AOH :: SETUPBBS.TXT|
Setting up a BBS
What is this File about ?
Many times I have been asked what is involved in setting up and running
a BBS, so I have created this file to answer the most commonly made
What Hardware do I need to run a BBS ?
I recommend you have an IBM clone, an XT will do, but an AT may be
preferable. It is _possible_ to run a BBS on other computers, but most
are not rugged enough to stand the constant usage, or the software is
poor or non-existent. Your PC will beed the following cards: Fast,
reliable Hard drive controller, Real Time Clock, Serial Port (at least
You will need to have at least 384K of memory, with 512 or 640K being
far more preferable. Fast memory (80ns access) is the best.
Good quality, fast hard drive(s). You will need at LEAST 20 meg to run
the board, with its associated files and Front Door. If you want to have
games or Files areas, you will need another 10-20 meg for a small file
base such as the one on this board.
Good quality 2400bd (or greater) modem. While it is possible to run a
board at lower speeds, you will not get as many callers. Buy the best,
fastest modem you can afford ... make sure it is fully Hayes compatible.
A dedicated phone line: ie one that is used ONLY for the BBS. While it
is possible to run a board part time (as I have done), it is seldom
worth the trouble, as no matter what, people will always call out of
hours. If you must run the BBS part time, make the hours sensible and
consistent : ie 11pm to 6am every day, not 3 or 4 different times on
different days of the week, this only leads to confusion. If you are
going to run part time, make sure that the BBS will be up, or that the
phone will be off the hook at the start of your advertised times.
What Software will I need ?
For the IBM PC, I recommend either QuickBBS or RemoteAccess. These are
widely supported, sysop and user friendly packages. They can be readily
set up if you read the manuals fully FIRST. Both of these are readily
available, and cost $45 - $60 to register.
IF you intend to network with other boards, first get your board running
as a stand alone ... then add netmail & echomail. You will require a
Front End Mail Processor, such as Front Door, Binkley or SeaDog. Front
Door is the most widely used and supported at this time.
A good text file editor is a must, and if you intend to have ansi
screens, an ansi editor will be invaluable. I recommend Qedit and
TheDraw for these purposes. Both are shareware.
Games and other Doorware programs can be downloaded from many boards,
but require some skill in setting up.
What does it all cost ?
Depending on what equipment you have already, the cost of setting up the
board can vary from as little as $100 for registering the basic pieces
of software, to $10,000 or more (for a multi-line system).
Basically, costs will break down as follows:
(single line BBS) Multi-line (4 lines) BBS
PC (XT) approx $1000 PC (AT) approx $1500
Hard-drive (40 meg) $ 500 Hard-Drive (40 Meg) $ 500
Phone (install) $ 250 Phone Install $1000
Modem $ 500 Modems $2000
Software (QBBS/RA) $ 250* Software (TBBS) $1250
(* this includes Front Door, QBBS/RA, Quicked & Tosscan)
Be aware that even if you have PC, modem etc, if you dedicate these to a
BBS you will no longer be able to use them for whatever you use them for
now. It is wise to consider buying a new system either for the BBS or
for yourself, else you will find it necessary to pull the board down to
do your own work.
On going costs:
You will find that your phone bill for the board itself will be
relatively small, depending on the amount of polling for mail you do per
day. However, there is the aspect of additional rent to consider. If
your board is being run as part of a business, you may be charged higher
Power Bills, will increase by a varying amount, depending on the various
drawing rates of the computer, modem, monitor etc. It is wise to turn
off your monitor when not in use: 1) to prevent burn in, and 2) to
reduce power consumption.
Other Things to Consider:
You will need to have about 1 - 4 hours available per day for doing
things like newuser verification, maintenance work on the board,
answering mail, new features etc. in addition, you will need to spend
the time to make a weekly backup of your board, which can take some
Unfortunately there is a small element amongst the users of BBSes who
like to hassle sysops. They may do this in a variety of ways, by their
excessively annoying behaviour whilst on the board, by their (usually
crude or arrogant) mail, uploading infected or non public domain
software, excessive sysop paging, multiple account holders and so forth.
These users take a lot of the joy out of running a BBS, and it is always
worthwhile considering your own behaviour on other sysop's boards to
make sure you don't fall into this category.
A word about Pirate Software.
It is always tempting to have a pirate software area on a BBS for your
close friends to acquire software from you or from one another. However,
for the following reasons, it is not wise to have such an area.
1) It is illegal
2) it can lead to the seizure / impoundment of your equipment
3) it reflects badly on the BBS community as a whole
4) it only takes ONE disgruntled user to inform on you
Make it clear from the outset that you do NOT support software piracy
(read also THEFT) and your users will respect you for that.
Consider the following questions carefully before you set up a BBS ...
1) Why do you REALLY want to run a BBS ? (if the answer is "ego", forget
it now ... )
2) What type of orientation is your board going to have ? (messages,
files, games, multiple nets etc)
3) Are you well enough known/liked in the BBS community to gain a small
regular core of users ? Without these, your board will be quiet and
empty, and unlikely to attract repeat callers.
4) do you have enough time to ensure the board is kept running properly?
5) do you know enough about using a computer &/or DOS to repair small bugs
and errors when they occur ?
6) do you have unending supplies of patience and good humour ? without
these, you are sunk.
I hope these questions and answers have been helpful to you in making
your decision. If you have further questions, adress them to me :
Sandy Tadman (SysOp)
your decision. If you have further questions, adress them
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