I was a moderator of a forum but the forum will be closing soon and I wanted to start my own forum with the help of a few of the dedicated posters from the old forum. It is essentially a rather specialist research forum. As I will be starting from scratch I have the opportunity to choose a new forum software. I like the look of xenForo and can see it continually developing in the future so I'm seriously considering using it as a basis for my new forum. The old forum used IPB and looked quite slick but the search function was always a real problem. This is because the subject matter of the forum relies heavily on the use of abbreviated terms including punctuation marks and often being 3-4 characters in length . Having researched this issue over the last few days I have found that this issue is not so much to do with the forum software but the way in which MySQL behaves and treats search terms. This would mean that I would require a more advanced search feature like the xenForo enhanced search add-on. From what I have read it appears to be ideal for finding the terms that will be used a lot on the new forum now and in the future. It is really imperative that my members will be able to search for instances of these abbreviated terms on the new forum. I do not have my own dedicated server and would prefer not have the hassle of running and maintaining one, so would rather leave it to a host service. I understand that a VPS hosting service will be the minimum requirement for me to be able to implement the 'Enhanced search add-on' with xenForo? As the new forum will be starting from scratch I'm not expecting it to be very large, as an example the old forum had only grown to approximately 12GBs in size over the last ten years (It's quite a specialist subject)... I will also at first not expect many visitors with the maximum ever at any one time possibly being 30... I have been researching VPS providers online and have found prices, some of which are really cheap but I fully appreciate you get what you pay for. I would only be running the forum from the VPS server, no other applications but I really have no clue what sort of VPS package to go for. What could be the difference between the really cheap options and the slightly more expensive ones? Would a small forum run on a VPS offering 1 core and 1GB of ram?
I'm sorry for these questions in essay form :-D, that are most probably quite basic knowledge for most of you guys but I want to plan and make the right decisions the first time round and my limited understanding means I'm kind of walking blindly into this.
I appreciate any advice on choosing the right hosting option for my small but important to so many forum....