Category: "Forum Software"

vBulletin 4.xx: How to remove navigation breadcrumbs on FORUMHOME

At one time it was thought they gave an SEO boost. Current thinking says not so much anymore and many users remove breadcrumbs, in favor of the cleaner look. The comment field isn’t necessary but is always a helpful tool to find modification at a later time.

Find navbar_link and make the following change;

<!– Breadcrumbs –><vb:if condition=”THIS_SCRIPT != ‘index'”>

<vb:if condition=”$show[‘breadcrumb’]”>

<li class=”navbit”><a href=”{vb:raw nav_url}”>{vb:raw nav_title}</a></li>

<vb:else />

<li class=”navbit lastnavbit”><span>{vb:raw nav_title}</span></li>

</vb:if>

<!– Breadcrumbs –></vb:if>

Next find and make the following change in the Navbar Template

<!– Breadcrumbs –><vb:if condition=”THIS_SCRIPT != ‘index'”>

<div id=”breadcrumb” class=”breadcrumb”>

<ul class=”floatcontainer”>

<li class=”navbithome”><a href=”index.php{vb:raw session.sessionurl_q}” accesskey=”1″><img src=”{vb:stylevar imgdir_misc}/navbit-home.png” alt=”{vb:rawphrase home}” /></a></li>

{vb:raw navbits.breadcrumb}

{vb:raw navbits.lastelement}

</ul>

<hr />

</div>

<!– Breadcrumbs –></vb:if>

That’s it. What you’ve done is wrap and if conditional for the index around the breadcrumb call.

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Remove vBSEO and redirect url’s with permanant 301 redirects.

vBSEO is gone and is not coming back. Coding errors leading to vulnerabilities killed the product and new versions of vBulletin can render it useless. Unfortunately, your links are indexed under its modified URL’s and just removing it will damage your sites search ranking. We’ve tried to compile a guide to remove it and the steps to that will keep Google happy while the site is re-indexed.

First to remove vBSEO;
1)    Go to the vbseocp, turn vbseo off.
2)    Go to admincp >Plugins & Products
3)    Uninstall vBSEO, you’ll have two choices.
4)    If you may want to reinstall vBSEO on the same domain, choose Keep vBSEO data in Database
5)    If vBSEO is going for good, choose Cleanup vBSEO Data.
6)    Delete all files listed below and for now, rename the .htaccess file. We’ve listed the files needing deletion below;

Delete the following vBSEO files

Important: Delete only the listing below with file extension. If you see something like “admincp”, that is a folder listing and is where you’ll find the files below it.
admincp
admin_vbseo.php
clientscript
vbseo_ajax.js
images
vbseo
anchor.png
delicious.gif
digg.gif
facebook.gif
furl.gif
goto_linkbacks.gif
linkback.gif
linkback_about.gif
linkback_url.gif
mister-wong
pingback.gif
post_linkback.gif
reddit.gif
refback.gif
spurl.gif
technorati.gif
trackback.gif
includes
cron
vbseo_serviceupdate.php
xml
bitfield_vbseo.xml
cpnav_vbseo.xml
vbseo_urls_001.xml
vbseo_urls_002.xml
vbseo_urls_003.xml
vbseo_urls_004.xml
vbseo_urls_005.xml
vbseo_urls_006.xml
vbseocp_deutsch (du).xml
vbseocp_deutsch (sie).xml
vbseocp_dutch.xml
vbseocp_english.xml
vbseocp_russian.xml
vbseocp_turkce.xml
functions_vbseo.php
functions_vbseo_cache.php
functions_vbseo_createurl.php
functions_vbseo_crr.php
functions_vbseo_db.php
functions_vbseo_hook.php
functions_vbseo_linkback.php
functions_vbseo_misc.php
functions_vbseo_pre.php
functions_vbseo_seo.php
functions_vbseo_startup.php
functions_vbseo_url.php
functions_vbseo_vb.php
md5_sums_crawlability_vbseo.php
modcp
vbseo_moderate.php
vbseo.php
vbseocp.php
vbseocpform.php
.htaccess

To redirect indexed content to your vBULLETIN URL’s, after removing vBSEO please reeview the following rewrite rules and pick the ones that fit your current url structure. To do this first create a new

