Newbie trying to decide which way to go: Vbulletin vs. PHPBB

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by biggjoe, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. biggjoe

    biggjoe Participant

    92
    11
    +1
    Hello All;

    I work for a small company and we're in the process of giving our entire "support process" an overhaul.

    During this process, we decided that having PHP-based forums/bulletin boards would be beneficial to our various customers.

    We are total newbies in regards to the world of PHP, BulletinBoards/Forums and creating online communities in general.

    At the moment, we're trying to decide whether we should "take the plunge" with PHPBB since it's included with our WebHost (via Fantastico)...or if we should pay for something like VBulletin.

    The problem is, we don't know enough about either product to make an informed decision.

    If possible, can anyone assist us in our decision by posting advantages/disadvantages of both options?

    This would include setup/support, user management, private vs. public forum access, database maintenance and etc.

    We would be especially interested in small-to-midsize company's that are currently using either option as part of their support process/structure.

    Thank you very much in advance!

    BiggJoe

    :confused:
     
    1
  2. Hunter

    Hunter SportsTwo.com

    326
    195
    +2
    If you are able to afford vBulletin don't even think twice about it. It is the best software out there at the moment and it is a joke to compare vB and phpbb when money is not the issue.

    vBulletin is more customizable not to mention that you get excellent support and far more features then your lackluster phpbb can offer.

    I have used both boards in the past and vB is the superior product, hands down.
     
  3. shellspeare

    shellspeare Uninteresting

    5,163
    800
    +29
  4. snowcrash

    snowcrash loafing

    356
    90
    +1
    I doubt you'll get many folks saying choose phpbb if money is not an issue. vB certainly has many many more features compared with the standard install of phpbb. The latter can be (heavily) modded to add a vast array of extra features, but I doubt that's what you want to spend time doing.
    Of course there are a few other good free boards out there, if that's the route you want to take, but then you might want to consider what kind of support you want also.
     
  5. biggjoe

    biggjoe Participant

    92
    11
    +1
    Hey guys;

    I appreciate all the info, please keep it coming!

    If possible, can you include some important/distinctive features that you get with VBulletin as opposed to PHPBB?

    One thing for example that we're trying to do is have our forums completely, locked (i.e, private).

    We have separate customer channels (some in competition with each other) and we need to give each "channel" their own forum.

    I assume this will be easy at first, because they have to create a login.

    Then of course the following issues come into play;

    1.) One channel in particular has the same email domain for all of their offices in North America, so I assume we can setup an approval process, that ONLY those with the following domain are allowed to create an account in XYZ forum? Is this possible? How can it be done in VBullein?

    2.) Can this process be automated, or do we have to manually approve every single registration (yikes!)?

    3.) Is there some sort of *starter kit* that can assist us in getting started, with let's say a step-by-step process on "How to build an Online community"?

    Any info you have would be greatly appreciated!

    BiggJoe

    ;)
     
  6. DataHunter2009

    DataHunter2009 Enthusiast

    116
    28
    +1
    Ever heard of IPB (Invision Power Board)? You could buy Version 2.0 or there should be a free version (1.3 or 1.2) in the Script Library area of Cpanel (if that is what you are using). Anyway, I would buy 2.0 It's much better than PHPBB and I've never liked VB that much.
     
  7. PacMan

    PacMan Fanatic

    3,925
    792
    +160
  8. DMB

    DMB vBulletin User

    1,698
    0
    +1
    I'm also looking for this...
     
  9. Thera

    Thera Aspirant

    12
    0
    +0
    I have tried both. My unknown, non-advertised, 6-member phpbb board got hacked several months after I created it. They are constantly having to upgrade to fix hacker holes and to me that's a big pain to have to do every other week or so.

    Go with vBulletin. They keep ahead of the hackers better.
     
  10. SaN-DeeP

    SaN-DeeP TechArena.IN

    4,154
    730
    +4
    I have seen numerous questions as such, and I have only voted for Vbulletin..
    In case, you really want to go through the discussions taken place, check the vbulletin forums, Pre-Sales Question.
     
  11. gprime

    gprime Getting Back Into It

    1,204
    545
    +2
    Here's what I'd say:

    If you can pay, then IPB is the way to go. Its vastly suprior to vB. That said, vB is still an excellent piece of software, and a great deal better than phpBB. But, once modded correctly, phpBB can function very nicely, and in some respects, better than an unmodded pay system. But, in terms of options, vB is going to be simpler to work with, since many of the mods you'd need to install on a phpBB board would already be included. And from what I hear vB has great support. The drawback is of course the added cost and the inferior skinning options.

    So that was the summary. Lets look at the big issues one at a time:

    Cost---Well, there's a clear difference. phpBB is a free script. vB is $160 (I think). So on this is phpBB wins out. Note, that IPB 2.0.x is $180, and is the best of the 3.

    Skins---This is somewhat of an issue. IPB 2.0.x has a fairly strong selection of board skins pre-made for free via Invisionize, NBS Design, and so forth. And there are some good pay ones too (like prettyflesh.com). phpBB has some decent premades that may or may not require tweeking for all of the requisite mods. vB isn't good for skinning. Poor selection of free ones, and a mediocre selection of paid ones. And the paid ones are rarely impressive. But if you can skin for yourself, then its fine.

