Time To Change Software... But Which To Choose?

Discussion in 'Forum Software' started by iuchewie, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    Apologies for what I can only imagine is yet another "which software is best" topic.

    Our community just celebrated our 10th anniversary and we've got upwards of 28,000 members with 4.3 or 4.4 millions posts. We do not allow members to create new topics (save for within a couple of forums) but rather we set up the forums and allow people to reply to them.

    We have an active user base of between 8 and 10k users per month and support our forums with a website, blog, live chat (currently powered by Rumbletalk), and social media sites.

    The forum started on InvisionFree back in 2006 and we've since migrated to Zetaboard premium. I'm considering moving off Zeta to another platform.

    1. Looking for a hosted solution - I don't want to deal with spam attacks and keeping software up to date.
    2. Not necessarily looking for a free solution. I've got no problem paying for a good platform.
    3. Mobile experience is of utmost importance.
    4. Secondary importance would be chat integration (as long as we could moderate that chat)
    5. I'd like to be able to import my list of users from Zeta (though will leave the posts, topics, etc. behind at the previous Zeta install).

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    At first glance it appears phpbb, IP.Board or vBulletin would be the front runners, but admittedly it's been a decade since I've comparison shopped forum software.

    Thanks in advance,
    Chewie
     
  2. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    Now that I'm using it more I'm also loving XenForo. What sort of hosting requirements are there? Is there a hosted option?
     
  3. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    No hosted options. It is a self-hosted script in that you have to provide the appropriate hosting service for the site.
    There are some bare minimum hosting requirements (for the script to run)
    • PHP: 5.2.11+
    • MySQL: 5.0+
    • PHP extensions: MySQLi, GD (with JPEG support), PCRE, SPL, SimpleXML, DOM, JSON, iconv, ctype
    • PHP safe_mode off
    As for the hardware aspect - that is dependent on the # of visitors and the amount of content. No simple "easy" answer.
    The minimums from above will change when XenForo 2.0 comes out sometimes next year.
     
  4. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    Thanks Tracy - let's call is 10k active users per month. I spose what I'd be needing to find out (if I go this route) is the best place to host such a thing. Clearly a shared $9.99 hosting plan from GoDaddy won't do the trick.
     
  5. Mark.B

    Mark.B Tazmanian

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    That level of content and usage, don't bother with a hosted solution. You'll just run into issues.
    And don't use phpBB. The only free solution worth touching is MyBB but frankly you should use one of the paid products.
    Since I do regular work for one of the major paid products, I won't recommend one. Others can do that. Just don't go with a hosted solution at that size.
     
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  6. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    Nope, a shared GoDaddy account (low end) definitely would not.
    If you are familiar with Linux and server admin, I'd look seriously at grabbing a dedicated and then using it since you can get decent ones for reasonable prices. I personally use OVH and have not had any issues with them in the 14 months I've been with them (or their affiliate SoYouStart). Some people complain about issues with them, but frequently those issues are due to "lack of support" - not recognizing that OVH only provides hardware support and for software you are on your own. My current server (which runs about 8 low use sites) runs me $125 a month, but I'm "somewhat" familiar with administering servers so I don't have to rely on outside resources. The benefit of the dedicated server is you get growth room there in case you under estimate the needed resources.
    I don't "do" shared hosting (and haven't for the last several years) so I can't give any recommendations on that - but VERY few will offer what level of performance you need. With VPS's you have LiNode, RamNode, Digital Ocean (for unmanaged) , which are some of the most often referred to names. I hear a lot of good about KnownHosts also (they have a managed VPS option).

    Now, as for importing your users - you will have to do (if possible) a two step conversion, as XenForo does not natively support imports from Zetaboard. This would involve importing into another script that will work, then importing that script data into XenForo (and frequently resulting in passwords no longer working and requiring a user reset).
    An alternative is looking for an outside provider to write/perform the conversion for you.

    There IS the option of IPS self-hosted, but it is based upon # of connections of simultaneous users. Their top tier (750 simultaneous users) will run you $590 a month and their mid-tier (200 simultaneous users) is $130 per month. There are limitations that you also have to deal with in their hosted environment - about all you can install are styles/themes. Add-ons are pretty much a no-no.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  7. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    Appreciate your insights Mark. If you don't want to make a recommendation on a public forum would you care to share your thoughts via PM?
     
  8. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    Thanks Tracy - for one of the forums I've got in mind the website that will support it is built in WordPress and I've got it hosted on a GoDaddy Affiliate "Managed WordPress" hosting platform. The only reason I was initially shying away from hosting myself is I don't want to have to deal with security hacks, etc.
     
  9. Ryan Ashbrook

    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer

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    I just want to address this - I'm not going to try and sell you on the IPS platform, but I feel this should be clarified. :)

    You can install any add-on you wish on the cloud platform - if it does not work properly, does not install properly, or otherwise causes problems, then we will try and reach out to resolve the issue with the author of the add-on.

    I have done so myself several times, even for those who decide to self-host - if an application or plugin has caused an issue, then I will try and reach out to either notify them or resolve the problem.
     
  10. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    Good deal.. it may have been the vBulletin cloud option I was thinking of then. Thanks for clarifying that.
    Since I prefer self-hosting, I usually never pay much attention to the cloud stuff - other than to know it's (for me) more expensive than my other options. ;)
     
  11. Danielx64

    Danielx64 Developer

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    Does anyone even know if you can convert from zeta board? I didn't think they would give a database dump.
     
  12. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    I don't think that they will give a dump of the DB.... and to top it off, it's basically Invision Free, which I doubt any current software script will import. So it looks like IF the DB can be obtained, it will still require custom importation routines.

    Just goes to show that usually you get what you pay for. :ninja:
     
  13. Danielx64

    Danielx64 Developer

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    Yeah that what I was thinking.
     
  14. Ryan Ashbrook

    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer

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    Last I recall, when I did conversions for IPS, they did not provide a data dump. That may have changed, though.
     
  15. iuchewie

    iuchewie Aspirant

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    It's not something they advertise, but it IS doable... for a substantial fee. Candidly that's at least a part of the reason why we're still there. Far too costly to migrate all of that user data let alone posts, etc.
     
  16. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    And that's their "hook".
     
  17. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    You could create a bot/spider to build a database. Theres always a way...

    If you want me to... Cause I like being a rebel I would look at vectors on how to extract it all.
     
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