Forums

haydukeiiMarch 31, 2007

I would like to create a forum that is in the same format as this one, as, in my opinion, this site has the best forums anywhere on the web. They're organized and very easy to use/read. Anyway, can anyone point me in the right direction for creating such a forum?

Thank You!

Hayduke

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rivkadr

These forums are fairly antiquated compared to what else is out there. I've not seen any scripts available in this format -- most of them are similar to the vBulletin/PHPbb format. It would be very easy to write something in this format in PHP & mySQL; I've done it myself.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 7:03PM
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quirkyquercus

I agree. You can't even edit posts and members have too much freedom with the html tags.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 12:18PM
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quirkyquercus

IF you search collections of CGI scripts you will more than likey find something comparable to this forum by looking for Guest Book scripts. Ridden with bugs and security vulnerabilities of course.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 12:33PM
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haydukeii

I see...

On that note then, can you recommend an inexpensive, or free but professional forum that I can add to my website? I guess when I say I wanted one like this one here at GW, what I want is to be able to:
Search topics
easily read previous posts
uncensored
have different topic areas

I would like some security, of course.
I'm really new to the whole web design/forum thing so I hope this all makes sense.
Thanks

Hayduke

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 3:13PM
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rivkadr

If you're talking about a script that you have to install on your own webspace, I'd recommend SMF Forum. It's free, and has a lot of features. They stay on top of security issues. You need PHP and mySQL to be able to install this script (and the know-how to install it).

Whatever you do, avoid phpBB like the plague. It gets hacked waaay too easily. Every phpBB forum I've run has gotten hacked within days. And that's even with trying to keep on top of the security updates religiously.

If you don't want to install the forum on your own server space, then there are services that host forums for you, often for free. Usually they put ads on the forum, to cover their costs. Do a search on google for: free forum hosting, and you'll find a bunch. When looking through the results, I'd recommend looking for a host that offers Invision Board, personally (NOT phpbb, again).

As far as this forum goes, there's absolutely no reason that the forum posts couldn't be editable, or a lot of other features made available. Maybe it's because it's written in PERL, which can be more difficult to work with (and I suspect they're using flat files rather than a real database). Dunno. I'm a PHP programmer myself. If it were written in PHP, it would be super easy to do. I've toyed with the idea of "redoing" this site, but making it better, with more features, less obnoxious ads, etc. Not sure if it's worth the effort, though.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 7:14PM
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quirkyquercus

I agreee 147.5% with the above post. I've had problems with hackers in phpbb. But I don't have any experience with the suggested forum. I'll have to check it out.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 9:46AM
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floorman67

If you dont mind spending a little cash (very little in my opinion), go with vBulletin ... It's as secure as forum systems get with the most options and support.

PHPbb has certainly been hacked in the past. They all have, but phpBB has the largest developer and userbase for a free forum system so exploits and insecurities are plugged pretty fast.

People hear so much about it because it has the highest userbase ... both good and bad.

its like if someone gets food poisoning at Clairs Deli, so one hears about it, but if it happens at a McDonalds then its world news.

SMF is a great system also, but it is a little skimp on the support side of things.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 12:37PM
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rivkadr

SMF is a great system also, but it is a little skimp on the support side of things.

I haven't found that to be true -- the couple of times I've had issues, the support team has responded in a timely manner, and with a quick solution.

They all have, but phpBB has the largest developer and userbase for a free forum system

All the more reason NOT to go with it, IMO. It has a huge bullseye painted on it.

I second the recommendation for vbulletin, though, if you're willing to spend money. We use it exclusively for clients at work, and it's great.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 3:31PM
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floorman67

There are a few flip-sides to your line of thinking.

The more people attempt to exploit it (phpBB or any forum system), the better and more secure it becomes.

Any major issues are patched in the same day usually.

All depends on the webmaster checking for updates and updating regularly ... maintenance ... it's part of the job.

SMF, once embraced net-wide, will have the same problem, according to your line of thinking.

I think they are both outstanding systems though for free systems.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 4:29PM
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rivkadr

All depends on the webmaster checking for updates and updating regularly ... maintenance ... it's part of the job.

