FusionBB Review

(August 25, 2011 21:49)
Last Version 3.2 (June 5th, 2011). Released under Proprietary License.
Resources Website FusionBB Website Download Download...
Company InteractivePHP, Inc..
Price 1 Year License - $149, Renewal - $39.
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FusionBB is a commercial community software, that is turning 8 years old this year. It is easily recognizable with its famous default orange and blue theme, and it is supported by the InteractivePHP, Inc. company, that basically has this product only in its catalog.

FusionBB main target is to provide a community software, but you will see that it also includes several good surprises as a Portal and a Blog infrastructure for all forum members. We are going to review in the following article the different features that FusionBB embeds.

Review Updates:

  • August 25, 2011: First Review.

FusionBB is recommended for Medium Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • PHP 4
  • PHP 5
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 1.3
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
Databases
How Forum Data are Stored.
  • MySQL
Operating Systems
Systems Supporting this Software.
  • GNU/LinuxGNU/Linux
  • BSD UnixBSD Unix
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
  • Apple Mac OSApple Mac OS
Browser & Client Requirements
Compatible Browsers
List of Compatible Browsers.
Mozilla FirefoxMozilla FirefoxInternet ExplorerInternet Explorer
Google ChromeGoogle ChromeOperaOpera
Apple SafariApple SafariKonquerorKonqueror
Mozilla SeaMonkeyMozilla SeaMonkey
Required Plugins/Technologies
Additional or Basic Requirements from Client Side.
HTML, AJAX, CSS.
Localization
Languages supported by FusionBB.
No.
No.

We did not find translations packages so far for FusionBB, which is quite surprising for a software of this quality.

FusionBB Installation - Step 1

Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
No.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability
No.

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • URL Redirection Forum
  • Sub Sections
  • Tags
Thread Icons Yes Topic Tags Yes
Hot Topics Yes Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads No Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements Yes
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
  • Preview Button
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • HTML
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
No
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
  • Upload via Classic Attachments. Images are all at the end of the post.
  • Use BBCode or HTML. Need to type the URL of an already hosted image.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
No.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments Yes Syntax Highlighting No
Message Rating
No Message Quoting Yes

FusionBB - Thread and Posts

FusionBB is particularly easy to use, and has a really complete list of features in the range of posting and creating new topics. Note also that each user is able to tag a topic, if he wants to, in order to define more exactly what are the main subjects of a given thread.

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation Yes
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Yes
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Yes
Calendar
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
Yes
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
Yes
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Yes
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
  • Portal
  • Blog
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
R
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
No
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
No
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
No.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
No
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
No.

FusionBB - Control Panel - Portal Settings

The bundled Portal is a nice add to this forum software, and is particularly useful when you look for a unique software to manage your website.

The nice calendar feature is available by default, which is sufficiently rare to be said.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about FusionBB features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Yes
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Yes
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
No
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
Yes
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Yes
Avatars
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
Yes
Signature
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
Yes
Ranks
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)
Yes

FusionBB - Control Panel - Subscription API Manager

FusionBB has a dedicated project, called MyPaymentPal, to allow paid subscriptions.

Moderation & Users Management

FusionBB - Control Panel - Posts Moderation

Moderation is really something well designed, as any moderator is able to modify publishing status and position of each threads and posts inside each threads.

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation
Post-Moderation The moderation is done afterwards, if an administrator notices a problem or if a member reports something wrong. Each message is therefore directly published.
Reactive Moderation By reporting any problems, members are reactive against moderation problems. Moderators' main objective is to regularly check user reports, without having to follow each threads.
Distributed Moderation By organizing the forum around moderators, who are usually power and experienced users, moderation is self-powered and only depends on the community.
Moderator per section Yes
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
Yes
Shadow Topics
When a thread is moved, the previous position is kept in order to inform users of this modification.
Yes
Close/Lock Threads
Close/Lock Problematic Threads
Yes
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
Yes
User Registration
  • Free Registration
  • Registration needs Approval
  • Confirmation sent by email for validation
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
Yes
Guest Posting Yes
Multiple Administrators Yes
Send Warnings to Users
Inform users by email or PM that they infringe the board rules, and could be excluded for such behavior.
No
Forum/Section Restricted Access
ACL could be use to determine if a user or a group of users can access (in read only, post message) to some sections and topics.
Yes
User Banishment Yes

FusionBB - Control Panel - Primary Permissions

Permissions can be really defined precisely, and each features and steps can be allowed depending on the current level of a user group.

Administration & Support

FusionBB - Control Panel - Ignored Users

The Administration Panel is definitely complete and provides many way to tweak our forum, but we would prefer having a simpler interface for beginner users, that would probably be a bit lost in this huge list of menus displayed on the left sidebar.

