IP.Board Review

(April 13, 2010 17:20)
Last Version 3.4.6 (October 29, 2013). Released under Proprietary License.
Resources Website IP.Board Website Download Download...
Company Invision Power Services.
Price Standard $175 / Business $299 / Hosting $9.99 per month.
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IP.Board, also known as Invision Power Board, IPB or IP Board has been created in 2002, and was, at the beginning a free software. IP Board 1.3 was the latest free version of Invision Power Board, and it served as a base to create a new dedicated project called InvisionFree, that has strictly no affiliation with Invision Power company. In the mean time, IP.Board 2.0 was release in 2004, and the latest major version IP.Board 3.0 was officially announced in the middle of 2009. This 3.0 version was a good way to revamp the default theme and improve with actual technologies and trends the core system of IP.Board

IP.Board is mainly developed for MySQL and PHP 5.0, that is a solid base for implementing such kind of forum software.

Invision Power Services develops additional products that are totally compatible to IP.Board. IP.Board is actually a platform on which you can install additional products that Invision Power provides. The most known are IP.Blog - a blog system, IP.Gallery - a pictures and photos library, IP.Content - a CMS system, IP.Chat - a a web interface to discuss and IP.Downloads - a download manager.

If you do not want to install and upgrade your own Invision Power Board software, you can use the Hosted Communities service, that provides you a ready-to-use IP.Board. For classic usage, you have the following prices:

Standard $175 - renewal for 6 months $25.00
30 days free phone support, 2 business days ticket response, 5 day major version upgrade turnaround
Business $299.00 - renewal for 6 months $50.00
6 months toll free phone support, 1 business day ticket response, 3 day major version upgrade turnaround, 3 day minor version upgrade
Hosted Communities service
See Hosted Communities Services Prices available here.

Review Updates:

  • March 9, 2011: Update Hosting Plans according to IPS Post.
  • February 3, 2011: Features updates.
  • January 14, 2011: Update Hosting Plans.
  • April 12, 2010: First Review.

IP.Board is recommended for Huge Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Server & Client Requirements

Server Requirements
Programming Language
Required Architecture and Versions.
  • PHP 5
Web Servers
How the forum is delivered to users.
  • Apache 1.3
  • Apache 2.0/2.2
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Lighttpd
  • Nginx
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, Javascript, AJAX, CSS.
Localization
Languages supported by IP.Board.
Yes.
Supported Languages:
Bosnian Bulgarian
Portuguese (Brazilian) Catalan
Chinese (Simplified) German
Danish Spanish
Finnish French
Georgian Greek
Croatian Hebrew
Persian Icelandic
Italian Dutch
Polish Romanian
Serbian Russian
Arabic Thai
Turkish Ukrainian
Vietnamese Chinese (Traditional)

Additional Language Packs could be found in the Invision Power Community Forum.

Note that per default, only the MySQL database driver is included the IP.Board package. The MS SQL Server driver is optional and costs additional $75.

The recommended PHP 5.2 is a really good choice, as it is a reliable platform for web development, and the IP.Board source code is particularly well designed. As usual, since PHP is needed, you have the choice of the server platform, among the classical Linux, Windows, MacOS Server,...

Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
  • AndroidAndroid
  • iPhoneiPhone
  • BlackBerryBlackBerry
  • Windows Phone 7Windows Phone 7
  • Symbian Phones <em>(Nokia)</em>Symbian Phones (Nokia)
  • HP WebOS <em>(ex-Palm)</em>HP WebOS (ex-Palm)
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability
  • Android Market
  • Apple Store
  • Nokia Ovi Store
  • BlackBerry App World
Tapatalk - Favorites
Tapatalk - Favorites:

Bookmark your favorite topics

Tapatalk - Latest Topics
Tapatalk - Latest Topics:

Latest Topics Page

Tapatalk - Online Users
Tapatalk - Online Users:

List of connected users

  • Most Smartphones Operating Systems are supported with the most used Tapatalk application, available on most stores (iPhone one is not free). The only downside is that the user will have to download a specific application for that purpose, and an information message will popup the first time he will connect to the forum.

