Tag Archives: XenForo

phpBB review – Slowly Becoming One of the Best

phpBB review – Slowly Becoming One of the Best

Disclaimer: I haven’t used phpBB in a long while so I decided to use the phpBB demo offered on phpBB.com. This gave me access to my own forum and its ACP for a while.

There was always something about phpBB that I liked, I’m still not sure whether it was the way that it’s structured or simply the way it looks. It might just be something to do with it being the first forum software that I came across. I feel like phpBB has come a long way since I first used it. The admin control panel feels a lot easier to navigate and so far I’ve had no trouble installing a new theme. All seems to be going well for me so far. Now it’s time for me to give phpBB another go after spending so much time with MyBB.

My biggest pet peeve with phpBB was the difficulty of adding plugins (or extensions as they are called on phpBB). Back then I knew about another extension called autoMOD which was meant to make installing other extensions a lot easier and automated. No matter how many tutorials I read I could never get the autoMOD extension to work at all. And that of course meant that other extensions were also a difficulty for me to install onto my forum. Another issue I had with the old phpBB was that for some reason importing a style (theme) onto my forum always caused errors. I would love to be able to see these errors now as I’m a lot more knowledgeable about these types of things and could work out if it was something I was doing that was causing an error. These two problems were the main reason I ended up going to MyBB. In my opinion I think MyBB has always been more popular especially with users that have never hosted their own forums or users that have never administrated a forum before. MyBB is just so simple while phpBB was always considered as being a bit problematic and a lot more advanced.

The first thing I tried to do with my installation of phpBB was import a new theme. Easy. I’d even go as far as saying it’s easier than MyBB. All that is required is uploading a file containing everything for the theme to a “Styles” folder and then you import it from the phpBB admin control panel. That’s literally it. Of course I haven’t tried/have no clue about how I can edit templates as I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere in my admin control panel. MyBB has always had an extremely easy template editor so it would have been nice to compare the two and see which comes out on top.

Next I went ahead and read an installation guide on how to install an extension for a phpBB powered forum. Easy. From what I can remember in the older phpBB versions it was quite complicated and required some template edits as well but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. A simple upload of the files to the web directory and then activation of the extension is the only steps required. A quick browse through both the phpBB extensions directory and Google shows a wide choice of extensions available for almost everything that a basic forum would need such as a points system etc. Another great thing that stands out for me is the notifications feature that comes straight out of the box. I know it’s a basic and simple feature. But most forums tend to have a notifications feature but with MyBB that requires a separate plugin.

However there was one thing that disappointed me. There is a real lack of free themes for phpBB 3.1. Considering it came out around October 2014, the fact that there are only 31 free themes for this version of the software is extremely disappointing. And personally, out of those 31 themes only 1 comes even close to even being used. The rest were bland, old and just plain boring. Compare this to MyBB which has hundreds of themes both on the MyBB site and around the web and you realise that phpBB is quite far behind from ever catching up to MyBB. If you want a proper theme then you will have to dish out around $17 for a premium phpBB theme. I have seen some great modern looking themes available on ThemeForest although the fact that there are only around 10 premium themes mean that most likely most forums powered by phpBB will have similar themes that you’ve seen before. Another issue that I noticed with phpBB is a lack of support around the web. Apart from the phpBB community I haven’t really come across any places that have experienced users that are able to help other users with any phpBB problems that they may be having. I’m sure there are some forums out there that concentrate on phpBB support but personally I haven’t come across any that stand out. No matter where you look, you will always seem to find someone on any forum that has some sort of experience with MyBB and can help you out. The same cannot really be said for phpBB.

phpBB is a great forum software. It always has been behind MyBB in terms of ease of use, functions and extensibility. But it is growing and recent updates have brought some great functions and improved the software overall. This should hopefully make phpBB a more attractive software to beginners and experienced webmasters. Of course a few things still need to be improved, the lack of proper free themes for phpBB 3.1x is a real turnoff. However, I will definitely be trying out phpBB more thoroughly after this experience as I feel like it is much improved since I last used it as a forum administrator.

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.

