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  1. #1
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    vBulletin vs XenForo

    I've got a vB3 license that needs to be upgraded to vB4 and I'm toying with the idea of migrating to XenForo.

    So a few months or so ago there was a big XenForo movement and another movement that everything with vB4 was bad. Have things settled down yet? Is XenForo for real?

    My concern with XenForo is it appears to be in it's infancy (ignoring the creators of the software and their past history with vBulletin).

    Thoughts?

    Sirius
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  2. #2
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    Kayako recently moved to that, and I'll be perfectly honest, it's so radically different from VB I've avoided going back since. I simply don't like the mod tools or interface much at all, though threaded PMs is nice.

    Not to say it's not a good application, I simply don't like it.
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  3. #3
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    I've had a XenForo license since the beginning and I really like it. It has a lot of momentum behind it and with 1.0 final coming around the corner, it's only going to get better.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orien View Post
    I've had a XenForo license since the beginning and I really like it. It has a lot of momentum behind it and with 1.0 final coming around the corner, it's only going to get better.
    I guess my fear is, is it ever going to make it to mainstream or is this still the work of some disgruntled ex vBulletin folks, who will eventually lose interest and move on.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    I've got a vB3 license that needs to be upgraded to vB4
    Needs?

    There's nothing wrong with vB 3.x
    You can renew the license for $50 for maintenance, to get current 3.8.6 version.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    Needs?

    There's nothing wrong with vB 3.x
    You can renew the license for $50 for maintenance, to get current 3.8.6 version.
    Thanks - I'm pretty familiar with the licensing scheme and have done the maintenance, but at a point, it becomes non productive to keep renewing the maintenance on the 3.x license.

    So, I'm either looking at moving to v4 or XenForo.
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  7. #7
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    We had that choice to make, too. We stuck with VB. The developer community behind VB is simply too large to ignore. There is a product or plugin for pretty much anything you could ever want to do with the system.

    Additionally, I found Xen Foro to be lacking in a few key administrative areas that I use a lot in VB. I figured, VB has kept me happy all these years, why switch?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatScriptGuy View Post
    I figured, VB has kept me happy all these years, why switch?
    Yeah, I tend to agree... and also agree about the 3rd party development that's done to support vBulletin.

    Thanks for the info!

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    I've got a vB3 license that needs to be upgraded to vB4 and I'm toying with the idea of migrating to XenForo.

    So a few months or so ago there was a big XenForo movement and another movement that everything with vB4 was bad. Have things settled down yet? Is XenForo for real?

    My concern with XenForo is it appears to be in it's infancy (ignoring the creators of the software and their past history with vBulletin).

    Thoughts?

    Sirius
    I recently had to make a decision on this. I know your not considering IPB, but it was on my short list, so I will comment on it.

    I purchased IPB just over a year ago and I am using it to run a small forum. There is a large IPB following now, that seems to be going away from Vbulletin and to IPB or XenForo. IPB and XenForo both have their fans.

    In the end, I decided to buy Vbulletin. Even with how well know IBP is now, there were what I considered common mods, that were not available (I wanted a welcome message encouraging people to register, there was a plug-in for that on the mod forum, but the link to the download was broken, I asked and they could not find it). There are so many mods for VBulletin free and paid, that allow you to do things there is just no way to do in IPB.

    I'd also not found it very easy to find people that would take on small IPB jobs, when I needed something little fixed in the programming, there just don't seem to be that many people that know how to work on it. With VBulletin, there are tons of people available with lots of experience.

    I looked at XenForo, but it is very new, I didn't really like the Interface. My point of mentioning IPB; I had enough trouble finding help and plug-ins for IPB, I can only imagine how limited the developer community is for XenForo.

    I know a lot of people didn't like the IB take over of VBulletin, but politics aside, so far, I think it is a great product. I've found a number of great mods that have worked very well. I'm using VBSEO and Photopost with my VB install.