If you have your thread rewrite rules set as forum-name/threadid-threadname.html use the following .htaccess
Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule [^/]+/([0-9]+)-[^/]+\.html http://www.domain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=$1 [L,R=301]

If you have your thread rewrite rules set as forum-name/threadname-threadid.html use the following .htaccess
Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule [^/]+/[^/]+-([0-9]+)\.html http://www.domain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=$1 [L,R=301]

If you have your thread rewrite rules set as forum-name/threadname-threadid/ use the following .htaccess
Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule [^/]+/[^/]+-([0-9]+)/ http://www.domain.com/forums/showthread.php?t=$1 [L,R=301]

Sitemap rewrite
RewriteRule ^((urllist|sitemap).*\.(xml|txt)(\.gz)?)$ vbseo_sitemap/vbseo_getsitemap.php?sitemap=$1 [L]

PLEASE NOTE: These setting are all general recomendation and specific coding or change in your site could invalidate. DO NOT Assume they will work and thourlghy test all changes before implimention.

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vBulletin Optimization, Provide a Better User Experience

Here at URLJet, we host forums of all sizes, from startups to long established forums with data base’s over 100GB and we’re often asked how to optimize vBulletin to lower server load and render pages faster.   The following how-to includes steps to enhance the user experience in forums of all sizes. We started with admincp basics and move to steps than should be taken as your forum grows.

  1. Optimize admincp settings;
  • Cookies and HTTP Header Options > At URLJet, turn GZIP off – It’s enabled by default and setting it twice actually slows things down. This is not true at all hosts so check first.
  • Cookies and HTTP Header Options > Remove Redirection Message Pages – Turn this off to reduce unneeded page loads and bandwidth.
  • Enable All AJAX features – Set to allow all AJAX Features. Ajax helps reduce server load by not reloading pages where AJAX is called. Quick Reply is an example > General Settings -> Disable AJAX Features and select Enable All Ajax Features.
  • Server Settings and Optimization Options > Cached Posts Lifespan –10 days, depending on disk space available is a good setting. When set don’t forget to rebuild your Post Cache under Maintenance > Update Counters
  • Server Settings and Optimization Options > Update Thread Views Immediately – Set to No. By default threads will update hourly via a cron. You can change the frequency by editing the Scheduled Tasks > Thread Views to a different time.
  • Server Settings and Optimization Options > Update Attachment Views Immediately – Set to No.
  • Message Posting and Editing Options > Quick Reply – This makes posting faster possibly leading to a more active community, also uses Ajax and prevent additional page loads when making a post.
  • User Listing & Profile Viewing > Show Last Post on Profile Page – Very server intensive process, set this to no, if you’re having load issues.
  • Message Posting and Editing Options > Quick Edit – Turn this on to prevent a new page load when someone simply wants to edit a post.
  • Message Searching Options > Minimum Time Between Searches – Set this to some value mainly to avoid an attempt to use the search to harm your server.
  • Forums Home Page Options > Display Logged in Users? – If you have issues with server load you can turn this feature off.
  • Forum Display Options > Show Users Browsing Forums – If you have issues with server load you can turn this feature off.
  • Thread Display Options > Show Users Browsing Threads If you have issues with server load you can turn this feature off.
  • Forum Display Options > Maximum Displayed Threads Before Page Split – Too many threads on a page loads more data and slows page load. Best to set the value between 20 to 40.

 

  1. Limit Search Spider Activity

A robots.txt files will save bandwidth and cut requests. Include any file or folder in it that you don’t want indexed in search. Keep in mind this file can viewed, meaning that if listed pranksters can get the folders and files you may not want them to see. Below is an example

User-agent: *
Disallow: /admincp/
Disallow: /images/
Disallow: /modcp/
Disallow: /attachment.php
Disallow: /search.php
Disallow: /newreply.php
Disallow: /newthread.php
Disallow: /editpost.php
Disallow: /profile.php
Disallow: /register.php
Disallow: /login.php
Disallow: /subscription.php
Disallow: /private.php
Disallow: /report.php
Disallow: /sendmessage.php
Disallow: /memberlist.php
Disallow: /misc.php
Disallow: /moderator.php
Disallow: /postings.php
Disallow: /sendtofriend.php
Disallow: /threadrate.php
Disallow: /usercp.php
Disallow: /showgroups.php

 

 

 

  1. Reduce HTML use for guests and users.

Cutting HTML can help render pages faster and reduce server load.

