Moving from proboards.... is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Free Hosted Forums' started by Blind Bandit, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Fanatic

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    Hello everyone I'm contemplating moving from remotely hosted to self hosted forums. The problem is I'm having trouble justifying the move to a new forum provider. If I do move it needs to provide a better experience for my members. I'm currently using ProBoards and I have thought about moving to SMF when 2.0 is fully released.

    The other issues is even thought I gain a lot more control. The technical requirements are going to go up for me as an admin. ProBoards may be slow on implementing new back end features (they just recently updated to a database system with V4.5. but they are pretty good about providing new features.

    For example form what I know SMF dosen't have an easy method to skin/template. it dosen't have a style editor like proboards from what I understand.

    This seems to be common I'm sure I would have to add many mods to get the site the way I wanted it. As proboards is more about end user features and not about back end (hosting related features) I've become accustomed to having a lot of features for myself and my users.

    I'm not a experienced admin (well in regards to TAZ members that is. ) and I'm wondering if I should even bother?

    The more I examine this option the more I think about itthe higher level expertise needed and reduced easy of use for myself, may cause problems.

    I'm not a programmer or a coder.

    My forum is rather small focusing on being a close nit , general discussion forum. With everyone being welcome.

    If I do move I might revamp my layout and add or remove a few things.

    But my board is generally for making new friends and having a good time.

    Link.

    http://welounge.proboards53.com/index.cgi

    Any opinions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. annakey

    annakey Charter? What Charter?

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    Proboards are great. They get a lot of stick on this site from snobby admins :rant2: :mad: :biglaugh: who then moan about spending hours knee-deep in code to solve problems the Proboards nerds do for free. I help run a Proboards of c. 70,000 posts, 600 members, and the support people couldn't have been better. The site has caused them some trouble (not of my making I hasten to add) and they've still been great. So if I were you I wouldn't move until I really had to. Why make work and expense for yourself?

    Having said that... Proboards won't export threads, not even for ready money. So keep that in mind. There are ways round it, of dubious legality, but you may end up having to lock your Proboards and start afresh on an empty forum. So, in a sense, the longer you leave it the worse it gets.

    There's going to be an upgrade shortly I believe. Perhaps wait to see what that looks like?
     
  3. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Fanatic

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    Yes I think ProBoards gets a lot of unneeded flack.

    They have one of the friendliest and most helpful communities around.

    And they have been very good to me as an admin.

    Yes I'm aware if that I will loose my posts. That irks me a lot that's one thing I'm not happy about. I mean charge me a fee and get on with it.

    Anyway about the V5. release I don't think we will see until sometime next year. As I don't' think its even hit beta yet.

    Again I'm mostly trying to see if I can improve my members experience without spending tons of money (V bulletin is out even thought its awesome)

    I'm mostly weighing my options.
     
  4. annakey

    annakey Charter? What Charter?

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    Plus the Proboards owner has come out for Obama and is a campaign contributor... That's a reason to stay but not everyone will agree. :unhunh:

    Ah, I didn't know it was going to be that long.
     
  5. motokochan

    motokochan Habitué

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    The real question you need to ask is what your reason for switching is and then if it is a good reason.

    The main reason I don't care for ProBoards of the other hosted services is that they lack professionalism and lock you out of your data. You are then hostage to what they feel should be the features of the service and their plan. It's good for what it is, but if you need more you feel how little control you have over it.

    As an example of features, I am right now working on a system to allow some folks to edit certain parts of a website. These parts will be generated from a database. I'm using a local install of SMF to provide the login and security mechanism. I couldn't do that with a hosted service.

    As for SMF being difficult to theme, it really depends on your comfort level. It certainly isn't as easy as a form, but that is because it is a lot more flexible than simple color changes. If you do want to do just color changes, there is a css file and some gradient images you would want to change. There are several already-made color variations, and also several hundred custom themes you can choose from and edit to customize.
     
  6. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Fanatic

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    Yes that's a good point. I am considering moving to improve my member experience. Gaining more control would be a bonus. But not the main focus.

    Yes I did give up some control when I went with ProBoards but that's to be expected. Its a free service, but of course nothing is free. I'm not going to fault them for wanting to stay a float.

    Yes I'm aware that SMF can integrate well into other parts of a web site.

    Yes its more flexible but it also requires fair more time and effort. I think this is where one of my biggest issues is. I don't know if its really worth it to loose user friendliness for more control.

    That and the lack of some standard features dosen't really give me much in improved member experience without a lot of work.

    I think that my biggest issue right now is finding a good piece of forum software that's free and is user friendly and easy to admin. Its frustrating to be told to simply muck through large amount of codding to get simple things done.
     
  7. motokochan

    motokochan Habitué

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    Yeah, that's the trade-off. I wouldn't say it is not user-friendly. It just isn't new-coder-friendly. The end-users don't have to deal with any of that stuff. Then again, pretty much all code has the value of being obscure to those unfamiliar with coding. If you don't touch any of the code and just do some color changes, it requires very minimal effort and knowledge.


    What features do you see that ProBoards offers but SMF doesn't?
     
  8. Fudopi

    Fudopi God Bless Jamaica

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    Honestly, I use forummotion, which from my understanding is a lot like pro boards.

    All though it has it's limitations, I love how easy it is to still put out a decent forum. I tried, successfully to use myBB, and although I got my forum up and running, it took much more work, and it was far more complicated. So although I figured everything out it was a lot more energy for a little more control.
     
  9. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Fanatic

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    True but its a little frustrating to be have a forum software that is not new coder friendly.

    A forum software has to be user and admin friendly. not all of sue are experts or highly experienced in PHP , CSS and so on.

    To tell you the truth its a very long list. Proboards back end may be poor and very restrcied but there user features are pretty decent.

    SMF 2 should bring it up to speed or surpass it in a few places.

    I can get most if not all features added back via mods. But it also means I would have to add mods just to get some user experience back up to par.

    When its all said and done the user is going to want to not loose features. And I don't either.

    As I've said a lot of the issues are superficial that can be fixed by mods, such as the member name color mod, super admin mod, bookmarks, a board permission mod, full mod log (adds edits of posts), and so on.

    There are more and I've not looked enough to know if everyhing I want can be brought back as a mod.

    SMF of course has features that proboards dosen't but at the same I'm still trying to justify a move.

    As much as I hate to say most people notice features fboefre they notice back end work.





    What made you switch to phpBB?
     
  10. Outumuro

    Outumuro TAZXbar Publisher

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    Hi Shaun,

    Go take a look around http://www.yabbforum.com/community/ just to get a feel of the user side. Then do an install of it somewhere to get a feel for the admin side. You may surprise yourself about expectations and opinions about ProBoards.

    Best way to know whether a forum script meets your needs is to install it and give it a shot.
     
  11. HarryWx

    HarryWx IPB 3.0+ User

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    Why bother with mods if you can avoid them? Mybb has alot of that already built in such as Super Admin/aka Board founder ), Full mod log, Board permissions. What do you mean by Book Marks? I know of such a mod for that but wanna be clear that it is the same thing. The other would be a mod. Any other questions feel free to ask. :)

    Also most mod's for MYBB uses the Plugin system which means ALOT LESS work for you as you dont have to mess with the code most of the time. Just upload whatever file and flip a switch in ACP and mod is installed in most cases. Note too that MYBB may not have as big a mod community BUT alot of stuff is already built in as well. One of the HUGE dvantages to it over the rest. Another advantage is MYBB has been staying ahead of the pack with updates and thus more features etc. Not to mention they just had a complete security audit done on themselves. See MYBB for more.
     
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