13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (2023)

13 Best Forum Software Review


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (1)

Your customers and employees want to be heard. Zendesk gives them a microphone and a space to connect through an online community. With Zendesk's customer and employee forum software, your users have the opportunity to help each other, inspire each other, and increase overall customer and employee engagement. . And members of your support team can join and help or appoint community managers to moderate and lead topic discussions.

A community like this is a valuable form of feedback for your organization so you know what improvements your customers most want to see. Additionally, you can use Zendesk Customer Support and/oremployee experience solutionsto really maximize the value of your online community.

Create a community in minutes

Whether online or in person, a community should be an engaging, helpful and fun place. Zendesk community software gives you full control over forum design, so you'll feel right at home. And thanks to its ease of use, Zendesk's community forum software lets you create a discussion forum in minutes. Your company can have separate or combined branded internet spaces where all your clients andemployees can communicate and collaborate, which makes them feel connected and empowered.

And in this space, you can mentor new clients and empower long-time users with advanced community management tools.

Streamline community content for maximum impact

Zendesk's online forum software uses AI to automatically remove duplicate threads and repeated questions. This allows you to reduce the noise in your community (with minimal effort) and helps users find existing answers to their questions more easily. Additionally, users can rate and follow posts to stay informed about the latest updates. This ability to systematically filter out noise and hold discussions makes Zendesk very effective for medium and large companies.

Zendesk's discussion software is available as a free trial or free with an eligible Zendesk plan.

Price plans:

  • Team Package: $49 per user per month
  • Package Growth: $79 user per month
  • Professional Package: $99 per user per month
  • Enterprise Suite: $150 user per month

Free trial period: 14 days

Zendesk Resources

  • help centericommunity forum
  • Unified workspace agenta
  • History of interactions
  • Custom and group views
  • More than 1000 pre-built applications
  • Rule-based triggers
  • import of articles
  • joint actions
  • Unified team management
  • 50 MB/agent

2.vanilla forum

13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (2)

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As the name implies, Vanilla Forums is known for its simple and intuitive interface. Its simplicity makes it an excellent tool for building and growing an online community of engaged users. And it's a common online forum software of choice for businesses with large or segmented communities because it supports managing multiple forums. Additionally, to encourage frequent and meaningful contributions and good behavior, Vanilla Forums uses gamification and reputation scoring features.

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If you have any problems using the software, you can rely on the Vanilla Forums dedicated account manager for support.

One drawback of Vanilla Forum is its high price compared to the budgets of most small businesses. With that said, the price falls within the framework for companies. Vanilla Forums no longer publishes its prices, but they used to start at $689. If they have the resources to embrace open source software, small and medium businesses can opt for free open source software from Vanilla Forums.

Price not available

Free trial: Not available

Vanilla Forum Features

  • Discussions and questions and answers
  • groups of users
  • ganchos CSS
  • 25 languages ​​supported
  • Ranking, badges and leaderboards
  • advanced analytics
  • A paid addition to the knowledge base
  • Product, marketing and CX integrations
  • Dedicated Customer Success Manager

3.Khoros community

13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (3)

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Khoros communities provide a self-service space for users and employees that is convenient for users to ask questions, share ideas, discuss problems, and receive responses from other users and experts.

Designed to meet the needs of out-of-the-box companies and help small businesses scale, Khoros offers configurable permissions and supports managing multiple employee and customer forums, as well as in different languages. With Khoros, your company can use online community resources such as a knowledge base and blog to provide useful articles and resources. You can even create a feed of community content with the Khoros community syndication feature.

All that said, for non-developers this online forum software has it, so you may need to work with a developer to maximize your settings.

Price not available

Free trial: Not available

Characteristics of Khoros communities

  • Self-service knowledge center
  • real-time analytics
  • Advanced moderation tools
  • Slack and Zoom integrations
  • community distribution
  • Gamification
  • spam management


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (4)

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Xenforo is built using PHP to make it easy for people to share and discuss content. While Xenforo can be used for other things, the main use of Xenforo is to create forums. With this discussion forum software, you can create Q&A threads and comments, organize your forum with category trees, set permissions and controls, and flag content for later.

