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  • Our forum is growing too big for it's britches!

    I have a few pre-sales questions before I make a decision on switching to vB or sticking with IPB.

    First, a little background.

    I run one of the most active sports discussion forums on the internet. BigBoards.com has us ranked #16 overall in post/member ratio, and we are pushing 1,000,000 posts in just a little under two years. We have been running Invision Power Board from the beginning of the forum, and are just now starting to come into throttling issues with our dedicated server.

    We recently ordered a second dedicated server to run the forums on, removing them from our Blog Network's server (and freeing up quite a bit of resources by doing so).

    We have a SQL database of 1.4GB worth of posts and topics which we don't want to prune for various reasons.

    That said, here are my pre-sales questions:
    1. A lot of our advertising revenue comes though placed Google AdSense advertisements in our forum skin/template. Ideally, we would like to continue advertising in our highly-trafficked forum - is it difficult to edit the board template/wrappers/skins?
    2. Is it possible to turn archived posts into html files to be indexed by search engines? If we could get a forum of static posts, or even posts that aren't stuck in the database for archival purposes indexed by the big SO sites, that could help us realize even more revenue potential.
    3. Is the DB import to vB from IPB simple? Is it something that can be done in a 12 hour timeframe? So much of our traffic occurs between 6am - Midnight, it would be nice to minimize board downtime.
    4. Is vB very resource-intensive? Obviously, this is a concern for us. We want to make sure that the forums are up and running for everyone with as few board errors and SQL overloads as possible.
    Thanks for your help. I look forward to reading the responses.

    Stephen

  • #2
    1. Nope not at all and there is PLENTY of discussion on this topic about the best and easiest ways of doing things.

    2. The default vb archive pulls info from the db but it lists a static list of threads with an html extension. Here is the one from vb.com for example: http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/archive/index.php

    There is also a few discussions about adsense placement in the archive which is what your aiming at

    3. I haven't done an import from ipb but generally its pretty simple. What you would want to do is set up a test board so you can work on your forum style and do a test import just to make sure you dont run into issues.

    Users will need to request a password reset due to the different encryption methods. A little advance notification and possibly checking to see if members emails are up to date before hand should reduce any problems with this.

    4. vb seems to be resource friendly to me. Most of the top big-boards are either running custom coded forums or vbulletin. That says alot.

    What are your new server specs and how many users do you see online during your peak times?

    My db is about 2 gigs so you should be okay there.
    Plan, Do, Check, Act!

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    • #3
      While vB does a decent job of SEO, you can purchase an unofficial modification for vB 3.5.3, called vBSEO ($149). Google for more info.
      Forums

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      • #4
        Is there a large mod/skinning community for vB?

        I know I can find a lot of hacks/mods/skins for IPB, and before I commit to buying, I want to make sure that I can customize the board to the experience my users are familiar with.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sports Cartel
          Is there a large mod/skinning community for vB?

          I know I can find a lot of hacks/mods/skins for IPB, and before I commit to buying, I want to make sure that I can customize the board to the experience my users are familiar with.
          The modification community is over at www.vbulletin.org

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Brad.loo
            The modification community is over at www.vbulletin.org

            Thanks -

            This looks very promising.

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            • #7
              Number 2. There is no feature to archive posts to static html although that is a feature I sure would like to see. The archive that vbulletin has is not really an archive. It still pulls posts from the db albeit without the style. In a way it can add load to your server since when users are browsing the archive it still read from the db. I have many users hit the archive thinking they will find older posts and instead they just get a watered down copy of the forum.
              Admins Zone - Resources for Forum Administrators

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              • #8
                Compared to what it actually does, the name 'archive' is chosen somewhat unlucky indeed.

                IPB sports a similar feature, over there it is being called the 'Lo-Fi version'.
                the SEO largely comes down to this 'lite' version of your forum, it is easily indexed by most SE's.

                Greetings.

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                • #9
                  Final question --

                  We have various membership "tiers," based on financial contributions to the site and forum. We have our tiers set up as user groups. IPB has a subscription option, where we can keep track of who paid, how much, and when their yearly subscription is expiring in the admin control panel -- this makes everything on the administrative end extremely easy to keep tack of. Further, we have a payment gateway set up through 2CheckOut, which makes the transactions flow extremely smoothly from Forum to Point of Sale.

                  Some of our user groups have privileges, like not seeing any of our Google ads displayed. Is there a way to "force" user groups to use certain board skins?

                  Does vB have something similar? If so, it will make a decision very easy.

                  Thanks -- you all have been extremely helpful!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There isn't a way without codehacking vBulletin to force a particular usergroup to use a particular skin. HOWEVER if you were using a particular skin to display ads, you don't have to do that within vBulletin.

                    Simply by using a set of conditionals, you can have ads appear or not appear for a certain group.

                    Example would be:

                    Code:
                    <if condition="is_member_of($bbuserinfo, 1,3,4)">
                    Google Ad Code Goes here...
                    </if>
                    Usergroups 1,3,4 (which for me is Unregistered, Unconfirmed, and COPPA Unconfirmed) would see ads .

                    Simply manipulating conditionals gives you the same desired effects while only maintaining one set of styles rather than two to accomplish the same job.
                    ManagerJosh, Owner of 4 XenForo Licenses, 1 vBulletin Legacy License, 1 Internet Brands Suite License
                    Director, WorldSims.org | Gaming Hosting Administrator, SimGames.net, Urban Online Entertainment

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ManagerJosh
                      There isn't a way without codehacking vBulletin to force a particular usergroup to use a particular skin. HOWEVER if you were using a particular skin to display ads, you don't have to do that within vBulletin.

                      Simply by using a set of conditionals, you can have ads appear or not appear for a certain group.

                      Example would be:

                      Code:
                      <if condition="is_member_of($bbuserinfo, 1,3,4)">
                      Google Ad Code Goes here...
                      </if>
                      Usergroups 1,3,4 (which for me is Unregistered, Unconfirmed, and COPPA Unconfirmed) would see ads .

                      Simply manipulating conditionals gives you the same desired effects while only maintaining one set of styles rather than two to accomplish the same job.
                      Great, thanks!

                      IPB Has something similar, but, as I'm sure you can only begin to imagine, it is infinitely more complicated to implement.

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                      • #12
                        This is probably no help.
                        But....

                        We have a SQL database of 1.4GB worth of posts and topics which we don't want to prune for various reasons.

                        YOU WHAT?!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Steve Austin
                          This is probably no help.
                          But....
                          We have a SQL database of 1.4GB worth of posts and topics which we don't want to prune for various reasons.
                          YOU WHAT?!
                          Wow! We only have about 100MB of stuff in our largest site's database. And thats incuding the CMS.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WisTex
                            Wow! We only have about 100MB of stuff in our largest site's database. And thats incuding the CMS.
                            Man, my forum is like 10 MBS SQL size

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                            • #15
                              oops.

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