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Considering a big forum conversion to Xenforo

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Curious, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Curious

    Curious Member

    I manage a large sports-related forum running VB 3.8.7. I've been doing this a long time. We were originally UBB and I remember how refreshing it was to go to VBulletin, using an actual database, some 10 years ago. I've been keeping an eye on Xenforo for awhile and I feel that switching here could have a similar positive impact. Two huge draws for me are the alerts system and the instant likes. I'm getting closer to pulling the trigger.

    Just the same, it petrifies me because what we have now works, is stable and our core users are so used to it. However, I feel stuck on advancing the software.

    I have a lot of questions, so I'll fire them off.

    1. How does Xenforo do on speed and reliability for big boards?
    I don't know how "big" we'd be considered, but we have about 6-7 million posts and 40K+ members. We get between 800-1000 concurrent users, with infrequent instances when traffic spikes to 3,000. We went through hell for years trying to get the optimization right to avoid major slowdown/shutdown during those spikes and it's running well now. Does either the XF core code or the "slickness" (JQuery, etc.) of Xenforo slow down the user experience on high traffic boards? This is the most critical question I have.

    2. What important admin features from VB are missing in Xenforo?
    I keep hearing from people that "Xenforo is great, but it's missing some admin features that VB has."

    3. How is the search system for big boards?
    I've heard I may need to run third party software for search.

    4. How are higher quality threads recognized?
    I never liked the "Thread Rating" in VB because a 5-star thread could have 1-2 votes or 12 votes and it would still show the same "5-star." First post likes is fine by me, but there's no visibility of it that I see on the threads list. I'd love to see a +4 or +21 next to the thread for how many first post likes it received. Easily changed in a style?

    5. Is there a Xenforo style created out there that is a little more similar to VB?
    I love Xenforo's default style, but it's a shocking change from what we have with VB. I'd like to convert and make it look more similar to what we have but "upgraded." Point being I'd like to lessen the shock a bit of the change to the long-time users.

    6. Is there a way to "turn off" avatars?
    We do not currently use avatars (mainly because I worry about server load), though I believe we will start using them if we go to XF. I'm just curious if initially there is a way to disable them.

    7. Is it possible to get a demo of Xenforo for longer than 3 days?
    The demo system here is great, but would love to have more time for it. I've got a small panel of core users I'd like to demo it to, but I also want to style some aspects of it before showing it to them. I made the mistake of doing that over a few days before I realized the demo was gone.

    8. What are some big boards that have made the switch?
    I spoke with the owner of Urban75, who was extremely helpful. I'd be curious to know of other big forums that have made the conversion.

    I'm sure I'll have more questions, but those are some of the ones I have right now. Whether we convert or not, I just want to say you guys have done fantastic work with XF.

    Thank you!
    ge66, lazy llama and Walter like this.
  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    1. There are several large forums (10 million+ posts) running without issue. Most people report that less server resources are used with XenForo.

    2. I'll leave that for others to comment on.

    3. There is an official Enhanced Search add-on available which is recommended for forums with over 1 million posts.

    4. There is no thread rating system, but threads can be sorted by first post likes. A template edit would likely resolve the visibility issue; curiously I don't think anyone has ever done it.

    5. Styles are available here: http://xenforo.com/community/resources/categories/styles.29/ and here: http://xenforo.com/community/forums/styles/

    6. Several people have managed to do this with a custom style and template edits.

    7. Send a message using Contact Us

    8. See here: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/the-big-forum-list.26352/
  3. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    1. From my own personal experiences (1.2 million posts) simply making the switch from vbulletin to xenforo reduced our server load dramatically.

    2. To be honest, i have not noticed anything asside from the admin / moderator setup is somewhat different.

    3. Depending on your server specs, you would want to use the Enhanced Search solution. We use it and it returns results for 1 or 2 letter searches in <0.4 sec

    4. By likes, but there is nothing specific to Xenforo yet which effects weighting.

    5. I recall seeing one design very similar to vb3 in my browsing.

    6. Just remove them from the templates, but you would probably be fine to use them with XenForo :)

    7. As above

    8. You can check our board out @ www.p8ntballer-forums.com
  4. DBA

    DBA Well-Known Member

    To coast along means you have to go downhill.....
    Coming from vB4 it had a learning curve, however after using it for the last month on a daily basis, it's now much easier to use. Some of the things I've found missing are:
    • No true multi-quote
    • No way to merge users
    • Can't copy posts
    I'd recommend the XF Enhanced Search, if a noob like me can install it.......
    Once you understand the basics of how the XF style works it's pretty easy to make it do what you want it to. For example here are some before and afters:





    Pretty sure you can't completely disable avatars, however you can prevent your users from uploading them. I wouldn't recommend that though as the avatar becomes your identity in this software.
  5. Curious

    Curious Member

    Brogan -- can't thank you enough for the amazingly quick reply. That has given me some good reading and I will contact you guys once ready to re-do the demo (which will be very soon). As for search, sounds like Enhanced Search is the way to go.

    Thanks! I'll be looking for it, but if you spot it again, I'd love to see a link.

    Very nicely done! The header and style there is much closer to what I'm looking for.

    Thank you! Inability to copy posts is the one that would hurt for us since I do use it from time to time, but I'm sure that will be in the pipeline and we'd survive without it.

    You nailed it -- thank you. If it's possible without damaging the JQuery slickness of XF, then that's good enough for me. If I was starting a new community I'd go with the XF default style to begin with since it's very clean and modern, but I only want that as an option (and not default) for now since so many are established with what we have.

    I'll proceed with the demo and unless something is a big "gotcha" for now, I'll likely purchase and migrate a copy of our database for more users to test before a final move decision. Again, thank you all for the help. Great community here.
  6. DBA

    DBA Well-Known Member

    All the "slickness" is still there, plus I even added more. :p

    The cool part is that most of that can be done with just CSS.
  7. SchmitzIT

    SchmitzIT Well-Known Member

    Good luck on your purchase. You'll not regret it :) Neither from an admin perspective, but you'll also find your users love the experience.
  8. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    In general the admin control panel stuff is much improved from vB3.8.x. The ACP search is really handy. The only place I've noticed things 'missing' so far is in the user pane. A user's join date, last visited date, etc aren't automatically listed. There's also no link directly to the 'send password reset' page. Those sorts of things are easily fixed with quick template edits, though.
  9. tmb

    tmb Active Member

    There is an add-on called NSFW or something similar that turns off avatars on a per-user basis. Might be of some help.

    We run a site with over 6 million posts ourselves and are able to run things rather quickly despite not being on 1.1 yet and some backend changes we need to make still. 1 dedicated box handles it all very well.

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