esoTalk Review

(June 22, 2010 23:40)
Last Version 1.0.0b2 (December 9, 2009). Released under GPL License.
Resources Website esoTalk Website Download Download...
Price Free.
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What is Esotalk?

esoTalk is a free and open-source forum application. The main aims in the mind of its developer are: being as simple, fast, light as possible, and provide, for talented users, to extend it as easy as possible.

Clearly, esoTalk is on the same battlefield of PunBB, Fruitshow or Vanilla. You won't find big (who says laggy? Do I hear useless too?) features, and if you want such, you will have to rely on the community plugins. esoTalk is in the same category than Punbb and Vanilla: voluntarily simplistic and resolutely modern. It tries to reinvent some features that you see everywhere in all other forum, but with a different manner, and also renounces to implement some of them that do not look so important. Let's see if it is sufficient to have a good forum software...

Review Updates:

  • June 19, 2010: First Review.

esoTalk is recommended for Small 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
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.
Javascript, AJAX.
Languages supported by esoTalk.
Supported Languages:
Chinese (Simplified) German
Spanish Chinese (Traditional)

Consult the List of available languages for more information.

Esotalk - Installation Setup

Extremely simple to install, esoTalk just requires a PHP / MySQL architecture.

Compatibility with Smartphones
Compatible SmartPhones
Compatible Cellphone Brands and Manufacturers.
Application Distribution / Type
How it is distributed / App Store Availability

Forum Threads & Posts

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

Additional & Technical Features

Additional Forum Features
Poll Creation No
Private Messages
Users Can Communicate using an Internal Messaging System.
Instant Messaging
Discuss with Visitors and Members in a Chat Window.
Topic, Member Birthdays, Events are available from the perspective of a calendar.
Online Users List
Connected User List (Often Found in the Forum Footer).
Members List
Search and Consult the List of Members.
Technical Features
Bundled Software
Additional Software Available with the Forum.
RSS/Atom Syndication
Posts and Threads Exported to Feeds Aggregators Syndicate.
Friendly URLs
URLs are clear and contain information about the topic (title, message,...). Highly recommended for SEO purposes.
Post by Email
Post Directly From your Email Box.
Remote Control
Remote Control from External Software/Websites.
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,...).

Esotalk - Start a conversation

esoTalk does not want to compete with other classic forum softwares, and that's why classic features like calendar, user list and so on are not present here. It's not due to a lack of time (or maybe, a little bit Wink, but only because the primary target of its main developer is to focus on a simple forum software.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about esoTalk features regarding members.
Member Options & Features
Bookmark Threads
User Profiles Keep a List of Followed Posts and Topics.
Email Notifications
Receive Emails When New Messages are Posted in Followed Threads.
Export private messages
Private Messages can be Downloaded by Users.
Payment Subscriptions
Paying Membership Subscription.
User Profiles
User Profile
User Information and Settings.
Pictures of Members, Useful to Easily Identify their Posts.
Signatures Added at the Bottom of Each Message.
Tags and Labels Identifying the Members, based on specific criteria (Total Posts Count, Credits, Moderation Level...)

Esotalk - Profile Settings

The user profile is at least as simple as the forum itself: type your email, upload your avatar and configure some properties... That's it, your user account is ready.

Gallery of esoTalk Themes

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
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 No
Global Moderator Yes
Move Threads
Move Threads from Topics
Shadow Topics
When a thread is moved, the previous position is kept in order to inform users of this modification.
Close/Lock Threads
Close/Lock Problematic Threads
Users Management
User Groups
Organize and define groups of users, and apply different actions and settings on them.
Common Groups: Guests, Members, Moderators, Administrators,...
User Registration
  • Free Registration
  • 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.
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.
User Banishment No

Administration & Support

Database Management
Backup Database
Backup forum datas that you could store somewhere else.
Prune Database
Remove old and unused datas from your forum.
Restore Database
Restore a backup of your database if the previous install crashed.
Administration Tools
Statistics about posts count, users, traffic...
No Error/Notice Log Viewer
Forum Logs could be consulted.
Tasks Scheduler
Maintenance tasks are regularly launched and could be scheduled.
No Mass Mailing
Send an email (newsletters, advertisements, information,...) to all users.
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.
Forum Migration
Convert an existing forum to esoTalk.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Abnormal Behavior Detection
Detect users or request strange behaviors, and try to process proactive actions.
Words Filtering
Offensing Words are automatically replaced.
User Blacklist
Prevent specific user accounts to register (based on email address, name,...) and disable potentially harmful members.
IP Blocking
Prevent access to spam robots and other scripts that could attempt DDOS or Brute Force attacks on your forum.

Customization & Social Networks

Add new features to your forum installation.
~4 Available Plugins. More info »
Installation: [++[ Easy
Modify the style of your forum easily.
~2 Available Themes.
Custom BBCodes No Smiley Packs No
Thread Icons
No Additional User Profile Fields
Ask more about your members with custom fields.
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.
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,...).

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
XHTML 1.1 Strict.
XHTML 1.1 Strict
Click to see if it respects HTML norms.
CSS Stylesheets
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.
UTF-8 Support
Default encoding used to support all locales and countries.
Conformance to W3C Norms
Does esoTalk correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?

Final Words


esoTalk is a really good surprise, because it proves that installing and configuring a forum software are not necessarily time consuming, and the final result is quite good. The simple list based layout is perfect for a modern website, where the primary way of looking for information is to search it, and not crawl every categories... This point of view is also reflected by the usage of tags, that is really useful to post a topic in several categories at the same times. Of course, the main problem is that those tags tend to scatter because of the typography for example, so it also requires a kind of discipline for your forum members.

Even if it is simplistic, esoTalk is well designed, fast and powerful... if the features implemented in it will be enough for your needs. The best thing is to look and test its live demonstration.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (4)

Is safe and

Is safe and reliable? Has anyone used esotalk? The esoTalk search page is incredibly powerful with all the gambits available to use — but there is another hidden feature that make searching even more powerful. By default, clicking on a channel will show all conversations in that channel and any of its sub-channels. But what if you want to view conversations from just that specific parent channel, and none of the sub-channels?


Let me know if you don’t

Let me know if you don’t understand or I should write an article about installing the EsoTalk using Xampp.


It would be great if you

It would be great if you could write an article or blog post. Thanks in advance


We plan to install this one

We plan to install this one for our essay community at Have already tried both phpBB and IPBoards, but they doesn't work exactly how we want them to Smile If not, maybe then it's a time to give punBB a shot

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