Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Zoho Discussions?

Zoho Discussions is a hosted solution that helps you to create internal (intranets for your employees) and external communities (support forums and idea boards). Using Zoho Discussions, end users can talk about problems, propose and vote on new ideas, ask and answer questions and of course, just bring up a topic for discussion.

Zoho Discussions is also designed to provide full branding options including visual customization, single sign on with your existing systems and legacy data import options -thus making any transition seamless and easy to both you and your end customers.

2. What solutions does Zoho Discussions offer?

Zoho Discussions is an ideal platform to set up customer support communities and intranet discussion boards.
  • Closed Group / Intranet Solution: Zoho Discussions is an ideal solution to give an effective interaction area for your employees and others working for your business. It helps your employees to discuss about important topics and exchange their knowledge in a closed group. Learn More
If you run an open source project, Zoho Discussions is a perfect platform to engage your developers and user community for free. More details here

3. How is Zoho Discussions different from a traditional forum?

There are fundamental differences between Zoho Discussions and other existing traditional forums like the ones powered by phpBB or v-bulletin. Zoho Discussions is built from the ground up to make end user and administrator experience more natural and intuitive.

Zoho Discussions also offers extensive features that differentiate it from a traditional forum. The key features are listed below:

  • High-end Infrastructure Features:
    • Hosted Solution: You don't have to pay for an expensive server or deal with the hassle of updating your forums software. You get an always-online solution that takes care of scale, uptime, and performance.
    • Resilience to Attacks: Inbuilt spam and throttle control mechanisms that help keep attackers at bay.
    • Higher Levels of Security: Offers protection from common hacks (Example: XSS, CSRF, etc.) that could take your customers' data out of your system easily.
  • Improved Administrator Experience
    • Fine Grained Access control: Zoho Discussions allows you to create both public and private forums. Not just that! You can set fine grained access control to specify permission levels for users.
    • Exhaustive Moderation tools: From broad sweeping moderation settings like "all guest posts will be moderated" to a more granular level - like moderating a single topic or user - it is all possible in Zoho Discussions.
    • Spam Control: Apart from an inbuilt spam engine that scans each post and response, Zoho Discussions also includes proven techniques like captcha, and community flagging to keep your discussions community spam free.
    • User Management: Comprehensive and flexible user management allows you to add individual users, user groups or the entire company. Each user can also be individually administered, assigned labels and permissions.
  • Rich User Experience
    • Topic Types: Customize your discussions based on different topic types such as questions, ideas, problems etc. and be more specific to the subject.
    • WYSIWIG Editor: No more guessing the code and learning HTML or other cryptic languages for participation. Zoho Discussions offers a rich text editor to provide a intuitive user experience.
    • Voting: Forum user can express their choice for the ideas that are most useful or helping other users discover the best solution to a problem by voting for it.
    • Integrated Chat: Apart from posting in the forums, users can interact in real-time through the built-in chat, without having to reveal other personal information.
And, of course, you can customize your community to match your brand. Zoho Discussions offers extensive visual rebranding and even Single Sign On with your existing authentication system.

4. How do I integrate discussions portal into my website?

Zoho Discussions offers powerful integration methods, with which you can tailor your brand and make it as a part for your website. They are:
  • Full Rebranding Options: You can rebrand/customize your discussions portal to change its complete look and feel to match that of your website. This provides a consistent visual appearance for your users thus retaining a unified brand experience. Learn More
  • Single Sign On Integration: You can retain your existing user authentication mechanism allowing your users to access your community without signing up to Zoho separately. Learn More
  • Embed into your website: You can embed your discussions portal in your website as an iFrame widget and make it as a part of your website. This allows your web visitors to access your community within your domain, without having to enter Zoho Discussions site.
We also offer more options such as Domain Mapping, Widgets etc., to create a seamless integration of your Zoho Discussions portal into your website.

5. How safe is my data?

Your data is completely safe and rests in our Tier 3 data centers. Regular backup and firewall protection with AES 256 bit encryption ensures a higher level of security. In addition, we strongly believe that Zoho Discussions offer far greater power, safety, security, hack proofing and performance than self-hosted alternatives. Learn More

6. How do I setup an Idea Board?

Creating an idea board with Zoho Discussions is fast and easy. All you need is to set "Idea" as your portal's' default topic type and then you can allow users to post/share only ideas. This in turn helps you to use democratic processes to know what is working and what can be improved in your product/service.

7. What are the different levels of customizations available in Zoho Discussions?

You can customize your discussions portal at various levels to change its complete look and feel, so that it matches your website visually. The different levels of customization are:
  • Brand logo: You can upload your product or company logo, which will be displayed prominently in your portal header.
  • Enable/Disable Topic Types: You can easily create a Q&A forum, or an Idea board or a customer support community by enabling the corresponding topic type.
  • Domain Mapping: You can map your own URLs with your portal to access your community in your own domain.
  • Change Portal Themes: Zoho Discussions provides you a set of default themes that enables you to change the color theme of your portal.
  • Custom Widgets: You have the ability to create custom widgets - HTML and Link Widgets - with which you can embed any HTML objects and add your product links, so that your users can make the most out of it.
  • Customize Header/Footer: You can update your own HTML tags to customize your portal's header and footer according to what you need.
  • CSS customization: You can upload your own style sheet to change the fonts, colors and the style of the entire portal.

8. My company provides multiple products / services. Do I need to purchase multiple portals?

It is not necessary to create or purchase multiple portals to accommodate each of your products. You can create multiple forums specific to every product/service in your company, so that you can group related items under relevant forums. In addition, Zoho Discussions offers you fine grained access controls, with which you can decide who can access to what content. You can allow everyone to view/participate in the forums by making it public or make them private, so that only registered members to take part in the discussions.

9. Can I get a back up of my data?

Yes. We can help you to export all data on an on-demand basis and give it to you in any format as and when required. We are also in the process of implementing a generic in-built export feature, which helps you to export your data as many times as you would like to.

10. I currently use phpBB. Can I switch to Zoho Discussions?

Yes. You can migrate all your data (including posts and users) from an existing solution like Phpbb, vBulletin, Google Groups, etc., to Zoho Discussions with minimum effort. If you want to move your forum, please fill out this form and we will help you with the migration process.

If you have a question not answered on this page, please check our How To's section or contact us at support@zohodiscussions.com

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