An internet forum application is a discussion platform where individuals hold conversations in the form of posted messages. This type of software is a very powerful tool to run online communities, to disseminate information, share experiences and ideas, receive online support, interact with others learning new intercultural skills, and much more. Forums are online communities where people share thoughts, ideas and opinions. Organizations also use forums as a method of supporting their customers.
A forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which can have several topics. Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion started is called a thread.
There are two types of structure used in a discussion forum. The most commonly used is the flat message structure where it is only possible to add a message to the end of a thread. A threaded view structure is less commonly used, in part because it’s regarded as somewhat dated.
Messages are typically stored in a relational database such as MySQL, or PostgreSQL.
There is a good range of forum software that is released under an open source license. You may have heard of phpBB, one of the oldest and finest open source forum software. But there’s lots of good alternatives. Which is the best suited forum software largely depends on your requirements. For example, if you need a good Rails forum software, look no further than Discourse or Thredded. Alternatively, if you’re committed to WordPress, it may make sense to use bbPress.
Here’s our recommendations. They are all free and open source goodness.
To provide an insight into the best software that is available, we have compiled a list of the best 12 top open source internet forum software. Hopefully, there will be software here for anyone that wants to host online discussions.
|Internet Forum Software|
|Discourse||Discussion forum, mailing list, and long-form chat room|
|NodeBB||Community platform for the modern web|
|Flarum||Simple discussion platform for your website|
|phpBB||Flat-forum bulletin board software solution|
|bbPress||Forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress|
|MyBB||Intuitive, extensible forum software|
|miniBB||Easy, lite, and speedy quick forum|
|Vanilla||Simple and flexible forum software|
|Thredded||Simple and feature rich Rails forum engine|
|Simple Machines Forum||Elegant, effective, powerful forum software|
|FluxBB||Designed as a lighter, faster alternative|
|Phorum||Mature message board system|
Click the links above to learn more about each open source forum software. We detail the essential information about each application on a single page.
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.