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What's the best forum software?



4:58 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I currently have a fairly large forum that I am considering moving to a different platform. What software options are out there? What are the big "industrial strength" professional forum programs?

I'm aware of Invision and vBulletin and phpBB. But I'd like to know what do big companies use when money is no object. Do they just code in-house?


9:51 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think some "big" companies or retailers might use a solution from a company like [lithium.com...] But even still, vBulletin is really advanced, and big companies use that too. I can't see big companies developing their own in house forum software that would be able to beat the features of these products.

I would recommend vBulletin any day as an inexpensive industrial strength forum platform. There are a lot of companies and hobby sites using it, so that means good support as well.


1:08 pm on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

vBulletin gets my vote I use it on my own forum


8:52 am on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'll be leaving vBulletin (due to the recent licencing furore) as soon as I've recoded my site integration to use phpBB (and will never use another commercial bulletin board again - well done Internet Brands on putting me off on my first foray outside open source).

Most features is not necessarily a good thing. I won't use half of what vBulletin or phpBB has to offer (not interested in anything other than admin functions and private messaging) and will be switching again if I can identify something with less need to lock down that can run faster.


3:11 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

vBulletin is highly scalable, and although my biggest forum is busy, has a solid revenue model, and could afford any commercial app, I am not contemplating a change. vBulletin is continuing to invest in the product, and the plugin system has made modifying it and periodically upgrading it a lot more straightforward.

That's not to say that other solutions couldn't do the job. Still, vB would be my recommendation. It's the most popular choice among "big boards."


3:25 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Of the different forum implementations I've used, vBulletin is my favorite as a user and I find it really good as an administrator.


3:45 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In my research so far I've found that people either love vBulletin, or hate it. Some of the things i've been sent by current vBulletin owners are not exactly flattering, and even make me feel better about my current IPB installation.

What is the licensing kerfuffle surrounding vBulletin? Did a bunch of old licenses become invalidated or something?

I'll look into the Lithium suggestion. Any others are appreciated.

Right now, I'm considering rolling my own solution. Like rogerd, I don't use half of the features my current forum software offers, and worse -- my current forum software lacks many features that my users have been asking for for years.

I'm no programmer, but if I can manage to cobble together a system that does the basics and does them well I'd be better served than something that's gotten far too bloated over the last decade.

Still, I'm open to more suggestions.


1:52 am on Feb 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Those who choose vbulletin, phpbb, and similar 'big' software after a short while will realize they only need 10-50% of all the features. But still, they have to run the whole thing and wonder why page load times are getting slower and slower when there are more posts and/or users.


4:52 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

From the user experience perspective, I vote for vBulletin (vs. phpBB).


11:47 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The licensing issue was due to the latest release bundling more features and raising the cost of ownership. We are talking tiny money for a real business, but hobby-type site owners were enraged.

vBulletin CAN be resource intensive. While there are steps you can take to speed it up as your activity level increases, be prepared to throw hardware at it. The one type of community that I wouldn't recommend vBulletin for is a very busy site with little or no revenue. As long as your site revenue scales with your level of user activity, you should be able to support vB's hardware demands without a problem.


12:43 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Software money's not a problem with the forum I'm operating. Though once you start talking about hardware upgrades to support the forum, I start to get nervous.

I'm caught up in another project right now, so it looks like I'm going to slag along with Invision for at least the next couple of quarters until I can explore the potential of writing my own software.

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