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phpBB Vs vBulletin and why vBulletin?

This article of phpBB and vBulletin comparison I wrote in 2009 when I really recommended vBulletin but that is not the case anymore. The progress of vBulletin since vBulletin 4 and 5 is so disappointing that finally I had to give up on vBulletin. I have shared why I have given up on vBulletin as well as what next here.

I get lots of queries from many phpBB webmasters asking “why vBulletin” when we have phpBB which is free with same features as vBulletin. I will try to answer this question here for all. Remember that vBulletin has countless more features than phpBB.

The main thing I like about vBulletin is – I know it well and I am familiar with it. That was not the case when I started with vBulletin but I choose vBulletin over phpBB over and over again because

  1. phpBB back in 2004 when I tried on my localhost had the issue of logging into the admin panel. Logging in twice was not well understood by me. I am not sure if this is still there or not but that was first bad impression.
  2. phpBB Hacks are very much dependent on the theme you use and normally the free plugins we get are mainly for the default theme which is very unlikely we would be using it and so for each plugin you decide to use, you would need it to work for your theme can be a tough ask.
  3. vBulletin always try to get the new plugins integrated into the product as features. When I started with vBulletin 3.0 it was pretty much elementary but now we see many plugins as an integrated part of the product.
  4. vBulletin integrated Adsense which means if you want to have Adsense Ads on your forum all you need to do is Add Adsense publisher id into your vBulletin member area and done. I mentioned this feature specially because when I work for clients in  Elance, they are non-technical people and love this feature a lot.
  5. Making plugins integrated with the original products makes it more secure because at times plugins could be prone to security holes as well as performance degradation. phpBB website was once down for some plugin had security flaw.
  6. When any security flaw is detected in any vBulletin release they patch it very fast and normally in less than 24 hours.
  7. Comprehensive documentation so that it helps me develop my own plugins very easily but when it comes to phpBB I do not see as good documentation as vBulletin.
  8. Apart from the vBulletin SEOed we have a very good SEO product called vbSEO but the one for phpBB did not impress me.
  9. vBulletin 4 is underway now which would take lots of features from vbSEO features of vBulletin.
  10. vBulletin Administration is much easier to manage than Invision or phpBB. Check out the Admin Demo yourself as well.
  11. If you already have a phpBB community there is an option for Impex to move your phpBB forum into vBulletin and it works like some clicks and all done.
  12. vBulletin has lots more features than phpBB like Notices, Template Hooks, Similar threads and many more which I like a lot.
  13. vBulletin has much cleaner code and so creating new plugins become easier.
  14. I am using vBulletin Blog on my MBA Forum which is quite good as well.

Currently I have 6 vBulletin licenses (many coming up) which does speak for itself because being a tech guy if I could have managed with phpBB I would have done that.

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  • This article is written in 2009 when I really recommended vBulletin over other forum scripts but that is not the case anymore. The progress of vBulletin since then is so disappointing that finally I had to give up vBulletin. I have shared why I have given up on vBulletin as well as what next here?

    Comments are closed on this article as well.

  • Good explanation..Thanks for the post..I recommend using vBulletin..

  • In my opinion, if you are developing a site for a company, then yes, use vBulletin. But if your are developing a site for an NGO or a personal site, I would go with phpBB. I am student and I am learning tricks and concepts of web development. So, to save money I went with the free forum software. It all depend on who is your client. I have seen even large scale sites hitting over 1000 users, based on phpBB,

    • Sam, you are trying to recommend this to people based on what they are doing but then I think it should be based on what they want. phpBB is used by one of the largest forum online which is http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/ but then it does not mean that everybody can use phpBB as efficiently as they are using. The better software is one that works well out of the box and vB 3.x was perfect for it but not vB 4.x.

  • Jack

    Affiliate link of vbulletin, Impress me a lot than you article.

  • TL90

    if only phpbb or vbb, i will go with phpbb

  • phpbb roxs as its free 😛

  • berty

    thank you for the info.
    I am not very familiar with community building and I would like to know more about the back side. How can we manage members? Is it possible to have CRM type of management of the members?

    Also, what online – saas type – of community management system would you recommand?

    • Managing members is simple when it comes to CMSes. I do recommend vBulletin.

      • berty

        TKU for your answer. Can you point me to a page where I can read – or see – what membre management tools is available? I have read your article, I have visited vBulletin site but nowhere did I read specific about what is available.

  • Charlie

    PHPBB is the best! you just have to have the time to develop it for your required forum needs. Anyone using vBulletin are using it as they are none technical and dont have the development skills needed in order to easily manage the forum. VBulletin is a good product if your happy spending the money though

    • Charlie, I myself is a technical person but if I develop on PHPBB it would take more time than what vBulletin provides me. Its all between ROI and if you are developing for yourself also costs.

  • Cory

    lacking any substance

  • Robert

    please let me know how canwe install a forum in website

  • ODOnline

    I would go with phpBB just because it's free

  • ODOnline

    I would go with phpBB just because it's free

    • I hate vBB

      yeah, phpBB is free, open and pro 😀

  • CodeUnlock

    That sounds good ones. Thanks for sharing

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