Last updated: December 12, 2018
The Best Dolphin Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2018]
What is Dolphin Hosting?
Dolphin is a popular social CMS application that lets you build a custom Social Networking site. A custom social networking site allows its creators to build a community around a specific topic, interest, or organization. Dolphin is an Open Source social networking application written in PHP. It is one of the most popular software packages for building custom social networks.
Key Dolphin Features
- Social Networking
- This is the core of Dolphin. Members can build profiles, connect as friends, message, make updates, follow each other, and form groups.
- Integration with other Social Media
- Users can cross-post their updates and activity to FaceBook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, and other social networks.
- The Dolphin application is high extensible, with a mature Module ecosytem, providing every imaginable feature.
- UI strings are fully internationalized, and a number of language packs are already available. You can also create your translations. Users can select their own language.
- Theming and Templates
- Fully customizable theme system, with the option to allow users to select their own personal theme.
- Mobile Apps
- Dolphin has integrated apps for iOS and Android.
- Fine-grained control over who can see what content.
- Media Content
- Includes server-side software support for audio and video streaming.
- Server Auditing
- Dolphin automatically analyses hosting environment and suggests ways to optimize performance.
Other Dolphin Features
- Subscription Payments
- XML SiteMaps
- Vector Graphics and Retina Support
- RSS Feeds
- Private Messages
- Data Backups
- Content Moderation
- Mass Emailer
- Banner Ads
Dolphin Social CMS Modules
Dolphin comes with a number of core modules, and thousands more are available from the Dolphin marketplace. This means that nearly any imaginable feature already exists. And if that isn’t enough, you can develop your own.
To provide a sense of the range of possibilities, here is a list of some of the most popular and interesting modules available.
- The ads plugin provide support for classified ad listings, similar to Craigslist. Ads can include photos, pricing, and custom categories.
- The site administrator can post rich-text articles.
- Allows users to upload, edit, and manage profile images of themselves (â€œavatarsâ€). Many can be stored at once, and the user can select which one is â€œactiveâ€ at any time.
- Each member of the Dolphin site can have their own blog, with their own set of categories and tags. Blogs include social sharing features and robust commenting.
- This module uses Dolphin’s built-in media streaming capabilities to offer live, video chat and concurrent video streaming.
- The Desktop module uses the Adobe AIR platform to provide out-of-browser notifications and communication.
- Users and administrators can create events, manage invites, track attendees, post updates, and upload event photos.
- Facebook Connect
- Provides single-login support to access a Dolphin-powered community with a Facebook profile. Also matches Facebook friend lists with site members.
- File management, uploading, downloading, and publishing of media and documents.
- Full-featured discussion forum and bulletin board system, for promoting topical conversations. Includes categories, moderation, content rating, thread management and rich-text formatting.
- Google Search
- Complete search of site and user-generated content, powered by Google.
- User and administrators can create and manage groups, publish content for members-only, invite other users to the group, and hold group-only conversations.
- Provides tools for paid and tiered membership subscriptions.
- Flash-powered Video IM and text chat.
- Page Access Control
- Restrict or allow content viewing based on membership level.
- Integrate with several different payment gateways.
- Allows users to upload, browse, and share photos. Users can also create albums and galleries, categorize and tag photos, and set individual privacy levels for each photo or photo set.
- Users and admins can create polls and survey, invite participants, publish replies, and graph results visually.
- Profile Customiser
- Let users customize the look of their member profiles with backgrounds, font selection, and individualized UI elements.
- Development and debugging tool that outputs load times and query data to the page.
- Set up a bank of quotes (or tips, jokes, or reminders) and display them randomly in a defined content area.
- This module is a chat-like message board feature where anyone can contribute a word or two.
- Simple Messenger
- Provides basic text IM feature, with messages displayed in the user’s navigation menu.
- SMTP Mailer
- Integrate Dolphin with an SMTP mail server for email notifications.
- Spy is a notification engine that integrates with other modules to display activity updates across all of Dolphin’s features.
- Add ecommerce and shopping cart features to sell downloadable and deliverable products. Users can set up their own shops as well.
Requirements for running Dolphin are as somewhat extensive (though not uncommon). For full details, you can see the documentation.
However, the easiest way to meet all the requirements is to use a web hosting provider that specifically supports Dolphin (several do). To make things even easier, a number of web hosts include Dolphin as a one-click install from the control panel.