7 Best: vBulletin Hosting 2017 & Top Forum Community Services

As a kid growing up just outside of Miami, I have fond memories of trekking through downtown on my way to the Orange Bowl — a hotdog in one hand and a large, teal foam finger on the other. In those days, Dan Marino was at the helm of the Dolphins, and a win was almost guaranteed. Today, things are more grim, but at least fans have a place to console one another on the Dolphins community forum PhinZone. Here, Dol-Fans discuss an array of topics but mostly concentrate on where they are in the five stages of grief while mourning another devastating loss.

PhinZone, just as more than 400,000 other web forums, is powered by software from vBulletin. These community spaces provide platforms for interest groups to come together and communicate — but that’s not all. Many vBulletin sites are being employed by businesses to offer community-based support and as a feedback tool to drive product development. No matter the use case, vBulletin forums need to be powered by robust hosting solutions. Let’s take an in-depth look at the industry’s best.

Best “vBulletin Forum” Hosting

While vBulletin offers an in-house cloud hosting option for its software, the service is far more expensive than those of many leading hosting providers on the market. A much more economical choice would be to forego vBulletin’s hefty monthly hosting premiums by simply purchasing a software license for a one-time fee and finding an alternative (and, therefore, cheaper) provider.

The host below tops our list for effective forum hosting and is the ideal fit to power the vBulletin software. This provider delivers the bandwidth and storage space necessary to run large boards at just a fraction of the cost of vBulletin’s cloud hosting service. Be sure to read our full review linked in the table below to get a complete picture of how this host can help you build and nurture your online community.

FORUM RATING
★★★★★ 5.0/5.0
  • FREE forum software with powerful performance
  • Popular forum apps, including phpBB, vBulletin, and SMF
  • FREE CDN and multiple server locations
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name New or Transfer
Forum Hosting Plans www.siteground.com/forum

Our Expert's SiteGround Review

SiteGround is an ideal choice for application-specific hosting, including web hosting for forum creation and maintenance. Start with your choice of community-based application, such as phpBB or Simple Machine Forum (SMF), and you’re off… read more + SiteGround is an ideal choice for application-specific hosting, including web hosting for forum creation and maintenance. Start with your choice of community-based application, such as phpBB or Simple Machine Forum (SMF), and you’re off… collapse info -

See all our forum hosting reviews »

Free vs. “Almost Free” vBulletin Hosting

Depending on your purpose online, adding a vBulletin forum to your website can help in a number of ways. Many businesses use forum-based support to free up representatives so they can handle the more technically complex issues customers are having. Other users employ message boards to boost their brand’s authority, as an active forum with many participants tends to look good in the eyes of visitors and potential customers.

Whatever a vBulletin-built forum’s purpose, most site owners are looking for the most economical means of hosting it. Here, we’ll look at the most effective free and almost-free hosting solutions compatible with the vBulletin software.

Best Free vBulletin Hosting Services

With so many consumer-based entertainment products, such as music and video streaming services, offered at zero-dollar monthly premiums, modern technology has fostered a free-mindset culture. The same can be said about the hosting space. There are numerous hosts on the market that deliver services at no cost. However, many of these plans, like their music and video streaming cousins, are bare-bones packages meant to get you in the door.

Most of the free plans circulating in the industry don’t provide the necessary power to run large web forums housing multiple boards with thousands of users. As a result, many site owners who sign up for free plans find themselves either switching providers or migrating to a premium plan.

After weighing the pros and cons of the free hosting plans on the market against the demands of vBulletin forum hosting, we’ve discovered 000webhost.com and 10hosting give forum admins the best shot at success.

2. 000webhost.com

  • Storage: 1GB
  • Bandwidth: 10GB
  • Email: 5 forwarders
  • PHP and MySQL: Yes
  • cPanel: Yes
  • 1-click installs: 50+

These hosts’ free plans both deliver ad-free hosting that makes for optimal experiences for end users. And the storage and bandwidth that come with these packages provide the power necessary to manage a vast and active community of forum members.

3. x10hosting.com

  • Storage: Unlimited
  • Bandwidth: Unlimited
  • Email: 3 accounts
  • PHP and MySQL: Yes
  • cPanel: Yes
  • 1-click installs: 300+

Both x10hosting and 000webhost are industry mainstays and are trusted by thousands of site owners to power their web applications.

See the best forum hosting providers»

Best “Almost Free” vBulletin Hosting Services

I know. I know. We’ve just discussed how the free hosting services of the providers above offer great options for vBulletin forum owners on a budget. And they do! However, for just a few bucks each month, the hosts in the tables below can deliver expanded functionalities.

