Top 3 Forum Applications

If you want to start a vibrant online community, you need a forum. One that has proven its power over the years, helping you build an attractive, and – most of all – fully functional discussion board. These are my top 3 picks when it comes to forum apps.

1. phpBB

You knew I’ll start with this one ;). Well, let’s begin by saying that this great application is 100% free. Also, it’s got a great team of developers behind it. Lots of users have created various mods and styles, so you won’t have to set up a forum that looks exactly like your granny’s forum either.


phpBB is fully compatible with the UTF-8 character set, so it will work fine with pretty much any language on the planet. Being built with the latest HTML5 and CSS3 specifications in mind, the end result is an application that is modern, fast and – a critical feature! – responsive, working fine of mobile devices.

With its set of comprehensive moderator and administrator options, phpBB can be easily configured and kept under full control. And its private messages system works flawlessly!


2. vBulletin

If phpBB is the king of free forum software, vBulletin is definitely the queen of the paid forum apps. This discussion board comes in two flavors: vBulletin 5 Connect, which can be installed on your server, and vBulletin Cloud, a service provided by the forum makers, who will gladly host, maintain and upgrade vBulletin for you.

This piece of code is very powerful, and yet easy to use. vBulletin supports photo albums, has a site builder and supports paid subscriptions. It incorporates a “likes” system and comes with  built-in SMTP email support.


Still, if you aren’t a guru, it may be wise to go with the “cloud” version, in which case the software makers will do all the heavy lifting for you.

The cloud plans aren’t expensive either, ranging from $15 to $60/month, for packages that include 25GB to 200GB of monthly traffic. In fact, if tech support is necessary for you, my strong recommendation is to purchase one of the cloud plans. It’s the perfect option for non-techies who want to set up their forums quickly.


3. bbPress

bbPress is a template-driven PHP/MySQL forum software, which was built by the team behind the popular WordPress CMS.

It’s very easy to install – it only needs a mouse click! – and runs blazing fast. As you can guess, it’s also the most convenient solution if your own website is built with WordPress.


bbPress is (and will always be, according to its makers) open source and 100% free. It comes with lots of different styles, built-in user notes, custom login forms, and more.

Common Wi-Fi Problems and their Solutions

When was the last time you rejoiced because you had access to the Internet? Just like electricity, it’s always there when we need it, so why should we be so happy about it?

Things change when our Wi-Fi network refuses to cooperate, though. And it’s great to be prepared in advance. So read on to discover what are the most common Wi-Fi problems and find out what are the best ways to solve them.

Problem: Internet access speed is slow in some areas

Solution: move your router. Just like a radio station, Wi-Fi is equally broadcasted in all directions. This means that if the router is placed close to a house corner, for example, the signal has to travel quite a bit to get to the opposite house corner.


So if you want to provide equal opportunities to all your devices (sounds like a political slogan, I know 😉 ) then move your router as close to the center of the house as possible.

Of course, if you want to favor a particular Internet-ready device, you can place the router close to it, or orient the router antennas towards it. It’s amazing what you can also achieve by simply replacing the existing router antennas with a pair of high gain antennas. Sometimes you will also need some cables, especially if you’d like to hide the router out of the way.

Serious problems can also appear if your router interferes with other people’s routers. Fortunately, apps like Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can help you identify, and then fix the problem for good. Or at least until your neighbors buy a new router.


Sometimes the signal isn’t strong because your house is too big, or because there’s a lot of interference with other electrical devices: microwave ovens, cordless phones, and so on. If this is the case, a wireless repeater – a signal amplifier, if you will – will fix the problem. Don’t place the repeater in the room where the signal is weak, though; for best results, you want it to be close to the half of the distance that separates the router and your laptop, tablet or smartphone.


Problem: Internet access speed is slow in the entire home

Solution: plug your laptop straight into the modem. If Internet speed continues to be slow, it’s going to be your ISP’s problem most of the time. However, if the speed of your wired Internet connection is much faster, it’s time to update your router firmware. And if that doesn’t help, it’s certainly the time to buy a new, faster router.


Believe it or not, most router related problems can be fixed by simply restarting the device. Simply unplug it for 30 seconds or so, and then plug it back on.


Problem: one of the devices can’t connect to the network

Solution: reset your router, and then wait until it reconnects. If that doesn’t work, delete your network from the device, and then try to reconnect to it. If this fails as well, it’s time to log into your router, and then set up a new network.


Problem: you can’t remember your router password

Solution: are you sure you’ve searched for it everywhere? Or maybe you use the same password you’re using for several other accounts? If you can’t remember it, it’s time to set up a new password.

Your router has a hidden reset switch, which can be accessed by making use of a paperclip. Press and hold that switch for 10 seconds, and then release it; the router password will be reset. Make sure to change the default password right away, replacing it with a strong password, of course.

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