48 Must-Have Modifications for SMF 2.0.1


Sep 18, 2011
I have compiled a list of 48 Must-Have modifications for your SMF forum. A lot of these modifications focus on reducing bandwidth usage as well as monetizing your forum in ways you never knew how, and also increasing the security of your forum against spam and hacking attempts. Others are merely for aesthetic purposes or add extra functionality to your forum.

Redirect boards open in a new tab - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1565

Not a standard default feature of SMF, this mod will open redirect boards in a new browser tab.

Referral System - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1114

This mod adds a robust referral tracking system for your forum members. Great to base contests off of or offer perks!

Remember position after login/logout - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2714

This mod will take a user to the same page he/she logged in or out from.

RSS feed poster - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=624

You can set this mod up to post defined RSS feeds to your forum at set intervals.

Facebook Integration - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2322

Lets users log in with their Facebook account.

Twitter Integration - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3055

Lets users log in with their Twitter account.

Send locked topics to bottom - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2308

This mod will send locked topics to the bottom of the forum, making the topic index less cluttered.

Simple audio/video embedder - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2681

This will automatically detect YouTube links (as well as many other audio/video websites) and embed them into the post so the user never has to leave your forum to watch or listen to the content.

SimpleColorizer - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3067

This colours the names of people in membergroups all over the forum.

Activity in Profile - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2593

This nifty mod will display what the user is currently doing on their profile. (e.g. "Anonchair is currently writing a topic in Category_Name")

Advanced News - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2450

Adds functionality to the standard news system that SMF offers and lists them on a News page.

Align Smileys - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2690

Vertically center-aligns smileys in-line with text to neaten up the message and post display.

Allow access in maintenance mode - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2170

This will allow you to give certain membergroups the ability to access the forum during maintenance mode. Useful if you have multiple members of staff working on updating a forum at the same time.

AntiSpam - KeyCaptcha - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2839

This replaces the standard text-verify image with a nifty captcha that displays an advert as a puzzle. The user will have to solve the puzzle in order to complete the process they're busy with. You earn money off of these adverts.

Smu****! - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2991

Smu****! is Yahoo's lossless compression and optimization API, it will reduce the size of your forum's images and attachments without losing any of the visual quality.

Bad Behaviour Mod - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2502

An anti-spam feature.

BanList - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1198

Adds a banlist that only defined membergroups have access to.

BoardViewers - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=295

Adds the number of viewers next to the topic title.

BoardHover - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1065

Normal SMF boards and topics are only clickable via the link. This mod will highlight the board/topic background when a user hovers over it and they can click anywhere on the highlighted area to open the link. This is used in phpBB's prosilver theme.

Login Caps Lock Detector - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1807

Detects if a user's caps lock is on when entering a password.

Code Highlighting - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2925

Adds syntax highlighting to the code BBcode. Supports multiple languages.

Custom Action - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=331

Allows you to assign custom actions to pages in the URL. Pretty URLs compatible.

Default Avatar - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2665

This will add a default avatars to members of your forum who have not set an avatar already.

Additional membergroups on profile - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=620

This will display all the additional membergroups a user belongs to on their profile.

Edit Display Name Permission - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2999

This adds a permission for users' ability to edit their display name, allowing you to incorporate it as a VIP feature.

Enhanced PM Popup - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2283

This replaces the standard dialogue box with a less intrusive HTML/CSS version when a user receives a personal message.

Forum Firewall - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2815

Anti-Spam and Hacking protector.

Guest Registration Notification - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2607

Allows you to show custom messages to guests viewing the forums. (hint: tell them why they should register)

Highslide 4 SMF - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2518

This adds a lightbox-style popup to images and attachments onclick.

Images on print page - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2340

This adds the ability for images to be shown when the page is being printed.

In-line attachments - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2481

Allows you to display images and attachments as thumbnails or full-sized images on the left and/or right of the text.

Install and uninstall mods quickly - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2670

Speeds up the process of installing/uninstalling mods.

