List of Top 10 forum softwares
Running a forum is quite easy with the abundance of forum software available online, but making a forum successful is a challenging task. A forum does not become busy with people discussing topics instantly. Initially, forums behave like blogs and later, gain momentum with user-generated content.
Suppose you launch a forum for pet owners and want others to join. Who will join a forum with zero posts and only one member, which is you? You must register with different profiles on the forum and start discussing topics to attract visitors. Once people start visiting your forum, it will appear busier, and they will feel confident that they will receive responses after posting topics. Gradually, your forum will gain traction, and you will only have to manage the forum by deleting spam and moving posts to appropriate categories.
Although my recommendation is Xenforo, if you are not going for a paid one, then SMF looks better. However, you should make a decision based on your needs by exploring the forums mentioned below.
Here are the top 5 forums to start your discussion forum:
- Xenforo – Price ($140)
Xenforo is currently the most popular forum software in the world. A few developers who previously worked on vBulletin created Xenforo. Although they faced legal issues from vBulletin, eventually, they replaced vBulletin from the top spot. Most of the biggest and busiest forums in the world, which were previously running on vBulletin, migrated to Xenforo. So far, it is forum software with the least bugs and runs smoothly with minimal server resources.
- Invisionpower – Price ($175)
Invision Power is also a famously paid forum script that powers many popular communities across the web. Its fluid layout design, light colours, and fast script make it an excellent choice for serious webmasters planning to launch their forum.
- Mybb – Price (Free)
Mybb is another lightweight free open-source forum script based on PHP/Mysql. It looks sleek and can compete with the paid forum software. Another advantage is that you can easily migrate from any known forum software to Mybb using the Mybb surge system.
- Simple Machine Forum – SMF – Open Source (Free)
SMF is the best free forum software available today. One of the most popular forums, Nairaland, is built on SMF. Built with PHP and MySQL, it is easy to install and run without any hassle. Many customized free and paid themes are also available to customize it according to your needs. If you are starting a forum and do not want to spend more than 100 bucks initially on Xenforo, you can choose SMF. Once it starts gaining a few visitors, and you become sure of its success, you can always migrate in between.
- PHPbb – Open Source (Free)
PHPbb is another open-source forum software based on PHP. It was at one time the most popular free forum script in the world. However, due to its inability to fight forum spam, it slipped down the ladder. It is still popular among users looking for free open-source bulletin board software for their websites.
- Discourse – Price (Free for self-hosting)
Discourse is a free, modern, open-source forum software that features a sleek interface and advanced functionality. It was created to create a new standard in the forum software. Discourse includes features such as real-time notifications, user profiles, badges, and categories. It’s also mobile-friendly and supports integration with social media platforms.
- Vanilla Forums – Price (Free for self-hosting)
Vanilla Forums is a flexible and powerful forum software that can be used for community building, customer support, and more. It has a sleek, modern design and is highly customizable. Vanilla Forums offers a range of features, such as social sign-on, spam protection, and responsive design. It also supports integration with third-party applications and plugins.
- Flarum – Price (Free for self-hosting)
Flarum is a free, open-source forum software that is modern and lightweight. It is designed to be fast, user-friendly, and highly customizable. Flarum includes features such as extensions, real-time notifications, and user profiles. It’s also mobile-friendly and supports integration with third-party applications.
- NodeBB – Price (Free for self-hosting)
NodeBB is a free, open-source forum software that is designed to be fast and flexible. It includes features such as user profiles, badges, and real-time notifications. NodeBB is also highly customizable and supports integration with third-party applications and plugins. It’s also mobile-friendly and has a sleek, modern design.
- PunBB – Price (Free)
PunBB is a lightweight and fast forum software that is designed to be easy to use and highly customizable. It includes features such as user profiles, themes, and plugins. PunBB is also mobile-friendly and supports integration with third-party applications. While it’s not as popular as other forum software, it’s still a great option for those looking for a free and lightweight solution.
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