Forum Threads & Posts

Forum Threads / Topics
Forum Style Flat/Threaded Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • URL Redirection Forum
  • Sub Sections
  • Trashcan Forum
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,...).
  • Plain
  • 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.
  • Upload via Advanced Attachments. Images can be placed in the flow of message text.
  • Use BBCode or HTML. Need to type the URL of an already hosted image.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
  • YouTube
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments Yes Syntax Highlighting Plugin
Message Rating
Yes Message Quoting Yes

You can select between the classic posting form that will generate BB code, or directly the Rich Editor, that will help users design and format their messages.

Facebook Connect is provided by default and is really easy to use: just configure several settings, and it's ready. Twitter support is expected to be announced with IP.Board 3.1, that is, obviously a really good news to increase traffic and exchange with this famous social network.

The Topic Tag is really smart, as it just requires the user to prefix it's topic title with either a predefined list of tags, or by freely defining its own tag. More information on this IP.Board Blog Entry.

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.
Plugin
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
  • CMS
  • Pictures Album Manager
  • Downloads Manager
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.
Yes
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
Yes
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
  • XML/RPC
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
Yes
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
  • Custom Template Engine

Friendly URL is one of the new features brought by IP.Board 3.0. Private Messages are really well designed, as they use the same tree discussion that GMail supports. It it therefore really easy to discuss without losing the thread.

Note that only the Portal is present by default in the IP.Board default package. You will have to pay more to get the other products like the Gallery, Blog and Chat. IP.Chat is however free for 6 months. The Calendar is also bundled by default, you just need to enable it from Applications Modules menu in the Administration Dashboard.

RSS Import is a really nice feature, because it allows you providing additional source of information to your community, by adding feeds from external websites.

We were looking and were losing hope about a remote interface, but IP.Board has finally make us hope again. It indeed supports an XML-RPC interface, to let administrator modify and moderate their forum from a third party tool.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about IP.Board 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.
Yes
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
Plugin
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

The Payment Subscription is provided as a plugin, called IP.Subscriptions. It is really complete and helps you defining the price to register to your community forum.

Note that in IP.Board, you can have two different pictures: your classic avatar image, and a picture of yourself, if you want to.

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation
Pre-Moderation In pre-moderation, every post needs to be validated by a moderator before being published.
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
  • Invitation Only
  • User Account created by Administrator
  • 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.
Yes
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

Administration & Support

The Administration of a forum software has never been as easy as it is now with the IP.Board Administration Dashboard. It is simple, powerful and clear. You will not be lost in thousand of options dispatched everywhere. Everything is organized by main tabs, and finding what you are looking for is really easy and ergonomic.

This is a really important step compared to the more complicated vBulletin administration dashboard.

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.
Yes
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to IP.Board.
Yes.

The Administration Tools are really complete, and the Statistics module is really important to follow trends and power users. Obviously, IP.Board provides a log viewer (organized by categories (error, warning, user log-ins,...)) and a task scheduler.

IP.Board provides an additional tool to convert your previous forum software to the Invision Power product. It is called IP.Board Database Conversion and can convert to Invision Power Board the following installations:

If you forum software is not in the list the IPB team can do the job for you for $60.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
CAPTCHA
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Yes
Complexity: [++[ Hard
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

The CAPTCHA protection is based on the reCaptcha technology, that is really powerful to identify and prevent spammer to invade your forum with advertisement and useless messages.

IP.Board provides a Security Center, that centralizes into the same place all information about the potential security problem, detection of weird behavior, tracing of administrator log-ins.

Vulnerabilities Advisories Criticality

Secunia Criticality

Secunia Advisories severity affecting IP.Board.

Vulnerabilities Impact

Secunia Impact

Secunia Advisories impact affecting IP.Board.

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
Yes.
Installation: [++[ Easy
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Yes.
~90 Available Themes.
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.
  • Joomla
  • WordPress
User Accounts Integration
Do users be able to log in with their corporate, Google, Facebook,... accounts?
Content Aggregation
Forum allows to integrate news and content from other website, using an aggregation protocol (RSS, RDF, Atom,...).
No.

It is really rare to see a forum software supporting custom profile fields by default, but IP.Board does it! The classic MSN, AIM, Yahoo contacts field are actually optional and could be directly removed. Those fields are generally not used at all but you find them in almost every forum softwares. That's a good decision for IP.Board. The cache system is really powerful, and a Performance Mode could be enabled if your forum slows down.

