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Is "IPB is the solution or Not"


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One of our client planning to launch a "General Message Board" covering all popular subjects. We might get this project,
if we can convince our client with our complete project plan report.

For the last couple of years, we are maintaining small size message boards, so we are very well aware cons&pros of all popular scripts.
This client believes on "Message Boards" and like to give us a chance to launch a serious Board. Their expetations are reaching 100k
unique visitors/day within 3 months of launch and 1 million uniques/day by end of the year. Budget details are confidential.

I am trying to prepare in-depth report, so I like to know

. Any one using IPB with that kinda of traffic (million uniques/day) ?
. What kinda of server set-up/frame work is required for ipb boards with huge traffic?
. Is mysql can handle this ? if not oracle or sql server ?
. any one using IPB on Oracle or sql server without any issues ?
. How can we use converge concept with large message boards ?
. Is it better to have multiple installs topic1.board.com, topic2.board.com .....topicn.board.com
and then use converge for single login ?
. If we go with single install, is ipb can store data in different physical database servers ? If so , details please
. is IPB has any kinda of documentation on setting-up & maintaning message boards of bigger size ?


I really appreciate responses from IPB experts and IPB staff

If any one including IPB staff have expertise in setting-up and provide maintenace support, please PM me.

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With that many users you would need more than one server for sure. I'm not entirely sure if you can get that amount of traffic on any board in three months unless you spend a lot of money on marketing. There are quite a few of general message boards out there.

Oracle is not something I would recommend using. It's old, and it has some issues with opening and closing hundreds to thousands of connections all the time. It was built to maintain one constant connection (this is what I've heard anyway). Many people like oracle because you can cluster your database without changing anything with the software application you choose to use. But MySQL does have clustering, and I hear it works quite well.

You can read more about MySQL clustering here:

http://www.mysql.com/products/database/cluster/

Not entirely sure if this was available for MySQL 4 or not, but it looks like it is for sure on MySQL 5. And IPB 2.2 does fully support MySQL 5, and it's in the Release Candidate stage (which shouldn't last long).

When you cluster servers there's really two different ways of doing it, and you can do a combination of the two:

1) Have servers that serve the board files themselves (php files, skin images, css, etc...). I believe you need to setup your name servers on the server to choose which one is used to server the content.

2) Cluster the MySQL (database) to different servers. Not entirely sure how it's setup, but if you can connect to any of the servers through a login and it automatically mirrors it, you could set a small script up in the conf_global.php to change which host the board connects to.

I don't know anyone personally that needed more than one server. But one of these days I guess I'll need it. I'm currently running about 200 members online at one time consistently (max), and that happens on weekends. We keep growing, but so far the one dedicated server I have now is holding up just fine. I'm running a Dual Opteron 242 with 2 GB of ram. And I'm sure it will do even better once I upgrade to PHP5 and MySQL 5 with the upgrade to IPB 2.2.

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I'd really suggest you call us at the office. We do have extensive experience in setting up very large communities, but it's something best discussed in real time :) That way, we can also discuss specific examples with you.

Hope that helps :)

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However, it is very much possible, look at their main site home page. They have a list of existing clients including Yahoo!, NASA and Sony.
There are also several very large message boards around, Neowin, for example, that run IPB

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What I'd probably do, is start out with one large server, and be prepared to add additional ones quickly. One beefy server setup properly, will probably handle 100K users in a day. I recommend this, because you may hope to get millions of users in a short period of time, but in reality it may take years. This way you aren't spending lots of $$$ on hardware that isn't needed until years later (when the same $$$ could buy a much more powerful server).

Once traffic starts picking up and you notice the server is being about 50% taxed, then setup another beefy server. Move the MySQL database from the first server onto the second. The first will now just handle the web server, the second will just handle MySQL. Once the load on either server starts to get a bit high, just add another server next to it. You can easily have 20, 30, or more servers acting as a web server. If you plan on constantly updating files on the web server (static content, forum files, stuff like that), then you have to devise a way to update the content on all the servers in a short amount of time (if you have just a handful, it's not a big deal). Now, you can also easily have many servers setup as MySQL servers, but you have to worry about keeping them all in sync. It's definitely do-able, but isn't as easy as having multiple web servers.

