Time to move on from vB4, but where to go?

Magle

Adherent
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Messages
326
The writing is on the wall, and has been for some time, not least since it vBulletin 4 was declared end of life. I need to find a way going forward with my TalkClassical forum. The site is still very much alive and currently has 1.3 million posts, but I don't see any way to move forward with it on vB4 - the primitive mobile solution hinders that, as well as the lack of future development.

Anyhow, as I see it there are four realistic options:
Upgrading to vBulletin 5.4, or migrating to either XenForo 2, IPS, or WoltLab.

Aside from the basics (forum threads/posts, users, etc.), I need to be able to migrate the following add-ons:
  1. I'd like to keep the current DBSEO urls, or at the very least redirect all of them so I don't lose inbound links/traffic.
  2. My users are actively using the blog system, so I need a decent blog system on the new software as well - and a way to import the current blogs.
  3. I'm using the DragonByte Advanced Thanks/Like mod (but in a very simple way, with just "Likes"). I need to keep all those likes as well.
I'm ready to pay for custom work within reason, but of course the less custom work necessary the better.

I'm not really sure about the future for vB5.x , although that of course would be the easiest option, with the blog already built-in. DragonByte also have a version of Thanks/Like for it, and I would assume that the likes can be imported into it. But vB feels like a dead-end, though I could of course be wrong. Also, I'm worried that it is quite slow, which is a major concern for a site this size.

If not vB then it must be XF, IPB, or WoltLab. I really don't have much experience with these boards except as a user (and what I read here). They all seem decent, but what would you suggest, given the needs listed above?

Any help/suggestions is very much appreciated, thanks.
 
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Anton Chigurh

Ultimate Badass
Joined
Feb 22, 2015
Messages
1,398
The writing is on the wall, and has been for some time, not least since it vBulletin 4 was declared end of life. I need to find a way going forward
There's BIG boards out there still using vB versions 2 and 3. If your site is quite active as you're saying, and you're not getting major complaints from the members, what's the compelling reason to change the engine?

Your stats show 4,200 active members, what percentage of those would be really offended by the change? What percentage of them are complaining? It's not about you or the latest 'must have' software, it's about your users.
 

fixer

I'm In My Prime
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
2,057
It's only a dollar more to go first class, IPS is pricy but you get what you pay for. xf is more nimble and cheaper solution with more "deregulated" plug in developers and theme designers.

Ive owned and ran vb3, vb4, xf1, ips3, ips4

vb3 site was my "claim to fame", vb4 almost made me quit development completely hate it!, xf1 was great but limited, ips3 was okay, ips4 blew my socks off
 

Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
4,988
Of the ones listed, I'd look more towards IPS for your needs due to your stated requirements. It has a 1st party blog system and a nice native configurable thanks/like system.

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 8.18.25 PM.png

The WBB system I ran was OK, but it was rougher around the edges than the IPS solution.
Also, their English support is ..... for use of a better term .... "lacking" on the forums from other admins.
 

Magle

Adherent
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Messages
326
There's BIG boards out there still using vB versions 2 and 3. If your site is quite active as you're saying, and you're not getting major complaints from the members, what's the compelling reason to change the engine?

Your stats show 4,200 active members, what percentage of those would be really offended by the change? What percentage of them are complaining? It's not about you or the latest 'must have' software, it's about your users.

That is inarguably true! Especially the part it being about the users - because of course a forum is its users.

I do think that when it comes to big boards using vB2 and vB3 that times have changed. vB2 is ancient, and I have no doubt that keeping it running requires a lot of continuing work and fixes to keep it secure, etc. (and it will also not run on most servers since it's not compatible with modern php/MySql etc.), and it is not mobile friendly at all etc. In regard to vB3, it has been kept relatively updated until very recently (it was even updated to run on php7 along with vB4). But times are different now, I think.

Back when vB4 was introduced there was a thriving developer community, ensuring that vB3 could be kept relatively up-to-date for a many years. That developer community is almost gone now. One reason that vB3 was kept somewhat up-to-date is probably that IB uses it for most of their forums, but AFAIK they don't use vb4 installations, so vb4 can be dropped completely. There will inevitably be discovered new security vulnerabilities in vB4 in the future, and I assume vB will continue to patch them, but with no active developers working on vB4 how long will it take to patch things. Even though I can afford to hire people do do some custom work in order for the transition to be as smooth as possible (for my users, not least), I cannot afford to keep hiring coders on a regular basis to keep the site running and secure in years to come.

These are some of the reasons why I am considering moving on from vB(4). I'm not in a hurry – I want to make the right decision – and it could probably run for a few years more until major problems arise, but it's on borrowed time for sure.
 
