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Okay. You have a charter. You have a flag. You have members. But you need a cool place to hang out and talk and do allaince business, right? A plain ol' invisionfree forum doesn't cut it.

Version 1.3

I. Introduction

II. Leaving Invisionfree

III. A Comparison of different free forum software

IV. Now That You Have Decided...

1. Free Hosting

2. Paid Hosting

V. Hey look, you have options! (People who choose a free forum system LOOK HERE!)

VI. The End.... or is it?

VII. Setting up an IRC channel

Version History:

1.3 Added list of forums I can convert off of

1.2 Added Setting up an IRC Channel

1.1 Added Hey look, you have options!

1.0 Guide Made

I. Introduction

Okay guys, Invisionfree is not a decent forum system. Neither is proboards or anything like that. You need an actual forum system that you can control. You need to be able to modify the files whenever you want, and you need to be able to do whatever you want with your forums. Free forums do not allow you to back up your forum. How unfair is that? Don't you think you should be able to have a backup of your forum in case you want to go to a different service? Well with InvisionFree, you must pay them in order to be able to get your forum database. Shouldn't you be able to get it for free?

II. Leaving Invisionfree

To leave invisionfree, you can either pay invisionfree on a pay scale based on the amount of posts on your forum, or you can use a script to conver your forum to another forum system (covered in part 3). Leaving invisionfree can be hard. It can take a little while for your members to get used to the change. However, leaving InvisionFree is the best option in the end, because having control over your forum is essential to success. Getting off of InvisionFree is rather simple. I can convert people off of InvisionFree, Proboards, Zetaboards, and a couple of other forum systems. QUERY ME ON IRC IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CONVERSION

Forum Systems I can convert off of:

  • ActiveBoards
  • Forumotion
  • InvisionFree
  • SuddenLaunch
  • Yuku
  • Zetaboards
  • phpBB
  • IPB
  • Vbulletin
  • And Many More!

III. A Comparison of different free forum software



Pros: Widely Used, Has a large community

Cons: Bloated, Not very friendly for people with subpar internet

Cost: $180 for the license and then $60 a year for updates to it

Invision Power Board (IPB):

Pros: Used by a lot of CN players, good community and support

Cons: Database and Bandwidth Hog, has vulnerabilities unless you update to the newest version as soon as it comes out

Cost: $149.99 for the boards. You get 6 months of support and updates. It costs $25 to access upgrades after that.


Simple Machines Forum (SMF):

Pros: Free, excellent community, Great Mod Making Community

Cons: The themes are lacking, but you can create your own. The support can take a little longer than the above boards, because volunteers do the support for SMF

PHP Bulletin Board (phpBB):

Pros: More advanced admin panel, Quicker Support than SMF because it has a larger support community

Cons: More Advanced Admin Panel, Mods are harder to install, Updates take longer to install, many security vulnerabilities.

Summary: Use IPB or SMF. Those are my recommendations. However, you should research which forum system would suit YOU best.

IV. Now That You Have Decided...

Now That You Have Decided the forum system of your choice, where will you host it? You will need a place to put all of these files.

1. Free Hosting

Free hosting is the cheapest (obviously) option, yet it can also be the most dangerous one. When picking a free host, you need to choose one that has been around for a while. It also needs to have a decent reputation. Why does it need to have a good reputation? Because a lot of hosts with deals that look amazing are run by teenagers who do not have the money to support the hosting very long. You want a place with a great reputation. You will also need a place that supports PHP and MySQL (at least one database). With Free Hosting, you will probably have to put a small ad or a link back to the hosts site in order to have a site with them.. You can look up reviews for Free Web Hosts Here and Here. Research is your friend. My Recommendation for a free host is OkamiHost. I have heard good things about them.

2. Paid Hosting

Ahh. Paid Hosting. You put your own money into it and you can get some nice results. However, this is as dangerous as free hosting in some regards. Instead of little kids out for a quick buck, there are adults out to scam people. This is known as Overselling. It means that they promise everyone a deal like 100 GB Disk Space and 1 Terabyte of Bandwidth (Transfer) a month. No server can realistically support such a demand. In reality, they have an invisible cap (usually set at 10% of what they actaully promise you). Now for Paid Hosting, you need to figure out what is the best for your price, while not overselling.

Examples of Overselling Webhosts (If you are on them, get off of them and onto a good one):









Examples of good webhosts:

ApisNetworks (NPO, ODN, MCXA, and other alliances use them)

Charlottez Web (Despite the name I have heard it is excellent)

Linode (Only recommended for the alliances that experience high amounts of traffic)

The Golden Rule of picking out a paid webhost is: If it looks too good to be true, it is probably an overseller. Also get a webhost that uses cPanel

V. Hey look, you have options! (People who choose a free forum system LOOK HERE!)

You have a copy of your InvisionFree forum. You have selected your webhost. Now you need to install your forum system. You have two options. You can use Fantastico, in which you click and it fully installs a board one version behind (I don't recommend, especially for SMF, it leaves about 30 MB of useless files on your server). Or you can go to the site of the forum system, download the newest version, upload everything to the site via FTP (File Transfer Protocol). It will take longer, but your forum will be a happier one in the end.

VI. The End.... or is it?

I hope this helps some people or opens their eyes to better webhosting. If you wish to contact me on IRC, I am typically idling in #mushroom on irc.coldfront.net. Ask for bros. Don't query me because I have two computers. I will query you. Also, if I forgot anything, please tell me :D

VII. Setting up an IRC channel

Okay. You have an awesome forum. Now you notice everyone is on this "IRC" thing. IRC is Internet Relay Chat. Think of it like a huge chat room. There are many servers. However pretty much all of CN is in coldfront. irc.coldfront.net. Now you may be asking "HOW DO I GET ON THIS IRC THING?! DOES IT COST MONEY???" It is free to access and I recommend mIRC. Now that you have an IRC client, what do you do now? You fill out the things in the mIRC window, then you type this command to come onto the server:

/server irc.coldfront.net

Now you are looking at a screen that says Global Login News and stuff like that. OMG THIS IS SCARY you are thinking. Don't be scared. You need to have a name! To make your name recognizable, use this command (put it in the window you see after you connect to the server):

/nick name

No spaces are allowed.

To join a channel, use the following command:

/join #channel

An example would be:

/join #nsa

#nsa is the channel of the NPO. Refer to the New Alliance/IRC Combo List to find more IRC channels.

After you have chosen your name, you want to protect it, type the following command:

/nickserv register password email

When you get the email, copy what it says into a server window, NOT INTO A CHANNEL

Now, you don't want to type all of that again to identify, right? So click Tools - Options - Options - Perform. You see a scary window. You will want to add coldfrnt to your list of servers (remember to put something in the Group Box). Select Coldfront (or the name you gave it) from the dropdown. Click Enable Perform on Connect. Now in this perform box you see, put this in it:

/nick name
/nickserv identify yournickservpassword

Let's say you want to join channels on connecting? Use this command:

/nickserv ajoin add #channel

How to Secure an IRC channel:

Your Alliance needs a private chat to talk in. Passwords aren't secure. The best thing you can do is restrict the channel. You can do this with this command:

/chanserv set #channel restricted on

But until you add people to the Access List nobody will be able to join it. To add someone to the access list:

/chanserv access #channel add name 30

30 gives voice (+). Anything below 30 doesn't. 50 gives ops (@). 100 gives Super OPs (SOPs or &)

Nicknames must be registered in order to be in a restricted channel.

An In-Depth guide to IRC by yetanothername

Edited by bros2
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