YaBB User Reviews

Best Existing Forum Software
70% (99 votes)
Powerful and Smart
15% (21 votes)
Good for Everyday Tasks
1% (1 vote)
Interesting for Small Community
4% (6 votes)
Bad and Limited Features
4% (6 votes)
Unusable and Inefficient
6% (8 votes)
Total votes: 141

User Reviews (23) Write your Review

Unknown Picture

This is a pretty good forum

This is a pretty good forum for small- to-medium sized sites. Anything over 50k visitors/month I would look elsewhere. The Perl code and flat-file architecture are huge server resource hogs, and quickly bog down a site with a lot of traffic. The text files are prone to errors and corruption, so frequent maintenance is mandatory. Problem is, running maintenance is time-consuming and requires even more server resources.

Just a bad thing all around for large sites. A dedicated server is a must at minimum.

In addition, support is slow and incomplete. You must post questions on their support forum, and then be subjected to arrogant and rude "moderators" - in particular one called "Captn John", who is very rude and chases people off if he doesn't like them (which seems to be the majority of people).

Also, since it's NOT SQL-based, you can't integrate it with other platforms and solutions that require member logins. So it's very much a stand-alone solution.

Overall, if you have a small site and need little modifications, you'll be fine. But for high-volume sites that require customizations and site-wide integrations (often needing support for advice/help), use a PHP/SQL forum instead!


For the record: I've been

For the record: I've been with YaBB since december 2001. I played a major role in developing YaBB generation 2 (developer - and later lead developer). I've made a lot of popular mods (modifications/add ons) for YaBB. So i think i can safely say i do know a little about YaBB. All this just to indicate that my opinion might be slightly biased Wink And another note: I'm only danish, so please bare with my limited english vocabulary Smile

Dear 'Anonymous' ?! All of your allegations other than one (SQL) seems to be undocumented, subjective opinions. Did you ever test YaBB on a > 50k visitors per month forum? Have you ever had your site 'quickly boged down' by YaBB? Ever heard of PHP/SQL fora vulnerable to errors, corruption or malicious hacking? Hundred of thousands of admins and millions of users though the last 10 years proves that YaBB has been and still is a secure, customizable and feature rich alternative to commercial forum software on the market - and still completely free!

Yes, YaBB is using flat file data architecture - making it run even on low budget host plans (as long as you have cgi (Perl) access) - and it's easy to back-up and maintain. Next release will however support SQL (as well as flat file).

As a free, open source project YaBB is depending on people dedicating their spare time to develope and support YaBB. Admitted! Support has had it ups and downs - but attacking one particular supporter for being arrogant and rude is unfair - do a little research and you'll find that CJ has helped a lot of people - and a lot of people actually took the time to express their gratitude to him.

Unknown Picture

I would totally expect a

I would totally expect a person who works on the software to get defensive over anything that might appear to be negative towards their work. That said, I can testify that what "anonymous" is saying is true. Yabb is great for small sites, but look elsewhere if you need some heavy lifting.

We used Yabb for awhile on our site, but when we started pushing past the 50k traffic mark, we saw significant degradation in server performance. It greatly slowed down our page load times, and users complained.

To Yabb's benefit, they did release a version that addressed the speed issues inherit in their own code. And while that did improve things a bit, it wasn't enough to overcome the inherit performance issues in Perl. Yabb still used up 85% or more of our dedicated server resources due to the Perl codebase.

Perl is inefficient when compared to PHP. There simply is no way around it, and no way to compensate for it. PHP is a faster language, which is one of the MANY reasons why so many apps are written in PHP, while Perl use has all but dried up and gone away. PHP is secure too. It wouldn't be so popular if it wasn't.

As for the "Yabb's next release will support SQL" claim - that carrot has been dangled in front of Yabb users for years. And several releases later, it's still in beta. In fact, CJ made it very clear in a particular post he made that 2.2 was the ABSOLUTE LAST version to come out until the SQL version. You're now on 2.5 and still counting.

As for CJ himself, we too experienced his "wrath". I'm certain you can find the exceptions, but as a general rule, he's caustic and unbearable to work with. Terrible customer service. Ignoring his behavior simply encourages it and empowers him further.