Join date/location in posts and personal messages - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2531


Jump to select board - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3147

Adds a dropdown list to many forum areas that allow you to jump to any board in the forum from anywhere, like on other forum softwares.

Login Security - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2181

Improves on the default login threshold and adds extra security to members accounts as well as the option for members to lock their account to a specific IP address so their account will never work elsewhere.

Member Awards - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=475

Allows you to set up custom rewards for your members and have them display in the miniprofile to the left of each of a user's posts.

Membergroup ID with groupname - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2899

Setting up membergroups and editing membergroups is tough, you always have to find out the ID of the group and this is in the URL. This mod removes this frustration by adding the membergroup ID to the left of every instance of the groupname within the admin panel.

New layout for last post - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2530

Adds a jump-to-last-post button in the respective column.

Page Number in Title - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3052

Adds the page number to the title of the active page, helping users keep track of where they are without having to tab back to your forum.

Pretty URLs - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=636

Turns /index.php?action=categories into /categories in the URL bar for any URL associated with your forum.

Quick Spoiler - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2940

Adds a functional
bbcode to your forum that only loads images after the show button has been clicked, to save on queries and bandwidth use.

Slashout Banned Members - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2960

Slashes out the username of banned members in the post and message display.

SMF Archive - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=339

Adds a lo-fi version of your forum for people with slower connections and spiders.

Social Media Icons - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2810

Displays a row of multiple social media icons for sharing links across multiple networks at the bottom of a topic.

Sorted Package Manager Listing - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=875

Sorts your modifications into lists, allowing for easier browsing.

Spiders don't increase topic views - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=882

By default, when a spider (search engine) indexes your forum, it will add a "view" to the topic's view counter. This mod removes that so you can accurately see how often HUMANS are viewing your topics. Also reduces number of queries, saving bandwidth.

Treasury - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=916

Treasury is an advanced donations and expenses manager that even your members are allowed to use.

VigLink - http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2817

VigLink automatically and invisibly (without the user noticing) detects affiliate links posted on your forum and gives you a commission per sale from your website.

I hope you enjoyed this list. :)


Sep 18, 2011
The standard old arcade mod is still compatible with the latest SMF as long as a few customizations are made, but since you think coding is public enemy no. 1, there's an alternative. :p

AVArcade is a web arcade CMS, with a free and a pro version. The pro version costs $19.99, and there is a working SMF integration. You can find it here: http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=334456.0

Another alternative is to downgrade SMF to 1.1.15

Don Houston

Sep 5, 2011

Permission to copy this post to my admin area so I can have a list of Mods to review? I promise to link it back here

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Jul 20, 2011
Nice list :)

Redirect boards open in a new tab

Do you mean boards that redirect to different sites? Or links to other boards on your community?

Facebook and Twitter

The problem I have with these is I would rather a member join. Will these integrations count as a member
registration? Will it show up in the statistics?


Sep 22, 2017
Do you mean boards that redirect to different sites? Or links to other boards on your community?

2.0 features boards that look like normal boards, except when you click on them, they go to a URL of your choice. The main SMF community does this, look on the main board index for the link to the online manual.

The problem I have with these is I would rather a member join. Will these integrations count as a member
registration? Will it show up in the statistics?

Depends how they're implemented. OpenID accounts aren't necessarily proper accounts, however I believe both the FB and Twitter integration should create proper accounts.


Sep 18, 2011
The facebook integration just uses the same email address, avatar and password, but allows the user to set a username once the connect button has been clicked and access has been allowed to facebook. It creates a proper account.

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Jul 20, 2011
I see. I may have to consider doing the integrations. Do many people register that way now days? I mean have you seen this successful on your own forums?


Sep 18, 2011
Yeah, it makes registration a whole lot easier for the user so if they are perhaps lazy then they will register... but being the fact that they're lazy, don't expect too much content coming from them haha


Sep 22, 2017
Oh, I didn't comment on this properly before.

Redirect boards open in a new tab

I don't think it's a must have, but I did implement the option in Wedge. In theory, though, the determining factor is probably whether it's an off-site link or not; sm.org has redirect boards that are internal-bound to other sm.org sites, like the wiki and bug tracker.

