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I am in the process of starting a local forum for my area and I wanted to see what you all would use as far as forum software. Even though you all aren't where I am your feedback is needed. Thanks for your time.

 

phpBB

Invision Power Board

PunBB

MiniBB

Simple Machines

vBulletin

Yabb

Snitz

XMB

Yazd

Others

 

Please explain why you like or use the software you picked. I like PunBB but it's basic, safe, but it don't have many mods yet.

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I haven't tried most of those. I have tried phpBB and it was ok. I like Simple Machines much better. I had it installed, setup and in use in about two hours. Just using it out of the box, only two mods (for fun). Runs great, but we are certainly not stessing it out (only 10 members -- a group of my friends), so I don't know how it runs at a higher volume of visitors.

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It all depends on what you want the forum for and how much it is going to be used. The forum on the subsite for my guestbok script is mainly for support so I didn't need all the whistles and bells. I chose Phorum for this as it is fast and basic but still allows attachments etc. On my main site I wanted something slightly more powerful but not overly complex so I went with phpBB as it has a lot of features but you don't need to read a manual to use it (unlike IPB). Also you can extra features to phpBB via it's huge database of mods. If you are planning on running a busy forum where the forum is the main emphasis of the site then you would be better off using something like IPB as it has a moer powerful admin. Of course phpBB Olympus should be out shortly and that has a lot more settings in the Admin.

 

As to SMF, Ikonboard, vBulleting etc I could not say as I have never used them.

Edited by carbonize
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Anyone that has used SMF, how does it compare to IPB as far as performance while busy? In other words, suppose I intend to have hundreds of users online at the same time... I know IPB performs admirably under these conditions, but how does SMF compare (as well as phpBB, though I've heard SMF performs a bit better than phpBB but I can't confirm as I haven't had that many visitors yet).

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Invision Power Board and vBulletin would be my top two picks. phpBB used to be nice, but now due to the security issues, it has become more of a headache for folks to deal with. I've even heard of some other places banning it from being hosted.

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I cannot say enough good things about SMF. I recommend it highly. It has features that even the more expensive paid boards do not. When I switched from phpBB to SMF, my bandwidth for that month dropped significantly (by over 50%) even though my forum was still doing the same amount of traffic. My forum had approx 250 users and we never had trouble with speed at any time.

 

I gave up my forum a couple of weeks ago because the admin/moderating/forum drama thing was too much for me to deal with, but I still recommend SMF above all other software.

 

Edited to fix typo

Edited by lilirose
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Regarding high-volume sites using SMF.

 

Joomla* just launched it's forum using SMF on August 11th, 2005 has 4136 members and over 37,000 posts and I find it to be really quick and seems to handle the volume very well.

 

*Joomla is the "continuing development" of Mambo...long story here, and I still don't understand all the details of the split. (joomla.org)

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For what it's worth: I've been testing SMF now for a couple of days, as I consider releasing it on my site, and I have to say I think it has one MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR drawback, and it is a drawback that makes me think I probably won't use it on my own site:

 

Each member's email address is shown in clear-text form on every web page that they post on. SPAM harvesters must love SM forums, because you can harvest addresses galore.

 

Invision boards and phpBB forums (the other two that I am familiar with) keep the address secure in the database, and provide a web form to use to send an email to forum members.

 

But while SMF uses mailto: links, I'm not sure that I can, in good conscience, use SMF as my main forum software.

 

(That is unless somebody here knows of a mod or something that would get aroud this problem...)

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Yes, you can HIDE your address using that option, but then nobody can CONTACT you via e-mail. Their only route to contacting you is sending a PM.

 

I really like phpBB and IPBs form that still sends the message to your email account, while keeping your email address secure (so no other non-moderators can see what your email address is).

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I don't mind giving people the option to only be contacted via PM, but I'm afraid that I'd have too many users who wouldn't hide their email addresses, and then they would be setting themselves up for SPAM harvesters. And I don't want to have to go modify this setting for all users individually.

 

It just seems odd to me that SMF hasn't realized that putting email addresses in a simple mailto: format on the webpages isn't a good idea anymore. 10 years ago it was fine. Today it isn't a good practice if you care about the people using your software.

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There is a mod for this purpose, but I'll have to go look to get it's name (can't remember off the top of my head). I haven't tested it yet, however based off the info I gathered from it, it transposes your email address to a mix of ascii and hex codes. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to write a mail harvester that could transpose that (heck I could do it right now but I'm not that devious :tchrocks:) however. So I don't know how effective that would be. Perhaps we can petition to have SMF change their ways and include a mail form.

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I just installed SMF for a friend to play with and just modded it to midly encrypt the email addresses using ascii code. www.carbonize.co.uk/smf.