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Anton Chigurh

Ultimate Badass
Joined
Feb 22, 2015
Messages
1,398
These are some of the reasons why I am considering moving on from vB(4). I'm not in a hurry – I want to make the right decision – and it could probably run for a few years more until major problems arise, but it's on borrowed time for sure.
But.... Nothing compelling.
 

Magle

Adherent
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Messages
326
It's only a dollar more to go first class, IPS is pricy but you get what you pay for. xf is more nimble and cheaper solution with more "deregulated" plug in developers and theme designers.

Ive owned and ran vb3, vb4, xf1, ips3, ips4

vb3 site was my "claim to fame", vb4 almost made me quit development completely hate it!, xf1 was great but limited, ips3 was okay, ips4 blew my socks off

Of the ones listed, I'd look more towards IPS for your needs due to your stated requirements. It has a 1st party blog system and a nice native configurable thanks/like system.

View attachment 50335

The WBB system I ran was OK, but it was rougher around the edges than the IPS solution.
Also, their English support is ..... for use of a better term .... "lacking" on the forums from other admins.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am indeed slightly leaning towards IPS, as it seems to meet most of my requirements out of the box.
 

Magle

Adherent
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Messages
326
But.... Nothing compelling.

I don't agree. You are right in the sense that there's no compelling reason to move today, but Vb4 is end of life from vBulletin, and worse, there's no longer an active developer community outside the company to keep it updated. I fear that sooner rather than later problems will arise that will be slow to be fixed in the absence of active developers. Therefore I want to prepare the inevitable migration before such problems arise. Do you really believe that no major problems will arise for vB4 within the next few years? Or that if they do, they will be fixed quickly? By whom?
 

wakey

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
14
Personally I would just reskin the vB4 forum with a responsive style such as vBMobile.com

It’s about the same price as IPB or XF without the issues of having to migrate to another platform and find replacement plugins and migrate that data over too.

You can always move later but vB4 will continue to be patched for a while you would imagine
 

wakey

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
14

By them. Wayne said they would still security patch it in his EOL post
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,526
By them. Wayne said they would still security patch it in his EOL post

the product is EOL meaning no new features only security fixes. So if something breaks because lets say Facebook alters something and you can't login it will not be fixed.
 

wakey

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
14
the product is EOL meaning no new features only security fixes. So if something breaks because lets say Facebook alters something and you can't login it will not be fixed.

Sure 3rd party integrations might break but there aren’t that many built into vB and even on vB5 or any other platform you risk having 3rd party break if the 3rd party change anything so relying on these anyway is risky. FB for example make feature breaking changes fairly often so any site that uses FB login should be ensuring everyone isn’t relying on this only.

Also by not switching you are saving the renewal fees to keep access to the latest version of XF/IPB which if you are using the inbuilt 3rd party integrations you need to pay to ensure they remain working anyway which can be saved and used to hire someone to fix the vB built in 3rd party integrations when the provider changes things. You also have the money saved rom not having to buy plugins for XF/IPB as after all both of these platforms have a much greater focus on the plugin development community of paid plugins so even some plugins that were free on vB4 will require a fee to be paid and your paid mods almost certainly will need a XF/IPB version bought.

So by just switching to a responsive theme you aren’t going to have major issues running vB4 for a while so you can ensure you aren’t losing visitors due to poor mobile usability and that then gives you more time to consider and plan the move away when neccesary
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
823
  • I'd like to keep the current DBSEO urls, or at the very least redirect all of them so I don't lose inbound links/traffic.
  • My users are actively using the blog system, so I need a decent blog system on the new software as well - and a way to import the current blogs.
  • I'm using the DragonByte Advanced Thanks/Like mod (but in a very simple way, with just "Likes"). I need to keep all those likes as well.

If you do evaluate Invision Community, here are items that directly address your concern
Other things for you to consider ... IPS natively supports all of the following: mobile-ready default skin, Amazon AWS for storage, CDN, WordPress, oAuth, ElasticSearch, Google Maps, Facebook Pixl, etc.
 

Woffie

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
107
IMHO, IPS is on the cutting edge as far as forum software goes. I was less than impressed with XF2 which is why I am now back on IPS. Very excited about the future of IPS software.
 

Maddox

Habitué
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
1,251
There are three iterations you have to look at:

IPS
XF2 (or XF1)
WBB

All three have good and not so good points to consider. Take a look at all - try them all; they all offer a free trial. Then decide what is best for you and your members. You will always attract fors and againsts for every software out there. Some will like this, others will hate that; it's personal and subjective.

I've never bought WBB (did a trial once and it didn't impress me) but do have both XF1/2 and IPS - I love both for different reasons but use both for different types of site. Go with your gut and bite the bullet.

;)
 
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