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Guest

Guest
Hi,

i have seen the SMF forum software being used on many large forums.  However we are on a strict budget.  So i was looking around at other forum software.  I have used phpBB before and am familar with it. I dont believe that phpBB is the hackable untrustworthly open source script that alot claim it to be because i have never been hacked or had any security issue at all with it in many years of using it.

However,  i might like to go with something different that is more expansive, flexible, and modern.  So i am looking at options, there are quite a few out there.  If its paid it has to be affordable and that means like $20 for our needs.

I could code one myself and i have before but that is alot of work for alittle project as we have.

Suggestions on a forum script, like or dislike?
 

Tom

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There are many open source forum software packages available at no cost. As I'm sure you're aware, you still pay for a domain name and hosting. If you have a hosting account, it will likely have a free script installer such as Softaculous or Fantastico which offer numerous 1-click options to install various categories of software. Some developers don't recommend using one of the installers to install or update their software; I usually install manually, but there's nowt wrong with using an installer and then manually updating.

SMF is open source and has proved to be a rock solid platform over the 13 years that we've used it. Their design philosophy is to produce something with essential/core features, and to have bells and whistles provided by 3rd party "mod" developers. I've become somewhat familiar with SMF's php coding, and have some 30 of my own customizations on this site. We pay an annual subscription for priority support, although I've rarely needed it.

Developers of some other forum software produce a "suite", with a number of bells and whistles built in.

If I were installing a new forum platform today I'd probably go with Xenforo. It's primary developer along with some others left the team of vBulletin, a "suite" product, to produce a newer/better forum solution. I've had a test site running Xenforo for 2 years, and I like many of its features and its newer development practices. However, Xenforo is not open source and not free; You pay a 1-time up-front license fee, and renewable annual support fees.

If you merely wanted a blog, or even a simple web site, it's tough to beat Wordpress - see wordpress.org. Open source and free, with lots of 3rd party mods & themes, many free and some paid. If I need to quickly spin up a simple web site, or help a client spin up their own, I'll often use/recommend Wordpress.

There's an option to have Wordpress pre-installed and hosted for an annual fee - see wordpress.com, although they offer a "free for life" option.

I'm not a big fan of 'groups' per se, although I've belonged to several. But, as Gary said, there are no software/server support issues to worry about, and the price is right.
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
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Cedar Falls, IA
Gary RV_Wizard said:
The ultimate cheap forum/blog is a free Yahoo Group.  No software cost, no server needed, and no maintenance
The Yahoo corporation no longer supports Yahoo groups, though they haven?t taken them down. They are much harder to use these days because things just randomly go bad. A few groups I am active in are still trying to find a replacement. Others have gone to Facebook or Google groups.
 

Tom

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[quote author=durangod]I dont believe that phpBB is the hackable untrustworthly open source script that alot claim it to be because i have never been hacked or had any security issue at all with it in many years of using it.[/quote]
FWIW most current forum and other web site software is written in the php scripting language. and there are always folks trying to hack into sites. Most developers understand this and take precautions, but they still need to react to insecurities/vulnerabilities that are discovered/reported. It appears that the phpBB developers stay on top of things.

FWIW I used to follow the folks at Secunia and their research/reporting of software vulnerabilities; Nowadays I let the software developers worry about it.
 

johnaye

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273
Gary RV_Wizard said:
The ultimate cheap forum/blog is a free Yahoo Group.  No software cost, no server needed, and no maintenance
Yahoo Groups have had some problems recently.  Take a look at Groups.IO
 

bigfatguy

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Mar 6, 2013
Posts
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I ran a vegas-oriented forum for over a decade, used a phpBB based system the whole time.

We didn't get "hacked" per-se, but we did have some people find ways to shut the forum down from time to time, like running such massive searches against our database that my ISP locked me out for a day or so.

In the end, I found making the system truly secure was more trouble than just maintaining a good backup and dealing with fires as they popped up, about once or twice a year.

On the other hand, you have A LOT more members here than I did, so your issue may be worse.
 

Tom

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Dave, just curious which way you decided to go.
 

pz

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I've used SMF since 2009 in a variety of forums and it is a workhorse. Never fails to deliver, is easy to mod using pre-made modifications, and if you are good at PHP, easy to change yourself.
 

Tom

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Yep, SMF has been a good platform for us since 2005. Unfortunately, new development has been very slow in recent years, especially since the big breakup between developers, support staff and their management. But it still functions.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have not yet decided on the forum software yet.  I am still slightly leaning toward phpBB only because its open source and im used to it and even fixing things. 

