Lefora Review

(February 3, 2009 23:07)
Last Version Hosted (October 21, 2009). Released under Proprietary License.
Resources Website Lefora Website Download Host your Forum...
Company CrowdGather.
Price Free.
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Why Lefora, by its developers

Lefora Team was fed up to see that major message boards, like vBulletin and PhpBB (to not quote them) were lacking important features, even if they are used everyday, for so much reasons. To avoid creating another new classic forum software, they decided it was time to improve the global way of managing communities, and the created Lefora, one of the first free forum hosting service, if you do not count the old BulletinBoards.

About Lefora

Lefora Free Forum statistics are quite impressive: more than >14 millions posts, >130,000 forums, >2,000,000 visits per month. This forum hosting is really reliable, and as you can see from these metrics, people trust them.

Lefora is recommended for Large Community.

(and supports smaller communities perfectly as well.)

Client Requirements

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.
Javascript, AJAX.
Localization
Languages supported by Lefora.
Yes.
Supported Languages:
Chinese (Simplified) German
Spanish Finnish
French Italian
Japanese Dutch
Polish Portuguese
Russian English (British)
English (American)

The hosted architecture does not force us to know and consider the technologies used behind the scene. This is an advantage for beginners.

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
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons No Topic Tags -
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics No Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements -
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • HTML
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
-
Image Attachment
How Images can be Attached and Displayed in Message Posts.
No.
Embedded Videos
Videos and Media Websites Supported in Message Posts.
No.
Posting Features
Quick Reply Box Yes Smileys Yes
Attachments Yes Syntax Highlighting -
Message Rating
Yes Message Quoting Yes

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.
Plugin
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.
No.
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.
-
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
No.
Cache System
Cache pages to optimize bandwidth and load times.
-
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
No.

Please note that all posts could also be displayed on the same page, to follow on a global page the general activity of the forum.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Lefora 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

Please note that the Anonymous posting is not enabled by default, and you just need to activate it through the Administration panel.

The Captcha security is considered as true, but spam bots fighting is done by a Bayesian filter (like in any modern mail client), on server side. It uses more server power, but it is easier and more comfortable for users.

Leaderboards and support for video inside topics have been added to the base of the forum software.

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
Moderation No.
Moderator per section No
Global Moderator No
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.
No
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 No.
Limit Features For New Users
Features are limited if a user has created a small number of posts.
-
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

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Yes
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
No
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
No
Administration Tools
Statistics
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
Yes Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
-
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
- 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 Lefora.
-.

Security & Spam Protection

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

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
Yes.
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Yes.
Custom BBCodes No Smiley Packs No
Custom
Thread Icons
No Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
No
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,...).
No.

The free service provides a 2GB upload limits, which is quite huge to start a forum.

Web crawler will navigate to your forum software easily (url rewriting, good HTML semantics).

Of course, integration with Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter is also available for each users.

Badges, which could be compared to user ranks, can be embedded on other sites or forums to show your status and ranking within your forum.

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 Lefora correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

Recommended Books

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Lefora unique:

  • Hosted forum (no web server, no database to manage)
  • Extremely fast and easy to use
  • Single Sign On to all Lefora-hosted forums
  • Custom Domain Hosting

Final Words


Outstanding!

That's right, the solution provided by Lefora is extremely efficient, simple and inventive.

This is a perfect way for new users or beginners to create a forum without the need to find a web server, have knowledge in web and database,...

The only point that could be discussed is the fact that your forum totally depends on an external provider, and if in the first months of your community, this has strictly no problems, it could be a little bit annoying later.

In any case, the Forum Software Reviews team has really been interested and is quite sure that Lefora, and hosted forums solution are the future.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (9)

The forum is full of

The forum is full of potential.
But, there are too many bugs currently.
Better go for more established free forum players and check back in 2 years time.

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this was also some crazy nut

this was also some crazy nut for my teeth. if you are looking for a convinient fprum platform try somewhere else

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vlauria's picture

Somebody from lefora

Somebody from lefora here...

Hi androi and psych, i'm one of the guys behind Lefora, sorry to hear you had problems. Since March we've have made a number of releases fixing issues we were made aware of and adding tons of new options, like automatic badges that your members can embed on their own website. We also just had a major release, Lefora 2.0 a few weeks ago and we have big plans for 2010!

Feel free to contact me personally or check out our active support forum - http://support.lefora.com

Best wishes to you and your forum, wherever they may be hosted.

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Hi. I was wondering if you

Hi. I was wondering if you cared to checkout the UFBB by ionisis.com ( http://ufbb.ionisis.com ) and give it a review on your next round. It’s new, but it’s got simplicity going for it Wink

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Lefora forums are just about

Lefora forums are just about as bad as it can get. For several months pictures have failed to upload, which is a problem in my sport. We have complained DOZENS of times and are told "someone is looking into it." BS. They collect our subscription money and do nothing whatsoever. HORRIBLE. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

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Well, it's blocked in China

Well, it's blocked in China and not fast for my proxy.

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Spent a lot of time setting

Spent a lot of time setting up this site only to have it shut down w/no warning or notification because (and I have to assume as no reason was ever given) it was business related. I was trying to get my company hooked on the idea of better internal communication through this medium but I think with this kind of service (just shutting it off w/o any warning or notification) that it's better off to just host your own. Stay far away...these guys are a new start up and apparently they have NO investment in customer service.

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Lefora is a joke. Now for

Lefora is a joke. Now for the last few months, they've been using a VERY INTRUSIve Captcha checking at sign in. I do not want to listen to a damned video advertisement, and then have to type in an advertizing slogan to log in. Are they that fricking cheap that they have to make money that way? I am about to pull my several forums off Lefora.

All day today, it says that a Captcha sign-in match is needed, but there is no such Captcha window. if you click, it continues to tell you it is a Captcha mismatch, but still doesn't provide a Captcha window.

This is bullshit.

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That's exactly why I will

That's exactly why I will never switch to Lefora. I can understand them making users fill in captcha during registration.
But registered member and forum admins should not have to fill in captcha. I made a test forum on Lefora but I can tell you,Lefora is not very customizable or user friendly. I don't see why an admin should have to fill out captcha on their own forum that they created.
Andrea Borman.

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