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View Full Version : phpBB versus vBulletin

2003-06-12, 05:40
I am familiar with vBulletin. It is the software driving this forum as well as Zeropaid (http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/). vBulletin costs $85 a year for a lease, or $160 for a license.

phpBB is forum software and is one of the many fine creations featured on Sourceforge (http://sourceforge.net/). All of the software there is free and is open source. Here is the phpBB user's guide (http://www.phpbb.com/guide/phpBB_Users_Guide.html).

Another board running phpBB is P2P Forums (http://www.p2pforums.com/). I gave it a test run myself at http://www.napsterite.org/forum/ with version 2.0.4. It's open to the public, and guests can reply to posts.

It is a simpler program than vBulletin, and it has fewer options. In phpMyAdmin it has 28 tables, compared to 40 with vBulletin. It has more bugs, but considering it's free, it works okay. I didn't get to try out some features such as backing up the database. If money is not an object or you plan to run a bulletin board seriously, then I would go with vBulletin. If you are just starting out, want to experiment, or want to save some money, then go with phpBB.

Here are some things I noticed about phpBB when compared to vBulletin:
I had trouble uploading an avatar from my home computer. I had to get an avatar webhosted with a link in order to get it working properly.
PMs are not optional. They're mandatory. One can not turn off the option.
When an admin browses the board, he can not tell if a person has chosen to have the e-mail hidden without going into the control panel. In vBulletin, the admin does not see the hidden e-mail, except in the control panel.
There is no ignore list.
There are no custom titles that the users can set for themselves. Instead there is a thing called "rank", which is the default user title that a person can have after so many posts.
The default session length in phpBB is 3600 seconds, while the default length in vBulletin is 900 seconds. A longer session length allows the admin to gain a better understanding of who's online, because the person still appears online if the admin checks infrequently. No matter what it is set to though, it says on the front page of the phpBB forum: "This data is based on users active over the past five minutes". Actually that statement would only be accurate if the session were set to 300 seconds. vBulletin has a session limit option, which phpBB doesn't have. Here's where the trouble comes from. In vBulletin it is by default 0, or unlimited, meaning that if I go into the forum and then close the browser, and then open it up again within the session time frame, it will allow me to, because multiple sessions are allowed. In phpBB, a person will run into problems if he closes the browser and then tries to come back to the site within the session time. It will think he's already logged in, so it won't accept his login. That's why the session can't be too long in phpBB. But if it's too short, then the who's online (http://www.napsterite.org/forum/viewonline.php) is hard to keep track of for the admin. Because of this fluke, you see that there were 14 users online June 5 at napsterite.org. That was actually just me trying to log in, before I fixed the session problem by reducing the time. It is now set to 120 seconds.
IP addresses for users are not displayed except in the admin control panel. There is no way to track IP addresses in posts or to look one up of a user. It is possible to ban IP addresses though.

2003-06-13, 00:54
Haaay harbie;

How dare U post on my Forum.

have not you noticed, dillweed;

It's all nicobie~all the time here.

2003-06-25, 04:40
I gave a test run of Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com/). It comes as an unregistered free version, and if you register it for $60 a year, you get more options. Here is a site that is running it for their forum.

The version I tried out was the unregistered version 1.1.2. I set it up as a test. Feel free to check it out here yourselves:

Here are some features of it:
Edit time restriction: This is a feature that allows one to prevent editing of a post after a certain time by users. Neither phpBB or vBulletin have this option. This is good to prevent people sneaking back later and editing their posts.
Allow user to remove 'Edited by' legend: In vBulletin, only administrators have the option of changing whether their edit is shown or not, and that change is set in the admin control panel. Here, a person can decide for each post whether he wants to enable the "last edited by", if such a thing is allowed by the administrators.
Moderators control panel: This is separate from the admin control panel, and has tools like IP address lookups. In fact the admin has to also use this moderator control panel as well for IP lookups, because such a thing is not available in the admin control panel.
The admin control panel has a security feature by way of confirmation, so that you don't accidentally give users priveleges you don't want to.
There are two things underneath a user's name: title, and rank. I couldn't figure out how to change the title. That appears to be broken or not working in the unregistered copy of IPB.
There is good database maintenance and options in the admin control panel. One can backup and repair the database from there.
Being hidden or not is not done in one's profile. Instead, when logging in, one selects whether to remain hidden or not.

I found it both amusing and sexist when reading the automated message that the forum sends to the administrator when a new member joins:
Hello Mr. Admin Sir!

You have received this email because a new user has registered!

MenstruatingJesus completed their registraton on Jun 25 2003, 01:30 AM

You can turn off user notification in the Admin Control Panel

Have a super day!


The IBDildo team.

2003-09-12, 06:45
You can preview both your PMs and the editing of your posts.
When you visit the new threads, it shows the changed icon after you read each thread, even when you skip some. vBulletin just shows you all the new threads in your current session, and after you read them they still appear new until the session expires.

2003-09-12, 16:09
long as its not slow as a snail or in bright yellow and i can still post i think they all good but i guess it depends on users for the speed keep it small no need to be popular :p

2003-09-12, 16:29
I find that Invision Power Board is too complicated. I couldn't figure out how to change the theme colors in the admin control panel. Also it has complicated looking links, such as this one for example:

Well, it has three equal signs in the link as supposed to vBulletin, which has 2 in a link, and phpBB, which only has one, such as this one for example:

2003-09-13, 08:42
*BOWS* to the god?
u do it
i am but a mere peasant farmer havent done this stuff b4 lol
i can do html though lol just not had a server or hosting to put something bigger up so not got the chance at all

which is cheapest but does everything u need but dosent have crap extra u dont? theres gotta be one that stands out

2003-09-13, 18:43
Originally posted by Criminal_Sniper
which is cheapest but does everything u need but dosent have crap extra u dont? theres gotta be one that stands out
Definitely you would want phpBB then. The only problem is that you can't just throw it onto a website because these forums require something known as a "MySQL database", on a Unix server, which you do not have access to by way of a typical ftp account. In other words, you couldn't set up a phpBB forum on the free web space that your ISP gave you. Here are the plans of F5 Hosting (http://www.f5hosting.com/plans.php), and this forum is running on the "bronze" plan, which is the cheapest plan possible. I couldn't use the "basic" plan because there is no MySQL database with it.

2003-09-13, 19:56
i hope to get a server oneday but hosting sometime soon till then
i wonder who could i choose?
ive not had to do it b4 had some space on a mates 40 & 20 gig servers and some free space but not much i could put a big forum in
im only getting started too :p
ive got a site now at least
im into music (of course)
so ive put a site up to talk and put down stuff about maybe start some team to work on stuff oneday.....hmmmm oneday