How to Make a 4chan Style Website

By Dennis Blake

The popular and controversial Internet image board 4chan invites users to discuss topics on nearly any subject, including video games, cartoons and sports. What separates 4chan from other forums is the anonymous, temporal nature of the discussions. Not only are 4chan users able to post without entering any identifying information whatsoever, the site actively encourages such behavior, making it impossible to know who is contributing to each discussion. Additionally, each 4chan topic starts with an image to spur discussion, and the discussion threads are not saved, causing them disappear from the site after a time ranging from days to even hours. If you want to run your own anonymous, image-based forum in the same vein as 4chan, you can find forum scripts and Web hosting online.

Step 1

Sign up for a domain name and Web hosting package from a provider such as BlueHost, GoDaddy or HostGator. Each of these services offer different "tiers" of service. You should select a cheap, low-tier one to begin with, and upgrade if your site becomes popular enough to warrant it.

Step 2

Install a forum script such as phpBB, Discus or vBulletin on your website.

Step 3

Configure your forum software to allow anonymous posts. You can even disable forum accounts altogether to enforce 4chan-style anonymity.

Step 4

Offer image uploading to forum users. Remember, if your site becomes popular, you will need to have a Web hosting plan that offers sufficient space for the images. Alternatively, you can disable uploading, but instead refer your users to free image hosting sites such as Imgur. Users can use these sites to host images and post the link on your forums.

Step 5

Create individual boards for specific, popular topics. You may want to start small with only a couple of topics and expand as necessary. 4chan started as a place to trade anime images and grew into related interests.

Step 6

Add your own content and discussions to the site. Users will not be interested in posting on your forum if there isn't already a healthy amount of content.

Step 7

Advertise your site on related sites and forums. Make sure to promote the anonymous nature of the site as well as the quality and amount of content available.

Step 8

Moderate your site very carefully. The anonymous nature of your site will almost certainly encourage people to post illegal content. You will need to very closely manage the site or hire someone to do it for you. If something gets by you, your hosting account may be shut down.