Like Quertime on Facebook!

Top 35 Best Free Online Forum Platforms & Software (2024)

Posted on by in Web Tools

Interested in running your own online forum, but having a difficult time to decide which forum platform suits your needs? Well, look no further, let us introduce you top 35 most widely used online forum platforms to build an online community, both free and premium. You can simply pick one of these forum software solutions to set up your own online discussion board right away. Before that, ask yourself what kind of forum you exactly want? If all you need is a lightweight and easy-to-use online forum, then you can consider free and open source platform like phpBB. If you are Internet entrepreneur and thinking of some big forum sites like Digital Forum or 4Chan, you’ll need a feature-rich and powerful solution like vBulletin.


We hope you’ll find this article useful. Any great forum software is missing from the list, please let us know in the comments section below.

Best Free Online Forum Platforms

1. phpBB


phpBB stands out as a robust and open-source forum platform, providing a feature-rich environment for online communities. With a user-friendly interface and extensive customization options, phpBB empowers users to create dynamic discussion boards. Its active community and large user base ensure continual support and a wealth of extensions. Offering flexibility in design and functionality, phpBB is a reliable choice for both beginners and experienced forum administrators.

2. Flarum


Flarum, a modern and responsive forum platform, redefines online discussions with its sleek design and user-centric approach. Built on PHP and Mithril.js, Flarum boasts a lightweight yet powerful framework. Its intuitive interface and real-time updates enhance the user experience, making discussions engaging and dynamic. Flarum’s extension system allows easy customization, while its mobile-friendly design ensures accessibility across devices, making it a contemporary choice for building vibrant online communities.

3. Wix Forum

Wix Forum is a user-friendly and visually appealing online forum platform, seamlessly integrated into the Wix website builder. With its intuitive design, Wix Forum allows users to effortlessly create and customize discussion spaces. Its features include moderation tools, member profiles, and a responsive layout that fosters engaging conversations. The platform is suitable for various community-building needs, offering a blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal.

4. Simple Machines Forum


Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is a user-friendly and highly customizable platform that has stood the test of time. With a focus on ease of use and efficient performance, SMF provides essential features for forum management. The community-driven support and active development contribute to its reliability and security. SMF’s template system and extensive modification capabilities make it adaptable to various community needs, appealing to both novices and experienced forum administrators seeking a straightforward yet powerful solution.

5. MyBB


MyBB, an open-source forum software, prides itself on simplicity and versatility. With a user-friendly interface and a rich set of features, MyBB facilitates the creation of vibrant online communities. Its extensive plugin and theme system offer flexibility in customization, allowing administrators to tailor the forum to their preferences. MyBB’s active community provides continuous support and development, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a balance between ease of use and advanced functionality in their forum platforms.

6. Vanilla Forums


Vanilla Forums stands out with its clean and modern design, emphasizing user engagement and community building. With a focus on simplicity and scalability, Vanilla Forums offers a feature-rich environment with built-in gamification, analytics, and moderation tools. The platform is mobile-responsive, ensuring a seamless experience across devices. Vanilla’s cloud-based solution simplifies deployment, while its plugin system allows administrators to expand functionality. Overall, Vanilla Forums is a contemporary choice for those seeking an aesthetically pleasing and user-centric forum platform with advanced community management features.

7. PunBB


PunBB stands out as a lightweight and efficient forum platform. Its minimalist design focuses on speed and simplicity, making it an ideal choice for users seeking a fast and streamlined discussion experience. With an active community and regular updates, PunBB provides a reliable platform for creating forums that prioritize performance without sacrificing essential features. Its intuitive interface and extensible architecture make it a great choice for those who value efficiency and straightforward forum management.

8. BuddyPress


BuddyPress, an extension of WordPress, offers a comprehensive solution for creating social networks and community forums within a familiar environment. With seamless integration into WordPress sites, BuddyPress allows users to build vibrant online communities easily. It provides a range of features, including user profiles, activity streams, and group creation, fostering engagement and interaction. Its flexibility and extensive plugin support contribute to its popularity, making it an excellent choice for those looking to add social networking capabilities to their WordPress-powered websites.

