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Best Free Forum SW?

#1
FYI - I own two XF licenses and two VB suites.....

That said, I'd like to know your thoughts on what's the best free forum sw. I have a site I'm developing that isn't quite ready for a paid solution.

Thoughts?
 
#7
Ok, cool..I'll check them out.

Now, do these have conversion paths in case I want to upgrade to XF later?

Anyone using these? How's the spam handling?
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#10
I've tried quite a few, as I've been in forums since the mid 90s.

MyBB I haven't tried in a few years, but I hear it has come a long way. When I tried it (probably in '07 or '08?), the features were very limited.

I've had phpBB2 for ages on a few sites, and have also used phpBB3. Seeing how slow their development cycle is, I would not recommend phpBB even to a competitor's forum. Wouldn't wish that headache on anyone. phpBB3.1 is still versions behind where vB was a few years ago. Their support forum is horrible.

SMF had a nice following, but development is essentially dead. They've been in version 2.0RC status for years now. Behind the scenes, the development team had split up and were warring with whoever operated the website IIRC. It was promising, but having been burned by being stuck on a very heavily modified phpBB2, which took a good five or six years to make it to the next major version, I won't get myself stuck again. I have one or two sites still using SMF that need to get migrated, and soon.

I can't recommend bbPress at all: I've tried a few versions, and the backend has way too many shortcomings for a busy forum operation. I liked that it integrated somewhat with Wordpress (in fact, it is a WP plugin now). It just lacks way too much and IMHO, they are reinventing a wheel that has already been over-invented dozens of times.

MyBB appears to have an active and enthusiastic development team, and a healthy following. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of them in the future. Having been with two dead-end free forums (phpBB and SMF), that would be my own top "freebie" pick.
 

Peggy

Well-known member
#11
MyBB appears to have an active and enthusiastic development team, and a healthy following. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of them in the future. Having been with two dead-end free forums (phpBB and SMF), that would be my own top "freebie" pick.
Who knows, maybe one day it'll go paid, like IPB did. :whistle:
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#12
Didn't vB start out with a free (or Lite?) version when they first came out? For some reason I remember considering phpBB2 vs. vB at the time.
 

fos

Active member
#15
I have used phpbb, mybb, and smf. Of the three, I prefer smf. I have had good success with it. It is simple and has nice features. The support community is much better than the one for phpbb. Mybb is much better than vB 4.xx!

Jeff
 

Rudy

Well-known member
#16
I really hate giving up my old phpBB2 though: I probably hand-coded at least 20 or as many as 30 modifications into it, whether it was code, spam protection, template edits, etc. It was so easily hacked though. A friend of mine installed it for his Windows support forum and I had a frantic IM from him saying he'd been hacked, and we managed to clean it up. He then got hacked a lot worse just a couple of weeks later. We stuck the admin directory behind password protection (using htaccess) and it put a stop to the hacking. It took phpBB quite awhile to patch that vulnerability...
 

User

Well-known member
#18
We stuck the admin directory behind password protection (using htaccess) and it put a stop to the hacking.
I think that's really "Best Practices" no matter what forum software one is using and how much trust one puts into that product.