The big three? (Not a "which is better" thread)

Discussion in 'Forum Software' started by biggazillakilla, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. biggazillakilla

    biggazillakilla Adherent

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    Hope this is not the wrong kind of post here, and I really just want to make a simple observation:

    If there are such heated debates about "the big three" (phpbb, vb, ipb), and it seems that defenders on all three sides have their strong points, would it be fair to say that they are at least very close to one another in overall quality? I.e., if you go with one over the other, it's for some small thing.

    So is it really a Chevy vs. Ford kind of thing? I.e., they are all of about the same quality, but some small, say styling, details make the difference?

    I *have* noticed that it usually comes down to vB vs. IPB, and PHPBB is often left out.
     
  2. Elbonian

    Elbonian Aspirant

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    PHPbb is often left out because it is "Open Source" "freeware" and most professionals prefer to have an actual support person who can be imposed upon if there is some serious issue with the software you are running. I'm not enough of a geek to be comfortable relying on SourceForge for support.

    My forums migrated from UBB to vBulletin a year ago and we've never looked back. I'm getting ready to install the new 3.0 on March 27. I haven't looked at IPB because it wasn't suggested to me two years ago when we were first getting fed up with UBB. The move to a database-based forum is a big change, however, and it really impacted our hosting requirements! I don't want to get caught like that again, so I'm "hanging out" more in places like this one.
     
  3. wizard1974uk

    wizard1974uk Tazmanian Gremlin

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    If you have a large board phpBB will suffer.

    IPB is ok, but I can't stand the admin control panel.

    vbulletin simple to customise skins, excellent control panel, I don't know whether it is bloated or not, I'm no expert in these matters. Also having to pay seems to put some people off.

    What some people tend not to realise even though IPB is "free" they offer no support, so if you want the support you will have to pay.

    Its down to personal opinion on what is the best, so you are unlikely to get an unbiased answer to your question.
     
  4. Nicholas

    Nicholas Webnik

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    A Toyota will get you anywhere a Mercedes can. So it's a matter of taste, because as far as looking for forum software is concerned, all three work. But in many ways it's in the nitty gritty that the differences arise, like how much more robust the control panel is; how much more professional its customization features are, etc.) and arguable differences like how much better it fares under heavy load, how much less db queries it uses, etc.

    But in the end, with forum software is it's a matter of branding. Just as owners of a Harley-Davidson can tell you, there are just some things that you can't explain but which give you that inexplicable "buzz" when you buy and use it.
     
  5. AutomatikStudios

    AutomatikStudios So...I'm like...yeah

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    vB is just so dang easy to customize. Everything is so easily modified right there in the CP. With the other boards you have to start hacking the actual PHP files to make a lot of small changes. I just feel like I have control over EVERY aspect of my boards when they're using vB.
     
  6. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

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    Although I'm nuts about one of these forum software and the expandable abilities of the site using the database, I'm sure that much of the fuss between the big three is branding.

    Much as car prefs run in families....

    We are a Honda family. Everyone has a Honda of some sort. When we are needing to replace a car, we might look at what other dealerships have to offer, test drive them...but we always end up buying what we know to be proven to be a good value for our family in the past...therefore it colors the way we think about other car models and brands.

    I think it works that way for forum software too.
     
  7. biggazillakilla

    biggazillakilla Adherent

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    I'm running IB on one board and Snitz on my main one.

    I REALLY want to switch over from Snitz to IB or vB for my main site, but I can't get the conversion done (yes, I'm willing to pay). I've e-mailed IB three times for a quote, but have never had a response.

    I'm going to e-mail vB too. Hope I have some luck with that.

    There are a few important features that vB has that I really want--karma/reputation, for example.
     
  8. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Tazmanian

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    If you are using the MySQL version of Snitz, pop me a private message and I will give you the direct email of the developer in charge of importers. He needs a volunteer guinea pig for that importer.
     
