A forum is a place or medium for discussions on topics or ideas between people who have shared interests.
A forum website is an online discussion platform that allows users to post questions or answers on any ideas. The topic discussions are threaded or nested in order to help people find all the related conversations.
To make a forum website, get web hosting, find a domain, select a forum website application, install, connect to your domain, publish, run & share. You don’t need particular skills including coding to build a forum website.
Once you’ve followed this guide, you will be able to make a forum website like the ones shown below. No skill is required, just one hour is enough with a spend of around $10 per month.
Here’s another example.
Or like this screenshot below.
You can also easily build a forum website or discussion websites like Quora, StackOverflow, Reddit, Yahoo or Google answers, etc.
There are many ways to create a forum website. But most of them are outdated, difficult, or too costly. Here I’ll guide you through the three best methods to create your own forum website, so you don’t have to waste your time, money & energy. The guides are step by step & very easy.
The 3 different methods (Choose the one you like)
- Easy Drag & Drop Forum Website Design Method: Using Wix Forum (Easy, 3 hours, no skill required, $8 or $13/month. Recommended for most users & novices)
- The Best & Super Quick Method: Using Bluehost – Softaculous (Extremely Easy, 12 minutes, no skill required, $3.95 or $5.95/month, )
- Advanced Method: Using Bluehost – WordPress – BBPress (Moderately Easy, 2 – 3 days, no skill required, $3.95 or $5.95/month, Recommended for WordPress users)
Easy Drag & Drop Method: Using Wix Forum
Steps To Create a Forum Website
- Sign Up On Wix
- Select a forum template
- Upgrade to get a domain & hosting on Wix
- Customize, post, manage & run
- Publish your own forum website
1. Sign Up On Wix
Go to Wix & sign up.
Enter your email and create your password.
2. Select a Forum Template
Once you sign up, click here to access website templates -> then hover on Community menu -> click on “online forum”
Pick an online forum template. Click edit & wait until the template editor loads completely. Once the editor has loaded, you will see a short video tutorial. We recommend you watch it.
Once you have watched the video, click the “Start Now” button.
3. Upgrade To Get a Domain & Hosting on Wix
Find the upgrade menu on the top bar. Click it & save your site (you can change any template after the upgrade or you can even reassign to a different website, so don’t worry about the selection of your template – you can customize it later).
Next, you’ll see a “site saved” notification box. In that box, you’ll see “Get a new domain” option. If you already own a domain, then select the 2nd option.
Next, you’ll see “choose a domain to save your site”. Select “Connect your own customized domain”.
Next, you’ll see hosting plan details.
You can change your plan at any time without losing your credit, so choose the cheapest plan. Don’t buy a costly plan in the beginning. First, understand and run the website. Once you get the traffic, then you can understand which plan suits you. You can upgrade at a later date.
I would recommend reading this post – Wix Pricing – How To Avoid Wrong Plan & App Combinations? (Save 40% Every Year!)
Once you have successfully purchased the Wix hosting plan, then buy a domain name. When you buy a hosting plan on Wix, you get a free domain name. Type the domain name you want. Sometimes, the dot com domain may not be available as someone has already registered it.
In this example, I wanted to create a forum website for doctors, so I typed doctorsforum.com. When I clicked the search button, the domain was not available. Someone had already bought it but I got a few suggestions. Finally, I picked doctorsforum.org.
But I wanted a .com domain so I searched for different words. After the 23rd attempt I found an available .com domain!
I searched for JacksHealthForum.com and found it was available.
Get it and go to the domain menu. Search for your purchased domain name. It takes one minute to appear. Wait. Then click connect with your website to connect your website with your own domain.
4. Customize, Post, Manage & Run
You don’t have to wait 48 hours but can start to customize the look & settings straight away.
Just drag and drop the web elements wherever you want. Simply click on any text or heading to edit or change. Easy!
You get all the forum editor options. Those are ready-made web functions. Simply change the color, looks and settings.
You can manage the forum content and users. You can ban or delete any user or content. You are the owner of the website and you have full control. You get all the user activity and analytics.
5. Publish Your Own Forum Website
Publish your own forum website and share it with your friends and social media.
Simple & Super Quick Method: Using Bluehost – Softaculous (Easy, 12 Minutes, No Skill Required)
Steps to create a Forum website
- Get a Bluehost web hosting plan
- Get a domain name for your forum website
- Install a free forum application from Softaculous & customize
- Launch your own Forum website
1. Get A Bluehost Plan
Got to Bluehost
Once you have clicked the Bluehost link above, you will see this page. Go to shared hosting.
Click “Get Started”. Next, you will see shared hosting plans. Bluehost is very flexible. You can upgrade or downgrade at any plan at any time without losing your previous credit, so don’t start of with a costly plan. You can upgrade later.
Once you have selected the plan, you will see the “get a domain name” page before payment.