Sure...but if your forum has already been hacked in the meantime, checking for updates doesn't do you a hell of a lot of good. Every single PHPbb forum I've owned has gotten hacked BEFORE I could get the updates in place -- before I even got notified that there was an update, and that was with my being on top of updates religously. The hackers are too darn good, there are too many of them, and PHPbb is TOO buggy.

SMF, once embraced net-wide, will have the same problem, according to your line of thinking.

Possibly (see below). If that happens, then you move onto another smaller free forum that isn't the major target of hackers, but still has decent support and features.

OR you shell out some money for a forum that isn't open-source, and much less likely to be the target of hackers.

The more people attempt to exploit it (phpBB or any forum system), the better and more secure it becomes.

You've got to be joking, right? PHPbb has been out for years, and it's MORE exploitable now than it ever was. Do you know anything about programming? Every time you introduce a new feature set, you introduce new possible exploits. Every update they release with more features produces more possible bugs, and more possible exploits -- as exemplified by the fact that every few months, there ends up being another round of security breaches. I don't know if they just have shoddy programmers, aren't testing enough before releasing, or what.

I find it extremely telling that if you do a search on the word "hacked" on the SMF forum, you get only a few results (and their forum is fairly large -- about half the size that the phpBB forums are). Do the same search on the PHPbb forums, and you get thousands and thousands of results. SMF has been around since 2004 and is used by thousands of sites; it's not quite the target for hackers that phpBB is, but it's certainly big enough. Frankly, I just think it's better coded, and harder for the hackers to crack.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:10PM
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haydukeii

OK, so will going with a paid forum, will it get hacked less? Being VERY new to the whole 'forum' thing, I don't even know what it means to get hacked. What Happens?

I put phpBB3 on my site now, but I don't like it. I don't understand how to make changes to the look of it. I want to be able to customize the look to go more with the theme of the forum. Also, when you pull up the home page it only shows one 'parent' catagory instead of all 5. To me that makes no sense.

Anymore suggestions?

Thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildland Fire Forums

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:12PM
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rivkadr

OK, so will going with a paid forum, will it get hacked less? Being VERY new to the whole 'forum' thing, I don't even know what it means to get hacked. What Happens?

Probably. The idea is that if you go with a paid forum, you're less likely to get hacked for two reasons:

1) Hackers would have to pay to get the forum code, to look it over and find exploitable holes. Most hackers aren't going to want to shell out money just to hack a forum script, so they're more likely to target the free scripts. That's not to say that Vbulletin and other pay-for scripts don't have their share of hacking problems -- they do. But in general, it's less than it is for free scripts.

2) A script that you pay for generally has much better support, and people who are working full-time on it. That way, if there is a security flaw, they fix it immediately, and get a patch out very quickly. Open-source or free scripts are generally worked on by hobbyists working in their free time -- and from my own personal experience, it's harder to feel motivated if you're not getting paid for your script work ;)

Usually, when a forum gets hacked, the hackers will deface the appearance of the forum (i.e. change the forum names or posts to say things like "YOU'VE BEEN HACKED BY TrIN1TY"), post porn spam, or completely delete your database. Sometimes they'll add code in that will cause anyone viewing the forum to download spybots or malware. Sometimes they'll insert code that will redirect users to another site. I've seen all of the above on hacked forums/sites.

Make sure that no matter what forum system you use, you are backing up your database on a regular basis (at least once a week, preferably more often).

I don't understand how to make changes to the look of it.

All forums have a learning curve as far as the administrative side goes -- it requires some effort and time to figure out how they work. If you were to go with something like Vbulletin (not free), it has the most options out of just about any forum out there -- but it's also incredibly complex. SMF, which I mentioned earlier in this thread, is similar to PHPbb in features, but I personally find it fairly easy to use. But again, regardless of what forum you go with, you just need to take a while to look things over, read the docs, and ask questions in the forums if you get stuck.

It looks to me like you figured out how to make all your forums display.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 5:29PM
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