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SMF Hosting – Web App Overview

With SMF, you can get your site’s discussion board up and running at a ‘brisk’ pace

Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is an open-source community freeware project that uses the standard MySQL database parameter for a smooth and quick installation.

One of the known bulletin board services (BBS’s), SMF is CSS-based and has an easy-to-use admin interface. It’s packed with control and security features for effective monitoring and moderating of posts – but minimal impact on resources.

Who uses SMF?

This platform is formatted to add a forum on any type of website to facilitate conversations and add value among members. It’s been used for entertainment, gaming, sports, and technology sites.



  • Uses PHP and MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite.
  • Newly developed template system making it easier for custom edits.
  • Advanced permission and user management.
  • Supports multiple languages at once.
  • Open and well-documented source code.
  • Tracking of new and old unread topics, not just from your last visit.
  • Designed for optimal performance and scalability.
  • Better SEO(Search Engine Optimization for search engines.
  • Log where search engines crawl your forum.
  • Multi-media output. (XHTML, XML, RSS, WAP)
  • Multi-language support from a large community.
  • Package manager that automatically installs or uninstalls mods (also known as hacks.)
  • Ability to install mods to custom themes within a few mouse clicks.
  • File-based caching for a performance increase on all forums regardless of whether an accelerator is installed.
  • Search box


  • Security
  • Forum Settings
  • Boards and Categories
  • Member Registration
  • Member Navigation and Authentication
  • Member Tracking and Tracing
  • Statistics
  • News and Announcements
  • Communication
  • Member groups
  • Banning
  • External integration
  • Wireless access
  • Theming and Templating
  • Posting Features
  • Polls
  • Attachments
  • Calendar Support
  • Moderation Tools
  • User Profiles and User Options
  • User Resources

Browse the Feature List page for in-depth information.

SMF up-close

The Admin Interface:

In May 2017, Simple Machines has released the 3rd Beta of SMF 2.1 which contains several improvements over Beta 2 and some bug fixes.

Websites using SMF

Out of 18,000+ live websites that are using SMF, 60 sites are Australian-owned. (source:

Here are some SMF-hosted website forums:

Hosting Requirements


  • A webserver with approximately 20MB of available disk space. Much more is recommended so that other content can be uploaded over time.
  • A web server that supports PHP, such as Apache or Internet Information Server (IIS).
  • PHP 5.4.0 or higher
    • Versions of SMF below 2.0.7 will not work on PHP 5.5. If you use PHP 5.5 it is required to use SMF 2.0.7 or greater.
    • Versions of SMF 2.0.14 and higher will not work on PHP 5.3 or below. If you use PHP 5.3 it is required to upgrade to a newer version of PHP.
  • The following must be changed in the php.ini file:
    • The engine directive must be set to On.
    • The  magic_quotes_sybase directive must be set to Off.
    • The session.save_path  directive must be set to a valid directory or empty.
    • The file_uploads directive must be set to On.
    • The upload_tmp_dir directive must be set to a valid directory or empty.
  • One of the following databases must be installed:
    • MySQL 4.0.18 or higher (at least 4.1.0 would be better) and PHP MySQL client API 4.0.18 or higher.
    • PostgreSQL 8.0 or higher (standard_conforming_strings must be set to off, starting from PostgreSQL 9.1 default is on)
  • The following are requirements for the database:
    • For a clean SMF installation, at least 2 MB of storage space in the database. Please note that this is only enough for the installation.
    • The database user must have at least the following privileges: SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, ALTER, and INDEX.
    • The database user must have the CREATE and DROP privileges during installation, conversion and some package installs.


  • GNU Aspell 0.50 or higher (with appropriate dictionaries) for spell checking functionality.
  • Apache 2.0.x or above with AcceptPathInfo set to On for queryless URL support.
  • PHP with the following set in your php.ini file:
    • The max_input_time directive set to a value of at least 30.
    • The max_input_time directive set to a value of at least 30.
    • post_max_size and upload_max_filesize set to the size of the largest attachments you wish to be able to upload.
    • The memory_limit directive set to a value of at least 32.MB
    • The max_execution_time directive set to a value of at least 15.
    • The register_globals directive set to Off.
    • The session.use_trans_sid directive set to Off.
    • safe mode disabled, or PHP suExec enabled.
    • BCMath library enabled for using the OpenID registration method.
    • mod_security disabled (please see Mod security for more information).
  • GD Graphics Library 2.0 or higher.

Visit SMF Requirements page for more details.

Getting started with SMF

Install SMF software on Hosting Cloud via the One Click Application Installer.

The Download option is also available on the SMF website. A step-by-step guide is provided.


Publisher: SMF
Category: CMS / Portals, Forum
Initial release: 2003
Language: PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL / SQLite
Dev/s: Simple Machines
License: The 3-Clause BSD License
Price: Free

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