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Paul Elliott
09-10-2009, 08:59 PM
I am supervising a website that needs forum software. It is a site with a free section and one that is subscription.

I'm looking to install SW that can handle both types of visitors.

Are there any considerations or problems I'm missing?

Any suggestions for such SW packages?

Thank you all.

Paul

cbscreative
09-10-2009, 09:54 PM
This forum, like many others on the net, uses vBulletin. Vangogh is much more able to handle tech questions about it, but I see no reason it won't suit your need. There are a lot of plug-ins for it too.

Patrysha
09-11-2009, 12:05 AM
I have not tried it (other than to mess around while I was writing their press releases to get a feel for the site and what it could do) but from what I've learned MemberSpeed might be something to look into.

vangogh
09-11-2009, 12:27 AM
Paul what's the site built on? Is it simply a static site or is it running on top of a CMS?

If you're looking for a standalone forum I like vBulletin the best. It's a little pricey. The owned license is $180(?) and then you might want to get the vBSEO plugin which is another $150(?) Both then require additional money each year (about $75 total) to for support and upgrades.

I looked at a lot of different forum software last year and decided vBulletin was the way to go. There are other applications though. A couple of other popular choices are SMF and Invasion Board.

The reason I asked how the site was built is because if it's powered by a CMS there might be a plugin for that CMS to integrate a forum. That could be the easiest way to go since integration would likely be seamless. For example WordPress integrates nicely with bbPress, which is owned by the same people who develop WordPress. I looked into that last year, but I didn't think it was quite ready to handle our community. A year later it's closer to being ready. If I were to add a forum to my WordPress site now I'd probably choose bbPress.

seolman
09-11-2009, 12:32 AM
Paul - if you will be having free and paid sections of the forum you are really looking at assigning user roles. You will also be looking at accepting payments, which would require a shopping cart setup with checkout.

One option would be something like Drupal with an Uberkart module (shopping cart) plus you will need to plan in a payment gateway of some type (such as Authorize.net or a simpler solution such as PayPal).

Edit: I meant to mention Drupal has a forum module but it doesn't come close to vBulletin.

KristineS
09-11-2009, 05:40 PM
We built a company forum once and used Vbulletin. It was fairly easy to customize and to run. I think it would work well for you.

rezzy
09-15-2009, 05:49 PM
I go against the grain here. I have smaller forum, I chose to use bbphp. I was against paying money for a forum software and choose to select an open source solution.

I actually started with bunphp, a very stripped down forum system, later I found I needed something a little bit more developed. The best I can tell you is go on a few forum software sites and test drive their platforms. Try configuring a forum how you want it and see how it works. There a little quirks that make one system better then the others.

Suga Pink
09-25-2009, 11:26 PM
I have a large parenting forum, and we use IPB. I love it, and would recommend it above all others.

I've used both phpbb, and SMS in the past (currently using SMS on my webhosting support forum) and much prefer IPB. :)

vangogh
09-26-2009, 12:39 AM
What is it you like about IP Board?

I don't remember if it was available when set things up here. It certainly wasn't something I tested. I spent a few days looking through as many different forum applications as I could find. The freebies I installed locally and the pay forums I signed up so I can see what they were like as a member. All seemed lacking one or another thing that vBulletin had.

IP Board looks nice from the outside. Do you find it easy to work with? Does it have all the usual forum features?

The one I'm excited to see develop is bbPress, mostly because I'm a WordPress developer and like very much how WordPress is put together. It's so easy to work on and I think bbPress will be the same. I've only worked on it in limited fashion so far, but it was easy like WordPress. Naturally it integrates very well with WordPress so you can share the same user info and database.

Paul Elliott
09-26-2009, 12:29 PM
Thanks to all for their comments. I'm still sorting out this situation.

The paid membership will have already subscribed to another product and will simply be given access to the paid membership section of the forum, so integration with the main DB/shopping cart is necessary for it to work as I'd like.


Paul what's the site built on? Is it simply a static site or is it running on top of a CMS?

Yes, it's on top of a proprietary CMS by a company called Full Partner. They have a forum program but they want something exorbitant to add it ... somthing like $1,000 ... well, it seems exorbitant to me for that simple a process.

It may be that we do stand-alone forum SW with no paid/unpaid sections and simply make it open to all for starters.

I'll continue to look and appreciate ongoing comments.

Paul

vangogh
09-27-2009, 01:32 AM
The main advantage of using their proprietary forum would be if it integrates well with the rest of the site. $1,000 does seem expensive though? Do they also charge an annual fee for upgrades and support. If not the expense isn't as bad, especially after you've had the forum a few years.

Suga Pink
09-27-2009, 11:52 PM
What is it you like about IP Board?

I don't remember if it was available when set things up here. It certainly wasn't something I tested. I spent a few days looking through as many different forum applications as I could find. The freebies I installed locally and the pay forums I signed up so I can see what they were like as a member. All seemed lacking one or another thing that vBulletin had.

IP Board looks nice from the outside. Do you find it easy to work with? Does it have all the usual forum features?


When I was looking into forum software for my mommy board, I only seriously considered vBulletin, and IPB. From what I remember, vBulletin seemed more expensive in the long term, and seemed a little outdated compared to what IPB was offering (this was almost 3 years ago, now).

The admin panel in IPB is very straight forward, and there are a ton of developers that are always creating new, useful add-ons and modifications you can add on to the software. Not only that, once you purchase the software, it's yours forever. You only have to pay $25.00 (maybe it's went up to $30.00 recently?) every 6 months if you want to upgrade to the newest versions, or have IPB telephone support. They have always gone out of their way to help me out with small forum issues, and upgrades. Great customer support goes a long way with me!

I'm glad now that I chose to go with them, especially since 3.0 is out! It's just a really nice, easy to use script! In all fairness though, I've never seen the vBulletin back end so I can't say if it's easier, or if it offers more features.

IPB will offer you a free trial if you call them and let them know you are thinking about purchasing. They give you full access to the newest version front and back ends. It may be worth a look for your project!

vangogh
09-28-2009, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the additional info. It actually sounds similar though a little more than vBulletin in cost. vBulletin costs $180 for the owned license and then another $40 per year. Similar, but a little less than IP Board.

IPB definitely looked nice from the outside. I'll have to register and join a forum using it to see what I think from the inside.