Are you a vBulletin admin looking to stay on the leading edge of online communities?
As an IPS client who frequents the Invision Community support forums on a daily basis, I often run across existing or former vBulletin admins looking to migrate to IPS. In fact, based on my not-so-scientific survey, vBulletin is one of the most popular platforms from where admins migrate. Many of the vBulletin users are professional administrators looking for a stable company, rapid development, and a trusted platform to power their communities into the future.
I interviewed 6 former vBulletin admins who are now Invision Community clients. Most of these vBulletin admins have 10+ years of experience running successful forums, so their input was especially insightful.
“I love the design of the admin and moderation back-end, a real treat after living with the antiquated and confusing vBulletin back-end.” -- @cfish
“I like the well-thought concept, the details, and abundance of features and functions.” --@Ramsesx
I’ve compiled the top 10 questions and answers from their interviews and the forums specifically for vBulletin admins for an insider’s perspective on how to convert from vBulletin to Invision Community. You can also read their full interviews in my Community Guide attached at the bottom.
10. What is the typical lifecycle of Invision Community and what new features come out?
Invision Community is currently on 4.4. It’s a great time to be migrating as both the software and converter are very mature. You’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features from Invision Community 4.x such as Social Clubs, Subscriptions, SEO updates, and GDPR updates.
In general, IPS publishes one major update like 4.4 once a year, with several bug fixes, security updates, and enhancements throughout the year. The best place to read about Product Updates is the official IPS Blog in Product Updates.
9. What are the pricing options and how do they compare to vBulletin?
IPS is comparable in pricing when compared to vBulletin depending on your choice of apps. The self-hosted option is cheaper when considering support and upgrades.
The pricing for an active license is simple, easy, and comprehensive. A new license includes professional ticket support, forum support, access to new upgrades, and managed spam service for 6 months. Renew again in six months to continue those benefits. If you choose not to renew, your software will continue to work.
8. Is the software mobile ready like vBulletin?
Yes, the software is responsive by design. This means the community naturally fits and beautifully displays in any device size, giving you a consistent look-and-feel across all devices. Try it now by resizing your window!
It also means you don’t need to pay for any extra “mobile bundles.” This approach to mobile design was one of the reasons why @cfish chose IPS: “I didn’t like vBulletin’s approach to mobile. The IPS approach to responsive web design was inline with my own thinking.”
7. What are the official Invision Community apps and how do they compare to vBulletin?
@Steve Bullman converted to IPS because “IPS seemed to offer a better all-round package for what I needed.” One of the biggest reasons for considering IPS is a broader approach to community. Whereas vBulletin focuses only on Forums and Blogs, IPS empowers you to build a suite of applications customized to your needs. Mix and match apps like Gallery, Blogs, Downloads, Pages, and Commerce to build a modern community with resource directories, databases, paid subscriptions, albums and more that go beyond forums.
You can read more about the apps in Features. Calendar and Clubs are included for free!
6. What will be migrated from vBulletin?
The free converter app will migrate all of your member and content items from vBulletin 3.8.x, 4.x, and 5.x. This includes members, private messages, member groups, ranks, forums, topics, posts, and attachments. You can view the full list on Migrate and choose your vBulletin version from the list of choices.
Obviously, you will not be able to migrate any custom themes or custom modifications. @ChristForums adds, “I wish I had known that the converter was so easy to use and migrate from Vbulletin 5.”
5. What are the channels for support?
Every active license comes with professional ticket support, which should always be your first source of contact. @Markus Jung highlights “fast support” as the item he appreciates the most about his license. You can also obtain help from the community forums, help guides, release notes, and other public resources.
If you’re not an IPS client yet, you can post in Pre-Sales forum or email email@example.com.
4. How do I prepare my community?
The six admins that I interviewed offered several tips for new Invision Community owners. Prior to the conversion, you should read through the converter package to see what will convert and redirect. You should purchase other Invision Community apps in advance to fully convert vBulletin items as needed; not delete any old content since Invision Community includes an archive function; and not make drastic changes to allow members a chance to become accustomed to the new forum.
3. What will happen to my traffic and URL redirects?
The free converter app will redirect your existing URLs. This includes forums, topics, posts, member profiles, print view pages, archived content, attachments, and tags. You need to leave your converter installed after migration to ensure the redirects will work.
AlexWebsites wrote, “the converter came with built-in redirects and I was able to redirect most of my traffic. Traffic recovered within a few months.”
2. What are the server configuration and database requirements?
If you choose cloud, then Invision Community will manage the hosting.
If you choose on-premise, you can use the free ‘Get Ready’ compatibility file to check your server. The latest version of Invision Community 4.4 requires:
PHP 7.1.0 or higher (7.3.x is supported)
MySQL 5.5.3 or higher (5.6.2 recommended).
1. How stable is the company?
Other companies lost their development talent. Other companies were bought and sold by multi-media conglomerates. Other companies have a history of lawsuits.
Through it all, Charles, Lindy and Matt have been here since the beginning providing steady leadership to Invision Communities everywhere. If you’re looking for stability, it’s nice to know you can rely on the same people who started the company. For serious and professional vBulletin admins looking to transition, you know you’re not just buying into the software, but investing in the development team, staff, and platform for years to come. Ramsesx shared his personal story: “I always prefer the best for my community from where I earn my income. An important aspect was the longtime outlook. Invision Community gave me the feeling of being trustworthy, they are more than 17 years in the forum software market.”
It’s no wonder that so many successful vBulletin admins feel the same after moving to Invision Community. You get stability, years of experience, a deep understanding of online communities, and a dedication to development that continues to innovate. It’s time to bring your vBulletin community over to Invision Community!
Bookmark this page for future reference and download the Community Guide for experiences from real clients who converted from vBulletin. Much appreciation to @AlexWebsites @cfish @Christforums @Markus Jung @Ramsesx @Steve Bullman for participating in the interviews.
- Joel R
Community Guide vBulletin Migration to Invision Community.pdf
In a move that surprised many, British cosmetics firm Lush has chosen to quit social media.
With a combined following across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, Lush has a combined audience of over 1.2 million followers.
Lush are being a little cryptic about its reasons but cite having to pay for visibility and getting tired of trying to produce content so just that algorithms will rank it highly.
"Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead."
It feels like sacrilege for a brand to come off social media, but I'm not surprised.
Social media is about broadcasting more than it is about meaningful conversation.
And now, even with a huge following, broadcasting doesn't get the same reach it did a few years ago with platforms pushing paid options more and more.
Lush also targets a very young demographic that simply aren't using social media anymore.
The firm said it was "cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush community".
It remains unclear which direction Lush is going to take to facilitate conversations, but using an independent community platform like Invision Community should be considered.
It cuts out any algorithm biased, money hungry platform. It opens up the conversation between the brand and its customers in a meaningful way, and the brand is completely in control of their data and what their customers see.
At Invision Community, we're seeing more and more brands looking for a solution outside of social media.
Perhaps this will accelerate the trend.