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"Multiforums" is a general term that refers to the hosting of multiple forums or online messageboards using a single install of a forum software package, such as PHPBB or Simple Machines Forum . Multiforums software is typically used to run a forum hosting website that allows users to create forums almost instantly, usually by using a web based installer that a user completes to create a forum instantly. Most, but not all multiforum hosts are for-profit companies that show some form of advertisements on hosted forums, such as Google Adsense . Mutiforums software allows many instances of a messageboard to be run off of one set of files so that there can be many independent messageboards running at once while only using the files it takes to run one messageboard without giving each user their own set of files.

A typical multiforums installer.

Working multiforums software usually involves editing the core underlying forum software package files for the chosen forum package, such as PHPBB or SMF in order for the software to run. Some multiforums software packages require that you first download the core forum software separately and then install the multiforums software on top of the core files. Usually any editing that needs to be done will be done by the multiforum software creator so the end user does not have to edit. Installing multiforums software is usually as simple as uploading files via Ftp to a server and running a PHP installer. Most, if not all multiforums packages also require a Database of some form, but most are compatible with MySql databases.

Administration

Almost all multiforums software packages include some form of Admin Control Panel, where the site owner can delete hosted forums, email hosted forums, view hosted forums, edit what advertisements should be shown on hosted forums, turn offline or online hosted forums, and more. Some admin panels allow the admin to view the email address a forum admin used to sign up for the service, whereas others keep user information hidden. Some payware multiforums software packages even allow site admins to search hosted forums for banned or illegal content or use multiple MySQL databases at once to host forums.

Security and Challenges

Multiforums scripts present unique challenges for forum hosts because they alter the core bulletin board software they are running on. One such challenge is that multiforums scripts can unfortunately open up new security holes for forum providers. Many PHPBB multiforums forum hosts that still have database restore enabled may be susceptible to an attack using the PHPBB restore database feature. Another con to multiforum scripts is that installing modifications to the core forum software or upgrading the core forum software is usually either more complicated or completely impossible without an update from the multiforums script creator. This is because while multiforums software uses the same (or similar) files as the core forum software it is running on top of, the database schema for multiforums message boards is slightly different, thus running Sql Queries on a multiforums database is different than running queries on a standalone forum. Typically each hosted forum in a multiforums system will have a unique database prefix, such as myforum_phpbb_themes instead of phpbb_themes. Thus to update the Sql for multiforums forums you have to update each unique user's tables instead of one table such as in a standard messageboard install. This allows each user to keep their data separate from the data of others, but this makes things harder for the forum host to upgrade the software. Some multiforums scripts, however, have tools that will allow the site admin to update or run a SQL query on all of the hosted forums at once, thus making upgrades possible.

Client Experience when hosted by a Multiforums Host

Multiforums software limits a forum admin's ability to upgrade their own forum or add modifications to their own forum. People who are hosted with a multiforums host cannot typically edit their forum's files as doing so would affect not only their own forum but any other forum hosted on that website. Clients hosted on free multiforums host also may receive limited versions of the core bulletin board software with some features disabled, such as database backup or restore privileges. Some features may be disabled for security, whereas others such as database backup may have been disabled by the site admin and may be re-enabled by request or for a fee. Inversely, hosted forums on a multiforums host may have additional modifications or features that the core forum software does not have, either to attract more people to their service or to provide additional features or security. Almost all multiforums host at a minimum provide their members with additional themes or templates for their hosted forums. Also, most, but not all multiforums hosts show ads of some sort on hosted forums.

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