Top 6 Forum Softwares (Bulletin Boards) for your Website

Forums are Online Discussion sites that allow visitors to discuss, share, and comment on any user-generated topics. There are many forums that people use every day to download their movies, music, ebooks, and so on. You can google and find lots of Health-related tips providing forums, software discussion forums, support forums for any software or hardware products, gaming, movies and the list goes on and on…

Here we will see some of the famous Free and Paid Bulletin Board software that you can purchase or download to install and start the forum on your website within few seconds. Yes, it takes just a few seconds to start your forum. Some control panels provide 1 click installation of forum software. Otherwise you have to download the forum package from its official, developer website and then upload it to your webserver for installation and further configuration. The best example is CPanel used in managing the webhost. It gives the fantastico support to extend the one click installation of forums, content management, support systems and so many. You can check out the list of software’s that you can click and install in single click with fantastico website. Ofcourse many website hosting providers have these 50$ / per month licensing worth software’s pre installed.

You can have a look at 5 tips to select the best webhost here.


A powerful bulletin board software for any deploying any business, product-related support and discussion system. This is a widely used bulletin board system when people think about Paid Forum software, High security, Good Customer Support, Theme and Plugin support in mind. VBulletin is also famous for its SEO.  I saw some VBulletin forums that holds almost 3000 visitors at a time. So when your requirement of users is high, you may think about VBulletin. Many of its useful plugins are in BUY option. The vbSEO is also a paid plugin and used by almost any SEO focused forum. VBulletin a leader in the paid forum software and support providing have a demo in its official website. The license comes in two type, either an year licensing or lifetime licensing. The support and service based on the license that the user prefers at the time of purchase.


A nice competitor for VBulletin Forum software. Almost 4 years back i know IPB was a free forum software. Then the team came up with a nice advanced layout and administration features. And thats made the difference from other bulletin boards and converts the free forum to a paid one. IPB provides either licensing for year or lifetime, along with Hosted IPB Solution. But this is really a bad choice for users to go for hosted solutions when you aimed to provide some public support of community service. The number of users can be online decides the actual price in dollars. 1$ per user per month is really a tough one.


Simple Machines Forum is an open source forum software where any one can download and install it to start a forum. The plugin and theme also comes free. Ofcourse, there are some paid themes and plugins available in internet. I use SMF for a long time and its really a good bulletin board system. No risk in installation or maintenance. And if there is any compatibility issues or errors while and after installation, you can always take the support of SMF Official Discussion Forum to get assistance by the Moderators and Developers of this great software.


Before the arrival of any other forum software PhpBB is used by many community-creating websites and business sites for support and discussions. I would say PhpBB is almost a long living bulletin board system. It is an open source bb system supported and developed by people worldwide. PhpBB is also one of my favorite and i use this in some of my client websites even today. I like the easy customization of PhpBB when we think about deploying some shoutbox, or any other integrations. PhpBB is a perfect choice if you look for a community software with more than 2000 users online at a time. You can see such forums in live by taking a small google search. Similar to SMF, PhpBB provides support through its Official Discussion forum.


An open source forum software that gives better security features. It has a nice administration panel and control, that reminds me VBulletin Control panel at times 🙂 . Yes, you can even find some reviews or discussions about MyBB that says, the code or layout appears like the copyrighted and paid software which is vbulletin. MyBB has its unique features too.You can have a look at the features list it provides.


A forum software from the creators of wordpress. It is also possible to use BBPress without wordpress blog installed on the site. When the blog owner have an idea to deploy a discussion area via forums then bbpress is the right choice to synchronize it with wordpress. Its open source, Its simple, It contains less code and excellent security features. It aims to let the user to do things easier than any forum softwares.


Advanced Electron Forum is an another PHP and MySQL based bulletin board software, if you prefer not to use any of the above famous systems. This software launched in 2006 and now it has various feature rich services. IP Banning facility, Inbuilt shoutbox and the list grows, you can have a look at the list over here. A bit complex code with less number of themes and plugins support. The team currently looking for good php application developers too. As far as the speed is concern, i would say its not a great one. If you are looking for an existing theme, plugin usage with a simple installation, then you can go for AEF BB.

I will come up with detailed installation and some customization steps for themes and plugins with the above discussed bulletin boards.

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About the Author: Robin C

Security Consultant, Engineer, Technology Enthusiast and Blogger.

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  1. Thanks for your comment @Anishniranam, MyBB rocks. I know many good traffic driving webforums use mybb as a simple and effective forum software. Simply the Best !

    – Robin

  2. Hi I am currently out of work. I looked at all the sites more times than I’d care to recall and sent off hundreds of resumes. However, i have not been able to find a single good response to my resumes. If anyone knows about any particular place that provides career advice, please revert me with the location details. I will be thankful to you for your early response.

  3. We should join a discussion forums with a chat room, because we need information. The best benefits about using a forum or chat room is that you can talk about any problem you have and ask any questions you might have in your mind.

  4. This is a great article. Thank you! I do have a question that I’m doing research on. A lot of members of various Yahoo forums prefer the option to reply to posts via email. Does any bulletin software offer this feature? vBulletin would be my top choice, but I heard from them that they don’t offer this and don’t plan to at this time.

  5. bbPress is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress. bbPress is plain and simple forum software, plain and simple. It’s easy to use, easy to administrate, fast and clean. But don’t let its simplicity deceive you; underneath the gleam, it’s got some powerful features and is highly customizable

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