free web hosting and free domain. Be sure to check them out.
Now you have a web host and a domain. Setup a forum for your community sound nice. I will use SMF (Simple Machines Forum) to setup a forum website as an example. You may use other popular forum system as you like such as phpBB, vBulletin, bbPress, IPB, etc. The setup process is pretty much the same.

Here's how:
  1. Go to SMF website to download the SMF Full Install file.
  2. 000webhost has web-based uploader but they have limited the size of file upload. So we use another web-based FTP tool (www.net2ftp.com). In order to use net2ftp, it requires your 000webhost account information which is located on the right side of 000webhost CPanel.
  3. Go to net2ftp, enter your website address (eg. keyable.co.cc). Enter 000webhost account username and password in Username and password. Enter /public_html in Initial directory and click Login.
  4. Upload the SMF archive into public_html folder if you want your forum to be addressed with the main domain (eg. keyable.co.cc). Or, create a forum directory in public_html and upload SMF archive and it will be located in yourdomain.com/forum (eg. keyable.co.cc/forum). The upload process may take a long time to decompress the SMF archive file.
  5. Forum needs database. To create a database for the forum, go to 000webhost CPanel, click MySQL. Create your MySQL database name, MySQL user name, and password for MySQL user. The codes in front of database and user name are unchangeable, every 000webhost account's codes are unique. So after I entered keyable, the real name is a8459908_keyable.
  6. After created a MySQL, copy down the url from $mysql_host = "" (eg. mysql10.000webhost.com)
  7. Once it's done, simply visit your URL address to proceed to forum installation. I uploaded SMF archive into public_html/forum, so I enter http://www.keyable.co.cc/forum for forum installation process. Click Continue to proceed the installation.
  8. Enter your database information. Database Type: MySQL; Server name is MySQL Host address (eg. mysql10.000webhost.com); Username is a8459908_keyable; Password is MySQL password; Database name is a8459908_keyable; Table prefix: smf_ and hit continue.
  9. Give a name for your forum. Tick the UTF-8 box allows your forum to supports characters other than English. Click Continue.
  10. Create an Admin account for the forum.
  11. The forum installation is done. Tick the box of Click here to delete this install.php file now to delete installation file. It prevents hackers read the installation file.
  12. Now visit http://www.keyable.co.cc/forum, everything runs perfectly well.

The steps above is a bit confusing especially the account username and password. That's how to install website software manually. You may easily install softwares using Fantastico Autoinstaller but the options are limit. If you have any question, feel free to ask.

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