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15 Free Best Open Source Forums


ForumsI was about to start a forum for HBB, but due to my semester exams and tight schedule, I was not able to make it unfortunately.

I made a list of good free and open source forum software for using and I thought I can make this as an article, so here it is. In this article, I mentioned 15 free best open source forums. But personally, I recommend bbPress and phpbb. If you know any other good forum, please share it in the comments!

Best Open Source Forums

P.S. Description of each forum taken from respective sites. Credit goes to them!

1. phpBB Forums



Millions of people use phpBB on a daily basis, making it the most widely used open source bulletin board system in the world. phpBB is released under the GNU General Public License, you may make changes to the code without first having to obtain permission from the phpBB Group.

2. bbPress Forums



bbPress is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress. Have you ever been frustrated with forum or bulletin board software that was slow, bloated and always got your server hacked? bbPress is focused on web standards, ease of use, ease of integration, and speed.

3. Discourse


Discourse is a popular open source forum software. They are famous for their minimalist ‘conversation’ style forum threads. Discourse provides paid hosting for using their forum or you can install Discourse on DigitalOcean, which is pretty much cheap compared.

4. Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla is an open-source, standards-compliant, multi-lingual, theme-able, pluggable discussion forum for the web. With over 450 plugins so far, Vanilla is ideal for custom community solutions. Vanilla has been adopted by over 300,000 businesses, brands, and fans.

5. Simple Machines Forums

Simple Machines Forum

Simple Machines Forum

Simple Machines Forum — SMF in short — is a free, professional-grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board and with our unique SSI – or Server Side Includes – function you can let your forum and your website interact with each other.

6. miniBB Forums



miniBB® is a free standalone open source software for building Your own Internet forum, written in PHP and using a mySQL database as the backend. It’s developed with a pretty simple purpose of posting and getting messages, which includes answering questions, spreading opinions, providing users support and another kind of online public communication between website owners and their visitors, and between visitors themselves.

7. YetAnotherForum



YetAnotherForum.NET (YAF) is The Open Source Discussion Forum for sites running ASP.NET. 100% written in C#, YAF (pronounced like “laugh”) is a unique combination of Open Source, Microsoft’s .NET platform and an international collaboration of the .NET developer community. Growing and changing daily, the YAF project is lead by Jaben Cargman of Tiny Gecko. YAF runs on any web server that supports ASP.NET v2.0 (and above) and SQL Server. YAF is licensed under GPL.

8. IceBB Forums



IceBB is a powerful, fast, free, and open-source forum solution powered by the free PHP and MySQL. IceBB scales well, no matter how many users or posts, due to its clean and efficient code. It can also be fully customized to your needs with full skin and language support. A powerful admin control center, along with easy-to-use moderation tools, allows you to easily manage all aspects of your forum.

9. YaBB Forums



YaBB is a leading FREE, Open Source community forum system (bulletin board, message board) written in Perl. Learn how it started, who is on the project team, and what the main features are. This system is the first and most popular open-source Perl forum software and it runs very fast.

10. MyBB



MyBB is a discussion board that has been around for a while; it has evolved from other bulletin boards into the forum package it is today. Therefore, it is a professional and efficient discussion board, developed by an active team of developers. The MyBB history has been recorded and is available for the interested to read. You can also read more about the MyBB team and why they develop MyBB in their spare time.

11. DeluxeBB



DeluxeBB is a powerful open source bulletin board, which helps you create your own web communities in less than 10 minutes. The board is written completely in PHP and uses a MySQL database to store its content. All pages are optimized for speed and security. What we believe is not necessary to overload the software with features like many other forum providers, we always keep the speed, security and easy handling as our primary objectives.

12. punBB



PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. It is released under the GNU General Public License. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages.

13. FluxBB



FluxBB is a fast, light, user-friendly forum application for your website. FluxBB was designed as a lighter, faster alternative to some of the traditional feature heavy forum applications. It is easy to use and has a proven track record of stability and security making it an ideal choice of forum for your website.

14. Phorum



Phorum gives the web designers the power to rearrange the data in any shape, form or fashion they could want. The templates are in pure HTML with simple to understand text commands embedded in them. You can use the provided templates as a starting point or start from scratch. The power is in your hands. Phorum has a very flexible hook and module system.

15. UseBB



UseBB is an Open Source forum package developed in PHP 4 and using the popular MySQL database back-end to store data. Unlike other popular forum systems, UseBB does not strive to have as many features as possible, but to be one of the easiest and most usable forum packages, limiting the basic feature set to only the essential. UseBB is pure forum software.

15. XMB: eXtreme Message Board


XMB: eXtreme Message Board

XMB is a lightweight PHP forum software with all the features you need to support a growing community. With outstanding community support and contribution, you will find XMB to be easy to setup, customize, and enhance. It offers the key features you need to get your message board up and running

Forums are useful for several reasons including buy/sell activities, you can get premium domain names, grow real Instagram followers and much more.

These are some of the best free open source forums we came across, we might have missed some, so if you know any, feel free to let us know in the comments below.


CEO and Founder of Slashsquare, Indian Blog Network and Web Consulting Media. HBB is a part of Slashsquare Network. I'm a Tech Blogger, Striving Entrepreneur, Atheist, and Proud Indian. Catch me on Facebook and Twitter.

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    • bob

      mybb and phpbb free software doesnot have invite only registration include in them sir?

    • Maik Thiele is sold. Codoforum is cool and simple too.

