6 Reasons Why a Managed Forum Can Boost Your Community

When people start a forum for the first time, they face a lot of challenges. There are many things where they would need help. Setting up a forum might feel like a mammoth task for a fresher. If you have a few good friends to help out, they might shed some light on how to use FTP, how to handle your hosting control panel, setting up a database using phpMyAdmin etc.

These are important steps that one needs to go through to take a forum online. The last step, using the web installer, is a simple task. But that might scare a few people if they are not into running websites or have no previous experience handling such tasks.

If you go through support venues, you can often see people who made very small mistakes like confusing between database name and database username which spoiled their attempts to bring the forum online. There is always a getting used to element involved in such tasks.

The Trust Factor

Even if you are a technically qualified person, some of these actions need help from people who are familiar with the process. Such services are not always cheap and you will have to hand over sensitive information like access to your web hosting service, database credentials, and various other passwords.

Are you sure you want to risk sharing these details with a third party freelancer? Do you trust them enough to share all those sensitive data which can cause unimaginable problems at a later point of time? Depending on the kind of services you need, you might have to deal with more than one person handling this data. The more people involved the higher the risk factor.

It is always comfortable to choose a professional, managed hosting service like WoltLab Cloud to overcome these hurdles. The process is as simple as placing an order and set up your domain to connect with the Cloud Hosting provider. Once you tell the domain that you are using a managed cloud hosting, everything else is handled by a professional team who keeps you in loop all the time.

You are no longer at the mercy of a freelancer who might vanish one day with your passwords locking you out of your own forum community.

Technical Prowess

Running a forum needs multiple skills. At the backend you will have to deal with a variety of tasks ranging from setting up web hosting, creating and managing the database, handling forum software installation and maintenance, setting up emails, FTP and other services etc. You will also have to deal with additional tasks like installing styles and plugins, configuring them and making sure that updates don’t break your forum community.

Are you sure that you are good enough to handle various aspects of these including PHP skills, MySQL expertise, web hosting panel and general web hosting expertise? If you are going to handle them on your own, you may have to hire more than one person to handle these tasks. As we discussed above, there is an element of risk involved in these. What if one of them discontinues their services all of a sudden? In most cases, others won’t be able to follow up on what they have built. You will have to spend money to rebuild everything and that could break a thousand things.

Instead, why not rely on a professional and reliable team that takes care of everything. A managed forum in the cloud is a typical example of mental peace. Hire them and forget about all these technical challenges. Such teams are normally composed of developers and technicians with proven industry experience. Which means that you can now focus on running your forum without worrying about the back-end challenges.

Better Hardware, Better SEO

While starting a new forum, a lot of webmasters use a shared web hosting service or a cheap Virtual Private Server (VPS). The main reason is that you actually do not need to invest in a costly dedicated server at that point of time due to budget reasons. The downside is that those services present themselves as a the jack of trades, but are actually the master of none. There is no optimization and the hardware is often very old, causing slower than expected performance. Especially during peak hours their servers tend to slow to crawl because they are packed to the brim with customers. Slow servers are bad for your placement in SERPs.

The reason that both large forums and managed cloud forums are lightning fast is the combination of powerful servers and a fine-tuned configuration to accelerate every aspect. Browsing the forums is enjoyable for visitors and search engines rank sites higher that power quick response times.

Improved Security

Security is a vast and difficult topic for many admins. Keeping software up-to-date can be a tedious task, things like FTP servers are usually a welcome target for hackers and in general it takes a lot of effort to stay ahead of the bad guys. Security is not a one-time event as threat vectors are constantly evolving and all it takes for an attacker to claim victory is for you to make a single mistake.

Even if everything else is working fine, there are threats like DDoS which are often of serious nature. Your website could go offline for hours or days hurting your forum community, traffic and general emotion towards the management. There are third party solutions out there that help to mitigate those attacks but they need to be set up, maintained and add to the overall cost of running a site.

A managed forum solution can handle all of these like a breeze. You will never know that there was ever a threat and it was nullified because those attacks were stopped before reaching your forum community. Even better, those mitigations are carried out by the cloud hosting provider without increasing your monthly bill.

Predictable Pricing

Like we discussed above, handling various backend issues costs a lot. A managed forum solution will ensure that none of these actually affect the functioning of your forum and at no extra cost. You will be charged the normal rates, nothing more. It’s no secret that hiring contractors on the spot to perform a task is quite expensive, they might even ask for a sudden pay rise once they are in control. Managed forum solutions have contracts that clearly define how much cost can increase over time, plus you always have the choice of migrating away if you are not satisfied but your site remains fully functional the whole time.

No Hidden Costs

When you choose to go with a managed forum provider you have the advantage of getting rid of all hidden costs forever. Every cost involved is well documented and shared with you in advance. There are no extra bills for “unexpected work“ or any other surprises. Everything is clear, open and transparent so that you can exatly tell how much it is going to keep your community going.

Better Support

When you are at the mercy of freelancers, it is always their call. They might not always be mean, but what if they are sick and your forum is in trouble? There is an important security update or issue and the tech person is not available? With managed forum solutions, you are not dealing with individuals but a professional team. There is always a plan B there. They work as a team and ensure that everything is in order even without your interference.

Having a single point of contact for all your needs can be incredibly helpful. No matter if you have a question regarding the use of facing a problem that needs to be solved, there is always a single contact that will handle everything for you no matter what. There is no back-and-forth between different contractors.

Keeping Your Community Online, Always

Weekends and public holidays may not be the peak activity period for your community, yet it is essential to keep your forum running 24x7 without outages. Either because you are offering support for multiple time zones or geographical regions, or simply because you don’t want your forum down for the whole weekend just because the freelancer handling tech support is not available. Forums often generate revenue through ad impressions and other means like affiliate links, 3rd party banner ads and more. Any downtime is going to cost you money that is lost forever if you are having a prolonged downtime.