Just curious, having read some interesting threads about hosted services... why would someone choose free over self hosted these days? By free I mean a service that hosts your forum and effectively provides everything except the users and content. OK so you might say the answer is in the question, it's free. Duh! Yes and no. You see for me, when someone is ready to start a forum about their hobby or profession, they are highly likely to already be spending a lot more on that hobby than on any licence or hosting costs. Take gamers, probably already own a console or PC rig and spend $$$ on games. What hobby these days costs less than a some dollars a month to host, and a few hundred dollars to purchase a forum platform? I just see so many disadvantages to free hosted forums that do not outweigh the advantages IMHO: Your data and community might not, strictly speaking, actually be yours depending on the T&C You are being used by someone else to make money (via adverts on your site) It could be very hard to remove your community from the host in the future and become independent Your community is at the mercy and whim of someone else (buy outs, collapse etc). So what are the key advantages of hosting with someone else that I am missing here, anything other than cost? Maybe you need less technical skill too (though few of the forum platforms I have installed have been difficult)?