Best Free and Open Source Social Networking Software

Elgg – social networking engine

Elgg is a highly respected open source social networking framework. It provides the necessary functionality to allow you to run your own social networking site, whether publicly (like Facebook) or internally on a networked intranet (like Microsoft Sharepoint).

Elgg offers blogging, microblogging, file sharing, networking, groups and a number of other features. Elgg runs on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) platform and is easy to install and configure.

The Elgg project has been in development since 2004 and is used by a wide range of organisations including governments, charities, space agencies, universities, and financial institutions.

Features include:

  • Provides a powerful data model making the creation of different entities simple, yet flexible.
  • User, object, file and site management.
  • Social graph functionality (relationships between users and other users, objects and sites).
  • Easy internationalization support.
  • System-wide, tag-based searching across all content and users.
  • Fine-grained access controls – all objects can have an access control level applied.
  • Multiple views, allowing for mobile applications and embeddable widgets as well as the traditional web browser view.
  • Plugin APIs – build and add required features.
  • Powerful theming through the plugin API.
  • RSS and FOAF for content syndication.
  • OpenID and LDAP for user authentication.
  • An extensible web services API, with results in JSON, serialized PHP or XML.
  • AJAX through jQuery and user-definable callbacks.
  • Easy extension for use with caching systems such as memcached, for increased system performance (experimental).
  • Use of multiple database connections for scalability (still in development).
  • Web Services API: Expose functionality through the REST API by building a plugin and then either publish the API for other developers to build clients or provide your own.
  • Plugins:
    • Blogs – Provides per-entry access controls and cross-blog tagging.
    • Bookmarks.
    • File repository – allows users to upload any kind of file.
    • Message board – similar to ‘The Wall’ in Facebook.
    • Private messaging – messages can be sent to users by clicking on their avatar or profile link.
    • Pages – allows you to save and store hierarchically-organized pages of text, and restrict both reading and writing privileges to them.
    • Activity – provides a number of widgets that display latest activity based on a user or a user’s friends..
    • Microblogging – “The Wire” is Twitter-style microblogging plugin that allows users to post notes to the wire.

Support: Documentation
Developer: The Elgg Foundation
License: GNU General Public License v2.0 and MIT License

Elgg is written in PHP. Learn PHP with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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