    For some reason, I've found the user interface on IPB harder for non-technical users to get used to. I've had a lot of people on my IPB forum that could not figure out how to upload photos. I think part of it is people are used to VBulletin forum more than anything else, and when you have something different, your making users work harder to use your site. I think XenForo is just a double whammy, since users are not familiar with it. (Unless you have a really technical userbase, in which case, different software might not matter as much).

    Plus, it was only $35 more for a VB license vs a Xenforo license. Obviously there are other cost factors, such as VBSEO.

    I hope that made sense.

  10. #10
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    Of the two, I would opt for vBulletin. Personally, I simply prefer it far more, especially as a forum user. XenForo seems kinda amateur-ish from a forum user interface (UI) perspective. [Sorry, I hope this isn't too controversial to say!]

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  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike - Limestone View Post
    Of the two, I would opt for vBulletin. Personally, I simply prefer it far more, especially as a forum user. XenForo seems kinda amateur-ish from a forum user interface (UI) perspective. [Sorry, I hope this isn't too controversial to say!]

    -mike
    I tend to agree with you - was curious to see what the communities viewpoint was on it's development progress. The last thing I want to do is dump money in to a program which is too immature to operate reliably on a production site, or, to see the project get dumped entirely.
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  13. #13
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    If it were me I'd prefer Xenforo - not a big fan of vB 4 and Xenforo just seems to be a clean/fresh start at a forum software - it means things can be done more efficiently, and they do have a few things that make their product stand out usability wise.

    If you want something that's been around for longer, IPB seems to be a solid choice too (I even prefer its interface to vBulletin to be honest).

  14. #14
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    Xen looks like it will be a nice product in the future. It is still way to new to compare it to any forum software, especially vBulletin.

    I certainly would not covert an established forum over to it.

  15. #15
    I understand that if you buy a license for Xen, it doesn't become active until the stable release but I would never purchase a license for a product that hasn't even left beta testing.

    I'm sorry but a small software development company should not make money before they even have a stable product, development up to RC should be included in company startup costs.

    On the plus side... I enjoy the little tooltips, UI magic and what have you but in the end, I wonder how that impacts load and response times on shared hosting?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatScriptGuy View Post
    We had that choice to make, too. We stuck with VB. The developer community behind VB is simply too large to ignore. There is a product or plugin for pretty much anything you could ever want to do with the system.

    Additionally, I found Xen Foro to be lacking in a few key administrative areas that I use a lot in VB. I figured, VB has kept me happy all these years, why switch?
    Yup, plus I don't really like XenForo from a users point of view. Maybe I'm weird but I've used vB for so long I don't like anything different.
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  17. #17
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    This is the classic case of the status quo vs change. In my view, XF has the brighter future and more core developer focus on innovating. Time will tell.

  18. #18
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    IMHO, XenForo's UI is far beyond vBulletin, though I've never seen the admin side of it. If it were choice between vBulletin and IPB, though, I'll take IPB any day.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    Yup, plus I don't really like XenForo from a users point of view. Maybe I'm weird but I've used vB for so long I don't like anything different.
    Jacob, that could be a bias in my personal case, too. That said, I do find vBulletin to be efficient (gasp!) and well-designed. The usability level for forum end users is high in vBulletin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orien View Post
    This is the classic case of the status quo vs change. In my view, XF has the brighter future and more core developer focus on innovating. Time will tell.
    You may be right. The level of innovation is high in XenForo. I do think it is amateur-ish looking, though, and I don't care for it as a forum user! But I assume it will improve in time.

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  20. #20
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    I have no doubt that XenForo will take off and become quite popular. For me, though, despite all of the drama, my choice is VB, and will remain so until I am given a reason to choose differently.

    My users love VB. I love VB. And the number of third-party extensions to the software is just incredible. IMO, the choice is clear at this point in time. Perhaps in a few years I will take Xen more seriously, but not right now.

    I also vastly prefer the look of VB. Perhaps I'm just biased (probably, actually), but I just can't get used to the way Xen looks....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike - Limestone View Post
    Jacob, that could be a bias in my personal case, too. That said, I do find vBulletin to be efficient (gasp!) and well-designed. The usability level for forum end users is high in vBulletin.
    I've tried really hard to love the UI for IPB, really it's not bad. I still strongly prefer using a VB forum over just about anything else. Also all of the forums I use on a regular basis are VB.

