By AN Jay on May 25, 2009

How To Create Your Own Community Website For Free

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BoonEx Community Software Experts provides free, open-source and downloadable community-building software for websites. BoonEx delivers quality software, which enables you to build any kind of website: COMMUNITY, DATING, or SOCIAL NETWORKING. BoonEx has been working on software development for more than 5 years and endeavors to develop high quality software implementing the latest internet technologies.


The BoonEx flagship product is Dolphin Smart Community Builder providing the basic platform for a website. This is written in PHP, HTML, CSS, AJAX using a MySQL database, and other modern technologies such as RSS, JQuery etc. Dolphin is predominantly a Community and Social Network oriented software, but, thanks to innovative builders, the site administrator is able to easily customize or modify the site pages, remove/rename fields etc. to make a site for dating – or any other kind of site. Dolphin couldn’t be called community software without Flash Apps integrated into Dolphin. Flash Apss are the following FLASH and PHP based applications: Audio/Video Chat, Audio/Video Instant Messenger, Video Recorder, Video and Music Players, Web Presence, Desktop Application, Shoutbox and Whiteboard which presents a site that is modern and full of features to communicate and have fun with. To complete your Community site, BoonEx also developed and integrated the Interactive Forum Script into Dolphin which supplements your site with the addition of a discussion place by providing groups and a forum.

Dolphin is offered for free, but still it’s required to be registered.

Steps to build your own website.

  1. Navigate to BoonEx Unity, and register there to acquire a free license and also to be able to monitor licenses and have access to upgrades
  2. Download the software
  3. Secure a hosting provider whose servers match BoonEx software technical requirements
  4. Install the software manually, if your hosting company doesn’t use the one-click Dolphin auto-installer

Your site can be as unique as you wish. Look at how customizable and modifiable Dolphin is:


have fun


Filthy liar

BoonEx is driven by its Unite People mission and despite the world’s current economic crisis, BoonEx is working hard right now to bring you a revolutionary, new Dolphin version.

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If you are not technical and don’t want to host something yourself, there’s also Groupsites from CollectiveX.

It’s free, but you can pay for additional features.

[...] How To Create Your Own Community Website For Free @ SmashingApps [...]

“3. Secure a hosting provider whose servers match BoonEx software technical requirements”

The BoonEx website mentions several hosting providers, and I’ve tried a few of them with various clients, with mixed results. I found the best alternative to be, which meets all of the BoonEx technical requirements.

Eve K.

This is a good option if you have considerable budget constraints. Ning is another alternative, although Ning takes PII (personally identifiable information) from registrants (a non-starter for most businesses & organizations). However, it’s important to note that many, many online communities fail (see The Wall Street Journal Article on this). And, it’s not typically the technology’s bells and whistles that create success, but rather the entire plan created around the social network that matters. Technology is a component of this, but not to be confused with the end all be all.

You can find an article I wrote on Best Practices for Building Successful Online Communities if you’re looking for some of the starter things to think about.

Full Disclosure: This was written by the CEO of Small World Labs, an online community platform provider, so take it for what it’s worth.

Nice that Boonex happens to be an advertiser for this site. Article seems a little biased: what are the specific “pluses and minuses” of how to use this software?!

@Rubric B… also, check out the URL… looks like an affiliate link to me…

If this is an ‘affiliate article’ then be upfront about it.

Whatever you do, do not use boonex. It is poorly written software : your developers will hate you if you will want to customize it to suit specific network needs (aka need extra functionality). We used it for couple projects, and it became usable once we ripped out almost all boonex code.
Also, it has security risks. If you create boonex website, put all mentions of word “boonex” in images, so worms wont find and attack your site automatically. I wrote about boonex in my wordpress blog and see bots searching for boonex on my site with cross-site code exploats.
There are good alternatives for it : elgg, insoshi, or host it on Ning…

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what are the specific “pluses and minuses

so take it for what it’s worth

How To Create Your Own Community Website For Free

In full disclosure, I am a big fan of Dolphin :D

Here are my thoughts on this:

1. From my own experience, I would guess that about 95% or more of the problems I’ve seen with BoonEx Dolphin on a default install relates to users not having the proper foundation hosting. The app is very specialized and offers a ton of useful features and benefits.

2. For the most part, I am very happy with the results. Aside from a few bugs (that hasn’t inhibited my sites from working the way I want) the price was a bargain when I picked it up. It is free as long as you keep the links to the site.

3. To be sure this is not WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Those are great apps and compared to Dolphin, they are well documented. At this time, documentation for Dolphin is still at the guppy stage IMHO. But I am sure that will be changing in the next few months.

4. Customization is a bit different. The page builder users a drag and drop paradigm and the template system is custom to Dolphin. If you’re familiar with Smarty Templates it will be a bit easier to work understand.

5. There are a lot of players out there, you may have seen Google Wave come out just yesterday and you may be familiar with OpenSocial etc. What I like about this app is the level of integration it has with other social net apps that can help to propel a site by piggy backing off other established sites. Using a PHP Block you can effectively develop from that. That is pretty cool I think.


Customization is a bit different. The page builder users a drag and drop paradigm and the template system is custom to Dolphin. If you’re familiar with Smarty Templates it will be a bit easier to work understand. very new to Boonex infact this is the first time im seeing this..actually boonex is something like the dreamweaver??…i thought of building a comm website that could make members to join my site..something related to studies,colleges,institutions nd so on…

so in what ways does the Boonex helps me and how?

and is this Boonex is something like c-panel which v use to interact through the hosting server..??

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vere vere nice vere godd


Dolphin is a interesting and fun script. Like any new software suite or script there is a bit of a learning curve. Dolphin has quite a bit of features so learning it will take longer than some. But, you can try and test if for free in terms of licensing so you really aren’t out much.

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