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Hello from a UK forum owner (vB currently!)

SeaDog

Active member
#1
Hi,

I couldn't spot a dedicated 'introduce yourself' area, so I'm posting in here. I've just joined xF after lurking for the last few years. I've been developing vBulletin-based forums for last 12 years, the biggest one is a UK-based forum with 160k users and 6.8m posts. I also have some smaller sites, one of which runs on IPB.

There aren't that many large UK-based forums and therefore it's a relatively small world (I know, in a virtual sense, Stu from AVF as well as a couple of others). I also had the opportunity, many moons ago, to chat with Kier and some of the old vB team when they had a booth at a show in Earls Court.

I can't yet commit to swapping my largest forum to xF, but at the same time I know that I won't be going to vB 5.x. This leaves me seeking a new 'home' for my various forums and hopefully xF will turn out to be the choice.

In the meantime I thought I should at least join in with the discussions and share anything I can from my decade or so of running large forums :)
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#2
Hey and welcome.

Moving any large forum is a massive undertaking, and im sure you will soon be eager to get started with XenForo :)
 

SeaDog

Active member
#4
Yes, Shawn has certainly been an inspiration in terms of what's achievable :)

After a decade of being indexed by Google, thousands of our threads (we have nearly 500k threads for our 6.8m posts) rank very well in Google, despite us running plain-old 3.8.7 and no vBSEO! Moving to any software provider will see these URLs change and then we'll be at the mercy of Googlebot to see whether they get re-indexed correctly and, more importantly, with a similar rank. This could have an overnight impact on our earnings and, for large forums, the decision is often as much about the business as it is the capability of the software (in a perfect world it would be all about the software!).
 

DaiAku

Active member
#5
Hi SeaDog!

Welcome! I am the opposite of you in many ways as far as experience goes. Never set up a board before and started looking into software last year. Was sure I was going us vB because it seemed to be the board software of choice then started doing research and found xF. Tried demos and made the choice of Xenforo after long discussions with co-workers. I can say that I am very happy with the Xenforo. One of the biggest pluses is that the community here is really awesome and the support you can get that way alone is outstanding. Looking forward to seeing you around!:)
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#7
Yes, Shawn has certainly been an inspiration in terms of what's achievable :)

After a decade of being indexed by Google, thousands of our threads (we have nearly 500k threads for our 6.8m posts) rank very well in Google, despite us running plain-old 3.8.7 and no vBSEO! Moving to any software provider will see these URLs change and then we'll be at the mercy of Googlebot to see whether they get re-indexed correctly and, more importantly, with a similar rank. This could have an overnight impact on our earnings and, for large forums, the decision is often as much about the business as it is the capability of the software (in a perfect world it would be all about the software!).
I believe Shawn mentioned the other day, his impact on rankings was absolutely minimal with the redirects in place.
 

SeaDog

Active member
#8
I take it you couldn't afford the super computer needed to run your forum on vB4, let alone vB5 !
Lol! Actually no, it was more to do with the fact "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - we have loads of plugins and custom work on vb3.8.x and couldn't see a good reason to upgrade. Equally it would have changed the URLs and, for the reason mentioned above in post #5 - we didn't want to take the business risk :)

Experience has taught me not to rush in to things. Kier and the team have been sat on their hands (for well known reasons) for a long time and it's likely that the coming months will see a lot of revisions and new features being released. It therefore seems prudent to wait out this turbulent (in a good way!) time and then properly explore xF once they've released their pent up passion for developing this already excellent looking script.
 

CTXMedia

Formerly CyclingTribe
#9
You'll probably benefit from the Enhanced Search add-on with that many posts - and "Hello" from another UK site owner with a few million posts forum too. (y)

I moved from IP.Board 3.x and my members love it, my mods love it (for the inline modding tools) and I love it because I get more done in less time.

