1. vBulletin (http://www.vbulletin.com) - This is an up and
coming feature loaded script. It uses PHP and MySQL to drive the
fast backend engine. The script comes in two flavors currently, a
lite version which is free and stripped of almost all features
and a full version which costs around $160.00. vBulletin provides
a very scalable and customizable system to start your community
with. With its extremely customizable interface, it does have a
learning curve to setup the way you want it but overall it is a
great script. My personal rank is 5 out of 5 stars.
I'd been using UBB for sometime (personally and for various freelance projects), along with some freeware scripts, and although vBulletin seemed a bit daunting at first (I'd never used SQL before!), I'm glad I made the switch, and so are my users. It runs fast, its template system is to die for, and the community surround it (at vB's support forums) is second to none.
I certainly think it's the best on the market, for my needs anyway (which are basically to have a strong community tool!).
I give vBulletin 5 out of 5 stars. [Note: In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, please note that I am a new Moderator on the vB forums.]
Like many vBers, I came to the software from UBB. While UBB was a great BB for its time, it's clearly been surpassed by the superior performance and features of vBulletin.
If for whatever reason your host does not provide PHP and mySQL, then by all means use UBB. It's a good solid performer with a large community of users for support. However if you do have these available, then I honestly think that you can't go wrong choosing vBulletin.
I also give vB 5 out of 5 (though I am incredibly biased being a moderator there ). The power, speed and flexibility of the system are unbeaten in my opinion. I've tried phpBB, iB, UBB (briefly), and others and nothing even comes close.
My first interaction with bulletin boards was on swirve.com (formally Echelon Entertainment) where the forum system is very different.
When we started Ambar, we wrote our own propieraty software that was very much like the forums at Swirve, but a little differented (templated ).
We recently moved to vBulletin, and currently I am having a vote whether we should move back.
I, Myself, love vBulletin because it is so feature rich and it can do so much and so easily. But my members dont. They say it is too complicated (we disabled 80% of the features already) and they complain a lot about it. I can see where they are coming from and they do have a point, for some communities vBulletin is just not right.