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Starting a forum

  1. May 28, 2005 #1
    So for a long time I've wanted to put my own website up and I think I might actually get around to doing this. Only problem is I don't know how to set up a forum. I've read online that you can download free PHP forum generators, but I do not know if any of these are good or if they have many options to work with.

    Is PF using someone else's code or did they write it themselves? What's the best way to go about this?

    Many thanks,
    Jameson
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2005 #2

    dduardo

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  4. May 28, 2005 #3

    JamesU

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    For free, you can get your forum at

    http://www.invisionfree.com

    That's where I got mine :biggrin:
     
  5. May 28, 2005 #4
    The good forums (listed above) require some knowledge of how to use PHP and how to configure MySQL databases. Just read the forum's documentation and you should be fine!
     
  6. May 28, 2005 #5
    Thanks guys. Looks very straightfoward. So now to a even more important question - where do I find the cheapest place to register a domain and get web hosting?

    Thanks again
     
  7. May 28, 2005 #6

    graphic7

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    I use Godaddy to register my domains, however, I have authority over the domains. I also host them as well on my own connections. I prefer to do this for a number of reasons: a) cheap webhosting plans usually have terribly restrictive bandwidth quotas and b) more flexibility and control. If the connection(s) you own are stable enough and you wouldn't mind the learning curve, I'd highly recommend hosting everything yourself and using Godaddy or any other DNS registar strictly for domain registration and distributing authority for the domains you wish to own.

    If hosting it yourself is out of the question, Godaddy also does offers webhosting solutions. I, myself, haven't used Godaddy for such a thing, so I cannot say whether the service is decent or not.

    A few things you have to keep in mind about colocation/webhosting is a) strict bandwidth quotas, b) you may or may not have administrative authority over the system, therefore, making it difficult and inflexible to make changes and administrate.
     
  8. May 28, 2005 #7

    dduardo

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    You can register your domain at godaddy, 1and1, etc.
    They also do hosting, but if your really cheap you can host your own website on your own computer. All you need is apache webserver, mod_php, and mysql.
     
  9. May 28, 2005 #8
    Thank you guys!

    I have a Cable modem, which I think would be sufficient for the kind of bandwith that I would take in. So how would I go about hosting my own website? If it is too much to type, perhaps you could provide a link to another page. Do I need to buy a server? I'm fairly knowledgable with computers but with web hosting I feel in the dark.

    Thanks again
     
  10. May 28, 2005 #9

    graphic7

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    As dduardo suggested, you basically just need Apache (web server), MySQL (database server), mod_php (an Apache module to enable PHP support), and possibly Bind if you want to handle the DNS configuration yourself. All of these applications are much more suitable on a UNIX-based solution such as FreeBSD, Linux, etc. rather than a Windows-based one. Also, all of the software listed above is free and open source. In order to run any the applications needed efficently, I'd suggest nothing less than a Pentium II 233mHz system /w 128mb of ram or more and a 9gb+ hard drive. Since, you're on a cable modem, I suppose you aren't expecting a high volume of requests, but if you do upgrade your connection in the future and are expecting more users, I'd upgrade the hardware.

    A few websites:

    http://www.apache.org
    http://www.isc.org/index.pl?/sw/bind
    http://www.php.net
    http://www.freebsd.org
    http://www.redhat.com
    http://www.suse.com
    http://www.mysql.com

    Whatever UNIX you decide to use is up to you. I suggest you do the neccessary research (neccessary Google searches, in other words) to determine what UNIX meets your needs. Obviously, some Linux distributions are designed for different needs.

    Edit: Here is a website that should give you a nice walkthrough of the software involved: http://www.wowwebdesigns.com/power_guides/killer_trio_intro.php
    From reading it, it feels like the howto tries to be as OS-independent as possible, which is a plus.

    And straight from my bookmark collection is the Bind 9 links collection. This site, itself, has a ton of whitepapers, documentation, tutorials for various Bind configurations and much more.

    http://www.bind9.net/links
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2005
  11. May 28, 2005 #10

    jtbell

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    Check your cable company's terms of service. I bet they forbid ordinary residential customers from hosting servers. If you want to run a server, you'll probably have to switch to a different and more expensive service plan.
     
  12. May 28, 2005 #11

    graphic7

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    Or, he could just rough it.
     
  13. May 28, 2005 #12

    Evo

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    Good point, it's not a good idea to violate your user agreement, they will disconnect you.
     