In addition to the robust feature set that Xenforo offers for organizing forum content, it also has an intuitive WYSIWYG text editor that supports file attachments, link previews, and basic image editing. This allows you and other users to easily and quickly create and share content with the community.

price plans

  • Starting: $60 per month
  • Default: $100 per month
  • Job: $250 per month

Free trial period: 7 days

Features of Xenforo

  • marking content
  • moderation tools
  • SSL security
  • lifetime support
  • authoring tools
  • forum categories
  • direct message

5.I'm in pain

13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (5)

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vBulletin Cloud is an early version of discussion board software written in the PHP programming language. Before social media exploded onto the scene, organizations used vBulletin Conversations to host discussions for employees and/or customers seeking answers to their questions. Customer and employee forum software is suitable for newer, low-traffic forums as well as large, well-established, high-traffic forums.

If you don't have technical knowledge, you can easily do a basic vBulletin Cloud setup. But if you want to implement more advanced customizations, you may need coding skills. Features of vBulletin include the ability to send public and private messages within the vBulletin application, HTML support, attaching images and creating posts. The software also allows you to moderate the forum by banning users, flagging posts, removing content and more.

price plans

  • Bronze: $14.99 per month
  • Silver: $29.99 per month
  • Gold: $59.99 per month

Free trial: Not available

vBulletin features

  • Free support via phone, tickets and forums
  • free domain
  • Custom email domains
  • Automatic daily backups
  • Permissions based on user groups
  • multilingual support
  • Customer profile fields
  • embedded themes
  • custom metadata


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (6)

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Free and open source, Joomla is a content management system (CMS) designed to easily publish web content. You can use Joomla to create all kinds of traditional websites and online applications, including a forum with basic and advanced features. Anyone can download Joomla from its website, but you will need some technical resources to successfully implement the software.

Unless you plan to create your own custom solution, you'll need one of the many Joomla forum plugins to add a forum to your site. One of the most popular forum plugins is Kunena, which supports polls, thread ratings, moderation actions, file attachments, and more. However, even adding a plugin requires technical knowledge, so keep that in mind when choosing Joomla.

Price: All plans are free

Joomla features

  • Thousands of third-party extensions
  • Free and paid templates
  • custom layouts
  • open source
  • Access control levels
  • Multilingual


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (7)

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Discourse is forum software available as an open source, standalone or hosted solution. Hosted solutions require a paid license, but you can install Open Source Discourse on your own server for free, with an implementation fee.

Discourse is designed to meet the needs of modern communities with special features, such as trust levels, that allow users multi-tiered access based on their ongoing contributions to the community. This feature helps brands regulate the behavior of new and existing users and significantly reduces spam.

Discourse's linear threads also make it easy for community members to follow conversations without losing context. Its flat forum model saves users from digging through long threads to find the information they need. You can create surveys in multiple languages, allowing you to build and communicate with communities in different countries. You can even translate the results using the advanced search translation feature.

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price plans

  • Default: $100 per month
  • Job: $300 a month

Free trial period: 14 days

Characteristics of speech

  • unlimited members
  • CDN globally
  • Mobile application
  • User surveys
  • confidence levels
  • linear wires
  • surveys in multiple languages


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (8)

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Wix made a name for itself by allowing non-technical users to build professional websites with no coding skills required. Their forum software, Wix Forum, is just as easy to use with drag and drop templates specifically designed for community websites. Wix Forum is not available as a standalone project, but it comes with all Wix plans.

Unlike other forum software, Wix Forum looks similar to popular social media sites. For example, users have personal profile pages, can follow each other and like posts. These features provide the familiar feel of social media apps that community members know and love, making Wix Forum highly engaging and intuitive for users.

price plans

  • Combo: $16 per month
  • Unlimited: $22 per month
  • Professional: $27 per month
  • VIP: $45 per month

Free trial period: 14 days

Recursos do Wix

  • custom domain
  • Free SSL
  • 2 GB of storage space
  • questions and answers
  • Profiles of guests, members and owners
  • Private and public categories
  • subscription plans


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (9)

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Like Zendesk, inSided is a customizable online community platform that integrates with customer support and/or call center software to escalate tickets and provide one-on-one support for complex issues. The software primarily serves Software as a Service (SaaS) companies and helps them build engaged online communities.

A feature that can be built into the app allows you to find customers wherever they are and get answers to their questions quickly. Using a widget on your app or website, employees or customers can search for answers without leaving the page. In addition to answering questions, you can use inSided to inform users about product updates and ask for their feedback on product plans.