We were really impressed by the list of default user accounts plugins. IP.Board supports by default OpenId, LDAP and Windows Live (limited to Microsoft OS) connections. And if this is not sufficient, the IP.Converge product will help you integrating your own user database. Note that this tool is also used to create bridge to existing softwares, like Wordpress or Joomla. See additional IP.Converge Modules here.

We cannot forget the Hook System that allows adding your own features or trigger specific event when a post is created, a new topic is written,... You won't have, for this time, to directly modify the IP.Board source code, the architecture is already ready for this. It will therefore make the upgrading more simple and smooth, because you will not have to remodify each files where you put additional updates.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
XHTML 1.0 Strict.
XHTML 1.0 Strict
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 AA level.
AA
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Yes
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does IP.Board correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

IP.Board is particularly great when you talk about themes. The default theme is compatible with most modern browsers (even Internet Explorer 6) and respects XHTML 1.0 Strict norms. This is rare but really decent.

It also provides an additional XML mode, that allows advanced usage and exportation of the forum datas.

Recommended Books

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make IP.Board unique:

  • Report Center: allows the generation of reports on specific criteria
  • Security Center: centralizes in the same place all information related to the forum security
  • XML-RPC API: controls remotely your forum
  • Hook System: integrates additional features to IP.Board

Final Words


Outstanding!

Reviewing a forum software of a such high quality is one of the rare moment when you feel IT problems can all be fixed in a simple manner. IP.Board, and its eight years of lifespan demonstrates what the future of forum software should be: complete, but really easy to understand. Obviously, it is proprietary, and you will have to spend money to have additional features (gallery, blog,...) and this is clearly not the primary objective of a small community, but this time, the value-added is clearly present.

To conclude, there is nothing you cannot do with IP.Board, neither with another really good forum software, like vBulletin or Simple Machines, but IP.Board will do most of the job for you.

We cannot end this review without discussing about new features that IP.Board 3.1 will provide, because they are really attractive: Twitter integration, Status Update, Link Sharing, Skin Upgrader, Notification System,... That's a really great perspective!

Additional Resources:

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Comments (27)

Wow Really Expensive Hosted

Wow
Really Expensive Hosted Price
I prefer to buy simple one rather than limited features for huge price
hey
by the way where can i suggest to review a forum ?
i will be really appreciated if you review Woltlab Burning Board
Best Regards

Best Regards
Sadaoui "SAFAD" Abderrahim - Lead Developer AEF Group

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lastnico's picture

You can leave a comment with

You can leave a comment with your suggested review here: Next Reviews.

Note that Burning Board is already planned.

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.

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not sure how it can be

not sure how it can be expensive as hosted starts from $4.99

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Highly energetic article, I

Highly energetic article, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

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The hosting comes fully

The hosting comes fully featured with all of their additional programs including IP.Content, Downloads, Gallery, and blog so the price is amazing for what they are offering as all of the programs combined cost around 400 dollars for a license to host it on your own.

I've been using this software for about 3 years now and it is by far the best out there and the staff is great! They are always helpful and even when they can't fix the problem they try and point you in the right direction.

Get a Demo of your own for 24 hours on their site.

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Hai everyone join for some

Hai everyone join for some gaming clans and amazing modding

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I don't rate it 10 cos I

I don't rate it 10 cos I think there are many more plataforms that are just better in my site, as I use mybb

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If anyone is interested, I am

If anyone is interested, I am selling the entire suite of ipBoard cheap.

info@fplaonline.
com

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I have used this software for

I have used this software for over 6 years & was very happy with them until the new release of 3.2

with the latest release a lot of new functionality was introduced which is great however a lot of old features which were widely utilised by my community were removed without so much as a reason why except that Members didn't use these features. I requested where this info came from as no one asked me & recieve very poor responce for the high support prices paid.

basically Avatars were removed & now personal photos are your avatars, you can no longer have external links to photohosting accounts for your avatars & the avatar galleries have been removed.

