Forums are integral part of any growing community. Internet forums are one of the oldest components of internet, which is still in currency today. Forums provide a means for like minded people to have a discussion, solve their doubts, create new ideas and even chat. Thus Forums are a kind of social networking, with a different approach.
If you are planning to start a forum, don’t feel left out. There are different well built and advanced forum scripts written in various language and backed by a good community of developers (beauty of open source, ain’t it ?) available just for you. We’ve listed some of the many open source forum scripts available online.
We’ve selected these scripts based on the activity and support available, so that new users of the scripts can find help if they needed any. So lets take a look at the list.
A real nifty and robust forum script. It is written in PHP and uses MySQL for database and has several required features built in. It’s capabilities can be increased exponentially using the mods that are available for it. There are many support forums dedicated especially for phpBB, so it is very easy to get help. It has a huge library of themes and other customizations. The code is neatly written with very good documentation, so you can make changes to your forum with ease. Very good for advanced users.
Simple Machines Forum, abbreviated as SMF is an easy to use forum script written in PHP and uses MySQL. Easy to customize, however the community isn’t as big as that of phpBB. It is well known for it’s ease of use and is recommended for beginners, though it has several advanced features too.
This is from the same guys who bought you WordPress. It is extremely simple and light weight. Integrates well with WP. If you have a WordPress blog and want to develop a forum for your site’s community, then bbPress is the best choice. It has many plugins, themes etcetera, the official support forums will help you for sure . However, it can’t do big stuff like phpBB. Most recommended for beginners and WordPress fanatics.
Vanilla is another discussion board software which is built using the PHP, MySQL combo. It supports themes, plugins and provides good support. There are over 450 plugins available. Nothing out of the box to warrant a special mention. Those who like to experiment with something new can try this.
FluxBB was built with speed in mind. The forum is fast and secure and is one of the ideal choices for any community. It doesn’t have any advanced customizations. But is built for speed and security and will do all the basic stuff.
MyBB is another forum script that is built using the PHP, MySQL combo. It has many built in features, like a premium membership feature that’ll unlock special sections of your forums to users who subscribe for it and a lot more and the feature list is extensible through the plugin system too.
That’s it for the list of open source forum scripts, still there are many that might need your help. These are some of the developed forum scripts that has a good following, so that new users can get help from the community. If you want to try other open source forum scripts in their nascent stages, do a simple Google search and you can get a handful of them.
My personal favourite in this list is phpBB, I also like bbPress and SMF. Do share your favourite ones through the comments. If you have trouble using any of these, do let us know and we’ll help you sort out the problem.