9. wpForo Forum (WordPress Forum Plugin)

A WordPress plugin, stands out for its robust features tailored for WordPress users. With a clean interface and extensive customization options, wpForo provides an efficient and user-friendly forum experience. It supports threaded layouts, private messaging, and user badges, ensuring a dynamic community interaction. The plugin’s integration with WordPress seamlessly aligns with the content management system, making it an ideal choice for WordPress-based websites seeking a reliable forum solution.

10. Discussion Board (WordPress Forum Plugin)

Discussion Board is another powerful WordPress-centric forum solution. With a focus on simplicity and functionality, it provides an easy setup process and a range of customization options. This plugin offers essential forum features like user roles, email notifications, and a responsive design. It caters to diverse discussion needs, making it suitable for both small and large communities within the WordPress ecosystem.

11. ForumWP (WordPress Forum Plugin)

A forum plugin for WordPress is designed for simplicity and efficiency. With a lightweight yet feature-rich approach, it integrates seamlessly into WordPress websites. The plugin prioritizes user engagement with features such as user reputation, badges, and a responsive layout. ForumWP is an excellent choice for those seeking a straightforward forum solution that aligns effortlessly with their WordPress site.

12. Drupal Forum

Drupal, a robust content management system, offers a dedicated forum solution through its “Create a Forum” module. Tailored to the Drupal environment, this module provides a comprehensive set of features for building and managing online communities. With Drupal’s flexibility, users can customize forum layouts, manage user permissions, and integrate forums seamlessly into their websites. While it requires a familiarity with Drupal’s ecosystem, it offers a powerful and scalable forum solution for those leveraging the Drupal platform.

13. Joomla Forums Extension

The Joomla Forums Extension offers a robust platform for online discussions within the Joomla CMS ecosystem. With a focus on seamless integration, it provides a space for community engagement, support, and knowledge sharing. Users can easily create and manage forums, fostering collaborative discussions that enhance the Joomla user experience. The extension’s versatility makes it a go-to choice for Joomla website owners seeking an integrated forum solution, ensuring a cohesive online community.

14. EasyDiscuss (Joomla Forum Discussion Tool)

EasyDiscuss stands out as a powerful Joomla forum discussion tool designed by StackIdeas. This extension simplifies the process of creating and managing forums within Joomla websites. Its intuitive interface promotes user engagement, enabling vibrant discussions and effective communication. EasyDiscuss offers features like real-time notifications and multimedia sharing, enhancing the overall user experience. Whether for support forums or community building, EasyDiscuss provides a seamless and user-friendly solution for Joomla users seeking dynamic discussion platforms.

15. Kunena (Joomla Forum Extension)

Kunena is a widely used forum extension specifically tailored for Joomla users. Renowned for its simplicity and customization options, Kunena empowers Joomla website owners to create vibrant and interactive online communities. The extension boasts a range of features, including private messaging, moderation tools, and responsive design. Kunena’s active community and regular updates contribute to its reliability and popularity among Joomla enthusiasts, making it a preferred choice for those seeking a feature-rich and reliable forum extension.

16. Discord

Discord has revolutionized online communication by providing a versatile platform that transcends traditional forum structures. Catering to gamers, communities, and businesses alike, Discord combines real-time chat, voice, and multimedia sharing in a single, user-friendly interface. Its server-based architecture fosters diverse discussions through channels, enabling seamless communication. Discord’s popularity extends beyond gaming, as it serves as a hub for various interest groups, providing a modern and dynamic alternative to traditional forums.

17. Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups offer a familiar and accessible platform for creating online communities within the world’s largest social network. With a user-friendly interface, members can easily participate in discussions, share multimedia content, and connect with like-minded individuals. Facebook Groups cater to a broad audience, making them suitable for diverse interests and purposes, from hobbyist communities to professional networking. While not a dedicated forum platform, Facebook Groups leverage the vast user base of the social network, providing a convenient and widely adopted space for community interaction and engagement.

