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What Forum Software should I use?

What forum software is out there?

I've used PhpBB in the past, but that was a long time ago and I'm guessing there might be better stuff out there.

My requirements are:

  • registration required to post (name, email, password)
  • public viewing
  • some ability to customize
  • needs to look reasonably good (it's not for geeks)
  • hosted or self hosted
  • if self hosted it needs to be PHP & MySQL
  • free or paid

(I can't add tags, but I wanted to tag this "forums".)


6 Answers 6


I've been a happy vBulletin user for years and years - if vBulletin doesn't already integrate a feature, there's a plugin for it (or you can write your own without too much difficulty).

Licensing seems to have increased in price fairly dramatically with the release of vBulletin 4.0, however, I think you'll find it's a worthwhile investment if you plan to have a busy forum.


I've been quite happy with Vanilla Forums on the sites I've used it on. It's not for everyone, but I like its simplicity. It's not too hard to install or administer or customise the themes.


bbPress from the makers of WordPress is worth a look.

  • Yes, I've seen a few instances of this around the web and it looks great, not as horribly bloated as phpBB and vBulletin. Aug 11, 2010 at 10:09

I have to stick a vote up for your old one, phpBB.

I have used it for absolutely ages with very few issues.


I like SMF


PunBB seems good. I've tried it as a user on two sites in total. I have not hosted it.

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