Best Free Forum Software?

So, my mate Ollie that runs our local music scene ‘hub’ site wants to close down the forums: began as a forum and I reckon it should keep a forum, even if only a dedicated few use it!

Which leads me to my question (I know a lot of you guys work in IT and websites):

What is/are the best FREE forum software(s)? (in your opinion)

Or do you agree with Ollie and think that forums are dead!??


I’ve been hearing more and more good things about SMF - Simple Machines Forum ( )

I plan to add a forum to my own site soon, and I will probably go with this package, rather than phpBB which is what I have used in the past. The overall impression I get from peoples’ comments online is that SMF is more secure, more flexible, lightweight, easier to configure, easier to theme, etc.

Here’s a very handy site that lets you compare all the main features of various different forum packages:

Whether forums are dead or not, I’m not sure. Sites like Facebook have definitely had a big impact on things, but clearly it’s still possible to have a thriving forum-based community - just look at this one.

SMF 2 = Win

In other news, best CMS = Wordpress

man wordpress is pretty okay from a user standpoint but the code is janky as a mafucka. :s

on the topic of forum software:
if you haven’t yet, you should check out FluxBB. i’ve used vanilla in the past and it was okay…gotta say that the upcoming 2.0 version looks pretty damn nice, though.

The thing about wordpress is that it’s amazingly customizable due to all the really solid plugins for it. I thought joomla was customizable until I gave wordpress a shot… now I realize joomla was a joke. Every joomla site LOOKS like a joomla site… but you can’t usually tell when sites are powered by wordpress right off the bat.

if you say so, man. i maintained a number of wordpress sites professionally for a bit and, let me tell you, some people just don’t know how to write PHP…but, even worse in my eyes, wordpress doesn’t provide much of an API. it’s just a whole hodgepodge of functions without much OO design and it gives you plenty of rope to hang yourself. the biggest problem I would see is that plugins would do inordinate amounts of SQL queries because of poor coding. arguably, it could be the coder’s fault, but wordpress doesn’t even try to provide a safety net…i dunno. i have been suppressing rage about this, perhaps! :D

Granted, I’m sure some plugins would bog down under the traffic big websites get… but I’ve got a whackload of plugins installed, and my site runs well:

I’ve never had an issue with it.

I’ve liked phpBB for the most part–modding it to do extra things than the standard can be a chore, but in general it has done me well.

I used to use yabb for my forums and it was great! now I use wordpress and don’t use many forum-like features. i <3 wordpress.

I tried SMF, but ended up liking phpBB3 much more. It’s very luxurious.

Did you try SMF 1 or SMF 2? They’re worlds apart. SMF 1 sucks in comparison to SMF 2.


And I think SMF has this “security through nobody-uses-it”-principle. phpBB has not been hacked or wormed since version 3.0 - which is because the devteam spent a lot of money for a complete security audit.

Oh, and I made the music for the phpBB codeswarm. ;)

SMF 2. Which doesn’t suck… I just liked phpBB3 more.

SMF has some interesting mods out there, but I think phpBB has even more.

Haven’t tried phpbb3 tbh… I’ve tried phpbb 2.somethingrather… but that was a while back.

well… they’re worlds apart. phpBB2 sucks in comparison to phpBB3.