Referral System

Depends on the community. None of the ones I have admin'd have this, and even the ones that I visit that do... I don't bother using a referral link, or sharing my own.

Remember position after login/logout

I can see the validity of this one, provided it doesn't screw up anything else. Should really be a core feature.

RSS feed poster

Not a must-have by any stretch of the imagination. Also might have consequences with respect to content-duplication penalties in Google if you're not careful.

Facebook Integration / Twitter Integration

I'm on the fence about these, it really depends more on the style of community you're running, and whether people would rather have an identity not tied to their otherwise-all-encompassing identity. I don't, for example, use FB or Twitter integration even on sites that provide them.

Send locked topics to bottom

Huh, one of mine originally. Only written because one person asked, and I've personally never found the value in it.

Simple audio/video embedder

I wouldn't honestly touch this with a barge-pole. Aeva (be it the auto embedder module only or the full embedder + gallery) is actually faster when just using the same sites for comparison purposes.


Simple and effective.

Activity in Profile

Can't believe they didn't put that in the core given that it's a one line change to actually put it into the profile (it's already worked out anyway in 2.0, it just isn't shown to users)

Advanced News

Not really 'advanced', IMO, and certainly not a must-have either.

Align Smileys

I thought that was integrated into the core?

Allow access in maintenance mode

Another originally written by me, heh. Though I wrote it, I've long since wondered what the point is. If it's in maintenance mode, the fewer users logged in, the better. There shouldn't really be much reason to be in maint. mode most of the time anyway.

AntiSpam - KeyCaptcha

Not a big fan of this approach, especially as it doesn't seem to be section 508 compatible, but I'll get on that more in another topic.

Not a big fan of things that require third-party integrations as a rule.

Bad Behaviour Mod

The core of BB is pretty good, though the binding to SMF somewhat less so, IMO.

I don't really like the idea of this. Banning, as a rule, should only be used in pretty extreme cases (there are other, better, methods for dealing with problematic users), and having a list like this can be bad for the community. I've seen cases where people have been banned, it's become public knowledge through such a facility, and then there's been uproar as a consequence.


Most of the people who I've seen use this also use vBulletin-like themes, so I'm thinking it's less about having the actual information (though I'm not sure what use that information would be to you...) and more about getting the 'look'.


Don't like this either. We are in a place now where there are defined and expected behaviours about how the web should work. Departing from them - like this does - undermines that, and leads to breaking what I've come to know as the Law of Least Surprises: if you do anything that's counter to how everyone else does it, and without a strong usability reason, when it happens, it's surprising.

xenForo does something slightly related, which also violates the law of least surprises to me; hover over a board, and its RSS icon will light up, but clicking on a board itself won't net you anything, unless you click on a link or button (which then goes back to consistency with the LoLS)

Login Caps Lock Detector

Might not work on non-Latin characters, probably won't work properly on more modern browsers either.

Code Highlighting

Interestingly I know a lot of forums that would hate this, because they have a habit of using code to paste URLs so that they're not auto-linked and don't pass any link juice on. The fact that most of these links are legally questionable is another matter entirely...

Back on track, I've never really seen it as that essential unless you're on a coding forum, and even then I'm still not sure how relevant it is.

I also don't like the fact that it can break [nobbc]
[/nobbc] which is quite important for me when posting as I use that to indicate before/after snippets.

[quote]Custom Action[/quote]

People use that? I thought most people who wanted a custom page would just such features in one of the portals.

[quote]Default Avatar[/quote]

Can be good for consistency, can be pain in other ways though.

[quote]Additional membergroups on profile[/quote]

I'd say that depends on the forum more than anything, you might use multiple groups to indicate multiple things and not necessarily want to share that.

[quote]Edit Display Name Permission[/quote]

Can be useful. I once teamed that, plus editing-signature and editing-website into a mod, this isn't it though (I didn't realise it on sm.org at the time, as it was after the point where I'd had enough of them.)

[quote]Enhanced PM Popup[/quote]

Doesn't work all that well on some themes. I'd also argue it's no less intrusive - but it is more consistent.

