As I mentioned above about integrating Forum with your WordPress blog, that I will be using a Stand-alone forum software to add a forum to ShoutMeLoud. Recently, I installed vBulletin V4 forum on ShoutMeLoud Sub-domain, but after using it for a while, It failed to impress me. More over, vBulletin is getting bad critics, and Xenforo comes out as a better alternative. So I dropped the idea of having vBulletin forum on Sub-domain, and decided to install XenForo forum on a stand-alone domain. (Shoutersland.com). In this guide I will share how you can install XENForo forum on your cPanel hosting, and few important configuration tips. In my case I’m using Bluehost Unlimited hosting to host XENForo forum.
A-Z guide of XenForo forum on Your Hosting Account:
To get started with your own forum, you need two things:
- One hosting account: I recommend Bluehost, and with this link you can get it for cheapest possible price.
- XenForo license: You need to Buy XenForo license.
If you are new to hosting, you can check this video on buying hosting from Bluehost, and once you are ready; login to XenForo members area, and add the domain details where you planning to install forum.
After adding your License details, simply select the latest version of XenForo and download it to your local desktop. The file is of around 20MB, so it will take only couple of seconds to download. There is an option to download “upgrade package only”, keep that option uncheck.
Now, you need to login to your Bluehost FTP account using any free FTP manager, and upload then content of downloaded XenForo folder to the root of domain where you want to install the forum. I personally use FileZilla (available for Windows also) and CyberDuck FTP tool on my MacOS. It will take couple of minutes to finish file uploading, and once all files are uploaded, we can move further. Here is an image for your reference, which will help you to understand the correct location for file-upload. If you are in doubt, feel free to ask me.
Once all files have been uploaded, we need to change the file permission of two directories. Simply update the permission of data and internal_data folder to 0777. Now open domain.com/install/ on your browser, and you will be welcomed with XenForo installation Wizard.
Click on Being installation to start the process. You need to login to your cPanel, and create a database manually. You can refer to this tutorial to learn creating manual database in cPanel. After creating database, add Database details. (See screenshot for reference)
Click on test and generate configuration, which will give you confirmation on next page, where you need to click on continue with installation. Similarly on the next page it will verify everything, and click on begin installation to install Xenforo forum software. It will take few minutes to complete the installation process, and once it’s done, you need to add admin details setup initial options to configure Xenforo.
Click on create administrator, and setup page is simple. All you need to do is, add the Site title, check the Admin Email and finish the setup. Once you have done all the steps, now all you can login to XenForo forum and do the post-installation steps to finish setting up your forum. You can access forum admin panel by going to domain.com/admin.php
XenForo Forum Post-Installation Setup
Here I will quickly point out some of the setup that you should be doing after installing your forum software.
- Go to Home > Options > Basic Board Information and add Meta description, Select the time-Zone, and select “Use Full Friendly URLs” “Romanize Titles in URLs”.
- Under Home > Options > Performance > Select “Google Ajax API CDN” as jQuery source.
- You can integrate Google analytics under Home > Options > Statistics and metrics.
- Go to tools > Diagnostics > File health check and check the integrity of all the files.
- There are lot of configuration that you need to do such as add honeypot Project API, Integrate Facebook, SEO settings to name a few. I recommend you to follow this official help manual to setup Xenoforo forum software correctly.
These are just few of many steps, and it will take 1-2 hour for you to read and implement all the suggested settings from official help manual. Now, your role is to customise your forum to match your brand look and feel. There are many Xenforo templates which are freely available or you can also hire a freelancer to design a custom Xenforo template for your forum. If you have followed all the above steps, your forum will be up and running, but you also need to implement many things to ensure the security of your forum, add more features, making it faster by implementing cache technology and few more things. This is a complete DIY Xenforo installation guide, but if you are not so technical, you can always hire someone from sites like Freelancer.com, oDesk or official Xenforo marketplace to setup your forum.
Do let me know if you are stuck anywhere. In case if you are running a Forum powered by XenForo, and have few tips to share with us, I would love to hear from you. If you find this tutorial useful, do share it on Facebook and Google plus.
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