Starting your own forum could be a confusing and difficult task, especially with all the available options on the Internet. Regardless of the type of community you want to create, there are plenty of websites and articles regarding different platforms, services and tools. The main decision you have to make is to use a content management system (CMS) for forums, which you have to host and setup manually, or an online services for a forum website, which in most cases is automated.
If you go on the path of self hosting a CMS, the first thing to take care is choosing the right system for your needs.
One thing to have in mind is that CMSs are written in different coding languages, which in terms might require different hosting needs later on.
The most popular coding language for the Web and for these systems is PHP.
Usually systems that use this language have large communities and the servers supporting PHP are most common.
Another way to categorize the content management systems is by the type of forum that they are built for.
You can find a lot of solutions made specifically to be used as feedback forums, or as Q&A forums, or as support forums.
Using this kind of system can be perfect for your needs, but it could also limit your content publishing in the long term when you decide you need something more flexible.
So lets say for example purposes that you've spent some time researching and testing CMS platforms, and you've finally chosen the one that is suitable for you.
The next thing you have to dig into is finding the right hosting for you.
As mentioned earlier most of these systems are written in PHP and there are plenty of server providers on the web to choose from.
If you've never done this before you might get overwhelmed at first when you start browsing and researching what the hosting websites provide and support.
There are a lot of things regarding the server that you have to consider, for example bandwidth, RAM, HDD space, CPU cores, etc.
After choosing the right provider for you, comes probably the easiest part of the process of creating your own forum with a CMS, which is the installation.
But again, this could get overwhelming very quickly if you've never done it before, but once complete you'll have your forum and you'll be good to go.
Now the only thing to have in mid is that you have to make a maintenance regularly and monitor the server.
The hosting provider will take care of the hardware and OS, but you still have to check what is happening with your system and react accordingly.
On the other hand, by choosing a forum service website, like ArmorForums, you avoid all this difficulties and inconveniences.
Our registration form takes less than a minute to fill and after that your forum will be ready for use instantly.
You won't need to download or install anything, so no technical skills are required.
Maintenance is also something you don't need to worry about, our automated software takes care of it.
The only thing you need to do is kickoff your forum community and invite your friends, colleagues or clients to join.
We don't request a credit card for registration and there is no trial period.
This means that you get the subdomain and the forum for free.
You can read more about the registration in our article
How to Start a Forum With the Free Services of ArmorForums
This concludes our brief explanation of the main differences between self-hosting a CMS and using an online service to make your own forum.
There is much more to be said on this topic and you can further research specific questions in detail.
But at the end, we thing that the choice depends on your needs and how involved you would like to be in the back-end of your forum.