vBulletin reviews

vBulletin reviews

Very low
2.4
from 0 - 10
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stay away

we paid for software that doesn't work....no fixes or support offered.
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One of the worst companies on the internet

Not even worthy of 1 star .....
What was once a great company back when Jelsoft owned the product, has gone down hill sense they where acquired by Internet Brands. An interesting side note is that ever sense Internet brands took over, they have never released a working product. Every single one was more of an alpha release then anything stable you could use on a public facing site.

Purchased my 1st lic in 2002 and just like vBulletin's parent company, I still use the old version 3.8.x (funny how the parent company does not use the latest vB product(s)). It's interesting because they have released versions 4 forums and suites, 5 Connect and now 5 Cloud.

After several years, version 4 does not support the latest PHP release or WYSIWYG editor, 5 is missing more parts then I can remember and they still don't have a working CMS. If you where running version 4 with CMS you can't upgrade, and when they do release version 5.1 most features of the version 4 CMS will not be ported over.

Then there is the upgrade path, talk about taking short cuts. If you run version 3.x you can't simply upgrade to 5. You have to upgrade to 4 then 5. It should be noted that upgrading to 4 is a disaster and then upgrading to 5 is even worst. Importers from other scripts (if you're dumb enough to move to vB's platform) starts at 3 or 4 then you upgrade again to 5. Have a large site, then vB will tell you 5 is not for you.

But wait, while you can't buy version 3 or 4, you do get them when you purchase 5 (can only use one not all three) 3 is still being supported because IBs sites run on it, 4 is dead, no developers are working on said version. 5 is some type of misery as now they are pushing their cloud version of 5, god only knows if or when they will resume the full download release of 5.

Demo, when it's up you can try it out but it's been down more time then up. If you like slow buggy, inconsistent flow vB 5 is for you.

Then there is the lack of any communications from anyone in charge. All you have is rude and arrogant support staff going around to all the forum admin sites trying to convince everyone it's the customers fault. The main forums (which is only a hand full of site actually running vB5 is slow as hell and you should clear your cache at every page load - as every error is met with support telling you to clear your cache.

Road map - nope
Using standard software development practices and terms - nope
Knows what the customer wants - nope
Uses their own latest and greatest (their term) - nope
Product managers that interact with their customers - nope
Have a problem or bug, let customer support know - nope (you have to submit it to Jira)
Want a refund when you find out the software and support is total crap - nope

There are much better and cheaper solutions out there from both free and paid competitors. That will also listen to your issues (and fix them asap) as well as provide updated road maps, and actually listen to their customers.

Note that you only get 30 days support with your purchase and when it takes months before they fix even the smallest bugs/issues you're out of luck because the rest of the product is falling apart, that you won't be able to get support

While I still run my forums on vB3.8, I also have a lic for 4 that I could never use because just when it was looking like they where turning that product around (granted it took them over 2 years) they moved all devs (whats left of them, last count is at 4) to version 5connect. Now that 5 cloud is out, who knows when they'll have time for version 5 connect.

Stay far far away from anything vBulletin does or at least wait 2-3 years for it to become somewhat workable, then again by then they will pull the rug out from under you and move all their devs to the next disaster.
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Poorly Written Software Causes Many Many Duplicate Content Issues

VBulletin basically does the job of a forum software, but leaves issue undetected at first, that should be revealed before purchasing. Most of the issue cannot be seen by the general public, as they are hidden in the password protected user area. None of their software will validate via the W3, which to me, clearly means that the programmers are not concerned with testing their software to make sure it is written to standards and does not contain basic underlying errors.

Much much worse, is that the forum produces page after page of duplicate content, because every page can be addressed in many ways. Your Google webmaster tools account will very shortly be filled with duplicate Title tags and Duplicate Descriptions and there is literally nothing you can do about it. VBulletin's response was to create a new version 5, instead of fixing the issues with version 4 first. To their credit, they do seem to be continuing to work on V4.


The support team seems to be working hard to try and help, but they do not appear to be supported by the programmers, so any issue that has any type of complexity to it, will not be solved. At least that has been my experience.