  9. Subhadip

    Subhadip Adherent

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    On the balance, you can conclude that all three softwares have their own strong points, and weakpoints too.

    Maybe you can call it down to personal preference. If you go down to bottom-line facts IPB users will realise that it is really not the greatest and vB supporters will realise too that vB is not as perfect as they though.

    As a summary though, of the three:
    phpBB is good as a free alternative.
    IPB is efficient, fast and with most necessary features.
    vBulletin is the most feature-packed of the three; but has its own problems. It is expensive on the long run though.

    But then you can't comment any more. For example, if the criteria is ease of use, IPB is more user-friendly for the users while vB wins for Admins.

    As for as unique features go, though; if we go down to the basic facts, there are 2 softwares ahead of the 'big three'.
     
  10. wizard1974uk

    wizard1974uk Tazmanian Gremlin

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    Could you name the 2 for us? :D
     
  11. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

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    I don't find spending 160.00 on purchased software expensive in the long run at all....or leasing the software for 85.00 per year. For a hobbyist I can assume its expensive. For a large growing site that is conducting business, this is not exorbitant. In fact, pricing in this ball park wouldn't turn me from any product that I needed reliability and support. And once you buy it...its yours.

    So I don't think pricing is the issue (atleast for me) for any of the three.

    Its what I know, believe to be best...based on branding. ;)
     
  12. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    $85 per month?? :yikes:
     
  13. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

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    :bonk:

    Sorry about that! Slip of the typing fingers. :yikes:

    85.00 per YEAR. :D
     
  14. Subhadip

    Subhadip Adherent

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    But you seem to forget the $30 per year you pay year after year. If you run a forums for 50 years, you are spending $1660 if purchasing or $4250 if leasing. That's what I meant by long run. It may not appear expensive put over a time span of 50 years, but put that next to competitors... for example, IPB at $199 lifetime. And IPB sounds like an absolute bargain. vB is 700% more expensive. And we are talking about only 50 years.
     
  15. Subhadip

    Subhadip Adherent

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    Well, one is WowBB... Some pretty unique features.

    And the other would be considered self promotion. So I rather not post it.
     
  16. AutomatikStudios

    AutomatikStudios So...I'm like...yeah

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    Oh please, 50 years is a rediculous example. In 50 years the internet and computers will have revolutionized so much there is no way you could possibly predict that your company will be around that long to make it worth paying a one time fee.
     
  17. wizard1974uk

    wizard1974uk Tazmanian Gremlin

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    You don't have to pay the $30 every year. You can pay this whenever you like.
     
  18. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Tazmanian

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    If I am still worried about forum software in 50 years, something has gone drastically wrong in my career. I would hope that when in my 80s that I could chuck it all and relax.

    Heck, even within ten years I would think things would change drastically enough to make it a moot point.
     
  19. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

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    I don't find 30.00 per year for support extreme. In fact, try to get a free software and then purchase support for it. Example: My shopping cart was an "out of the box" software costing 85.00. I bought an extra module for 29.99. Add to that the support they provided for 2 months which gave me only a few questions because they took about a week or more per question.

    I ended up hiring a guy to tweak, fix what needed fixing, customizing the little things and giving me support for the things that the software company should have given to me in their 2 months of support.

    Do I want to go back to them and purchase one month for 30.00 again? no. They gave me lousy support for that 30.00 per month. Easier to hire another fixer for that amount or more than to wait on their support system to get around to me.

    30.00 a year for support...and a great support at that isn't bad at all. That's 2.50 per month for support.....or a bit over 8 cents a day.

    A bargain if you ask me. :yup:

    I know some other board software might be free...but if you need support...money still talks.
     
  20. Subhadip

    Subhadip Adherent

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    IPB offers top notch support, but they don't have a recurring fee of $30.

    Whichever way you see it; its all down to personal opinion in the end. It doesn't seem to matter which is the best software, in this industry.
     
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