Forums Programs, Scripts or Apps

Choosing the best community bulletin board platform

What to look for in Forums Software

Building Online Communities with Forum and Bulletin Board Software

Updated: August 17, 2023
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff

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Fourms Bulletin Boards

The Best Community Bulletin Board or Forums Software

What Is a Self-Hosted Forum or Bulletin Board?
A online forum or sometimes called a bulletin board, is a great way to create a community of like-minded people. Running a self-hosted bulletin board, as opposed to one managed by a third party, has many benefits: You are in total control of your data, you are not forced to display adverts or pay for features you do not need, and can often customize them much more too. Online bulletin boards are packed with features and their interface is designed to encourage chatter. They can be edited by using any web browser without extra add-ons or extensions.
WordPress Forums Plugins Listed Below

People in general love to participate in online communities to discuss the topics they are most interested in. This is why so many of us turn to Bulletin Boards and Community Forums when they need information or support.
There are several scripts that stand out as the best forum software because they are reliable and have the features you need in a forum program.

Softaculous Automatic Script Installer

With this script which is available with any of our hosting plans. You can install, try out, uninstall as many apps as you like. It is just that simple. With hundreds of amazing scripts for Image galleries, E-commerce, blogs, Forums, Wikis, social networking.
Take the Softaculous demo for a spin, see reviews and more.

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phpBB is used by millions of people on a daily basis, making it the most widely used opensource bulletin board system in the world. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built in.
phpBB Hosting phpBB Hosting

Simple Machines Forum

SMF in short is a free, professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community within minutes. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board and with our unique SSI - or Server Side Includes - function you can let your forum and your website interact with each other.
Simple Machines Forum Hosting Simple Machines Forum Hosting


MyBB is a free bulletin board system software package developed by the MyBB Group. A lot of thought has gone into the MyBB interface to make it easy to use. MyBB uses a standard discussion board structure, so your visitors will feel familiar with the way MyBB works.
MyBB Hosting MyBB Hosting


PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages.
PunBB Hosting PunBB Hosting

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bbPress is forum software from the creators of WordPress. Quickly setup a place for asyncronous discussion, subscriptions, and more! bbPress is focused on simplicity, flexibility, a deep integration with WordPress, web standards, and speed. bbPress is lean, mean, and ready to take on any job you throw at it.
bbPress Hosting bbPress Hosting


XMB is a lightweight PHP forum software with all the features you need to support a growing community. With outstanding community support and contribution, you will find XMB to be easy to setup, customize, and enhance.
XMB Hosting XMB Hosting


ElkArte is a modern, powerful community building forum software. It is created by volunteers who believe in freedom of software. Initially based on Simple Machines Forum (SMF), it began with a complete overhaul of the code in order to modernize, implement new features and make a forum software be relevant in a time of unprecedented social interaction. It has grown to become a modern, feature rich forum package to meet the demands of today's discussion groups.
ElkArte Hosting ElkArte Hosting


Flarum is a delightfully simple discussion platform for your website. It's fast and easy to use, with all the features you need to run a successful community. Flarum is the combined successor of esoTalk and FluxBB.
Flarum Hosting Flarum Hosting

domain hosting


miniBB is a standalone, open source program for building your own Internet forum. If you want a lite, simple and stable message board attached to your existing website at the very high integration level, which may include the full customization of the layout to the look of your website, or even synchronizing with the existing membership system, you've just came across to the best forum solution for such purpose available worldwide.
miniBB Hosting miniBB Hosting

my little forum

my little forum is a simple PHP and MySQL based forum that displays the messages in classical threaded view. Open Source licensed under the GNU General Public License. The main claim of this web forum is simplicity. It is easy to install and run on a standard server configuration with PHP and MySQL.
my little forum Hosting my little forum Hosting


Flatboard is a Simple, Lightweight, Modern and fast Flat-File Forum, using Json and Markdown or BBcode. Carefully designed elements and components. User interface is clean and intuitive. New concept blending blog and forum for dynamic comments.
Flatboard Hosting Flatboard Hosting

WordPress Forums Plugins

Asgaros Forum

Asgaros Forum is the perfect WordPress plugin if you want to extend your website with a lightweight and feature-rich discussion board. It is easy to set up, super fast and perfectly integrated into WordPress.
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Toolbox for Asgaros Forum

Use Toolbox for Asgaros Forum to customize your Forum without the struggle to write some code. You can easily create some custom menu entries or change the url to the User Profile.
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wpForo Forum

wpForo Forums is the best WordPress forum plugin. Full-fledged yet easy and light forum solution for your WordPress website. Comes with modern and responsive forum layouts and styles. This WordPress forum plugin brings everything you need to run an efficient and professional community
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Discussion Board

Discussion Board is an easy way to add a forum to your WordPress site. It has a one-click installation and stacks of essential features that make it the leading WordPress forum plugin. In brief:
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Simple:Press Forum

an all-in-one, feature-rich forum plugin designed to seamlessly integrate with your WordPress site. With a focus on performance and user experience, it offers an extensive range of free and premium features to meet all your forum needs.
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Are you looking for a timeless, elegant, and streamlined discussion board? bbPress is easy to integrate, easy to use, and is built to scale with your growing community. bbPress is intentionally simple yet infinitely powerful forum software, built by contributors to WordPress.
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bbp style pack

This Plugin lets you style bbPress, and add display features. You can change the forum styling for elements, letting you match (or contrast!) bbPress to your theme. Many features are available at the click of a button, such as creating vertical lists, adding create new topic links, hiding counts and much more.
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Expertly crafted, ForumWP is the next generation forum solution for WordPress. Say goodbye to outdated forum software forever. Build your online community with ForumWP. ForumWP provides you with all the tools to create a thriving online community on your website
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Vanilla Forums

Vanilla allows you to create a customized community that rewards positive participation, automatically curates content and lets members drive moderation.
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Advanced Forms for ACF

Advanced Forms is a WordPress plugin for creating front-end forms using Advanced Custom Fields. It supports all ACF field types, including repeaters and flexible content fields, and provides the same field editing interface you are already familiar with.
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