  1. Disable who is online for guests – Find the usergroup “Unregistered / Not Logged In” ( Admin CP > Usergroups > Usergroup Manager ) and set “Can View Who’s Online” to off.
  2. Disable Template Name in HTML Comments– More comments in HTML means more time to download and render the html. Ensure the template name in html comments turned off. Admin CP > vBulletin Options > vBulletin options > General Settings > and select No for Add Template Name in HTML Comments.
  3. Disable Posting Rules – Displaying posting rules on every thread and your forum pages really only adds to amount of HTML rendered. It cannot be disabled in admincp and you’ll need to edit one template to remove posting rules. You can disable for guests only or competly.. To disable for guests; edit the forumrules template by adding the following <if condition=”$show[member]”>, at the top of the template. At the end of the template add </if> That will display Posting rules to members only and not guests. If you empty the template Posting Rules will not show to anyone.
  4. Disable Forum Jump Menu – Disable forum jump completely from Admin CP. Experiment here, turn it off and if no one reports it, assume no one cared about using it either. Forum jump causes the server to work harder generating the menu and increases bandwidth by displaying it on each page load. Change forum jump options from Admin CP > vBulletin Options -> General Settings -> Use Forum Jump Menu.
  5. Disable username menu for guests on showthread pages – Showthread page shows posts and each post has a username, clicking a username loads a popup menu and that menu is rarely of use to guests as vBulletin, by default restricts email and PM to members only. Turn it off for guests DBSEO give this option.

 

  1. Move Attachments and Images from the Database to the File System

By Default vBulletin stores Attachments / Images / Avatars all in the databasee. Move them to the file system to reduce load and speed rendering

  1. Admin CP > Attachments > Attachment Storage Type
  2. Admin CP > User Albums > Album Picture Storage Type
  3. Admin CP > Avatars > User Picture Storage Type
  1. Move CSS StyleSheets From the Database to the File System

Again by default vBulletin renders the CSS in head part of HTML, this increases the size of each page. Storing CSS in files does 2 things; it reduces the code from each page and it enables the CSS files to be cached..

  1. Compress Output (GZIP)

vBulletin provides compression for HTML output but I prefer to get it done through Apache via mod_deflate. Disable Zipped output in vBulletin. vBulletin Options -> Cookies and HTTP Header Options -> GZIP HTML Output And add the following lines to your httpd.conf file in Apache.

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>

SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

# file-types indicated will not be compressed

SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:gif|jpe?g|png|rar|zip|pdf)$ no-gzip dont-vary

<IfModule mod_headers.c>

Header append Vary User-Agent

</IfModule>

</IfModule>

Restart Apache web server. Additionally you should also use Apache to cache static content. Refer article by coderzone on How to Decrease Web Page Loading Time especially caching of static content.

  1. Full Text Search Type

You can use this option to greatly reduce server load when a search query is used on your server. Admin CP > vBulletin Options > Search Type. This change is a server intense process as it needs to alter the vBulletin post and thread table. If you don’t have many searches, this isn’t a needed change

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Google Updates

Seems Google has rolled out some new updates with specific importance to forums owners and managers. We’re getting feedback the newest update focuses on inbound links and DMCA compliance. Other recent changes; Google wants access to *js and possiably css. Any robots blocking for *js should be removed. As always, check you disabvow list too.
Starting 10/17/2014
Penguin Update – Ongoing
Expected to impact Impacts under 1% of English queries. However it may impact other languages in different degerees.
Reported to help sites recover from earlier Penguin updates that changed link profiles.
Sites most at risk are ones with poor link profiles.
Starting 10/1/2014
Google adds depth to the in the news box. Google confirmind their In The Nes box has expanded to cover more than traditional news sites. Blog Post, videos, Reddit and other content form non-news sites may appear.

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Google Chrome and SHA-1 SSL Certificates

SHA-1 chrome penalty

chrome degraded ssl

Please be aware of the upcoming changes that affect how websites using SHA-1 SSL’s Certs are
displayed in the Chrome browser.

SHA-1 is no longer considered to be sufficiently secure and will be completely phased out in
the next few years. To encourage prompt adoption of more secure algorithms, Starting with
Google Chrome 39, Google start to degrade websites using SHA-1 certificates. The changes start
November 2014.

