vbulletin is good and most popular but vbulletin is paid and you can also try phpBB that one is open source and good features aswell and mostly people use it because that it is open source and you can get free mods too.
Invision Power Board
In my opinion, the best is whatever you can grow well with. A lot of these scripts are free, and some of the better ones paid. However, I think when it comes to addons, then IPB/vBulletin are the winners. As for CMS, I believe all of these either have addons or settings from a front page CMS system.
Is it the new Beta version that is going down hill or something else?
The general, overall, trend is downward. I jumped the ship when their new license structure hit which was basically a money-grabbing scheme.
They just barely managed to make Vb4 stable and it's only at 4.2.0. But they need to move onto an entirely new version ASAP since that's the only way for them to grab capital. They have been been going downhill quality wise and it's only getting worse. Vb5 is the perfect example/result.
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It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.
I would recommend using vBulletin. They have a facebook plugin so your forum can be plugged into facebook right away.
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I've been using vBulletin for almost two years now, and I can say it is really great. It is a bit expensive (more than 200 dollars) but it works really well. New version 5 is going to kill it, so I'm planning to switch to Invision Power Board or stay with vBulletin 4, upgrade is not an option.
Not too long ago, I would have recommended vBulletin without much hesitation.. But after their rather disappointing beta release of vB-5, I'm not sure I like the direction they're heading in. Not to say you shouldn't consider them - It is powerful, professionally built CMS software and version 4 (current) gives you a lot of options between the regular license and the suite.
I've also used phpBB before - it's not bad. It depends specifically on what you're trying to accomplish, though more than likely it will get the job done. An obvious pro is it's free.
I'd also recommend looking into IP.Board - I used Invision back in the day, and I hear good things about the new versions.
After looking around, I've seen a lot of bad views regarding vBulletin5, what are the problems with the new release?
I've always regarded vBulletin as one of the best forum softwares.
The concern isn't so much that there are problems - Loading times between forum topics were slow as a grandfather snail - but it is, after all, in beta testing. Most of the disappointment, however, lies in the design and functionality. A poster in a separate thread on WHT mentioned that vB-5 might as well be a less attractive, lower quality IP.Board, and based on what I've compared, I think they may have a valid point.
We can't stamp a final judgment on vB-5 just yet, because only the beta version has been released. But personally I know I'd have to see a significant improvement before I'd even think about throwing $250 at a license for version 5.