How To Create A Forum For Beginners

Things to know before you get started

Create A Forum Intro
I like to keep my tutorials as succinct as possible, so you won’t find a lot of fluff on this page. But along the way you will notice lots of links. If you wish to explore more content, those will be at your service.

Additionally, as I am sure you know, websites are not free (unless you’re fine with your website being riddled with ads and having another companies name in the URL – no thank you). But it’s a misconception that websites are expensive. Your forum will only cost you as little as $15 to set up.

Dispelling one more misconception:
You do not need to be a tech-minded person to make or run a forum. If you follow this tutorial, you will have your own forum. There is no gray area. We will never touch a line of code, and you don’t need to have any prior knowledge coming into this.
What you can expect to have at the end of this tutorial:
You will have a working forum that you can send to your friends, create boards on, and actively start participating in. At the end of this page you will also find a number of additional tutorials for styling your new forum and moderating it (if you would like some help knowing how).

No offense, but we offer stupid simple instructions to get you up and running. Seriously.. it’s gonna be a breeze. So let’s begin!

Step 1: Domain and Hosting

What is a domain name?
When people are looking for your forum online, they need an address. This is your domain name – your .com, .net, .org, etc.
What is web hosting?
This is where your forum lives online – your home. Normally this requires owning a web server, but don’t worry, we will be using a hosting company instead. So, like I said before, no technical knowledge needed!
So where do we get these from?

You may have heard of any or all of the top 3 web hosting companies: HostGator, GoDaddy, and Bluehost. In this tutorial we are going to use HostGator.

While I don’t mean to throw stones, I am here to help you, so I recommend you steer clear of GoDaddy. In my opinion, their hosting services and customer support are less than stellar.

On the other hand, Bluehost and Hostgator are almost identical to each other – yet HostGator is the more affordable option – including offering coupons for as much as 30% off. So if you are following my train of thought, the best choice is HostGator.

Start by selecting one of the coupons below:

After clicking on the coupon above that is right for you, you should be taken to a page that looks like this:

How To Make A Forum Screenshot

Click on the big “start your site now” to begin.

Choosing Your Domain Name:

This will be the first step of the process of creating your forum. Very simply put, your domain name is your web address (example: Here is a quick checklist to help you choose a good domain:

  • Avoid all other domain endings except .com, .net, and .org
  • You can include hyphens in your domains! If isn’t available, try!
  • Are all the domains you want taken? Try adding in a filler word like “the” and your chances of finding an available domain will shoot through the roof

Found a domain that you like and that is available? Great, let’s move on to the next step..

Choosing Your Hosting Plan

I’m going to make the same recommendation to you that I make to everyone – start with the smallest plan (called the Hatchling Plan). Here is the deal: If you outgrow it in the future, you can just upgrade! There is no point in paying more now for something that you won’t use until later. So start with the hatchling plan.

How long of a term should I choose?

Obviously this is a decision you will have to make on your own. The longer term you choose, the less expensive it will be (although you will pay the sum upfront). Most commonly, people who follow our course choose the 1 year term.

Next it’s time to fill out your account information:

Take a minute or two and fill out the information for your account. While you do that, I am going to make some pancakes or something. If you take a really long time I might even fry up some bacon.. actually, now I have a taste for bacon.. so please take your time.

What Add-ons Do I Need?

I’m going to be straight-up and honest with you right now, so hold on to your chairs. You really do not NEED any of these add-ons. The only one I recommend is Domain Privacy. This just keeps your information private. It more or less is the equivalent of not having your information in the “internet phone book”.

Do you need it? No, of course not. But it’s something I purchase for all of my domains.

Finally, Don’t Forget That Coupon:

If the coupon didn’t automatically get applied with you clicked the links above, here are the two coupons that can help make your forum cheaper..
Code For 30% Off: LOVELY30
Code For $9.95 Off: LOVELY1CENT

Complete The Sign-up

Simply click the big “Checkout Now” button at the bottom of the page, checkout, and then in our next step we will check our email for our new login details.

Step 2: Logging In & Installing Our Forum

After completing the checkout with HostGator, you should have an email in your inbox within 5 minutes (to be honest, it got there immediately for me). You are going to want to save this email because it has all of your login details inside.

The Billing Login is just for when you need to renew your account.

We want to access our CONTROL PANEL. This has a unique username and password (different from your billing username and password). You can see in the image below, where these are located.
build a forum login info

Click the link to your control panel, and then login with your username and password.

Let’s Install Our Forum!

Your control panel should look something like this:
Hostgator Control Panel

We are going to jump right in to installing the forum, but there are actually a lot of cool things that you can do inside your control panel, including making custom email accounts. So be sure to check out those articles if you are interested in all the bonus capabilities that come with your hosting account!

“QuickInstall” Your Forum

On your control, scroll down to the module labeled “Software/Services” and select the icon “QuickInstall”. This is pictured below for you to be able to find it easily. (if you have a problem finding it, just watch the video-tutorial)

Quick Install Placement

QuickInstall will allow us to install our forum in less than a minute. Continue to see how to do it.

On The QuickInstall Page, click “phpBB” on the left hand side

The QuickInstall page is pretty neat and will be something you want to remember is here for future sites. You can install just about any type of popular platform with this tool.

Since we are installing a forum, scroll down to find “Forum Software” on the left hand side. Under that, you will find a few choices – we want to use “phpBB”. So click on that.

Selecting phpBB Forum

After selecting phpBB, click continue on the right hand side.

QuickInstall Continue

Time To Fill In Your Info:

You will leave the top fillable spot blank (see picture below).
Next, enter your preferred email contact address and create a username to manage your forum. When you’re done, hit the “Install Now!” button.

Installing Your phpBB Forum

Pause To Be Amazed By HostGator’s Amazingly Quick Installation

phpBB Forum Success

Step 3: Accessing Your Forum

Using the username and generated password given to you after the installation (see previous image), we are going to log in to our forum!

To start, open a new page and type in your website domain name (example: You should see your forum. If you don’t see your forum, don’t be alarmed. Click here to find out why.

Using the login boxes at the bottom of the page, enter in your username and generated password.
Phpbb Forum Login

But Wait! You Have To Log In One More Time!

When you initially log in, you are logging into your account so that you can actively participate within the forum. But if you want to make edits to the forum boards or the design of the site, you have to log in one more time – but this time to the Administration Control Panel.

You will find a link to this login at the bottom of the page. (NOTE: this link will only show up after you have logged in to your account in the previous step)

Forum Administrative Control Panel

Ta-dah! You have arrived!

Inside the administration control panel, you will find COUNTLESS options to customize your forum. I recommend you take some time to explore and fool around with everything that you can do!

If you would like some more tutorials on customizing your forum, they will be coming soon. I hope you have fun and enjoy your forum! And feel free to search youtube for phpBB forum tutorials.

How To Create A Forum For Beginners 4.57/5 (91.36%) 280 votes

User Reviews

"Thanks for this video. I was expecting this to be an extremely difficult task."
- Salex Zee

"Great presentation.You make me feel like just going ahead and setting up a forum.I will go look if you have some follow ups to this tutorial. It was a time saver indeed. Thanx"
- Yram Hossoo

"This stuff is always good"
- 9090daddy

"Very Helpful!!!!"
- Fredrik Breivik Jensen

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