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This is a general, community wiki catch-all question to address "I need a forum script that does x, y, and z..." questions.

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I have a list of features that I want for my website's forum script: where can I find a (free or paid) script that includes all of them?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The Webmasters FAQ outlines the nature of acceptable questions for this site: researching available solutions and providing anecdotal advice falls outside the purpose of this StackExchange site, so this type of question would be better-suited to chat or another discussion forum.

That being said, there are a variety of free and open source content management systems, as well as licensed software and paid services, which may meet your requirements.

Some of the most popular forum scripts include:

  • PHPBB (php, free and open source)
    • Pros: been around for a long time, so there are lots of documentation and mods for it. Has lots of features.
    • Cons: installing mods is not easy
  • Fluxbb (php, free and open source)
    • Pros: very lightweight and simple
    • Cons: hard to install mods, not a lot of features.
  • vBulletin (php, pricing varies by suite)
    • Pros: very robust and powerful, widely used
    • Cons: very expensive
  • Vanilla Forums (php, free)
    • Pros: easy to use, with a great user interface
    • Cons: isn't like a traditional forum, and some of the features, like badges, aren't free.
  • BBPress (php, free and open source)
    • Pros: plugin version integrates really well with wordpress, simple, seo-friendly urls built in, easy to modify and hack if you know wordpress.
    • Cons: often need to integrate bbpress with your wordpress theme.
  • SMF (php, free and open source)
    • Pros: great mods, and a great community
    • Cons: can be hard to customize if you aren't used to the admin interface
  • MyBB (php, free and open source)
    • Pros: tons of features
    • Cons: amount of features can be overwhelming
  • XenForo (php, commercial)
    • Pros: lots of great features, such as badges.
    • Cons: it's not free.
  • Ninja Post (php, commercial)
    • Pros: hosted solution, real time updates.
    • Cons: Not free.
  • EsoTalk (php, open source)
    • Pros: Simple, with a sleek interface
    • Cons: ?
  • nodeBB (javascript, open source)
    • Pros: superfast and realtime, built on nodejs & redis
    • Cons: Does't integrate with existing website/user system and difficult to customize.
  • Codoforum (php, free)
    • Pros: Modern, Unconventional with rich content support
    • Cons: It is still a very new forum
  • IP.Board (php, commercial)
    • Pros: Modern, flexible
    • Cons: Requires core package which is very expensive
  • PlushForums (php, commercial)
    • Pros: Easy to use, real-time updates, hosted
    • Cons: Not free

All of the forum software listed above are built around the concept of mods (plugins) which extend the application's functionality - there are many mods, with new mods authored every day.

Sites like forum-software.org can help you compare different forum software, and have forum comparison tools and in-depth reviews.

If you have researched different forum software and available mods but cannot find anything that will meet your needs, you should consult a developer (or do it yourself) who can build something to your specifications either as a mod for an existing forum script or as a stand-alone application.

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SMF forgotten –  Lazy Badger Feb 12 '12 at 8:59
    
@LazyBadger this is a community wiki post: you can edit it and add SMF –  Christofian Feb 12 '12 at 14:40
    
I'll leave work of writing "Pro"|"Contra" to anybody –  Lazy Badger Feb 12 '12 at 16:11
    
Drupal Forum/AF is not mentioned. –  AgA May 17 at 11:18

I like the Xenforo forum software. It's built by these guys who left VBulliten and decided to try and build a cooler forum software. It's sleeker and looks newer. It doesn't have as many extensions seeing as it's only a couple years old. But, Xenforo definitely worth checking out.

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Consider merging your answer with the one above, as your points will get more attention that way. Also, I removed the link to your site: it isn't relevant to this answer. –  Christofian Mar 5 '12 at 1:36

protected by John Conde Dec 30 '13 at 14:28

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