My Woltlab Burning Board Experience comparing with XenForo

Al.Ch

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
35
Hello,

I bought WBB a while ago and I have to say (despite some small negative things) I am really impressed.

I have about 4 other forums 2 powered by vBulletin 3.8 and 2 by XenForo. Here I am going to compare these three forum software based on my personal experience and views.

1- Customization and Performance enhancements
WBB:

For me the most important thing is optimization and SEO. So the first thing that I did was customizing the templates. I was easily able to reduce the page load time from ~ 3-4 seconds to 1.8-1.9 sec for the first view and 0.8 to 0.9 for the second view which is perfect.
I used no plugins for this task and just played with templates and conditionals tags of WBB.

XF:
The best result that I could get from XF was 2-2.1 for the first view and 1-1.2 for the second view.
I used one plugin (LiteSpeed Caching) and of course some template customizations.

vB 3.8 :
In vBulletin 3.8 I had the best results ... 1.2s for the first view and 0.7s for the second view. BUT I used one plugin (DB vBoptimized commercial version) plus xCache and TONES of template modifications which took me hours of hard work.

Ok maybe not all of you guys would be interested in optimizations so lets continue ...

2- Support :
To be honest both XF and WBB teams are offering great support. However I believe WBB kind of surprised me in this regard . For example when I asked questions about customizing some pages they gave me full details about what I needed to do plus some extra tips that what should I do afterwards and so on.

vBulletin : SUPPORT IS A JOKE ... even if you pay for the support , anytime you have a problem or want to customize something they would say ... you should ask it on vb.org or they say we can not support customized installations. IB Style.

3- User and Admin Interfaces :
WBB and XF :

As many other said both WBB and XF have a modern look and user friendly interface.
However regarding the admin area I believe XF is a little more easy to work with specially when you want to customise permissions for forums&users . XF is kind more easy and understandable for most of our customers. I hope WBB developers work on this part more.

WBB is so much easier in terms of maintenance .. something like WP while maintaining XF is manual.

vB 3.8 :
Of course OLD and OUTDATED and to make the front end more user friendly you need to do tone of customizations.

4- Technical and Admin Features :
WBB and XF :

I believe both XF and WBB are great in this respect however WBB really lacks some great features like built-in XML sitemaps (but there is a really great XML sitemap plugin which costs around €5).
WBB offers Blogs, Gallery , Calendar and FileBase .

While XF offers only Gallery and Resources which is similar to WBB's FileBase... No Blogs and Calendar for XF (and of course there are some 3rd party add-ons for blogs and calendar but here we are talking about default and built-in software and add-ons)

XF's Gallery seems to be more promising since it also supports Youtube videos and has more features.


vB 3.8 only offers Forum and Calendar and a useless Blogs. (of course 3rd party plugins are available for gallery and article system)

5- 3rd Party Add-on and style developments
Here XF and vB3 are winners however there are many useful add ons for WBB too.


Final (personal) thoughts as a 10 year forum admin :
Ok the first thing that I would say is that "Just Keep Away From vBulletin" ... vB4 and vB5 are disasters and vB3 unfortunately is an old pice of software.

Now WBB or XF ? While one is better...

To be honest there is no 100% answer for this question.

I love both.

I was able to make WBB so fast with no plugin (which is really important to SEO) and it has a nice and modern interface with all needed features for a small to large community. Perfect support and of course cheaper license and updates.

On the other hand XF is also modern and similar to WBB in terms of user interface plus it has more 3rddparty add ons and styles (but less and less company offered add ons like blogs etc.)

All in a wrap.. it really depends on you. 50-60% of forum admins do not need or use many 3rd party add ons so maybe WBB would be a better option for them while there are many people who need or like to have more add ons so XF would be a better option.

I hope I could have given you good details and ideas for a better decision.

P.S. :
- Performance tests were done by WebPageTest.org and all websites were on the same server.

Good luck
 
Last edited:

tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
WBB:
For me the most important thing is optimization and SEO. So the first thing that I did was customizing the templates. I was easily able to reduce the page load time from ~ 3-4 seconds to 1.8-1.9 sec for the first view and 0.8 to 0.9 for the second view which is perfect.
I used no plugins for this task and just played with templates and conditionals tags of WBB.

Care to share what changes you made for other WBB admins?
 

s.molinari

Leader of Skooppa
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
5,035
Nice writeup.

If I may ask, of the 5 topics you reviewed on, which one is most important to you? Which one is the least important?

Scott
 

Al.Ch

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
35
Care to share what changes you made for other WBB admins?
Yes, sure I can.

I tried to speed up the the site by removing unnecessary *.js files , images, CSS and HTML codes for guests. This really depends on the topic of the site and what admin wants to offer for guests.

Of course like any other website perfect and fancy design is in contradict with speed (hence better SEO). So by my customizations you may sacrifice some of the fancy effects and beauties of your website for speed which IMO is not a big deal since when the user is logged in , he or she has all of these features.

And please never forget that the server side configuration is the main key for your site's speed.

I would recommend
LiteSpeed+LsPHP+MariaDB + memcache server
-OR-
NGiNX+PHP-fpm+MariaDB + memcache server

I have the first installation but it costs more. However LiteSpeed is really easy to config. and its like install it and use it.

Please feel free to ask any questions in this regard.


Ali.
 
Last edited:

Al.Ch

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
35
Nice writeup.

If I may ask, of the 5 topics you reviewed on, which one is most important to you? Which one is the least important?

Scott
You are so welcome :)

Well this is really a hard question to answer.

It depends on what website I am going to have, what my customer wants and so many other factors.

For me, if I want to have a website for myself , of course I would go for the best optimization because this is the incoming traffic which makes a forum successful in the first place. And yes I would definitely consider the user experience as well, since after the viewer comes and register in your website you should provide him/her a user friendly environment.

From this perspective I would give WBB an 8 and XenForo a 7 From 10.

Ali.
 
Last edited:

Danielx64

Developer
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
3,315
Yes, sure I can.

I tried to speed up the the site by removing unnecessary *.js files , images, CSS and HTML codes for guests.

Of course like any other website perfect and fancy design in in contradict with speed (hence better SEO). So by my customizations you may sacrifice some of the fancy effects and beauties of your website for speed which IMO is not a big deal since when the user is logged in , he or she has all of these features.

And please never forget that the server side configuration is the main key for your site's speed.

I would recommend LiteSpeed+LsPHP+MariaDB and and additional memcache server
-OR-
NGiNX+PHP-fpm+MariaDB

I have the first installation but it costs more. However LiteSpeed is really easy to config. and its like install it and use it.

Please feel free to ask any questions in this regard.


Ali.
What version of Litespeed do you have? Unless I needed Enterprise I stick with standard or open litespeed.
 

Al.Ch

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
35
What version of Litespeed do you have? Unless I needed Enterprise I stick with standard or open litespeed.
I have got the 2-CPU LSWS.

You have no idea when you switch to higher CPU versions how different the performance of LiteSpeed would be.

Ali.
 

VoXX

Participant
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
61
Took the blung with burning board and so far so good. There is a learning curve, but everyday I feel better about my decision. I was looking at XF and WBB and I went with WBB. Goodbye bulletin after 10 years!
 
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