How much does a forum cost to build and run?

Discussion in 'IT & Internet' started by WHARTY, Jul 3, 2010.

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  1. WHARTY

    WHARTY UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    939 133
    Hi

    I am thinking of starting my own forum. Nothing to do with business.

    I was wondering how much a forum like this would cost to make and run?

    And also, how can you make money from it if it is free to use apart from advertising and some sort of subscription?

    Advice or info would be kindley appreciated.

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: WHARTY Member since: Nov 18, 2009
    #1
  2. Logistika

    Logistika UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    105 25
    There are no cost & open source forums available such as PHPBB & Simple Machines, and there are commercial ones such as vbulletin that UKBF uses. The three costs are:

    1. if free forums - nil, if commercial then the licence whether annual or one off.

    2. the cost of setting it up, as in skinning it to look like your subject matter, and in tailoring its options to your needs. eg. if a gaming forum, you wouldnt want the boring ukbf blue colour, but perhaps a green xbox colour with grand theft auto characters as the main icons, and the forum headings to reflect its subject matter. If you play about with it yourself, then there is no cost per se, but plenty of web designers will do the job for you for a reasonable fee.

    3. running costs are generally only the costs of hosting the domain, however depending on the hosting environment, and the frequency of user uploads and downloads, the bandwidth costs may increase. e.g. on here, nooone posts attachments/files in their posts, but in some sites, people post in 5MB graphics for others to download. Every time someone downloads this, costs the host bandwidht space, and if you exceed your monthly quota, it can get expensive.

    All depends on the subject matter of the forum.

    Personally, I would suggest using a free forum to make sure the site gets decent following, and if it does then reconsider your platform.
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: Logistika Member since: Jan 16, 2010
    #2
  3. WHARTY

    WHARTY UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    939 133
    Thanks Logistika.

    Thats very helpful. Could you suggest any good sites where i could get a free forum?

    Also do you have a rough idea of how much the commercial licence would cost and where i would get it?

    Thanks

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: WHARTY Member since: Nov 18, 2009
    #3
  4. oldeagleeye

    oldeagleeye UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3,987 1,220
    If you already have a hosting provider look to see if they offer Fantasico as part of the package. There are dozens of one click installs including blogs wordpress - joomla etc and most of the free forums. A commercial licence is just an upgrade same sotware.

    If you don't have hosting find a company that does offer fantastico. That 1 click install makes everything so so easy - even to change themes and you will still end up paying less than £20 quid a year.

    Rob.

    BTW. Don't expect to make any money by selling advertisng. It ain't going to happen.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: oldeagleeye Member since: Jul 16, 2008
    #4
  5. WHARTY

    WHARTY UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    939 133
    Ok thanks oldeagleeye. Why wouldn't i make any money though? doesn't this forum make money from advertising?

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: WHARTY Member since: Nov 18, 2009
    #5
  6. matth

    matth UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    278 66
    I run a forum for some friends of mine... I've made £20 through my adwords account in just over a year :D

    Still, it's added onto my hosting package that I pay for anyway, so it's not a major problem :)
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: matth Member since: Feb 4, 2010
    #6
  7. oldeagleeye

    oldeagleeye UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3,987 1,220
    I don't mean it unkindly OP but your hardly in Sifts league are you.

    It has taken the company years of hard work and commitment to get to this stage where UKBF has become the biggest business forum in the UK with over 70,000 members. Probably about 500,000 casual visitors a week and almost 2 million posts. I repeat years of trying to establish the forum and a huge investment..

    Years I am sure when the company didn't make a penny profit from advertising revenue after expenses. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if even this year shows a decent ROI and therefore Sift still has to rely on volenteer Mods even now.

    Great Expectations PiP old chap are one thing and it was a damned good story. Making money out of forum however is more Alice in Wonderland.

    BTW. What's this proposed forums theme. where will members come from. There are already millions of forums out there catering from their members interests. You would need something pretty special to earn that £20 a year matth was talking about.
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: oldeagleeye Member since: Jul 16, 2008
    #7
  8. WHARTY

    WHARTY UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    939 133
    No problem, i didn't take it the wrong way.
    I don't want to say what the theme is just yet, however i will let you know when its up and running and you can check it out yourself.

    Found these to host for me http://www.vbulletinhosting.co.uk/ think this may do the job. Do you think they would throw in the templates with this?

    Cheers

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: WHARTY Member since: Nov 18, 2009
    #8
  9. DanHaynes

    DanHaynes UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    136 12
    As an example:

    VBulletin Licence: £150
    VBulletin Skin: £100
    Hosting: £100pa
    Advertising your forum: ?
    Your time (admin and moderation)

    So roughly £250 should set you up with a nice looking forum. As has been said before - making money out of a forum is not realistic :(

    ps: The host you found (GlobalGold) I use, and can recommend
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: DanHaynes Member since: Apr 10, 2010
    #9
  10. Top Hat

    Top Hat UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,182 172
    I believe sift paid six figures for this forum. It took years and much money to build the level of members it has now.

    That's why I resent being asking to pay to stay. If it wasn't for original members posting good quality content sift would have had nothing to buy.
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: Top Hat Member since: Mar 3, 2005
    #10
  11. oldeagleeye

    oldeagleeye UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3,987 1,220
    Negative on the host you list Lee. That is just one BB

    Try this link below a fellow member that came across and a 3rd the price just under 3 quid a month. They have about 34 1 click instanls and a pretty good web site builder you could play around with too with 1000s of pretty good themes.

