After reviewing hundreds of open source forum software, we have selected 5 top ones for building a forum easily and quickly, all of which are free, rich-featured, easy-to-use and helpful to those people who have little coding skill to write content, improve page ranking and manage their websites and blogs.
For this collection, we have considered many aspects, including admin and visitor usability, security, interface, power and reliability, functions, features, and so on. In the following, we have come out a comprehensive review on the 5 software, designed to help our readers know more about the winners and choose the most proper one according to their likes.
phpBB is a free flat-forum bulletin board software solution that can be used to stay in touch with a group of people or can power your entire website. With an extensive database of user-created modification and styles database containing hundreds of style and image packages to customize your board, you can create a unique forum in minutes.
If you have any questions, you can visit their Community Forum where their staffs and members of the community are always be happy to assist you with anything from configuring the software to modifying the code for individual needs.
A lot of thoughts have gone into the MyBB interface to make it user-friendly. As for the discussion board structure, MyBB utilizes a standard one, which makes your visitors feel familiar with the way MyBB works. In addition, you visitors are able to use the MyBB control panel to change the way they view discussions, and easily to start and reply to discussions and markup their posts.
Besides, the forum administrators and moderators are capable of using MyBB’s inline editing and moderation features to control discussion and keep the forum tidy.
Vanilla provides cloud and open source community forum software that powers discussion forums on 711,751 websites. Built for flexibility and integration, this software is one of the best and most powerful community solutions in the world, which allows you to create a customized community that rewards positive participation, automatically creates content and lets members drive moderation.
bbPress is focused on ease of integration and use, web standards and speed, which is perfect for those people who have ever been frustrated with forum or bulletin board software that was slow, bloated and always got their server hacked. They are keeping things as small and light as possible while still allowing for great add-on features through WordPress’ extensive plugin system.
What’s more, this software is easy to set up and moderate, fast and clean, featured with many highlights, including one central account, one unified admin area, one-click installer, multisite forums and single installation.
WordPress + Asgaros Forum
WordPress is the most widely used script used to set up any kinds of websites, including the online forum. With its easy setup wizard, 1-click WordPress installer offered by most web hosts, full flexibility and many more, you can start a pure website just in 5 minutes. In addition, there is a wide range of themes available for you to achieve the great design of the forum. Both the free options and the paid options are available.
As for achieving the forum function, you can consider the Asgaros Forum plugin. It is one of the perfect add-on tools for WordPress users who are looking to extend their site with the interactive and lightweight discussion board. Note that this plugin is easy to manage and to set up, working with WordPress perfectly based on the 100% compatibility.
For the utilization, you simply need to generate a new page for your new forum and embed the exclusive shortcode of [forum]. After adding this forum link to your main menu bar, you can start the forum area successfully.
Some of the main features achieved by this plugin include:
- Topic & post management, guest postings
- Sub-forums, user groups
- Notification, profile, moderators, statistics
- Permissions, search, powerful editor
- File uploads, widgets
- Multiple forum instances
- Easy color customization, theme manager
- Multisite compatibility, mobile device compatibility
Simple Machines Forum
Simple Machine Forum is a professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes. Its powerful custom made template engine put you in full control of the layout of your message board. Besides, with their unique Server Side Include function, you are able to let your forum and your website interact with each other.
This software is written in the popular language PHP and uses a MySQL database, which is designed to provide users with all the features they need from a bulletin board while having an absolute minimal impact on the resources of the server.
For newbies, it is a little difficult to install these forum software. However, a 1-click script installer can help them break away from a fussy installation process. Having been using web hosting for over 10 years, we have met many reliable web hosts offering 1-click script installer, among which the following three companies are the most highly recommended ones. In below, we have made a table to list the key features and the price of the 3 companies’ shared hosting plan.