PHPFox Review: PHPFox is a Great Social Networking Script / Platform
I can’t say enough about how thankful I am that I am using PHPFox for my Social Networking Site. A few years ago one of my employees built a very complex social networking site for a client of mine using PHPFox. It worked great, and had every function the client needed. When it came to building my Online Community a little over a month ago I was grateful to see PHPFox was still around.
PHPFox is a very sophisticated platform you can just buy “off the shelf”, and deploy exceedingly easily. I bought it for $300, uploaded the files to a dedicated server I am leasing, and within 45 minutes was accepting beta testers. In FORTY FIVE minutes I went from giving PHPFox my credit card number, to accepting Beta Testers. Although I had used the platform almost 5 years ago now, I hadn’t touched it since. It was so easy to setup that it was literally running and accepting members in less then an hour. Over the past month and a half I have had to learn more about the back end functionality, and have had to make some administrative changes, but I honestly can’t believe I’ve put more then 3 hours of real administration into the site. It has been running along very well, and now has almost 1200 members.
I chose PHPFox over other solutions for a number of reasons. First and foremost I chose it because they offer REAL support. As a technology business person I know how valuable it is to be able to contact someone if your site crashes. As a computer guy I will try to maintain the site myself, and I don’t want to spend money on someone doing basic maintenance, but it’s nice to know that if I run into a real problem I can give someone my credit card number and know it will be fixed.
Beyond that PHPFox has an active developer community that has a number of modules and plugins already available, and if you need something special created they can build it for you.
Once you have PHPFox up and running you get a complete Social Networking Site. At the end of the day PHPFox is basically a clone of Facebook. You can create Forums, “Friend” other members, Chat, create Events, Create “Pages” for Groups or Companies, and a lot more. Generally the front end is easy to use and intuitive for new members who join your Community. On the back end PHPFox allows for a lot of control. It has a built in Advertising Module, allows you to ban Members by name, email address or IP Address and has a surprising amount of logging built in. The only “difficult” section I have found is trying to create and modify Menus. The Menu administration can get to a bit frustrating and not as simple as it seems it should be.
After running PHPFox for around a month and a half I have found the only additional module I have wanted is CometChat. With the high end version of CometChat my members can now do Voice and Video Chat, share desktops/ files and more. It was a $500 but was worth every dime. So now I have a very powerful site that easily supports thousands of users for $800 and the cost of my dedicated server. I honestly can’t ask for much more and am happy that PHPFox is still around and seems to be doing well.
My only “warning” is that I would not put PHPFox on a Shared Hosting Plan. It may “work”, but I can’t imagine it will work well under any kind of real world load.
You can check out my community built with PHPFox here: http://www.ETCGCommunity.com
And you can look at PHPFox here: http://phpfox.com/