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What Forum Software should I use?

I've been using phpBB3 for quite some time now. It seems to me this forum software hasn't evolved at all in all these years. Installing mods is a hassle, updating it to a newer version a real pain in the arse and moderating is not intuitive at all.

Besides, I find there's just no way to stop spam on it. Lots of web software have made a great job controlling spam, but phpBB3 still doesn't, at least not without too much complex and tedious work.

Since my last attempt to update to the latest version broke it, I'm finally fed up with it, and decide I'm not wasting a minute more in mantaining such a beast.

I'm looking for a free software (free as in free beer and free as in free speech) alternative. So SMF is not an alternative at the moment.

The most important feature I'm looking for is there must be a script to migrate all of the current phpBB users and posts into the new system.

Out of all the alternatives out there, does any of them support these features? Which one do you recommend?


My favorites (and strong suggestions) are Vanilla Forums and PunBB


As far as migrating from one software to another, there is always going to be some work involved. Testing, checking, and more testing. Each one of these has a substantial community and user base, and I have no doubt that you can do it fairly easy. While I am not sure if there is 1 script to rule them all for migration, I know that the necessary steps are out there in their support forums.

Plenty of huge companies use Vanilla and PunBB (and also phpBB).

There is also bbPress (by Automattic), but don't know enough to give a review of it.

And another favorite of mine, Drupal with Advanced Forum, but you need to know how to use Drupal first, which has a very steep learning curve.

As far as spam goes, IMHO, it's all what you make it. BlackHatters have software to spam ALL of these forums if you don't have security tight. You will need to put your dues in to prevent spam.

  • Holy Flying Spaguetti Monster! The time I could have been saving by using Vanilla. I already imported my phpbb3 posts and users into it, and am starting to work on the template. Vanilla is pure awesomeness, it's a modern forum software which gets where the Internet is going. Thanks for your recommendation, Vanilla rocks! – Fernando Briano Jan 13 '11 at 2:01
  • Your welcome:) Ya Vanilla is beautiful software. Still pretty young, but it is going to have a long long life. – picxelplay Jan 14 '11 at 5:08

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