    To me the usability (familiarity and ease of use) for the end user is of the utmost importance. In many ways we are competing against FB for forum users. We have to make it as easy and friendly as we possibly can. Even if VB is only slightly more friendly for the end user, it comes out ahead in my book.

  22. #22
    vBulletin is the best, I would rate IPB second to it.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    Yup, plus I don't really like XenForo from a users point of view. Maybe I'm weird but I've used vB for so long I don't like anything different.
    I'd tend to agree with this as well.... UI change is definitely a factor in any decision like this.
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  24. #24
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    *

    My thoughts generally... vBulletin 4 is in the past, Xenforo in the future, and IP.B is "in the present".

    The number of developers and skin designers that have given up on vBulletin 4 is quite amazing - the new agile development process adopted by vBulletin means every single release (rather than just 4.1, 4.2 etc..) makes far too many changes for most of them to keep up. I've not been on vBulletin.org for a while, but, I understand that a large number of those making mods have left, lost interest, or not updated their mods for v4 (or indeed later v4 releases). The vBulletin code is also years old, and InternetBrands (owners) refused to re-write it so that they would be building on a modern platform. With users leaving, developers leaving, and (compared to the other alternatives) an ancient code-base I personally wouldn't move to vBulletin 4.

    IP.Board is a great alternative I think - lots of developers, lots of interest, modern code and lots of enthusiasm as well. There are so many addons (both official and 3rd party) that every need should be catered for.

    xenForo is the one I personally believe is the future. It doesn't do everything everyone needs now, but, it's the most modern of the three and has been developed very quickly with regular releases. There is again huge enthusiasm from users, with lots of modifications and addons already available - something that the way xenForo was coded encourages and really enables on a different level compared to vBulletin (addons/modifications can be treated as if they are part of the 'core code', rather than simply an addon).

    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    I guess my fear is, is it ever going to make it to mainstream or is this still the work of some disgruntled ex vBulletin folks, who will eventually lose interest and move on.
    Really don't think this is the case at all. You've got three individuals who are really determined to make a success of xenForo - after a year of development and working on the product before a public release, and the issues they've had to grapple with since, if they wanted to throw the towel in I think they would have done so by now. By all accounts, the product is already a success. I'd personally be more worried about vBulletin's future than xenForo's.

    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    I'd tend to agree with this as well.... UI change is definitely a factor in any decision like this.
    I personally think it's for the best. I find myself wishing all other forums had the 'like' feature xenForo has. The alerts system, in my opinion, is also a great thing and overall the whole software seems to encourage user participation - if not by posting, but also even those who lurk interacting with posts ('liking') etc... Not to mention the social media integration that wasn't just bolted on (ala vBulletin).

    Considering it hasn't even hit v1.0 stable yet, I think when it does lots more people will start designing and building alternatives skins/themes to suit every taste (the skin/theme system is also incredibly powerful - inuitive and something even I've found I could use with ease).

    Overall, I wouldn't touch vBulletin. It's the past and the company running it don't seem to listen to their customers. IP.Board is the best alternative in terms of having the most features and options available now. In the future, I think it's really going to be a competition between xenForo and IP.Board. I personally prefer xenForo, and that's what I'm going to be moving to (currently on vBulletin v3).
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    Quote Originally Posted by tickedon View Post
    Overall, I wouldn't touch vBulletin. It's the past and the company running it don't seem to listen to their customers.
    That in itself is more than enough reason, IMHO.
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  26. #26
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    Personally I love Xenforo and I can see it becoming a major player like vBulletin and IPB in the future

  27. #27
    XenForo is lacking features, it's not even stable yet they are charging $150 per license the same as IP Boards? What is so futuristic about XenForo?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WireNine View Post
    XenForo is lacking features, it's not even stable yet they are charging $150 per license the same as IP Boards? What is so futuristic about XenForo?
    To be fair, the actual license period doesn't start until 1.0 final is released.

