vBulletin is the software of choice for thousands of communities. vBulletin began its life in April of 2000 when John Percival and Jelsoft released the first version. Since that time it has surpassed Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) as the defacto forum package.
vBulletins feature list is impressive for both the admin and the end users.
Some of the features include:
- Fast and efficient database back end
- Template driven interface
- Powerful search engine
- Multi language support
- User profiles
- Admin control panel that is second to none
- Unlimited forums and posts
For a list of all the features vBulletin has to offer check out vBulletins feature page.
From the standpoint of a forum admin there is no better control panel. There is an extensive user management system that alows an admin the freedom to create an unlimited amount of user groups with different permissions for each group. There is even an option to set permissions per user if you choose. If you have problem users there are extensive banning options. You can outright ban a person from accessing the site or you can add them to “Tachy goes to Coventry” a neat little place that hides their posts from other members yet makes the user think he is involved in the community.
Admins also have the freedom to customize the look and fell of the site with the built in style editor. Every aspect of the site can be changed. The only limitation is the imagination of the admin. If you don’t have the time to create your own style there is a wide selection or free premade styles. If you want a unique style there are a number of good vbulletin skin developers and most of them offer premade skins for a small price. Adding a premade style is as easy as can be. Upload the images to the forum directory and then head into the admin control panel and in the left pane under the style manager there is a link to download/upload styles. Import the style xml and you have a new look to your site.
With the newest version of vBulletin there is a plugin system. This system makes it very easy to incorporate more features into the system. With the older versions you had to modify the code in the php files. This is no longer true. All you have to do is import the plugins xml file. This system makes upgrading to new versions very easy.
While vBulletin is the best new forum admins that install vbulletin for the first time can become a bit overwhelmed. The first time you enter the admin control panel can be confusing to many. The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with each feature. There is a help feature for each area. Use the links to get to know the software. Read all the documentation provided at the vBulletin website. If you can’t find an answer ask at the vBulletin support forums. The support people are very helpful and responsive to their customers.
If you want start a community or already have a community running different software, vBullein does have an import system so you can convert from many forum packages, and find your current package is lacking then vBulletin should be your choice.