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Lately, I've been getting questions about Simple Machines Forum (SMF), what it is, What it can do, How to install it. I think this Lecture i gave during the Operation Pro-Blogger Series (in Bloggers Lab Group On Facebook) can help.
Operation ProBlogger (Lecture 6): Simple Machines forum (SMF)

Should this be a very detailed guide or just an overview - I can't decide so it will be a little bit of Both! This Document can be edited and further explanations given on whatever I missed.

SMF SMF SMF - Simple Machines Forum (http://simplemachines.org)
That’s what I’ll be writing about - I’m late So lets get right to it!!

If you know how to use Blogger or WordPress - then SMF would be a piece of cake.
Simple Machines Forum is Content management software which is not only FREE but also "OPEN source" Meaning its openly developed by community effort and not restricted, therefore thousands of themes, Plugins (Known as Modifications or MODS) are made everyday!

1. Purpose of Your website: - There is a thin line between the meaning of a Forum and a Blog.

Personally, I say a forum can be a Blog but a Blog cannot be a forum! Confusing huh?

Example: Nairaland.com Forum has topics posted by thousands of individuals - It’s a Forum. If the owner - SEUN wakes up one day and decides that HE ALONE will be doing the posting - TADAHH he has turned it into a blog!

In the Ideal Situation - Forums are used as an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

A Blog where User registration is allowed.. and guest post is allowed is still a BLOG! not a forum!

Basically - If you want to give users 100% of controlled access to Register, Login, create topics.. in a MESSAGE BOARD format (Like a Town Hall Meeting!) then SMF is for you!

2. IT IS FREE: - SMF is free and will forever be free: - The Plugins / Modifications and Themes are also created by a wide user base and available for FREE. Sure there will be programmers who offer some items they make for sale but there are always Free alternatives.

3. High Quality Support Base: There's No problem you will throw at the SMF support that won't be solved! Experienced members are always ready to assist with any issue you might have.

4. Compatible across platforms: SMF forum is compatible across WEB, WAP1.0, 2.0, iMODE platforms.

If you're still not sure why and when you should use SMF - then visit World Famous www.Nairaland.com and see SMF in action (Forum style) Or better still stroll to www.Ngbuzz.com to see SMF in slow motion lol (Blogging style)

Domain name / Hosting account. (Free or paid) -

By now we all know how to get a paid Hosting plan (site.com) from any of the reliable webhost that have been suggested (trudigits.com has been my Host for 2 years!) OR you can always opt in for a FREE domain name and Hosting Plan from http://freesmfhosting.com or others who offer 50 to 200 MB free. (Search Google for "FREE SMF Cpanel hosting")

       - Paid hosting = Yoursitename.com + other features
       - Free hosting = yoursitename.yourhost.com

Which ever you choose - Lets carry on with the installation: (note: if you already have a hosted account - you can install smf and test-run in a NEW FOLDER in your server. example: yousite.com/smf)
SMF can also be installed Locally for testing purposes - I mean running the whole site on your PC (using XAMPP server) but that’s a tutorial for another day!

OK - By now you have logged into your Free or Paid Cpanel hosting and ready to install SMF.
The installation can be done in two ways:
  • A. Cpanel>>>> Softaculous or Fantaculous >>>>FORUM>>>>> SMF>>>> Install>>>> (I recommend this method)
  • B. Download SMF software full package from download.simplemachines.org (.zip 2mb) >>>> Cpanel>>>Filemanager>>> www or Public_html directory>>>Upload SMF zipped software>>> when complete, select uploaded Zip file and click EXTRACT>>>Point your browser to yoursite.com/install.php

NOTE: if you extracted smf files into a folder e.g yoursite.com/smf then navigate to yousite.com/smf/install.php to start installation.

During the installation process you will need to create Admin & database username and password - Leave all other values as default.

SETUP: Once installation is complete, Login to your New Forum (yoursite.com or yousite.com/smf) >>>>
  • Admin Menu >>>Features and Options for Basic settings.
  • Admin Menu>>>Forum>>Boards to create Boards (Categories). i.e Entertainment, Politics, sports etc depends on what your site is about.
  • Admin Menu>>>Configuration>>>Themes and Layout>>>>Manage and Install to Select default themes, Install New themes etc

Note: New themes installed(uploaded) must be set as DEFAULT THEME for changes to take effect. Here are some SMF Themes to try: http://custom.simplemachines.org/themes/

Any Website without Plugins is DEAD!!! even the best coders Use plugins: Get SMF Modifications from http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/

Here are a few Popular SMF plugins to check out:
- Related topics: this displays a list of related topics at the bottom of Posts.
- Google Analytics Code: allows you enter your analytics code to track site progress.
- GoogAd Mod v.1.4: Ads Empty Header / Footer and other adverts space for you to PASTE adsense codes or Facebook Face pile code.
- Anti Bot: Are You Human/Bot?: Anti spam verification question and answer for New registrations.

To install any Modification - Navigate to .. Admin>>>Package manager or Admin>>>Main>>package manager>>>Download packages tab>>>>Upload Plugin Theme / Modification

NOTE: Installation steps refers to SMF 2.0 and not 1.1, check for variations.

Ok People that’s all the Magic about smf for now - Got more tricks up my sleeves but the post is getting too Long! If you would like more help - Drop your Question.. Comments.. Corrections

Click here to Download a free PDF Ebook Version of this Post to read later (148 kb)

Peace Out
S Briggs

« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 02:53 PM by Briggz5d »


How Did You Us SMF For This Site.


Hello Mile.
Your question has already been answered in the post above.
Please read it


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