Each of these hosts provide tools that can help with the management, performance, and security of your web forum. And, depending on the size and scope of your online community, these almost-free packages may actually end up saving you money in the long run if your site scales beyond what the free plans above provide.

Although each of these hosts’ low-cost plans deliver compatibility with the vBulletin software, it’s important you choose a package that best suits the specifications of your online property. So be sure to read the full reviews linked in each table below to learn what features may be right for you and your users.

FORUM RATING
★★★★★ 5.0/5.0
  • FREE forum software with powerful performance
  • Popular forum apps, including phpBB, vBulletin, and SMF
  • FREE CDN and multiple server locations
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name New or Transfer
Forum Hosting Plans www.siteground.com/forum
Our Expert's SiteGround Review
SiteGround is an ideal choice for application-specific hosting, including web hosting for forum creation and maintenance. Start with your choice of community-based application, such as phpBB or Simple Machine Forum (SMF), and you’re off… read more + SiteGround is an ideal choice for application-specific hosting, including web hosting for forum creation and maintenance. Start with your choice of community-based application, such as phpBB or Simple Machine Forum (SMF), and you’re off… collapse info -
FORUM RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Fast forum hosting with phpBB, MyBB, SMF, or others
  • More forum software choices than any other provider
  • Up to unlimited site databases
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.92
Money Back Guarantee Anytime
Disk Space Unlimited RAID-10
Domain Name $14.99
Forum Hosting Plans www.a2hosting.com/forum
Our Expert's A2 Hosting Review
A2 Hosting offers the most options for forum hosting we’ve seen. Whether you prefer vBulletin, MyBB, phpBB, or another forum application, you can easily install from your own cPanel installation. All A2 Hosting plans come complete with solid-state drives... read more + A2 Hosting offers the most options for forum hosting we’ve seen. Whether you prefer vBulletin, MyBB, phpBB, or another forum application, you can easily install from your own cPanel installation. All A2 Hosting plans come complete with solid-state drives for added performance and A2-optimized security features… collapse info -
FORUM RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Launch a phpBB-powered site quickly and easily
  • Install forum software in a single click with cPanel
  • Build an online community with custom themes for design
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 45 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name New or Transfer
Forum Hosting Plans www.hostgator.com/forum
Our Expert's HostGator Review
HostGator plans streamline the process of building, hosting, and growing an online forum powered by popular application phpBB. Instantly set up your forum with MediaphpBB, and enjoy all the other tools cPanel has to offer… read more + HostGator plans streamline the process of building, hosting, and growing an online forum powered by popular application phpBB. Instantly set up your forum with MediaphpBB, and enjoy all the other tools cPanel has to offer… collapse info -
FORUM RATING
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Install phpBB for FREE with one click
  • Automatic site backups conducted daily
  • Manage forum tools directly from cPanel
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Forum Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/forum
Our Expert's Bluehost Review
We trust Bluehost for many hosting niches, and the company’s forum hosting services showcase Bluehost’s focus on simple setup and reliable servers. Manage all forum operations with your choice of forum software, which can easily be installed via... read more + We trust Bluehost for many hosting niches, and the company’s forum hosting services showcase Bluehost’s focus on simple setup and reliable servers. Manage all forum operations with your choice of forum software, which can easily be installed via cPanel as you’re getting started… collapse info -

See more forum hosting providers »

Get Your Community Chatting With Reliable vBulletin Hosting

As a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, I’ve learned a lot about ups and downs. And, thanks to PhinZone, I now know how to better navigate through the five stages of grief to make it through the mid-season blues.

The vBulletin software powers 400,000-plus forums, and all these community spaces need powerful hosting solutions.

Whether you’re running a teal-and-orange-themed fan discussion board or housing a support community for your business, odds are good you’re fueling it with vBulletin. The software has received wide acclaim among both end users and site owners because it is easy to set up, fully customizable, and compatible with an array of hosting services. Here, we’ve shown you some of the best hosts in the industry to power your members’ online conversations. To learn more about these hosts, be sure to visit our forum hosting reviews page for a comprehensive overview of hosting this community communication software.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Garrity

Sean Garrity is a Contributing Editor at HostingAdvice with more than 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing for numerous industry-specific publications. His goal is to help inform stakeholders about the latest trends and technologies in the hosting industry. When he isn’t wrapped up reading about the latest high-tech solution for hosters, you can find Sean connecting with experts to better understand and present topics that are of interest to the hosting community.