XenForo Review: A lot of Hype About Nothing

I just want to say this before hand: this is solely based on my experience for the most part (though some of the things listed below have also been echoed by other forum admins who have used, or still use XenForo as well). I know some XenForo fans get defensive and aren’t open to criticism of the software :)

Background: We’ve given XenForo 3 chances. Once in 2013, Once In 2014 and Once in 2015. So we have more than enough experience with it. Continue reading

Recent Brivium Hacking Case & How You Can Prevent It

Online Security is becoming more and more of an issue today. Hackers and crackers seem to be more and more common. If you’re following the admin community as closely as I do, you’ve probably been aware of the recent issue involving Brivium and their recent hack of The Admin Zone. If you aren’t already aware of this, Continue reading

Weekly Member Interview #3 – Sarhad12

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Member Interview Series!

This week, we have decided to interview sarhad12. This member has been a member of Forum Promotion since 19 Jan 2013.

Now on to the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Well I’ve been nicknamed “Scarface” by my mates due to me being a fan of Al Pacino and I also have a “Scar” on my forehead which kind of lives up to the name. As far as my age is concern I stopped counting as soon as I hit my 20’s.

I have been living in uk for past 20 years and have been following Manutd football team throughout those 20 years (apart from David Moyes era).

Foruming is my part of my passion, hence I’m always active here on forum promotion.

Oh I forgot to mention I have son who just turned 2 and half, he loves the computer as much as I do. Here is clip of him on YouTube climbing a motorbike ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2JO-G_NZX4 ).

What brought you to Forum Promotion?

I was looking to promote one of my earlier entertainment website, and upon searching on google I came across few forums were I could promote my site, none of them were appealing to my eye apart from forum promotion which took me by surprise, from first instance.

Do you own or are a staff member of a forum, website or blog? If so, please tell us about them!

I currently have two forums, both are on different niches one being YouTube Topics ( http://yttopics.com ),which is completely dedicated to all youtubers. The main feature of it includes promoting YouTube channels, videos and to help YouTubers in gaining extra publicity.

The second forum is the “AdminAds” ( http://adminads.com ) which as the name suggests a promotion forum. Not another Promotion forum “yikes” I know I know, have you seen the movie dumb and dumber?

Jim carey asks “Whats the chances of pretty girl like you and me going on date”?

She replies one in “Million”, Jim Carey grins and says “So you are saying there is a chance”? And to be honest that’s the chance I’m willing to take and hope to get the members of this community to help me in achieving that chance.

“AdminAds” features are almost similar to whats on offer here on FP, slight changes will be introduced to have its own uniqueness.

As a member of Forum Promotion, what do you think is a good defining feature of the community in general?

I really enjoy the services that are offered here on forum promotion such as reviews and postings packages as well as constant updates of posts. And most of all I love the idea of the forum cash which saves us from spending real money to get services that we require.

And What do you think is a good defining service feature that you enjoy here?

Apart from the above, I enjoy the exchanges a lot. It helps me and the rest to build a community as whole.

If you had the ability to add one to two things to Forum Promotion, what would you add?

There has been lots of talk regards to changing theme, though I personally feel that a community as big as forum promotion should be thinking of moving towards XenForo. That way the community will grow further.

Also the PhpBB feels outdated and by changing to Xenforo it will give the extra “zing” a slightly Modern and much more “this” generation type feeling which is what we are missing on forum promotion.

Thank you for accepting to do an Interview. Is there any extra comments you would like to mention?

Not a problem and thank you for interviewing me! Also before I head off I’d like to congratulate you and forum promotion team for coming up with this interview section, it helps us to know each other in depth.


 

And that wraps up this weeks interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!

Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!

Interview with Kier @ XenForo

This article was first posted on our blog on 19/09/2010. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


On behalf of forumpromotion.net, I have had the pleasure to interview Kier – one of the most talented forum software developers in the world – about his brand new software which has smashed the current commercial forum software market, with just a preview of the first Alpha of XenForo.

Thank you so much Kier, also considering the huge workload you have on you at the moment.

What inspired you to create a new forum software?
There has been a trend in recent years for forum software to diversify and add more and more features while allowing the core functionality to stagnate. The fundamental basics of forum software needed to be brought up-to-date, to bring it inline with peoples’ expectations of today’s web applications. [more] We believe that our new software, XenForo, has the capacity to reinvigourate communities by allowing them to rediscover the simple pleasure of posting messages though a polished, modern interface.

We’ve focused on a modern UI and engaging features to keep visitors on your site for longer, and to inspire them to return. By building on top of our new application framework, we are to develop very quickly and reliably, and in turn modification authors will enjoy the same benefits when plugging-in their own functionality.

