Some people from another forum wanted to know my issues with Xenforo so i figured I'd make a post here as well. Not a hate thread, I am open to being educated. Apologies for length! But hey there are some pretty pics So why did I switch to Xenforo for a 2nd time? I used XF briefly for 5 months in 2013 where it was my first paid software experience...I grew annoyed with the limitations & switched to IPB and loved it for the most part... A lot of this has to do with the future. I am unsure of what IPB has in store for 4.0 and in all honesty, I am ready to pick up my slack and start putting a lot more effort in branding my site. After thinking of it, I realize I can do that with 3.4.6 but I'd need to do it all over again for 4.0 and that could be an annoyance. Not to mention, there were things I didn't like about 4.0(though IPS are working on it and I am liking it more now). When given the opportunity to switch to Xenforo(I had a license transferred to me, thanks btw ), I took it as the time to give it a go.I made a rushed decision(which i take full accountability for, I am known for impulse decisions lol) based on buying into the hype of XF and a little peer pressure as well LOL. From the outside in, Xenforo seemed to be different from the version I used in Early 2013. It felt...like a full package to me. Initially it started it off well and I am genuinely happy. SEO/Ranking(Xenforo vs IPB) I believe it when people say that xenforo has excellent SEO in comparison to IPB. I haven't really done anything major in the two weeks and I am noticing that I am getting more traffic and on top of that, i am ranking FASTER and better than I did. Now with IPB, it is not bad and it is actually possible to rank just as high....But out the box Xenforo seems to be perfect where IPB requires some TLC. IPB: 7 XF: 10 Notifications One of my biggest annoyances in IPB was the notification system. While adequate enough,I just disliked how you get multiple notifications for the same topic you are watching. Xenforo's notification is quite smart. For starters it doesn't send you multiple notifications for each reply. It updates that one. More importantly, it has the topic title to let you know where the topic is(IPB is far more generic). More importantly, when you get a Private Message and you have multiple ones, Xenforo doesn't clear the Alert count, it merely deducts them as you read(IPB removes the count even if i still have 4 other messages) and it even pushes the Unread messages to the top. Xenforo's Notification is hands down loads better and easily the best aspect of XF for me. IPB is an 8 to Xenforo's 10 score. The Speed: On IPB my forum has never been SLOW....but Xenforo does feel smoother. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some slow ass XF forums but that is due to a whole lot of add-ons. The software truly is smooth and pleasant. I'd give IPB a 7.5 and XF a 9.5 Statistics I love the way XF does Statistics....IPB has statistics as well but everything is separated. With XF you have all the options there and you can check or uncheck what you need. Less clicks than IPB and I appreciate the Line Graph of XF's stats to IPB's Bar. IPB: 8 XF: 9 What's Not So great: 1. A lot of Ajax XF just has way too much ajax. It is a bit...overboard. IPB uses it less and I personally didn't really realize how much it bugged me until i used it regularly on my own forum. IPB: 10 XF: 7 2. Sidebar I really dislike how EVERYTHING can be shoved into the sidebar. It looks a mess to me. I love the fact that IPB utilizes the sidebar but things like stats are at the bottom. It looks cleaner that way to me. With XF, there are edits to get it that way but that's just extra work and then you have to make sure it is that way for all styles. IPB: 9 XF: 6 What I hate 1. Avatars: In IPB, you can set a size on the forum for Avatar Sizes and be done. You don't need to do any edits to templates. Just set a size 300 X 300 and call it a day. Depending on if you want Large avatars, you are apparently required to edit the template when it comes to Xenforo. This is annoying. Suppose you had usergroups who could have larger avatars than others. How does that work? It's far easier to set avatar size with IPB than XF. IPB: 9 XF: 4 2. Animated Avatars: Like with Avatars, setting up Animated Avatars is quite easy on IPB. Simply choose yes and the Avatars are animated. With Xenforo, apparently it requires the use of Imagemagick extension? I have to install an extension to get animated avatars? Really? IPB: 10 XF: 4 3. Layout & Styling: This is a big thing to me.....I have seen so many diverse looking IPB forums out there. They all have their own signature look and style. http://forum.grasscity.com/ http://mlpforums.com/ http://onehallyu.com/ Even my site was its own when it was on IPB(THis was in May 2014) They all are IPB forums yet they still feel unique and look unique enough. Various Niches(Marijuana, Kpop, Kid's show, Book forum, etc). When I see XF forums, it has