*shrug* They all have their advantages and disadvantages. IPB's team have a track record of screwing users over in the past, vB's team aren't the same people who built 3.x and 4.x has been pretty buggy, while XF has developers who actually genuinely care about what they do (and, note, are the former vBulletin developers who made 3.x as successful as it was)
I'm happy with my choice, which is none of the above.
Oh my, some of the more XenForo fans would have your head for putting IPB over XenForo, haha. Personally, VB for me. I dislike IPB because it requires so much resources to get started. XenForo isn't impressive at all, in fact its a copycat of vb with a different look, lol.
I think for the acp i prefer ipb as i have played with it a bit, from a user point I think xenforo although there have been rumors that development has stopped, but as i can't afford either think i'll be sticking to free software.
At the moment, I prefer Invision Power Board. Want to know why? Let me explain:
The official add ons are much better than the ones available for vBulletin, and are very much useful for a community. I can't imagine life without the downloads, gallery and blogs now, and think a lot of XenForo fans are honestly a bit delusional when they think a standalone forum is all that's needed to be a massive success nowadays. Really, IPB knows that a community suite is the proper direction to go in, unlike the ten years behind vBulletin and Internet Brands and the willfully blind XenForo fanbase.
It's the only one with a future. XenForo has gone to hell after the lawsuit and because of Internet Brands is now probably dead, vBulletin has been made into bad software by Internet Brands and their shoddy management, what else is there other than IPB for good paid software?
It has what I'd consider the nicest default style of them all, unlike XenForo which almost always looks the same and vBulletin 4 and 5 which just look a bit ugly.
It's got all the features I want and need for my community.
I have always liked how IPB allows for downloading and purchasing addons that are official. Once upon a time, vBulletin allowed you to purchase their blog addon and others as addons, then when 4 came around, to have a blog feature you had to get the cms which was just a pain in the ass. I could had used the blog feature along with vbAdavnced if I wanted a portal but no I had to pay a lot of money and get a cms even if I didn't want to use it...
For the longest time, I stayed with vb 3.8 Before that, I stayed with earlier versions of vbulletin, haha.
From what I hear elsewhere, IP Nexus is a pretty decent shop system despite the encryption. But I can't say much more than that, I refuse to buy anything with encrypted code and have no need for a shop, so I haven't tested that specific add on out yet.
Good point. Haven't used it as an admin though, which is the important part. Could be the best software in the world, yet still be near unusable because the admin cp is badly laid out and the features hard to setup.
IPB has great features but like you said, the admin area isn't the best. I get very confused when using it.
vB has everything right there on the main admin panel homepage. The only thing that I don't like about it is that it doesn't use the same theme as the forum. I see a lot of AdminCP theme and to me, why is that needed? I mean you really don't want to give a whole lot of folks access to the ACP so why the need for a custom theme?
vBulletin was a great forum script... a few years ago. The modification community is pretty good, the features that are there in vB 3 and 4 are good and it's definitely decent software... it's just it's aged so poorly I don't think it's that useable any more. vBulletin 3 just looks really archaic and out dated in this day and age of web 2.0 sites and stuff, and with Internet Brands taking the software in a questionable direction I decided to stop using it when vBulletin 4 came out.
I still use one license, a v4 one but I've been thinking about restarting that forum and using a different software. vBulletin really doesn't have features that I need that a free software doesn't already have or have free modifications for.