10 Best Open Source Software for Creating a Free Forum Website

Forums are significant in the success of any online business. Using forums you can interact with your customers and get to know their views about the product. Forums are also a great place to meet other like minded buyers from all around the world. A forum is a whole community of like minded people, so this thing drives people back to the site again and again. Forums provide the needed information to the users and then they are also given the choice of sharing their own thoughts and views. In short, a forum is an awesome way to keep your users hooked to your site for a long time.

Forums help to achieve a good working relationship with the clients. They also bring together many network marketers. Sometimes these marketers may have a long lists of people who follow them everywhere they go. A good forum allows driving quality traffic to your website. Using forums you can add valuable information to your community. The most awesome thing about forums is that you are able to post in them any time you want and can generate a great number of leads.

So today we have a list of 10 Best Open Source Software for Creating a Free Forum Website. Check them out!

phpBB Forums

phpbb forums

This software is used by many people from around the world. It was released under the General Public License (GNU). You have the ability of altering the code, without even asking permission from phpBB! This software can be used for making a forum just for your friends, or for making a multiple category board for your website, it all depends on you. It also has a lot of built-in features, so the ease of use is guaranteed.

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums

This one is an open source forum that has a lot of different features like standards-compliant, multi-lingual, theme-able, pluggable discussion forum for the web etc. It boasts 450+ plug-ins. Vanilla Forums is a great option for custom community solutions. It is already being used by more than 300,000 businesses, brands and fans. Migrating to it from any platform is also possible. It has a great feature called Social Connect, which lets you sign in to your community with your favorite social networks. It has a great API which can help in creating a great social experience, which will definitely meliorate growth and activity on your online community.

bbPress Forums


bbPress Forums

This software is specifically for WordPress developers. If you simply hate your slow bulletin board or your server gets hacked, then this software is certainly what you need. It boasts web standards, ease of use, ease of integration, and speed. Using and administrating it is really easy, as it is quite clean and quick. The best thing about this one is that it is highly customizable; and it gives due attention to users and puts them first.

miniBB Forums


miniBB Forums

miniBB Forums is an open source and standalone software. It allows creating your own forum that is written in PHP and uses MySQL database as the back end! The main purpose of it is to post and get messages. These messages can be answering questions, spreading opinions, providing users support and other types of online public communication between site owners and visitors, and between visitors themselves. It has got great integration and customization possibilities. Quiet good on the whole.

Simple Machines Forums



Simple machines forums (SMF) is a free but it can give a professional touch to any forum. It allows setting up your online community very quickly. It provides custom made template engine so that you can choose the lay-out of your message board. It has a great SSI function, and this lets your forum and website interact with each other. SMF is highly customizable so you can modify in any way you want. Using custom themes from a list of also possible so that you can change the look of your website. It also has an amazing support, so if you encounter any problem, you can always ask for help.

IceBB Forums

IceBB Forums

IceBB Forums is a great open source forum solution. It is powered by the free PHP and MySQL. IceBB Forums is quite quick as it has a clean and efficient code. It is extremely customizable and you can customize it in any way you want. The admin control center is quite powerful as it has handy moderation tools. So managing your forum is quite easy.



YetAnotherForum is an open source forum for sites running on ASP.NET. It was written in C#, YAF. It is an amazing combo of Open Source, Microsoft’s .NET platform and an international collaboration of the .NET developer community. It has been growing day by day. YetAnotherForum can work on any web server supporting ASP.NET v2.0 (and above) and SQL Server. It has been licensed under GPL. People from all over the world use it as it is stable and secure. It has the ability of handling many users and posts with simple hosting requirements.

YaBB Forums

YaBB Forums

YaBB Forums is an open source solution for forums. It is based on Perl. It runs quite fast. YaBB is quite good as it can be customized to fit your needs and design taste. You can alter the looks and the operations both. Setting it up and administering it is very handy. Main features include inbuilt security, censor controls, and spam eliminators.



MyBB is a discussion board that was developed by an active team of developers. It evolved from various bulletin boards into the forum package that is present today. It is an professional and efficient discussion board. It is quite handy. It utilizes a standard discussion board structure. It boasts features like inline editing and many other moderation features that allow keeping the forum neat and clean. It has a huge and an active community, so it it quite obvious that many plugins for it are also available out there.



DeluxeBB is an open source software that can be used for creating your own web communities with ease. It is fully written in PHP. The contents are stored in MySQL database. It has been optimized for meliorated speed and security.

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  5. Ed says:

    Elite Bulletin Board is another great forum app. They got a spam filter feature that is really good (you have to populate it yourself, but still a good tool nonetheless)

  6. Connie says:

    it would be interesting to check and compare the spam policies of these systems

    I had very bad experiences with SMF and spam postings and nowadays I encounter very poor spam handling with punBB (which, even when suggested by Faizal) seems to miss good documentation at all (I could not find documentation)

    so I suggest another review with that topic

  7. Faizal says:

    punBB is another good free lightweight forum board.