While some people get right into it, and have no problems gettingstarted, most people will tell you that it takes a little hard work if youwant to have a successful BBS. Even though several of the sysops haveproblems with getting started, and having everything work in "synch," thething that most people face is their own pride.If you forget everthing else I say here, remember this: Nearly 95% ofthe BBSes that fail within the first year do so because the sysop can't deal with negative remarks. One thing you should know is that if your BBS doesn't offend SOMEBODY, then you probably wont find ANYBODY who likes it either.This is true with any business; if you have people for it, someone WILL beagainst it. Be determined.You will need to decide what you want your BBS to be. Will it bea Games BBS, or will it be a Business BBS? Will everybody (public) have access to this BBS, or just a select few who know about it? Will you allowuploading and downloading? What about payments? Will you allow messages?How about Chatting conferences? Will you access a network?You will need to know such things as - What software you will use?What will your on-line policy be? What time limits will you set? Will yougive people bonuses for on-line time? While all of these things are usuallytaken for granted when calling a BBS, they are things that you will have toknow when operating your OWN BBS.There are a few guidelines that you should follow when you aredeciding how you will set up your BBS. 1. Keep your files in order. If you have 5 files on IBM PCs, thenput them one right after the other; don't spread them out around the BBS. Ifyou devote 5 files to IBM PCs, then you should also devote 5 files to Macintosh, etc. 2. Write your BBS policy before you set up the BBS. Users shouldknow what the rules are when they log on. You should have a file online forthem to download and read. 3. You should keep your commands simple and easy to understand. Youwill want to have "H" be help, and "G" be goodbye. If "H" is for "Hang up,"then most people will be confused and will not call back.CHOOSING SOFTWARE You should use one simple rule when choosing software: Look at thesoftware as a user, not as a sysop. Make sure YOU understand it. If you can't, how do you expect anybody else to?When choosing software, you should make sure that the software you choose is a kind that the users will want. If you are providing a BBS that is for chatting a lot, then you should find out what kind of software thosepeople like to use.The following features are ones that you should consider before andwhile you are choosing software; Good password protection Public & private messages Easy-to-use menus Advanced user-access levels Multiple protocols Networking ability Usage log Upload/Download stats Remote sysop capability Good User/Sysop Relations You will want to get copies of shareware BBS programs, or you can write to BBS companies and ask them for information about their products.
Ask the sysops on the BBSes that you use, what kind they would recommend forthe type of BBS you are planning on having. You will no doubt find that a BBS that is fun to log onto but may be a real pain to operate. At least in the beginning. A real must: Choose the BBS software BEFORE you choose a computer andmodem. Choosing the software first will allow you to make a better selectionamong hardware. The two should be properly compatible.CHOOSING YOUR COMPUTERMost IBMs and their clones are acceptable for BBSes. These are goodbecause they are pretty cheap and the parts and accessories aren't expensive,either. There are good computers for other types of BBSes, too.If you are planning to offer a BBS for a certain type of non-IBMcompatible computer (i.e. Amiga), then you probably should have that type of computer. If you have an Amiga computer for an Amiga BBS, then you can offer Amiga programs for the users to download. If you ran a BBS that wasfor Amiga users and your computer was an IBM, then you wouldn't be ahave programs that they could run from the BBS.Whatever you choose, you need to make sure that you have enough hard-disk space for the program and files. If you were planning to run a "one-line-message-only" BBS with no files, etc., you would only need about15 megabytes of hard-disk space. But, if you are planning on having a BBSwith "the works" (doors, bulletins, multiple lines, exchanging files, etc.),then you can't stop short of 125-175 megabytes of available hard-disk space.Many of the file BBSes use CD-ROM drives to allow for more disk space.Combined network conference and file BBSes generally have a "gigabyte"(1,000 megabytes) of files and messages online at any given time.You will need to devote this computer ONLY to the BBS. You can't use it for anything else. If you use the computer, it will disconnect the lineyou have connected for incoming calls. Take the plunge and reap rewards.