Initially, the warnings is limited to a “Secure, but minor errors” icon, in the form of a lock
with a yellow triangle. Later versions will display a red crossed-out lock.

SSL Users can prevent a downgraded user experience by following these steps:

– Check which algorithm your SSL Certificate uses.
https://sslcheck.globalsign.com/en_US
Is one checker that works

– If the website uses a SHA-1 SSL Cert expiring after 12/31/2015,
the certificate will need to be reissued to SHA-256.

To prevent a degraded user experience its important to take prompt action. Please do not
hesitate to contact us at: urljet.com

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How To Stop Forum Spam

How To Stop Forum Spam and Take Back Control of Your Forum

If one thing sucks the enthusiasm out of site Administrators, it’s the never ending battle against spammers. I say battle as effect of forum spam are truly unwarranted and often create long lasting problem like email blacklisting, spam posts and can even slow the speed of your forum.

It’s important to understand the techniques spammers use and know a bit of why spam exists to be able to effectively prevent it. A forum can be attacked with both automated scripts (aka “Bots”) and/or Human “Bots” as well. Yes, a “Bot” could be human but more times than not they simply bypass registration security and go on something like cruise control, for lack of a better way to describe it. What every site owner must realize is just as forum security evolves to combat spam, spammers are also evolving in their methods in order to bypass new security measures. It’s a constant battle.

Why are there “Spambots”? Well that’s simple. For the most part it is to promote their content or links on other sites, with high traffic and page rank being the most valued targets. So if your forum is large , you’d better believe there’s a target on it.

What we’re trying to do here is give you, the site owner needed information and proven methods to help battle the onslaught of spam on their site. Hopefully you’ll find this interesting and informative and we hope to hear back on your spam stopping techniques.
____________________

*Please note that not all of these modifications or methods listed will work for you, some will work better than others, and some in combination will work best instead of just one being utilized. We’ll try to identify conflicts in advance and mark them w/ an  *asterix indicating that you should not use two w/ a * at the same time.

Legend:
Blue *’s indicates mods that are similar in functionality and should not be used in conjunction with each other.

Anti-Spam Modifications:

Recently,  many forum owners have seen an increase in spam registrations and in some rare cases the registration page is being hit so hard it’s almost like a denial of service attack. If this sounds familiar try this mod from BOP5:

Be creative in your prevention methods! Here’s a list of methods, utilities and modifications you could possibly use in helping cleanup if a spammer does hits:

* Paul M recently added in a new modification prefix “Anti-Spam Options” so as new modifications are released, if the author chooses the prefix correctly you will start to notice more listed here for example: http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/forum…i-Spam+Options

Methods:

Some vBulletin 3.x mods will work on vBulletin 4.x, here’s a article by BirdofPrey5 that list quite a few compatible modifications.

Another method that’s proven quite effective is banning spammers using the hourly cleanup cron job or cleanup.php by adding in code similar to the below. PLEASE NOTE this method is based on custom profile fields and requires you to manually monitor spam to determine patterns and repeated entries that make no sense and plainly labels the users as spammers. This does not remove posts; it only bans the spammer to prevent further activity.

The default profile fields in vBulletin are:

  1. Biography
  2. Location
  3. Interests
  4. Occupation

You have the ability to create new profile fields via AdminCP > User Profile Fields > User Profile Field Manager

Using data entered by spambot in the default fields can be used against them however it’s not as effective as utilizing custom fields to help determine a pattern and fight against it! Here are descriptions of the default and other (custom) fields in the query shown so you can see how to go about this:

  • user.username = The members username on the forum.
  • userfield.field1 = Biography
  • userfield.field2 = Location
  • userfield.field3 = Interest
  • userfield.field4 = Occupation
  • userfield.field5 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Youtube Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Youtube profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field6 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Facebook Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Facebook profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field7 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Twitter Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Twitter profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field8 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “LinkedIn Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their LinkedIn profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.

The key thing to note here is that you need to study new registrations and develop your own ways to identify the spammers using the default and custom profile fields before this will work effectively.

