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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Need advice about forum engine

    Hey guys,

    I'm going to start a forum for my members, which should be more support related. I've searched a lot to find the best possible solution. Of course, like everyone else I'd like to have the best possible solution but without any additional expenses. Erstwhile I installed and tested phpBB. It's a great piece of software and for me it's in front of other similar engines, most of all because it's FREE of charge and open source software with large community.

    However I need more integrated additional features like newsletter subscription with user statistics, keyword statistics, search engine optimization, additional feedback systems to interact more with my users. I've tried some phpBB add-ons and hacks, but I wasn't satisfied enough to run it. I just couldn't find any stabile and compatible add-on version to satisfy my needs.

    Recently, a friend of mine suggested me new forum engine called ZoneX (www.zonemetrics.com) which is also open source and based on phpBB with all features that I need. Well, this was the first engine that gave me all features I needed in only one installation. Furthermore, this forum has many other useful tools like recent and popular topics, survey-like feedback engine, great new search integration and possibility to change content on some pages through backend (like with CMS).

    This one has satisfied my needs indeed, but I still search to find similar engines so I could compare it and choose the winner at the end.

    Do you guys can suggest me anything similar to www.zonemetrics.com forum?

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    I have never heard of zonemetrics...It does appear to be search engine friendly, but my main concern there would be lack of a fan base. One of the greatest advantages of going with one of the big papa's is that you get ginormous communities of other users who can provide support, tips, mods, graphics, etc.

    I'm not sure what to tell you...I'm surprised you couldn't find the mods for phpBB, I know they have got to be out there...I do know phpBB has a great search engine mod. You probably dont want to go back just yet, but I figured I'd at least point you towards a vast number of phpBB mods and other resources just in case you're feelin saucy

    phpBB resources

    All of those links contain free downloads...more mods than you will ever need...or so I would imagine...

  3. #3
    SMF Compliance Manager Oldiesmann's Avatar
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    If you're looking for phpBB mods, try www.phpbbhacks.com
    The Oldiesmann
    Compliance Manager, SMF
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  4. #4
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    Yeah, I already visited phpbbhacks.com Thanks for resources links GTA, I'll check it out. However, I found a lot of modes but those are not even nearly as good as those by ZoneX.

    Their core engine is based on phpBB code. It means their whole system has all phpBB features, and maybe there's a possibility to install phpBB modules on this one too. Furthermore it's very good SE optimized better then any before I think.

    Their search module is based on mnogoSearch engine and you have to install it additionally and guys from zonemetrics.com offered me assistance.

    I'll look around a little bit before I choose one, but it looks that ZoneX could be a winner for now, because I cannot find anything similar with same features in one package.

    Thank you guys anyway ... I'm open for more suggestions, so just shoot!
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  5. #5
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    It seems there's no other suggestions. Hmm, I've tried to find on other forums but it seems there's really no free forums with stabile features that I need except this ZoneX forums???
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict Celdric's Avatar
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    Here is another forum. I just installed it by myself. There is also a nice portal available that works fine together with the forum. Both - forum and portal - I got for free.

    forum
    http://www.simplemachines.org/

    portal
    http://www.mkportal.it/

  7. #7
    SMF Compliance Manager Oldiesmann's Avatar
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    mkPortal is a great system and has tons of features. There's also TinyPortal and SimplePortal if you don't need something with as many features.
    The Oldiesmann
    Compliance Manager, SMF
    SMF+Gallery2 - RC1 now available!

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys. This is a great portal engine, indeed. However, portal is a bit too much for me at this moment, because I wouldn't have so much content, otherwise I would use CMS like Wiki, Typo3 or Mambo.

    I just need a support forum with additional features like newsletter subscription, topic feedback, popular topics and good SEO. This is exactly what I need. This ZoneX forums have all this features. PHPbb has some addons and hacks, but not with all this stuff together.

    Anyway thanks for help. If anyone else have links to other BBS's with similar features, please share it!
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  9. #9
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    Btw. The guys from ZoneMetrics released a new ZoneX version with really great new features. I've installed it few weeks ago and I must confess the SEO works great. After 3 weeks I got more then 40 visits/day from SE! Therefore I think it is worth to try!
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict Diether's Avatar
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    Just took a look at zonemetrics.
    Not sure about it.
    Features seem to be good. But it doesn't realy look "professional" imho...
    And it seems that there are not other themes at the moment.
    Forum Affiliates Network
    - Post exchange/advertising network for (new) forums
    - Community for forum owners

  11. #11
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    Yep, they have only one theme and they promise they'll work on it, but I think the theme is not sooo important. Look at WebmasterWorld theme
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru dojo's Avatar
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    disspy are you from their team or do they pay you to advertise All I see in your posts is praise to their forum engine ...

    As a PHPBB user (advanced I consider myself) I think the script I use is a good one, as long as one knows HOW to use it. The good thing is that there are hundreds of mods ... some are just awesome .. and with some time on your hand you can make the forums great. Still many people can't even change the default phpBB logo, so this makes the 'community' think phpBB is bad.

    I didn't look at the script you mention so much since I am not that interested in another free script. Should I have money I'd buy VB .. till then phpBB is the one for me

  13. #13
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    Hehe, it does sound like I promote their engine, but no I'm just a satisfied user!

    However, I have money, but I VB is not so good option for me, because I need SE traffic on my forums! That's why I prefer these guys, because they worked on some "hidden but useful features" not on some fancy modules or themes!
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