 

Open Sources/Load.php and find

>/*	This file has the hefty job of loading information for the forum.
*/

 

just after that put

>function html_encode($string)
{
  $ret_string = '';
  $len = strlen( $string );
  for ($x = 0; $x < $len; $x++) 
 {
    $ord = ord($string[$x]);
    $ret_string .= ''.$ord.';';
 } 
 return $ret_string;
}

 

Next find

>'email' => &$profile['emailAddress'],

and replace with

>'email' => html_encode(&$profile['emailAddress']),

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Found it. It's called "Spam-me-not" (link: http://mods.simplemachines.org/downloads/1...me-not1.0.1.zip ). I'll install it and test it out, however my SMF installation is right now in my sandbox (which is not a "public" area), so it won't make much of a difference until I roll it out. Like Paul, I like SMF and am currently planning to replace my phpBB installation with it.

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I went for IPB

 

I tried it at www.invisionfree.com and it was easy to set up the basics and how the membergroups are handled, with permission masks and such, seemed logic for me.

 

After that, I tried Vbulletin but I couldn't figure out their logic to handle member groups, so I stopped trying to work with it after 45 minutes.

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There is an easier way to hide member info in SMF from spammers

goto

Forum Configuration

Edit Features and Options

and check

Do not reveal contact details of members to guests

 

A spammer would have to register to see any info and I don't thinks they will go to that much trouble

or that spambots can register.

 

 

note the one you link to Arron is not for the latest version of SMF, its for 1.02

 

I will have to add that e-mod though

thanks Carbonnize

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  • 2 months later...

I am looking at the various forum software as of late. I am still learning php, (like I need to learn one more thing right now. <_< ).

 

I was between SMF, phpBB and IPB. Being new to php, which is best for someone who still does not "speak the language" fluently?

 

SMF seems to be customizable enough, yet I do not know if I am up high enough on the learning curve to use it. I do not mind paying for good software, but why buy one if there is an excellent free program out there. I do know that you get what you pay for. :D

 

I have two separate domains and accounts. One is my site and the other, (for the forum), is for a list group I am co-owner of. Both are Deluxe-size, which I am hoping has enough umph for a forum site.

 

The site for the forum- I am wondering how we secure it from hackers? I remember reading something about putting certain pages of code outside of the public-html folder. Is this correct?

 

I know I still have a lot to learn. Can someone advise what would be best for a newbie to php?

 

Debbi

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I like SMF.

If you log into your admin there is a package manager for updates that is slick.

I believe you chmod the update folder permissions so the downloads can be put there.

 

Then after that browse their site for updates with the package manager

just select updates to download and apply.

 

They have an active forum and keep updated.

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The forum will not have a lot of members. We have about 600 on the group list, (Yahoo-borg), with maybe a 100 that post. The boards will have areas not open to non-list membesr to see at all, boards with info that the members can add to, and non-members can read but not post. It will have content from the list, we are fiber artists. Not exactly a high-traffic group. The recipes get the most attention.

 

One thing they would like is a small portion of our archives ona board in the private area. I have no clue about transferring them to the database, but I will figure that out eventually.

 

So SMF is good for someone new to using forum software and php coding?

 

Debbi

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You are welcome, looks good <_<

 

The following files are tools and converters from other forum software. Please use these with caution, and delete them after you are done using them.

 

Try this page phpbb2_to_smf.php (August 04, 2005) near the bottom.

 

 

And of course make a database backup first in cpanel > backup > download database, in case you have to restore it later.

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ok, I need someone that has installed SMF and got it to work like it is suppose to:

I went to create a new board, and this is the error I go:

 

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /forum/index.php on this server.

 

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

 

 

And I need to know why, I like SMF, but right now it is giving me a headache.

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Be warned, if you use SMF there is NO utility to hide users e-mail addresses while still allowing users to send e-mail to each other.

 

phpBB allows this by hiding users email addresses in the database, and then using a web form to allow you to send messages to other users' email accounts.

 

If you show e-mail addresses in SMF, the e-mail addresses are stored on your pages in clear text--just waiting for SPAM harvesters to come in and get valid e-mail addresses for all of your users.

 

I've gone back and forth in the SMF forums trying to get somebody on that side to see how frusterating this decision is, but the only people I can rally to my side are other USERS. (Funny, huh? The users want a feature, but the programmers don't agree with it so they just ignore the users' requests.)

 

Anyway, that is the main reason I didn't switch to SMF. I care about my forum users privacy.

 

Best wishes.

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Be warned, if you use SMF there is NO utility to hide users e-mail addresses while still allowing users to send e-mail to each other.