    Mods---IPB has tons that can be implemented but none are critical. vB has a fair number of practical, but unneeded mods, that can be implemented. phpBB requires tons of mods to function properly. Then you can add a few more to enhance user experiences as there are a decent number of useable, but not needed. So here vB and IPB are better.

    Support---IPB has good support, and I here vB also does. phpBB support may well be fine, but they've got no obligation to help, since you pay nothing. And if they aren't good enough, all 3 have unofficial help sites, but in my experience IPB dominates those type.

    Overall:
    IPB 2.0.x is really the best around and at only $25 more than vB, it makes sense if you're already prepared to drop some dough. If, for whatever reason, you don't want to use IPB, then vB is a good substitute. Its a much better choice than phpBB if you can afford it. phpBB is okay, but you get what you pay for. None of the free options are great, but most, including phpBB can do fine in a crunch. For ease of use, a pre-modded phpBB board is best if that's what you choose.
     
  12. snowcrash

    snowcrash loafing

    356
    90
    +1
    I
    Perhaps one way of deciding is to ask your specific questions on both vB and IPB pre-sales forums and decide which set of responses is better. Though this would only give a snap shot indication of support & knowledge
     
  13. biggjoe

    biggjoe Participant

    92
    11
    +1
    I'm eating up all of this feedback...keep it coming! Thanks again!

    J.
     
  14. Hunter

    Hunter SportsTwo.com

    326
    195
    +2
    Have you owned a IPB or vB liscense or do you just use the free IPB that you got from InvisionPlus.net?

    If you have never owned them before, I do think it is kind of hard for you to give your opinion on them considering you haven't used them. I find it funny that you said IPB 2.x series is vastly superior to the vB 3.x series. I have to wonder how many vB sites you have administered at in the past? How many IPB 2.x for that matter?
     
  15. gprime

    gprime Getting Back Into It

    1,204
    545
    +2
    You know, if you were more specific about your needs and the type of community you wanted to build, people could target the feedback more towards what you need.
     
  16. gprime

    gprime Getting Back Into It

    1,204
    545
    +2
    Well, I've run test liscenses with both of them and found IPB to be better. Beyond that, I've found their unofficial help sites to be more plentiful and of higher quality.

    Whilst it is true that my private little board is an IP piece of crap, I've tried both, mostly trying to decide if I should raise the capitol to buy one for my own site that's in the works. I ended up deciding that as much as I like IPB it wasn't worth it, and since I preffered it to vB that was out of the picture for me.
     
  17. PacMan

    PacMan Fanatic

    3,925
    792
    +160
    And from this you concluded that IPB is vastly superior?:hopeless:
     
  18. Zachery

    Zachery Moo

    2,585
    660
    +6
    Regardless of what everyone else has said so far.

    Take time, choosing forum software is an investment. Since it is costly in some way or another (time to modify, phpBB, or cost of inital owenership) you want to make the right choice first, and the right choice for you may be differnt from my own or others.

    Personally, if I am going to start a new site, I'm going to go with vBulletin, period. I've used and played with the others (not in full enviroments, but enough to get the hang of things). I still choose vBulletin 2/3/3.5 over the other solutions.

    But vBulletin may not be for you, you may not like it, or its community, or something else, or you just might like another software better.

    Take time to play with each of the big players, and don't forget to rule out the small ones as well. phpBB, vBulletin, and Invision are all good starting points, but don't forget wowBB and MyBB and the hunderds of other free scripts out there.


    From what I've seen, the hacking community stems from the need, or lack their of, for features. phpBB has tons and tons of mods, but is also the most bare of the 3 bigger player. IPB seems to have a good community, but I have no place to comment on it as I am not invovled in it day to day or at all. The vBulletin modding community seems to be thriving with 3.0 and 3.5. I believe 3.5 will further improve the community and have it grow more raipidly than before :).

    If you have the cash, IMO go for some paid solution :) if you don't, well then thats your choice. At the end of the day,with the paid solution, you get support, the unpaid solution has no such garuntee.
     
  19. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

    9,034
    890
    +43
    Its possible to take vbulletin and with some customizations, do all the things you need it to do.

    I think with some extra customizations at registrations (additional member profile fields) you can set up the usergroup permissions to the different forums (channels).

    Imagine this: someone registers from xyz. Because you have a way during registration to tag the registrants, they can be manually put into the proper usergroups. With some code customizations, they can be put into those usergroups automatically. Then, they will only see the forums their usergroup permission allows. (This is set up in the admin control panel. Usergroups set-up is quite a hefty ability in vbulletin. Allow and disallow this and that....)

    I wish you well in finding the best software for you. Really, if I were picking for you, I'd select vbulletin everything mentioned above and most of all the ability to customize it.

    However, the strength will be in the developer you hire (or on your staff) to customize it to fit your needs. My own vbulletin is heavily customized and its a good example of taking an "out of the box" software with great features and adding/changing what fits your needs.
     
  20. SaN-DeeP

    SaN-DeeP TechArena.IN

    4,154
    730
    +4
    Good post above Zac and Kathy. :tiphat: