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  • #995570
    Cody
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    Does anyone have any experience implementing and running a forum?

    Recommendation on platform to use?

    Looking to start small so don’t want to pay big dollars.

    *Edit* Importantly, we are looking to charge our members to use this forum so we would need the ability for payments.

    Cheers

    #1202687
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,488
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    Have you considered alternatives such as closed FB group instead? or membership software or plugins or a whole platform such as rainmaker? Some of these will provide future options such as webinars, courses etc.

    #1202688
    Cody
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    Not keen on FB Group.

    Rainmaker would be ideal – but not ready to pay USD $125 a month.

    This isn’t for my copywriting business, it’s for a side project so looking to keep costs down.

    There are a lot of options out there – http://www.zerodollartips.com/best-forum-software-free-paid/

    Just trying to get a feel/feedback from anyone that has used one of the providers in the link (or another provider).

    #1202689
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    I will ask somebody I know online.

    #1202690
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    This is what he came back with Cody – optimizemember and s2member. are the best cheap options.

    #1202691
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Another option – wishlist plugin for wordpress

    #1202692
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
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    Have you considered hiring [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] , FS have a good forum here, the technical side seems to run pretty well from what I can tell. Sorry [USER=5]@Robert Gerrish[/USER] for suggesting some poaching.

    #1202693
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    bb1, post: 240423, member: 53375 wrote:
    Have you considered hiring [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] , FS have a good forum here, the technical side seems to run pretty well from what I can tell. Sorry [USER=5]@Robert Gerrish[/USER] for suggesting some poaching.
    This is pure insider info that I shouldn’t share Bert but while [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] does a damn fine job at steering the tech ship here, my sneaky suspicion is that [USER=5]@Robert Gerrish[/USER] can’t wait for Peter to have another holiday so that RG can again bring out his inner-Tech Guru.
    #1202694
    Greg_M
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    One that I’ve been using as a “user” recently and have been mightily impressed by is:

    https://www.discourse.org

    It has a slightly different approach to any others I’ve seen. It’s open source, built on Ruby on Rails with an Ember.js front end.

    They offer a fully hosted paid version (industrial strength) starting at $100 US per month, but there’s other hosting options.

    Digital Ocean does a one click install for $5 US per month.

    A quick read of their doc’s indicates it can be embedded into existing sites, and YES there is a WordPress plugin.

    Works very well on mobile too.

    #1202695
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Hi Cody,

    We used http://www.vbulletin.com/ for years, and a year or two ago we moved over to https://xenforo.com when we rebuilt our website… a never-ending process :) Both are dedicated forum platforms with loads of features that give you all the basic forum functionality.

    The key decision I think you need to make is whether you want a pure forum (with a bit of other content) or whether it’s a website with a forum on the side. It would be ideal to have one platform to cover it all – at the moment we integrate the site and forums and it takes a lot of tinkering!

    Another one we looked at closely was https://bbpress.org/ – which is a forum build by WordPress, so no doubt it would work seamlessly with a WordPress site. There are also stacks of WordPress plugins.

    I had a really close look at Rainmaker this year and it looks brilliant. I would put that in the category of a fully-featured website/marketing tool with a forum on the side.

    There’s no real right answers, it depends what you need :) I’d weigh up the ‘free’ solution versus the right option for the long term.

    Let us know how you go!
    Peter

    #1202696
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Thanks for jumping in [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER].

    You make a great point that their is no one right selection to make and these decisions are tough because of how invested you have to be to get them running properly.

    It is easy to step on a grenade ie, you know you are in trouble when features wont work out of the box and support is poor and only after you pay and invest countless hours do you realise that the best thing about the product is the sales pitch!

    [USER=55612]@Cody[/USER] I would love for you to let us know what decision you make and what the implementation experience is like before and after you go live.

    #1202697
    whooyeah
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    • Total posts: 49
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    telescopeapp.org hosted on digital ocean will cost $5US a month.

    MVC forum hosted on azure could run for free on their developer essentials program.

    #1202698
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 240417, member: 78928 wrote:
    Another option – wishlist plugin for wordpress
    Strike that. Just heard that it has some issues that might cause dramas.
    #1202699
    Cody
    Member
    • Total posts: 117
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    Legends! Thanks for all the information.

    [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] is right, I need to figure out whether I want a website with a forum on the side or just a forum. This is something I’m raising with my bus partner now. Once we decide i’ll move on to deciding on a platform.

    I’ll try and update once we’ve made a decision. In all likelihood I’ll forget!

    Thanks again for the help, really appreciated.

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