 

True which is why I have modded mine to encrypt email addresses using javascript and ascii. I suppose I should learn how to make a SMF mod script so others can use it.

 

Another advantage is that SMF warns you if there has been a post made whilst you were typing yours.

Edited by carbonize
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I really only care about the calendar, I supose I could ecit out the nav buttons on the calendar end, and just not have it going to the forum. that is the type of calendar I am looking for.

 

:wallbash: :whip:

 

I suppose I could suck it up, and forget about the sercurity issues, and add on the calendar mod to phpbb. Oh what to do......

Edited by jayson
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As far as the email situation and spam harvesters go, one solution is to select in the options "Hide email addresses from guests"... So until spam harvesters create a user account on your forums (and I assume you have some sort of authentication in place when it comes to registering) you should be alright. Personally that minor defect is not enough to keep me away. Beats the heck out of phpBB.

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Thanks for all of your input. I decided on SMF. There is too many good words about it. This is snitty, but the demo IPB sent me would not activate or anything. I know I could ask for another activation since that one didn't work.

 

I like the input and help for SMF too.

 

Again, thanks. Now to learn and play with the thing. Luckily the site is "bare". I will not be messing up a thing.

 

Debbi

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hey debbi, if you get the site installed and you go to the admin>manage boards>add board and you get a?:

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /nuke/modules/Forums/index.php on this server.

 

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

 

 

let me know I have this problem, and if you do not, let me know what you did to not get that problem

 

Thanka...

 

I just installed that on my site, and I get that error, and the simplemachine forum has bee of no help

 

Jayson

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hey debbi, if you get the site installed and you go to the admin>manage boards>add board and you get a?:

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /nuke/modules/Forums/index.php on this server.

 

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

let me know I have this problem, and if you do not, let me know what you did to not get that problem

 

Thanka...

 

I just installed that on my site, and I get that error, and the simplemachine forum has bee of no help

 

Jayson

 

I won't be able to start this until my days off next week. If the errors happen, I will let you know. I got their latest upgrade, smf_1-1-rc1, which had been determined stable. We shall see. I have went through every place I could for installation of "everything", how to's, etc. I printed out everything and saved copies to the hard drive for ol' cut-n-paste when needed. I am also reading it all right now in my spare time. Hopefully, that will help. Like most females, I tend to read the manual. :)

 

If it goes ninnies-up, I will uninstall the whole mass and go for vBulletin, who has answered questions when asked and has viable demos for newbies to the format. I always go for companies that give good customer service when possible. That is why I picked this hosting service. You get a lot for your money. Unlike realestate, they do have the stated value.

 

Grunge left their help forums. Unknown seems to be the one to ask now. Have you tried asking him?

 

Debbi

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  • 4 months later...

I've gone through a bad time deciding between IPB 2.1 and SMF

 

I discounted phpBB due to all the messing and poor member controls.

 

I discounted vB as you have to pay anually so you never really own it.

 

SMF is very good, it does a lot of things IPB doesn't do, however I had to do code changes on each upgrade as it doesn't like working with TCH servers, don't know why but it wont.

 

However it's big issue was that by default it shows members email addresses to all, and this can only be changed through editing the MySQL, which was the last straw.

 

So IPB, out of the box work, does all I want it to do, and is easy to edit, yes it costs money, but I think it's been worth it.

 

However our community is 500 strong, with 100,000 page views per month, so that justifies it.

 

For a small community SMF is great, it just needs a little tweeking.

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I discounted vB as you have to pay anually so you never really own it.

 

vBulletin is available as an owned license, and is actually cheaper than IPB. The "pay annually" that you speak of is for updates and support. Note that IPB also charges annually for updates and support. They both charge the same amount ($30) for this. However, the initial license of vB is cheaper ($160 vs $185 for IPB). Just wanted to clarify that for you so you have all the information necessary to make your decision.

 

Personally I use SMF. I have 3 SMF boards running on TCH servers, and am curious what problems you have with running SMF on TCH servers? I've never experienced any problems or issues.

Edited by cajunman4life
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Actually I made my SMF encrypt email addresses and didn't have to touch the database. I suppose i should look at writing a mod to do it so others can encrypt the addresses as well.

 

I'd install that mod :) I've actually given thought to writing a "contact form" mod much like every other forum package out there uses, just haven't had the time. I know there's been talk of one before but the developers didn't seem to interested in coding this.

Edited by cajunman4life
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I'd install that mod :) I've actually given thought to writing a "contact form" mod much like every other forum package out there uses, just haven't had the time. I know there's been talk of one before but the developers didn't seem to interested in coding this.

