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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Question Best types of forums / message boards ?

    Firstly, apologies if I'm in the wrong section - I did look around first, but couldn't find anywhere else here more suitable. If I am in the wrong place, just move me ( gently ;-) ), I won't mind - I'm very easy-going ;-)

    Anyone here know about setting up forums / message boards ? How easy are they to setup please ? What are the best free programs for them, that have all the bells and whistles ?

    Dez.

  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Message boards are very easy to setup and use, most simply rely on you picking one which meets your needs, downloading the source files, uploading those files to your website, running a setup script (filling in a couple of details on the way) and that's about it. Which program is best to use is down to personal opinion, obviously as you want free, vBulletin and Fusion are out of the question... I would consider looking at either phpBB or Vanilla.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks Alex, so, the options so far, are :

    Paid - vBulletin and Fusion

    Free - phpBB or Vanilla

    Any others worth looking at ?

    What's the discernible difference between them please ? What 'extras' do the 1st two give, that the others don't ?

  4. #4
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    They are pretty much the same, the main differences are in how they work (generally) and the support you can get rather than explicit features, the user base can also affect the number of extensions and themes which exist natively for them. There's literally hundreds of different forum products out there, you will really need to research the ones your interested in to determine if it'll meet your needs, there's no "one size fits all" or "best" product out there.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks Alex, that's appreciated. I'll update my posts with new ones that come up.

    For those that have already a message board, what are the really good things to look for please ? For example, I would want the option of banning by IP address or at least on moderation for a certain amount of posts. I would also want the first two posts to be moderated for new members. Any other bits that you or others here feel are important in running a message board please ?

    Dez.

    Paid - vBulletin, Fusion, Invision

    Free - phpBB or Vanilla

  6. #6
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    There's also SMF or PunBB that you can try.
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  7. #7
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    There's also Phorum.

    There are also some good links to more open-source examples here.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Boardhost - Free (with advertisements) or various paid plans.

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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Dez - most webhosts have something like fantastico installed to let you push a button and install scripts like a free bulletin board or cms...but even if they don't, the process is pretty easy like Alex mentioned.

    Been a while since I ran one myself, but phpBB and Vbulletin are both excellent scripts that have been around for ages and have a huge user base. Take a look at hotscripts.com in the php script section and you'll find plenty of options both free and paid.

    I don't know enough to say what you need to look for in a script, but google "how to choose a forum script" and you'll find a few articles that may help.

    Steve

    P.S. the "scripts and online services" forum here may have been a better place for this topic. Not a big deal, but feel free to ask an admin if you want to have it moved.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    What's the discernible difference between them please ? What 'extras' do the 1st two give, that the others don't ?
    Commercial = Prompt, Faster & Friendlier customer service

    SMF + 1 for me

    Vanilla looked pretty neat too. Always good to do a quick check on secunia.com (and related security sites) to compare which is most secure. Forums will also attract a lot of spam, so any extensions which might facilitate that (like WordPress and Askimet) would probalby be worth considering.

    You have a small list of forum systems here now build a list of features and requirements you want or need and base your selection on that, asking in the forum individual message boards to ask specific questions, like does SMF support feature XYZ.

    Cheers,
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  11. #11
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Paid forum software shouldn't really be considered for small to mediumish traffic forums as it would be hard to justify the cost.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast webapprater's Avatar
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    Hi, I tried few... In my rating

    1. VBulletin
    2. PhpBB
    3. SMF

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Many, many thanks. Quite a few bits of software and ideas I hadn't thought of before. Much appreciated.

    Have googled as well, but for the members here that own forums, what options do you have on them, that you personally judge to be very important please ? Not only for keeping spammers, hackers and troublemakers out, but in also making it very easy to use for the members and for keeping the members etc ?

    Is it a good idea to disable the use of pm's for example - I know some forums do, but I'm not so sure of that method really.

    Any help appreciated.

    Dez.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast addaminsane's Avatar
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    since no one has mentioned kunena i will. of course it is a joomla add on. Its free and integretable into your joomla site seamlessly.

    i've used it. it competes with the other free softwares and passes them based on its integration of joomla.

    obviously if opting to use kunena, you'll want to begin learning about joomla over at joomla.org. kunena can be found at kunena.com
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  15. #15
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Is it a good idea to disable the use of pm's for example - I know some forums do, but I'm not so sure of that method really.
    I would say no, it's a popular feature, as long as you have methods to allow people to report spam and abusive individuals, you'll be perfectly fine

  16. #16
    From space with love silver trophy
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    I would steer clear of any CMS/forum which didn't have a PM feature, with any CMS/forum some conversations will be best kept to using PMs. Most users will want to be able to exchange private messages with others.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thumbs up

    Many thanks for this info, it's all helping.

    For the members here that have their own forums, what options do you have on them, that you personally judge to be very important please ? Not only for keeping spammers, hackers and troublemakers out, but in also making it very easy to use for the members and for keeping the members etc ?

  18. #18
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    I wanted to write this thread and have been putting this off for quite some time. Last year, 2009, was the first "full year" for The Best Forum Ever. Of course, we have been open much longer than that as we opened on June 15th, 2008 (not any earlier despite what Join Dates say). With that said, I wanted to post a lot of statistics from what Google Analytics, AWStats, and vBulletin says. Now note, we are still a growing community even though we may seem large

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanJozef View Post
    I wanted to write this thread and have been putting this off for quite some time. Last year, 2009, was the first "full year" for The Best Forum Ever. Of course, we have been open much longer than that as we opened on June 15th, 2008 (not any earlier despite what Join Dates say). With that said, I wanted to post a lot of statistics from what Google Analytics, AWStats, and vBulletin says. Now note, we are still a growing community even though we may seem large
    Thanks - can you post those statistics ?

    What options do you have on your forum, that you personally judge to be very important please ? Not only for keeping spammers, hackers and troublemakers out, but in also making it very easy to use for the members and for keeping the members etc ?

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
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    The common boards used:

    Paid: vBulletin, Invision power board
    Free: phpBB,myBB,SMF

    They all have their advantages/disadvantages but i prefer vBulletin for paid and phpBB for free.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seo_Pro View Post
    The common boards used:

    Paid: vBulletin, Invision power board
    Free: phpBB,myBB,SMF

    They all have their advantages/disadvantages but i prefer vBulletin for paid and phpBB for free.
    Thanks - for you personally, what does vBulletin have, that phpBB doesn't please ?

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict
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    I've tried all of the forums listed in here & I gotta say vBulletin for commercial & SMF for non-commercial.
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thumbs up

    Many thanks Sha - that info coming from someone that has tried all of these, is appreciated.

    For the moment, I will go the free route, but one thing - how does SMF score over phpBB ?

  24. #24
    SitePoint Member ABCDiamond's Avatar
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    I like SMF for a free forum, I haven't tried any paid ones, as I only really play with them.

    I find that SMF feels easier to use than phpBB.

    And I like all the easy to install packages, including the anti-spam options.

  25. #25
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    Plenty of options, I prefer vbulletin.


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