Web Forum Platform: Ultimate Guide & Comparison Chart

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  • Web Tools
  • May 19, 2015

For those of you who are looking to start a forum, you are aware there are a lot of platforms to choose from. Making the right choice to start with is important because it is difficult to transfer an established forum to a new platform. I have gathered information on the top 8 forum platforms based on my experience. Please keep in mind that there are many other options to choose from but these are just ones I have used and liked.

Comparison Chart On phpBB, MyBB, MyProBB, vBulletin

phpBB MyBB MyProBB vBulletin 
General Information
License GPL Custom Commercial Commercial
Cost Free Free $25 per
year
$195 – $285
ProgramingLanguage PHP PHP PHP 5 PHP
Installation
Method
Installation Wizard Installation Wizard Manual Installation Wizard
Upgrade Method Upgrade Wizard or Manual Upgrade Wizard Upgrade Wizard Upgrade Wizard
Posts
HTML Not
Supported
Yes Yes Not
Supported
BBCode Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smiles Yes Yes Yes Yes
WYSIWYG
Editor
Not Supported Requires Plugin Not Supported Yes
Quoting Nested Nested Nested Nested
Attachments Multiple Files Multiple Files No Multiple Files
Syntax
Highlighting
Yes Yes No Yes
Toolbar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forums
Subforums Unlimited Unlimited No Unlimited
Redirect
Forums
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Categories Yes Yes Yes Yes
Last Post Yes Yes Yes Yes
Data Storage
MySQL Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oracle Yes No No No
Postgres Yes Yes No No
SQLite Yes Yes No No
Text
Files
No No No No
Security
Blacklists Yes Yes Yes Yes
ACLs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warnings Yes Yes Yes Yes
Suspension Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bans Yes Yes Yes Yes
IP
Blocking
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audit
Logging
Yes Yes Yes Yes
User
Reports
Yes Yes No Yes
Flood
Control
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Groups Multiple Multiple Multiple Multiple
CAPTCHA Yes Yes Requires
Plugin
Yes
Moderation
Moderators Global and forum Level Supported Global and forum Level Supported Global and forum Level Supported Global and forum Level Supported
Move
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Close
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Split
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shadow
Topics
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sticky
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Important
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Notifications
RSS/ATOM Yes Yes Yes Yes
Instant
Messaging
Yes Uses
Jabber
Yes No
Bookmarks Yes Yes Yes Yes
E-Mail Yes Yes Yes Yes
Searching
Full-text Yes Yes Yes Yes
Author Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unread
Topics
Tracked but Not Searchable Tracked but Not Searchable Tracked but Not Searchable Tracked but Not Searchable
Advanced
Search
Yes Yes No Yes
Community
User
Ranks
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Avatars Yes Yes No Yes
Rating
System
Available Through Patch Yes Yes Yes
Online
User List
Yes Yes No Yes
PMs Yes Yes No Yes
Custom
Profiles
Yes Yes Requires Plugin Yes
Signatures Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special Features
Customizable Yes Yes Yes Yes
Statistics Yes Yes Yes Yes
Friendly
URLs
Requires Plugin Requires Plugin Yes Yes
Calendar Not Supported Yes Not Supported Yes
Polls Yes Yes No Yes
Lo_Fi View Yes Yes No Yes

 

