When it comes to the world of Social Networking software, many people constantly ask themselves should I build my social network with phpFox or SocialEngine. It is a very good question and as someone who has worked with both social networking software platforms I wanted to weigh in with my opinion. When I first started building my social networking sites I did a lot of research and began with SocialEngine. The main reason being was it was and still is the most used platform for building community sites.
SocialEngine is a great social networking script. It allowed me to build and easily customize many websites that I had built with it over the years. Since it is the largest social networking software platform it was also very easy to find awesome third party add-ons that were already in existence in the marketplace. Pretty much anything I ever needed to make my sites look different and not like n out of the box SocialEngine site is available which is nice since I did not want my members to know what software I had used to build the online communities. Getting support with SocialEngine is also a painless process. Opening a support ticket only takes a few minutes and the support staff are excellent about assisting with issues! Finding help outside of the official SocialEngine ticketing system is also easy with a lot of forums and websites dedicated to the SocialEngine platform. When it comes to building and customizing a SocialEngine site, no programming knowledge is necessary. If you do happen to have a background in programming it can only help as you can build your own custom themes and add-ons for either just your site, or you can list them for sale in the marketplace. Using the back end of SocialEngine is simple. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Documentation sections of the SocialEngine website also goes into a lot of detail when it comes to installing and customizing your social network.
As time went by I wanted to expand my horizons a bit and decided to give phpFox a try. Since then I have not looked back. The phpFox platform is the best bang for your buck when it comes to social networking software on the market today. If you are a beginner looking to get your feet wet with a small community phpFox has a lite license which gives you enough features to launch a social network. They also offer a Network option which has a lot more features built in to improve the functionality of your network. Lastly they offer their full on package with every feature included in their Community edition of the script. This licensing model is nice as it allows people to either start small and scale up with a tiny investment. Most social networking software providers charge a huge amount upfront just to enter the world of social networking and this is one of the nice benefits of phpFox.
phpFox also has a good following when it comes to people using and developing for the platform. They have their own public and private forum on the site in which people can ask questions, post ideas for add-ons, and obtain free themes and add-on. Additionally phpFox has a first party add-on feature request section as well as a bug tracker. If someone suggests a cool new feature and other members of the community like it, they can vote for it to be part of a future release of phpFox. The bug tracker helps the developers find and fix bugs with minor revision releases of phpFox which helps keep users site running without security issues. The phpFox website also has a marketplace with popular add-ons and themes that you can utilize to customize your site and make it look completely unique. As with SocialEngine, you do not need to have any programming or web design experience to run a successful social network. All of the customization is done within the back end Admin Control Panel (AdminCP). The AdminCP has tons of options to tinker with and might be a bit overwhelming at first. Luckily phpFox has done an awesome job with their documentation to assist with all configuration of your site. Once you get the hang of the AdminCP things become a snap! Also the user forum can typically provide a quick answer to any question about the AdminCP. The phpFox support staff are also excellent. They have a quick turnaround time and even logged into one of my servers once to resolve an issue that was not related to the script itself.
If you want to know whether to chose phpFox or SocialEngine I would recommend phpFox. The main reason for phpFox is the cost over SocialEngine. The Lite edition sells for $99.00, Network edition is $199, and the fully featured Community edition is $299. If you look at SocialEngine’s pricing platform, the starter edition retails for $299.00 and has less features than the Community edition of phpFox. From their, SocialEngine has a Professional Edition selling for $449, and an Advanced Edition for $699. When it comes to support, phpFox also gives you 6 months to begin with whereas SocialEngine only provides 30 days with the Started and Professional package and 60 days with Advanced. The phpFox community is also a great one stop shop. You can view the community forum, checkout the marketplace and post and vote on feature requests all from the same site. SocialEngine does not have a public forum built in which requires you to go to third part forums to a community feel. SocialEngine also lacks a feature request system and bug tracker. phpFox is also so confident in their product that their website is designed to run on the phpFox script. When you create an account you are doing so within the phpFox platform. When viewing and posting in the forums, they are using the same forum technology built into their social networking software.
We have detailed reviews on both phpFox and SocialEngine. Check out the phpFox review and SocialEngine review for a deeper dive into both platforms. In my personal opinion though, if your looking for an awesome social networking script that is fully featured and sold at a fair price you need to check out phpFox.