Price not available

Free trial: Not available

Internal features

  • community platform
  • 3 administrator licenses are included
  • questions and answers
  • Gamification (likes and badges)
  • Events and applications
  • It can be embedded in an application
  • knowledge base
  • product updates


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (10)

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Tens of millions of brands around the world use WordPress as a content management system (CMS) and website builder used by tens of millions of brands across the internet. So even though WordPress isn't forum software, you can use it to build communities with forum plugins like wpForo Forum and bbPress.

With bbPress, you can create and maintain multi-page forums from a single WordPress dashboard. bbPress is free and open source and has simple and easy integration with WordPress. wpForo Forum is also free and comes with native SEO and anti-spam features. And you can expand wpForo by purchasing additional plugins. The only caveat is that these forum plugins do not have advanced functionality right out of the box, so they may require plugins to suit your needs.

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price plans

  • Free WordPress: $0
  • WordPress Pro: $15 per month

Free trial: Not available

Recursos rade WordPress

  • Free custom domain name for one year
  • Premium themes are included
  • 50 GB of storage space
  • Automated website backup
  • Advanced SEO tools


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (11)

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Short for PHP Message Board, phpBB is free and open source forum software written in (you guessed it) PHP. phpBB helps you build an online community through forum software, although it lacks the advanced feature set you'll find in many of the other solutions on this list. However, it has very strong security features that help you reduce spam and remove unruly users.

Despite its simplicity, phpBB provides all the basics you need to effectively run a community. Users can ask questions and reply to each other after creating an account. And as a system administrator, you can assign moderator status to any user you choose. Furthermore, if you need to develop the core functionality of phpBB right away, you can do so with the phpBB extension library.

The main downside is that you may not find phpBB as easy to use as other forum software. You will need basic programming knowledge or help from a developer to set it up and maintain it.

Price: phpBB is free to use

phpBB features

  • UTF-8 support
  • responsive design
  • user settings
  • moderation tools
  • Tracking unread messages
  • private messages
  • winged antispam
  • password hash


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023 (12)

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Like WordPress, Drupal is completely free and open source forum software that is at its core a web content management system (CMS). Although not as popular as WordPress, a large portion of the top websites on the internet use it to run the backend of their websites.

Drupal comes with a native forum module called the Core Forum Module, which allows you to create discussion forums where users can discuss issues with each other. In the main forum module, you can also create multiple forums to host different types of conversations.

In short, Drupal's forum module provides all the organizational and management features needed to run a basic forum. However, you will need to extend the forum module with other modules or try the advanced forum module for more sophisticated customizations.

Price: free

Features of Drupal

  • error report
  • Translations in several languages
  • Threaded discussion forums
  • Comments
  • Multiple forums and subforums

13.Invision community

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(Video) Club and Community Forum - November 13, 2022

Invision Community is a unique offering of forum software that can be used to create a wide variety of discussion boards. With Invision, you can create generic or branded communities and discussion forums for fans, customers or employees. Because of its flexibility, Invision is an excellent choice for setting up internal employee forums.

Among other things, Invision lets you create spaces for employees to share files, join clubs, and reward them with points and badges for their contributions. Invision also allows you to configure permissions so you can make the forum completely open to everyone or restricted to specific groups of users. And if you choose to create a user forum as well, you can use Invision's branded communities to engage with customers, provide product support, and more.

price plans

  • Starting: $49 per month
  • Growth: $129 per month
  • Professional: $279 per month
  • Corporate $549/mo

Free trial: Not available

Invision Community Resources

  • unlimited number of posts
  • Traditional, grid and fluid views
  • Activity Streams
  • private messages
  • content tags
  • custom domain
  • fully customizable
  • file sharing
  • email support


13 Best Forum Software for Building an Online Community in 2023? ›

Most often, you'll see several pricing plans per user per month. The price per month per user is unique for every forum software solution out there. There are also tools with a custom pricing model only available when requested. The average cost of forum software is around $30 per user per month.

Which is the best forum software? ›

Best forum software
  • Wix Forum.
  • phpBB.
  • vBulletin.
  • MyBB.
  • Vanilla.
  • Flarum.
  • Simple Machines Forum.
  • Discourse.

