ZetaBoards Review

(March 27, 2009 00:33)
Last Version Hosted. (February 3rd, 2011). Released under Proprietary License.
Resources Website ZetaBoards Website Download Host your Forum...
Company Zathyus Network.
Price $0 (Free), $7.99/month (ZB Premium).
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About ZetaBoards:

ZetaBoards is a free forum hosting service. It is edited by Zathyus Networks, creator of the famous InvisionFree.com service.

Both platforms are free forum hosting oriented, but where InvisionFree is based on the last free version of Invision Power Board, Zetaboards has made its success on an internally developed forum software, of course proprietary, that seems to be based on Invision Power Board as well.

Let's discover this service!

Review Updates:

  • April 8, 2011: Update review with latest changes.
  • May 31, 2010: Small modifications.

ZetaBoards 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.
HTML, Javascript, AJAX, CSS.
Languages supported by ZetaBoards.

As Zetaboards is an hosted solution, it does not require any specific server 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
  • Forum Categories
  • URL Redirection Forum
  • Sub Sections
  • Trashcan Forum
Thread Icons Yes Topic Tags No
Hot Topics Yes Unread Topics Yes
Hidden Topics Yes Sticky Threads Yes
Related Threads No Detect Duplicate Threads No
Announcements Yes
Posting Messages / Answers
Message Editing Form
How to Post Messages.
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Formatting Buttons
  • Preview Button
Post Editing Format
Supported Markup Language (HTML, Wiki, BBCode,...).
  • Plain
  • BBCode
Spell Checker
Checks typos on posts and topics.
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.
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.
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.
  • Portal
  • Website Home Page
  • Blog
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,...).

User Ranks are customizable and are called User Badges.

Forum Features are really complete, and easily accessible.

User Profiles & Options

Some details about ZetaBoards 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...)

Messages Tags in User Profile are really useful, as they let users selecting and bookmarking their favorite topics.

Moderation & Users Management

Moderation & Threads Management
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.
Distributed Moderation By organizing the forum around moderators, who are usually power and experienced users, moderation is self-powered and only depends on the community.
Moderator per section Yes
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
  • Registration needs Approval
  • Invitation Only
  • User Account created by Administrator
  • 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 No
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 Yes

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...
Yes 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 ZetaBoards.

Security & Spam Protection

Security & Spam Protection
Captcha protects your forum against spam bots.
e.g., Syndicate
Complexity: [++[ Normal
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.
Modify the style of your forum easily.
Custom BBCodes Yes Smiley Packs Yes
Thread Icons
Yes 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,...).

Of course, as an hosted solution, there is no way to integrate them to an existing CMS or Blog.

W3C Norms & Accessibility

Norms & Accessibility
XHTML 1.0 Transitional.
XHTML 1.0 Transitional
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 ZetaBoards correctly follow (X)HTML and CSS norms?

Unique Features

Key points and major differences that make ZetaBoards unique:

  • User Blogs
  • Forum Template Editor
  • Domain Manager
  • Blocks Management (for the Portal), and Website Maker
  • Autotools

Final Words


We can directly conclude with this feeling, ZetaBoards, as Lefora, is a really powerful hosted forum software. Installation, upgrade and support are automatic and fast. This is really perfect for beginners.

The Template Editor, Blocks, Portal and Website Manager are really useful if you want to add some index page and additional contents to your main forum. For advanced users, the Autotools feature is really interested and powerful. Indeed, as you do not have direct access to the forum database, the Autotools could help you launch batch actions to topics, forum or users.

Finally, the Free version will probably be sufficient for new communities, and, in case of success of your website, the support of the commercial version (only $7.99/month for a ZetaBoards Premium Account) will bring you more advantages.

Additional Resources:

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Comments (8)

After reviewing this, I would

After reviewing this, I would like to point out that not all of the information supplies is accurate and some of it appears incomplete. (For example, forum wide announcements can be posted to be seen in every forum of the board, or in specific categories of the board by Administrators.)
I would encourage updating this. Smile

lastnico's picture

Hi, Yes, those information


Yes, those information were not available when we reviewed Zetaboards the first time (I mean, from FSR side). We have update the review, so do not hesitate to report any additional mistakes you find.

FSR Admin - Vote for 2012.


Thank you. Here are some more

Thank you. Here are some more errors:
"Limit Features for new users " This can be enabled at the admin's choice.
"Updates Notifications " The Admin CP does give notice about updates to the software.
"Forum Migration " Forums on InvisionFree can migrate to ZetaBoards quickly and automatically.

"User Blacklist" - You can prevent certain emails, IPs, and even usernames from registering on your board.
"IP Blocking" See above. Also automatic security protection from attacks.

"Topic Tags" Tags can be added to topics. This helps with search, mostly. There is no tag cloud, however.


I should also add, extra to

I should also add, extra to the above, that guests can post, given that they are allowed to post in a certain forum. The user (or guest) permissions can do a lot of stuff Smile

Also, there are updates/bugfixes every once in a while, which are indeed remarked in the Admin Panel. Update is automatic for all forums, given that they don't interfere with existing settings.

As for the others... I remember there being a "prune" option on IF, but I can't find it on ZB momentarily (if there is one).


I honestly really disike

I honestly really disike Zetaboard wasn't really clean and not the cleaning looking one.


100% agree with Tooonyg. I

100% agree with Tooonyg. I tested Zetaboard (along with a ton of other web software) one night when I was dying of boredom - Zetaboard didn't help -_-


I have used zeta a few times

I have used zeta a few times in the past. Overall, it wasn't a very nice experience. IF(invisionfree) was the forum before Zeta.
1) There are very few skins availble on resource forums that make the board look good, more often than not, the forum looks "Too bulky"
2) While it does have some improvements from IF, Zeta can be a bit confusing to people new to the forum-life
3) The security on Zeta is just about as good as IF. Meaning, it's terrible. It's very easy to get hacked.
4) I recommend Jcink over Zeta and IF to anyone. Jcink looks just like IF, but has 10x more features and 10x more security.

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