Website Toolbox Review

(May 4, 2009 06:10)
Last Version Hosted. (April 25, 2009). Released under GPL License.
Resources Website Website Toolbox Website Download Host your Forum...
Company Website Toolbox, Inc.
Price Free Version, $0 - Enterprise Version 1 year / $59.95.
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What is Website Toolbox?

As its name describes it, Website Toolbox is not just a forum software, but an entire set of tools helping you increasing the interactivity of your website with your guests and, more particularly in the domain of communication. You can find many tools serving this purpose in the panel providing by Website Toolbox:

  • Live chat room
  • Community Calendar
  • Polls
  • ...and obviously Forums

Website Toolbox tries to care as much as possible about their customers' satisfaction, providing a fast support in three different channels: phone, chat, and email.

In order to use Website Toolbox, you need first to choose how it will be available: either under the websitetoolbox.com domain or as a subdomain of your domain name (i.e. forums.yourcompany.com). This is really convenient, because, while the first choice allows you to quickly setup your forum, the second allows you to organize your website conveniently (useful for SEO), hiding the fact you use Website Toolbox.

Note that this methodology is valid whatever utilities and services you need from Website Toolbox. By the way, we reviewed only the forum part, so it's time to discover it in details.

Review Updates:

  • May 5, 2009: First Review.
  • March 9, 2011: Review Updated, global score increased to 8/10 due to new features and nice themes.

Website Toolbox is recommended for Small 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.
HTML, Javascript, CSS.
Localization
Languages supported by Website Toolbox.
No.
No.

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 No
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements Yes
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Plain Text
  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • HTML
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
Yes
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

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.
  • Website Home Page
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.
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.

The Chat Room feature is a really good idea to increase traffic of your website.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about Website Toolbox 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.
No
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

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.
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.
No
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

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.
Yes
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
No 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 Website Toolbox.
Yes.

Website Toolbox customer support team makes the migration for you, for free! This is quite amazing when you compare it to the difficulty and the time it could take in order to export/import data from a forum software to another one.

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

Customization & Social Networks

Customization
Plugins
Add new features to your forum installation.
No.
Themes
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Yes.
Custom BBCodes No Smiley Packs Yes
Custom
Thread Icons
No 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...
No.
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.

Website Toolbox provides a forum software that is really easy to integrate to your website. A wizard helps beginners creating a simple HTML image or text link to incorporate to your existing website.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
XHTML 1.0 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 Website Toolbox correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
Yes.

The table layout is harder to template and is not really recommended in terms of semantic but the code is compliant with W3C norms.

Recommended Books

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make Website Toolbox unique:

  • Domain Name Management
  • Chat Room
  • Thousands of Skins
  • Spell Checker
As a Web Agency, Website Toolbox provides also outsourcing facilities (Application Development, Application Maintenance, Website Design, Customer Support, eLearning,...) and several additional tools, in addition to the Message Board (Guestbook, Website Poll, Chat Room, Website Statistics, Links Page, Topsite,...)

Final Words


Great!

As usual in an hosted forum software service, the software is really simple to install, configure and administrate. This is particularly true for the Message Board that Website Toolbox provides, which is a really good solution for website managers who want to centralize at the same place all tools and services regarding communications (forum, statistics, polls, guestbook,...)

The administration panel of the forum is part of the global Website Toolbox administration tool, grouping all services at the same place, which is really convenient when you use several tools Website Toolbox provides. However, as usual with hosted forum, everything totally depends on an external provider, and you need to clearly make the pros and cons of this solution (the classical fight between hardware/software problem vs control of data).

In any case, the Website Toolbox is a perfect solution for people who need a fast and efficient solution for their external tools, and more particularly about their forum.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (7)

I have already confronted my

I have already confronted my forum provider about there pathetic service. They had promised me they would match my forum to my site without fail and then they had no clue how to do it. The fact was they do no programming whatsoever. I called out there representatives on the phone about bait and buy tactics and they had nothing to provide other then they can't do anything about it. The fact is also, when they first attempted to do it they completly misplaced all the items with no attempts to correct there mistakes. The forum page was so horribly distorted from any original form that it actually made me look incompitent as a developer. I also displayed this to the forum reps that they where making my website look like crap. This is why we have this bland and black white forum. I have no confidence in websitetoolbox at all. I do not reccomend website toolbox to anyone. Phbb is far better, in all area's...

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Website Toolbox

Website Toolbox representatives will always strive to help in any way we can. We can make your forum layout match your website layout for free on a separate test forum. We can apply it to your forum once you approve it so that your forum always looks as professional as possible.

You have full control over your forum's design through the My Account area so you can always keep your forum looking perfect.

I apologize if you feel that you didn't receive the level of service that you expected. Please do let us know and we will be glad to make sure your forum looks exactly the way you want it or we will provide a full refund.

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I had heard that Website

I had heard that Website Toolbox was a good platform for forum hosting, but the comment by TheKingofDemons above has me second guessing this. Maybe I need to explore other options.

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We provide a free one week

We provide a free one week trial, so I would really encourage you to give us a try. Phone, chat, and email support is available 17 hours per day to help you every step of the way. We have thousands of clients worldwide that use our forum platform and find it powerful, easy to use, and customizable. Moreover, we have been ranked as the #1 forum hosting provider by StarReviews.

Give us a try:
http://www.websitetoolbox.com/forum-hosting/index.html

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Hi Cyystal, That was a great

Hi Cyystal, That was a great review and I wish you the best of the luck on your new forum !! Smile

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After speaking with the owner

After speaking with the owner of WEBSITE TOOLBOX, he was very friendly and accommodating and helped me solve the problem i was having !! Smile

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That is very easy to handle a

That is very easy to handle a tool. ts converter

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