  29. #29
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    I've been a vB user since 2.x.

    I have ported 1 vB3 forum to XF now. I have to say it's a huge change for me for getting used to it. Though I think XF is much better in terms of coding, styling and just being up to date with technology and the new generation.

    Let's face it, us the ones that love vB3 are old timers. That is to say old timers on the internet. vB3 is so outdated and vB4 is a pile of crap.

    So this coming from a die hard vB3 lover, I'd move to XF if your really needing to move now. The future looks MUCH better for Xenforo compared to Internet Brands (vB4).

    IPB has been looking a bit better, but I dislike the fact that they encode some of their software now. And it still is using older technology.

    XF is done from scratch and I think the crew there is doing a great job so far. I wasn't too impressed when it was 1st out at Beta 1. But after that it's been great.

    If you want more info go to XF and search for the comparison tests of XF vs vB. You'll be amazed and how much speed difference there is with XF compared to vB.

    I'm not trying to be a XF fanboy, but after trying it.. soon my other vB3 boards will be XF boards. That is once XF rolls out more features and more mods are made that I currently have on vB3.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by alons View Post
    vBulletin is the best, I would rate IPB second to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    I've tried really hard to love the UI for IPB, really it's not bad. I still strongly prefer using a VB forum over just about anything else. Also all of the forums I use on a regular basis are VB.

    To me the usability (familiarity and ease of use) for the end user is of the utmost importance. In many ways we are competing against FB for forum users. We have to make it as easy and friendly as we possibly can. Even if VB is only slightly more friendly for the end user, it comes out ahead in my book.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatScriptGuy View Post
    I have no doubt that XenForo will take off and become quite popular. For me, though, despite all of the drama, my choice is VB, and will remain so until I am given a reason to choose differently.

    My users love VB. I love VB. And the number of third-party extensions to the software is just incredible. IMO, the choice is clear at this point in time. Perhaps in a few years I will take Xen more seriously, but not right now.

    I also vastly prefer the look of VB. Perhaps I'm just biased (probably, actually), but I just can't get used to the way Xen looks....
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    Yup, plus I don't really like XenForo from a users point of view. Maybe I'm weird but I've used vB for so long I don't like anything different.
    One thing you all have in common with me. However, I will say this.... that you NEED to think about the new generation and people. All of us are older members, so vB was all we knew. But in the future vB isn't going to live out.

    XF will live mostly because it has similar context with Facebook and social networking areas. And the new generation is VERY into it right now. Which is why the FUTURE is going to win out for people using XF.

    People using vB4 are going to lose members or not have many attracted to join anymore.

    Look at all the newer forums coming out.. XF, Vanilla, Dove etc.. They all have that social networking feel to it and they KNOW that is where the new generation is heading.

    So as much as we are vB lovers, we need to remember TIMES CHANGE.
    And with that change we need to change too or else we will only have our current members left.

    I'd give it a max of 2 yrs....

  31. #31
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    Are you giving XF or vB 2 years?
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    Quote Originally Posted by tickedon View Post
    I find myself wishing all other forums had the 'like' feature xenForo has. .
    It's part of vBSEO.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Wall View Post
    Are you giving XF or vB 2 years?
    I am pretty sure he (FreshFroot) was referencing vBulletin with the 2 year comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    It's part of vBSEO.
    And that's not part of vBulletin.

    XenForo has a bright future. I don't even see a future for vBulletin, well, it's more like the monitor that's turned off on my desktop.

    I'd go for developer-orientated rather than management-orientated (money) any day.
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  35. #35
    Just purchased a license today after reading this thread and evaluating IPB and vBulletin.
    XenForo has indeed a bright future!

  36. #36
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    I love xenforo and the developers did the best vbulletin 3.8
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  37. #37
    I have vB, IB, and XenForo. (also SMF)

    IB and XenForo are definitely way ahead of vB!!!!

