Tag Archives: IPB

MyBB Review: You Would Be Crazy Not To Use It!

I’ve used MyBB several times throughout my years of experience as a forum owner and I’ve never been disappointed with what it offers. Don’t get me wrong, it has a few issues ranging from its software to community, but out of all the forum software that I have had an some sort of experience with (as an administrator), it comes out on top easily.

Let’s get the first reason most people use MyBB out of the way. MyBB is an open source software therefore it is absolutely free. This is a forum software that can rival both XenForo and IPB easily, come out on top and still be offered for free for its millions of users. Of course this all depends on who you ask. There are several features that both XenForo & IPB have that I would love to come out of the box with MyBB such as notifications or the like system. However these are available as plugins on the MyBB Extensions site. But then you would expect such features to come out of the box for a software that will cost you $140. Spending $140 on MyBB could get you a forum with a unique look and unique features that no one else would have.

There is nothing complicated about using MyBB, either as a visitor or an administrator. The forum structure is basic yet exactly what is needed. Visitors will have no trouble finding exactly what they want, from the user control panel to replying to a new thread they have just read. Administrators and moderators need no experience at all as both the moderator control panel and admin control panel are extremely easy to navigate and use. Let’s start with the moderator CP – there might as well take it out. The only time I have ever had to go to the moderator CP is to read any reports submitted by the users. MyBB offers in post moderation which means that if you need to close, delete or move a thread/post it can all be done through the post. The admin CP, unlike other software (pointing at you phpBB) was easy to get around when I first began to use MyBB. Everything is broken into 6 categories: Home, Configuration, Forum & Posts, Users & Groups, Templates & Styles and Tools & Maintenance. This means that you know exactly where to go if you want to find something specific. One of the most important parts of a forum is of course the different categories and forums that house the various discussions. The developers at MyBB have done a great job with the “Forum & Posts” section of the ACP. Forum permissions can be confusing sometimes. Do I tick this box? Do I turn this setting on? The permissions feature has made it extremely easy – so easy that it is a simple drag and drop system. Drag this group here so that they cannot view the forum. Drag this group over here to ensure only they can start a new thread in this forum section. But it isn’t that basic. Experienced administrators can choose to set custom permissions which is more advanced.

But what about appearance? The theme of a forum can be the deciding factor for a member when deciding whether they want to join a forum or not. MyBB have again excelled at this part of the ACP. Importing a ready made theme is as simple as uploading a single file through the ACP and uploading some images or javascript files to the forum directory. Want to make that theme unique? MyBB contain in built editors so that you can add, remove or change any part of the themes coding easily to suit your needs. The templates have been split into several different parts from the postbit to the footer. This means that it is extremely easy to find a particular piece of coding that you want to remove or change.

Similarly to themes, plugins are easy to install on to a forum. Just upload a few files to the forum directory and activate the plugin through the forum. And that’s it. There are hundreds of plugins available for MyBB both on the official MyBB website and through other MyBB resource sites. Want to have a currency system? Then there is NewPoints. Want to have a betting system for NewPoints? A quick search on Google will give you a plugin for exactly that.

However, like most forum software there are some parts which need improvement. Although the available themes are great, there is a real lack of them for MyBB 1.8. The current themes all feel over used and if you want a completely unique theme then you will be required to hire a custom designer. You could visit a hundred MyBB forums and most likely you will see the same theme several times. Furthermore, although plugins can be extremely easy to install, they are an absolute pain to uninstall and remove completely. If you want to remove them completely, you will need to find each and every file throughout your forum directory and delete them. Or you can do what I do most of the time and just leave the files there to take up valuable space on your server. Spam is another real issue. The default CAPTCHA system is just not sufficient as bots will always end up getting past it. To stand a chance you will need to find a good anti-spam plugin.

My experience with phpBB a long time ago was short. I was, in the end, frustrated at how confusing it was* and that was what made me find MyBB. I am delighted that I found out about MyBB as if I hadn’t maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into forums. Maybe I wouldn’t have found out about Forum Promotion. There are a few cons of using MyBB but the advantages of using it heavily outweigh them, and that is why I recommend you to use MyBB.

* This is solely my opinion. This opinion is based on an experience a while ago and I’m sure phpBB have improved since then. This may not represent the phpBB experience now.

Interview with Matt Mecham @ IPB

This article was first posted on our blog on 07/10/2010. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


Invision Power Services Chieft Software Architect and founder of the forum software, Matt Mecham has accepted an interview with ForumPromotion. We’re thrilled to be interviewing this highly skilled software developer. IPB is currently leading the commercial forum software market in the eyes of many, and has remained loyal to it’s customers where vBulletin and Internet Brands hasn’t.

Matt’s a busy guy but he managed to answer these questions by working around his busy schedule. Cheers Matt.

Did you think ever IPB would get as big as it currently is?
When Charles and I started IPS in 2002, we never dared to think that we’d end up employing over a dozen people and doing something we love doing for a living. I still had a full time job at the time and I couldn’t see that changing. We feel very fortunate to have been able to turn a small PHP script into a business that continues to grow.

