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How to Create a Forum/Blog Site for my Community?

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    How to Create a Forum/Blog Site for my Community?

    Hey! It's been a long time since I've stopped by here. I'm sure we've all seen the news about G+ shutting down in August 2019, and I think it's high time I set out to create a permanent residence for my group. That said, I've never set out to do such a thing before. That's why I'd like to ask for guidance here, a perfect example of what I'm looking for. If Remilia or others could point me in the right direction, I'd really appreciate it.

    I've made so many connections there, it'd be a shame if I lost them over a shifting webscape. Social media rise and fall, but personal domains remain when maintained. I feel that my group needs a central hub where contact can be constantly assured. It'd also afford far more liberal, personally relevant site codes of conduct, such as allowing NSFW categories.
    The way these youkai are swarming, one might think we weren't welcome!

    As far as what we use goes, we use vBulletin5. Licensing costs are non-trivial though. Upwards of $500 for a single site license. We specifically use an AWS EC2 instance for hosting with Route 53 for DNS and S3 for storage. YC forums are hosted by a t2.micro EC2 instance and costs are overall trivial. If you can get student credits for AWS hosting you could prob host a site for free for a couple of years with low traffic.

    The best alternative imo for a free community, if discord isn't sufficient for you, would then to try self-hosting one of the free forum software solutions. Options include things like Simple Forum Machines and phpBB.

    Good luck!