$119.40 - $50 first-year discount you see in just about everybody’s signature around here.
That’d be for the base shared-hosting plan here, which you could start with and see how it goes. It should cover everything you want. As your website gets more popular, be prepared to look at Dreamhost’s private-server offering, which allows you to scale dedicated cpu & memory at hosting.
How familiar are you with PHP? Most of the web applications like the forums you’re planning to run are php applications, and though you don’t actually have to write them, you do have to install them.
That said, Dreamhost has what they call a “one-click install” system for us to be able to install some very popular packages into our web space without knowing anything about installing software.
That said, the packages are pretty easy to install for the computer-literate.
At any rate, here are my recommendations:
Look around here at the questions people have about their websites. Look at the questions relating to any problems people have with uploading static pages (from Dreamweaver, say), or with installing and running phpBB. Note that uploading manually actually seems to be more straightforward than uploading from an integrated editor (who would have known?).
Look at the “Getting Started” page of the Dreamhost wiki. There are several topics that you’ll find instructive for you. You can definitely ask your questions here on the forums and lots and lots of folks will try to help. I think it’s really only the obscure questions that don’t get answered. And almost by definition, these obscure questions are ones that the Dreamhost support staff has to and does address.
I recommend you create your main domain as a static page (say mikechenkeha.org for example), then do an “easy” one-click install of phpBB for your forum as forums.mikechenkeha.org. The “easy” installs are basically totally maintained by Dreamhost staff so if you can live with the more limited addon and template options, they are the least maintenance. Ironically, they are also the highest performance options as well - supporting the highest traffic.
I would like to point out that there is more forum software out there, however. The only other viable option is Simple Machines, which I actually prefer. (There are a variety of reasons, for example add-ons are a breeze, whereas with phpBB you have to manually install them… but I won’t get into them here.)… if you use a bit of shell, you can actually get a forum you upload yourself running faster than one done by the 1-Click Installer.
For webhosting, you should be fine on your regular, $10 / month account until you get many many members.
There’s only one hosting plan, which gives you 500 gb of hosting space and 5 tb of bandwidth. I figure $10 / month, because that’s what it is paying on a yearly basis, but if you pay in advance you can get it for as low as $6 / month. Not to mention the $50 off you can get from a variety of promo codes.
Good luck with your new site!
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