*Please Note: This can affect your users in such a way it might be a complete disaster. If you are not comfortable with how this works (sql queries in particular), setup a test site and test your changes first. You can clone your live site and place it in a /testvb folder on the server (htaccess protect it per the license agreement) this will keep you from slipping and causing issues on your LIVE/Production site.

PHP Code:

// Spam Management – Move all spammers based on profile fields to usergroup 8 i.e. Banned Users
$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7
“);

Now we interpret the above query as:

Update the user table and join the user table with the userfield table (these tables are separate, we join so we can compare and execute what we want to do) and set the users usergroupid to 8 (the banned usergroup by default) where their Twitter Profile URL matches their Username:

AND (where) their LinkedIn Profile URL contains something like 12345 in any part of the field (why we use the %’s on each end so it reads the field and if for example they entered in 123456 it catches that because it contains 12345 – Also you may want to note that no one’s LinkedIn profile is going to be 123456 i.e. http://www.linkedin.com/in/123456
AND (where) their Interests is not empty
AND (where) their Youtube Profile URL is not empty
AND (where) their Twitter Profile URL is not empty
AND (where) their Interests is like thier Youtube Profile URL
AND (where) their Youtube Profile URL is like their Twitter Profile URL

Logic tells you that if you made the custom profile fields and use them in certain ways… that http://www.linkedin.com/in/123456 or http://www.facebook.com/123456 (even though that will redirect to http://www.facebook.com/ohmycarling the user in question would never enter in /123456 he/she would enter in /ohmycarling see my point?) and when you notice the word Man or Woman in the code shown below, well it seems a common mistake bot scripts to put Man or Woman data in the Biography field.

Now for the != parts near the bottom. This is required when you close out your comparing two fields using a like and if they were both empty it could cause issues as without the != if both are empty and the query moves them, possibly identifiying a normal user as a spammer. Not a good thing, so be careful when creating your own query!

If your are banning the user, go ahead and update their user title as well. This query compliments the first one above:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usertitle = ‘Banned’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7
“);

Where to add these codes? Makes sure scheduled tasks are enabled then edit the file cleanup.php You’ll find it in the /includes/cron/ folder. Add your version of the query just below:

PHP Code:

// ########################################################################
// ######################### START MAIN SCRIPT ############################
// ########################################################################

Save the file and upload, when the scheduled task next runs if any accounts match your custom query they will be moved into the banned usergroup.

**To Test a query beforehand you can use SELECT for example here is a query to show you the results BEFORE actually running a query:

Code:

SELECT *

FROM vb_user AS user

LEFT JOIN vb_userfield AS userfield

ON user.userid = userfield.userid

SET usergroupid = ‘8’

WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username

AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’

AND userfield.field3 != ”

AND userfield.field5 != ”

AND userfield.field7 != ”

AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5

AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7;

*Prefix added, remove if you are not using one

WARNING: TEST ALL QUERIES BEFORE YOU EXECUTE THEM! Do not perform any query on your database without doing a database backup and without knowing how to use it if required!

Here are some links provided by Lynne to help you perform a backup:

Now let’s see another example…
You try to see how I used the logic here:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field1 = ‘Man’ OR userfield.field1 = ‘Woman’
AND userfield.field6 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field3 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field8 = ‘123456’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field6 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
“);

The query for usertitle update:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usertitle = ‘Banned’
WHERE userfield.field1 = ‘Man’ OR userfield.field1 = ‘Woman’
AND userfield.field6 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field3 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field8 = ‘123456’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field6 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
“);

Session Table Issues?
Here’s a quick method if you happen to notice a sudden increase of the number online when nothing has warranted such behavior. Monitor your session table to see possible spammers online however a query like this is only effective if the bot logs in multiple times in which you will see different ip addresses (possibly hundreds) all as the same logged in user (OR the same IP address for countless users) and accessing different locations as well (some even show as logging in again). With it added to your cleanup.php cron job it will interrupt their actions on the fly and upon refreshing your session table you’ll notice quite a few less entries.

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(”
DELETE FROM ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “session
WHERE userid = ‘15065’
“);

To delete the users session based on IP use:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(”
DELETE FROM ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “session
WHERE host = ‘127.0.0.1’
“);

^ Replace the 127.0.0.1 with the problematic users IP address.

*Yes you can truncate the session table HOWEVER that is not advised, if you do truncate then it simply kicks EVERYONE off the site all at once and they must relogin and also navigate back to the page they were on prior.

