This is my personal experience since 2012. It is related mostly to the last new version 4 of the Invision Power Suite. It is showing the product's advantages and disadvantages from my personal point of view. It may be helpful to those who are considering to build their own site and is on the stage of choosing the site engine/platform.
Advantages of Invision Power Suite 4
1. Low licence price for the self-hosted sites = 465 USD for all products.
2. You may select components during the first purchase and during the next licence renewal.
3. The first year licence is included into the initial purchase price.
4. After 1 year you may renew your licence to continue to get personal support, to download upgrades and to use some other cloud features (spam control, etc.).
5. You may still use the product if your licence is not renewed.
6. Quick and good personal support in case you have some problems with the software wich is connected with the software bugs.
7. Company staff and bosses are patient towards your poblems on the good level of patience.
8. Renewal licence price is not very big and still you may select components you want to upgrade every 6 months:
9. Big comunity providing a lot of bugs on the bug tracker which are quickly addressed by the staff. So, you may be sure that the real bug will be improved.
10. Bugs are addressed quickly. Critical bugs are addressed and patched within 1-4 days. General bugs are addressed within 1-90 days (generally 15-30 days). Pursonal problems wich do not allow you to use the product normally (data base issues, some other urgent bugs) may be addressed and patched via support requests within 1-3 days personally without additional payment.
11. The software is easy to install from the box if you are using the self-hosted sites. You need to now the basic things only: how to upload files via FTP, how to set the database on your server, how to run installer from your browser using the http link. There is no need to know any php rules or to be the coder.
12. You may select themes for your site and other additional plugins (free/paid) on the Marketplace.
13. Advanced system of customizable templates devided per application in the admin control panel. So, if you know something about html coding it will be easy to ajust for your needs. There is also the system of placing the widgets on the public side by the easy drag and drop system
14. It is language abstracted. You may find language packs on the Marketplace. 15. There is posibility to upgrade from the previous versions of software to the up to date versions without loose of your data. There is also support for this.
Disadvantages of Invision Power Suite 4
1. It is still the Forums oriented software disregarding that this application is not obligatory to purchase in the last version 4 of the software (it was disconnect from the Core). Most of plugins are created for Forums on the Marketplace and it is the central idea in the software development by the company yet. It may be clearly seen that the Forums licence cost and the licence renewal cost are bigger.
2. Low number of products on the Marketplace. So if you want to create the advanced shop, it may be difficult. But it is still possible. Most plugins are for the Forums.
3. The cloud prices are still high.
Overall rate: 4.5 (out of 5)
Overall conclusion: It is the best solution if you tired to pay hundreds dollars for the coders to improve or develop the easiest and general things for your site. Here you have the resonable price, big community and the company directors's personal protection to not be cheated by the coders. So, if you need quicly developing, normal price solution then it is for you. But still you need to have patience to ajust this for your personal needs. But it is becoming more and more easy every year.