Not long ago I published a post that talked about the most popular content management platforms available on the market and also the ones to used for creating most of the content available online today. This time I thought it would be great to help you with creating a forum… so I gathered a few scripts that come along with quality and performance.
Although many people believe that forums are no longer fashionable or they can not be more successful than blogs, I can say that they are dead wrong and I have hundred of successful forums to prove them wrong. Right now I have 3 great popular forums in mind and those are Digital Point (discussions for web marketers and internet entrepreneurs), 4Chan (forum for entertainment) and Gaia Online.
All of these forums have millions of visitors every month generating even more page impressions along with a massive list of active members contributing with content regularly. With these examples to prove my hypothesis, I hope I convinced you that forums can contribute to a beautiful and powerful community. So if you decide to start a forum, then you need to know what platform fits your needs best. Bellow I’ve listed some of the most wanted ones and is great that many of them are available for free.
There is no doubt when I say that vBulletin is the one powering most popular forums out there and it seems like everybody is over enthusiast about this incredible forum platform. It has a great security system, is very extensible and it comes with great optimization for search engines.
- Photo Albums
- Events Management
- Unlimited Hierarchy of Forums
- Private Forums
2. Invision Power Board – IPB
Is pretty similar to vBulletin when I talk about great features and popularity, but IPB is unique in it’s own way. The platform also has a great community behind which is working on developing better modifications everyday.
- Unlimited Hierarchy of Forums
- Video embeding
- Rich posting tools
- Multi Moderation
- Status Updates
- Advanced Ratings
3. Simple Machines Forum – SMF
Simple Machine Forums or SMF on short is as the name says a forum platform which makes everything simple and fun. Thanks to it’s advanced way of installing themes and mods, SMF has become one of the most popular forum scripts available out there.
- PHP, MySQL
- Advanced permission and user management.
- Package manager that automatically installs or uninstalls modifications
- Great Security
Is the most popular free and open source platform dedicated to forum building in the world. PhpBB has always been a great influence in promoting online forums and discussions. Thanks to phpBB forums have evolved a lot and came to the form that we see today.
- Limit Username Characters
- Allow Disallow Duplicate Emails
- Easy to Customize
- Thousands of themes and modifications
- Posting Reviews
- Advanced Moderation features
There is quite a history behind the MyBB development and also some great people who are working on making the platform better and better everyday. So if you are looking for a simple, a good administration panel and plugins to help you transform your forum as you want, then MyBB is the script you are looking for.
- Built-in Theme and Template Editor
- Warning System
- Calendar and Events
- Private Messaging System
- User Reputation
- User Promotions
The development for Phorum started in 1998 and is known to be the first PHP and MySQL based forum. Phorum is Open source and distributed for free.
- Easy to customize
- Forum Design
- Performance and great experience
This platform is developed by the creators of WordPress – Automattic and is a great platform which can be easily integrated in WordPress or other similar platforms. The forum script can also work without a integration and is doing great actually.
- Extremely fast and light
- Simple to use interface
- Integrates with WordPress
- Spam Protection by Akismet
A very social engaging community forum software which makes me understand why has become very popular nowadays among webmasters and community owners.
- Easy Styling
- SEO features incorporated
- Great Add-ons
Is not an actual script which you can download, but ZetaBoards is a community of forums where you can register and start creating a forum using their unique platform. One of the benefits of using ZetaBoards is to be a part of a web community which can bring your forum exposure.
- Online and unlimited
10. Drupal Forum
Everybody knows Drupal and if not, you should know that Drupal is one of the most wanted free and open-source content management scripts out there along with WordPress and Joomla making thousands of webmasters happy everyday. This is one of the most popular modules that’s coming with Drupal.
- Integrated with Drupal
- Private Messaging
- Buddy list
- Forum Hierarchy
Is a great module available at the Joomla development website. You can build a forum integrated in a fabulous CMS for free. Both Joomla and Joomla forum are open-source and available for free download.
- Complete User Profile
- Image upload (show as browser popup, Slimbox, RokBox or YOOeffects)
- YouTube videos embedded in posts
- Boxes for social media code (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Flattr, …) below thread title
Is one of the fastest and lightweight forum platforms available managing to incorporate features like BB Code and just few basic things to keep everything simple and perfect.
- IP Block
- Moderation (global and local)
YaBB or Yet Another Bulletin Board is a great forum software available for free and also open-source. The script is updated frequently and to be honest is one of the free platforms with most features I would use in a pro forum.
- Instant Messaging + Notifications
- Advanced search features
- User Control Panel + Social friendly profile
- Personalized forum options
14. Eso Talk
EsoTalk was created in order to bring new, interactive and futuristic design to forums in order to create a better user experience and to make them engage in discussions.
- Futurist Design
Designed to be fast and secure, FluxBB really manages to bring good design with it and makes forum owners happy to write in a beautiful environment.
- User Groups
- Advanced search options
- Read topic tracking
- Stiky topics
Even though some of these great platforms are premium or they come with a monthly or yearly fee, I believe it is a good investment taking into consideration the unlimited potential behind them.