We've since migrated over to PhpBB about a year ago and couldn't be happier. It's fast, secure, scalable, and best of all, the support is there when you need it without all the attitude.


2 years later and they're

2 years later and they're still in beta, with no new releases, and they're still clinging to code from bygone eras. A main reason why I left.

YaBB is long dead. Been dead.

I checked their own forum today - less than 20 posts in a day, most from their own moderators. I see Cory posted 2 months ago something about a new version coming out - same 'ol same 'ol. Lot's of empty promises.

On the flip side, the company I'm with now releases new features and updates every 3 months, with major releases at least once a year. The forum I use now does way more than Yabb will ever hope to be. There's choices people.

God I'm glad I left!

Unknown Picture


I agree that YaBB can be

I agree that YaBB can be "heavy" on servers at times, especially for very large forums. However, I have seen many implementations of YaBB that have 30-40 users online at a time with hundreds of thousands of posts with no issues. In fact, when XIMinc was hosting the YaBB project, we had as many as 40 YaBB forums, several of which were very active, hosted on the same server with NO issues. The occassional high CPU or memory usage of YaBB is usually short-lived because the process runs fast enough that it doesn't bog down the server. Not that YaBB hasn't had a few bad releases or a few bugs that cause loops, but every forum system has those. I cannot stand all the hosts that immediately blame YaBB for their poor server setup which is often under-powered and over-utilized by too many sites on one server, all in the name of the mighty dollar.

Many improvements have been made to YaBB over the years that reduce CPU and memory usage, including optimizing the data file size, adding data files for summary type things rather than loading the full large data files, optimizing the Perl code, and most recently utilizing Ajax instead of having full page loads. Improvements were made even while we added features that should increase memory and CPU usage. You are right on about the database comment - we have had team struggles and differences in coding styles that have resulted in database support and a complete rewrite from coming out. This is one of the project's main failures that has led to less popularity. I really feel this time we are close to implementing database support though - it will happen but I won't promise when. When it does, what comment will you be able to make about this and about YaBB's speed? I'm not going to let my bias hide the fact that we do need to make further improvements in this area though.

Also, your comment that "PHP wouldn't be popular if it wasn't fast" couldn't be further from the truth. PHP is popular because it was new when it came out, Perl was old, and PHP was easy. Kids can write in PHP, while Perl can be a bit harder. Why do you think PHP scripts started flying out the door? That being said, most PHP scripts are horribly inefficient because you can code the same function 30 different ways using different built-in methods, most being sloppy. Perl is 23 years old, while PHP is only 15 years old. This means Perl is much more refined and mature, rather than "dried up" as you put it. It clearly has not gone away and is still being developed. This is why YaBB is one of the oldest forums in existence and was the beginning that led into almost every other system out there. Perl was written to handle files, and this is why YaBB's flat file database makes sense. Granted it is not the most efficient due to handling so many files for each process, but essentially a MySQL or any other database system is handling text files too but with an engine and a well-defined method behind it. I have done research on YaBB related to PHP versus Perl a few years ago and wrote a paper on this.

As for security, YaBB is and always has been one of the most secure forum systems ever. PHP systems are constantly being exploited. YaBB had its rough patches in the early days, but since 2.0 there have only been a few vulnerabilities mainly torwards the beginning with CSS and data injection/sanitizing. It is also one of the leaders in blocking spam and flooding. It is very rare that a later version YaBB forum has issues like this.

Regarding support, YaBB has been heralded even by people that use or used other systems like SMF and phpBB. We have heard comments that we go above and beyond, help quickly, and are very nice. This includes directly performing the fixes or installations on others' websites, rather than just telling them what they should try, and not charging a fee. I can agree that, including now possibly, we have had times when the support team members were low or the team was focused on their personal lives and support may have been slow. And certainly, we've had people or days even for good people that resulted in rude responses. But all projects have that. Overall, the YaBB support team has done a great job, especially considering they are volunteers.