I am a php programmer and have been selling plugins and some software for a long time.  So i know all about that kinda stuff.  Right now i am setting up a dedi server so thats why i have not been on much.  I am setting it up via cloudflare and it seems every time i do this either CPanel or CF change something to make it harder.  So im working through that. 

I even did some phpBB mods back in the day and i have also done some WHMCS modules in my hayday as well.

So with all the knowledge the reason i ask is because the only thing i dont like about phpBB is the way they do their updates, IMO its quite stupid and madening to have to merge everything and keep downloading changed files and all that stuff.  So i thought well maybe i should try something else, but it has to be open source.  I am no position to pay for things right now, especially since i just spent my grocery money on this server and cpanel license... 

Me and a buddy have an idea and he is really good at some stuff and im really good at some stuff and together with another friend who is good at some other stuff we thought together we might make a go at the idea.  Unfortunately at the moment im the one paying for stuff...

If it was not for my software sales i would not be able to make it just on SS. 
 

Tom

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There's nowt wrong with sticking with what you know (phpBB), if you can put up with the update issue.

As I mentioned, SMF is open source, and their updates are done with 1 click in the package manager (in the admin panel). However, the 'search and replace' method of the updates means that installed mods can and do run interference with the update script (e.g. if an installed mod changed code that the update script needs to find).

To get around this, you either uninstall mods and re-install after update, or manually code the updates. The latter consumes a lot of time, and is prone to errors. After a few years of this, I declared a moratorium on mods that change core code, and the result has been fast, easy 1-click updates. The downside is that I've had to refuse/ignore requests for features that require a mod.

FWIW my own mods don't change core code, or change very little, and typically don't impact updates via the package manager.
 

Tom

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[quote author=durangod link]... IMO its quite stupid and madening to have to merge everything and keep downloading changed files...[/quote]
Aye, we have that issue with some of the software we use, but not SMF.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Tom said:
Aye, we have that issue with some of the software we use, but not SMF.

A great way to get around it is to tell people flat out, you mod the core files then you will have to put it all back every update because youll lose it.

Thats what true plugins are suppose to be, they give you the feature without modding core files.  That is one reason i love working with the software that i do because it was written from its core to use plugins, and it makes it so easy.  There are classes for just about any thing you want to do including access to the core table data.  Makes doing plugins much easier, still not easy sometimes as all programming has its challenges, but its much better this way.

You had me convinced about smf until the update part lol...  I might just give it a try anyway i can always change. 

I assume the template options are plentyfull?
 

Tom

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[quote author=durangod]I assume the template options are plentyfull?[/quote]
There are over 1,000 3rd party templates aka themes available for SMF. It's been some time since I looked at them, but too many were little more than a different color palette, I can't speak for today's offerings. I've created my own themes in the past, but the last few years I've settled for SMF's default theme.
 

John From Detroit

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This is not about any specific forum software but internet in general.

The more secure you try to make it the more some hacker will consider it a challange. and the hackers WILL win in the end.  So the "Back it up and put the fires out" method works.

FOr a small system I do know how to make selected files (like the password file) VERY VERY secure but for a large system this is not practical.

Basically you have two computers (or more) in a multi-netword.

One computer ONLY talks and not via TCP-IP to another comptuer it passes user names and passwords one way and accepts only a YES/NO the other way  Inputting a new user has to be done by an ON SITE systems operator who assigns the passwords.
 

Tom

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[quote author=durangod]You had me convinced about smf until the update part lol...[/quote]

Apologies, I'm not trying to sell you on any software. I use a test site to evaluate different software options for this forum, other clubs, and various clients. I then have first hand experience to help me make a decision/recommendation.

BTW if you stick with phpBB and wish to change to something newer when finances allow, I believe that Xenforo has a migrator/importer.
 

bigfatguy

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Updating modded phpBB is a serious issue. Eventually, I just stopped installing updates, because I'd modified quite a bit of the forum.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I was alittle worried at first because when i clicked the download button on SMF i got a "bad gateway" and i thought well this is not a good way to start things off :)  But a refresh worked.


Well i got SMF installed, it went off without a hitch even with me choosing all the stuff that "might not work", it all worked perfectly so i guess i did a good job setting up the server :)

Now the first thing i want to do is to set up some custom profile fields so i can get users website setup and server info.

I know phpbb had an interal admin option to create custom profile fields that can be included during registration, but i dont see it on SMF..  Ill check youtube.

update:  i found it.. advanced profile fields :)
 
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