**If you have any issues using queries that you develop it may be due to using a table prefix in your database (recommended actually) so the perfect example of what to add in is right above us i.e. ” . TABLE_PREFIX . ” should be pasted before any Table names in the queries otherwise you will receive a error and here is a example:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user

As you can note, the code ” . TABLE_PREFIX . ” goes directly in front of the table name without spaces which then converts into the prefix you have listed in the config.php file!

In the other queries shown that you can run via phpmyadmin directly you will need to modify them to add in the prefix so for example if you have a table prefix vb_ then it would resemble this:

PHP Code:

UPDATE vb_user AS user
LEFT JOIN vb_userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7;

_________________________________________________

Contributions to this article from these valued vBulletin community members:

  • Lynne
  • Last Superman

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vBulletin VS. XenForo – Which One Is Better?

vBulletin VS. XenForo - Which One Is Better?

Starting a forum is no easy task. There are a lot of decisions to make. And, a lot of choices. The first one that you’ll likely spend some time on is choosing which forum software to use. Will you go with vBulletin? Perhaps XenForo? A free forum software? There are many options; some free, others paid. The choice you make is depends entirely on what requirements you have for your community, what your budget is, and the type of support you will need.

Let’s Start With The Top Contenders: vBulletin and XenForo

The two names that you will come across the most are vBulletin and XenForo. Both are leading forum software, and both require a paid license. What’s interesting about these two options is that the developers for XenForo we’re some of the original developers of vBulletin. And yes, they had their day in court over this.

That being said, both forum options have their advantages, so much of the choice you need to make boils down to your individual taste. Let’s dig in and see what’s under the hood.

vBulletin Forum Software

vBulletin 5 Connect is the latest release. Internet Brands, the new owners of vBulletin, have added a ew feature set that seems impressive at first glance:

  • Simplified site set up and customization
  • Dynamic tools for content discovery
  • Expanded photo and video
  • Sleek new UI features activity stream
  • Increased social engagement
  • Expanded photo and Video capabilities
  • Robust architecture (SEO and Performance Improvements)
  • Category-leading mobile optimization

However, in practice most users are more fond of earlier versions of vBulletin, specifically VB3 and early releases of VB4. You should do your own research to reach your own verdict. vBulletin has been the leading forum software for many years, but since the release of vB5 many users have either stuck with their earlier versions or moved to other forum software.

XenForo Forum Software

XenForo started off with the original developers from vBulletin. When vBulletin was purchased in 2009 from Jelsoft by Internet Brands, conflicts arose over the next release, version 4.0. Kier Darby, the lead developer envisioned the new release to be a complete revamp of the software. Internet Brands wanted to incrementally improve on the software and conflicts arose. Eventually, Darby left and formed XenForo. For three years a lawsuit ensued when IB (Internet Brands) decided to sue the developers of XenForo. The lawsuit was settled February 28, 2013.

Afterwards, XenForo worked on developing a software that many people have come to love and use. There are many features bundled in XenForo; including great styling, activity streams, and social integration.

Examples Of vBulletin Forums

Of course, the look is all important. You want your community to have a nice look to it as this will help with engagement. Here are two notable forums with large member bases using vBulletin:

WebHostingTalk

WebHostingTalk

WarriorForum

WarriorForum

And some XenForo examples:

Digital Point

Digital Point

IGN

IGN

Final Thoughts

As you can see the look and feel can change, but what it really comes down to is what will work best for your community. At URLjet, no matter your choice of forum software, we have competent staff able to handle everything from forum setup to customization services. Get in touch if you have any questions about starting a forum.

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Leading Forum Software

Leading Forum Scripts

One question many forum owners are asking these days is which forum software systems are considered to be the best in terms of user numbers, reputation and overall features. Although most current forum managers have used PhpBB or vBulletin successfully in the past, many may now be looking for something new that offers a bit more.

The most common basic requirements sought still remain public viewing with registration required to post, hosting compatible with MySQL, and the ability to customize the pages.   Although PhpBB and vBulletin have dominated the market, PhpBB is free and open source and vBulletin costs a few hundred bucks and is closed source. Another big player these days that has been used by many popular forums is BigBoards, and Jive; Lithium and LiveWorld all have done well too.