How much does forum software cost? ›

Most often, you'll see several pricing plans per user per month. The price per month per user is unique for every forum software solution out there. There are also tools with a custom pricing model only available when requested. The average cost of forum software is around $30 per user per month.

Is Wix forum free? ›

Like other features in the Wix website builder, setting up your forum is simple, intuitive and free of charge.

How do I create an online forum? ›

How to Create a Forum Website
  1. Pick a location to host your forum.
  2. Choose a software to create your forum website.
  3. Organize your forum's structure.
  4. Design your forum's theme.
  5. Create user rules for your forum website.
  6. Start conversations with interesting discussion topics.
  7. Publish your forum on your website.
Aug 4, 2021

What is the biggest programmer forum? ›

9 Best Forums for Developers to Join in 2023
  • Stack Overflow. Stackoverflow. ...
  • Showwcase. Showwcase is a network for coders to connect, share knowledge, learn, explore opportunities, get feedback, and ask questions. ...
  • Hashnode. ...
  • Major League Hacking. ...
  • Dev. ...
  • Aviyel. ...
  • CodeProject. ...
  • CodePen.
Aug 8, 2022

Does anyone still use forums? ›

Why Forums are Still Relevant. As the numbers go to show, though many may be shouting about the death of forums, in reality this is simply not true. Millions of people utilise forums each and every day as a way to get answers, exchange advice, meet new people and simply have fun.

How much does it cost to host an online forum? ›

Here are the best forum hosting services:
RankWeb HostPrice
2A2 Hosting$2.99
3 more rows
May 27, 2023

Can you make money running a forum? ›

Make Money with Ad Networks

Making money with ad networks like AdSense, Ezoic, or MediaVine is also practical for forum websites. Visitors come to your forum, view the ads from the networks, and some of them click on them as well. Here's how you do it: Go to an ad network like AdSense.

How much does an online forum cost? ›

A web forum app usually costs $25,000 to build. However, the total cost can be as low as $30,000 or as high as $40,000. A web forum app with a low number of features (also known as a "minimum viable product", or MVP) will be more affordable than an app that includes all intended functionality.

How much does Wix really cost? ›

Wix prices range from $16 per month to $59 per month (billed annually), plus a custom plan for large enterprises. The Combo plan is the cheapest at $16 per month, and gives you an ad-free site, whereas, the $22 per month Unlimited plan is best for freelancers.

Can I build a forum on Wix? ›

With Wix Forum, it's easy to create an online community! Your forum members can join conversations, comment, share posts and much more — and it doesn't cost a thing!

Will Wix host my website for free? ›

Yes. Wix offers a few different ways to create your own free website, so you can choose the creation process that works best for you. Need to get online fast? Answer a few simple questions and Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) will build a website for you.

How do I start an online community forum? ›

7 Steps To Building An Online Community (With Examples)
  1. Define your community purpose and goals.
  2. Create community guidelines and rules.
  3. Select a community hosting platform.
  4. Identify community stakeholders.
  5. Set up your community.
  6. How to build communities with engagement.
  7. Grow Your Online Community.
Feb 7, 2023

Is it hard to create a forum? ›

The process of creating a forum is not difficult, but there are a few stages that must be completed. The procedure's difficulty is also determined by the type and size of the forum you intend to construct, as well as the site building tool you use for this reason.

How do I create a Microsoft forum? ›

Go to Community > Forums. To create a new forum, select New. To edit an existing forum, select the name of the forum. Enter appropriate values in the fields.

What is the world's largest free coding community? ›

Scratch is the world's largest free coding community for kids. Your support makes a difference.

How much does a 10x programmer make? ›

The median yearly total compensation reported at 10x Genomics for the Software Engineer role is $221,000.

Who is the richest programmer? ›

As of 2021, the Richest Programmer in the World is Elon Musk with a worth $158 Billion. Elon Musk developed two websites/ softwares (X.com and Zip2) which provided Elon enough money to venture into his engineering interests (Tesla and SpaceX).

Why are online forums dying? ›

With social media becoming the dominant form of communication years ago, forums will fade further into obscurity as time goes on. This is because young internet users will learn from people around them that are older about social media, and the less they see forums, the less chance they'll think to sign up for one.

