Monday, March 1, 2010

How To Start A Forum

Hey guys I wrote this step by step on how to start a forum as you know I started a forum by doing this which you can find at Internet Marketing Forum. Anyway here is the how to guide:

This article will explain how to install a phpbb forum onto your webhost whether free or paid. You must make sure that your hosting company supports php and mysql before you begin the installation. If you run into trouble at the end of this article you will find links to phpbb installation guides. Also before attempting to install a forum you will need to know the basics of FTP and HTML. Let’s build a forum!

1. The first step is to sign up for hosting and download a FTP application. Personally I suggest two different hosting companies who both offer support for php and mysql. The first is free and you can find them at Free Web Host they do set limits for bandwidth and space so if your forum does grow large you may be forced to move it to a paid hosting website. Now the paid hosting website (which I use for my forums) is Hosting 24 either one of these should work fine for your needs. You will also need to download File Zilla which allows you to upload files to your server for free. You can find File Zilla here~

2. Now that you have a host and FTP downloaded the next step will be to download phpbb. This is a free forum script which allows you to run a forum for free and without ads. It also allows you to change the source code which is extremely beneficial for experienced webmasters. To get the forum script/source go to phpbb downloads and click on “full package” then click on “Download phpBB 3.0.7-PL1 (zip)” which will download the files. After downloading extract all the files and copy the entire directory which will be called something like phpBB3 or something very similar.

3. The next step will to be placing the files onto your server. To do this open File Zilla and put in all of your ftp details which you can find in your web hosts user control panel. Once logged in to your host drag the phpbb3 directory wherever you want it. For this article I will assume that you are installing the forum script on your root domain such as rather than

4. Now that you have all the phpbb files on your host the next step is going to be changing the file permissions. This is an important step which you do with your FTP. I will explain step by step what to do with File Zilla if for some reason you use a different FTP you will need to investigate how to change the file permissions with your FTP. With File Zilla open up the main directory phpbb on your server by double clicking it. A long list of files and folders will come up the file you will first be changing is config.php. Once you find config.php you will right click on the file and at the bottom of the box click on “file permissions”. In the text box called numeric value: type the number 666 which makes everything writable. The next changes you will do is folders within the main folder phpbb. The folders you will be changing are store (right click on the folder and click file permissions then in the numeric value box type 777), cache which you will also be changing to 777, and files which you will be changing to 777. Remember just right click the folder name then click on file permissions then type 777 into the numerical value box. Now the next folder we will be changing is a sub folder. You will need to be in the main phpbb folder then double click on images then double click on avatars then right click on upload. You will click file permissions for this upload file and change them to 777. So here is a list of the files and folders we have changed file permissions for:

config.php phpbb33/config.php changed to 666

the folder store phpbb3/store/ changed to 777

the folder cache phpbb3/cache/ changed to 777

the folder files phpbb3/files/ changed to 777

the sub folder upload phpbb3/images/avatars/upload/ changed to 777

5. Ok now we have all the file permissions correct it is time to set up a database. This will be done within your hosts control panel under the option “create mysql database” or “install mysql database” you will see a button if your host offers my sql support which will allow you to create a database. Again I know about my host which you can find by clicking HERE. With my host I click on “my sql databases” then an empty box comes up for the database name. I enter the name of my database (which I/you will need later) then hit create database. On my host I also have to create a new user where I input the username and password for my database. The next step for me is to add user to database. Now what is important is keeping track of your database details. Here is what you will need:

The Database Type (TIP: it is a my sql database)

The Database server hostname or DSN (only some hosts need this one don’t stress if you don’t have it)

The Database server port (only some hosts need this one as well don’t stress yet if you don’t have this)

The Database name (A must you need the name of the database you created which you get to usually pick the name)

The Database username (Another must you need the username you picked for your database)

The Database password (Another must you need the password you picked for the database)

So you have WRITTEN DOWN the type of database (mysql) the database name, username for the database, and the password for the database. Now when you created the database if it gives you the server hostname or port write them down as well these are usually not mandatory, but if they give them to you go ahead and write them down.

6. Ok we have the file permissions done and the database created (tired yet?) it is time to begin installing your forum. To do this you will need to go to the URL of your forum. If you installed the forum on your root directory then it will look like if you uploaded the script to a sub directory it will look like If you are not sure where you uploaded the files I will explain how to get the address from File Zilla your ftp. Open file zilla and login to your server (where your files are) make sure you are in the public_html folder. This folder is what your domain points to. If you see the folder phpBB3 then the URL will be if you installed the phpbb directory in a deep sub folder the address will look like you can see the names of the folder in your file zilla. The point is in your web browser you need to put in the address to either the folder phpbb3 itself or the install folder phpbb3/install it may take some time, but with enough tries you will get it.

7. Once you bring up the phpbb3 in your browser you need to click the install tab. The first check it will run is the file permissions which is step 4. If all of these are right click continue and the next thing you will need to enter is your database details.

The first one it asks you for is what type of database this is usually a drop down box make sure it is on my sql.

The second thing it will ask you for is The Database server hostname or DSN like I said in most cases you do not need to worry about this.

The third thing it will ask you for is The Database server port this like the server hostname will probably not be needed (if these are needed you will need to contact your host to get the details).

The fourth thing it will ask is for is The Database name (which you should have written down from step 5. If you don’t login to your host go to your databases and find the name of the database)

The fifth thing it will ask you for is The Database username which again you should have written down if not go to your host and find it.

The six thing is the database password and again this should be written down.

8. Now hit continue and it will make sure your database is working and it can connect if not you may need to recreate the database on your server and re-enter the details. Once the database is accepted the next thing screen it will bring you to is the Admin details. This is where you will be entering your login details and email. Hit continue to the next step which is the configuration file. You changed the permissions in step 4. If you did not do this then go back to step 4 and redo the config.php file permissions. Hit next and it will bring you to Advanced settings which is all up to you. They will ask for stuff such as the URL your forum is on and some other settings. If you are not sure what to put then don’t change these it is fine to leave them blank. Hit next and finish up that is all there is to it. I personally set up a phpbb forum manually to write this article so I know for a fact that it works:) anyway the next couple steps is setting up threads for your users to post on as well as some basic marketing resources.

9. In your administration control panel click on the tab forums and create your first forum. Put the topic then the forum title. Usually I like my first forum to be “rules”, but you put whatever you want. It is a good idea to have a second window up to refresh when you make changes or additions to your forum. It takes a little while to get use to so spend plenty of time in the forum administration control panel looking around and learning. There are many different options that you can choose just try to get the hang of it (something that takes practice and can’t really be taught). Add a few forums and begin posting.

10. Ok now we will get into the marketing aspect of a forum (once all the different forums are in place and you are ready for users). The biggest tip I can give is to set up hundreds of posts where you ask questions and post informative posts on how to do whatever your niche topic is. After you have a hundred or so posts and feel there is plenty for your users to do the next step is marketing. I will not go to in depth since I am already around 2k words, but I will give you some resources. Now if you want to talk to me and ask about the marketing please visit my Internet Marketing Forum which I created with PHPBB. I will happily answer any questions you have about marketing a forum. I also run a blog which teaches the basic-advanced aspects of internet marketing it is called Website Marketing the majority of topics discussed will apply to forum marketing.

Also if you are interested in affiliate programs to place on your forum I suggest the programs on my website Make Money Online


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