I don't like building an application from scratch. If I can find an application out there that already does what I need, I'll use it. And if it is FREE, even better. I always look for free apps. Some aren't worth anything and you do have to wade through the garbage to find the treasures, but it is worth the effort.
In my job, I was given the task of finding a blog and forum application. Since I'm a .Net programmer, of course I wanted it to be in ASP.Net. I did several internet searches, found some possibilities, and downloaded the ones that looked interesting. I installed them and did a comparison, mostly based on (1) how easy was it to install and (2) how easy is it to use and understand (for me and as an end-user). By far the most outstanding product was Community Server. I have used Community Server 2.1 on a personal site and used it for a business customer as well. This website, www.Blogiversity.org, is Community Server 2007. To get all of the functionality we needed, we did have to pay for it, but it was well worth it. The site looks good, it is fairly easy to change the looks of it, and it performs well. It isn't all that easy to add your own content, such as the Contact Us page on this website. However, more internet searching turned up others that have been through the process and shared their findings. I just followed their process and it worked out just fine.
Blogiversity had been up and running for a while and suddenly one day I was no longer able to login with Internet Explorer. Oh, great. I hadn't made any changes to the Community Server software or the web server it was hosted on. What had happened? Logging in worked fine with FireFox. I did an internet search again, found a couple of other people that had the same problem. One thing I tried that didn't work was adding www.Blogiversity.org as a trusted site in IE. Finally one person's blog entry that put me on the right track mentioned cookies. I have been accessing the development site of Blogiversity and the production site of Blogiversity from the same computer and both sites had the same cookie names. I went into Control Panel of Community Server, Membership, and Cookie and Anonymous settings and changed the settings so that the dev and live sites had different cookies names. It worked!