  14. May 28, 2005 #13

    graphic7

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    It depends. I've used ISPs in the past that have strictly forbidden the hosting of services in the service agreement, however, I stilll hosted services on my home connection. It's from my experience that most ISPs don't have the time or resources to nmap every single IP on a netblock for port 80 or monitor traffic to and from the connection. Also, some ISPs that do have this in their services agreement filter out TCP port 80 and a few others, anyways.

    I'm a firm believer that you should have the ability to use your connection to the fullest extent. I'm paying money to "use" a connection, so why shouldn't I be able to allow other's to use my connection, other than some greedy ISP wanting me to upgrade to a commercial service plan that I have no use for.
     
  15. May 28, 2005 #14
    Ah, thanks to everything for enlightening me.

    I'll do this. Definitely don't want to get into any legal matters. I have Comcast High Speed Internet if anyone is familiar with their policies off-hand. I'll look them up though.

    graphic7: Thank you for all of the links. From what I've heard from the computer community is that Linux would be a much better option than Windows. If this is true for this kind of home server, then I definitely want to run linux. Is Red Hat the version you would recommend?

    Once again thank you guys,
    Jameson
     
  16. May 28, 2005 #15

    graphic7

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    From what I've heard, Comcast is rather strict on their policies. I've heard of a few people having problems with them.

    Red Hat would work. Unfortunately, Red Hat is really supporting two different distributions - Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, known as RHEL. RHEL tends to be more stable and geared towards a server environment. I was using it to host a VMware GSX server, and had no problems. If you do end up going with RHEL, most (if not all) of the software you need will be installed when you do an install. So, that should save you some troubles. Also, RHEL is a commercial distribution, that you would normally have to pay for, however, another distribution called CentOS is basing their distribution on RHEL. In fact, it is RHEL, and they're just rebuilding the source RPMs that Red Hat distributions with RHEL. By Red Hat's RHEL licensing terms, the CentOS project is legit. You may download CentOS at http://www.centos.org .
     
  17. May 28, 2005 #16
    Today I've read up on Linux and as I type this I'm downloading Knoppix just to get a feel for the Linux environment. I chose this version because it's bootable from a CD. Would you suggest this version or is it not a good one? Also, if I run Knoppix, will it automatically partition my hard drive and make other changes?

    Thank you for the info on Red Hat.
     
  18. May 28, 2005 #17

    graphic7

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    I don't think Knoppix is ideal for your situtation. The nice thing about a large, complete distribution like CentOS (RHEL) or SuSE is that you get a lot of the software you'll need. Basically, all you will have to do is a configure the software appropriately. Knoppix is based of f Debian, and if I recall, Knoppix does have some of the Debian userland utilities like apt-get that will allow you to install the software, as well. With Knoppix/Debian, you'll have much more of a learning curve.

    As for auto-partititioning, there's no need. Just create yourself a swap paritition that's roughly 512mb to a 1gb, and a / (root) partition that fills the rest of the drive, assuming the system you're going to use has one drive.
     
  19. May 28, 2005 #18
    Can you please explain how to make a swap partition or give me link as to how to do this?

    It would be nice if I could run Knoppix and have it leave no traces that it was ever there, but I do not know if this is possible. Thanks so much for all of your help. I'm trying to learn all this!

    Thanks,
    Jameson
     
  20. May 28, 2005 #19

    dduardo

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    You don't need to install knoppix, you just boot from it and it loads into RAM.

    Most modern Linux distros will create all the partitions you need when you do decide to install.
     
  21. May 30, 2005 #20
    Things I found difficult with running a server on my computer (if your situation is different, then don't bother):

    1. If you are running your server on the same computer that you do all your work in, then you have to first of all run the linux partition 24 hours a day.
    2. Again, if you are running it on your work computer, then when you switch to Windows to do your work (cough games cough) your server's down. So you have to use the Linux partition for everything you do.

    Again these only apply if you have one computer for all your work or don't care if you leave your computer on for 24 hours or do all your work in Linux.

    If you are just starting out, then try the free hosting services, not netfirms or geocities and crappy ones like that, but ones that are run on the side by reputable companies. The best one currently that is free, has a good uptime, and offer high bandwith and server size is www.lifelesspeople.net and they provide .com.ru domains for free also. The only requirement is that you post a certain amount of posts each month, but I am assuming that won't be a problem. Just start your forum on their server and see how it works out, if your forum becomes popular and needs more space, you can switch to a paid server or run it on a different computer at home.
     
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