Has anyone ever used or is using Community Server? It's basically a really expensive asp community server that includes forums/blogs/gallerys/downloads and documents. You can I believe download a limited copy for free however prices can go up to $1,899.00 and if you want their top hosted package that will cost you $299/mo :eek: Personally I'm not hooked, okay fair enough Community Server is made by Microsoft and the features are very powerful but im sorry but you wont be catching me spending $299/mo on forum software, I think i'll stick to either Vbull or phpbb

I believe that Tekmaven uses it, although he hasn't been around here in a very long time. I know him in real life so I'll see if I can get him to stop by this thread.

Hi, Cyfm!

I'm a Community Evangelist with Telligent Systems, the company behind Community Server, so my opinion is going to be biased. :-)

Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts about Community Server. A few numbers for the discussion pool: The $1899 you mentioned would include a year of what we call Gold Support, otherwise we'd be talking $1499 for a Professional License. With that there are several add-ons possible, like the ability to post to blogs through email, read forum posts with desktop applications like Outlook Express, that sort of thing. Here's the price and product page that gives you the whole breakout and here's a feature matrix if it helps.

These all have to do with hosting the site on your own server. The monthly Hosted Community Server option you mentioned is where everything is taken care of for you, upgrades, server hosting, etc. Hosted Community Server is still in beta, but has proven to be very popular so far.

The only other thing I thought I'd mention is that Community Server is not from Microsoft, but from Telligent Systems. Community Server runs on Windows and uses .NET as the architecture, but that's as far as it goes.

Good luck in your decision process and thanks so much for allowing me to provide some feedback to your post.

Best,
Dave Burke

Thanks for that usefull information dave,
I've always been interested in getting Community Server as it seems to me to be the best full featured system out their.

Could you tell me what the free version does not give? I'm guessing support and the add-on's you talked about, but with the free version is anything else limited?

Im seriously think about going with your hosted version (the plus package) would their be any chance of getting a free trail?

And I didn't know that about Community Server not being apart of Microsoft, I always thought because Microsoft use your product quite alot that they owned you, obviously not, my mistake, you must excuse me.

Thanks,

William

Forgiven for the Microsoft thing. :-)

As for restrictions in the free version, there are honestly very few. It's the Express Version column on the Product Features page. You can see for yourself what may be unavailable or restricted. The only real restriction is that the file gallery is limited to 50 files. The RSS Reader isn't really used much anymore (it's like a client feed reader on the server) so its restriction has little affect. The files limitation can be an issue though.

With the Standard License or above you can use (buy :-) the add-ons that make Community Server quite unparalleled as a community platform, IMO.

Another point that may or may not be of use to you is that all of the source code is available in the Express version if you download the SDK. With the source code you can customize it if you don't like it.

There isn't a free trial of the Hosted Version, but it's the very same application as the free (express) version of Community Server, just that it's already setup, hosted and maintained for you.

Another thing is that the community site of CS (communityserver.org) is the actual application itself. Everything you see at cs.org is what Community Server does. The same bits at cs.org go into the express version and every other version of Community Server.

I'm going long here, very sorry. Best advice is if you have a Windows IIS web server and database somewhere (or any $9.95 a month host account) you might want to download the free Express version of Community Server - the Web Installer version of CS 2.1. That's the easiest to install. If you have problems, ping me personally at davebu @ telligent.com and I'll be happy to help you.

Thanks,
Dave

Well, I'm the tekmaven that Dani was refering to :). I actually am biased too, because I also worked for Telligent Systems, Inc ;).

Community Server is an amazing web platform. The free version is comparable to vBulletin and Invison Board - based on ASP.NET / Microsoft SQL Server. It's highly customizable and expandable, and runs some of the largest community websites on the internet (and some huge blogs too).

Download the free express version, and give it a shot :-).

Thanks guys for you info :D It's been very helpfull, dave unfortunatly I dont have a windows server going spare ;) so would you reccomend me using Community Server hosting? Also if I was to get Community Server hosting (the plus package) what does it mean by 25 Forums? are we talking one big forum and then the little 'sub' forums make up the 25 or are you talking 25 Big Forums? Sorry If that sounds a little confusing.

My god everyone round here seems to work for Telligent Systems, Inc. Anyway once again thanks for all your help.

Oh and one more thing, if I was to get Community Server hosting would I get an ftp account?

Cyfm,

Telligent only has 60 employees, so you just got lucky. :-)

That would be 25 Big and "Little" Forums.

Yeap, FTP, Mail Gateway (to post to blogs by email), News support (to read forums in Outlook Express), everything in the enterprise version, essentially, except scaled back for the hosted version by gigabyte allocation, forum counts and so on.

Let me know if you need any more info or assistance.

Dave

I buzzed by the issue that you don't have a Windows server or familiar with Windows hosting. That's a definite factor and something to consider if going with a non-hosted version of Community Server. Regards.

You could also look into hosting this with a good web host who has lots of experience with hosting Community Server and can even setup your site for you like ASPnix :-)

Im glad we got the whole, big forum, small forum issue :P
Just a thought for who ever's in charge of CommunityServer.com try an FAQ on their, that would be good.

Also 'The Wizard' Im guessing you own or work for ASPnix?

Yes I work support for them and if you are talking about FAQ for Community Server there is the CS Docs and the User FAQ.

Or if you mean a FAQ application the forums can be used and setup to function as a FAQ.

Well about the FAQ thing basically I meant a some sort of FAQ on the communityserver.com site, this is the site that provides the hosting, answering such questions as do you get an FTP account, etc, etc.

Once again thanks for all your replies, theirs just two (and a bit :P) questions to go:

1). Will I be able to use the plugin's made avaiable at CommunityServer.org?

2). Is it possible to actually modify the community software (on the CS Hosting). You see if this is do able, I would want to change the registration form and also the video section of CS, I would of course hire out a trained proffesional to do so (all i know is php) but basically does it break any of the Terms of Service which comes with having a hosted account with CS.com?

Oh and one more thing dave, I saw on CS.com that you can ask for a custom package? Is this still going? As I'd like $200 /mo but at the moment all I can see is $49 package per month, $99 package per month and $299 package per month, the $299 package is a bit to big for my budget which is around $200 per month. But i'll contact Telligent Systems about that personally.

Thanks,

William

Hey, William.

We'll start at the end and work backwards. The custom packages you're describing have to do with higher-end communities requiring additional functionality not listed in the standard packages. I'll investigate that to be sure and if incorrect will report back. I'm sure they wouldn't apply to a "tweener" $200 a month package though. :-)

For both plugins and custom modifications to the core application I would recommend hosting the site yourself and going with someone skilled in Community Server to do the work for you.

Keep in mind that Hosted Community Server is still in beta and only a few weeks old, so we're working through the options and offerings. You raised some excellent points that we'll be looking at.

Hope to talk to you more about this if you need anything further.

Best,
Dave

I've used Community server on several projects and have been very happy with it. We've skinned it and also tried the default skin on low budget projects and it's been solid and reliable.

Definitely a good choice if you want more than just a forum.

I see that all of these posts are from 2006. Is there anyone out there using Community Server 2008? I'd like to hear some feedback regarding both editions of the platform.

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