Does Paid Software has upper hand

jazz555

Paragon
Aug 27, 2010
1,818
62
115
Chennai
adminhut.com
FP$
832
Does paid software has upper hand over free forum software? I am using ElkArte now and i want to know if there is any advantage if i go with paid forum software. I am thinking of switching of Woltlab as it fits my budget
 

Ghost

Seasoned Veteran
Blogger
Jun 25, 2009
3,132
152
185
Earth
wubur.com
FP$
2,355
I think it really depends.
If you are going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a forum software and that is all of your money then it may not be the best idea. I think a MyBB forum for example could be created for free, and then the $100-300 could be spent on advertising, custom theme, or custom plugins. That in my opinion would be a better use of cash if you're limited by your bank. If you can spend the money on paid software & still have some leftover for customization and advertising, then that is definitely an advantage over free software.

I guess it just comes down to what software you are specifically talking about. WordPress is free and powers millions upon millions of websites, being responsible for more websites than any other software - free or paid. So, it really depends on what type of software. :)

At Wubur, the web development company I work for, we create paid software exclusively, but it is highly customized for each client. We do have core systems that we can use in several client projects, but for the most part they are paying us for custom web/app/database development & design. This is because their needs simply can't be satisfied with free software. We have taken clients off of WordPress and other free software because they just don't need all of those features, or they need more than the software offers... It just depends on the client & what they need.
 

NeoMetallix

Acquaintance
Jul 13, 2017
44
15
25
30
FP$
195
It does have its advantages but in the end it’s all about content, community, and uniqueness. A lot of features the paid software has probably won’t be used by most members anyway.

Imo it’s possible to create a focused forum on free software(even a free host) that’s better than paid but you need to be able to make your themes and graphics.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jazz555

Jason76

Package Team Member
Package Team
Nov 27, 2016
5,200
518
235
42
USA
jasonyankee.info
FP$
2,987
Free software can be "just as good" - assuming the owner has web development skills - really good ones! I mean, the whole point of paid, minus the one-on-one support, is that things are made easy.

Now, myself, I could easily see MyBB being as good as XenForo - assuming I could figure out how to modify MyReactions and a few other things - which I cannot!
 
  • Like
Reactions: jazz555

apaynter

New Arrival
Jun 10, 2019
13
4
3
FP$
104
I believe it depends on the application. For business class forums I use paid software (Invision Power Board) as the support and stability is great. For personal forums I use for clan sites I use free software as it isn't always so critical and I can fix bugs in my own time.
 

Ghost

Seasoned Veteran
Blogger
Jun 25, 2009
3,132
152
185
Earth
wubur.com
FP$
2,355
I personally have a huge affection for MyBB.
I think it's one of the best forum software options out there, even if it does have some downsides with scaling up for a massive community.
Obviously paid software has the opportunity to employ more advanced developers & spend money testing, marketing, etc so they do have an advantage, but that doesn't mean free software should be disregarded.

I definitely recommend sticking with a free solution until you are confident you will be running your forum in a year or longer & with some solid activity. I have never heard of ElkArte, but if you're seeing some challenges with continuing to use that system then you should definitely consider MyBB :)

I also think that NodeBB is a very cool solution, so that's worth considering as well.
WoltLab definitely has a powerful system & it's quite affordable as I noted in my recent article, but the real benefit in my opinion comes from their "CMS core". They offer a nice core system with a forum as just one single option, so the bonus is that it relies on a strong codebase, but the downside is that they may be distracted by pushing out new "apps / plugins" for their core CMS instead of solely focusing on the forum.
 

Ash

Seasoned Veteran
Nov 14, 2012
4,920
492
155
London
aakashpereira.co.uk
FP$
272
Your forum isn't automatically going to do better because you go with a paid software. However, there will be other benefits. I do think that paid software tends to look much better and feels much better for the end-user as well. That usually means they are happier to post a lot on your forum which in the end is great for you and the forum.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ghost

Ghost

Seasoned Veteran
Blogger
Jun 25, 2009
3,132
152
185
Earth
wubur.com
FP$
2,355
Your forum isn't automatically going to do better because you go with a paid software. However, there will be other benefits. I do think that paid software tends to look much better and feels much better for the end-user as well. That usually means they are happier to post a lot on your forum which in the end is great for you and the forum.
I definitely agree with this. When XF first came out, I joined up on a site and wanted to post so much more.
The notifications and flow of everything felt so natural, so I was inclined to post a LOT more :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ash

NeoMetallix

Acquaintance
Jul 13, 2017
44
15
25
30
FP$
195
I think paid software has the potential to make the owner lazy. Many people get paid software then think everything's good because they have all the latest features and don't put any real thought and effort into the forum to make in unique. Certainly not the case all the time but nothing turns me off more than seeing a XF or IPB forum using a generic or default theme/layout.
 

dojo

Up-and-Coming Sensation
Feb 10, 2012
294
14
60
40
New York City
marketing.themedically.com
FP$
177
I've worked with most known forum scripts (starting with phpbb, smf, mybb and ending with the paid ones ipb, vb and xenforo). I do think that the paid options were better, mybb was some sort of an exception, since it proved to be really good. Anyway, as soon as the community grew, I did feel the need to move onto a paid platform.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jazz555