For forum software with a mobile interface, there’s a WAP plug-in for vBulletin available, and Vanilla Forum is a lightweight easily customizable forum that also works well on mobile devices. You could also use Tapatalk, an app that works with any phone and provides free read-only access to forums. Because there are no similar plug-ins for PhpBB users, many PhpBB people have simply used mobile themes to get around the issue.

There have been many new developments in the free forum software field and some have been more well-received than others. In terms of general popularity with users and forum managers in particular, the top fifteen free forum software systems currently available today are:

1.     MyBB – released 2011-11-25  

2.    BurningBoard – released 2011-08-26  

3.    PhpBB(3) – released 2012-01-02  

4.    Xenforo – released 2012-02-07  

5.    Vanilla Forums – released 2011-11-03  

6.    FUDForum – released 2011-07-17  

7.    Simple Machines – released 2011-12-22  

8.    Wikid Forum – released 2011-08-24  

9.    FluxBB – released 2011-09-13  

10.  UseBB – released 2011-11-04  

11.    bbPress – released 2009-07-28  

12.   PunBB – released 2011-12-01  

13.   Phorum released 2011-09-09  

14.   MiniBB – released 2010-10-05  

15.   IceBB – -released 2010-12-02

If you are in need of high performance vBulletin hosting or managed forum hosting, look no further than URLJet. Why go with “vanilla” hosting when you can get vBulletin optimized hosting that will run your forum faster than anyone- period.

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6 Different Types Of Free Forum Software You Can Use To Build A Forum

6 Different Types Of Free Forum Software You Can Use To Build A Forum

One of the first decisions you will make when starting a forum is deciding on what forum software to use. There are many options, both free and paid. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some great free forum software option available. There is a respectable list of great forum software options out there.

Here are six of them:

#1 PHPBB

phpBB Forum Software
phpBB is one of the top free forum software options available. It’s open-source, but what is unique is that they provide a unique and helpful database which contains all user created plugins. Everything is organized well and easy to find. Like MyBB, there are several plugins to choose from to customize however needed so the two are close competitors. Deciding which is better would be based solely on preference.

There are few things that give phpBB an edge from my experience. One notable feature would be their support section, which is well put together and extremely informative.

As far as actual features go phpBB seems to have better security from the start. They also provide anti-spam tools. Other than that many of the features you start with are similar to that of MyBB, except for the reputation system which is unique to MyBB. This is where it becomes a matter of preference. Due to the many plugins available with both of them, it’s always possible to customize to your needs, but it all depends on how much you want to customize.

Get phpBB Forum Software

#2 XMB Forums

XMB Forum Software
XMB is a good place to start if you’re new to forum hosting. They provide all the basic tools you need to get started. You can edit administration settings, templates, add/remove topics, and member settings. There are other tools available, but for the most part, nothing too complex, just your forum basics. Great for beginners.

Get XMB Forum Software

#3 UseBB

UseBB Forum Software
UseBB has the simplicity of XMB, but with a little more to offer in terms of security and anti-spam features.
There are also extra features for users to customize their profiles like remote avatars for example.

Get UseBB Forum Software

#4 FluxBB

FluxxBB Forum Software
Flux was born after forking from PunBB after it’s founder Rickard Andersson left the project in 2008. For a long time PunBB was widely used for many open-source and commercial product’s discussion boards, and several currently use FluxBB due to many of the ported over features.

Flux prides itself in it’s ease of use, fast speed enabled through their superb code, clean admin interface, flexible permission system, and powerful moderator tools that allow for easy user and consequence/reward management.

One drawback is that adding modifications might not be as easy of a task as other forum software on this list, because doing so requires manually editing source code. There are still a few plugins available, but not as many as you would expect. There are plenty of features already available for discussion boards. Unless you want serious in-depth customization there is not much more that would need to be downloaded.

Get FluxxBB Forum Software

#5 MyBB

MyBB Forum Software
What is great about MyBB is that it is both free and open-source. As a result there are hundreds of modifications and plugins at your disposal. Unlike FluxBB, MyBB will not require you to edit a single line of code. There is nothing for you to have to add anything. You get ease of access and amazing versatility. It truly is the ultimate sandbox for forum enthusiasts.

