Help me find an easy & cheap way to set up chat for my forum?
September 25, 2007 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I run a small, private forum for a few friends who are scattered across the US & Canada. I'm looking for easy ways to incorporate other ways for me to enable additional communication between members - whether it's a group voice chat or a chat room. I need help figuring out how to do this very easily (I was barely technical enough to install a pretty skin for my phpBB), very cheaply (preferably free), and so that it maintains a reasonable level of privacy. Can you help me figure this out?

Basically, a few of us who were longtime members of a very large weight loss forum decided to split off to maintain a more private & close-knit group. To enable this, I set up a phpBB that is hosted at Dreamhost (it was a one-click install), and made it so that only members I approved could view or post messages.

I'd really like to somehow add a private chat room (not all members use an instant messaging tool), and it doesn't have to be fancy, just functional & private.

I'd also possibly like to set up some sort of voice-chat thingy if such a thing exists and is easy enough to set up.

The main purpose for either of these is to have weekly "meetings" in real time.

Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
posted by tastybrains to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Depending how many users you're talking about, Campfire could work well for you. The pricing is a little high though if you need more chatters than the free plan allows.

A quick google turns up Pibb, which looks like it might do what you want as well. It appears to be a sort of IM/Message board hybrid.

For voice chat, Skype lets you do conference calls.

You could also try out Ventrilo or Teamspeak, though both of those would require you to run a server.
posted by jjb at 9:38 AM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I love Pibb! I don't know why it didn't turn up for me, but it's perfect as a chat solution!
posted by tastybrains at 10:11 AM on September 25, 2007

You can rent ventrilo servers inexpensively -- try for example.
posted by felix at 10:20 AM on September 25, 2007

QuickTopic has free, private message boards, and document collaboration.
posted by iviken at 10:53 AM on September 25, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, as far as Ventrilo goes, my husband runs a Ventrilo server, so I just have to see if he can set one up on my machine as well. I just asked him about it. I don't know why I didn't think of it.

Thanks for the additional suggestions!
posted by tastybrains at 11:05 AM on September 25, 2007

try phpmychat i use it. hasnt been updated in a while but works for me
posted by DJWeezy at 1:54 PM on September 25, 2007

Flashchat integrates very well with phpbb. It is a little complicated to install but they have great instructions. I think it is $5.
posted by cp7 at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2007

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