Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 22.214.171.124
Forum Moderators: rogerd
rogerd I think likes vBulletin. It's not free, but it is a good option if you need a paid-for solution with some "real" support (which you don't get with phpBB - though the fora on the site are GREAT for helping out).
Others would point you to yabb, or various other software out there. You almost have to download two or three brands and try them locally to see what they do, how they do it, how hard they are to tweak, etc. That's problematic too, unless you have a local server set up for testing....
There's a huge, and well organize, YaBB communtiy. I'm getting a little disheartened waiting for YaBB 2, but they still update YaBB 1 (I think they're on 1.4.something now), and are good about security updates and such.
Other benefit to YaBB - CGI/Perl. While CGI/Perl can be a bit hostile to tinker with, it's way, WAY more secure, and if you have a picky hosting provider, or run your own server, it's far easier to deal with CGI/Perl security than it is to deal with php security.
If you are simply using an out-of-the-box installation (ie, no modifications), then publish your site (without the forum folder) using Frontpage, then upload the forum folder using a FTP programme.
I'm fairly certain Frontpage adds it's own code to files (messing with forum software). That said, I have published webs containing forums before with no ill effect, but I always edited the forums with Dreamweaver.
(I'm currently migrating from phpbb to one of the other two I mentioned).
avoid forums where the [must-have] features must be applied as hacks.
This is why I don't use phpBB - I'd have to hack it to get features i think are essential for me. Some of the hacks are well-known and available from the phpBB site, but I don't want to be playing around with code each time I upgrade.
I use WebBBS, despite there not having been a major update in two years now (there are occasional sightings of the not-Yeti - version 6 - so I'm soemtimes hopeful in that direction). It has a search-engine friendly URL option as standard, the ability for users to subscribe as standard and the ability to flag individual users for premoderation as standard. If phpBB had these as standard I'd have jumped ship, since phpBB has a lot of nice-to-haves, but I'm not going to go backwards.
Other people have other needs. You've got to be aware of what's available and how it matches the nature of your forum. There is no simple "best".