Adding a discussion forum to your site

Why are more and more people flocking to the web in place of television? Very simple- the web is interactive, alive, and allows you to talk back to it in a way very few other mediums allow.

Now, let's narrow our focus a bit, and ask ourselves this instead: "Why are more people flocking to certain sites on the net over others?" While this is certainly not a question with only one answer, one of them most certainly would be that it's because the former is more interactive and constant-changing than the remaining bunch. I love the TV show Seinfeld too, but after watching George accidentally poison his wife 100 times, it gets kind of old. The point is, change and interactivity is a good thing when it comes to attracting and keeping eyeballs, whether we're talking about TV programs, or your site. And speaking of interactivity and change, what better tool to make it all happen than a discussion forum? It's extremely low cost to implement, interactive, and finally, self-updating.

In this tutorial, I'll talk about the two possible means to adding a forum to your site, and wrap things up with a brief tour on the evolution of our very own forum-

Adding a forum by installing your own forum program

This is the recommended way for implementing a forum on your site- by obtaining a forum script, and installing and serving it yourself. is an example of that.

The basic criteria to setting up your own forum is simple- ability to run server side scripts such as PHP, ASP, Perl etc on your server. Most paid web hosts offer at least one of these functionalities. I'll list now some of the top commercial/ freeware forum programs available on the market you may wish to take into consideration while on your quest for the "one."

Resource list updated Dec 28th, 05'

PHP Forum scripts

First up, our 5 picks for PHP based poll scripts. Your site obviously needs to support PHP in order to use any of these scripts:

CGI/Perl Forum scripts

ASP Forum scripts