12 Replies - 2179 Views - Last Post: 17 June 2008 - 08:24 PM

#1 aj32  Icon User is offline

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The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:44 AM

I've been thinking of upgrading my forums software some time. Currently, I am using SMF with a modified theme and a long list of packages!

I have heard phpBB is a good one, but I have also seen a lot of user comments that it is cracked easily.
This site uses IPB - if IPB was free, I'd definitely use it, but I don't exactly have that kind of money to spend on a think like that! :P

Now this questions to people with forums, which, in your opinion, is the best free forum software, and why do you think so?


Discuss: ;)

This post has been edited by aj32: 12 June 2008 - 07:45 AM


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#2 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:05 AM

phpbb is nice, it used to have security problems but I think the phpbb team has cleaned that up quite a bit.

I liked SMF a lot though, I don't see any reason you would want to switch. :)
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#3 bizzehdee  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:49 PM

Free: PHPBB
Payfor: vBulletin

i have had experiance with many many many forums.. in terms of security and functionality, these are what you want.
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#4 aj32  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:56 PM

Yeah, I just took the vBulletin demo, it's pretty sweet.

I think I'll try phpBB when I get time, thanks for the suggestion! :)
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#5 spearfish  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 01:42 PM

Alright, let's do this. First off, you should know that I'm biased. I have built one of my own modifications for Simple Machines, and have pledged to port over three modifications to any new versions of Simple Machines that come out. Soon I'll be starting a second modification, and hope to someday join the Simple Machines team. Also, a few SMF features listed here are available only native to 2.0, which is currently in Beta, although stable. All SMF features here are available as either native or a modification to 1.1.5.

~~~

There is a plethora of forum software available for you to choose from. In the free ring, there are two main competitors: phpBB and Simple Machines. The crazy thing is, I like both of those as much, or better, than both vBulletin and Invision Power. The best part? They're free! The biggest reasons why I will not even consider either of those paid options is because you must keep paying to get updates. No updates unless you keep paying, including security updates. I classify that as extortion.

The main thing phpBB has going for it is that it is amazing to look at. When you're posting, you're presented with an interface unrivaled by any software. Other than that, there isn't all that much they have going for them. You can make a couple of quick and easy style edits and you have that helvitca font which gives phpBB it's luster (well, a lot of it). Anyways, I won't go into what phpBB says makes them special, because half of this is wrong. Exempli gratia, SMF does indeed have warnings, karma, custom profile fields, password protected boards, etc.

There are a few legit reasons why Simple Machines is better. First, the package manager. You are already familiar with this beauty, something I believe IPB has. Instead of manually installing mods like phpBB tells you to do, you can just upload an archive, and it installs itself. The phpBB group will tell you that their mods are easy to manually install. I will tell you that I'm 0/4 trying.

Next, there's quick reply, which I'm using right now. IPB has one. Simple Machines has one. phpBB has one as a mod - i.e., it'll take you about an hour and 5 tries to get it working.

Simple Machines has an SSI page built. This is something Invision Power also has.... can you catch the theme here? Simple Machines has almost all the features of IPB, but for hundreds of dollars less. This SSI page allows easy integration with the rest of the site. Include SSI.php, then you can use one line functions to show login boxes, recent posts, polls, or even who's online.

Paid subscriptions are also supported in SMF 2.0. phpBB does not. There is also a WYSIWYG editor available, calendar feature, and custom search weights.

I strongly suggest that Simple Machines be the forum software of choice, because it is, quite simply, better than the competition.
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#6 aj32  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 02:16 PM

I agree that the package manager in SMF is very nice, and easy to use. I didn't know if other software had such a thing.

I personally wouldn't buy a paid forum software for the reason you listed ('extortion') and a few others.
I tried phpBB and wasn't very impressed with it's functions nor it's admin CP.


Another board I like very much, is AEF. I use it on almost all of my software support boards (i.e. FSBBC), I don't think it has a package manager, but everything I need is already installed from the start!

But so far, I think I'm going to stay with SMF for now, and maybe try some other ones as well. :)
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#7 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 02:57 PM

The problem with the package manager in SMF is that sometimes it breaks your install. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong though. :)

Installing phpbb mods isn't hard, it just takes a lot of time. If time isn't something you have, there are tools like EasyMod that help, but usually you're better off doing it manually.

You do have to know a bit of HTML. Some PHP knowledge would help, but I got along fine for years without knowing PHP.
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#8 skyhawk133  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 09:41 PM

If I had to do it all again, I would have went with vBulletin.
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#9 mikeblas  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:41 AM

I love vBulletin, both as a user and as an administrator.
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#10 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 14 June 2008 - 03:50 PM

PHPBB the only forums I administrate, and I am major user of these most of the sites I visit are PHPBB it is free and opensource unlike vBulletin.
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#11 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 14 June 2008 - 08:35 PM

Quote

If I had to do it all again, I would have went with vBulletin.

NO DON'T SAY THAT!

I have used, and administered on a vBulletin forum and I hated them! The mod/admin cp was fairly hard to use and the forums weren't (imo) as good as IPB's. Plus they have some features that don't really work/help with theoverall forum feel.

I think IPB is the way to go if you have the money for them.
(This is from the viewpoint of someone who has used: IPB, InvisionFree (IPB Free software/hosting, not all that great), VB, and some others that I don't even remember the names of).
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#12 josiahb  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:19 AM

I've only ever administered phpbb forums and I've been very happy with it as an option, I hear so much about SMF at the moment though that I'm gonna have to give it a look.
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#13 aj32  Icon User is offline

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Re: The Best Forum Software?

Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:24 PM

View PostTom9729, on 12 Jun, 2008 - 05:57 PM, said:

The problem with the package manager in SMF is that sometimes it breaks your install. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong though. :)

Installing phpbb mods isn't hard, it just takes a lot of time. If time isn't something you have, there are tools like EasyMod that help, but usually you're better off doing it manually.

You do have to know a bit of HTML. Some PHP knowledge would help, but I got along fine for years without knowing PHP.


Yeah, it broke one just the other night, I think I am going to manually install the rest...
What I installed (that the package manager installed incorrectly) messed up the the posting-database engine, so the next post I made screwed up the topics table, I spend all night fixing it! :crazy:
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