Comparison Chart On bbPress, FusionBB, Invision Power, and Vanilla

bbPress FusionBB Invision
Power
Vanilla
General
Information
License GPL2 Commercial Commercial GPL
Cost Free $149 first year and $39 every year after Starting at $4.99 month Free
ProgramingLanguage PHP PHP PHP PHP
Installation
Method
Installation Wizard Installation Wizard Installation Wizard Installation Wizard
Upgrade
Method
Upgrade Wizard Upgrade Wizard Upgrade Wizard Manual
Posts
HTML Yes Yes Yes Requires Plugin
BBCode Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Smiles Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
WYSIWYG
Editor
Not Supported No Yes Requires Plugin
Quoting Nested Nested Nested Single
Attachments Multiple Files Multiple Files Multiple Files Multiple Files
Syntax
Highlighting
Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Toolbar Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Forums
Subforums Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited No
Redirect
Forums
Requires Plugin Yes Yes No
Categories Yes Yes Yes Yes
Last Post Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes
Data Storage
MySQL Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oracle No No Yes No
Postgres No No No Yes
SQLite No No No No
Text
Files
No No No No
Security
Blacklists Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes
ACLs No Yes Yes Yes
Warnings Requires Plugin Yes Yes No
Suspension Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes
Bans Yes Yes Yes Yes
IP
Blocking
Requires Plugin Yes Yes No
Audit
Logging
Requires Plugin No No No
User
Reports
Requires Plugin No No Requires Plugin
Flood
Control
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Groups Only One Multiple Multiple Multiple
CAPTCHA Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Moderation
Moderators Only Global Global and forum Level Supported Global and forum Level Supported Only Global
Move
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Close
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Split
Threads
Requires Plugin Yes Yes No
Shadow
Topics
No Yes Yes No
Sticky
Threads
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Important
Threads
Requires Plugin No Yes No
Notifications
RSS/ATOM Yes Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Instant
Messaging
Requires Plugin Yes No No
Bookmarks Yes No Yes Yes
E-Mail Requires Plugin No Yes Requires Plugin
Searching
Full-text Yes Yes Yes Yes
Author Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unread
Topics
No Tracked
but Not Searchable
No Tracked
but Not Searchable
Advanced
Search
Requires Plugin Yes No Yes
Community
User
Ranks
Requires Plugin No Yes No
Avatars Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes
Rating
System
Requires Plugin No Yes Yes
Online
User List
Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
PMs Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes
Custom
Profiles
Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Signatures Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Special Features
Customizable Yes Yes Yes Yes
Statistics Yes Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Friendly
URLs
Yes Yes No Requires Plugin
Calendar Not Supported Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Polls Requires Plugin Yes Yes Requires Plugin
Lo_Fi View Requires Plugin Yes Yes Yes

About phpBB

Summary

PhpBB is designed for the average user in mind. This platform can handle a descent amount of traffic and is pretty easy to customize and there are many templates to choose from. I would recommend phpBB for someone who is looking for a free solution that is both functional and customizable.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About MyBB

Summary

MyBB is another platform that is free, functional, and customizable. MyBB has a large support community and is easy to use. I would recommend this platform to someone who is looking for something a little different than phpBB.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About MyProBB

Summary

MyProBB is similar to MyBB but offers a few additional features and support. If you like MyBB and are looking for something a little more this would be a solid option. I would not recommend this for someone who is just looking for a good platform because of the cost and limited abilities.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About vBulletin

Summary

VBulletin is a platform that is designed for large forums. This platform is used by millions of sites and can meet any can be used for pretty much anything. I would highly recommend vBulletin for any size forum in pretty much any situation as long as you are willing/able to purchase it.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About bbPress

Summary

BbPress was brought to us by WordPress and is a great option for someone looking for a fast forum. By default bbPress does not come with much but this increases the load time and performance of the forum. There is also a plug-in for pretty much anything you would want to add, just be careful not to add to many plug-ins because it will affect the performance.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About FusionBB

Summary

FusionBB is a great forum platform and can met the demands of a large community. If you are willing to pay for your forum this would be my recommendation. Yes it is a little pricy but the features and support you get will easy make up for the price.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About InvisionPower

Summary

InvisionPower is another great paid forum platform. InvisionPower also offer several other products and if you are using them this would be a great choice. If you are not using any other products by InvisionPower I would use fusionBB.

Screenshots

Example Forums


About Vanilla

Summary

Vanilla forums is another great free option. If you are looking for something different than the standard phpBB forum platform this is a great option. But if you are just looking for the most functional free forum platform I would still go with phpBB.

Screenshots

Example Forums

Article by Guest Poster

This article was written by a guest contributor. The author's views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of WHSR.

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