18. bbPress


Developed by the creators of WordPress, bbPress is a lightweight and user-friendly forum platform seamlessly integrated into the WordPress ecosystem. It inherits the simplicity and extensibility of WordPress, making it an accessible choice for users familiar with the popular content management system. bbPress emphasizes ease of use, straightforward setup, and efficient forum management. With a focus on integration and compatibility, it ensures a cohesive user experience for both forum participants and site administrators, making it a valuable tool for those seeking a hassle-free forum solution within the WordPress framework.

19. NodeBB – Community Forum Software

NodeBB distinguishes itself as a modern and real-time forum platform, built on Node.js technology. Its responsive design and dynamic interface provide an engaging and interactive user experience. NodeBB supports features like real-time chat, notifications, and social media integration, fostering a sense of community. The platform’s scalability and extensibility make it suitable for a wide range of forums, from small communities to large-scale discussions.

Best Premium Online Forum Platforms

20. Zendesk Forum Software

Zendesk Forum Software is a robust platform designed to enhance customer engagement and support. Known for its user-friendly interface and seamless integration with Zendesk’s broader suite of customer service tools, this platform empowers businesses to create vibrant communities. It offers features such as knowledge base creation, community moderation, and analytics to track user engagement. The software’s customizable design allows brands to align forums with their unique branding.

21. Kajabi

Kajabi stands out as a comprehensive online platform catering to creators, educators, and entrepreneurs. With its user-friendly interface, Kajabi allows users to build, market, and sell digital products seamlessly. It combines website creation, email marketing, and course hosting, streamlining the entire online business process. Kajabi’s focus on providing an all-in-one solution makes it a go-to platform for those seeking efficiency and convenience in their digital endeavors.

22. Circle – Community Platform

Circle is a dynamic community platform designed to foster engagement and connection among members. With its intuitive interface and customizable features, Circle enables users to create branded, vibrant communities. The platform facilitates discussions, content sharing, and collaboration, making it ideal for building niche communities around common interests. Circle’s emphasis on building meaningful connections in a user-friendly environment positions it as a top choice for those seeking to cultivate online communities with a sense of belonging.

23. Ning – Online Social Media Network Platform

Ning offers a versatile platform for creating social media networks tailored to specific interests or communities. Its drag-and-drop interface empowers users to design unique social spaces with features like forums, blogs, and media sharing. Ning’s flexibility and customization options make it an appealing choice for individuals and organizations looking to create niche social networks with targeted content and engagement.

24. Khoros Communities

Khoros Communities is a robust platform designed for businesses aiming to build and manage vibrant online communities. With features like discussion forums, knowledge bases, and social advocacy tools, Khoros provides a comprehensive solution for fostering customer engagement and loyalty. Its analytics and moderation features empower businesses to gain insights and maintain a positive online environment. Khoros Communities excels in providing enterprise-level solutions for companies seeking to leverage community building for brand growth and customer support.

25. Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks is a versatile platform that empowers creators to build communities around their content and brand. With features such as courses, forums, and events, Mighty Networks offers a holistic approach to community building. Its emphasis on member connections and content monetization sets it apart, making it an attractive choice for creators looking to transform their audience into a thriving community. Mighty Networks’ user-friendly interface and focus on empowering creators make it a compelling option for those aiming to monetize their expertise and foster meaningful interactions among their followers.

26. – Modern Forum Software

discourse-modern-forum-software stands out as a modern and open-source forum software designed to foster dynamic online discussions. Its intuitive interface, real-time updates, and mobile responsiveness contribute to an engaging user experience. emphasizes community building through features like trust levels, badges, and a powerful moderation system. With support for multimedia content and seamless integration with popular third-party services, it offers a contemporary approach to forum management.

