Why people go with XenForo instead of IPS?

Impaler

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
17
I'm a long time IPS software user, I'm very satisfied with how it works and the choice of 3rd party apps/plugins is quite big.

But yet I see a lot of forums going with XenForo, I mean even the huge ones like AVForums and many other.

I fail to see what is it so special about XenForo. I mean really. I ask out of sheer curiosity, not here to stirr any trouble. What is it that I don't take into account when looking at XenForo? Where does Xen shine where IPS fails?
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
Messages
6,912
Well, when I was preparing to switch from vB, I looked at both software platforms hard.

In the end, it came down to 2 basic things nor me.

Most sites were vB at one time, and its was familiar to users. XF is similar in many ways to vB, so it would be easier for my members to adapt to the change.

The second thing - and this is a little hard to explain..... As I asked questions at the IP forum and of developers privately, I didn't feel welcomed whatsoever. I didn't feel that IPS cared if I used their software or not. As I talked to developers (and it didn't seem that there was all that many) they would tell me it would be months before they could work on any projects for me. I was concerned there weren't enough interested developers out there and that would mean that as I wanted to add things and customize things, it would be problematic.

IPS may or may not be better software, but honestly they didn't seem to show any real interest in gaining me as a customer. Plus, many of the developers from vB went to XF, so I would be working with people I already knew and who knew me.
 

Ingenious

Fan
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
730
What is it that I don't take into account when looking at XenForo? Where does Xen shine where IPS fails?
I bought and installed both, and did test imports from vB3 into both. XF imported almost perfectly, but IPS had some issues. However... XF staff responded immediately whereas IPS were taking 2-3 days each time to respond to my requests for help and frequently answering just one of the questions in my emails/support ticket leaving me to have to repeat the same questions over and over. So basically the import to IPS was never completed to a point where it could go live. So I went with XF which was ready in a couple of days and wrote off the cost of IPS as "one of those things".

This was a few years ago and in the interests of fairness things might have changed and a lot of current users here have nothing but good things to say. I would still recommend buying both (if you're a commercial forum looking to change) to try them out and see what the support is like and going with the one that works best for you.
 

whitetigergrowl

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Messages
40
I like both and have used both.

There are some things I like about Xenforo over IPB. HOWEVER Xenforo development has really slowed down and they are missing quite a few things that IPB has had for awhile. Sure you can use plug-ins and add-ons to fill in gaps or add some functionality. But you can't rely on them being supported forever, or even at all no matter who you use.

So for example maybe you have a plug-in that's wildly popular. However the latest Xenforo update breaks it. You try contacting the creator and all you get is dead air. You want to update to the latest forum software because it fixes some bugs you have, and adds some functionality you want or need but if you do, the plug-in will break.

You could look at someone being paid to fix it, but eventually that option runs out if it's not updated to also support the latest PHP versions, etc. It becomes too costly. You decide to upgrade without it but now your members are upset and you have no other fall back. This applies to both forum software, which is why it's generally best to limit the actual number of plug-ins involved. That and for security reasons. But that being said, it's a huge gamble which is why I try to limit the actual number of plug-ins.

Xenforo has a ways to go yet. And it hasn't helped that for awhile development seemingly slowed or stalled. And all it would take is one update for IPB to eliminate some of the gap between them and what Xenforo offers right now too.

They are BOTH good software. But they both offer 2 different things. With Xenforo it feels kinda like VB 3 Lite.

If there is one thing I like about IPB it's that the development is ongoing. You generally don't have to worry about development randomly stopping for periods of time because of a personal issue or something. Xenforo development hasn't felt stable or steady for awhile and that's always concerning. They recently stated they are getting back on track and aren't as far along with the next big release as they would like.

I would recommend both. But for completely different reasons and purposes.
 

mysiteguy

Fanatic
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,028
A much more active development community, for one thing, with a much larger 3rd party add on and theme library. A forum where 3rd party migration services are easy to find. Lower cost of ownership for smaller forums. Quicker support in my experience.

Less hassles with things like changing domain names for licenses, no nickel and dime charges, a company isn't focusing on hosted solutions, and honestly, it's admin panel is easier for me to use though I do prefer the XF 1.5 panel over XF 2, due to it being more compact. Those are some of the things, but certainly not all.

And this is subjective, but the support forums to me are friendlier, more people being helpful and more "relaxed."

And in the case of migrations, I have few requests for XF -> IPS and VB -> IPS compared to those towards XF so I have fewer of my own custom tools, and rely more on the native tools from IPS. And those, frankly, are incredibly slow. Even without my own tools, I can do a XF migration in a fraction of the time it takes with IPS.
 

Alfa1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,934
I actually tested out IPS before deciding on XF. IPS has a much wider array of official addons which is something I need. I bought the suite, 3rd party addons and started building. I encountered many things that I had questions about and posted quite a few of suggestions. The responses were at times hostile, unwelcoming, and the IPS team communicated that they had their vision which was more important than customer feedback. Some of the official addons were not very good and I found myself stuck. I could not get the functionality I already had on vb. IPS felt counter intuitive for me and my staff. The best I could describe it was like letting a Windows user work with Apple or vice versa.