Internally we noticed an immediate increase in activity but we also (like many others who migrated) noticed a dip in referals from the mighty Google as everything was re-indexed (I think it took about four months for CycleChat to start coming around) - so yes, definitely plan for a possible dip in revenue in the short term. [Note: Our #2 ranking for cycling forum was unaffected throughout - so that was good! :) ]

No doubt you'll account for putting redirects in place and you won't panic when you notice a drop in page views (because the AJAX actions in XF don't refresh the whole page like they do in vB3.x ... ;) ) .

There's plenty of helpful people here who can advise so I expect it will be a good experience overall and you'll enjoy the freshness of XF once you get everything moved over; I've certainly never looked back. :D

Cheers,
Shaun :D
 

SeaDog

Active member
#10
Cheers for that input Shaun and interesting to hear about your indexing experience. I've started a personal conversation (fancy - I was looking for the PM button!) with you about UK forums.
 

CTXMedia

Formerly CyclingTribe
#11
Cheers for that input Shaun and interesting to hear about your indexing experience. I've started a personal conversation (fancy - I was looking for the PM button!) with you about UK forums.
Yeah, it's obviously an important consideration when you're financially reliant on your board.

Have a good look around here though as quite a few people have chronicled their migration to XF and they make for good reading. (y)
 

Deebs

Well-known member
#12
Hi Seadog,

I have a UK forum with just shy of 4million posts, converted back in October 2011 from vb3.8 and vbSEO. Here is the thread I started whilst testing and beta testing at the time the CLI importer:

http://xenforo.com/community/threads/migrating-a-large-forum-to-xenforo-test-migration.21223/

This was my holding page during the conversion (something which always makes me laugh when I see it!) : http://xenforo.com/community/thread...nforo-test-migration.21223/page-3#post-275929

Have a read and ask any questions. XF is well worth it. I also run the Enhanced Search and was a beta tester of that too.
 

Crayo

Active member
#15
Hi Seadog,
This was my holding page during the conversion (something which always makes me laugh when I see it!) : http://xenforo.com/community/thread...nforo-test-migration.21223/page-3#post-275929
.
That is awesome.

SeaDog, if you do go through with it, could you post another thread (or bump this one) with updates on how it goes? I think there are many people pondering a move to Xenforo and would benefit from your insight. It's a risk but it's one of those risks which could easily turn into gold. Good luck!
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#16
Seadog croeso and welcome from another UK admin.
There are others here much more techie than me to help you with your transition decisions. But I do know my way round XF community and I generally do small bits of support for new XF admins on hwo to find something or which addon.
 

Onimua

Well-known member
#17
Experience has taught me not to rush in to things. Kier and the team have been sat on their hands (for well known reasons) for a long time and it's likely that the coming months will see a lot of revisions and new features being released. It therefore seems prudent to wait out this turbulent (in a good way!) time and then properly explore xF once they've released their pent up passion for developing this already excellent looking script.
I don't believe you're going to see any sort of slow development any time soon. ;) After all, they designed XenForo to be a quick-development, yet stable, software.

Upgrades are very painless compared to what you're used to with vBulletin, even with their plug-in system. Once you start digging into the software I imagine you'll find a lot of interesting stuff. :)
 

Deebs

Well-known member
#18
Lol! Actually no, it was more to do with the fact "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - we have loads of plugins and custom work on vb3.8.x and couldn't see a good reason to upgrade. Equally it would have changed the URLs and, for the reason mentioned above in post #5 - we didn't want to take the business risk :)

Experience has taught me not to rush in to things. Kier and the team have been sat on their hands (for well known reasons) for a long time and it's likely that the coming months will see a lot of revisions and new features being released. It therefore seems prudent to wait out this turbulent (in a good way!) time and then properly explore xF once they've released their pent up passion for developing this already excellent looking script.
Just one thing, I've yet to see a rushed release from XenForo Ltd. They just do not do it, they would rather not release than release something which is not ready for public use. Over the next coming months I will update my forums the moment they release something, why? Because I know it will work. Over here it is a different way of working, trust me, you will not be disappointed.
 

digitalpoint

Well-known member
#19