A forum is a discussion platform where related ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. You can set up a forum for your site or blog, where your team, customers, fans, patrons, audience, users, advocates, supporters, or friends can hold public or private discussions, as a whole or in smaller groups.
If you are planning to launch a forum, and you can’t build your own software from scratch, you can opt for any of the existing forum applications out there. Some forum applications allow you to set up only a single discussion site on a single installation, while others support multiple-forums for a single installation instance.
In this article, we will review 10 best open source forum software for Linux systems. By the end of this article, you will know exactly which open source forum software best suites your needs.
1. Discourse – Discussion Platform
Discourse is a free open source, simple, modern, incredibly powerful and feature-rich community discussion software.
It is responsive (auto-switches to a mobile layout for small screens), it supports dynamic notifications, community moderation, social login, spam blocking, reply via email, emojis and badges. It also comes with a trust system and so much more. Above all, Discourse is simple, modern, awesome and fun, and has a one-click upgrade feature, once installed.
2. phpBB – Bulletin Board Software
phpBB is a free open source, powerful, feature-rich and highly extensible forum or bulletin board software. There are numerous extensions and a styles database (with hundreds of style and image packages) for you to enhance its core functionality and to customize your board respectively.
It is secure and comes with various tools to protect your forum from unwanted users and spam. It supports: a search system, private messaging, multiple methods of notifying users of forum activities, conversation moderators, and user-groups. Importantly, it has an advanced caching system for increased performance. You can integrate it with other applications via multiple plugins and so much more.
3. Vanilla – Modern Community Forum
Vanilla is an open source, fully-featured, intuitive, robust cloud-based and multi-lingual community forum software. It is easy to use giving users a modern forum experience, allows users to post questions and polls; it has an advance editor for formating posts with html, markdown, or bbcode, and supports @ mentions.
It also supports user-profiles, notifications, auto-save, avatars, private messaging, real-time preview, a powerful search facility, user-groups, single sign on and so much more. Vanilla can be integrated with social networks for easy sharing, login and more. It comes with numerous plugins and themes to enhance its primary features and customize its look and feel.
4. SimpleMachinesForum (SMF)
SimpleMachinesForum is a free, open source, simple, beautiful and powerful forum software. It is available in over 45 different languages. SMF is easy to use and highly customizable, with a multitude of powerful and effective features. It comes with high quality and reliable support.
SMF is highly customizable; it has many extensions/packages (under various categories such as security, socialization, administration, permissions, posting, theme enhancements and more) to modify its core functionality, add or remove features, and lot more.
5. bbPress – Forum Software
bbPress is a free open source, simple, lightweight, fast and secure bulletin board software built in a WordPress-fashion. It is easy to install, and configure, fully integrated and supports setting up multiple forums on one site installation.
It is highly extensible and customizable, supports several plugins. It also supports RSS feeds and offers spam blocking functionality for additional security.
6. MyBB – Powerful Forum Software
MyBB is a free open source, simple, easy-to-use, intuitive yet powerful, and extremely efficient forum software. It is a discussion-oriented application that supports: user profiles, private messages, reputation, warnings, calenders and events, user promotion, moderation, and more.
It ships in with a number of plugins, and templates and themes to extend its core functionality and customize its default look and feel, allowing you to setup a fully customized and effective online community forum with ease.
7. miniBB – Community Discussion Forum
miniBB is a free open source, standalone, lightweight, fast, and highly customizable software for building a web forum. It is suitable and effective for setting up a simple and stable community discussion platform, especially for novices. It allows for dynamic and content-rich discussions, and you can enable it to be responsive via the mobile template.
It can easily be integrated with your website, allowing you to change its layout to the look of your website. In addition, miniBB offers facilities for you to synchronize with an existing membership system. Importantly, it supports guest posts and quick moderation.
8. Phorum – Forum Software
Phorum is a free open source, simple, highly-customizable, and easy-to-use PHP message board software. It has a very flexible hook and module system for you to customize your web community discussion platform.
You can easily changes its default using HTML templates that have simple to understand text commands in-built.
9. FluxBB – Forum Software
FluxBB is fast, light, easy-to-use, stable, secure, user-friendly and multi-lingual PHP forum software. It comes with a well organized administration interface and admin panel plugins, supports a flexible permission system, and it is XHTML compliant.
It supports user profiles, avatar, forum categories, announcements, topic search, post preview RSS/Atom feeds, user selectable CSS styles and language and so much more.
10. PunBB – Bulletin Board Software
PunBB is a free open source, lightweight and fast PHP bulletin board software. It has a simple layout and design, like most forum software listed above, it supports private messaging, polls, linking to off-site avatars, advanced text formatting commands, file attachments, multi-forums and so much more.
That’s all for now! In this article, we reviewed 10 best open source forum software for Linux. If you are interested in setting up a forum for your site or blog, by now, you should be knowing which open source software to use. If your favorite software is missing in the list, let us know via the feedback form below.
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