Is paid forum software a waste of time considering that a lot of the perks of paid software can be gotten for free via plugins? Of course, you might have to do some extra work to make forum modifications, but considering your not having to pay money, it might be worth the time. On the other hand, some might argue that time is money, or that they don't have the skills to modify a free forum. Another thing to consider is the design. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so a lot of the paid software claims about beauty could be hype or a sales pitch.