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    Yes, this thread is old (about a year), but I'm just now noticing it, so bear with me

    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    Not to say it's not a good application, I simply don't like it.
    There's nothing wrong with not liking it. Personally, I agree, the backend is a bit confusing (for an admin), and it does have a bit too much AJAX going on in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatScriptGuy View Post
    I figured, VB has kept me happy all these years, why switch?
    You DO realize that the people keeping you happy 'all these years' with VB are no longer with the company, right? In fact, Kier (the big guy behind vB for so many years) is now behind XF. I will say that had a pretty deciding factor for me.

    vB has been bought and sold so many times as a company it's just not even worth it at this point. Are they still even relevant?

    Quote Originally Posted by sirius View Post
    The last thing I want to do is dump money in to a program which is too immature to operate reliably on a production site, or, to see the project get dumped entirely.
    I dunno.
    Dump money into an immature (at the time) program, or dump money into a lawsuit heavy, customer bashing, money grabbing, terms changing company that has zero respect for anyone but the almighty dollar? Kind of a tough choice there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orien View Post
    In my view, XF has the brighter future and more core developer focus on innovating.
    Exactly how I felt about it when I first saw it. XF is just innovative and bright. vBulletin is the past. VB4 was an abysmal piece of garbage, and that alone should tell you everything you need to know about the company going forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    In many ways we are competing against FB for forum users. We have to make it as easy and friendly as we possibly can.
    And this, alone is an argument for XF, not vBulletin, by any means.

    Think about it. One step integration with Facebook, twitter... No more 'click reply', or 'advanced reply' garbage. No more switching to another screen to 'quote' a post (though they really need to get on a multi-quote function), it's right there in front of the user. Even uploading attachments is just SOOOOO much easier than anything vBulletin ever put together.

    My own experience:
    I have run vB3 sites for years. I swore by them. I would sell customers on vB simply because it was the best of the best. That is past tense, and rightfully so.

    When I was first introduced to XF in '10, my thoughts were that this piece of software was really innovative, and I was impressed, like I used to be with vB. Over the past year and a half, I've come to appreciate it more and more, from a user's standpoint. It.... Just.... Works!!!

    Back in spring of '10, I had a massive server drive failure, costing me about 20 gig of personal data (bootlegs for fan sites). vB4 didn't know what was going on. At that point, I had to switch it up or just shut the sites down. Well, converting to XF was easy (though it took a LOT of time to replace the data)... I can't BEGIN to say how much I loved it for that reason.

    In the end, it's really just this simple.
    vBulletin is the way of the past. It's good, but they're so resistant to change it's not even funny. The product is old and dead, in a world where just sitting on your tail end gets you nothing.

    XenForo is the way of the future. Bright, changing, very responsive to community input (which is a good thing), and their product is new enough they can integrate 'change' easily enough.

    Sorry, it was long, I know, but this is at least one area that I'm very, very passionate about, after being burned by IB and vBulletin with the 3.x upgrade/blog garbage
    WHMCS Guru - WHMCS addons, management, support and more.
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  39. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    My world u just live here
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    Needs?

    There's nothing wrong with vB 3.x
    You can renew the license for $50 for maintenance, to get current 3.8.6 version.
    No longer.

    ▲ ▲

    WoltLab Dev

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    My world u just live here
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    1,409
    In my opinion and in this order

    1) XenForo
    2) vBulletin
    3) phpBB
    4) SMF
    5) Something else

    Friends don't let friends purchase IPB. Speaking from my own personal experience and opinion, the company (Invision Power Services Inc) is highly unprofessional and unethical. The product it's self has a much higher system requirement, lowest SEO rating, and the least user-friendly. If their staff takes a disliking to you, your site, content, opinion, members, or political views; expect things for you to turn ugly.

    XenForo is outstanding in that it uses the least resources than anything currently out there, has the highest SEO rating, is very user-friendly, and no skins & modifications come out daily, if not sometimes hourly. Support is very friendly and quick to respond. Their community is also a valued, informative, and friendly resource.

    vBulletin uses more resources than XenForo, but is good if you're looking for the full suite of products. They're also the universally known online...ie... Zero learning curve for those who join your site.
    Last edited by TheVisitors; 04-20-2012 at 09:45 AM.

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    WoltLab Dev

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