How do you think XenForo compares to rival softwares such as vBulletin or IPB?
That’s a somewhat difficult comparison. Both IPB and vBulletin have a big head-start on us in terms of the range of features they have built-in over their years of development. On the other hand, by virtue of being completely new, XenForo has the advantage of being designed for the way people want to use the internet today, rather than being encumbered with legacy functionality that was designed for a market that existed ten years ago.

XenForo seems like a healthy mix between vBulletin and IPB – was this intentional?
We haven’t gone out of our way to copy either, though by virtue of being a forum system we obviously share our core functionality.

Starting out on our own has required that we work very quickly and concentrate on what we consider to be the most important and valuable functionality. In a number of cases, we have looked at features that have been built in previous years and decided to drop those features as irrelevant to the market in 2010, or to merge several features together to make an overall more useful system.

What are your thoughts on vBulletin 4 and Internet Brand’s development on the product?
It’s no secret that my team and I were committed to a complete rewrite of the vBulletin code for version four and were waiting to get started on it since the release of vBulletin 3.6. Internet Brands management believed that the rewrite would take too long, favouring instead an approach that kept the 3.x code in place, which they believed would result in a product being brought to market sooner. Who can say what the situation would have been like today had the chosen approach been different.

Would you say you have learnt from vBulletin 4’s mistakes?
Absolutely. It’s been an education.

How easy will it be to convert our current forums to XenForo?
We don’t have a convertor for phpBB yet – given our background, a vBulletin converter was our highest priority, but I can say that the importer does a good job of matching up data from vBulletin with the corresponding XenForo fields. It also has two additional features which should make the import go as smoothly as possible.

Firstly, although XenForo has its own method for storing passwords that differs from that used in vBulletin, and IPB etc., XenForoo has the ability to specify a different authentication scheme on a per-user basis. Therefore, if we import a bunch of users from another system, we can store their passwords as they were stored in the imported application, and then use the authentication method of that system to verify them when the user attempts to log in to XenForo. As a result, users need not lose their passwords when being migrated to XenForo.

Secondly, we have a script that can pretend to be the old application, and 301-redirect requests for content on the old forum to its new location in XenForo. This means that visitors arriving at your forum via search engines or bookmarks will not find themselves at a dead page, and should help to preserve page rank for the content in question.

How easy will XenForo be to style and mod for?
The styling system has been one of our highest priorities, as making styling as easy as possible for novices while not getting in the way of experts is a guiding principle. There is a lot to talk about, and we will soon be doing a Have you seen… post describing some of the things customers can expect in version one.

XenForo is built on very solid MVC principles. I have already built three applications on top of the framework for my own personal purposes, and creating them was a joy. Although working with fully object oriented code is definitely a step up from the procedural scripts that some plugin authors may be used to, I think that with a little user education on our part and a willingness to try out new things on the part of the community, we will see some truly great add-ons of a quality not seen before emerge from the community. We already have the support of a number of highly influential developers from the modification communities of other forum software – they say they can’t wait to get stuck into XenForo.

Where do you see XenForo in a years time?
Within a year, XenForo will have certainly seen its first major version release and may even have seen its second or third, depending on how quickly we iterate and the nature of the new features and API changes we develop.

We hope to have a significant number of licensees running successful sites, both those who have migrated from other forum software, and brand new communities. We expect to see some very interesting things coming out of the modification community as those developers who are using the system to its fullest introduce the fruits of their labours.

In terms of the core product, We expect it to retain its ease of use and focus on user experience and quality features as we extend the scope of its functionality. We certainly don’t want to clutter the intuitive and graceful user interface with controls and icons and gadgets for infrequently-used functionality. A prerequisite of a feature making it into XenForo is that it must have a great UI and be pleasurable to use.

Could you give us a clue as to how the pricing details will be?
XenForo will be priced competitively with the leading commercial bulletin board solutions. The exact prices will be announced when they are finalized, but right now our priority is the software not the finances.

What methods should new webmasters use to promote their forum?
The same guidelines apply to running a site and promoting it as apply to writing good software. Keep your focus narrow and concentrate on doing a few things really well rather than spreading yourself too thinly and doing a lot of things in a mediocre fashion. Engage with and foster your enthusiasts, and they will do your promotion for you.

