Best forum software for small\tiny communities?

lopar

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Mar 18, 2015
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Hi @all!

We argued a lot about forums for growing/big communities, but what's going on with smaller (below 100 memers) but stable ones?

I have couple of such forums, one is using fluxBB, another is Simplemachines. They seems to work good, but they are old and almost not maintained by creators. I'ts becoming harder and harder to maintain them (SSL in smf is painful in some occasions), to find new mods, or to find maintainers of old ones.

Theese communities work on humble shared hostings. So then it's OK, but... old. We d like to have modern functions like, well, likes, link to content translation, fast and cute experiences and so on.

How do you think, which forum software fits best for that purpose (including import tools)? I mean, actively maintained ones. I tried to look at giants like XF, IPB, etc, but it's like using a steam-hammer to crack nuts. No?

Please, don't say about moving to facebook/discord/telegram etc. Theese communities are forum comminities with forum-style talking likers.

Thanx in advance.
 
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Destroy Repeat

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Jun 25, 2018
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My suggestion is to migrate two of those boards to xenForo, then upgrade to 2.0 (2.1 is currently in beta, brings new features that pretty much mimics facebook feel).

FluxBB and SMF are very difficult to get imported to xenForo, because they require import steps in order to get it where you want to be.

Like so: FluxBB > vBulletin (costs money) > xenForo 1.5.

If you indeed have a xenForo board, keep it there. Don't do anything until you've migrated your 2 other sites to xenForo.

Once you've done that, upgrade your server from PHPX to PHP7.2. After that, upgrade all sites to XF2.

And finally...
Please, don't say about moving to facebook/discord/telegram etc. Theese communities are forum comminities with forum-style talking likers.
I wouldn't move them into facebook/discord/telegram, etc.
 

Destroy Repeat

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I have couple of such forums, one is using fluxBB, another is XenFo (whoops) Simplemachines. They seems to work good, but they are old and almost not maintained by creators. I'ts becoming harder and harder to maintain them (SSL in smf is painful in some occasions), to find new mods, or to find maintainers of old ones.
One. Two. Three...?

The second one is crossed off, so I'm guessing that's a mistake?
 

lopar

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second one is crossed off
Oh, I need to remove it to avoid misunderstanding. I catch myself typing Xenforo speaking of SimpleMashines, so I crossed it off and left onboard to avoid such mistakes while typing that post and forgot to erase before submitting the post.
 

Destroy Repeat

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Oh, I need to remove it to avoid misunderstanding. I catch myself typing Xenforo speaking of SimpleMashines, so I crossed it off and left onboard to avoid such mistakes while typing that post and forgot to erase before submitting the post.
Okay, so then. My answer still remains: Import both sites to xenForo. That is, if that's what you're asking. The problem isn't the importer, the problem is that xenForo doesn't support FluxBB/SMF directly, so... you'd need a step import.
 

lopar

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Import both sites to xenForo.
No that communities are not connected, so I will need two separate licensed Xenforos. That's why I was surprised about an option to merge two communities in one forum. I thought, that XF designed syme type of multisiting and I just didn't know about it.
 

Destroy Repeat

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No that communities are not connected, so I will need two separate licensed Xenforos. That's why I was surprised about an option to merge two communities in one forum. I thought, that XF designed syme type of multisiting and I just didn't know about it.
This is actually a industry standard, there's no multi-site support in any of them. That is, if someone else can correct me here. But most forum software do not support this "ideal."
 

lopar

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But again, is it ok using such big and complex solution for small situation? I'ts okay ty buy forum, but is it okay to use only 5-10% of bought solition?
 

Destroy Repeat

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But again, is it ok using such big and complex solution for small situation? I'ts okay ty buy forum, but is it okay to use only 5-10% of bought solition?
Thing is, it poses security issues if you don't know what you're doing. Wordpress does it because the development process is community driven. They pull code from all around the world, and their own HQ of workers.
 

radu81

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You can migrate from smf directly to xenforo.

But if you like smf and don't want to spend on licenses have a look at elkarte.net, it's an smf fork with some nice features included into core.
 

Destroy Repeat

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You can migrate from smf directly to xenforo.

But if you like smf and don't want to spend on licenses have a look at elkarte.net, it's an smf fork with some nice features included into core.
How? I don't remember the importer support SMF/SimpleMachines.

EDIT: I just checked the xf1 manual. Yep. SMF2.0
 
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lopar

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Ok, I waited a bit for other answers, but they are just similar: Xenforo-only. Btw, why exactly XenForo, not one of others?
 

Destroy Repeat

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Ok, I waited a bit for other answers, but they are just similar: Xenforo-only. Btw, why exactly XenForo, not one of others?
In my opinion, the user interface of IPS vs XF[Whatever] is poor. xenForo in my opinion has the best user interface, easy to understand, especially if you're migrating from an older forum software such as vBulletin, PHPBB, SMF, and whatnot. FluxBB is sorta, semi-new to the market (it's a fork of PunBB, BTW). My major gripe with IPS is the bloat. Every time I go to an IPS/IPB site, pageloads are notoriously slow. I even admined a IPS site for a bit, and I didn't like the experience. So, at that point, I never looked back at IPS/IPB.
 
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MarkFL

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I have experience administrating an XF 2.x and an IPS 4.x stie, and my opinion is that both are excellent forum software. Both are mobile friendly, and easy to use, at least for someone that has used forums for many years.

If I would going to begin a new forum, I would choose XF 2 if it was going to be mostly focus of discussion threads, and I would choose IPS if it was going to be more of a community based site, where more importance is put on clubs, reactions, leaderboards, etc. But, I think either package can be molded to function for either goal. I would recommend seeing if trial version of both are available so you can make a personal comparison to see which you think will better suit your needs and desires.
 

Joel R

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Ok, I waited a bit for other answers, but they are just similar: Xenforo-only. Btw, why exactly XenForo, not one of others?
Because most users on TAZ are familiar with XenForo so they recommend XenForo. It's what they're most comfortable and familiar with, not because they've actually broadly surveyed the market.

There are honestly a ton of community platforms out there with different flavors, from enterprise (Jive and CMNTY) to brand marketing (Influitive) to content collaboration (Breezio) to digital sales (Salesforce) to paid forums (Xenforo) to community suites (Woltlab and IPS) to free ones (SMF or MyBB or Discourse). You can even use social platforms like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups or chat communities like Discord or Slack or even choose WordPress, which has plugins for forums, social sites, dating, ecommerce, etc. I think the best thing is to articulate your needs in more detail and think deeply about how you want to grow your forums for the next five years.

Switching to premium forum software is appropriate when you're ready to make the move and enjoy a professional community solution thats constantly updated and professionally supported. I used to use SMF too, and got tired of the lack of updates. I made the move to Invision Community six years ago, which has helped me to establish a suite of forums, gallery, downloads, and online databases. It has a mobile responsive skin, responsive editor, reactions, giphy support, emoji support, etc.
 

mysiteguy

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For a tiny community, unless you already have licenses to paid forum software, or cost isn't a concern, I'd go with an open source forum (and have for some tiny niche forums of my own over the years). If and when the forum outgrows it, then I'd consider paid forum software.
 
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