    Wouildn't worry about the licences if I were you. I doubt you ever get your money back on a commercial licence.:eek:

    Anyway. Heres the link. PM me if you don't want to reveal theme in open forum and I'll give you an honest opinion on whether your get advertising or not.

    Rob
    http://www.pickaweb.co.uk/web-hosting-starter.htm
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: oldeagleeye Member since: Jul 16, 2008
    #11
  12. Page

    Page UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    3,561 266
    eh - whats that all about ?
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: Page Member since: Jul 28, 2007
    #12
  13. oldeagleeye

    oldeagleeye UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3,987 1,220
    Dont take any notice of Top Hat Page.

    He runs a company called Silly Jokes. Quite appropriate I think. Silly by name - silly nature & comments.

    What might have been a bit more constructive is as I have said is if Sift took account of the many positive and serious in terms of time devoted too posts by contributers to this forum and offered them free full membership now that we are being bombarded by paid for advertising all the time.

    At the moment however it is a silly billy world.

    rob
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: oldeagleeye Member since: Jul 16, 2008
    #13
  14. Eagle

    Eagle UKBF Legend Free Member

    5,382 598
    No, it took Ozzy years of hard work and commitment.

    At the end of the day, Sift (a business) have to make money from UKBF - otherwise they might as well just shut the place down.
     
    Posted: Jul 3, 2010 By: Eagle Member since: Oct 3, 2004
    #14
  15. oldeagleeye

    oldeagleeye UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3,987 1,220
    Not like you to split hairs Eagle. I wanted to make a point which I did simply. I did not want to confuse matters by giving a detailed history of how the forum got to this stage.

    That would have led to more questions like how much did Ozzy sell it for. How big would the OP have to grow his forum to sell it on. All of which are irrelevant for a huge number of reasons inlcuding the OP is about 5 years too late in trying to jump on what was and is a hobby bandwagon for most forums anyway.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend foilks. Rob
     
    Posted: Jul 4, 2010 By: oldeagleeye Member since: Jul 16, 2008
    #15
  16. Eagle

    Eagle UKBF Legend Free Member

    5,382 598
    Fairynuff I guess but I'd still say at least try setting one up and see what happens. It's very dependant too, on the 'USP' of the forum.
     
    Posted: Jul 4, 2010 By: Eagle Member since: Oct 3, 2004
    #16
  17. WHARTY

    WHARTY UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    939 133
    Hi thanks for all the replys. My main question was how much to start my own forum so thanks for the answers. I am not really bothered about making money out of it as it would just be a hobby, however i wanted to know how i could make money if the opportunity was there.

    Thanks

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jul 4, 2010 By: WHARTY Member since: Nov 18, 2009
    #17
  18. titanlee

    titanlee UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    34 1
    My company hosts a great many forums, almost all of which are based on enthusiasts / clubs. I'm also a member on a number of forums which we don't host. I can tell you with 100% certainty that running a forum on the cheap just earns moans and groans from the members who don't appreciate the time and effort it takes on the admin side, nor the costs on the hosting side.

    I would advise against free forum hosting. One forum I am on started up on this and soon grew to be quite popular. The forum is always dog slow and lacks decent functionality (like search), so the owners thought about moving it to a commercial host. Nope - the runners of the hosting want around £4k to provide a copy of the database. I don't blame the hosters, this is their business model - for every 100 forums they host for free, I guess one will grow big and pay the money to move elsewhere, effectively making it possible for the other 99 to have free hosting. But I wouldn't advise using a free forum host.

    One very important thing - if you decide to use an off-the-shelf package like phpBB, remember to keep it updated at all times else you'll get it defaced. That goes for all popular opensource packages but its especially common on forums.

    Revenues from forums are possible but generally just cover the costs. If the forum is regarding a niche, then finding companies who specialise in that and getting advertising is the usual way.
     
    Posted: Jul 4, 2010 By: titanlee Member since: Jun 5, 2010
    #18
  19. GreatSEO

    GreatSEO UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,571 371
    A forum is only as good as the members and their input.

    I started one 3 years ago now and we are only just breaking even in terms of the financial implications. If you take into account the amount of time it has taken to get it established well I am owed thousands.

    There are so many ways of making money from it but first you need the member numbers and not FAKE ones. Too many forums use poster services and make up members or buy databases of members and add them to their own adding no value whatsoever. We have near 5000 members and we cut out posts back all of the time. In fact post count is very low because we prune them back every 6-8 weeks.

    The reason that we do this is that we do get a lot of duplicate posts but it seems when we prune the threads are not duplcated as much which is a problem I have found with many forums I am a member of.

    These 3 things are a good start -

    Membership (but it needs to be for something special)
    Advertising (make sure you have the traffic and can offer some sort of guarantee)
    Emailing the members directly (not too often or the members hate it)

    Hope they help

    Dave
     
    Posted: Jul 5, 2010 By: GreatSEO Member since: Mar 20, 2006
    #19
  20. Eagle

    Eagle UKBF Legend Free Member

    5,382 598
    It's definitely hard work but the reward is great. Especially when you have Zero spam. Not many forums can claim that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
    Posted: Jul 5, 2010 By: Eagle Member since: Oct 3, 2004
    #20
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