$ required to create and maintain a message board.

Let’s say I wanted to start a message board from scratch.

This message board would have the capacity to handle at least 100,000 regular posters. And let’s say 35% of them would be logged on at any given time. There would also be search functions and an extensive archive. (Being a new board, the archive wouldn’t be that extensive at first.) But the capacity would be there.

I guess what asking is what would it cost to set up and run a board comparable to the SDMB, only it would never time out.

I’m not an IT specialist, so I’m asking about the price bottom line of all necessary hardware, software, set-up costs, maintenance costs , rental fees for a space adequate to contain it all and any other incidental costs that any of you who know about these things can think of.


For starters, prices for the vBulletin forum software as the SDMB uses, scroll to the bottom of this link…


Shoot, anyone can start their own message board for free. The trick is getting people to participate, as opposed to getting inundated with spam about Nichole Kidman taking it up the ass.

Here’s mine, for example:

(You’ll find a link to phpBB software that will allow you create a message board very similar to the SDMB.)

No free option is going to handle 35% of 100,000 members.

I suspect the biggest cost is going to be hosting (assuming you don’t have your own server space to host it on). You’re going to need to find a reliable hosting company that can cope with the bandwidth, has mirror servers that can be used if the main server goes down, and has excellent back up systems.

I’m probably using all the wrong terminology here, someone will no doubt correct me. :slight_smile:

FWIW, I run a vBulletin forum, but it is very small and a friend of mine hosts it for free on his servers. The only costs I incur are the forum software and the annual renewal of the url. These are minimal costs.

A trick that, looking at your board, you’ve been unable to master. :wink:

ETA: The link in the ‘Jessica Biel dress fitting’ thread tried to load a virus on my machine. Thanks!

You can get really good Linux dedicated servers for about $300/mo. that would be be more than enough to cover your needs for a very popular board. You can pay more for extra RAM, HDD space and bandwidth. Let’s say $500/mo tops.

Apache, MySQL and PHP are free. You’d have to pay for a vBulletin license and probably would be wise to pay for vBulletin phone support ($300/yr). It costs $30/yr to get vBulletin upgrades.

You have to pay someone to do the initial setup, run the required maintenance and to be around in case something gets mucked up. They also have to make decisions about when to update vBulletin, Apache, MySQL and PHP, if at all. Those decisions can be tough in the world of OpenSource (heck, they’re tough in the world of Windows too!) Unless you want to pay for support for all of those things, the person you hire for this task will need to be well versed in the ways of MySQL and PHP.

Because of spammers, at minimum, you need to have moderation. Your members will probably want moderation too. This can either be pay or volunteer.

None of this includes advertising, which is how you get to have 100,000 users as sqweels mentioned. That is extremely variable.

So, without the cost of the server admin and advertising, it could cost you from $3930-$6330/yr to run a top-notch vBulletin message board. Certainlly, you could cut corners, or upgrade as you go, which could actually cause you more problems.

Regardless of all of this, you can still very well have problems and downtimes. That’s life.