Elgg vs. Ning vs. Dolphin/Ray


I have a client who would like to start a social networking site.

I’m comparing open-source apps first, and found some good ones, but I don’t know if they’ll be perfect for her needs.

Dolphin with Ray widgets - Looks great, like the professional install availability. Needs VPS at about $39/month.

Elgg - New version coming out in Summer '08. I am wondering how tough the install would be.

Ning - Its easy to use and hosted, but, its expensive if you want all branding and etc. removed. Looks like $33/month if you remove alllll the ways its branded, and there are bandwidth/storage limits.

Features we would really like to have:

  1. Membership needed to have access to the site.
  2. Easy smooth install.
  3. Ability to plug in any html/flash widget/code such as the Ray instant messaging widgets, YouTube videos, Google Adsense, or whatever.
  4. As low cost as possible.

I’m leaning toward Ray, but I don’t know if it will allow YouTube/Adsense, and don’t know how I would set up a membership payment system. The membership payment system is right now my biggest concern with any of these options.

I’m really just starting to look into this, I’d love to hear from anyone who has some guidance.


Here are links to all of the above platforms:

http://elgg.org/ (new)
http://classic.elgg.org/ (old)



The more I look at this…

Dolphin’s awesome. :slight_smile:

Yeah, Dolphin is nice… I use it for several of my sites, and you don’t need a VPS (mine are all on shared hosting). I was excited about Elgg too but the mods are VERY limited and I can’t find any templates at all?!


If can afford to invest the time look at drupal as well.

I’ve heard of Ning, but not of Dolphin and Elqq. I’ll be sure to look into them, you guys have me interested… :smiley: thanks!

Reviving this…

Summer9 - am curious what you ended up choosing and how you and your client liked it?

Also interested to hear updated opinions about dolphin vs. Ning…

I initially thought I’d go with Ning to save myself a lot of management and setup time; however I’m interested in running more than just adsense and it looks like Dolphin gives you space for banners as well. Anyone have experience with the two?

I only knew of Ning, so I’m glad you brought this back up. Like the look of Dolphin, so will be passing it along to clients.

Dolphin needs a lot of customization.I use Ning and its very user friendly.

But is Ning very customizable?

elgg the Best Social Networking

Ning is customizable if you sign over your rights to have your source code updated by Ning. Other than that I would say no. You can create CSS templates for it, but you’re just changing the look. Not adding any additional functionality.

Dolphin looks cool. I’m definitely interested even though the internet is currently suffering from Social Networking Fatigue.

i think elgg is best. It has Open ID login.

That is my big concern. I have a friend in a certain area of expertise as a partner if I want but I dont know how successful it will be with regard to the number of social networks on the web now even tho it is rather niche specific.

Elgg is the best,and easy to make plugins if you are good in php. So developers can run a v good facebook site for beer money!

I need some developer to make an eventlist plugin and user Updates and Notifications plugin.
if you are a php guru…it should be smooth in creating this plugin
Any takers?

You should take the service which provide you user friendly and customized outlook.

LovdByLess for those comfortable with RoR

I have been playing with Dolphin lately and I have to say it is a very robust and great social network script.

Am still learning on how to use ning. I also registered to elgg and haven’t seen dolphin … maybe i should try it later.

When you say registered for elgg,did you install the software?


We manage one of the largest web-based Yacht Charter resources, boatbookings.com and we would like to develop a user community based around yacht charter.

I have experimented with a lot of applications, TikiWiki, MediaWiki, Elgg, Dolphin, etc. and I had decided to go ahead with a Dolphin implementation. Shortly after I had installed the application, it was exploited and our server was used to attack other servers. I have since removed all traces of Dolphin from our server and am back in the process of evaluation.

Does anyone know if Dolphin is more susceptible than other applications? Are any more secure than others. At this point, it’s back to Elgg vs. Dolphin but I am concerned about security.

Also, if we want to re-use content from our web site boatbookings.com as the basis for discussion forums, which application will be easiest to access the content in our existing MySQL database, using PHP?