Will you be implementing a CMS, or blog system later on?
Given the demand that has been shown on our forums, I would have to say yes, I expect that there will be. The difficulty with a CMS in particular is pinning down exactly what people really want. The definitions of ‘CMS’ as far as customer expectations seem to range from a simple article publisher to a tool that would allow you to build your own Amazon.com with a point-and-click interface. For the time being, our focus is on the forum functionality and ensuring that it provides best-in-class performance and user experience. Once we have nailed that, we will start looking at branching out.

Congratulations on creating such a marvelous piece of software. I can see already the huge potential in this. Thanks for the interview. :)

Thank you very much, and thanks to all the people posting on XenForo and making it such an engaging place to be right now. We are looking forward to once again our software running on sites all over web once XenForo goes on sale.

Want to see it for yourself? See XenForo for yourself here – http://xenforo.com/community/

Scheduling Threads in Xenforo and How it Can Help You

Recently I was browsing the new addons on XenForo, and I came across “Scheduled Post” by Nobita.Kun. While I don’t own a XenForo forum, if I did, then I would have this addon. There are a few benefits that come with the ability to schedule posts, which is why I’m making this post. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a review copy so that I can take an in-depth look, but the developer was nice enough to let me play with it a little on their board.

How to Schedule Threads in XenForo

Install “Scheduled Post” addon.

Set permissions for each group.

After you’ve installed the addon and set  permissions for each group, you should see a new option to set a schedule when you’re creating threads.

schedule threads xenforo

Check the box, select a time, and date then create the thread.  There you’ve scheduled a thread!

If you mis-scheduled your thread, then you can easily change the schedule by editing it under the “thread tools”.

Benefits of Scheduling Threads

Focus on Specific Times

Almost every forum has a period of the day where activity drops. By making observation, or by tracking traffic, an admin can pretty easily see when the forum has the least amount of activity. With the ability to schedule posts, admins or moderators can schedule threads to be posted during this time to help increase the activity a bit.

Drip Feed Threads

The main problem an admin has is that when they decide to create some threads, they have to create them all at once. This is nice for one big spurt of activity, but usually it ends up with some of the threads going unnoticed. Well, now that an admin can schedule threads he can schedule them to be posted apart, throughout the day, which helps each thread get noticed a little more.

Threads When You’re Away From The Computer

There are times where we can’t make it to the computer for a day or so. Whether you’re going on a vacation or work is consuming a lot of time, you can schedule new threads for a few days ahead to still participate, and keep the forum active. We all know how fast activity can drop if an admin hasn’t posted in a few days, but you don’t have to worry about that when you scheduled some threads.

Conclusion 

I think this addon is pretty cool, and I think it can help a lot of people increase the activity on their forums.  Really, the only downside of this plugin is that it does add a copyright to your footer, and it costs $20 to remove it. Besides that, the plugin is pretty handy.

So, are you going to get this plugin? Should a feature like this be default in XenForo?

 

Dofollow Links for Specific Usergroups in XenForo

By default, links posted by users on a XenForo forum are nofollow. While these nofollow links will get clicks and traffic, none of them will pass on any link juice to the page being linked to. Now, there’s really no legitimate reason to offer this to all your members because you don’t want to be passing out link juice to every link that’s posted on your forum. But it is a nice little thing for those who are buying subscriptions, especially if they are allowed to promote their own sites in their signature and posts. If you don’t allow self promotion, then there’s really no reason to change members links to dofollow.

So in this post, we’re going to cover a simple way to give specific user groups dofollow links.

Setting up Dofollow Links in XenForo

Step 1) Download “Control Nofollow”

Step 2) Install “Control Nofollow” by:

Extracting its contents to your hard drive.

Uploading the contents of the upload folder to the root of your XenForo installation.

Complete install via the Admin CP using the provided XML file.

Step 3) Mess with the Settings

Once installed and enabled, you will need to go to: ACP home > Options > Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In there you should see “Bypass “nofollow” attribute”, check all the user groups that you would like to have dofollow links. So, basically check all your staff and subscription groups.

Once you’ve done that, just save and you are done.

Conclusion

Dofollow links aren’t anything new, but it’s always something nice to offer to those who donate money or contribute a lot. Still, like I said before, if you don’t want users promoting their own site on your forum, then I wouldn’t encourage them to do so by offering dofollow links. We offer dofollow links to our vip members over at WebguruBB, but our niche is built on shameless self promotion … so the feature fits. Something like this might not be as fitting on an anime board, where a lot of members aren’t going to be promoting their own stuff. Anyway, enjoy spreading that link juice around!