Build A Vibrant Community With Vbulletin, The Most Powerful Forum Software

By CertifiedHosting 10/04/2011

Whether you are a hobbyist passionate about a topic, an online publisher looking to build an active following, or a business that seeks promotion, an online forum can be an extremely powerful tool. Creating an online community is beneficial in many ways, from the increased traffic to your website to the credibility that you win by hosting an active forum with many members.

Online forums, also known as message boards or discussion boards, require a certain amount of work to setup and get running. Perhaps the hardest thing about starting a forum is getting people to join the conversation and become an active community member. Creating a successful forum is a lot easier when you have the proper tools, namely a comprehensive forum platform such as vBulletin. In the following article, you will learn what makes vBulletin such a useful tool for creating attractive forums and you will learn how to select a hosting solution that lets you take advantage of vBulletin power.

What are the main features of vBulletin?

First released in 2000, vBulletin is one of the oldest and most popular discussion board applications. Based on PHP and MySQL, vBulletin can run on almost any web server that supports the two open source technologies, meaning that you won’t have any problems finding a vBulletin host.

The extended functionality offered by vBulletin is one of the main advantages of vBulletin compared to open source products such as phpBB. The latest version of vBulletin goes beyond the basic forum functionality, offering a complete content management system, blogging support, and a widget platform for easy customization.

Here’s a list of the most important features offered by vBulletin:

  • Complete forum functionality
    When it comes to forum-specific features, vBulletin has no rivals. Administrators have many options at their disposal, covering everything from individual posts, to user preferences, thread management, privacy, and permissions.
  • Extensive functionality with built-in applications
    Several built-in applications give you the ability to extend your vBulletin website beyond the basic forum functionality. You can create photo albums, set up groups, create calendars with event management, and consult the members of your community with polls. Many competing products either lack these functions or support them via plug-ins, which require additional workload and pose security problems.
  • Search engine optimization
    By setting up your forum on a vBulletin web hosting service, you increase your chances of reaching top search engine rankings positions. vBulletin supports customizable, SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags, which play an important role in the way Google and other search engines rank web pages. Additionally, vBulletin includes an automatic Google XML sitemap module and a duplicate content removal tool, so it’s easy to promote and administer your content.
  • Simple advertisement and payment integration
    vBulletin is among the few forum platforms to offer support for payment subscriptions. If you want to run a paid-membership forum, vBulletin is your best option, supporting PayPal, WorldPay, and Authorize.Net, among other services. vBulletin integrates well with Google’s AdSense, so even non-technical users will find it easy to setup an account and start earning revenue with their forum.
  • Enhanced security
    vBulletin is very secure when compared to open source forum platforms. Any security vulnerability found in vBulletin is promptly solved by the development team from vBulletin Solutions, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. Because vBulletin is a comprehensive solution with lots of built-in features, users are not required to install third-party plug-ins, which are a major source of vulnerabilities such as in the case of phpBB. For maximum safety, only entrust your vBulletin website to a reputable vBulletin hosting provider that offers a secure environment and active monitoring against threats.

How to choose a reliable vBulletin hosting solution for your forum

Once you decide to use vBulletin to power your new forum, it’s time to look for a suitable vBulletin hosting solution. Because vBulletin is built with PHP and MySQL, you can run the forum software on just about any web server that has PHP 5.2 and MySQL installed. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you opt for a hosting company that has a proven track record in vBulletin hosting. For optimal results, check the system requirements section from the official vBulletin site and see if your vBulletin web hosting provider offers support for the recommended requirements, such as cURL or OpenSSL support and a Rewrite engine.

Another thing to look for is friendly and professional support. Especially if you are new at vBulletin hosting, you may find yourself in the situation of asking for the assistance of a professional. If your forum is large or if you expect it to become popular in the future, you may require the help of your vBulletin hosting provider to optimize your current web hosting solution or to move to a larger and more capable server. In these situations, good support can save you from a lot of problems.

Consider the scope of your endeavor before making any purchasing decision. With large vBulletin forums, you will need a lot of resources to keep the board running smoothly. If you are expecting thousands or even tens of thousands of users, the only viable solution is a dedicated server. On the other hand, a small forum with a few hundred members or less does not justify the investment in a dedicated machine. For beginners and for niche forums, a simple unlimited vBulletin web hosting plan may suffice.

Find a vBulletin hosting plan that comes with free services

Installing vBulletin on your web server can be tricky, as there are no 1-click installation scripts for easy deployment. If you are not sure that you can handle the vBulletin installation and configuration on your own, you can call in a specialized contractor or opt for the installation services provided by vBulletin Solutions on the official vBulletin website. Unfortunately, vBulletin services are not cheap – for example, vBulletin Solutions will install your forum for $150, which is close to the price of a full vBulletin license.

To minimize your expenses, look for a vBulletin hosting provider that offers free vBulletin installation if you sign up for one of their hosting plans. The free services are not limited to free vBulletin hosting installation. Quality vBulletin hosts provide free vBulletin upgrade services and free vBulletin template deployment. If you already have an active forum, you can move it with no expenses by choosing a company that offers free vBulletin transfers and free vBulletin database transfer services.

Certified Hosting is your best choice when it comes to vBulletin web hosting

Certified Hosting provides affordable vBulletin hosting solutions that give you anything you need to host an active forum and build a vibrant online community. To help you kick start your forum, Certified Hosting provides vBulletin hosting services, including free vBulletin installation, free vBulletin templates, and free vBulletin upgrades. In addition, you can move your discussion board from another host with no downtime and with no extra charges. Just ask the Certified Hosting support staff about the free vBulletin transfer and free vBulletin database transfer services.

With just a few dollars a month, you can host your own vBulletin-powered forum and grow it into a popular online destination. To learn more about vBulletin hosting services or to order a vBulletin web hosting solution, contact us at 1-909-498-4415 or certifiedhosting.com today.