Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
What Forum Software should I use?

we want to migrate our sites current forum (proprietary built) to a newer, more modern (feature rich) platform. I've been looking around at the available options and have narrowed it down to vBulletin, Vanilla or Phorum (unless you have another suggestion ?). I hope someone here can give me some feedback on their experiences either migrating to a new forum or working deeply with one.

The current forum we have has approx 2.2 million threads in it and is contained in a MySQL database. Data Migration is obviously the first issue, is one of the major Forum vendors better or worse in this regard ?

The software needs to be able to be clustered and cached to ensure availability and performance.

We want it to be PHP based and store it's data in MySQL.

The code needs to be open to allow us to highly customise the software both to strip out a lot of stuff and be able to integrate our sites features. A lot of the forums I've looked at have a lot of duplicate features to our main site, in particular member management, profiles etc. I realise we'll have to do a good bit of development in removing these and tieing it all back to the main site so we want to find a platform that makes this kind of integration as easy as possible.

Finally I guess if 'future proofing' the forum (as best as possible) given the above. Which platform will allow us to customise it but also allow us to keep instep with upgrades. Which forum software has the best track record for bringing online new features in a timely manner ? etc. etc.

I know it's a big question but if anyone here has any experience in some or all of the above I'd be very grateful.

share|improve this question
add comment

marked as duplicate by danlefree Feb 12 '12 at 2:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

5 Answers

I don't have time to write a very long response to this, I'm afraid, but I have had very good experiences using MyBB, which is essentially just like vBulletin, but free and open-source. It has timely security fixes, has a useful, if not a very large, community and the software is in my experience fast, easily customizable, secure and has great features with some even better plugins.

I do not have experience using it with such a large forum, however, so I can't tell you it will be a perfect fix for your situation, but it does have a simple import/migration tool built-in, which is more than I can say for some of the payware alternatives.

It is PHP/MySQL based.

It is cached well in my experience, although you can further increase that using server-side caching if necessary.


http://www.mybb.com/features/performance/

Built-in support for eAccelerator, memcached and X-Cache caching.

In a standard installation of MyBB, we already cache the most frequently accessed items (a list of forums, user groups, birthdays etc) to either the database or the file system. While this is a great speed and optimization improvement, having this information stored in memory on the server is quicker once again.

MyBB also has the ability to store cached information using built-in shared memory caching from PHP modules such as X-Cache and eAccelerator and also has the ability to interface with memcached servers for cache storage.


http://www.mybb.com/

Good documentation:

http://wiki.mybb.com/index.php/Main_Page

share|improve this answer
    
+1 - I'm a big myBB fan as well –  Andrew Heath Jan 30 '11 at 8:34
add comment

I've used phpBB before and it's very good/well done. And also Drupal's builtin forums module which is very powerful.

share|improve this answer
    
Making themes is really annoying though. I don't even remember why, but I gave up after a few days partly because I could use no PHP at all in my theme files. Also, installing 'plugins' on phpBB usually means editing the core files, which means you can't upgrade the software without having to re-install every plugin. –  Stephan Muller Nov 30 '10 at 18:20
    
It takes a bit to get used to doing that, I highly recommend trying drupal. –  OneOfOne Nov 30 '10 at 20:41
add comment

vBulletin is the best forum software from a user/administrator perspective imo, but for developers it's really annoying. The code is very complicated, themes have to be edited inside the browser in small textareas as they are saved in the database (so no Eclipse or Zend Development Environment :( ) and writing plugins can be a challenge too sometimes, especially when you need certain global variables. They have added a lot of hooks over the years though, which is pretty useful for making plugins.

If it's going to support a rather big community and you don't have a lot to develop for it, take vBulletin. If you have to develop a lot, want freedom in your html templates and don't have a +10k userbase, you should try something else. MyBB sounds promising.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Have you considered StackExchange clones?

I can only speak as a user, but I definitely favor Stackoverflow/StackExchange types of forums, as opposed to phpBB. I basically never participate in a phpBB: the format just turns me off.

Some Stackexchange clones:

osqa.net

coordino.com (which I saw for sale - the whole website - on flippa)

there are others.

share|improve this answer
    
StackExchange isn't a messageboard or even a forum in the strict sense. They're Q&A sites and are completely unsuitable for the online discussions that forums are generally used for. If the "format" of phpBB turns you off, then you're not looking for a community forum. –  Lèse majesté Dec 31 '10 at 1:21
    
If Stackexchange style is suitable for online discussion is a matter of opinion. This very page and website is a place of discussion, as far as I am concerned. –  tucson Dec 31 '10 at 14:51
    
If you use Stack Exchange only for discussion, you're Doing It Wrong. The design of Stack Exchange has been directed towards getting canonical answers to questions through a reputation and voting system. Discussion is only meant to clarify or debate the merits of an answer. This is a vastly different purpose than a pure discussion forum. –  ghoppe Jan 31 '11 at 17:38
add comment

I've been looking around at the available options and have narrowed it down to vBulletin, Vanilla or Phorum.

I don't have a lot of experience with those other forums, but I'm a big fan of Vanilla. Vanilla 2 code is based on a php MVC framework, very clean, and easy to customize and integrate.

The code needs to be open to allow us to highly customise the software both to strip out a lot of stuff and be able to integrate our sites features. A lot of the forums I've looked at have a lot of duplicate features to our main site, in particular member management, profiles etc.

Vanilla has a Sign-On Integration system allowing it to integrate with your site's member management.

Finally I guess if 'future proofing' the forum (as best as possible) given the above. Which platform will allow us to customise it but also allow us to keep instep with upgrades. Which forum software has the best track record for bringing online new features in a timely manner?

Upgrading Vanilla is fairly painless, as well, is open-source, and as long as you follow conventions for customizations, can be upgraded without ruining custom page code. I am impressed by the administrative backend and easy addon upgrade system.

share|improve this answer
add comment