If VBulletin were cheap software, I would not complain to much, but it is quit expensive, so you would think it would be very well written as such. Unfortunately it is programmed more like cheap software, with obvious and seriously written flaws.

I cannot recommend VBulletin, nor can I advise against it, since I cannot recommend any other software that might be better, although I would think there would be. Should you decide to purchase, be aware of the duplicate content issues, that you will face. I would run any of there forum pages through the W3 validator, so you can get a feel for the quality or lack there of, also.
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Terrible! Simply Terrible!

I just need a simple forum for my website, and I thought vBulletin would be a good idea since it's very popular.
When I tried to order the forum and I paid $400 for the full package, as I wanted mobile users to view the forum as well ... then all the troubles started.

Firstly, I used my debit card and it was declined but the charge was taken (I am not sure if it will be authorized or not but the screen showed the card was declined). So I tried another card and it also got declined .... I tried it again ensuring all the details are there but it got declined .... so I used PayPal even though it costs me more to convert to USD but I said PayPal would be the solution, and it worked.

Now after the payment was made, I followed the installation step by step and I couldn't get to install the forum on my website!
So I contacted the support through their ticket system and I barely got answers that helped me! I am now left frustrated after being their customer for barely a few days and I see their refund policy states once you download the software you can't claim a refund - that is so disgusting!!

I am so so upset with this company!!
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A once bright star that has fallen dim...

Let me preface by saying that I've been a vBulletin customer for over 10 years.

vBulletin, at one time, was the pinnacle of forum software. Gradually however, it has completely lost its way among other forum software competitiors. In my opinion, the fall started when it was aquired by Internet Brands a few years ago. Most of the original vBulletin founders and creators left the company, leaving it to careless corporate management and incompetent developers.

That said, the problems started with the incarnation of VB4, which debuted under the new management and developers. It was basically an update of previous software code written by the vBulletin founders. That's when the problems started however, when the new incompetent developers started adding to and mangling the original code. It has gradually became useable forum software, but is still very server resource intensive and bug riddled. Not to mention, no major updates have been made to it in almost a year. Coincidentally, development seemed to cease on VB4 around the time VB5 development came into full force, thus customers using VB4 were left in the dark.

That brings us to the newest vBulletin incarnation, VB5. Needless to say, VB5 is shockingly awful. Seemingly written by coding amateurs, it's buggy, slow as molasses, server intensive and lacks a tremendous amount of features that VB4 offered. Also lately, new versions seem to be rolling out at a snails pace, with little in the way of improvements. It's basically a shell of what vBulletin once was.

To add to the fire, vBulletin employees also seem to have issue in dealing with their paying customers. As one myself, I've personally been treated very condescendingly by the staff/moderators. They seem to have no professional regard for what they say, with little to no common courtesy. Posts in the vBulletin forums that don't praise them or the company seemingly either disappear or are closed by the staff, thus leaving hardly no way to give advice toward improving the software. Also, often very snide remarks are made by staff before a thread closure.

To sum it up, if I were in the market for forum software, I would NOT use vBulletin. There are many great alternatives out there for much cheaper prices, a ton more features and staff who care and aren't flat out rude...
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A formerly great software rode into the ground by lousy management.

Was a long time user of this software. Version 3.x was the premiere software at the time it was released. Since then, with new owners, new developers, and (just as important), serial departures of staff- developers, customer service reps, project managers, and marketing folks, this software needs a post-mortem. Not only does the current software version (5.x) not work in a production environment, but they never fulfilled their promises about what would be delivered in 4.x (after promising many features, when new staff came on board, they disavowed ever making the promises).

In short, the current state of vBulletin is a mockery of what it once was. If the phrase "Buyer Beware" ever had a more applicable meaning than for those who might buy this software, I can't imagine what it might be.

If you buy this software, understand that they will not guarantee that it will work, and if you want a refund, they will deny it as they have a policy that once you download it, you bought it (though, this seems to fly in the face of consumer protection laws...some have reported success with disputing charges with their credit card issuer).

If I could give a lower rating than one star, I would. If you have the misfortune of buying this software, I feel bad for you.
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Use to be the best. now the worst forum comapny on the web

What was once considered the gold standard is not one of the worst products being sold on the internet. Not sure where to start, but if you do buy this software, do you're self a favor and read the licensed feedback section (hidden unless your a customer) on their forums before you download the software. The reason being is once you download the software you can't request a refund and if you're not a customer you can't read about all the unhappy customers they have until you buy their product.

I would also highly recommend you try and use their own forums on the official vBulletin site before you buy. It should also be noted that their own parent company does not use the latest on any of their own forums, let alone most of their own sites are still running the old Jelsoft version (3.x) because for some reason they don't have confidence to use their own software. Granted they will tell you that those forums are heavily modified and can't be upgraded. Which brings us to the next point, if their own forums are heavily modified you can never upgrade them. I say it's a company not willing to eat their own dog food.

Then there is their current management staff and developers (those who are left). Sr. management doesn't have a clue on running or using a forum. Why else would they not frequent their own support forums. The one Product Manager who actually asked questions in the forums has left or been fired. However staff will say he was not management (confused so are so many others). Try and find his thread asking for suggestions on what to fix next...... yes asking what to fix next. you could start with all the bugs you're required to post in their bug tracker. They don't accept bug posts in their forums. They will tell you it has to go in the tracker or they will not be fixed.

Did I mention you should try their support forums yourself? That's, when the server they are running on, is not down because of broken hardware. Seems those SSD drives don't help with the speed of their site or the longevity of the server itself. You have SSDs on your shared or dedicated server don't you?

What about support, you're 30 day ticket support starts when you download the software. You may not have it installed yet, might be waiting for all those features that where promised (hey we now how that worked out with vB4x) or for the software to actually work. Can't get it installed, then their professional installation may help. Underline "MAY". But before letting them download it for you, make sure if they can't get it installed (as long as you meet the requirements) make sure they will refund you both the installation fee and the software fee.

Don't want their latest half working, slow and feature missing product called vB5, and would like vB 3 (recommended and still unofficially supported from them - really a unsupported product but seeing as all their sites still run this version they still release fixes and updates when they need it) or vB4.x (granted does not work with the latest ie and php and still missing all those features) you're in luck.. well not luck but vB can only sell you the full vB5 but you can downgrade (price not software) your purchase by installing one of the lesser products. confused again, welcome to the wonderful word of vB

My advice stay far away and look elsewhere.
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Why do they hide the complaints in the Licensed Customer Feedback Forum?

As far as the software goes, go ahead and try it out yourself at vBulletin.COM. You will see how slow, buggy and SEO unfriendly this software is.

If this software is so great then how come NONE of the other Internet Bands owned forum have upgraded to vBulletin 5?

If you are searching for opinions of vBulletin 5 on vBulletins site, you won't find any if you don't already have a vBulletin license, as anyone who gives their opinion about the state of vBulletin and their software has their post moved to the hidden Licensed Customer Feedback Forum.

Why are they hiding the feedback?

If you look at the posts below the 5 star posts are written by vBulletin employees... yet if you went to any of these employees own personal forums, I doubt you would find a single one actually using vBulletin 5. Why is that? Yet they come here and say all these glowing things about it?

If you take a look and see the games these clown are playing and they way they are treating their customers, you would never want to give them your money.

If you are looking for forum software, I would take a good hard look at Xenforo or IP Board. Again I wouldn't waste my money of vBulletin, which is sad as a few years ago, I would have told you not to think twice about getting vBulletin.
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VB a load of crap.

As a VB customer for a number of years I was happy to TRUST VB and paid for an upgrade from VB3 To VB4. Some small problems, but I wanted any extra security I could get. So far so good.

When VB 5 came out I checked and was appalled to see how IB and VB had launched an incomplete version to apparently hit a deadline with scant regard for their customers.
I think we have all seen what a total flop VB is.

Regarding the support on VB.org. Many are PAID employees of VB, some are volunteers and are to be applauded for using their own time to assist customers.

However there are major faults with the way VB.org operates. Many of the mods and admins seem more concerned with showing off about how they have the buttons and can "show" the members and VB customers who is in charge. Than actually help them.
With frequent deletions of valid comments and banning of any who they feel are not posting complimentary things about VB or them.

What stands out clearly: Some of the members and customers who complained about the crap that is VB5 were chastised in public and called stupid for actually trusting VB and purchasing their product! WTF!!!

So much for the ethics of the staff of VB.

My personal recommendation is that anyone who is thinking of purchasing any VB product look elsewhere.
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Don't Buy! vBulletin is not what it use to be..

vBulletin was a great product 3-4 years ago but it’s filled with bugs and dated code now. The current version “vBulletin 5” really just needs to be completely rewritten. There are literally 100’s of reported bugs that the developers know about as well as major missing functions from the vBulletin 4 series like the CMS. This was pushed hard in the vBulletin 4 sales days as the more expensive vBulletin Suite package. I have around 100 active clients right now that all run vBulletin 3 or 4. I’ve had a few that have been interested in upgrading so we’ll setup a development site. I put countless hours into upgrading vBulletin 3 or 4 to the current version vBulletin suggest (5.x) and then I let them play with it for a week or two. I’ve yet to get any positive feedback; it’s too slow, error messages all over the place and missing integral functions from previous versions.

It’s sad really; vBulletin was once a flagship company, but that all left in late 2009 when it was bought out by Internet Brands. The lead developers got fired or left within a few months and there has been a LOT of turnover since then as far as project managers and those in charge of development.

If you have money to blow and want to see what $300 will get you, go for it. If you want to do a little research on forums other than vBulletin.com (unlicensed members don’t see the feedback forum) you’ll see that there are a lot of longtime forum owners out there that have tried to switch to vBulletin 5 because the promo emails were saying it’s so great and then realized it was a complete disaster. You see large threads from the members complaining about browser issue, slow load time and missing functions that they had been used to.

If you read this a year from now then it may have given vBulletin enough time to fix everything and it may be a stable product, that’s what happened with vBulletin 4. Sales were pushed hard (just like vb5) and the script was sold as gold, about 18 months before it was ready. The difference this time is it’s the public’s job to report bugs in the software. You have to use the jira ticketing system which is complicated for the average Joe to figure out. You’re actually paying $300 for a basic forum script, and then you have to spend your time reporting all the bugs while your forum runs at a crawl.. go figure
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My forum is the lifeblood of my business and I picked VB5 - Don't know if I was wrong.

I bought VB5 looked like a slick finished product, got expensive hosting, got it professionally installed. I spent a lot of money generating content, driving traffic and then in one instance my forum collapses. I panic - I kept my VB5 stock, did not change a thing, except for follow all instructions for updates. Now, I have to buy support packages to fix my problems. If you are not a technical person, and you expect VB5 to be an investment, it's not. It's a liability. It's better to use an older version of VB or another solution. VB5 needs another year of bug fixes or everyone needs to anti-up and start a class action. I work for a major auto company that has released cars that fell under class action. It just takes one motivated pissed off person who knows a lawyer or a pissed off VB customer that happens to be a lawyer - maybe it will bring down and bankrupt the company, and give rise to a better solution.
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How are they in business?

I placed an order and payment was taken. (confirmed by my credit card company).

vbulletin emailed me to say payment was declined and no reason give.

NOT TRUE

They then emailed to say they were refunding the payment and wait 7 days.
Vbulletin

Reply from Vbulletin

Hello Andy, your order was automatically declined by our system due to information that was left blank; in your case, the name field was left blank. A refund has been processed for your order.
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Absolute no idea what customers want and untrustworthy

I have been a customer with this company for some time now. With the release of vBulletin 4 people trusted the company completely, but at the moment it seems that this trust is gone now even with me.

It all started with the releases 4.0 to 4.0.8 does releases where not so good they tried to fix stuff but there was no logic into the fixing done. The biggest example is the style system including the stylevars. The fixes where spread into 2 to 3 releases so that meant people needed to adjust the template system a few times if you where unlucky. In that time period many style developers left the vBulletin scene. After 4.0.8 it got a bit better but fixing the issues concentrated on forum only parts the CMS, Blog, Album and Social Groups where for the most part ignored. At the same time a manager [name] (Vice President of Technology) presented a plan what was coming for vBulletin 4 a very long list and impressive list was presented vBulletin users where impressed, but after a year only a handful of items where done we asked but nothing at all no comments where made. That all changed when [name] stopped working for vBulletin the next manager came and just said flat out that [name] could not have given does items because it was never made in a official announcement and he was not in a position to ever make such promises. So we asked what is an official announcement then well with company logo's etc etc etc, to this day all announcements made by vBulletin is without those logo's.

The vBulletin 4 software is not stable at all there still flaws in the CMS if you use it you will get penalty on SEO because of duplicate content on the website. After 3 years its still not fixed. If you use special chars in a line you can also run into trouble (same in the new vBulletin 5). The software is slow its not fully optimized by vBulletin.

The only thing what vBulletin has is support staff they are very good in what they do, but they are in depended contractors. Without the support staff that they have now vBulletin would be in much trouble.
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No hope left for vBulletin

Oh I wish that vBulletin would just be a good company that makes a good product. Because if they succeed, then I succeed. The fact of the matter is though, I have experienced nothing but a headache with vBulletin starting with vB4. The CMS is totally crap and needs to be fixed on many important levels. Sure you can post a article and edit an article. But when you create an article, it automatically creates a forum thread and a CMS URL for that same article. This results in a duplicate URL and Google penalizes your site's SEO. Therefore, your CMS articles don't show up well in Google. This can be crippling for a site. Wordpress is lightyears ahead of vBulletin in this regard.

I've created multiple instances in JIRA (vBulletin's bug reporting program) and nothing has been done to fix anything. It's been almost a years since the last update.

I've also had vBulletin support argue with me over my suggestions to fix the issues I've been experiencing. I feel like they are working against me all the time.

If you are considering getting any vBulletin products, I would advise against doing so for at least a couple years. Al least until you can see whether they are able to turn themselves around or not.
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Was the best until 2009, but then the developers left and it's been rubbish since

We are still using vBulletin 3.8 having been a vBulletin customer since 2001.
It used to be the market leading software with good reason,
but in 2009 the original development team left (all but one) and the replacement coding and management team has been very poor.
What was needed in 2009 was a complete rewrite.
However vBulletin 4 was vBulletin 3 with code 'updates', and vBulletin 5 connect is vBulletin 4 with code 'updates'.
It took years before vBulletin 4 was considered a reasonable forum solution, and vBulletin 5 is truly terrible. Way too many queries and css definitions. Full of bugs just like vB4 was on release.
We're migrating away from vBulletin as soon as possible, having seen that vBulletin 5 is not a viable product.
In summary. vBulletin used to be the best. Now it's terrible. AVOID.
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Notice all the reviews here are by people with 1 review and the same names as their staff?

vBulletin is a hell hole. I really dont need to say any more. If you are stupid enough to buy a license from them then more fool you.

All I will say is look into their custom reviews (the real ones, not the fake ones on here). You'll quickly see why large customers such as [external references] are/have moved away from vBulletin.

The product is seemingly no longer released when its stable, its released on a fixed date. So if its not finished, its still released.

vB 5.0.0 was released earlier this week. It's been a 100% failure. Even the most basic of features are gone, and its riddled with bugs. Their solution? Buy it now for a "massive" $25 discount and then in the future they may fix the problems.

The marketing spin speaks of vB5.0.0 being the best forum software around, despite basic features such as infractions, proper moderation, proper mobile support and such being absent.

When the developers miss something as obvious as a poll managing to work out that 10+10 = 21 then you know that there is something not quite right with the way the software is being managed.

Oh and then there's the lawsuit. Internet Brands (owners of vBulletin) tried sueing [external reference], a competitor started by former employees. Have a quick look into this and you'll see that so far everything they have claimed against [external reference] and its developers has been complete fud.

Bottom of the line, the company is scum. They locked down the licensed customer feedback so you cant see all the complaints. The forum is full of them.

Use [external reference] - both are made by way better development teams and dont fob you off with lies.

Vbulletin Details

About this company

If you’re looking to build an online community, perhaps you should look into vBulletin forum software. vBulletin has been the world’s leading software for 10+years. The software is developed with high level security, powerful administration features, and quick speed with top notch tech support.

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