Even if negative, I certainly appreciate extensive feedback like you have provided. YaBB was a forum leader until a few years ago when it began a major decline. It is still very popular, but the things we struggled with then and continue to struggle with have kept us from maintaining that level of excellence. We take comments very seriously and continue to try to make the project better. Our new website that launched this month shows that, along with our dedication of using mods from our BoardMod community that were made by users of YaBB to implement new features. Due to PHP being more popular than Perl over the past few years, it has been difficult to maintain team members and continue to take the code to the next level. I hope that you'll find we do that soon.

YaBB would not have existed and continued its development for over 10 years if it was that bad.

Unknown Picture

I can only speak from my

I can only speak from my direct experience, which is exactly what I did on my first post. Our forums routinely had over 100 members on at a single time, and YaBB failed to keep up - or should I say it destroyed our server performance. And that was on a dedicated server!

We've since moved to IP.Board and haven't experienced the slightest twinge of regret. It's PHP and mySQL based, btw.

As I said, YaBB is fine for smaller niche sites, but it simply will not scale. Period. And the promise of a mySQL version simply is just that, a promise...one they've been saying for years.

Bottom line - You can take the word from the owner and developers, who have a vested interest in convincing you to use it; or believe the real-world experiences from people who have already used it. Your choice.

Carsten's picture


Quote:Bottom line - You can

Bottom line - You can take the word from the owner and developers, who have a vested interest in convincing you to use it; or believe the real-world experiences from people who have already used it. Your choice.

Fair enough! Here are 5 'real-world' larger boards still using YaBB. I can/will provide more examples if you want. Not saying YaBB is the answer to all your needs and i'm honestly sorry you did not get the best out of your YaBB experience - but so far it's 5 to 2 in the YaBB book Smile

http://mind-n-magick.com/forum/YaBB.pl posts: 260248 members: 4009
http://www.radioandtelly.co.uk/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.pl posts: 105471 members: 24770
http://www.musicfanclubs.org/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi posts: 428768 members: 20811
http://www.libertynewsforum.com/cgi-bin/news/YaBB.pl posts: 517999 members: 4793
http://www.soccercityusa.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl posts: 357294 members: 29198

This said - it would be nice to know who we discussing with. Corey and I are playing openly - even admitting some degree of bias. It's a little disturbing not to know who you are, where you come from and what your aim is.

On the issue of Perl vs. PHP i can refer to lots of 'experts' claiming that Perl is superiour to PHP - and i'm sure you can do vise versa - that's in mho a religious discussion - and i'm not a religious kind of person...

If you knock your head against a brick wall and hear a hollow sound, it's not necessarily coming from the wall.

lastnico's picture

Quite impressive stats

Quite impressive stats indeed!

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.


just tried the

just tried the soccercityusa.com and got this

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@soccercityusa.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Unknown Picture

Derek Barnstorm


I've had a YaBB board running

I've had a YaBB board running for coming up five years now and have been more than happy with it - I think it's a very nice piece of software and have only ever had compliments off members using it. I've even had a few users say that it's the best forum they've used.

The only problems I've ever had was when I had a really poor host. I've had two hosts since then (Aplus and Dreamhost) and both of them have run YaBB absolutely fine. In fact I have only had four issues in four years - that's one problem a year, which is quite remarkable for any software - and each of those times was when the server was experiencing problems, not YaBB. I also find it very easy to back up and fix when things do go wrong.

Any website using any software that becomes a certain size with a lot of traffic will experience problems on a shared host. In fact, most hosts limit how many times you can query a database, so you're just as likely to have issues with PHP/MySQL as you are with Perl and flat file (though I am looking forward to database support in YaBB myself).

Another thing I like about YaBB is the security. I can honestly say that I haven't had a single spam bot in all the time that I have been using it.

Corey has already mentioned that there has been a few problems with the development team slowing down SQL support, but slow development and problems certainly aren't unique to YaBB. I really don't know why some people give it a hard time - I can think of more than a few PHP forums which in my opinion YaBB is far superior to.

I have also met some very nice people in the YaBB community.

Here's a few more big/busy YaBB forums:



And my personal favourite:


Derek 'YaBB Addict' Barnstorm.


Lightweight sites Try this

Lightweight sites Wink

Try this one, which is fairly bog standard YaBB, and has scaled up to 1.1m posts, and growing fast...