So this is why I moved to XF instead of IPS some years ago. It felt intuitive and I was able to get a lot more addons.
XF is not without its downsides and IPS has improved significantly over the years.
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
Messages
6,912
The responses were at times hostile, unwelcoming, and the IPS team communicated that they had their vision which was more important than customer feedback
IPS were taking 2-3 days each time to respond to my requests for help and frequently answering just one of the questions in my emails/support ticket leaving me to have to repeat the same questions over and over.
As I asked questions at the IP forum and of developers privately, I didn't feel welcomed whatsoever. I didn't feel that IPS cared if I used their software or not.
I'm seeing a theme here....
 

Jim McClain

Senior Citizen
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Messages
1,992
As I asked questions at the IP forum and of developers privately, I didn't feel welcomed whatsoever. I didn't feel that IPS cared if I used their software or not.
The theme continues... I had a very similar experience when I was looking to switch from vB3.8. I liked many of the features IPS offered, but was terribly disappointed in the service and customer relations that is so important to any business.
 

nadaa

Neophyte
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
4
I have already contacted IPS support, and the responses were almost instantaneous, except on weekends of course.

Whether it is xenforo or IPS, they cannot take into account all requests for additions.

Regarding the choice of add-ons, surely the library of xen foro is larger but I can't find add-ons as powerful and really useful as you can find on IPS.

Otherwise, the xenforo theme of this forum for example is very pleasant and I find it.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,126
Where does Xen shine where IPS fails?
I'd say it shines because it ticks more boxes for the majority of forum owners. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a better product, it just means overall it has more appeal compared to other products. That appeal might be because of competitive licensing costs, familiarity with previous products developed by the same team, trust, product support, security, the look and feel, third party support etc, etc, etc.

As far as I'm concerned IPS is well ahead of the game in terms of development but that still doesn't mean it's at the top of my list (although it's getting pretty close).
 

whitetigergrowl

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Messages
40
I have already contacted IPS support, and the responses were almost instantaneous, except on weekends of course.

Whether it is xenforo or IPS, they cannot take into account all requests for additions.

Regarding the choice of add-ons, surely the library of xen foro is larger but I can't find add-ons as powerful and really useful as you can find on IPS.

Otherwise, the xenforo theme of this forum for example is very pleasant and I find it.
Generally my support requests happen fairly quick. I mean it's not instantaneous, but generally within an hour or 2 usually. Many times less than that. And they've always been friendly towards me. Recently I posted a thread on their forum with some requests. Some people, including staff, chimed in. Some agreed and some disagreed. I kept things going with it and eventually they did agree some things probably should be looked at as I kept my case going. Of course I did so respectfully and with the understanding I'm just one voice in thousands.

And I recently had an issue with an add-on from a developer and contacted them. They were awesome in how quickly they helped me and helped work to fix the problem. So clearly not all developers for add-ons are unreliable either. Like anything it's a game of russian roulette.

Xenforo still hasn't updated their main page from YEARS and YEARS ago. They recently said they were working on it but still. If they can keep stead development on Xenforo it'll do fine. But lately it's been a bit random with a post being made about how they still have some serious work to do and ground to gain. Hopefully they do it.

IPB is more well rounded in terms of features and what is offered. Xenforo CURRENTLY (but likely not forever) is more simplified and relies fairly heavily on add-ons and plug-ins to add that extra functionality at the moment. And as everyone knows, a plug-in or add-on is only as good as the developer. If they stop developing for it, you're put into a bad spot.

So for me the more functionality I can get out of the box the better. Xenforo is good software, but it's not quite there yet for me. But I do keep an eye on it to see what's coming or for any improvements that have been made.
 

Deathstarr

Forum Owner
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
351
I use to be full IPS years ago but they are more focused on a suite community more then just forum. I find ips to be more like dolphine by boonex then I do a forum software like PHPBB, Xenforo, VB, and others. So I choose Xenforo for all my sites.
 

whitetigergrowl

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Messages
40
I use to be full IPS years ago but they are more focused on a suite community more then just forum. I find ips to be more like dolphine by boonex then I do a forum software like PHPBB, Xenforo, VB, and others. So I choose Xenforo for all my sites.
They are still are forum software and you can still use them strictly as such. Out of the box they offer more forum functionality overall than Xenforo.

You don't need to buy the gallery, downloads, commerce, etc. You can buy the forum software then enable and disable what you want. So if you want it to be a CMS you can. If you want it to be more of a full featured forum, you can.
 

TheChiro

Devotee
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
2,533
I've been on vb 3, tested out vb4 vs IPB and ended up converting to IPB, and then hated visiting my own site for years that when xenforo came around and I liked the feel and what it had to offer (certain features that xf had that IPB didn't have at the time was intriguing to my end goal of the site) I ended up switching. Ever since the switch, I enjoyed being on my site again. There is nothing definitive that I can put my finger on, but it just felt (and still feels) right. I should also mention, I've ran sites that are phpbb and mybb in the past so when I talk about certain things with IPS, just know I've used an array of different forum software throughout the years.

