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Thread: phpBB vs. SMF vs. MyBB

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    Zash's Avatar
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    phpBB vs. SMF vs. MyBB

    Every time I visit a forum or website dedicated to forums, their always having some heated debate about which forum software is better. Well, its time for me to post my opinions.
    I'm going to be debating the three most (arguably) popular PHP forum software to date. MyBB, Simple Machines Forums (SMF), and phpBB.
    ---------------------



    phpBB
    Latest Stable Release: 3.0.4
    License: GNU General Public License
    First Stable Release (1.0): December 9, 2000
    Supports: PHP 5 with MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Firebird, OpenLink Virtuoso, and other ODBC-accessible DBMS

    In the Web 2.0 look, phpBB was the first forum software not to use tables in its design. The table-free source code makes it easier for SEO purposes, but also makes it harder to skin. phpBB tends to be the slowest of the three boards, too. Security wise, it is considered very secure, and there are few threats. However, feature wise, the Admin CP is missing a lot that other Bulletin Boards have.

    I found editing styles and such extra annoying, and I cannot stand the way you set permissions. It's a very slow process.

    A positive thought is that phpBB has a large modification community, so you are sure to find what you are looking for.

    Conclusion: I think that phpBB is not the best of the three software. It is very behind feature wise, and I believe that the only reason it is so popular is because of its age.

    ---------------------



    Simple Machines Forum
    Latest Stable Release: 1.1.9
    License: Simple Machines License (?)
    First Stable Release (1.0): September 30, 2003
    Supports: PHP 5 with MySQL (multi-database support is being developed for version 2.0)

    Simple Machines has the award for the best looking out of the box. It also has a huge modification database.

    There are a few things, though, about this software, that upset me. Firstly, you cannot edit themes via ACP. This means that if you wish to make any changes, you need FTP access. You are able to upload themes via the ACP, but not edit them. SMF doesn't have a plugin manager either, so you won't be able to manage plugins from the ACP (at least before you install them). SMF doesn't have features like a Warning system either, only a ban list. They do have a reputation, or Karma, system.

    Conclusion: This forum has a lot of potential. Besides lack of ACP features, I could say this board is amazing.
    ---------------------



    MyBB
    Latest Stable Release: 1.4.6
    License: GNU General Public License
    First Stable Release (1.0): 2002?
    Supports: PHP 5 with MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite

    MyBB (Previously MyBulletinBoard) started off from XMB and DevBB. MyBB was originally a forked version of XMB, became DevBB, and is now MyBB. MyBB has recently changed its license from a custom one to the GNU GPL lvl3.

    MyBB is the best of the three software, in my honest opinion. It has a built in templates/css editor that is very easy to use. However, it does not have a macro/image editor built in, so you need FTP for that. This is good, because the default skin looks horrible.

    It has a global plugin manager, and has many hooks built into its code, so plugins are easy to make. However, the mod community is still small, as MyBB has not had much exposure. I currently make themes for MyBB however, so contact me if you are interested in buying a custom one

    MyBB has many features built in, including a warning, reputation, mod tools, custom MyCode (known better as BBCode), custom profile fields, support for multiple calendars, and RSS Syndication.

    Conclusion: MyBB has kind of the opposite stature as SMF. It does not have a good theme, but the theme is easily editable. While having a smaller mod community (still has lots of great mods), it has lots of core features you wouldn't even find in payed solutions.

    ---------------------

    Based on the above three analysis, I suggest MyBB to all forum administrators. Currently, they are still developing ways to transfer your forum to MyBB 1.4 from other forum software. They do already have a transfer to 1.2, which you can then upgrade to 1.4.

    I recommend everyone share their opinion below, and their experiences with other bulletin board software.
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  2. #2
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    I've used a lot already (including vBulletin & IPB) but I find phpBB 2.0.23 the best one, the phpBB team might have stopped developping it, next time I will create a forum I will most likely use the phpBB 2 version.

    The admin pannel has an easy-to-use interface, the 'profile' is much more simple than the phpBB3 script has and it has all-in-one. The template are much better for me too, they don't look so flashy like the ones from phpBB3.


    vBulletin is really the best of the best, you can't find better stuff I think, the only thing is that it costs pretty much for a young entrepreneur. And IPB just sucks too much, I wouldn't try it at all

    Greetz
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    I don't see why you like phpBB2? Bad security, bad speed, bad support, very little features. You need to modify it to the point where there are more hacks than core to get it to even match up to some of the free boards of today.

    And besides the mods, I don't see what vBulletin has that MyBB doesn't.
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    vBulletin is definitely the top in my choice. I started with it, and I love its mods community cause there is sooo much things to do with customizations. It's cost is well worth it.

    Among the free software crowd, MyBB is one of my favs cause it's somewhat like vB with a nice size mod communtiy.
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    I used PHPBB, fireboard, SMF.

    SMF is best of these forums with great community.

    There are a few things, though, about this software, that upset me. Firstly, you cannot edit themes via ACP. This means that if you wish to make any changes, you need FTP access. You are able to upload themes via the ACP, but not edit them. SMF doesn't have a plugin manager either, so you won't be able to manage plugins from the ACP (at least before you install them). SMF doesn't have features like a Warning system either, only a ban list. They do have a reputation, or Karma, system.
    You can modify SMF themes from ACP.
    Click Admin -> Themes And Layout -> Modify Themes -> Browse the templates and files in this theme

    SMF has plugin manager.
    Admin -> Packages
    From there you can install download any mod on smf site.

    You can update SMF with one click when new version is available.

    Bugs in SMF are fixed with record speeds.

    here are three of my smf forums

    Folk Metal Forum - Index
    ML BiH - Manager League Bosnian Community - Index
    Bosanski Brod - početna


    And maybe you should check the biggest SMF forum on the world:

    Here SMF manage 716 741 members.
    Burek :: Forumi :: - Index

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    And related to Hellas' post, you can find out the biggest forums on earth on this website:
    The largest Message Boards and Forums on the web!

    GaiaOnline is pretty amazing, post your topic and less than 1 minute later it's on page 2,3 or 4 already
    |Nico Lawsons

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarezz View Post
    And related to Hellas' post, you can find out the biggest forums on earth on this website:
    The largest Message Boards and Forums on the web!

    GaiaOnline is pretty amazing, post your topic and less than 1 minute later it's on page 2,3 or 4 already
    I don't find that good, it makes it unorganized and all of the good topics get buried instantly and don't have a chance.
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    Aquarezz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zash View Post
    I don't find that good, it makes it unorganized and all of the good topics get buried instantly and don't have a chance.
    That's true, and that's also the main reason I'm not on GaiaOnline I just think it's insane that if your post is just posted already tons of other people responded to other threads in the same forum... that shows how active some boards are..

    It should be very hard to manage all stuff...
    |Nico Lawsons

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    My vote is for SMF !!
    Indian & International webmasters are welcome !!!

    http://NpXp.com

  10. #10
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    I am a phpBB fan. I like the newest version of it and I feel that it rivals vB the most. I never really liked SMF or MyBB, but hey, that's just personal preference. I am a phpBB fan, though.

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