27. XenForo


XenForo is a feature-rich forum software that combines a sleek design with powerful functionality. Recognized for its user-friendly interface, XenForo excels in creating interactive and visually appealing discussion platforms. The software boasts a responsive design, ensuring a seamless experience across various devices. With robust moderation tools, user engagement features, and an active community, XenForo offers a comprehensive solution for building and managing online forums. Its extensibility through add-ons and customization options enables forum administrators to tailor the platform to their specific needs.

28. BuddyBoss – Courses & Community Platform

BuddyBoss stands out as a comprehensive platform, seamlessly blending community and course functionalities. Its robust features cater to creators, educators, and businesses alike. With a user-friendly interface, it empowers communities to engage and learn through forums, courses, and member profiles. The integration of multimedia and a personalized dashboard enhances the overall user experience, making it an ideal choice for those seeking an all-in-one solution.

29. Invision Community Forums

Invision Community Forums stand out for their sleek design and user-friendly interface. With a robust set of features, including customizable themes and plugins, it caters to diverse communities. Its intuitive moderation tools and strong security measures ensure a safe environment. The platform fosters engagement through multimedia integration, making it a versatile choice for various online communities. Regular updates and a supportive user community contribute to its continued success.

30. Disciple Community Platform

Disciple focuses on fostering meaningful connections within communities. Its platform provides a sleek and customizable space where users can engage through forums, messaging, and events. The emphasis on branded, standalone apps ensures a seamless and immersive experience for community members. Disciple’s analytics tools empower administrators to understand and optimize community engagement, making it an appealing choice for those prioritizing intimate and branded online spaces.

31. Higher Logic Vanilla – Customer Community Platform

Higher Logic Vanilla is a versatile customer community platform, designed to enhance customer support and engagement. With features like discussion forums, knowledge bases, and ideation, it creates a collaborative environment for users. The platform’s flexibility allows for seamless integration with existing systems, and its responsive design ensures accessibility across devices. Higher Logic Vanilla is a solid choice for organizations aiming to provide a customer-centric space that encourages knowledge-sharing and problem-solving.

32. Hivebrite – Online Community Platform

Hivebrite offers a comprehensive online community platform designed for organizations looking to build and engage their communities. It provides a range of features, including forums, events, and member directories, fostering interaction and networking. The platform’s customization options allow organizations to tailor the community experience to their brand. With its mobile-friendly design and advanced engagement analytics, Hivebrite is a suitable solution for businesses, schools, and associations seeking a dynamic and scalable online community platform.

33. vBulletin


As a pioneer in online forum platforms, vBulletin remains a trusted choice for building dynamic communities. Its powerful suite of tools allows for extensive customization, making it adaptable to diverse user needs. vBulletin emphasizes performance and scalability, ensuring optimal functionality even for large communities. The platform’s mobile-friendly design facilitates on-the-go participation, and its robust moderation features provide control over content.

34. Bettermode

Bettermode stands out as an intuitive and streamlined online community platform. With a focus on simplicity and user experience, it offers essential features for community building, including discussion forums, member profiles, and customizable themes. Bettermode’s emphasis on a distraction-free environment enhances the quality of interactions, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a straightforward yet effective platform for creating online communities. Its affordability and ease of use make Bettermode a compelling option for individuals and small organizations aiming to establish a vibrant online presence.

35. Woltlab Suite Forum


Woltlab Suite Forum distinguishes itself with a modern interface and a strong emphasis on community engagement. Known for its performance optimization and responsive design, it provides an enjoyable experience across devices. The platform’s integration with other Woltlab Suite components enhances the overall community ecosystem. With a focus on ease of use and customization, Woltlab Suite Forum stands out for its adaptability to different community types.

36. inSided – Online Community Platform

inSided is a dynamic online community platform designed to foster engagement and collaboration. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, it empowers businesses to build vibrant communities around their products or services. The platform offers a variety of tools, including discussion forums, knowledge bases, and customer support integration, providing a comprehensive solution for community building.


This post is published by writer / editor. Connect us on Facebook and follow us on X Twitter.

Tags: , , , ,