When starting a forum, you need to have a few things set up in order to run it properly. Anybody can start a successful web forum, but few do. Most web forums either never take off or they die off rapidly. If you want to have a successful web forum, then here are some tips on selecting the right forum software for your new website.
There are many forum software providers on the market. Some of them such as PhpBB and MyBB are free software. Others you need to pay for. VBulletin was and is the market leader, but there has been a lot of shake up and angry customers with all of the changes at VBulletin. VBulletin can come with a Content Management System, yet in the current release the CMS with VBulletin is very unstable.
VBulletin was bought out by Internet Brands, and then the VBulletin 4.0 Fiasco occurred, which still has not been resolved. Suffice it to say that the software that VBulletin released for 4.0 was far from stable. It was not even beta test worthy according to many people. As unstable as VBulletin 4.0 can be, it is a better choice than many of the free forum software.
If you want people to visit your forum and become active then don't use forum software such as PhpBB. People will see your free forum software and not stay and use your forum. If you want to have your forum took serious then you need some serious forum software. VBulletin use to be a serious forum software, in fact they were by far the best on the market, but as of today the VBulletin 4 software is still too buggy to be used . This leaves us only two quality choices, Invision Power Board and XenForo.
Invision Power Board (IBP)
Invision Power Board, or IBP, is the new VBulletin. IBP picked up a lot of market share when VBulletin released the unstable and buggy 4.0 software. Invision Power Board software is very stable, and will feel comfortable to any users who are use to using internet based forums.
IBP has many add-ons available. With IBP you can also get an integrated Content Management System. If you want a traditional feeling forum then go with IBP forum software. It is very reliable. IBP is the best forum choice if you need a CMS.
Another reason to go with IBO is if you want to use premium forum software, but cannot afford the price. IBP can get expensive with all of the modules, but IBP also has a hosted forum option. For as little $9.99 a month IBP will host a forum for you. You can use your own domain name, upgrade when needed, and get use of all the IBP add-ons such as the CMS and 5 person chat.
VBulletin 3.0 was amazing forums software. The lead developers for VBulletin left the company after Internet Brands took over, and began developing their own software. The forum software they came up with is XenForo. XenForo is the basis of what VBulletin 4.0 should have done.
XenForo is a new take on forum software. It will feel comfortable to people who use forum software. It is a very addictive forum software to use. There are some nice features such as alerts and trophies, yet the XenForo forum software runs quickly, and is not buggy and error filled like VBulletin 4.
One of the nicest features of XenForo is the way it takes you into a forum thread. If a newer thread has never been read by you, it will take you to the first thread. If you have previously read the thread, but new replies have been made since, when you return it will take you to the first unread post in the thread since you read it last. Once you get use to how it works, it will save you a lot of time scrolling.
After 28 days, all threads are marked as read, so if you read an old thread it will take you to the first unread thread since the forum was marked as read, but if you click on the date/time stamp it will take you to the very first post, regardless of if you have read it or not.
The best way to experience XenForo for yourself is to visit the XenForo website, register in the forum and then begin posting and playing around with the forum. Registering is very easy, and you can even register using FaceBook to log in. XenForo is the future of forum software. For younger kids that are use to social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace, they will feel right at home with some of the functions and features on a XenForo based forum.
XenForo vs Invision Power Board
Invision Power Board and XenForo are both excellent forum software to use for your new website. Which one to choose depends upon your actual needs. If you want a slick, fast running forum then go with XenForo. If you need a CMS and or want a forum that feels more like VBulletin 3 then use Invision Power Board.
The best advice is to use both forums as a member. Spend a few hours on each site. Register at the XenForo forums and the Invision Power board forums. Read threads, reply to threads, and use the various features. By actually using their forums as a member, it will help you to decide which forum software you want to use.
If you visit and register at the VBulletin forum, you need to be aware that VBulletin has deleted thousands of posts by angry customers. In the private forums for VBulletin license owners, you will find many complaints from current customers. VBulletin may come back in the future as a good company, but for now their software is to buggy, error ridden, and the customer service is horrendous. There have been many shady and unethical actions by VBulletin since Internet Brands bought the software from Jelsoft.
Now is the wrong time to buy VBulletin. If you want a quality forum then use IBP or XenForo.