Paid v. Free (Forum Software)

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
16,091
Shawn G submitted a new Article:

Paid v. Free (Forum Software)

Paid v. Free (Forum Software)

There has always been the forum software debate on almost every admin and webmaster forum you can think of. There are the free forum software users saying free software is just as good as paid software. There are the paid forum software users saying paid software is better than any free software online. The only way anyone is really going to understand which is better and why is to actually use software and decide on what software you want to use. I use a lot of free forum software on my forum projects and Simple Machines Forum software is the main one I use. I have used MyBB, PhpBB, Wedge and others as well. I wrote this article to give you all a picture on my experience of using free and paid software and which one is better.

The Short Answer

Free is not better than paid and paid is not better than free!

The Long Answer

I have 5 paid forum software licenses. I have 2 vBulletin 3.8 forum licenses and 1 vBulletin 4 license. I have a XenForo license and an IP.Board license that are up to date and active. I have used all of these paid forum software platforms for communities that I have ran over the years. I enjoyed vBulletin out of all of them because of the features it had to offer. I needed certain features to do certain things and vBulletin offered me that solution against the other paid options. Now, when I used paid software as a whole, back then, I wanted more features that no one would ever use. I wanted custom FAQs which I could add stuff too but no one really ever read them. I wanted notices I could over boards but people read sticky topics before reading a notice. I wanted to be able to edit every file on the forum for full customization even though it eventually became overwhelming. Basically, all these extra features that I desired meant I would have way more to do than just be active on my community.

This is about the time I looked into SMF and other free options. I found that most of the free forum software out there does the exact same thing (in general features) as the paid forum software and I decided to mainly stick with free software as my first option. I decided that I didn't need all those features and that modifications and custom development would all I need to get a few extras on my communities. I also am prone to open a new forum every week or so and spending all that money of paid software could have been better to go for advertising or contest prizes to get members active. It's not the...

Read more about this article here...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dilip

Devotee
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Messages
2,038
Nice write up. :tup:

I like the themed looked of IPB and Xenforo.
 

ford1001

Participant
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Messages
82
I think that free software is great for when a person is starting up a new forum or for someone that this is their first forum , allows for them to get the started without having to pay money for a software when they might not be interested in the forum in a few weeks/months
 

mansawalta

Neophyte
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
8
I have learnt the hard way that if you really want to get the best results you are going to have to pay, in one form or the other. If you go the free way, you are going to pay with your time and effort. And if you choose to pay you would have saved in a lot of other areas. But to avoid buying the wrong thing there is a lot of try before you buy software out there which is a good option if you are not sure what you are getting into.
 

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
16,091
See I haven't seen one paid forum software that is worth its price yet, especially vBulletin5, lol.

I mean SMF can perform just as good as XenForo...

Why pay when a free forum software is just as good?
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,874
For the support. For the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the makers depend on the software to keep going, and can't just drop it whenever an ugly real life issue pops up. That's why paid software is good.

And because in the case of IPB, it offers a full suite of tools instead of just a forum like its free competitors.
 

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
16,091
I will agree to that...

Free software makers often give up and close because life issues occur. Paid software doesn't do that so much, so there is more stability.

However, I foresee a lot of volunteer developers on free software continuing the software one way or another even if they have to fork it.
 

Dilip

Devotee
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Messages
2,038
Since AAF started my concern for a good SMF support forum has vanished ;)
 

Shawn G

Tazmanian Addict
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
16,091
Well thanks for coming here for you questions :)
 
Top