XenForo was founded by Kier, Mike and Ashley, who use to work for VBulletin as lead developers. They did not like the direction VBulletin was heading after Internet Brands bought out Jelsoft and the rights to VBulletin. They ended up quitting, and then started their own forum software, called XenForo.
I am a forum software enthusiast, and can honestly say nothing has came close to VBulletin. VBulletin is the only forum choice for people who are serious about starting their own forum. I look at all new forum software and like to check out all software upgrades by the various forum software companies. Nothing ever came close to VBulletin. I have been playing around with XenForo, and all I can say is wow!
VBulletin has some serious competition now. The XenForo software is $140, and is still in beta testing phase. For a beta product XenForo is amazing. VBulletin groupies like to shout that you are paying $140 for a piece of software that is still in beta mode, but you need to keep in mind that Gmail was in beta mode for a long time, yet worked flawlessly.
Many companies rush un-developed products to beta mode, yet XenForo followed Google's lead and released highly polished beta software. This XenForo forum software appears to be what the next generation of high quality forums will look like. It has many social features that will make people very comfortable with it, especially if they use FaceBook or other social networking platform.
The VBulletin Groupies like to mock XenForo for selling a beta product, but hey neglect to mention the huge numbers of loyal customers that left VBulletin after using their software religiously for years. The Internet Brands release of VBulletin 4.0 was chocked full of programming errors and malfunctioning features. There was no way VBulletin 4.0 should have been released, and they were selling the forum software for much more than XenForo is.
There were thousands of loyal VBulletin users that left and will refuse to ever do business with VBulletin again. A lot of these disgruntled customers ended up using XenForo.
XenForo does not yet have a Content management System like VBulletin does. XenForo is working on perfecting their forums software, and then in the future they will look at adding a CMS. One thing you can be assured of with XenForo is that when they do release a CMS, it will actually work unlike the VBulletin 4.0 release.
There are many forum software options you can use. If you are serious about starting a forum you should only consider using VBulletin, XenForo, or Invision Power Board. MyBB is a great free forum software, but it does not come close to the abilities of forum software like VBulletin, XenForo, and Invision Power Board. Vanilla 2.0 is also free forum software that is amazing. Depending on your desires for a forum, Vanilla 2.0 could work awesome for your forum.
Before you buy VBulletin go visit XenForo and spend some time on their forum. I think you will like what you see. A few things had me wondering what they were thinking and then I had the "Ahha" moment. XenForo is not VBulletin; it is the future of forum software. VBulletin is running scared about upstart XenForo and for good reason. XenForo may be in beta mode but it runs flawlessly. XenForo has singlehandedly forced the current developers of VBulletin to actually start working harder and faster at getting rid of all the bugs in VBulletin 4.0.
When Internet Brands bought VBulletin, the corporate attitude was that we are the best so we can release any thing we want and make a quick buck because our customer won't go anywhere else. Unfortunately for Internet brands and VBulletin, many of their customers did leave and they ended up using Invision Power Board and XenForo. King of the forum software make VBulletin is now worried that the peasants at XenForo will erode even more of their business, and they are finally trying to work out all the kinks in their software that should have never been there in the first place.
XenForo is a legitimate contender for any sized website forum, even in the beta phase it is in. If you are starting a new forum then highly consider using XenForo. I think if you spend some time on their forum using the features and learning more about it you will be pleasantly surprised.
On the day that XenForo was released VBulletin filed a lawsuit against the founders of XenForo. They stated that XenForo had used code that was VBulletins. The odd thing though is that VBulletin had not even seen the code. This angered even more people and hundreds of people bought 1 or more licenses. Many people that had already migrated from VBulletin to Invision Power Board bought XenForo licenses simply to support the founders of XenForo and to express there ever increasing rage towards VBulletin.
VBulletin use to be a great company to deal with, but those days are gone. Will VBulletin ever get there stuff right again? Who knows for sure, but XenForo is definitely benefitting from the piss poor management at VBulletin since Internet Brands took over.
Internet Brands was recently bought out by a private investment group. Will they be able to turn VBulletin around? Many people think the investment group will simply try to suck as much money as they can out of VBulletin. Does the investment group understand the rage and the number of customers that left VBulletin? One would assume they would, but VBulletin's future is in doubt. VBulletin may lose even more customers, or they could rise again as the premier forum software in the world. They will have a hard time though, unless they begin to follow XenForo's lead on how to develop software that is not buggy and to provide a good customer service.
XenForo is a great forum software, and it is more than living up to the hype around it. The offical VBulleting forums would like you to beleive otherwise, but XenForo is real and here to stay.