The BBS Corner - BBS Sysops Frequently Asked Questions 

Are you looking for information on how to connect your BBS to the Internet? What is the Telnet Protocol? Should you use an add-on to put your BBS on the Internet, or should you start from scratch with a BBS that's Telnet-ready out of the box? get started. What is a domain name and how does Dynamic IP addressing work? This section should help BBS sysops get an introduction on Telnet and getting their BBS connected to the Internet.

Q: I want to start my own Bulletin Board system. How do I do it?

A: Starting a BBS is not very difficult. However, you will need to dedicate a certain amount of time and energy. Computer programming experience is NOT required - but general knowledge of how your computer works and how to change settings is necessary. Most BBS software packages will run "straight from the box" but many people choose to customize their BBS systems to their own liking. Money is not an issue since a number of BBS software packages are free. The most expensive part is the physical connection - either a dial-up modem line for a dial-up BBS, or an Internet connection for a Telnet BBS. If you already have these, then essentially you can start a BBS system for almost no extra money at all. More detailed information can be found at the How To Start Your Own BBS page.

Further Information: Starting Your own BBS Page

Q: How can I put my BBS on the Internet? Can I make my old DOS based BBS Telnettable?

A: It is relatively easy to put your BBS on the Internet. There are several kinds of BBS Software that are already Telnet ready - such as EleBBS, Mystic, Synchronet, Wildcat Winserver and Worldgroup and the latest WWIV. If you use BBS software that is not Internet ready, there are add-on software packages that will provide Internet connectivity. Details are available on the How To Set Up A Telnet BBS page.

Further Information: How To Set Up a Telnet BBS

Q: I've heard that Telnet is not secure. Can I use Secure Shell (SSH) instead?

A: Telnet is increasingly becoming a protocol that is being replaced by more modern (and secure) protocols. Secure Shell (SSH) is similar to Telnet as it provides a text-based interface that is similar to Telnet but provides a secure connection.
The problem is that for the most part that SSH assumes that you already have an estblished account at the other end of the connection. Telnet does not. So connecting to a BBS that you don't already have an account at may or may not work.
In addition, there are only a handful of BBS Software applications that have SSH capability. Newly created and active working BBS systems such as Synchronet and Mystic do support SSH. And there are better Telnet clients such as SyncTerm that also support SSH.
So the answer to this question is "Maybe" depending on how you wish to implement it.

Q: Can I run my BBS in the Cloud? (AWS, etc.)

A: Absolutely! A number of Sysops are moving their BBSes to the cloud including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others. However, keep in mind that if you run 16-bit BBS Doors that you will need to have a 32-bit BBS or use Linux with DOSEMU in order to run BBS Doors.

Q: Is it possible to operate a BBS on the Web?

A: The general answer to this question is no. Most BBS systems do not lend themselves to the web. Hence, you can run a telnet BBS on the Internet, but it will not have a web-based interface. Some exceptions are Synchronet, Wildcat Winserver and Worldgroup, both of which offer web-based interfaces in addition to their traditional ANSI interfaces (dial-up and telnet).

Recently, a system called fTelnet has been developed to interface a Telnet BBS with a web page using HTML5. The BBS user accesses a web page using a regular web browser that allows a user to use your BBS from their browser without any extra software installed. They see it as as web page, your BBS sees it as a regular Telnet user. And now, it's even easier for a BBS to use since you don't have to install anything special on your end either. Go to the fTelnet website for details.

Further Information: List of Active BBS Software