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Comparing vBulletin to PHPbb

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  • Comparing vBulletin to PHPbb

    I am posting this message at Steve Machol's suggestion.

    A colleague of mine runs a very active discussion group that is currently on Yahoo Groups as an e-mail discussion list. Members of the list send a message to a central e-mail address, and it is replicated to the e-mail boxes of all the other members. I believe there are about 700 members, and the message volume ranges from 10 to 70 messages per day.

    My friend is now taking a serious look at converting to a bulletin-board format. His paradigm is the forum at, which uses the vBulletin forum software.

    Obviously, anyone looking at this kind of move would also consider PHPbb, which at least superficially looks very similar to vBulletin. It is also free, rather than $160 for a license, but I don't consider the $160 license fee to be a major factor in this decision.

    Would those of you who have experience with either or both platforms be kind enough to speak up in support or opposition to the two? It will help me make a thoughtful recommendation to my friend.



  • #2
    I have just signed up with vB in the last few days and I have to say, I don't know why it took me so long to convert! It was the best decision that I have made for myself and my site. I spent hours on phpBB installing mods (yes, there is an installer but doesn't work for everything) that come standard on vB boards. In addition, the support here at vB is a hundred times better than that which I received at phpBB. I appreciate what phpBB is trying to do but I think that the $160 is well worth the lack of frustration and time spent modding my board.

    In addition, everything in vB seems easier, including add new styles (that will inherit your previous changes), modifying template files, etc.

    Just my two cents. I only wish that I would have started out with vB.


    • #3
      how to post without flaming this will be hard so bare with me.

      vB is more secure, has better and faster support and the members like myself help out when and where possible. vB has a LOT of standars features witch phbb would require mods and skinning vB is a breeze with the execption of images i made a new vB skin in just 20 minuites or less.


      • #4
        hi there,

        i have used phpBB for manny years from version one to 3 i believe it is don't remember exactely after that when i purchased myself payed hosting i decided to buy a vbulletin licence phpBB invision powberboard ikonboard they are all good but vbulletin is the one and only of it's kind that perfectly meets all the requirements that i give to such software phpBB is a good free alternative but for bigger things like yours will be vbulletin is the one and only solution that will be able to handle the "traffic" you are free to look at other forum software but you will come back here trust me


        • #5
          I've used phpBB. To get even some of vB's features (like obvious ones like subforums and topic attachments) requires major hacking and can result in huge database errors...phpBB is good, the best of the free boards. But it cannot compete with vB!


          • #6
            phpBB is a great solution to those who don't want to much out of their community and simply want to install it, and have users register and post. Personally I'd like to get more out of my forum software by controlling features, enabling or disabling options. Tweaking performance. Have optimized and secure code, balanced against usability and support, etc. The choice is easy: vBulletin is more, and can be setup to be as simple as phpBB.

            But that is just how I look at it.


            • #7
              Thanks to All Who Responded So Far

              Thank you all for your comments.

              Interestingly enough, I posted the same question on a technical forum at my own web host, and the System Administrator mentioned that vBulletin is a much better "citizen" in terms of its use of server resources than some of the other alternatives (including PHPbb). The overall message was that, from a technical standpoint, any forum that was expected to get significant usage would be better on vBulletin.

              I am anticipating that my friend will already be predisposed to vBulletin simply because that is the platform he came across at But all specifics about your experiences, technical issues, etc., will be welcome.

              Thanks again.



              • #8
                He has a good point.
                I think if you run colleague software and vBulletin and have 2500 users browse one thread over a period of 1 hour that the vBulletin instance will perform better.


                • #9
                  You cannot compare vBulletin with PHPBB! They are in a totally different league. Trying to compare them would be like comparing a Ferarri and a Ford Fiesta with one another!

                  PHPBB is fine if you want to run a small community. But if you would like more control and features, stay away from PHPBB unless you fancy installing loads of hacks.
                  PHPBB has not had a major feature update in years! I believe it is still pretty much the same as to what it was back in 2002. (With bug fixes of course)

                  You get what you pay for.
                  Last edited by HostOrbit; Mon 13 Dec '04, 4:10pm.


                  • #10
                    Features and Controls

                    Originally posted by HostOrbit
                    PHPBB is fine if you want to run a small community. But if you would like more control and features, stay away from PHPBB unless you fancy installing loads of hacks.
                    What are some of the significant control and feature items, not included in the basis PHPbb distribution, that a typical forum owner would be interested in? That could be the decisive issue, because my friend, although fairly web-savvy, is not a techno-weenie by any means and would not be interested in doing a lot of minute tweaking and hacking.

                    Appreciate all your comments.


                    • #11
                      Quick reply, attachments, most of our admincp,


                      • #12
                        Previous PHPBB forum, now I'm on VBulletin.

                        I found PHPBB was not keeping up. The learning curve on vbulletin was a little steeper than I exprected (probably because I was thinking in the phpbb paradigm) but now I find it much easier to administer my vbulletin forum.

                        Sub forums is a big plus of VB and great support from the Vbulletin staff.

                        The only thing missing from VB that I miss is the ability to prune a particular forum at regular intervals ( I have a forum that I don't want any posts more than 2 weeks old) but other than that I'm firmly committed to VB.


                        • #13
                          Here is my analysis:

                          PHPbb Staff/Support:

                          • Because it is "Open Source" the Staff there does not have to be nice to you, and they chose not to, it is either a response saying, this issue was posted 10 years ago, search the board, or no reply, and this is from experience with them, they aren't really the nicest people for support.
                          I give their staff 5 out of 10

                          PhpBB System/Software:
                          • The software can have some interesting features, at times but it is missing some very important features that almost every BB has these days, such as quick reply, and of course the User Control Panel(Coming in PHPBB Version #2.2 but that will never release).
                          • The one thing I do like about PhpBB is that there are alot of mods and add ons for it, a larger database than Of course that is because it is open source.
                          • Then, the way PHPbb is built, makes it hard to run with alot of members, it really can mess up the server with alot of members on.
                          I give the system itself a 6 out of 10

                          VBulletin Staff:
                          • This is truely the best support I have ever received, I usually get a response from the staff within 10-20 mins of posting time, not to mention all the vb gurus who see the thread before the staff, and post within 1-8 minutes, and of course, all the help I get is extremely elaborate and well worded so even a chimp could understand.
                          I give the staff a rating of 9.7 out of 10

                          Vbulletin Software:
                          • Alot of already useful features set in to save several hours of hacking the forum, as well as a huge database of hacks and add ons at
                          • Able to run very large boards( i think has over 10 million posts and has thousands on at a time, and it runs fast and efficiently.
                          • Style System. It is so easy, gives you alot of mods if you dont know how to do something, but editing css is so easy. Check it out for yourself
                          vBulletin software 9 out of 10(will be ten when the OO version comes out)

                          Most of the points here are just features that I personally like or dislike, but if you would like to try it out for yourself, sign up for an admininstration demo.


                          • #14
                            Just out of curosity, and just for the purpose of feedback to the Jelsoft team so they can improve, why were they off by .3 points?
                            ManagerJosh, Owner of 4 XenForo Licenses, 1 vBulletin Legacy License, 1 Internet Brands Suite License
                            Director, | Gaming Hosting Administrator,, Urban Online Entertainment


                            • #15
                              I guess I could give up sleep - but I think the quality of my support might suffer.
                              Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
                              Change CKEditor Colors to Match Style (for 4.1.4 and above)

                              Steve Machol Photography

                              Mankind is the only creature smart enough to know its own history, and dumb enough to ignore it.


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