vBulletin to phpBB Comparison: Pros and Cons of Your Best Forum for 2021

Blog,Forum Platforms Reviews,phpBB,vBulletin

Presently, if you are looking for the advanced and powerful platform to settle your forum on – most probably, you will stumble upon a great variety of bulletin boards that it’s hardly possible to choose the one for sure. How to choose the forum platform that will turn your web project into the place of a powerful knowledge base and the favorite haunt?

On this subject, we are going to dot all the ‘i’ comparing phpBB to vBulletin.


It is produced by Jelsoft Enterprises and vBulletin Solutions. vBulletin is proprietary forum software, which is written in PHP and uses the MySQL database. Since its original release in 2000, vBulletin has been modified many times. The current production version is 4.2.0, and the latest beta version is 5.0. For now, vBulletin has powered many of the largest social sites on the web like Offtopic.com, Something Awful, Fan Forum, and Bodybuilding.com.


  1. Written in PHP using a MySQL database server
    It means there are no special requirements in order to make sure that your website database is compatible with vBulletin.
  2. Convenient Tagging
    In order to make the forum running simple and prosaic, vBulletin possesses the ability to use tags in relation to your posts (similar to the website format). This option allows check-up recent search tags and their frequency.
  3. Bundle Software
    Apart from forum management, vBulletin supports the following web project content: website homepage, blog, bug tracker, project manager, pictures album manager.
  4. Strong Security
    vBulletin has reliable protection and anti-spam system.


  1. Paid Forum Tool
    One of the most crucial things that make people think twice before choosing vBulletin is the paid piece of software. To start running the vBulletin forum, you have to make a purchase. It’s not very expensive, but not free.
  2. Constant Paid Upgrade Required
    With every new version release, you have to upgrade your forum bulletin board and, what’s more, this option is paid as well.
  3. No Free Add-Ons
    In case you want to get more functionality or enhancements, be ready to come across money issues again – add-ons are available on a paid basis.
  4. More expensive than other forum platforms
  5. Integration with other applications require extra paid modules
  6. vBulletin does not support database engines other than MySQL
  7. No attachments in private messages


phpBB is an abbreviation of the PHP Bulletin Board. It is written in the PHP scripting language. Besides, phpBB was created as an open-source UBB look-alike bulletin board by James Atkinson and was first released in December 2000, with subsequent improvements to the codebase of its 1.x version. At present, phpBB latest stable version 3.0.11, and has supported millions of users on a daily basis. Let’s check all of the phpBB pros:


  1. Free & Open Source
    phpBB is an absolutely free and open-source solution for forum creation that is written on PHP and is compatible with various database engines.
  2. Multiple Languages Supportphpbb
    Currently, this forum building tool supports approximately 47 languages.
  3. Website Connection Possibility 
    The board makes it possible to create a connection between your forum and a website that is running on Drupal, Joomla, or even WordPress.
  4. Attached File Option
    phpBB users are able to upload various attachments to their posts, topics, and accounts.
  5. Comfortable Forum Structure and comprehensive Hierarchy
    phpBB provides flat message structure as opposed to threaded one, which is much more comfortable for the forum users. There is a possibility to create hierarchical subforums, user groups, and other categories to create the comfortable structure of your threads and posts.
  6. Advanced Control System
    phpBB is characterized by its diligent security system. There is a possibility to ban users by username, name, and even IP address.
  7. Strong Searching Functions
    There exists a well-organized search function, and your users may easily try the full-text search option.
  8. Additional Options
    With phpBB, it’s simple to add multiple attachments types, automatic image thumbnails, notification options.
  9. Customization
    phpBB provides each user with the great ability of forum customization. It helps you to adapt to all the management processes in accordance with your convenience. You may customize styles, templates as well.



  1. Content Variety Limits
    Unfortunately, with phpBB, your web project is limited to the forum creation only. It’s impossible to add a website or a blog to the phpBB core.
  2. MODs Complexity
    To create or even install some modifications on your forum, you should have strong knowledge of programming and your forum bulletin board itself.
  3. Not Very SEO Friendly
    Comparing the features of vBulletin to phpBB, the latest provides its users with a reduced scope for search engine optimization.


Market position

This diagram shows the market position of the selected forum platforms in terms of popularity and traffic compared to the most popular CMSs.


Let’s sum up



Migration Option

If you are currently running a forum but want to try something new – there’s an option for your forum migration. aisite offers the exceptional chance to migrate all your forum posts, threads, user data, topics, etc. from vBulletin to phpBB automatically.

To conclude with another good news, you don’t have to install any additional software or convert your site manually. This automated tool transfers content directly from one forum board to another in a few minutes. Set up the free Demo Migration right now, and in no time, you’ll see how simple it is to get your brand new forum.

Try us free!

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