Of course, we’re never complacent and always strive to improve. I don’t think you can really take too long to enjoy the scenery. There’s always competition nipping at your heels and that drives you on. I get up every morning and can’t wait to get stuck into the day’s challenges.

Where do you see IPB in 10 years?
That’s a very good question. If you had asked Apple that question 10 years ago, I’m not sure they would have said “Leading the way in portable music players and smartphones”.[more] With this industry trends change dramatically over a short space of time so you have to always be willing to adapt and change. 10 years ago the notion of ‘social networking’ was still in its infancy so few could have predicted the impact Facebook and Twitter have on the web today.

For IPS, I would like to see us continue to grow and still pushing the boundaries of community software. As long as there are people, there is a need for a centralized community.

What do you do to help the mod community?
We love our modifications community and we continue to work with the community to help nurture it. First and foremost, almost all of the IPS staff are very active on the forums. This includes all the senior developers. I think this is important for many reasons but in regards to modifications it means that we can listen to feedback on how to improve the built in systems in our products.

We host a ‘community resources’ section on our own site that allows modification authors to list their mods. We give them a ‘contributor’ badge on the forums if they have modifications listed. We also have ‘contributor’ forums so that modification authors can ask direct questions to the development team and each other.

We’re always trying to improve documentation on our systems. IP.Board 3 was a huge step up for modification authors because it introduced applications and hooks which makes writing modifications much easier.

Both Brandon and I come from a modifications background, so we appreciate the challenges and needs that it brings.

Developing such big software must be very time consuming – do you ever feel like giving up?
It’s very much a team effort but I never feel like giving up, not even for a minute. I can’t express how much I love what I’m doing. I love the challenges and the people. I am constantly thinking of new ways to drive our products on. Development can be time consuming and frustrating but I thoroughly enjoy it. I’m lucky to do something that I enjoy for a living.

How would you recommend new webmasters go about promoting their websites?
It largely depends on the community. The basics are the same for everyone, though. Harness social networking, don’t be afraid of it. IP.Board comes with Facebook and Twitter integration. Allow your members to share links to these sites so that their social circle can discover your forum and content. I’ve tweeted links to our community forum and that topic can have a few hundred guests on within ten minutes. I’m not saying that those guests will register and become long standing members, but you have to admit that it is a powerful tool when used correctly. I’d say that you have to make it as easy as possible to register and join in. Enabled Facebook Connect. It’s reasonable to assume that most people have a Facebook account so being able to register simply by clicking a few buttons will increase registrations.

Even if you intensely dislike Facebook, don’t underestimate its reach. Facebook may be a short lived fad but it currently has 500 million users. It’s fast becoming a ubiquitous sign in method. I love forums and websites that allow me to sign up using Facebook.

What impact will the growing popularity of social networking sites have on the usage of discussion forums?
When I want to go and see what my friends are doing, I check in on Facebook. I can see their status updates, videos and pictures about their weekend. When I want to make contact with my customers to get feedback on our latest products, I go to our forum.

This isn’t revolutionary but it underlines that social networking sites have a different purpose to forums. Of course, there is some cross over but you cannot replace a forum with Facebook and vice-versa. There is always going to be a need for organized discussion that focuses on specific topics.

More and more people are going from vBulletin to IPB – what does IPB3 have over vBulletin 4?
I think there are several factors in the mass migration from vBulletin. The biggest being that Internet Brands have completely destroyed their brand and customer loyalty in the past year. They have slayed their golden goose. Inertia will keep sales ticking over but the dinosaur is definitely staring at the asteroid.

Of course, disgruntled vBulletin customers are only a small part of our customer base. We do still keep an eye on the situation but we are now also paying great attention to other competitors with a more modern, stable platform we can focus our competitive efforts on

Personally I see the growth in social sites as a good thing. I can broadcast links to topics to my social circle who can choose to share that information on. I can sign up to forums without filling in a long complex form and waiting for an activation email. I can update my status updates from a single source. More people connected means more traffic if you leverage it correctly.

How do you compete in the competitive battle between vB and IPB? – are you winning?
We produce good software at a fair price. We treat our customers with respect and listen to their opinions and needs. I don’t think we need to do anything more.

What do you think about other free forum software alternatives e.g. phpBB, how do they compare to IPB?
I think there’s lots of great free software out there. I have a lot of respect for developers that donate their free time to those projects. I’d say the gap between commercial software and free software is growing wider as the web moves on and we adapt to it. In many ways simply having a ‘forum’ isn’t enough. Customers are looking for an integrated suite of applications they can use to built a complete and feature rich site.

Kier has begun development on a new forum software – XenForo – what are your thoughts on it?
I have a lot of respect for Kier. We only really started talking after he left vBulletin and we have a lot in common. He’s a very skilled developer with a lot of experience and an existing “fan” base which will be a fantastic boost in the early stages. Lots of new projects fail because they don’t offer anything new and are not significantly different from existing and well supported applications so it’s nice to see XenForo approach things a little differently.

XenForo has a lot of visual flair which is great to see. It’s certainly generating a lot of buzz at the moment. I really do wish Kier and Mike all the best and look forward to many years of healthy competition.

You can check out IPB here – http://www.invisionpower.com/products/board/