WowBB Review

(March 23, 2007 01:39)
Last Version 1.7 (2006). Released under Proprietary License.
Resources Website WowBB Website Download Download...
Company WowBB.
Price Free.
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WowBB is no longer maintained.

2011: WowBB acquired by UltraBB. WowBB project is considered as dead and is replaced by UltraBB. Note that this project has also big security issues since 2006.
It is therefore not advised to use it, as no new security issues will be fixed.

What is WowBB?

WowBB is a commercial forum software, based an unknown forum software with is the ancestor of several others, including UltraBB. WowBB website is proud to announce that it includes many unique features like spell checking, customizations and so on. By the way, this is clearly not unique, as most of forum software supports this kind of functionalities. Anyway, if you are really interesting to know more about it, and if you like pink car and green theme (yes, it still exists today, do not forget to wear your sunglasses!), go to the WowBB features page.

Review Updates:

  • March 14, 2011: WowBB acquired by UltraBB. WowBB software source base is going to be replaced by UltraBB.
  • March 8, 2009: This security hole has still not been fixed, the rating of this forum software is now at 2.
  • July 5, 2006: The WowBB demonstration forum on Forum Software Reviews had been hacked and is no longer available while a security fix is not available.

WowBB 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
  • Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows
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.
Localization
Languages supported by WowBB.
Yes.
No.

Another LAMP based forum software, like many others. A default Ubuntu server installation and some clicks and your WowBB forum software will be ready in 5 minutes or less.

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 Threaded Forum Organization
  • Forum Categories
  • Sub Sections
Thread Icons No Topic Tags -
Hot Topics - Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics No Sticky Threads No
Related Threads - Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements -
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • WYSIWYG Editor
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • HTML
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.
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.
No
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.
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.
No
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.
No
Template Engine
It is easier to theme a forum using a known template engine (more docs & examples,...).
No.

The spell checker is a really good idea for people who do not use Firefox browser (which integrates it by default). This is first time a forum software provides this, and this information deserves to be present in this review.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about WowBB features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
No
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.
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

The flexible template system is really efficient for people who do not have any skills in HTML templating and CSS technologies.

Many features are present by default on WowBB, which avoid you searching plugins to fulfill your requests.

Moderation & Users Management

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.
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,...
No
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.
-
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.
No
User Banishment Yes

Administration & Support

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
No
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...
No Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
No
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
No Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
No
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 WowBB.
No.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
CAPTCHA
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
No
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
-
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.
No
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.
No

Vulnerabilities Advisories Criticality

Secunia Criticality

Secunia Advisories severity affecting WowBB.

Vulnerabilities Impact

Secunia Impact

Secunia Advisories impact affecting WowBB.

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 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...
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.

Even if WowBB has many features, most of integration (to a blog, a CMS, or inter-application APIs, like XML-RPC or Web-Services...) features are not present, due to its proprietary license.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
HTML / XHTML Markup
HTML 4.01.
HTML 4.01
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
CSS 1.
CSS 1
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.
No accessibility.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
No
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does WowBB correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?
No.

WowBB uses old web technologies like HTML 4.01 and a <table > layout, which is not the best way to custom it using CSS.

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make WowBB unique:

The Web installer offers a conversion tools allowing a easy migration from an older forum software to WowBB. Currently, migration could be performed from PhpBB 2.0.x and UBB.Threads 6.x Statistics are provided for most parts of the installed forum. A spell checker is present in the post editor. Integrated subscriptions payments for members, if the webmaster want to create a private and lucrative forum. Payments could be done by PayPal or credit card.

Final Words


Poor.

As we can see below, WowBB, even using a proprietary model (which is rare in forum software world), provides many unique features that will probably make you use it if they are vital for your community.

WowBB can be provided as a zipped package and be installed on your server if you have the skill, or could be simply managed by WowBB, which could host your forum software for a low price. Do not hesitate to consult the WowBB web site to know more about these prices.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (3)

If you are looking for

If you are looking for "cheap" there are better options that are free. The software itself is ok, user friendly. The customer service at wowbb is horrible, they never reply to your queries, they deny in aid and claim its someone elses fault. Their hosting is even worse in 2 years I have been hacked twice and I know its through them as other of their hosting customers have been hacked the exact same way and with the same content! 2 huge thumbs down!

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I haven't been able to work

I haven't been able to work this out/ I have some experience but this nut was too hard for my teeth

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UltraBB has striked an deal

UltraBB has striked an deal with wowBB taking over WowBB customer base and thus becoming continuation of WowBB. You may want to update your review to cover this Smile

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