Another thing you want to do is highly optimize your server(s). For example, my server has a regular apache install to handle regular html, the forum, php, and perl scripts. Another lighter web server called lighttpd is used for content such as downloads and images (I did test lighttpd with php, ipb kinda worked but lighttpd kept hanging or crashing, it works great for static content like file downloads and images). I also have eaccelerator installed, it helps speed up all php scripts, including ipb. Every little bit helps.

In short, yes it'll work.

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I have a little bit of experience with this. My community, during peak periods, would run at > 1,000 users online and a message store of ~ 750,000 messages. For our peak season, I configured a seperate database server that ran mySQL only ... and the application server. My conf_global.php simply referred to the sql_host as 'dbserver' (rather than 'localhost') and connected across a 'cross-over' gigabit network.

The result was that the load on the application server was reduced to a manageable level and the database server rarely was > 10% occupied, as I had enough memory to support the entire database in cache. Both servers are dedicated 2xXEON 2.4Ghz, 2Gb RAM RedHat Enterprise systems.

Now that we're in our 'slow season', it has been very easy to simply move the data back onto the application server and re-direct the conf_global.php to 'localhost' ... and reduce my operating expenses.

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1 million uniques a day just is not possible unless you're paying people to post.




www.idolforums.com (537 users active in the past 20 minutes, 55550 total members, 10640363 total posts)
www.neowin.net (2741 users active in the past 30 minutes, 156232 total members, 6263991 total posts)

Hell, even

forums.invisionpower.com (532 users active in the past 30 minutes, 81672 total members, 1102892 total posts)

Look at the statistics of these three sites. Not all that insignificant.
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Thanks for all feedbacks.
I really like to see a documentation on "Maintaining Huge boards", including but not limited to topics

Server Specifications, configuration, and tuning
files(ipb , images, videos) storage in to different servers
data (blog, topics/posts) storage into different servers
IPB file tuning for fastness

I will approach IPB staff once I finalize my requirements ..

But I like to hear more from "Big Board" maintainers about issues they are facing and solutions they found.

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Thanks for all feedbacks.


I really like to see a documentation on "Maintaining Huge boards", including but not limited to topics



Server Specifications, configuration, and tuning


files(ipb , images, videos) storage in to different servers


data (blog, topics/posts) storage into different servers


IPB file tuning for fastness



I will approach IPB staff once I finalize my requirements ..



But I like to hear more from "Big Board" maintainers about issues they are facing and solutions they found.



I think they have interviews with forum admins and developers on www.big-boards.com that you might find interesting, though they focus more on the community and how to approach that :)

That said, IPSBeyond would be a good place to start a discussion on maintaining massive boards, since we don't have one currently.
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Surprised not to see huge IPB boards in big-boards.com directory list
VB stats are better than IPB, can any one explain that ?
is IPB can handle heavy traffic, which we are expecting as per our client's business plan.

couple of reasons why I am interested towards ipb, though we know most of the high traffic board websites are using vb are

* IPB add-ons (cms, blog, & gallery) well integrated to the board and adds value to the "board only website"
* Important thing, they are released by IPS with support, not by ipb user as a Mod with out any support or constant updates ..

Has per our client's business plan, they are planning to introduce "referral rewards program", the feature ipb is lacking comparing to vb.

Anyways, I need to prepare a convincing report for my client that IPB is the solution or not for heavy traffic site and if not what are the other options .. Looks like this not gonna be easy because i know I get biased response on comparisons ..

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The largest listed IPB forum there is IdolForums, at rank 47. Of course, we can't use that as a way of determining the scalability of forum software, because the most popular forum software on the front page is IGNBoards (SnowBoards) and believe me - that runs like a dog under load (which makes sense when you view debug output and nearly have a heart attack at the stack trace).

Remember, not all forums choose to be listed on Big-Boards, you can actually block your board showing up. There might actually be one bigger than IdolForums.

The options you therefore have are:

Invision Power Board [ PHP ]
vBulletin [ PHP ]
phpBB [ PHP ]

as these are most common in the first ten pages.

You might also find http://www.big-boards.com/servers.php interesting, as that's the server specs for some of the largest forums in the world.

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