Topic descriptions were also removed & the answer I received for this was that I could code the skin to see them but couldn't add anymore

some of the features which I as well as my community had grown to love over the past 6+ years were simply removed with no explanation & now the mods & developers can't even be bothered answering the reason for doing so in their own forum

support for this forum has gone downhill & basically they have driven me into searching for another. very disappointing to have a software company after so many years of paying good money for upgrades & support to simply slap their members in the face with what they think we should use rather than giving us the option to Enable or Disable past features through Admin

I regret that I upgraded to 3.2 as although there are some great new features that my community love, there were definately some poor decisions by the developers which have upset my community

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Does anyone know if

Does anyone know if [table][/table] works with ip board? Because I know that some boards do not support tables anymore...

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It doesn't specifically have

It doesn't specifically have the BBCode but you can add custom BBCode for tables although I don't know how well they'd do with the new editor (being that they are using one not custom built by IPB)

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am23g23's picture

Yea I wouldn't rate it a full

Yea I wouldn't rate it a full 10 I would give it a 7 or 8. For my site I think there are better options out there.

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NeerjaSoftwares's picture

I don't think that it will

I don't think that it will work best for my site.........................good day

Get in check for the best Drupal site web development services.

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How do I install in

How do I install in subdomain? I heard that there is new version though.

I am planning to apply for my site minneapolis web design with forum support. I will give it a try.

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IPB is quite pretty to look

IPB is quite pretty to look at.

On the other hand...

the documentation is shoddy and sparse, and the tech support is surly and gnomic.

Go through their support forum, and you'll see tons of questions that never get proper answers, and the answers they do give are frequently vague and sometimes flat-out wrong.

Before buying, I asked specifically whether there was a Feature X. Oh yes, there was, I was assured. (You can guess how that turned out.)

I actually sort of miss vBulletin, which I used about five years ago and apparently didn't fully appreciate...

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"Post by Email Post Directly

"Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box. "

Can I do this? How?

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lastnico's picture

As far as I know, it's not

As far as I know, it's not bundled with IP.Board but a plugin seems to exist for supporting this feature. Basically, behind the scene, it's a simple mailbox that is regularly checked by a IP.Board script, and parse mails in order to detect the original thread to post the answer to.

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.

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I agree with the Anonymous

I agree with the Anonymous poster above who described their tech support as surly. That is an absolute fact. The latest major upgrade broke all sorts of stuff and when I submitted bug reports, they were brushed aside as "not a bug". We're talking about things as simple as the Back button not taking you back to the previous page. Then if they do agree to listen to your "enhancement request" they will prioritize it behind all the other things they're still in the process of breaking. So my advice is to avoid IPB and find something else.

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Price is increased to 175$

Price is increased to 175$ Smile

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lastnico's picture

Thanks, it's updated

Thanks, it's updated

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.

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definitely the best forum

definitely the best forum software we have tested.
the forums are easy to design, navigate and post in. customizing stuff is also straightforward

gallery functionality and image attachments work good. internal reputation functionality is good, like, don't like, negative rep, postive rep etc. bbcode can be customised.

there is a marketplace where you can get free and commercial hooks to tweak you ipb.

since we started using ipb our community grows by 60 to 80 people per day.

8/10
very good software.

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IPB is good but not as good

IPB is good but not as good as xenforo.

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It is good to test these

It is good to test these versions. Make sure this works out well for sure.

---------------
wordpress themes 2015 & best wordpress themes 2015

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I love IPB. Awesome software!

I love IPB. Awesome software!

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IPB is quite good.

IPB is quite good.

I own a small business, it's for laptop batteries

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Ya ! IPb Is Good Forum

Ya ! IPb Is Good Forum Software Because It's Have >>

  • Easy To Use Admin Panel
  • Cool Theme Editor
  • Cool Text Editor
  • Many Apps And Hooks For IP. Board
  • Many Free & Premium Themes Available
  • Looks Great Your Forum when You Use It !

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Invision Power Services Inc

Invision Power Services Inc (IPS) who develops IP Board (IPB) will easily take your money and run... I speak from both my own opinion and my own experience. Should you openly give your opinion and should that opinion be disliked by IPB / IPS, you have very good odds of having them revoking your copy of IPB and keeping your money.

This has happen HERE on this site as forum-software.org has discovered

http://www.forum-software.org/news/09102012-ipboard-demo-license-key-rev...

Free speech is not something (in my opinion) that IPB (IPS) encourages.

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