Book Image

vBulletin: A Users Guide

Book Image

vBulletin: A Users Guide

Overview of this book

Written specifically to allow you to create a discussion forum, vBulletin, provides all of the tools, features and functionality for you to set up and develop a vibrant community. Because it specializes in this one aspect of your website, all the features are geared towards this goal, and you can leave the improvement and additions to the vBulletin developers while you get on with managing the rest of your website. If you are either already running a community forum based on vBulletin, or are planning on establishing one, then this is the book for you. This book will guide you through installing, configuring, managing and maintaining a vBulletin discussion forum on your own website. The book begins with the initial installation and configuration of vBulletin on your system. You will then go on a tour of vBulletin and its features, for both users and administrators. This will grow your understanding and familiarise you with the power and possibilities of vBulletin. vBulletin's Administration Control Panel is where you can control every aspect of your board. From users, forums and word filters to skins, templates and maintenance, everything can be done through the web-based control panel. The book devotes significant sections to covering these, getting you up to speed on the options available to you, and offering advice to help you make the right choices with your board administration. To make your forums stand out from the rest, we cover skins and templates to take your first steps in customising your forum. vBulletin is one of the most popular forum platforms available. Well known for its power and speed, it drives many of the most popular discussion forums on the Internet.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
Building Forums with vBulletin
About the Authors

The vBulletin Advantage

What are the key benefits from choosing and running vBulletin? Here are the top reasons to base your community on vBulletin.


vBulletin is designed to be versatile and can be run on a variety of platforms.

  • vBulletin is written in PHP, making it fast, efficient, and capable of running on a broad range of hosting platforms. Shared hosting provides the cheapest option, while semi-dedicated hosting solutions offer more power for a higher price. Fully dedicated servers offer the greatest speed, power, and flexibility, but at a substantially increased cost.

  • vBulletin uses a MySQL database for storing data and settings. Avatars and CSS stylesheets (controlling the formatting of the discussion board) can be stored either in the database or in the file system. Similarly, attachments can be uploaded and stored in either the database or the server file system.

  • vBulletin is fully scalable. For the ultimate in power and flexibility the database server and the web server can reside on separate computers.

  • vBulletin can be run on any system that can support PHP and MySQL (which means that you have a wide choice, ranging from Linux and Windows to Solaris, BSD, and Macintosh).

  • All client-side code is XHTML 1.0 Transitional compliant, giving consistent and dependable results in almost all modern web browsers.

  • The import facility allows data from another forum to be converted into vBulletin format. This includes users, posts, avatars and private messages. The import facility supports, among others, the following boards: Infopop's Ultimate Bulletin Board, Invision, UBBThreads, OpenTopic, ezboard, phpBB, and Ikonboard.


No matter whether you site is big or small, you don't want to be waiting around for things to happen. vBulletin is designed with speed in mind, so you and your users, whether on a dial-up modem or a broadband connection, won't be stuck waiting for pages to load.

vBulletin offers:

  • Fast page loading

  • Responsive interface

  • Speedy searches (thanks to effective indexing of the content)

  • New/edited posts available instantly—no delays!


vBulletin is easy and fast to customize. Thanks to a variety of in-built tools the interface can be changed with the minimum knowledge of web programming languages.

vBulletin offers:

  • A templated system—all the code for the interface is conveniently stored as separate templates. Users can also pick and choose the style they want.

  • A built-in template editing interface—no need to mess about with text editors and FTP.

  • Full access to all the board settings through a custom interface.

  • Most built-in text is stored as phrases, which makes customizing or adding multi‑lingual support easy.

  • The ability to create and store multiple styles, which can be applied to different forums and users.

  • Conditionals are supported in all templates. This allows you to write powerful and versatile code.

Easy to Maintain

Even the most stable discussion board needs maintenance every so often to keep it running properly. Also, since it is the data stored in the discussion board that forms the backbone of the community, data backup and restoration is vital.

Features offered by vBulletin include:

  • Built-in database backups, style backup, and table repair functions.

  • A Task Scheduler to allow the automated running of many administrative tools.

  • Extensive board statistics (numbers of users, new users, new posts, new threads, and much more).

  • Automatic post pruning to keep database size manageable.

  • Extensive server settings and optimization options.

Other Features

vBulletin offers a whole host of other features for both the end users and the forum administrators and moderators. Over the course of the book we will be looking at a number of them.

Here are some of the best and most compelling features:

  • Private messaging feature

  • Comprehensive smilies and avatars

  • Separate and feature-rich administrator, moderator, and user control panels

  • Printer-friendly versions of threads and posts

  • Linear, threaded, and hybrid display views available for threads

  • Built-in calendar

  • Comprehensive permission system, based on user, usergroup, or forums

  • Moderation queues for user registration and posting

  • Attachments, complete with preview thumbnails

  • Private forums

  • User ranking and notes

  • Paid Subscriptions (using PayPal, WorldPay, NOCHEX and

  • Banning feature

  • Compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998. For more information on COPPA see:

  • Editable FAQ system

  • Search engine friendly—this means you get a better ranking in the search results!

For more information about vBulletin and for purchasing information visit the official vBulletin website at