a been there done that feel to it. It's not really unique and you see one XF forum and you've seen them all. @Russ is literally the only Designer i've seen by @Audentio who actually really actually truly puts effort in creating a unique style. On top of that, the layout of IPB is just better. I am all for Minimalism but XF takes it too far. Example: "The Kitchen Sink" aka user info under avatars is hidden by default on XF. I didn't realize it till my users were like "How come I can't see my post count?" SPeaking of styling, it is annoying that there is really not any creative skins. I didn't realize it at first but I brought a very pretty looking skin from Xenfocus only to discover...Wait a second. I just paid $30 for what is actually the XF default style with some pretty backgrounds, a new font and a few buttons changed. Most skins are not innovative or creative. IPB communities have a LOT of diverse/unique skins that warrant their cost and I notice that any random joe can create a style and slap a $20 tag on it when it comes to Xenforo. IPB: 9 XF: 6 3. Support Forums I'll have to say I love how social the XF forums are. People there actually do take the time to converse and you get to know some people. What I hate is the solicitation. Examaple: I posted a thread looking for hosting recommendations. Within 20 minutes I get 3 hosts PMing me their offers and trying to convince me otherwise to choose them because they are Great. I even had a couple of add-on authors do the same thing. IPB in the year i used them, I never had someone start PMing me then annoying me about using their services. It's quite annoying. I don't want to report anyone because it wasn't that serious. I love the fact that XF users are quite fast when it comes to answering Questions. Brogan is a freaking Beast(that's a good thing) and I actually like the fact that Mike answers my tickets not to mention the issues people have with Slavik that i read about, he seems like a good guy to me. I love the fact that the higher ups actually take the time to speak and assist the clients. Mike actually fixed an issue with my redirect scripts with XF. I totally appreciate that. IPB has a good support forum but it is less social. Meaning you don't really get to know the community as well outside of the various support stuff. The community is helpful but sometimes it does take a little work getting responses from others. What I dislike about the support forums about XF is that it feels like a popularity contest. Kiss enough ass or stroke enough egos and you're good to go. Overall, I'd probably rank IPB's support forums: 8 XF's support forum: 8 5. Third Party Add-ons (Yes i add 3rd party to the XF vs IPB because buying into these ecosystems you likely also buy into their 3rd party) It's been preached about so much that XF has the best 3rd party add-ons I can see why people would say that. A lot of fun addons and great developers. The XF resource manager is fantastic and easy to find stuff. IPB has its own store but it is less intuitive an da bit harder to fix. What I dislike about XF is the fact that so many developers are talented and create add-ons that truly are amazing and creative pieces of work and yet so many people are trying to nickel and dime you. Various Add-ons that are/were needed to fill in holes that XF itself lacked are guaranteed money makers. Why? Because developers know people NEED these add-ons and are willing to pay whatever. It is a tough pill to swallow when using XF because while the product in its core is great and has come such a long way, the fact that you need(and for some admins there is still a need even in 1.4) to rely on 3rd party add-on to fill in features that IPB/VB/WBB have had as well as free software makes Xenforo potentially pricey. Even more so the fact that while Xenforo does have a growing 3rd party market, it is so much easier to find Free mods or less expensive with IPB(IMO, YMMV). And the same exact add-ons on both platforms often have more features(example: Ibeconomy and iCredits on IPB vs Credits premium by Brivium....icredits can virtually do the same thing and even more than Credits Premium at literally half the price and without a renewal fee.) Even worse is the fact that utilizing Xenforo add-ons makes your board feel like a walking advertisement with random copyrights and what not thrown into your footer. Keep in mind that when you buy a Paid Add-on you still have to pay for branding free for EACH one which can be quite costly. Overall, Xenforo has an easy to use Resource manager to find stuff but I'd take IPB's slightly chaotic method(It does need improvement) for the fact that the add-ons seemed to be fairly priced as well as the fact that they are not always trying to throw their copyright all over your site. IPB: 8 XF: 5 What Reall P*sses me off: 1. User Groups Promotion It took me awhile to grasp Xenforo's Usergroup Management. Personally I find it utterly ridiculous for several reasons. Why does EVERY person