2. Get a domain name for your forum website
You will see a field to create your domain name before the payment. However, you can skip it if you have not yet decided.
Most of the time you won’t get the .com domain you created as someone has already taken that domain. In that case, you could consider different domain extensions like .org, .net, .club etc
I wanted to create a forum website for photographers. So started to type related keywords like photographersforum.org, photographersnetwork.com etc.
Unfortunately, that domain was not available because someone had already registered it. You get suggestions related to that domain.
But I wanted a .com domain, so I typed different keywords. After several attempts, I typed domain xyzforum.com
That was also already registered, but I liked thexyzforum.com suggestion.
Yes, that domain name was available to register.
Next, fill in your details & make a payment.
Once your payment is done, you get all the details sent to your email.
After clicking the submit button, wait until the payment completed successfully.
Click the “Create Account” button. Next, you’ll be asked to enter your email and create a password for your Bluehost account.
Click “Create Account”. Next you’ll see the Bluehost dashboard.
3. Install a free forum application from Softaculous & customize it
Go to the advanced menu and on the right-hand side find “Softaculous app installer”.
When you click “Softaculous Apps Installer”, you’ll see a lot of software. In the left side menu click on “Forums”. You’ll see several forum applications. Most of them are not great and are too costly. I reviewed all those applications like phpBB, SMF, MyBB etc. In the end, I found phpBB is the best forum application. Surprisingly phpBB forum is free completely for an unlimited time.
Next fill in the details
It takes a few moments to install.
Once the installation is complete, you get the website homepage url.
4. Launch your own Forum website
The website launch means just publish and share with your friends or hold an event, gather people, and publish (launch) in front of the audience.
Once I clicked xyzforum.com, here I got this page. This is my xyz forum website front page.
You can login or you can register. But if you want to access the administrative account, then you should use the username & password that you created whilst installing the phpBB.
Here I logged in to my administrative account. You can see private messages, notification, birthdays, online users, members, topic etc. It’s not just a forum site, but a small social network also. Great application.
You can add a new topic or go to the user control panel to see what the capabilities you have. You can ban users or remove any content posted by anyone on your website. It is your own website and you can manage it. If any sensitive content uploaded, then you have to answer to the public. If your website become popular, then you will earn income. This is your place!
This is very important. The forum post form features. phpBB offers almost all the features of the popular forum websites in the world.
Here is what you can control on your website.
There are so many options.
Here are some of the biggest forum websites with high level traffic built on phpBB.
https://www.bokt.nl/ is built on phpBB. Its front page looks quite different. But it is entirely phpBB only.
Joomla forum is also built with phpBB.
Many big companies’ forums have been created with phpBB.
Here is the list of top 10 largest websites built with phpBB
Advanced Method: Using Bluehost – WordPress – BBPress
(Moderately easy, 2 – 3 days, no skill required, $3.95 or $5.95/month, Recommended for WordPress users)
Go to Bluehost, Select the WordPress menu. Click WordPress hosting.
Then buy a plan.
Just follow the Method 2. Everything is the same as method 2 until you reach your Bluehost Dashboard. (Get a domain name, purchase the plan, create an account & enter the Bluehost dashboard)
Once you have entered the Bluehost dashboard, click the WordPress menu that you can see in the top right corner.
Now you enter your website WordPress dashboard from your Bluehost hosting dashboard.
From the left side menu, go to plugins -> Add plugins -> search for bbPress – install -> activate
Next you’ll see the forum menu. Go to forum – add new – write title & description – publish – view
Once you click or view the published url, you’ll see the forum.
You can customize using different add-ons. As your discussion grows, you can format it like below.
You can also use Kleo Social network WordPress theme or Olympus theme to integrate social network features on your forum website. But you should know how to use WordPress to make changes. Otherwise, you may find it more difficult than the other methods. You don’t have the page design control unless you use Elementor plugin. You may need at least one week to learn how to create, manage & everything.
My personal favorite is the 2nd method as it is super easy, quick, ready-made, you don’t have to do anything and it gives you all the features.
Which is your favorite method? Comment below
ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR NEW FORUM WEBSITE
Your favorite tutor
Jack is the Co-founder of WebsitebuilderLy, a Software Engineer from Standford University, An entrepreneur with 12 years of Website Creation, Management, Marketing Automation & App Development Experience. Worked for the world’s leading companies such as Roblox, HTC, etc.
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That’s amazing information on making forums website. Thank you.
Hi Jack! Thank you for this post; I wanted to create a website /forum but that is for a closed community only ( physicians) where the members can post questions and discuss topics and message each other if needed. Would you still recommend phpBB or I also saw Dolphin software available for free that can be used to create social network like website. Thank you!
Dolphin is a social network, not a forum website software.
Yes, I recommend phpBB for private discussions also,
If you don’t like, then just “delete it completely” and try different ones like WordPress. You don’t lose anything except 30 minutes.