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To create a forum in Joomla you need to use a forum extension. Joomla extensions are modules that add additional features and functionality. There are many forum extensions available for Joomla and you can view all of them in the extension section of Joomla website. Go through them and chose one that suits your need. For this article I am going to use the extension Agora to create a forum with Joomla.
Agora is a fully featured forum component for Joomla. It is easy to install and configure and you can have a forum set up with permissions and groups within minutes. But its simplicity doesn't come at the expense of features. A basic Agora forum can be expanded with advanced configurations and settings.
You can download Agora here .Once you have downloaded it, unzip the content of the file and install it from the Joomla admin dashboard by clicking on Extension->Install/Uninstall menu and providing the path to the unzipped folder in the “Install from Directory" and then click Install.
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You will be greeted with the “Install Component Success" message if it is installed correctly.
Once we have installed Agora, it’s time to configure it. Click on Component->Agora Forum-> Control Panel, to navigate to the Agora control panel. The Agora Control Panel (Image below) provides you with all the tools and options to configure and control all aspects of your Agora forum. You can create and modify forums and groups, set up various options, perform maintenance tasks etc., from the control panel.
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Now, let’s create our forum. Click on the forum link on the control panel. You should see a message “You have no forums nor categories". That’s because we haven’t created any forums yet. So, let’s first define a few categories for our forum and sub forums. Click on “Add Category" button in the top navigation menu. In the “Add/Edit Categories" page, (Image below) enter a category name and click “Save". Add a few more categories the same way. You should be able to see all the categories you have created on the forums page. We can also change the order in which the categories appear by specifying it there.
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Now that we have some categories defined, let’s create the forums. Click on “Add Forum" button and in the Forum Settings page that appears (Image below), enter the name and description for the forum; select the parent category and click “Save". Keep creating the forums you need the same way.
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Note: To create a sub forum just follow the same steps and select the respective forum under which the sub forum will be as the “Parent".
To configure permissions, click on Groups in the menu and Group Settings page will appear. To configure permission for any of the user groups just click on Access Level next to the group in the Default permissions panel. A pop-up appears where you can edit the permission and submit it.
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Well, the forum is configured now, but no one can see it as there’s no link to the forum from the homepage. So, we need to create a menu that will link to the forum. In the Joomla admin panel, navigate to Menu->Menu Manager. Select main menu and click on the edit menu items icon next to it. In the next screen, click on “New" and select Agora forum from the tree.Enter title as Forum or anything you like. Make sure you select published Yes button and save.
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Now the forum link will appear in the main menu of your Joomla site, clicking on which will take the users to the Joomla forum you just created. Below is a screen shot of the forum that was created in the course of this article, very basic as you can see, but with the steps explained in this article and using some further configuration you can build a fully fledged forum with Joomla and Agora.