Lately we’ve been pretty unhappy with the forum software we use, phpbb. We’ve had security issues and are constantly having issues with upgrading. Phpbb development has been quite unpredictable. This causes a lack of features we don’t like.
We’ve been looking into purchasing a commercial forum package and we’ll most likely switch to vBulletin. Though commercial, vBulletin is open source.
A number of key features vBulletin provides that phpbb does not:
- A functioning search engine, supporting either natural language or Boolean queries.
- User rating (karma).
- Post rating.
- Sub forums.
- Optional threaded or flat topic view.
- Easy upgradeability, no more need for hacks because of a plug-in system.
- Complete attachment functionality.
- wysiwyg editor (creating posts with a text editor like interface)
- Overall better usability, for instance inline editing.
Upgrading our forum software to vBulletin should be possible WITHOUT any loss of data. All posts, forums, users, private messages, attachments, etc will be imported.
vBulletin should prove to be more robust and easier to maintain on our relatively large forum (16.000 users and 500.000 posts).
Costs for vBulletin will be paid by the revenue of the google advertisement on our pages. We will not increase the amount of ads to cover these expenses though. We need about $160 USD initially and after the first year around $30 a year. The current ads cover this and the monthly server costs easily.
This is the chance to share your positive or negative experiences with vBulletin, or any other forum software (free or commercial) that we should look into.
So, should we switch to vBulletin?