need to be in the default group? I can kind of get the fact that it helps you change permissions globally. I'll give XF that. However when you have multiple usergroups as apart of usergroup promotions(i.e. let's say you get promoted based on a post count) there is no real reason to leave them in the previous usergroup. Example: I completed my freshman year of College...I am not a Sophomore. Why am I still a part of the Freshman class? I've been promoted. It should no longer be associated with me. I'm a Sophomore now. With IPB it's quite simple....All users start off with their Primary group being whatever it is. As you reach a certain criteria, you are promoted and no longer apart of the previous group. I much prefer it this way because there is no real reason for a user to be apart of all these usergroups. I have 10-12 different usergroups on my site someone can be promoted into based on post count. On IPB by the time they reach the final One, it's their only group. On XF they now have all 10 and that just seems....too much to me. IPB: 9 XF: 6 2. Usergroup Styling Yet again this is something that pisses me off. When you create a usergroup with Xenforo and it has a particular styling and color, it requires you to use a ladder of sort. Meaning you have to give it a number. The Number more or less signifies it's priority so when a user is apart of multiple usergroups the group with the highest priority gives the user their styling(color, etc) Except going back to number 1....There's no need to do that with IPB. You don't need to give a usergroup Priority. They just get promoted to the next group and the previous group is no longer valid. When you have tons of usergroup this can get tricky with XF, I remember accidentally typing in the same number twice and not realizing it till the end and then having to go back and fix it. IPB: 9 XF: 6 3. Usergroup Permissions: Xenforo: What throws me off is the Always, Never, Not Set/No. I had to figure out when the right time to use Not Set/No was vs when to use Never. I winded up giving One usergroup No permission whatsoever and then even though I gave their succeeding usergroup the permission, i discovered that because "Registered" was set to never that meant it overrode any other permissions. IPB simplifies with no confusion.....Yes or no. But Wait...I want to make it where new members have to have their first posts approved...How do i do that? On Xenforo it is "Follow Message Moderation rules?" Now unless you knew what that meant off the hand, how the heck do I know THAT is how you set a usergroup to have their post moderated? Then you have to figure out...Is it Always, No or Never. With IPB...it's simple yet again. Yes or No plus it gives you a little bit more options on how to moderate and how long That's the thing with Xenforo. Xenforo is quite capable and does a lot of things but then IPB does the same thing and gives you a bit more power and freedom to do more with permissions while still making it simple. Yes or No. I can give several more examples on Usergroup Permissions but i'll move on. IPB: 9 Xenforo: 4 4. Moderator/Admin Permissions: What I don't understand is...If someone is an ADMINISTRATOR why do I need to make them a MODERATOR so they can do moderator tasks? Oh sure you can ban people and do stuff in the ACP but you don't even have basic abilities to do forum stuff unless I explicitly make you a Moderator as well. It should be implied but Xenforo requires you to make them BOTH Admin and Moderators. I am sure the is a "Good "reason for this but at the same time, it sounds kind of dumb. IPB understands this so that ALL ADMINS automatically have Moderator abilities. Not all Admins/Moderators are create equal: What if I have a group of admins and/or mods but they have a "Leader"(example: my 2nd in command is the official leader of the Admin group and my Super Mod is in charge of my mod groups) That leader may have slightly more abilities than the others. For example my Super Mod also has limited Admin abilities(Can edit/change usernames and profiles and handle bans) I have to MAKE that person an Administrator as well with Xenforo but only check the options for those permissions. In theory, it works but they are not meant to be Admins. So why do i need to make them Admins and Moderators. IPB does it different and Better while giving you more control and Power: You can give the usergroup access to ACP...But more importantly you can specify a specific user to be able to do this and that but not this or that. As Seen Below, this gives you a tab of all the abilities you have on your site...It's very detailed. Depending on what Apps you have within IPB(1st and 3rd party) the tabs will grow...this is on a BASIC IPB site for the most part but on my own site i had like 8-10 tabs. I love this because it gives you more control and power. Xenforo has something similar yet it is basic. You can do this or that...there's no inbetween really. It's literally do this or not do this. I