    • bob

      this is the best list.hatsoff to pradeep kumar sir.
      friends i want to create invite only registration forum
      can you say which is best for this

    • Prateek

      Also include Flarum in the list. There are many other new softwares, you would love to update the list. Thanks

    • Santhosh veer

      Try this advanced and secure Responsive PHP Forum
      Code forum ( )
      light weighted and High end mobile responsive forum build with PHP/MysQl and bootstrap.
      Good Secure Php Forum

    • Beth

      Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    • niels webdesign

      I’ve tried Vanilla, but i think phpBB has a better forum style

    • salvatore

      really great list, but being WP fan I absolute vote for bbPress 🙂

    • santosh

      are there any opensource forum software with ajax support?

    • geetha

      Really a great list of open source forums heard many of them but didnt try some of them.

    • tips inside

      Awesome collection for forums, i thumbs up to miniBB, it's very tiny and effective… it will surely useful for beginners and for study,
      thanks again…

    • MaloManty

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    • Pradeep

      Till now i have only tried smf and phbb hope gonna try rest too.
      thanks for sharing

    • arriffejela

      I am glad to finaly find this kind of forum i was looking for , so i will do my best to keep up 🙂

    • Asad Khan

      I only knew phpBB .bbPress and SMF before as they are more popular.Thanks for adding more to my list.

    • samuel

      lol hahaha man nice post!!!!!!! love this! thanks

    • Frank

      Hi great article thanks for sharing. What would be a good Irish or UK forum or website source for body modification?

    • Frank

      What would be a good Irish or UK forum or website source for body modification?

    • Round Up For the Week Ending 28-05-2010

      […] 15 Free Best Open Source Forums […]

    • stock trading course

      Thanks for sharing your open source forum list, Im now a member of some of this list and there are available of resources.

    • Additional Blogging Tools To Interact More With Your Readers | Creative Blogging Ideas

      […] Installing a forum in your site, can help you a lot to get high traffic to your blog/site. With the help of forum you can easily solve problems asked by readers, so it is a super good way to increase interaction with your readers. If you’re planning to install a forum on your site, Pradeep a got a huge list of 15 open source forums. […]

    • Fluollino

      I am glad to be a member right here and seem forward to talking to you all and sharing some of my hobbies which include woodworking and designing plans for woodworking.

    • Chris

      Mybb all the way. It is easy to install and setup, has a great selection of plugins and is really easy to customize the themes.

    • Dev | Technshare

      Great list of open source forums. Though my favorite is mybb.
      Thanks for sharing this great list.

    • Directory Sieve

      If you are planing to start a forum, start with Vbullitin, because these opensource scrips has next to no support and they gets spammed really badly. i have tried quite a few of those, like phpbb, smf etc. which were all getting spammed a lot.

      I like opensource, but remember, not everything which is opensource is like wordpress… and bbpress which is based on wordpress is not even half as good, so think about it before you start a forum. go for a professional script, vbullitin is my favorite 🙂 though its quite expensive,

    • Chethan

      By The way, what is BB?

    • Rohit

      Preet good list. I have worked with ppPress and PHPbb and I recommend these two for most of the people. But people who want to make business out of Forums, they should try vBulletin!

    • Biodun

      Nice list, i ‘m more familiar with phpBB and SMF, thanks for the list. Bookmarked!

    • chandan@work at home blog

      So all forums are related to software, ASP.NET, I like digital point, v7network forum for learning about SEO, link building.

    • Robin

      I have experience with all of these forum installation, and maintenance. 🙂 Nice list.


    • Anish K.S

      Me running a Mybb forum, its cool.

    • Alok

      Yes, Arun BBPress is best for WordPress blogger and user friendly.

    • Arun Basil Lal

      Nice, right on time. I think I will go with bbPress. Also checking out phpBB and SMF. 🙂

    • Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing

      Not bad on timing; a forum is in the plans for me as well. I've always liked PHPBB the best, but I will check out some others; the list is much appreciated. 🙂

    • Josiah@Free iPad

      Holy crap! You continue to surprise me with these lists. I had no idea there were so many free forums software solutions out there hah. I was under the impression that phpbb, bbpress and smf where the only ones..

      Actually, invisionfree isn’t on there, any reason for that?

      • S.Pradeep Kumar

        I thought it was a forum hosting site? or?

        • Robin

          Its a free forum software which is actually a version of invision board (IPB Board) a very good competitor for VBulletin (another paid forum software). Invisionfree is no more secure one to use with the server. Can give some trouble to the hosting provider with some instant flaws.

          Paid forums always have awesome addons, plugins and components compare to free one. So far SMF is one of the good forum software in security.

          PhpBB used by so many people and when we add some plugins to it the real security problems starts at that point. I recommend SMF than PhpBB.

    • Anup@Hack Tutors

      Hey! Thanks for these links. Is this popular forum among the net?

    • DrigmaabiberM

      I have only just joined this particular community forum and I have got to be the newest member and I look forwards to chatting with you all in here before long.

    • ashok

      my favorite is SMF, PunBB, SEO Board.. SEO board is very simple, i like that most,,

    • Tech Sputter

      In myBB we do not have to maintain our own web server, we may also not have sufficient time to create n upload our own forums…so they give it for free this is reallu good n useful

    • Tech Sputter

      myBB n yaBB i ve tried them before they are really useful to use n cope up with… 🙂 🙂

    • Srivathsan G.K

      Nice list, haven’t tried out anything. Will try out phpbb dummy 🙂

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