Best free forum software?


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Need vBulletin mock-up? Try MyBB
Want to learn manage forum in (a little) hard way? Try phpBB (Install 20+ addon then try upgrade) :D
Old school? Use SMF


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Not something I've used, or particularly like (simply because I prefer a traditional looking forum layout) but have a look at

(Also a heads up - it's written in Ruby)
I've used Discourse before. It's different, very different. I'm the same way as I prefer traditional setup. Plus it isn't available freely right now. Currently it's a WIP and you can't DL it. They will however perform a set up for you for a one-time fee.

I'd probably go with MyBB or SMF personally.

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
I prefer myBB myself. It's what I'm running 3 other forums on to see if they take off (no need to expend a lot of money on 'em of they aren't and domain names are cheap). Upgrades are easy to implement and their are some good add-ons out there for it (and unlike phpBB upgrading with the add-ons are not a problem).


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I have a great experience with MyBB also, I'm using it for more than one year :) before I migrated my Live forum into XenForo.

But MyBB is resource hog than XenForo :)

What about vanilla? :rolleyes:


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It's always good to use something that makes a import easier if the time comes to go to a paid script. That would hold me back from some of the newer forum software. But I like new things so.. :D

Jeremy P

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I have no desire to ever run a node base forum. I know some of the downsides to node.js and I would not want to manage those.
Penny for your thoughts? I use Node, development wise, for a lot of things but web apps aren't one of them. It's great at what I use it for but I don't see any reason to switch from PHP when PHP is working just as good for my uses.

I've been experimenting with basic APIs with express though and considered using it for simple future projects but maybe I'm better off just writing them in Laravel?


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I, in fact, do write web applications in node. Some fairly high profile ones and the managing workers, routes, etc. are beyond a pain. And since node is single threaded you need to split off workers to handle requests, which isn't as great of an idea.

Jeremy P

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Would you attribute the pain to unintuitive npm packages or deeply nested callbacks to support asynchronous behavior? Until node matures a bit more I think I'll just stick with Angular+Laravel.


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Both. I attempted to actively contribute to an open source module we use at my job and it was utterly horrendous. One of the worst experiences I've ever dealt with. And callback hell is an understatement. Nested anonymous callbacks... Where's the puke bucket?