General performance is fine, but search highlights YaBB's flat file backend is less than ideal on our modest hardware


I see bassresource.com is no

I see bassresource.com is no longer using YaBB. They're a huge site. Yabb must not meet their needs any longer.


Yup, they've upgraded to

Yup, they've upgraded to something better. http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/

Unknown Picture

Hi All First - I'd like to

Hi All

First - I'd like to say I'm glad I learned of this site. I'll introduce myself quickly - I'm a 25+ year Systems Architect/Developer/Engineer who is a member of the YaBB Support Team for about 2 1/2 years now. I go by JonB (the Server Geek). I host 4 YaBB forums of my own and manage two others (that's how I came to YaBB - as a user).

Second - I have one bone to pick, and then I will make my 'technical points'.

You can take the word from the owner and developers, who have a vested interest in convincing you to use it;

I think this is a real misunderstanding of what Open Source Software is about. The 'owners' of Yabb are its users (speaking of the webmasters/admins primarily). This is in the truest manner of 'stakeholders' -- not 'shareholders'. Corey, Cap'n John, Jet Li (Jeff) Unilat, (and myself) and all the other members of the YaBB team do not have really any outcomes in anyone adopting YaBB - we get no revenue (our site and support forum are ad-free) from either the software OR the site. It truly is all about the users - the software is a gift from the developers, the previous users who shared their experiences and the folks who spend their time researching 'your' problems.

We gladly answer questions - no matter how technical, or abstruse, help with minor code revisions and debugging, and (smiles) have an admirable 'fix rate' - go take a look and see how long the average new post goes unanswered...

So, personally, I don't care if you chose phpBB, SMF, Pun, Discus, vBulletin or whatever - there is no 'upside' or 'downside' for me in what you chose. I wish you well. I have used several other forum systems besides YaBB and modified most of them, one i was very disappointed to have to leave behind, but it was a one man show - just not possible.

I hope I have now dismissed that ad hominem argument. (its clear there is some personal animosity involved)

My techincal 'thingies'.

As a resident server geek (and one experienced in hosting his own webservers - 2 W2K3, 1 W2K8 and 1 Centos) with more than a hundred domains under my fingers in one fashion or another -- quite a few on other folks servers, both shared and VPS's - I'd like to address the 'elephant in the room' issue.

No two hosts proivision exactly the same way. Each has their own formulas, based on their corporate experience, their provisioning system (usually tied tio their control panels, but sometimes compeltely custom), their marketing and revenue models, and - very importantly - the experiience and knowledge set of their, usually very few, real system engineers. We all know the names of a few low end hosts to avoid, and I won't bring my opnion in on it. But we sure know what they do - under-provision and promise unlimited this-and-that.

So often in the sweet spots of lower-cost hosts, they have to contrain resources (plus they can't really do support either) - might work for a few static pages, but you get some trafiic - boom. OK - so we will say for all dynamic sites - but particualry forums - these are bad places.

But the major gripe here seems to be scaling - A few months ago I came across a post from a user who wanted to know if YaBB was 'bad software'. He had seen a post on a webhost's user forums. I took the trouble to research the 'site that had problems' with YaBB. Guess what? -- it was a freakin' monster! And I can tell you why it had problems on that host - they only offered shared hosting.

Any forum that gets into the tens of thousands of members, and hundreds of thousands of posts at mimimum belongs on a VPS today. The other part of this of course is traffic - and how spiky the traffic is. Spiky traffic is like the Allstate 'Mayhem' guy and the tree branch in the wind "Shakey, shakey -- shakey shakey shakey". You all know what happens - CRASH!

So the unseen elephant in the room is the secret of the host's provisioning plan and their revenue model. Recently I reseached VPS's for a European NGO. I could not find more than two or three plans that could be made 'apples to apples' and this was after several weeks of phone calls, chats and a formal Systems Requirements definition and sending them written RFQ's listing our - how do you guys do this?? among other things.

Everyone had a 'gotcha' or two. I will say that some had very savvy systems engineers to get info from, and as usual I learned a lot.

Lesson: Sometimes the elephant in the room is the problem - and there is no way to know that going in - UNLESS - they are already hosting something close to what you want to do. And that was what we did - we narrowed the search to managed VPS specialists, and found three we could be very happy with.

