If you would like to convert one or more of your legacy licenses to a Standard license, we will do that for you for free. When the license is converted, we would set an expiration on the license for when you would need to renew it. During that time, you would get the benefits of having a Standard license at no additional cost.
Lifetime license converted to Standard, the license would expire a year after it was converted.
Perpetual license converted to Standard, we would add 6 months to it's current expiration.
Keep in mind that once converted, the licenses would reach a point of expiring and would need to be renewed, $25 for 6 months.
So if you purchase a new Standard license and decide you like the benefits of it (Spam Monitoring Service, free 5 user chat, Visual Skin Editor, etc), then you can convert your other licenses to get the benefits with those as well.
As mentioned, IPB doesn't integrate with PHPnuke on it's own. You would need to have someone design a script that would make this possible. You could try asking on the PHPnuke site for support for this, as someone else may have already done the same thing you are wanting to do.
You mention about a new front end, is this just for the forums or for other parts of your site as well? Perhaps if we knew your goals, we could provide you with a better response.
If you're looking to replace PHPnuke altogether, you can certainly do that with our IP.Content add-on app, although to be honest, as you mentioned you're not a web designer nor a coder, it's likely not for you. Again though, if we knew more about your plans, we may be better able to assist you.
There's really not much to worry about. If someone steals your license key, it wouldn't do them any good even if your license is active, especially if you have your license key associated with your community's URL. They would not benefit from support or any other services from having the key. In essence, the key is useless to everyone except the owner.
If you purchase or sell a used license, you do run the risk of being scammed out of money. If you send someone money for it and they don't give you the details for the account, then you're out of the money you sent. If you accept money and send someone the account details only to later lose the funds because they used a stolen card or account, then again, you're out of the money.
Even if nothing bad happens, we discourage such transactions. If you proceed with such a transaction and something bad happens, we will not be able to help you in the matter.
It's also important to keep in mind that we don't transfer licenses from one account to another. If someone isn't offering their entire account for sale, but instead an individual license from it, then that won't even be possible. It's all or nothing. So that's another thing to be careful about.
When you sign up here, your email address also becomes your account for making purchases and vice-versa. Sign into the client area (link at top of this page, on the far left) using the email address and password that you created for this community. After you've done that, click on this link and you can make your purchase.
You would simply submit a ticket to billing and they will generate an invoice for the difference for the upgrade. Once that's paid and you reply back to the ticket, they'll update your plan. There are no service charges for upgrading your plan.
The benefit of the demo system is that you can get a feel for the ACP and what options are available, as well as being able to test things out before deciding if you are going to make a purchase or not. It's not like software that you download where it gives you full options for X days and then you have to purchase a license to continue.
The thing about the Starter 5 plan is that it doesn't provide you with the chat service. If that doesn't bother you, then it's a good place to start.
The development/testing site can be publicly accessible, just it cannot turn into another active community. Sometimes you need to do this, for example when you're planning to perform an upgrade need help testing out settings or a new mod/app, you might invite some select members from the live site to help you out. I do recommend using .htaccess to password protect the development install, so that you can better control who can access it. Otherwise you might check on it one day and find that half your community is active on your development site.
For passwords, I suggest getting it set up ahead of time. Have one 'master' ID/password that you would use of course. Then have one for your staff and then have about 12 random ID's and passwords that you can give out as needed. Then once a month, remove the one currently being used and give out the new one for your 'testers' to use. Helps to prevent unwanted people from sneaking in because of the ID/password being leaked.
Asked someone that deals with hosting and to summarize it... It really depends on how many people and posts you are expecting to have. For example, a million members and 10million posts, maybe 2 or 3 servers, with 10k members and 100k posts, maybe a VPS.
If you haven't got a community running already, then what I recommend depends on how you want to proceed.
1. Hosted by us, start out on the Basic 10 plan and as your needs grow, you can upgrade your plan. If you reach a point where you will soon need to go to one of our advanced hosting plans, then you could start researching hosting companies for their VPS/Dedicated hosting plans to support your community. You might decide to remain hosted by us or you might prefer to be hosted elsewhere, but by this point you'd have a better idea of your needs and we should be able to give you more accurate advice on what your needs would be.
2. Own a license, start out on a shared hosting plan on a good/reliable host. If you're not going to get hosted by us, we recommend using Hostgator and you can use a coupon code INVISIONPOWER to get your first month free (up to $9.95 I believe).
3. Both of the above. Some people are hosted by us despite owning full licenses to the board. The benefit here is that they get the add-ons to use for free while also having unencoded IPB files so they can make modifications to the core product. (Hosted files are encoded.)
I personally recommend the first option. Gives you time to learn the software and develop your community while also trying out the different apps. Then if you decide to move away from us, you'll know which add-ons you want to purchase to take with you.
As for who offered it to you, in all fairness, they may be good for their word/offer, but for all involved, it's just easier to purchase it directly. Once they've made the payment to you, then you've got the money. Then when you make the purchase with us, if there happens to be any issues (we sometimes get false positives on our fraud checks and we need to review them manually), it'll be between you and our billing department. Much easier than you being in the dark while we try to sort it out with a third person. Not saying this will happen, only a good example of why it's better to not have a one person paying for another. Better to keep it simple. So if they wonder why you'd prefer payment so you can make the purchase, just let them know it's easier for everyone that way.