vBulletin vs. UBB - why did we choose this one?

I did try searching as to why vBulletin was decided upon, and was unable to find a suitable thread.

I was just curious why the SDMB settled on vBulletin. We are considering putting one of the two packages in our intranet at work, and I am trying to see what the actual technical pros and cons are. And thus, I wanted to know what influenced the SDMB to go with vBulletin over UBB (like Fathom has).

The only thing thus far that seems really different between the two is vBB is much cheaper in terms of software. Was there a past thread that discussed pros and cons, or can someone tell me some of the technical aspects of why this one was chosen?

We had UBB once. It doesn’t have preview and the search function was truly shit. Sometimes you see old threads with the posts out of order and the quote HTML visible. This is because of differences between vB and UBB.

I don’t know about other reasons, but posters had been bitching for preview since this was an AOL Board. And I think, my memory not being what it was used to, that we switched because UBB didn’t have the capacity for us… AFAIK know Opal’s board is a LOT smaller than this one.


If you like Fathom, be sure to ask if they have any regrets over there. They seem to have a ton more stuff on the screen than here, so it must be more easily modified than vBB. And the slow search is only a factor if you have a lot of separate forums. Searching a single forum is a snap.
On the other hand, vB may have better examples than SDMB. I think the site here is probably not modified very much from the generic version, so they may have many features you can’t judge from here.

From what I recall of the discussion, vBulletin is far more capable of handling the size of the SDMB than UBBs is. If size is a problem, then you might want to go with vBulletin. However, I’m not very technically inclined, and I wasn’t included very much in the discussion.

The ONLY thing I like better about UBBS is that when I moved a thread in it, I had the option of leaving a copy of the thread in the original forum and locking it. Otherwise, I like vBulletin much better. I ESPECIALLY like the fact that it doesn’t go down on a daily basis.


Somone posted this link on the SDMB before. It is a more technical discussion of the two packages. http://geekvillage.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/001459.html

Yeah, it’s funny how you forget things… for a while there, the UBB software crashed every day at the least.

Also, vB has a lot of features you don’t see here, because the SDMB shut them off. Some were annoying, some useless, and others down right dangerous. (For instance, the twits how used HTML to screw with the Reader Ads, and could just as easily donw other things.)


One way to make these kinds of choices, that people forget about, is to write to the sites themselves. Use the identical question and pose it to UBB and VB. They will often have the pro’s and con’s worked out in a table (favoring them of course, but you can figure that part out)

An advantage of this approach is that they sometimes inadvertantly reveal the strengths of their competition and also some new competitors you haven’t heard of yet.

We went to vB because we had outgrown the capacities of the UBB software, we had frequent slowdowns and everyday crashes.

UBB seems to work fine for small scale situations; if you don’t have a lot of members and not much action, you’ll be fine. However, the system does need archiving as a matter of course and can only handle a certain amount of daily traffic as a result.

vB can accommodate bigger boards and more activity and is a reasonable affordable choice. From what the tech people at the Reader have told me the next step up from this gets to custom tailored solutions that are quite expensive.

So far, vB is handling our volume of over a million postings(really!) and over 13 thousand registered members fairly well. We’ve had a few problems, most of them related to glitches in new software. vB has been on the market about a year. (That’s why we’ve resisted upgrades, our techs are of the “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school where this sort of thing is concerned and I don’t blame them.)

Since moving to vB we’ve had a handful of spot outages and far less difficulties than with UBB. Not putting off on UBB, it’s just not a good solution for a board this size.

Hope this helps you in your choices, and all best.

your humble TubaDiva


UBB used to have a free version of it’s software so you can at least try it out and see if you want to upgrade to the pay version.

With Fathom, we’ve had good luck with the UBB software, they have just come out with a new version, and Opal plans on upgrading it soon I think.

As for moderating, the UBB is easy, no special instructions, I don’t know about vB though. We can close threads and move them at the same time, we can completely move them without any trace left in the original forum. I don’t know about the administrative side though.

UBB is easy and is being used by some large corporations.

I assume it will mostly depend on what you are willing to pay for. In a company environment I think that either will do, if you want more information let me know and I will seek it out.

BTW, someone had mentioned all the additions that we have over at Fathom, well, that’s because the board is different in it’s nature and Opal likes to test new and different things. The SDMB’s focus on Cecil and his column so the extras that are over on Fathom wouldn’t work here on the SDMB.

Just the reverse, here: I know vB but not UBB. There’s probably some neat toys that UBB moderators have that we don’t (and maybe vice versa), but moderating vB is pretty easy, too, at least on the technical side. I don’t think that either software offers a “Where the heck should this thread be?” button.

Since I’ve been an administrator (and a moderator with UBBS) with both, I feel qualified. The systems are very similar. As I noted earlier, with UBBS you have the option to move a thread to a new forum but leave a locked copy in the old forum. This is good. In UBBS, moderators can only moderate in their assigned forums. In vBulletin, any mod can moderate in any forum. For the SDMB, I think that this is good, as this message board is active 24/7, with very little downtime. For a company message board, you might not need to have this coverage, or you might WANT to restrict mods to just one forum.

Email me and I’ll go into more detail about moderating tools and such. For security reasons, I’m not going to put such things on the board.



Just a couple of other things.

Opal’s been running the UBB software on a 233MHz PII with only 128 MB RAM, she also hosts about 20+ web sites. Just FYI.

Also, I do know that a member of both the SDMB and Fathom has created his own bulletin board software. I can’t remember who, even after going through my forum on Fathom but I think that ChrisCTP is also a moderator at the place I am thinking of. You could send her an email so you can look at it then discuss it with the software creator…damn, this is buggin me I can’t remember who it is! You might get an excellent product for a reasonable price and help a fellow member of our boards, that’s a mighty cool idea!

Forget that, the member in question is using http://www.ikondiscussion.com which is free but he hacked the hell out of it to get his site to look the way he wanted…anyhow that is another alternative to vB and UBB.

< must remember to research before opening my big fat mouth! >

I just want to thank all of you so much for replying; I’m sorry I did not get back here sooner. It looks like, based on your wonderful info and other research, I will be the Admin of a vB Board with up to 8000 members on it. :eek: