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What is YaBB?

Are you looking for a simple forum for your site that doesn’t require databases or PHP hypertext preprocessor (PHP)? YaBB may be your solution. YaBB, launched in the year 2000, stands for Yet Another Bulletin Board. Though many forum programs are written in PHP, YaBB is one of the few written in Perl. It stores data in discrete flat files, rather than a database. It is open source and licensed under its own YaBB Public License (a modified general public license). Version 2.6.11 of YaBB was released in December of 2014.

What is YaBB used for?

Forums are a great way for any website to build a community. Once the community is in place it can serve any number of functions. Forums are a great way to build a support community for your product or service., or just to provide a place for users to interact.

Although YaBB is a free software package, it provides features and functionality that rival paid forum applications. YaBB is designed to make it easy to set up a forum that grows to become a vital part of your website, or even to be used as a stand alone website on it’s own. In addition to a forum discussion area YaBB allows users to chat directly either in real-time or using private messages that users see the next time the log in to the forum.

Building a digital community is one of the most effective ways get customers to come back to your site, or to provide much-needed technical support for users in a way that isn’t expensive and cumbersome.

What is unique about YaBB?

YaBB is one of the few forum software packages that is written in Perl, and one of the few that doesn’t require a database. This makes setting up YaBB simpler than manual setup of a forum application that does require a database.

YaBB features a navigation menu on every page. Users post to the forum with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor, with notification, image, and media embedding options. YaBB also offers easy social-media integration. Forum members can manage their profiles and signatures through their own control panels. Other features include, but are not limited to: spam filtering, RSS feeds, printer-friendly format, template styling, and full administration and moderator options.

The default language for YaBB is English, but translation packs are available for several other languages.

What does YaBB cost?

The license specifies that YaBB is free to use, provided the copyright information remains in place. Site licenses to use YaBB are not required unless you make certain specific modifications such as removing the copyright information or changing the executable file name. You may modify the software, as long as you’re able to share the modification and the main executable name is unchanged. You may also purchase licenses to remove the copyright and rename the executable if you prefer.

If you do want to remove the copyright information or rename the executable file (will appear as YaBB.pl in the url if not renamed) you can buy a special license. As of May 2015 the cost for a license to remove the copyright was $150, and a license to rename the executable was $50.

Why choose YaBB?

Do you know Perl and prefer to work with it rather than PHP? Would you rather avoid databases? If you do prefer Perl and wish to avoid databases YaBB may be your best bet for a full-featured forum software package.

What are some alternatives to YaBB?

While there aren’t a lot of current alternatives to YaBB written in Perl there are many other forum software packages out there. Some popular options include:

  • Yet Another Forum (YAF.NET): A popular ASP.NET forum application.
  • phpBB: A popular open-source forum application written entirely in PHP.
  • MyBB: Freeware forum software that uses PHP and MySQL.
  • Simple Machine Forum (SMF): An easily-customizable free open-source forum application. That was created as a spin-off of the original version of YaBB converted from Perl to PHP
  • Vanilla: Free and customizable open-source forum software - also available as a hosted service (paid deployment).

How do I install YaBB?

YaBB must be installed on your hosting account. In order to install YaBB you need to know how to upload files using FTP and how to set file permissions on your webserver. If you want to edit the forum template files, which you probably do, you’ll need basic HTML and CSS skills as well. You don’t need to know any Perl to use YaBB, but having basic Perl knowledge will make customizing the forum much easier. To edit any Perl, HTML, or CSS files you will also need a text editor.

In order to run YaBB your hosting account will need to be offered with Perl 5.10 (or higher) installed on the server. You will also need CGI.pm v2.4+ and Socket.pm modules installed on the server, and at least 2 MB of diskspace (10 MB recommended). You should check with your hosting provider if you aren’t sure if your hosting account meets all of these requirements.

Hosting plans aren’t generally geared toward forum hosting (or YaBB in particular). However, some hosting providers offer simple installation or pre-installation of forum software when you purchase one of their plans. Before proceeding with manual installation check to make sure YaBB isn’t offered as a one-click install script by your hosting provider.

If you already have Web hosting that fits the requirements for installation, you may download YaBB via SourceForge and install it yourself. Just be sure to consult your provider before installation to help minimize any potential problems.

Server Requirements

YaBB is compatible with Unix, Linux, Mac, Win NT, Win 95/98/ME, Win 2k, and WinXP operating systems. YaBB just requires Perl (version 5.10 or higher), CGI.pm v2.4+ and Socket.pm modules installed on the server, and at least 2 MB of diskspace (10 MB recommended). Most shared servers offer the necessary modules to run Perl but check with your hosting provider if you aren’t sure.