Features available by default will give you all the basics. Convenient administration, built in templates and theme editors, a reputation/warning system, a tasks system which helps with maintenance, easy moderation, private messaging, calendars and events, a mass mailing system, and fast performance. It even has MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite database support with replication/slave support built in. Any other features you would need can easily be added using modifications and plugins.

Get MyBB Forum Software

#6 PHP-Nuke

PHP Nuke Forum Module
Unlike all of the other software on this list PHP-Nuke is more of a content management system. It’s interface includes features that are specialized for online news sites, making it the perfect choice for any professional online publication.

For example, there is a WordPress like editing system so that authors can save pending posts which editors can edit before publishing. It also includes several features many news sites have such as a “Top Story” section to display the most popular stories at the top of the web page, surveys or polls to gather reader opinions on political events (or whatever poll you want to create), as well as archives to provide access to older articles. The features would also work wonderfully for guest contributor blogs as well.

PHP-Nuke can be more than just a news content management system. It’s a cake walk to add a discussion board, and as the name implies, it is PHP based. This forum software is based on bb2nuke which is a popular open-source ported version of PHP-Nuke revamped as a phpBB discussion board.

There are several add-ons and plugins available for the software which would enable users to customize their site to be able to do just about anything.

Get PHP-Nuke Forum Software

The Top Paid Forum Software Options

The last two forum software providers on this list are not free, but they are both well worth the costs. Just imagine forum software that incorporates everything we have talked about so far, but better. Let’s just say they should definitely be options you should look into, and here’s why.

vBulletin

vBulletin Forum Software
vBulletin is written in PHP, works on any operating system, and uses a MySQL database server.

vBulletin has two versions, one that is just their classic forum client, and another that is not just forum software. It also an article-based Content Management System and blogging software. This is what gives vBulletin a bit of an edge over all the others. They provide the most versatile all-in one solution for whatever you need. But, if all you need is the basic forum essentials they have you covered with the classic version, which still has easy to apply plugins.

Get vBulletin Forum Software

XenForo

XenForo Forum Software
XenForo has several influences from vBulletin because a few of the developers from vBulletin also worked on XenForo. It is written in PHP and works on pretty much any operating system. Due to it’s popularity there are several hosts that support XenForo as well, including us.

Interesting features include a “like” system a little bit like Facebook or Reddit, and it also has a feature that rewards users with trophies for reaching certain milestones of participation. User features like these encourage social engagement and participation in a way that other forum software solutions don’t explore. There are also several unique SEO features built in which has probably contributed to it’s popularity. They also do a great job with security and anti-spam.

Many of the default features will probably be enough for whatever you will need to do with your forum, but just in case, there is also a huge database of modifications and plugins at your disposal. Not only are add-ons simple to apply, but XenForo framework makes them simple to build as well.

Get XenForo Forum Software

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Start A Forum With A Small Budget (And Still Stand Out)

Learn how to create your first forum and go live for under fifty bucks – and do it today

What if I told you it’s possible to create your own forum today? Do I have your attention?

If you want a breathtakingly modern forum, built on a responsive design, you would think that it would cost quite a bit. A vBulletin or Xenforo license usually runs a couple hundred alone – and that’s leaving out the fact that you’ll also need a domain, web hosting, and design tweaks. Costs can add up. If you want to see what it takes to run a forum without a large investment, this tutorial will tell you everything you need to know.

Fortunately, there is free forum software available. One of the most popular free forum scripts is phpBB. It is an open-source script that will allow you to get up and running quickly. Cost = $0.

What you want to do now is get a domain. If you already have one, you’re one step ahead. If you don’t, registering a domain is extremely simple. You’ll now want to get your hosting account. If you host with us, we can walk you through all of these steps. We can also install the forum software for you. Plus, with our shared hosting package, you get a free domain as well. Cost so far = $24.95.

We’ve now only spent a little over $20. We have a new domain, web hosting, and our forum script installed. Now, if you want to improve the design of your forum, there are a number of styles for phpBB, but there was one I found in particular that stood out. The Metro Theme by PixelGoose has a modern, Windows 8 look to it. Plus, it’s only $15. So, for a grand total of $39.95 you have been able to get a domain name, hosting, and a professional, responsive design for your new forum.

Start A Forum With A Small Budget (And Still Stand Out)

Now you just have to get busy building it.

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