Looking for direction!


New member
I'm interested in learning how to navigate Xenforo, but I'm not exactly sure where to begin. My old platform of choice did most of the work for us (but lacked modern enough features and customization options), so this is all new territory.

After I purchase a license, I am to find a... host? Domain? But as I'm scrolling through other dated FAQ topics, I'm seeing something about needing to host a server as well? And not only that, I see discussions about certain hosts not being optimal/compatible with Xenforo software? But as I'm also scrolling through other customer-only forums, I see people offer services in setting up Xenforo -- which might be ideal? In my confused state? Is there any way to arrange that somehow through here before purchasing a license or is there a better place to ask? We're simply operating a message board, so we don't need any crazy amounts of protection outside of what's necessary to keep user details like registered email/log in password safe.

I'm fairly proficient in HTML/CSS/Javascript, will I be able to customize cosmetic features of the forum of that alone? Primarily, I'm interested in customized posting areas that could change design per user's membergroup, dynamic forum structure/different designs for individual forums, and the ability to use variables/fields/whichever (ie, user in membergroup1 generates a usable "membergroup1" variable that I can use in css/html/javascript to help change accent colours here-and-there whenever they're viewing the site). I'm skirting through templates on a demo but haven't 100% found a guaranteed answer on my own.

edit: I would also not be opposed to purchasing any add-ons that could make the above features possible as well :)

Sorry for the convoluted mess! Extremely interested in making the change over and learning the software, but would just like to be sure exactly what I can do!

Cheers x


XenForo moderator
Staff member
You need to purchase:
  • an XF license
  • a domain (URL)
  • hosting (server)
That's it for a basic installation.

Basic shared hosting will work for a new or small site, as long as it meets these requirements:
  • PHP: 7.0 (PHP 7.4 recommended)
  • MySQL: 5.5 (MariaDB / Percona also compatible)
  • PHP extensions: MySQLi, GD (with JPEG support), PCRE, cURL, SPL, SimpleXML, DOM, JSON, iconv, ctype
  • Common PHP functions must not be disabled

Customising the look and feel is fairly straightforward using conditional statements and CSS classes.

Add-ons can be purchased and installed at any time, once you decide which ones you want.


Well-known member
Try a demo: https://xenforo.com/demo/
Explore and see if it fits you.

You would require a host. KnownHost is fairly experienced with XF, they're even running it as their support forum: https://www.knownhost.com/

Their support is great, and would even be willing to assist you with the XF installation if you need help with it. You just need a plan with them plus the XF files uploaded.