MyBB is forum software that I have used several times throughout my years as a forum owner and it has very rarely let me down. Whilst there are several great aspects that help it come out on top of my personal favourites for forum software, there are still some issues that hold it back. In this review, I will have a look at why MyBB might still be the perfect forum software for your forum.
It’s easy to see why MyBB is a popular choice for forum owners, an open source software that is completely free and has features to rival the high-end paid forum software, it was always going to do well.
If there’s one thing that a lot of software can’t get right, it’s being beginner-friendly. It’s unusual since you would think developers and web designers would want to make their software as easy to use as possible to ensure the end user does not have problems. But it’s something that MyBB has perfected right from the start. Their innovative and powerful features are simple and easy to use. Administrators and moderators, whatever their experience, will have no issue navigating an using the backend. That’s if your moderators ever need to use the provided moderator control panel because, at this point, almost everything can be done through in-post and in-profile moderation.
Furthermore, the admin control panel is the best that I have used so far, far better than rivals (looking at you phpBB!). Everything has been separated into six categories – Home, Configuration, Forum & Posts, Users & Groups, Templates & Styles and Tools & Maintenance. Talking to other administrators, it’s easy to see that one thing that always causes unnecessary trouble is forum permissions. They can be confusing and lacking. How do I stop these users from starting a thread in this section? What does this permission setting do?
The developers of MyBB did a fantastic job when designing and creating the permissions system and how it works. A simple drag and drop system allows you to choose exactly which groups can have access to a particular forum and which groups can create threads or replies in that section. But that’s not it. The system allows you to set custom permissions so that you can have a more advanced system. Want a support forum where users can only see their own threads? You can do that by just ticking one box!
The appearance of your forum is an important aspect. No one wants to join a plain and boring forum and the MyBB templates system allows you to avoid this. Importing a theme is as easy as uploading a single file through the ACP and uploading a few images/JS files through your cPanel. Customising your theme has also been made extremely easy with the template editor that lets you edit every aspect of your forum to your liking. The templates have also been split into sections that make it extremely easy to find a particular piece of coding that you want to modify.
One aspect that MyBB excels on over other forum software is the plugins. Want to give out awards to your users? There are several free & premium plugins for exactly that. There are hundreds of plugins available for you on both the MyBB website and other resource sites.
It’s not all plain sailing though, as with any software, there are usually some aspects of it that could do with some improvement. A real lack of free & premium MyBB themes holds it back, especially when compared to XenForo and Invision Community Forum. If you look at the Extend section of MyBB, you will find several free themes. However, only a select few will be good enough in terms of appearance to be used and that leads to most themes feeling overused. You could of course always hire a designer to create a custom theme but that will be expensive and isn’t an option for the vast majority of forum owners. Moreover, the plugin uninstallation process is an absolute pain. If you find that you do not want a plugin anymore or find that it doesn’t work with your forum, you will need to find each and every file you uploaded and delete them manually, unless you want to leave them on your servers.
Spam, as with most websites, will also be a real issue that you encounter. The default anti-spam features are not good enough and you will need to make sure to find a good plugin for this purpose.
Overall, my experience with MyBB was a great one. It will always be the forum software that I consider first when I want to start & manage a forum. An innovative but easy to use system, MyBB is a dream to work with for any admin. As ever, if you have any questions or issues regarding MyBB, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.