PHP Bulletin Board (phpBB) is free, open-source software that’s designed for internet forums. Whether you’re just interested in communicating with a small group of people or need to power your entire website, here is an explanation of phpBB and the best hosting options to use with it.
phpBB is popular software package used for running online forums. As you would expect, a phpBB forum allows users to view and post messages. It includes an admin control panel that lets you configure and customize the website and manage users who register to participate in the site.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of phpBB over other forum software? A big advantage is the cost--nothing.
A disadvantage is that, being open source, the developers of phpBB are all volunteers. For this reason phpBB is slower to release new features than some of their competitors. There is also no paid support staff. Your main support option is the users forum on the phpBB website.
phpBB is free to run but you still need to host it somewhere. Hosting means you pay a company to put your website files on their servers, which makes your site available on the web.
Factors to consider when trying to choose the best phpBB hosting service includes the type of hosting; reliability and percent up-time; quality of customer and technical support; ease of use; and site bandwidth requirements. Free phpBB hosting is offered by many hosting companies, often as an easy, one-click install. Make sure you choose a hosting account that allows you to run the PHP scripting language. Your account must also include use of a SQL database such as MySQL.
The following is a complete list of options for phpBB forum hosting:
Shared Hosting: Your phpBB forum runs on the same server as several other websites. This is an inexpensive option and is fine for websites that don’t have high traffic. The hosting company takes care of keeping the server running.
Cloud Hosting: An unlimited number of servers act as one system. Your site files are duplicated across many servers. You pay for the amount of traffic you get and it’s easy to add more file space or bandwidth.
VPS Hosting: With a VPS (Virtual Private Server) a physical server is partitioned into smaller servers.
Dedicated Hosting: A whole server is devoted to your website alone.
For smaller websites with low to medium traffic, shared hosting is a good, cheap choice. But if you expect high traffic, use dedicated hosting or VPS hosting.