miss ACP restrictions IPB: 10 XF: 6 5. Creating Nodes Oh my God....This pissed me off. Let's just pretend I never used a forum as an admin. On Xenforo, it's called a "Node Tree" and it is not explicitly in an area where you'd expect. Guess Where it is? Under Applications. Say what? Again if I didn't know that...How would I have known that? IPB has it literally explicitly stated as "Forums" Once Again XF vs IPB....IPB makes it simply. How? Because it gives you most of the permissions right there as you create the Forum. Xenforo does this for the most part but then on top of that let's say it is restricted to certain usergroups...... Xenforo you have to make the node PRIVATE then explicitly go into the usergroups and then give them permissions on what they can and can't do. We expressed above how much I hate XF permissions.... IPB does it different.....and it even allows you to set a forum password. I don't see this option with XF(I am sure it is there but once again, IPB places this directly in your face when you create the forum and giving you the option to make certain groups exempt) Xenforo gives you some options on what is allowed/not allowed...But once again IPB gives you more options and control/power. IPB: 10 XF: 8 6. Banning Users:: Xenforo actually gets a light free pass because i absolutely love user Discouragement(This is a 3rd party add-on for IPB called Miserable users). Xenforo Banning a user is pretty simple IPB does it mostly the same but yet again gives you more options...I can Ban(Permanently) or Suspend(Temp ban) just like XF but what if i dont want to do either. What if i want to moderate their content? I can't figure out how to do that on Xenforo for one person. I have to make a usergroup for them. On IPB i simply have to click "Ban Member" and then change posting permissions/restrictions and set a time period to Moderate them. There...Done. XF does have thread banning now which is great to me. So for this one I give XF a slight pass IPB: 8 XF: 8 7. Linking to a Forum Given that I run a book forum, I often times set up Category for each book series and the Authors link us and that's how we get traffic/members. With XF, if you link to a Category node it'll just move the page down to that particular node. With IPB, if I link to a Category, it actually takes you to that specific page with all Forums/Subforums. This looks cleaner instead of it having all my other forums listed above and below, it only has that Category's forums and making easy access. Apparently there is a way to tweak/edit this on XF but still.....I shouldn't have to. IPB: 10 XF: 3 I can go on and on about my complaints with Xenforo(Example: I can't add a Poll to an already existing thread? I tried this on two forums that are running the Beta) but i'll stop here. As it Stands....I miss IPB. IPB may have been the kind of software where you have to do some tending to it to get it to be near perfection but is that so bad? Out the box, it has a lot of power, you just have to of course give it a little more work. Xenforo out the box appears great and is a great forum solution. But as you use it, there are some odds and ends that really bug you. I say IPB is the slightly less attractive but Way smarter love interest and XF is the Sexy, Flashy and super cool personality but lacks a little intelligence. I miss IPB but in all honesty I am not ready to give up on XF yet. For starters, I refuse to do another Migration anytime soon. The first one was easy but it is so time consuming getting all glitches/bugs fixed and I just don't have it in me. But more importantly I made the choice to move to Xenforo and I want to learn how to master Xenforo and I want to actually GROW with the software and learn to love it. AS it stands now, I like it enough but I still have periods where it just pisses me off and makes me miss where I am coming from. I want to be an admin who is Proud to have a XF site instead the Admin I am now...A begrudging owner who just is too lazy to convert back. There are so many Benefits to Xenforo(SEO is the first thing) and my members love it(Of course they love IPB as well). There are a lot of cons for me as well. People say it is because I am stuck in my IPB ways. I thought that is it, and no...it's not. Not really anyway. I think what bugs me the most is, that when you ask for help people get so secretive and don't want point you where or how to do something and a lot of times it seems you gotta kiss ass with the right people to get help. If i had the choice to switch back and someone would do all the work for me....I'd still stick with XF. Only because, I've already had IPB 3.4.6 and If I switch back to IPB, it'll be for 4.0.But more importantly, as I said...I am not ready to give up just yet. I feel like Xenforo has the ability to wow me and really make a happy client but as it stands I have various annoyances and frustrations and issues and until i figure my way how to solve those, i'll always begrudgingly own a Xenforo forum.