Why are online forums dead? ›

Because of the dominance of social media sites and collective forum/discussion sites such as Reddit, Quora and Facebook, internet users no longer seek forums out of habit… they instead resort to social media to probe for answers from the larger global community for their questions.

What are the two types of forums? ›

Standard forums displayed in a blog-like format – General forums in which students can post multiple topics, which are then displayed in a blog-like format. Standard forum for general use – General forums in which students can post multiple topics and replies.

How much should you charge for hosting a website? ›

Every website needs web hosting to go online. Understanding your website hosting cost is essential to making an informed purchase decision. This tutorial will explain different hosting prices, starting from around $2-$15/month with shared hosting to $80-$500/month with dedicated hosting.

How much do you have to pay to host a website? ›

Pricing generally ranges from $2.51 per month for entry-level to $4.62 for a midtier option. With shared hosting users share their web server with other websites. The number of other websites could range from a few hundred to thousands.

Does it cost money to host your own website? ›

Your website hosting cost can range from under a hundred dollars per year to over a hundred dollars per month, depending on your needs. Some types of hosting plans cost more, certain types of domains are priced higher, and more.

How do I monetize my forum? ›

With so many active users and pages, you can make money directly off your forum.
  1. Use ad networks. ...
  2. Sell ad space directly to companies. ...
  3. Mention products you affiliate-sell. ...
  4. Add a sub-forum that sells. ...
  5. Add a sub-forum for product reviews. ...
  6. Turn links in user-generated content into affiliate links.
Mar 5, 2014

How do you monetize an online forum? ›

8 ways to monetize an online community
  1. #1: Paid membership and subscriptions.
  2. #2: Live events.
  3. #3: Donations and crowdfunding.
  4. #4: Native advertising and sponsored content.
  5. #5: In-app purchases and digital products.
  6. #6: Cross-selling.
  7. #7: Affiliate marketing.
  8. #8: A trading area for members.
Mar 6, 2023

What makes a forum successful? ›

Ensure registration for users is easy. Create a set of rules for forum members. Moderate when necessary. Focus on content quality and visitor engagement.

How much does it cost to set up an online platform? ›

Importantly, the cost to build an online platform ranges between $5000 to $150,000 depending upon the complexity of the project and several other factors.

What online forums are popular? ›

Reddit (430 million monthly users)

This is popularly referred to as the front page of the internet as it is one of the world's most famous forums. It is a website for discussions and rating of web content.

How do I create a free forum website? ›

Follow these easy steps to create your own forum website:
  1. Enter your website name. Select a unique name for your forum website that can help your business stand out.
  2. Add preferred features to your website. Build a great forum website without any coding.
  3. Launch your website. Test your forum website and launch it.
May 14, 2023

Does Microsoft have a forum app? ›

Social Squared is a Discussion Board App for Microsoft Teams Tab's and Microsoft Teams Personal Apps. Social Squared provides information workers the ability to post questions within relevant forums, and receive answers from their team.

Does Microsoft have a forum? ›

Welcome to the Microsoft Support Community.

What apps can be used for forums? ›

Best forum software
  • Wix Forum.
  • phpBB.
  • vBulletin.
  • MyBB.
  • Vanilla.
  • Flarum.
  • Simple Machines Forum.
  • Discourse.
Sep 13, 2021

How do I create a forum in Office 365? ›

Go to Community > Forums. To create a new forum, select New. To edit an existing forum, select the name of the forum. Enter appropriate values in the fields.

Can you create a forum in SharePoint? ›

Locate the Discussion Board app on the SharePoint app store. Add a suitable name for the board and click on create button to add it to your site. Your discussion board is ready for use.

What happened to Microsoft People app? ›

Note: Effective January 29, 2021, the People app will no longer be able to be launched directly (for example, through the Start Menu or search bar) in Windows 10. You'll still be able to launch it through the People icons in Mail, Calendar, and other apps. The People app is your address book.

What is Microsoft 365 community? ›

Welcome to the Microsoft 365 community! Your place to get the latest news, participate in live events, share best practices, and discuss topics related to Microsoft 365.

What is Microsoft communities? ›

Communities in Microsoft Teams

Simplify how you connect and collaborate with the people in your life with Communities in Teams—the only app you need to organize your friend or family reunions, projects, and online groups.

Is Microsoft free anymore? ›

The good news is if you don't need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer and Clipchamp.


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