Good Luck to all

Unknown Picture

hmmm... lots of expert

hmmm... lots of expert testimonials... but I'm not one of them, I'm just a user. I run a small server with 4 domains. Only one of the 4 uses a BBS. I guess I should say, I own a single webserver acct and under that I run (update, own, manage) 4 domains.

I'm just a hobbyist, you know?

And I know that I've loaded up YaBBS a dozen times over the last 5 years. A dozen? Yes. Dozens! Because each and every time, something went wrong. I had one installation up for about 2 years and one day logged in to find it was gone... trashed. I presume server or host errors but I'm only a hobby user... not an expert. So I don't really know. I just know that my users and my messages and my board mods (simple, changed images is about all) were all gone or corrupt.

Security? I fought for about a year with version 2.0 (2.1??) and every day had dozens of fake users all loading porn links or viagra links or just plain junk. I was spending like 1 to 2 hours EVERY DAY just deleting posts and crank users. I'm pretty positive that thousands of users didn't log in, and manually create fake accounts and then post crap. But it was there, on my board. I finally took it down, came up with a new domain name, and re-installed (one of my dozens of times) just to get away from that.

Certainly that was my fault. I'm not an expert... I'm sure there is something I did wrong. I'm only a hobbyist remember? Not an expert on all things YaBBS.

2.5? I've loaded it 3 times so far and every time something has gone wrong and I've had to delete, reload, re-configure. The latest time I had everything set but it timed out or something during my updates to the admin settings and when I tried to log back in nothing. No account, no forums, no other users... nothing. Again, I'm sure I did something, but I have no idea what.

Now I'm sure I'll be bashed for being stupid. Or inexperienced and I don't deserve such a great product. I don't know what but I see it coming.

So in my defense, I like YaBBS. It's simple to load and I don't like SQL (makes me feel inadequate, I'm just a hobbyist) so I really like YaBBS because it uses flat files. I ran BBS's in the 90's... before the internet existed and this program hearkens back to those days. It's simple, straight forward, with good instructions and support. But just like those heraldic days I feel like I'm using a test program, a beta release and I have to be the expert myself, and that I have to work out the bugs.

But, I'm still using it. I'll reload 2.5 today (attempt 4) because it's simple and easy and it works.... except when it stops working. Plus, I've donated to the project. I'm not poor and when I see something I like I support it. And I like YaBBS. Yes, with all it's idiosyncrasies.

Unknown Picture

Hi all Not going to get in a

Hi all

Not going to get in a debate over YaBB but I would like to say I have been using YaBB forum for some time now and have had no problems at all. I have installed YaBB for a number of people who have only got back to me and asked if I would do an upgrade whi ch only means that all the YaBB forum I have installed have not had any issues. It is free so what more do you want. As to the comments about Captain John that bloke is the one who replies to a majority of the users so from time to time you will get sick of repeating yourself especially to the people who don't listen to what you are saying. (Very Frustrating At Times You Must Agree).

Kevin (aka smith21)

Unknown Picture

Hi fellas! first off, i'm

Hi fellas!
first off, i'm sorry for my terrible english Tongue
i'm Pockie Ninja Online game freak chick and wonder if someone else could help me to find something
i heard about known as "Pockie Ninja hack pack " or something, it has alot of function

kinda just like to call of duty 4 mod pack (i think)

Unknown Picture

We used YaBB for awhile, and

We used YaBB for awhile, and while it worked fine initially, we has the same server issues as noted above when we got more traffic. We switched to a mySQL based forum and WOW! Not only does it run much faster, but holy cow - the features! I just didn't know what we were missing out on! Made me wonder why I stayed with YaBB for so long.

Oh ya, it was because they kept promising to release a mySQL version. That was years ago. I see they still haven't done it.

This site paints a fairly accurate review in that YaBB is fine for smaller sites with low traffic volumes. But if you have a larger site, there are much better options out there.

Unknown Picture

I use and like YaBB I use

I use and like YaBB

I use YaBB, have "5580 Posts within 981 Topics" and "550 registered members", so not very much.

