Software: A quick and dirty guide to choosing the right one for you


Apr 10, 2005
snowcrash submitted a new Article:

Software: A quick and dirty guide to choosing the right one for you

A "Quick and Dirty Guide" to choosing Forum Software

This 6-point "quick and dirty guide" aims to help choosing your forum software. It's not meant to be exhaustive, and you will find there's nothing quick about choosing software!

This guide doesn’t review specific software, or give recommendations. Instead, it puts you on the road to becoming an independent forum researcher, rather than being at the mercy of other user opinions, how ever experienced they claim to be. Becoming a forum researcher requires committing some time, and embarking on a rewarding project to identify the most appropriate software for you.

The guide isn’t meant to stir up controversy. It offers a certain perspective, which hopefully you will find useful.

1. Free or Paid Software – Some Myths
Any significant distinction between paid or free forum software is not made in this guide :yikes: In fact, there are a few common assumptions, i.e. myths about differences which need busting ;)

Myth: You begin by using free software (e.g. phpbb) and learn the basics. When you become a more experienced and serious, you move on to paid software (e.g. vBulletin). Or, just start with the best, invariably meaning paid software.

There are no solid reasons to accept this evolutionary path. Nor is paid software necessarily better that free software, because what counts as ‘better’ will be defined by your actual use of the software and what you want from it.
In fact, some Admins start from free software and stick with it; and some migrate from paid to free software. There are no hard rules to follow - you decide.

Myth: Free software only can offer limited support, while paid software will offer much more substantial and reliable support.

Well, you should expect far better support from paid software, but this doesn’t mean that the support offered by free software is of sub-standard quality. It could easily be good enough for you. Furthermore, you need to discover what kind of support you would want/need.

Myth: Paid software indicates a serious commitment to your members, unlike free software.

The most significant commitment is the kind of community you want to create in terms of the effort you put in as an Admin, regardless of the software

2. Demo/Trail Forum Software
Most learning happens when you actually administer a live board for some time and learn...

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Jun 30, 2004
It doesn't matter how feature rich or poor the paid or free forum software is - if you don't like the support community, you’ll get frustrated and move on. To begin with, join the community you are planning to use the software of, and do this before or at least during trialling the software. Spend plenty of time on their boards and ask lots of questions.

Very precise tutorial, its very hard to add everything in proper format.