Question & Answers

What is the benefit to having a forum that doesn’t require a database?

Some basic hosting plans don’t offer databases. YaBB is one of the few options that might still be a viable forum option for a site hosted on a hosting account that does not include datbases. Also, some hobbyist forum administrators are more comfortable dealing with YaBB’s flat file system than with an SQL database.

There are lots of PHP forum options, but few Perl options. Why isn’t Perl as popular a programming language as PHP?

PHP is a programming language built specifically for generating web pages. PHP has lots of built-in functionality that makes it an easy choice for creating web sites. As a result, even though it’s generally considered to be a little challenging to work with, PHP is one of the most popular programming languages on the web, and is supported by virtually all shared-server hosting plans. There are more PHP applications available as a result of this built-in web functionality and vast hosting support.

Will YaBB ever support relational databases?

Future versions of YaBB (3.0+) are planned to include support for MySQL databases or optional use of the current flat-file database system. There is no current timetable for the release of a version of YaBB that uses MySQL databases.

YaBB Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is the target YaBB user?

    YaBB, also known as Yet Another Bulletin Board, is a software program meant for those who want to add a forum to their website, but don’t have the knowledge and expertise to deal with advanced technical details. Furthermore, it is for those who do not want to use PHP or databases to get started.

  • What is the history of YaBB?

    YaBB has been around for many years, as it began serving customers in 2000. Unlike many forum applications that are written in PHP, YaBB took a different approach and is written in Perl. Over the years, many versions of the program have been released, with the most recent making it ways to users in October 2012.

  • Is YaBB open source?

    YaBB is open source. It is licensed under a modified general public license. With this, users are able to customize the software to meet their every need. Additionally, it allows anybody to install the software without a fee. This is in contrast to many forum applications that require a licensing or use fee.

  • Is YaBB compatible with all operating systems?

    At this time, YaBB is compatible with the following operating systems: Unix, Linux, Mac, Win NT, Win 95/98/ME, Win 2k, and WinXP. This makes it possible for most people to easily install the application.

  • Is YaBB available in more than one language?

    The default language is English, however, it is available in many other languages. This has helped the program become popular with a variety of users, not just those in English speaking countries.

  • What are some of the most common features of YaBB?

    Every feature of YaBB is meant to bring more functionality to the application. Some features are more popular than others. Most importantly, forum members are able to post to the forum with a WYSIWYG editor, making it simple for everybody to get involved. Members also have the ability to manage their profiles and signatures thanks to a powerful control panel. Other features include RSS feeds, spam filtering, and template styling.

  • Is a special type of hosting plan required for YaBB?

    Most hosting plans are not built with forum hosting in mind. Even so, YaBB does not take up a lot of resources, meaning that most plans are able to accommodate its requirements. There are many free hosting companies that offer YaBB support. Some of the top paid companies include: Site5, LayerOnline, and Avahost.net.

  • Is YaBB compatible with your current hosting package?

    This depends on the server you are running and type of plan you have paid for. If you have a hosting plan, contact the company to discuss the requirements of installing YaBB. You may find that your server is capable of handling the requirements of YaBB. If so, you can download the files and install it within a matter of minutes. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to first consult with your hosting provider. This can help you avoid trouble with the installation.

  • Is service available for YaBB?

    If you have trouble installing YaBB via your hosting control panel, contact your provider to discuss your concerns. They may be able to troubleshoot the problem, allowing you to continue forth with the installation. YaBB also provides support via its official website. The YaBB Support Forum is a good place to turn for answers of frequently asked questions, advice, technical knowledge, and anything else you need to know.

  • Can you customize YaBB to fit your design style?

    This is another benefit of the program. You can customize every aspect of your forum, ensuring that it meets your stylistic requirements. It is simple to change everything from the appearance to the way the site functions.

  • Is YaBB known for its security?

    It is important for the forum software to include a high level of security, and YaBB definitely fits the bill. Some of the included security features are: banning tools, nofollow links, and encrypted usernames and passwords.

  • Is there another open source Perl forum software to consider?

    Yes. There are other forum software applications that are written in Perl, however, YaBB is the first and most popular. When it was designed, nobody else was using Perl for this purpose. Over time, thanks to the popularity and simplicity of YaBB, this all changed.

  • What is the best way to download YaBB?

    The official YaBB website is the best place to start. It lists all available downloads, which can be accessed via Sourceforge. In addition to the most recent version of the software, you can download prior versions if you have a reason for doing so.

  • Is YaBB ready for social integration?

    Yes. This forum software allows you to add social integration tools, a must have in today’s day and age.

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