YaBB has a lot of features, unlike other user here said. The captcha is configurable, I changed some settings and the spammers are gone. And many others.

It is fast enough. I saw pages with other popular forum software, like SMF and PhpBB, seems similar in speed. The only one I found which is faster is FluxBB, but it does not allow private messages, attachments or captcha, which I need.

The YaBB team was very responsive and helpful. I always got my answer from more of them and one or more patches. As others remarked, maybe in my last query Captain John was a bit impolite, but I understand him because I am in a similar situation, working for free (software) and answering sometimes repeating questions. Also I think he helped me in other previous queries.


We have used YABB for 11

We have used YABB for 11 years now as a clan forum,we have a small membership of 388 and find it ideal for our purpose.
As an admin a feature of being able to ban spam bots after "x" amount of registration tries would be VERY helpful.
Or being able to ban ip's from the error log,keep up the good work there are a lot of people out there that appreciate your work.

Unknown Picture

Pros: Excellent layout and


  • Excellent layout and design.
  • Relatively easy to customize - much easier than other boards I have worked on.


  • No sub-boards.
  • The forum does load a little sluggishly.
  • Although YaBB style elements are easy to customize, some style changes cause minor problems.


Even though I had to search through the YaBB help forums to find a fix for a design element, rounded corners, that clashed on some pages when the container's background color is changed, I still love how easy it is to rework the styles and templates in YaBB.

I have now worked with phpBB and MyBB, and I rate YaBB better than both of those. I just need sub-boards in YaBB, please. Sub-boards is the only thing, that matters to me, that the other two BBs have that YaBB 2.5 AE does not. Wink


Unknown Picture

How to get IPage web hosting

How to get IPage web hosting services? As a beginner which web hosting services is good for me? I would like to know some informations about various hosting providers and their plans, can anyone suggest me?

Unknown Picture

Pros: Easy to back-up /


  • Easy to back-up / restore / upgrade.
  • Easy to fix, and fairly easy to tweak (from a guy who's not a web programmer!).
  • No web bot's have got in to date after 6 years (with the right security settings).


  • MySQL support would make creating some modifications easier.
  • More time consuming to upload correctly (but worth it).

I've been running a car owners club for a few years now (I took over from the previous owner in 2005) and so far have found this to be the best software for my forum needs. I can't claim "high-volume" traffic at any one time, so I won't comment on the ability of the server / forum software whilst under load, but I can say that on my shared server the pages load & display fast (even with my custom tweaks to the forum's CSS code to add a LOT of transparencies!).

Anyway. The car club I now run used to be on phpBB - where it got hacked about 5 times in 3 years, resulting in total data loss. The owner at the time then tried moving hosts, but the same problem occurred 2 more times in 6 months. I later took over and moved the forum's to my host (still using phpBB) and got hacked a couple of more times ... then changed to YaBB and despite a few teething problems with the security settings (locked myself out!!!), I managed to get it working properly, with no problems, and since mid 2005 have not had any spam bot problems or hacks. My members are very happy with the way the forum looks and runs - despite the fact it's not as flashy looking as some phpBB forums I'm on, it still looks and runs well.

One thing I think a lot of people are mising out on (going by the above posts), is that it might not be the software at fault - it could be your server. I use 1and1.co.uk with a "Business" account (currently £9.99 a month - could have posted a link to get me referrals, but I'm not like that). I've only had problems whilst using phpBB on the 1and1 host.

Now I'm not saying phpBB is rubbish, as they probably have improved the security since then, I'm just saying that poor performance could be related to the software, the server, or both - so more input is needed from actual YaBB forum owners on different hosts to see what others think.

For those that want stats, my car owners club has 1336 members, 2295 topics, and 20193 posts. Though I must stress that these figures are kept down by clearing out members that have been inactive for 6 months once a year, and clearing out old posts in certain sections of the forum once a year to prevent it becoming cluttered.

One final message to those that are having troubles installing YaBB - make sure you read and follow the upload guide correctly! - If you don't upload the right files using the right method (and set the right file permissions), then the forum will either not work, work but with bugs, or work fine but be open to hacks. Oh, and it works a lot more securely if you use a Linux host than a Microsoft one Wink

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