20+ Best Free Open Source Forum Applications

The forum is a medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. The forum can be used as a community for your business website where your users can discuss products.

I've investigated around 20+ free open source forum applications, select best suitable forum application for your needs. That can be installed on your web server.​

1. phpBB

phpBB is a free flat-forum bulletin board software solution that can be used to stay in touch with a group of people or can power your entire website. With an extensive database of user-created modifications and styles database containing hundreds of style and image packages to customise your board, you can create a unique forum in minutes.

No other bulletin board software offers a greater complement of features, while maintaining efficiency and ease of use. Best of all, phpBB is completely free. 

Newer users will appreciate phpBB's extensive administration panel, which allows the customisation of even the most intricate features without having to edit code directly while advanced users will value the ease with which phpBB can be integrated into existing systems.

open source forum phpbb

2. bbPress

bbPress is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress. Easily setup discussion forums inside your WordPress.org powered site.

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 ease of integration, ease of use, web standards, and speed.

bbPress keeps things as small and light as possible while still allowing for great add-on features through WordPress’s extensive plugin system. What does all that mean? bbPress is lean, mean, and ready to take on any job you throw at it.​

open source forum bbpress

3. Discourse

open source forum discourse

4. Vanilla Forums

open source forum vanillaforums
open source forum vanillaforums

5. 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 layout 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.

open source forum simplemachines

6. miniBB

miniBB is a standalone, open source program for building your own Internet forum, it's free to download and highly customizable. Comparing to the other forum software available on the market, miniBB just brings what it's created for: an easy, lite, and speedy quick forum.

If you want a simple and stable message board attached to your existing website at the deepest integration level, incl. the customization of the layout to the look of your website, or even synchronizing with the existing membership system, you've just came across to the forum solution, developed exactly for such purpose.

open source forum minibb

7. YetAnotherForum

YAF.NET is open source, freely available and is supported by people in most parts of the globe. Stable, fast and mature, YAF.NET has advanced features to empower you and your community.​

  • Open Source Apache 2.0 Licensed
  • 100% Managed C# ASP.NET v4.0 and Above
  • MS SQL Server 2008 and Above
  • Unlimited Boards, Forums and Topics
  • Integrates into DNN & Other CMSes
  • 24 Language Localizations
open source forum yetanotherforum

8. IceBB

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.​

open source forum icebb

9. YaBB Forum

YaBB software is easily customized to fit your needs and design taste. Everything from the look to the operation can be easily changed. It is easy to setup and administer, has built-in security, censor controls, and spam eliminators. Security includes encrypted usernames and passwords, no follow links, banning tools, and auto-blocking/banning tools. This system is the world’s first and most popular open-source Perl forum software!

open source forum YaBBForum

10. MyBB

MyBB is the free and open source, intuitive, extensible, and incredibly powerful forum software you've been looking for.

MyBB is a community-based forum software project run by volunteers. And while MyBB is free for you, running the project is not.​

open source forum mybb

11. 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.​

open source forum punbb

12. FluxBB

FluxBB is an open-source forum application released under the GNU General Public Licence. It is free to download and use and will remain so. FluxBB was conceived and designed to be fast and light with less of the "not so essential" features that some of the other forums have whilst not sacrificing essential functionality or usability.

FluxBB is a fork of PunBB, which was created by Rickard Andersson.​

open source forum fluxbb

13. Phorum

Phorum was the original PHP and MySQL based Open Source forum software. Phorum's developers pride themselves on creating message board software that is designed to meet different needs of different web sites while not sacrificing performance or features.​

open source forum phorum

14. UseBB

The UseBB project is an Open Source project founded in late 2003. It develops free PHP forum software.

UseBB 1 was developed in 2004-2006 and has been maintained ever since. UseBB 2, a successor, was planned and developed for some time but got cancelled in October 2012. No further major versions are currently developed or planned.​

open source forum usebb

15. FUDforum

open source forum fudforum

16. Advanced Electron Forum

AEF is Advanced Electron Forum. This bulletin board software is free software. It is written in PHP and MySQL.

AEF has a very simple and easy to use Administration Panel and installing this software is a piece of cake! You can install new themes, customize themes the way you want. The User Control Panel has a simple yet beautiful interface where users can set their preferences for the board.​

open source forum anelectron

17. Flarum

Flarum is the next-generation forum software that makes online discussion fun. It's simple, fast, and free.

Flarum is packed full of innovation, all wrapped up in a beautiful design. This isn't just a nice skin. It's forum software reimagined.

open source forum flarum

18. CODOFORUM

Codoforum is a free forum software package built with PHP and MySQL. It is designed to be

Beautiful & Simple

  • CF has a fresh UI which is simple, clean and impressive. 
  • The interface is designed for ease of use and speed.

Fast

Codoforum's code is architectured to have very little overhead and to be as efficient as possible.(Every release is Stress tested on a tiny 64MB VPS)

Feature rich

Everything that is required by a modern forum is present. (Live notifications, markdown Support, syntax highlighting, support for embedding images, videos, tweets and other rich content)

open source forum codoforum

19. esoTalk

esoTalk is a free, open-source forum software package built with PHP and MySQL. It is designed to be:

  • Fast. esoTalk's code was architectured to have little overhead and to be as efficient as possible.
  • Simple. All of esoTalk's interfaces are designed around simplicity, ease-of-use, and speed.
  • Powerful. Despite its simplicity, a large array of plugins and skins are available to extend the functionality of esoTalk.
open source forum esotalk

20. XMB2

XMB (eXtreme Message Board) forum software is open source and runs PHP scripts with a MySQL database backend.

Easy to set up, easy to use. Powerful and highly customizable.

The great thing about XMB is that it is free. All of the software on this website is licensed by its authors under the open source license called GPL. That means everyone is allowed to use the software, and distribute the software, and modify the software.

open source forum xmbforum2

21. WikidForum

open source forum wikidforum

If I'm missing any other popular platforms, please let me know using comment form below.

Vivek Vengala
 

Vivek Vengala is a Online Entrepreneur, Web Developer from Hyderabad India.

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