FusionBB - Control Panel - Add New Forum

However, an advanced or experimented users won't have any problems in navigating and administrating his forum.

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Yes
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
Yes
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
Yes
Administration Tools
Statistics
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
Yes Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
Yes
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
Yes Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
Yes
Installation & Upgrading
Installation Method
How this forum software could be installed.
Installation Wizard
Upgrading Method
How this forum software could be upgraded.
Upgrade Wizard
Updates Notifications
The Admin Panel informs you when a new version is released.
No
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to FusionBB.
Yes.
FusionBB - Control Panel - Site Statistics
FusionBB - Control Panel - Site Statistics
FusionBB - Control Panel - New Cron Task
FusionBB - Control Panel - New Cron Task
FusionBB - Control Panel - Log Entries
FusionBB - Control Panel - Log Entries

FusionBB includes a particular big list of administration tools, and notably a task scheduler and a log viewer, particularly useful when you need to launch planned tasks and monitor your forum.

FusionBB - Control Panel - Import Data

The FusionBB Administration Panel includes a very nice tool, called Import Data (in the Database section), that allows importing users, topics and forums from existing forum infrastructure.

It supports the following forums:

  • Invision 2.x
  • phpBB 2.0.x
  • php Nuke 7.4
  • SMF 1.x
  • UBB.threads 6.2.x
  • UBB.threads 6.3.x - 6.4.x
  • UBB.threads 6.5.x
  • UBB Threads 6.x
  • UBB Threads 7.x
  • VBulletin 3.x

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
CAPTCHA
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Yes
Complexity: [++[ Normal
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
No
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
Yes
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
Yes
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.
Yes

FusionBB - Control Panel - Ignored Users

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
No.
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Yes.
Custom BBCodes Yes Smiley Packs Yes
Custom
Thread Icons
Yes Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
Yes
Integration with Applications, Social Networks, Intranet...
Social Networks
Users can share information from their social network account...
CMS / Blog Bridges
Integration with existing Web publishing tools.
No.
User Accounts Integration
Do users be able to log in with their corporate, Google, Facebook,... accounts?
No.
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).
  • As a new Forum Topic
FusionBB - Control Panel - Social Networks
FusionBB - Control Panel - Social Networks
FusionBB - Control Panel - Site Overview
FusionBB - Control Panel - Site Overview
FusionBB - Control Panel - Edit Portal Layout
FusionBB - Control Panel - Edit Portal Layout
FusionBB - Control Panel - Navigation Links
FusionBB - Control Panel - Navigation Links

By default, it is really easy to insert different snippets of HTML code in some already defined place of the forum layout, and more specificly at: header, footer, top news,... It's even simple to add custom <head> tags using this interface.

Social Networks on which members can share topics and posts are customizable, with 6 different networks initially.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
XHTML 1.1 Transitional.
XHTML 1.1 Transitional
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
CSS 2.
CSS 2
Click to see if it respects CSS norms.
Accessibility (WAI)
Web Accessibility ensures that the forum is usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.
Conformance to A level.
A
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Yes
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does FusionBB correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make FusionBB unique:

  • Random Quotes feature is a nice way to automatically display a random famous quote to your users. By the way, the content of each quotes is customizable.

Final Words


Outstanding!

FusionBB is a very good forum software, that will successfully fulfill your needs if you look for a very complete community software that supports almost all big and important features. Of course, you will have to pay for this, but the price is quite decent when you compare it with other competitors.

We especially enjoyed the huge number of features we do not find in most forum software, like the RSS Feed integration, an embedded Portal, really precise permissions, an integration subscription API for payment,...

Additional Resources:

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Comments (6)

FusionBB has lost all their

FusionBB has lost all their developers. Bug fixes and support are non-existent. Go to their web site and see the lack of postings and participation. It was good when people were working on it, but that has ended. It's too bad, because it had great potential.

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FusionBB is not what it was.

FusionBB is not what it was. Most users have moved to IP.Board which offers a better solution.

Essentially it is just a one man band now, and very little ever happens and probably never will.

A great shame as it could have been very good.

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It should now become

It should now become freeware, the price they charge is silly. There is no development, no support team, as the above post says it's a one man band. Spend your money on a properly supported product instead. You'll be chucking it down the drain elsewhere. A poor review by the website really, not taking into account support, back-end staffing level, forum activity etc. You've only got to look at the level of spam registrations for crying out loud....

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If the comments below are

If the comments below are true, it's a shame coz I like very much the layout and all its features, I need to do more research coz still like it, thank you guys for your comments.

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hitechito's picture

FusionBB lost all its

FusionBB lost all its developers. Bug fixes and support there. To their website and see the lack of publications and participation. It was good when people are working on it, but it's done. It's a shame, because it has great potential.

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Thanks for review.

Thanks for review.

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