Hey all, so I went looking around for some good free forum software out there and came across a few that are very easy to install and use. I only tried 3 of the free forum software, which the software within all 3 of them may be ports of another kind of software from somewhere else. But they all worked differently for me. One of them was really easy to use but had bugs, another had alot of hoops to go through and eventually I didn’t like it, and the last one got me through the technical installation smoothly and I was able to install the right mods to get it to work perfectly. This list is going from worst to best, so I might just help you find the forum software you are looking for.
This apparently the “best” free forum software. Though when I dragged the forum files into a folder called “forum” in my main hosting directory of another site, I of course had to enter many details concerning My SQL Database information. That’s pretty normal, and the same goes for WordPress in the setup procedure, you always have to enter that information. When it was all set up, the organization of everything was kind of complicated. I eventually backed everything up and deleted everything from the “forum” directory and put a different kind of forum software in there, which leads to the review of the next forum software below in #2. But I did go back and fix the problem I had with PHPbb which I had to delete the “install” directory in the forum files to get rid of some message saying that I could not use the software until that directory was deleted. If that sounds complicated, you really have to try and use the software first and see for yourself to see what I mean. But PHPbb is not bad, it’s great to use if you can figure it all out. Since theres so many different free forums out there to try I eventually just tried others until I found one that worked great for me. And the background behind phpBB is that it is a popular free forum package on the internet that is written in the PHP language. The name given “phpBB” is an abbreviation of “PHP Bulletin Board”. It’s license under the GNU (General Public License), remaining to be the well known “free and open source software” forum package.
This forum software came up when I Google searched “user friendly free forum software”. When I installed it, it definitely was alot more user friendly than any other forum software I had tried. But it still had bugs, I couldn’t figure out how to install mods. As soon as I got the forum software installed I had spammers registering to the forum, like 5 or 6, so I was struggling to delete all those users and to get some sort of Captcha installed at the registration section. But eventually I just gave up and tried some other forum software which I will be reviewing at #3 as being the best free forum software I have found. Anyways, the background behind FluxBB is that it is a lightweight free software PHP-based internet discussion board that is a fork of the PunBB project, which was created in response to developers protesting the increasing emphasis of some partnership with a corporate organization of the PunBB project, according to Wikipedia.
So of course, this is the best free forum software I have discovered so far. According to Wikipeadia it’s abbreviated as “SMF”, and is a free internet forum (BBS) application. The software is written in PHP and also uses an SQL database backend, from version 2.0 of MySQL, PostgreSQL, and also SQLite are supported. SMF was made by the development team of Simple Machines. SMF was apparently created to replace the forum software, YaBB SE, which at the time it was getting a bad reputation because of the problems with it’s Perl-based ancestor software YaBB. And at the time, YaBB was attributed for causing the resource allocation issues on many different systems.
Above all of that though, it worked really good for me, and I did not have to delete a stupid “install” directory. Yes I had to set the MySQL settings in, but that was no problem. Once everything was easily set up, it was super easy to use. And to install Mods, I just entered the Mods section URL from the Simple Machines Website into the Mods directory on my forum and it then showed all of the mods available and I installed them directly like you do with Plugins in WordPress, even though it wasn’t as user friendly as WordPress. I was simply capable of installing the Captcha mod and also the Ad Management mod, used to insert advertisements pretty easily. And why does Simple Machines Forum make me think of Our Lady Peace?, don’t ask…
Other free forum software out there is MyBB, E-Blah, Vanilla Forums, esoTalk, bbPress (created by the WordPress team, for WordPress as a plugin available in the Plugin directory), miniBB, YetAnotherForum, IceBB, YaBB, DeluxeBB, PunBB, Phorum, UseBB, XMB: eXtreme Message Board, SEO Board.
I found out about most of those free forums from this article, which is a big comparison of them all. I did a simple review of 3 that I had tried. I found the one that suited me best pretty fast, so with 15 more existing to try out I think you will find something that is the best bang for your time, not buck since it’s all free anyways.
Here is the article again: “15 Free Best Open Source Forums“.