Tips For a Successful BBS
Before opening up a box of a popular BBS software you've been wanting to
run, keep in mind the responsibilities it takes to keep it going. It's
difficult this day and age to keep users calling back. It requires a lot of
time and determination. It's best to put it on a dedicated machine. It's
very important that the resources on that machine is solely being used by
the BBS. You wouldn't believe running the BBS in the background while you
are doing other things might slow down the machine while a caller on-line.
It can be annoying to the user with a fluctuating connection, possibly
slowing things down drastically... it should be a steady, smooth sailing
cruise for them to get what their looking for and possibly increasing the
chance for them to find a little extra that they weren't expecting that
they might enjoy.
Don't let your BBS become stale. Keep things very exciting and enjoyable
for the user. I suggest creating a customized system and not one out of
the box. Consider when buying your car, how you want it to run, how it
looks for others to look at, how fast it runs, all that...
You'll need to setup things like port forwarding for your BBS. This might
sound complicated at first and might not understand it. It really isn't
all that difficult. You have ports inside your gateway or router. I'm not
talking about the ports that you plug in, but internal customized ports
ranging anywhere around 1 to 65535 for modern equipment; also known as the
firmware. Say you a user to connect to your BBS on port 1337, you go into
your gateway/router's configuration and look for port forwarding, sometimes
in the security area. It's possible to forward ALL ports from your machine
for others outside your local network to connect to using DMZ, but it's
suggested that you only forward what you need. Don't worry, depending on
the software you're running you might forward 1 port up to maybe 20 or 30.
These ports have to be hand programmed in. Simply put, enter in your local
IP address and the port number to be forwarded. If you don't know your
local IP address, you can check it using ipconfig or ifconfig. Google is
your friend, there's plenty of answers out there about that.
Try not to overwhelm your users with a lot of nonsense networks (or dead
networks). These networks can be messages/files and even door game servers.
There's plenty to explore. You just basically have to get your feet wet and
jump right into it with both feet once you're serious about it. Finding the
right BBS software for your users depends on your taste and style. Look
around on other BBSes and see what they run; your favorites. You might see
a lot of flashy ANSI graphics you wish you had on your BBS. That'll come
with time and providing proof that your serious about the BBS scene and all
that it has to offer. Think through what you'd like on your BBS and what
you want your users to see. After all, it's like having guests in your
house, so you need to design your home and keep it clutter-free when you
have visits. Think of things that are unique about your new BBS. Something
you won't find a lot of on most BBSes. Reach out to other BBS SysOps.
Also, spice things up a bit, alternate your screens around at random could
provide it being more interesting. Some like change and some like things
the same as they are. Like, if it's broke, don't try to fix it.
Don't to ask others too much for help as this is a distraction and an
indication that you're being lazy. There's plenty of information on the
web about vintage and modern BBS software (whichever direction you want to
go). Now days, software has pretty much all the foundation and ground work
already in place. If you're up for a challenge, try using older software
on an older machine and see if you can get others to connect; such as Amiga
It takes a serious person about their property (your BBS) to attract others.
Also, you want it to always be Have very limited amount of downtime. Always
keep your system running. If you need to, customize and configure your BBS
before going public with it. It just depends on how quick you want to get
in the pool and starting to learn (if you haven't ever been a SysOp before).
Don't give up on your first, second, who knows how many tries.
The goal here is one common purpose and that's to keep it alive. You know
the most successful people have had the most failures because they kept at
what they were trying to accomplished until it clicked. Once you get it,
you get it. It might not happen overnight and you know that Rome wasn't
built in day. Build and they will come they say. Keep in mind, a business
has no business if it's closed.
I hope you find this article to your liking and gives you an idea of how to
start one. I haven't covered everything. There is so much more that you
can do for your new system. Try learning a new programming such as MPL,
Talk to other users, find out what they like. Don't be pushy on others as
they have just as many rights as you do. If you don't get what you want
when you want, it's most likely whoever you're trying to contact is busy
and/or might not have the time for a quick response. Please have patience
as this is a computer tech hobby. Well, with that, it's a wrap. ;)