 

Don't try to suggest this over at the SMF forums. Those guys jumped down my throat like you wouldn't believe. That experience (of trying to get help in the SMF forums and having some of the people act so rude) more than anything drove me away from SMF.

 

I like our friendly Family Forums!! :)

Edited by abinidi
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SMF is very good, it does a lot of things IPB doesn't do, however I had to do code changes on each upgrade as it doesn't like working with TCH servers, don't know why but it wont.

Please let us know what code you had to edit after upgrades.

 

No one else has reported a problem.

I upgraded yesturday with a few mouse clicks in the admin / package manager with no problems.

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Don't try to suggest this over at the SMF forums. Those guys jumped down my throat like you wouldn't believe. That experience (of trying to get help in the SMF forums and having some of the people act so rude) more than anything drove me away from SMF.

 

I like our friendly Family Forums!! :)

 

Paul, been there done that. I jumped into a discussion some time back about it, and we all got shot down. So I feel your pain lol.

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cajunman4life,

 

The main difference in the pricing structure for IPB and Vbulletin is that with IPB, updates are free for life. You only pay $30 is you need support. However, with Vbulletin, you must pay $30 to get the updates as well.

 

IPB is a much better cost wise and IMHO forum of the two

 

JimE

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There are so many different forum solutions out that it can be a tough to decide what one to use. For paid I agree with the previous poster, that IPB is a better choice. It's just as good as some of the other paid scripts and it's a one time fee.

 

If free is what you want, then SMF is my forum of choice, but keep in mind that it is not easy to integrate if your new to HTML and PHP and it's not released under open source so you have to becareful on what you do.

 

If you like perl, then e-blah is the one I like. Easy to customize, fastest one I have tested for perl boards and even faster than some PHP/Mysql boards, and loaded with features.

 

For the PHP/Mysql board that is easy to customise I would say Punbb. Not many mods for it and very simple. I would recommend Hydrobb, but It's still in beta 2 and it's going on a few years now.

 

What I would stay away from is PHPBB as it's server intensive compared to the others and a favorite of hackers.

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cajunman4life,

 

The main difference in the pricing structure for IPB and Vbulletin is that with IPB, updates are free for life. You only pay $30 is you need support. However, with Vbulletin, you must pay $30 to get the updates as well.

 

IPB is a much better cost wise and IMHO forum of the two

 

JimE

 

Looks like I misunderstood the pricing structure, thanks for pointing out that the $30 for IPB is for support only Jim :).

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cajunman4life,

 

The main difference in the pricing structure for IPB and Vbulletin is that with IPB, updates are free for life. You only pay $30 is you need support. However, with Vbulletin, you must pay $30 to get the updates as well.

 

IPB is a much better cost wise and IMHO forum of the two

 

JimE

 

I was wrong as well....Just checked on IPB and they have changed. This is from the payment page.

Invision Power Board Yearly License · $69.95

This will give you one year license to use Invision Power Board for one installation on all current and future versions. At the end of one year your board will continue to run but will be unsupported and access to upgrades unavailable unless you renew service.

 

Doesn't surprise me any. :tchrocks:

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I was wrong as well....Just checked on IPB and they have changed. This is from the payment page.

Doesn't surprise me any. :)

 

That's for the yearly license. We're talking about the owned license. Like Jim said, IPB allows you to continue to use the software after that one year (if you have the yearly license) but you just won't get any updates. vBulletin states you must remove the software after your year is up if you don't renew. But like I said, these terms are only for the yearly (leased) licenses.

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I love smf and the script posted above for converting phpbb to smf was what i used to convert.

As was said several times here, it is just a simple option in the admin panel to hide users' contact info from guests.....i think it should be checked by default, though.

In the grand scheme of things, it would be nice if they used the form mail option like several other pieces of forum software, so the users' real email addresses only need to be known to the software....but the option helps.

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  • 3 weeks later...

just read into this.

 

i have admined a phpbb and IPB board myself, phpbb seemed to need a bit of scripting edits to add "hacks / mods" skins were simple to do (ftp them).

IPB was great, ws only v 1.2 (as shipped with Cpanel)

 

i currently moderate a vBulletin board for a freind, i like the modCP very swish and easy to use.

 

i curently Manage (sort of between admin and moderate) a SMF forum and i like this, we have had some issues with databases (PHP) but i think thats just the host (not TCH)

the only thing its missing is a MOD cp. the admin one is great, as you can add bits simply via that, no ftp involved.

 

if you want free, go SMF or maybe if you dont like that phpbb. dont go the free IPB 1.2 route as when you have used the newer one (as used here) you get into this thing where you dont like 1.2 and it seems crazy.

think of it like me taking your pc that you have now and giving you a 486 with windows 3.11

Edited by makaveli
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