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New Website and Forum Coming!!!

Postby rleclerc » February 4th, 2018, 8:49 pm

Hi Everyone,

As some of you may have heard I am the Webmaster for 2018 and have started looking into upgrading the forum and website. This will be done in a few phases, both will be done but they will be separate endeavors and neither is dependent (at this point) on the other. My plan at the moment is for a go live of May 1st, for one if not both.

The purpose of this post is to both inform everyone of the plan and get some feedback.

I am tying to not open a can of worms in regards to the current website/forum so I will keep it going until we move over but I would rather not try to fix anything that may have been broken for a while or is not that important in the short-term.

There is a step that I need to do prior to any other work, that is moving off of Fatcow and going to a new host. Currently we spend about $300 a year on the website and forum hosting and support, the new host (Bluehost) is $108/yr. I don't foresee addition ongoing costs at the moment but there may be a need for a SSL certificate or other website addon depending on the final direction we take so the $108/yr is not set in stone. My goal is to get a better host and bring our costs down overall, so keeping it under $300/yr should not be a problem. There will be an investment in both moving to a new host and getting a website/forum setup that we will need to account for, migration and possible license costs. This will be outlined as I get testing on a new host. I am planning to do both on my own but might need to use a company to do some if not most of the actual design work.

The forum is currently PHPBB3 which is open source, we are on an old version. The good news is that they are keeping this software updated and it is free! I will need to set it up and see if I can get a backup of our forum imported and working. If so then is should be a matter of testing and then planning a cutover.
*Just to note I had mentioned going to vBulletin, which seems like a great option. I will have this as an option on the email that goes out (which will be a post here in a week or so) but there is one large caveat, we cannot migrate in the old forum data if we go with vBulletin (hosted/cloud). They do not offer the option to import data or users.

For the website I will need to start with a few templates I found and see how hard it is to add the functionality we need. (there are cheaper plans but this is what I think is best)

Here are what I am looking at for requirements-
• Retain current functionality, (member list, RSVP, calendar, photo gallery).
• Add ability to put in application digitally and pay via Paypal (as a friend/family), retaining the paper option for those who would prefer. *I had mentioned other credit card options, it looks like all are cost prohibitive so lets stick with what works.
• Redesign the site to have a more ‘updated’ look, a good reference is Mass Miata’s site along with a few others I listed below.
• Add functionality based on member input and realistic technical possibilities .


• Keep the current forums and post intact.
• Migrate the users.
• Enable a captcha type system to stop bots.
• Possibly Start the use of moderators to get any advertisers or trolls disabled until I can review and ban those necessary. This is a preliminary thought. ** So I didn't see before but we have two already, I'll look into this further and reach out to those folks as well.

Personally I liked what I seen in these websites in regards to design-

Here is a good list of other club sites with good designs- ... smiataclub

Thank You and I look forward to your input and feedback!
Rob LeClerc
Posts: 2
Joined: April 7th, 2014, 11:21 am

Re: New Website and Forum Coming!!!

Postby MsBMW72 » February 5th, 2018, 8:42 pm

Rob - this is the best effort ever imagined! Your obvious knowledge, attention to detail and “up front” presentation as to the potential, approximate associative costs and your plain, no nonsense delivery is what we all needed to hear.

It has been a couple years now getting what we paid for….almost next to nothing. To have to pay start up costs and THEN get what we pay for - A NOVEL IDEA!

It sounds like changes - some subtle; some a bit more complex - are afoot but old dogs like myself will have to get on board and it appears you are sensitive to what has worked, will work and what we have to do to bring us up to speed.

I am in no position to offer suggestions/feedback but “on the face to it”, I feel you have the Club’s best interest in mind and in my opinion the sooner we get started on this the better.

Posts: 106
Joined: February 4th, 2015, 7:33 pm

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