[quote]Forum Firewall[/quote]

The author has some interesting ideas but his execution is not so hot.

[quote]Guest Registration Notification[/quote]

It's not too grating, but I'm not sure it's really that needed.

[quote]Highslide 4 SMF[/quote]

Useful, though HS is a bit chunky.

[quote]Images on print page[/quote]

Heh, another of mine originally. What always amazed me is that SMF is doing almost all the work in this, all I actually do is provide an interface into the facility, nothing more.

[quote]In-line attachments[/quote]

Useful mod. But again, I think there are better ways of doing it (like using Aeva instead and its own custom bbcode)

[quote]Install and uninstall mods quickly[/quote]

I fail to understand the necessity of this for most users. Most users are not installing and reinstalling on a regular basis. Mod authors I can understand using it; I certainly did something like this in my test form.

[quote]Join date/location in posts and personal messages[/quote]

Again I've always had the feeling that this is another of those 'wanting to emulate vB' things; I've never really seen what benefit it offers, regardless of community size.

[quote]Jump to select board[/quote]

Really don't see the need for this; just because other software has it, doesn't automatically make it good. I don't even know that many people that use it.

[quote]Login Security[/quote]

Some interesting ideas but it's a bit easy to lock yourself out; IP binding isn't as useful as people think it is.

[quote]Member Awards[/quote]

Depends on the forum. Can be useful.

[quote]Membergroup ID with groupname[/quote]

It's tough? Aside from looking at the URL which takes a second or two, how often do you actually have to find it or know it? The only reason that I've seen for needing it is for mods that couldn't be arsed to put together a nicer user interface, which is the mod's problem. I can't help but feel this is a solution in search of a problem, really.

[quote]New layout for last post[/quote]

I can't check the mod site right now, but if it's what it sounds like... there's a jump-to-last-post link already in the board and topic listings and has been for years. It's just sufficiently subtle that most people didn't realise it.

[quote]Page Number in Title[/quote]

Never really understood the need for this one either, though I suppose there's the tiniest fraction of a percent of SEO in there for not having exact matches on page title. (I don't generally care what page I'm on.)

[quote]Pretty URLs[/quote]

Interesting example you pick, one that doesn't apply to a stock SMF setup :P More seriously, I'm not convinced this is a must-have. It makes things look nicer, but that's about it. It does also cause performance issues and makes your database bigger. If prettier URLs is important, SimpleSEF is probably a better choice.

[quote]Quick Spoiler[/quote]

It might save bandwidth by not loading images but if it's loading any amount of text it will consume more, not less, bandwidth. I would argue that a spoiler tag is useful on any forum.

[quote]Slashout Banned Members[/quote]

Even though I wrote my own one of these, heh, I find it a bad idea in most cases, much as the ban list. It can be a catalyst for drama as to why people are suddenly banned, and it can also lead to witch-hunts.

[quote]SMF Archive[/quote]

I don't see what this adds that WAP2 mode doesn't, as WAP2 is fully browsable and can even post directly too. As for spiders, it's just another source of bandwidth sucking, and yet more internal links (and I hope, canonical tags to re-indicate the real content)

[quote]Social Media Icons[/quote]

Depends on the forum, sometimes themes (especially premium themes) have this built in. Though perhaps an AddThis button might be more useful if you want to link, as that has many more networks in it.

[quote]Sorted Package Manager Listing[/quote]

I didn't actually like that one personally, and I don't believe it was available for 2.0 when I got round to originally writing [URL="http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2323"]http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2323[/URL] which does a similar job. Useful in its own way.

[quote]Spiders don't increase topic views[/quote]

It only works if it's a known spider and spider tracking is turned on. Also, the only bandwidth saved is in most cases purely internal...


Not sure this is a must have, assuming it actually works properly (there was a period where it really didn't). Can be useful for donation-supported forums especially with monthly targets to meet (e.g. hosting costs)


Hmm, really not a fan of this style of advertising. I'd also point out that most forums don't really work that well with it, the content just doesn't quite suit in most cases.