My road with IPB was quite a bumpy one. As many users have echoed here, their staff had been downright rude to many of us (I remember seeing posts from one user here where I had agreed with him, only for the staff to come by and sh*t on our comments and then say "you should care more about content than SEO" - being a big board, the content was there and was always being worked on, but now we needed to optimize it and they just didn't care and didn't listen). The support community wasn't that great at the time. The 3rd party addons were laughable. I remember getting in trouble for posting my code I use for an adsense placement where a user was charging $10 for an addon to do a "find and insert" addon essentially. All in all, the staff and community were a huge put-off.

Jumping back to the SEO aspect, I remember when I converted from vb to ipb, all my stats dropped. I lost rankings on almost all of my keywords and didn't recover for 2 years back to where I had been when on vb (hence the reason the SEO topic was brought up on the member boards). It wasn't just me that was experiencing it but our cries fell on deaf (or hostile) ears. Once we jumped to Xenforo, we didn't see a huge drop like we had converting to IPS. It remained the same and then started to climb after 3 months. Our bounce rates drastically reduced (was around 60%, currently it's at 11-13%), uniques started going up, pageviews/visit went up surprisingly (with all the ajax loading), etc. etc. Needless to say, I haven't looked back.

Finding custom dev work was outrageously expensive at the time. When I started pricing out the things I wanted on the site after Xenforo was released (not converted) and was seeing what it would cost for the addon for each board, it was significantly less expensive through Xenforo.

Now, jumping to present, I recently became a co-owner of an IPS site where one of the OG owners WILL NOT CONVERT TO XENFORO. I gotta say, I hate being on that site. Even the ACP is confusing and not intuitive whatsoever - sure there are a lot of switches to flip and what not, but my god, they are all over the place and not where I would think they would make more sense. Hell, I even made a whole spreadsheet with all the features currently on this site using IPS, looking at the annual costs of everything and comparing it to Xenforo with the same features BUT including more addons. Despite the initial increase in cost, the 2nd year comes out a wash (year 1 + 2 for staying on IPS vs converting to xenforo), then after that the site ends up saving a couple hundred bucks a year. And to top it off, from what I can recall when I was on IPS, it takes up far more resources than Xenforo, so then you have to calculate the hosting costs/savings with IPS vs XF.

Sure, IPS has a lot of power in their official addons. What I gathered at the time was you either needed to know how to code really well OR you would have to hire someone to figure out how to use these addons and make them do what you wanted it to do and the costs of that were outrageous.

In the end, the staff were a huge turn off, the support community wasn't the greatest, the addons were way more costly than the vb equilavents (and then xf equivalents), the custom dev quotes were much higher than Xenforo custom quotes, and the site was faster and hosting costs reduced when I converted. The bad taste left in my mouth from IPS as a whole just makes me not want to ever look at them to see if it would fit a project. There are others I would rather look at like Burning Board before I ever felt the need to look at IPS again.
 

nadaa

Neophyte
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
4
in fact many comments are only feelings ... one person made me and the other made me

what made me leave at the time of vbulletin to IPS was also to see that IPS took the trouble to make the installation and the admin panel as pleasant, simple and intuitive as possible.

Still today :


I'm talking about vbulletin because it looks a bit like xenforo.

If I listen to the comments here, of course it makes you want to go to xenforo, but why I will not go:

- IPS is very stable, their customer service is reactive and if there is a bug it is repaired
- IPS has a CMS, download manager blog and more ... very useful for me
- IPS is very powerful and that's what I need
- IPS has a very powerful plugin, more specifically what I need (LMS, QUIZ, VIDEO GALLERY, AUDIO GALLERY ...)
- Availability and Use of many widgets easily

And contrary to what can be said, I never felt offended by the team or the developers.

On the contrary, even many of my suggestions were put in place by the plugin developers I bought

I have carefully looked at the list of plugins (most downloadable and paid):


but I don't see things really useful and essential?

while IPS is a lot of really useful things:


Anyone who is on a tight budget and needs something very simple, just a forum to chat and some free xenforo plugins will do just fine.

If you are looking for something powerful and for the future IPS is better because the large applications (blog, commerce, download manager, etc ...) are developed by a whole team.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,540
One reason is that they'd rather create communities from a simple starting point easier to manage, and mod their way through. Most its targetted audience is relatively casual hobbyists after all.
IPB as a package can be rather unwieldly to handle for webmasters and users alike, something only experienced and bigboard admins are able to appreciate and leverage to suit their anticipated needs.
 

Kevin

Oooh, something shiny!
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
3,433
IPB as a package can be rather unwieldly to handle for webmasters and users alike, something only experienced and bigboard admins are able to appreciate and leverage to suit their anticipated needs.
{Looks at some of the names posting in this thread, looks at this comment about "experienced and bigboard admins" & IPB, chuckles and wonders if this person is serious or is trying to be sarcastic. šŸ¤”}
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
423
If we just consider forum in the package, and not those other addons which makes whole stuff expensive. I am leaning towards IPS instead of Xenforo.
 
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