I've used ExpressionEngine for a number of years now, it's my default choice for building any site. If a site is extremely simple, with a low budget, EE is overkill (we don't do many 'simple' sites at NTTS). It has to be or very complex for EE not to be suitable.
One great reason to use EE was the 'support', that solely came from the forums. EE actively monitored and answered tech questions but a lot of the time answers came from other developers helping out.
A strong reason to use a CMS that costs a license fee was the very active support, as opposed to a certain free 'CMS'. I was always confident I would find an answer somehow.
For me, posting to the forum was rare and a last resort. Most of the time I'd fix my own bugs and issues. The rest of the time I'd find the answer on the forum from somebody else with the same problem. Very rarely did I post something needing an answer from EllisLab directly, and usually it was an issue that couldn't be answered, DST anyone?
But along with EE's success the forum became unmanageable, or specifically, not cost effective. Having full-time paid staff constantly answering questions costs money. One answer would have been to increase the license cost. Selfishly I'm glad they didn't as I would have been subbing the more needy.
The forum is gone, long live the forum
In December 2012 EL stopped supporting the forum and moved to paid support. There was an option to try out support free for 3 months with your first license purchase.
Have you given us a chance to help you yet? Don’t forget, all license holders get 3 months EllisLab Support to try, no strings attached. To start your complementary 3 month support plan, just add Silver Support to your cart in the store and complete the order as usual.
There was a time limit to try out the support, but that has been extended indefinitely. A great move from EL, as I haven't had the need for any official support, but as soon as I do I'll try out the subscription.
They did receive some criticism about the guaranteed response time, but these were revised in February 2013:
- Silver support plan - 1 business day
- Gold - 4 business hours
- Platinum - 1 business hour
All of this is great news for proper support, but at the time the forums were taken down for some tweaking and people got rattled about support 'disappearing'.
From the ashes a few of the community people including Anna set-up a StackExchange site. This just shows how strong the community is. Since then many 3rd party Addon makers have moved their support to ExpressionEngine® Answers and EllisLab staff are also jumping in occasionally.
FastForward to October 2013
Before researching all of this I wasn't sure what was included in the license, what wasn't, where to get help or what had happened to the support trial. I contacted EL and Derek got back to me very quickly. Clear and succinct:
The forums are still open, but they are for community-based support. EllisLab doesn't monitor or reply to support issues there or on the community-driven StackExchange portal. Both are great options for bouncing ideas off of other ExpressionEngine users, but for support from EllisLab, private tickets managed at http://support.ellislab.com is the way to go.
— Derek Jones, Chief Maker
But what about Bugs! Why should I pay to report a bug?!
You don't need a support plan to report bugs, anyone can. In fact don't complain about something not working if you haven't checked the bug tracker or filed it yourself.
For clarification, reporting bugs does not require a support subscription, and you can submit bug reports in the Bug Tracker.
— Derek Jones, Chief Maker
How to make a bug report.