Home Marketing Best Forum Software to Create Online Communities in 2021

Best Forum Software to Create Online Communities in 2021

Forums provide the opportunity to build an online community Let your audience connect in a place where they know their interests are shared. This feeling of connection is more important than ever in a time when more work, communication and socialization are done online.

Online communities are especially beneficial for businesses as they allow customers to interact with each other in a smaller circle than they could via social media, increasing levels interaction and interaction with the brand.

For example, let’s say one of your customers has a very own problem with your product or service and posts about it on your forum. That post is much easier to find than on social media where millions of users are talking about a million different things.

Even better, it’s possible that another forum user has had the same problem and may answer their question before your service representative sees it.

There is an incredible amount of value in outreach and Build your community using a forum. Here, we will explore the best forum software to get you started.

first. WordPress (With Plugin)

Price: Free (plus storage costs)

Using a multi-purpose platform like CMS to power your online community gives you access to a variety of software options within plugin and application form. For example you can use bbPress plugin for creating multipage forums and maintaining them from one dashboard in your WordPress website. This is a great option if you want to set up a regular website and forum together.

There are many options to choose from when using WordPress, all of which will provide you with the basic forum features you need, along with many useful extras.

WordPress with bbPress forum pluginImage source

2. Joomla!

Price: Starts at $ 99 per year (plus development and hosting costs)

Joomla! As a CMS software like WordPress, but need more attention to detail and management. This is a powerful CMS that will power your forum plugins like Kunena or EasyDiscuss, created exclusively for Joomla! systems. Worthwhile comes from an open source content management system, which allows you to build powerful online applications alongside your forum software.

joomlapolis, a forum example using joomla!  and kunenaImage source

3. Discourse

Price: Starts at $ 100 per month (plus hosting costs)

Discourse is open source forum software that you can use alongside your existing website and CMS platform. Community members can not only use it on their mobile devices, but also receive alarms, badges, emojis, and more. Best of all, there’s a built-in moderation system to help you protect your community from spam and abuse.

Discussion forum software

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4. Vanilla Forum

Price: Can be changed according to your needs

Vanilla has a ton of features – one of the most notable is an intuitive dashboard that lets you manage every aspect of your community forum. You can view statistics, manage users and use HTML, BBCode and Markdown recognition enhancement editor using this software.

In addition, Vanilla gives you the ability to adjust the permissions of forums or members if you are looking to control access. Software allows customers to submit, view, and vote on innovation-driven ideas for your business, or use Q and A options to connect and help each other get more out of your product or service. friend. Best of all, Vanilla offers a boarding process with a helpful checklist, training material, and help from one of their support representatives.

Example of Vanilla ForumImage source

5. Codoforum


Codoforum is forum software with a new user interface with a modern design. It’s simple, clean, and easy to use. Codoforum is built in PHP using the latest code samples and fully compliant with the new PSR standards. This software provides responsive layout structure for mobile and desktop, SSO and integration, as well as refers to messages to users.

Since it’s free to use, Codoforum is a good option if you are still testing forums or not sure if they will be useful for your website and community.

Codoforum exampleImage source

6. phpBB


PhpBB is a forum platform with a typical and visual board setup where users can post public or private posts. With phpBB, you can create as many internal message boards as you like at no extra cost.

Alternatively, you can use extensions to add new options to your forum community. This makes the software very customizable and allows you to tailor the software to the growing needs of your audience.

Among other things, phpBB allows you to create password-protected forums for added security, sub-forums, the option of showing active topics at the top of your forum, and the ability to add forum rules at the top of the forum to make sure your community is following the rules set.

for example the phpbb forum at opencartImage source

7. VBulletin

Price: vBulletin 5 Connect $ 249, $ 15 / month

More than 100,000 websites are built on vBulletin – including NASA, EA and Sony Pictures – so this is a popular choice for hosting your forum. The software includes a lot of great features, including built-in SEO, security, and responsive web design. With VBulletin you can have an unlimited hierarchy of forums as well as private forums.

Best of all, VBulletin provides interesting and unique features for your community members, including private messaging, friends list, member’s date of birth (displayed on the forum homepage) and ability to see who is online.

VBulletin is not known to be the fastest forum, but its design is clean and it provides quality support to its users.

for example vBulletin forums

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8. Invision Community

Pricing: Vary for forum size / data needs, but starting at $ 45 / month for 65 online visitors

The IP Board is a very popular forum software that has since expanded into Invision Community, including a forum application along with its other services. According to the Invision Community website, the forum module provides thousands of web message boards, and Invision Community has many other community management apps to help you interact with your audience.

The software allows your users to control their own online communities, which you can oversee at your discretion. For example, Invision Community allows users to create and manage their own communities, called “Clubs”, that are fully integrated with your website – these clubs have Club Leaders. designated sets, who can add new forums, calendars or galleries to the community.

Screenshot 2019-05-23 at 1.58.58 pm

Image source

9. blow


Flaurm has a streamlined design that is extremely easy to navigate. The forums using this software are fully responsive and features including smooth animations and swipe features are available for mobile optimization. Flarum is built by the developers of esoTalk and FluxBB, two of the fastest forum platforms and excellent performance ratings.

Screenshot 2019-05-23 at 2.01.21 pmImage source

ten. MyBB


MyBB is free and open source forum software that powers thousands of communities. It has hundreds of plugins and themes for you to customize, and users that exist on the forum will help you set up your own community. Users have also contributed translations available to the content on the software. Now, forums are available in more than 30 languages ​​to help you develop a more global community.

Screenshot 2019-05-23 at 2.05.41 PM-1Image source

11. inSided

Price: Can be changed according to your needs

inSided is a full-featured Community Platform geared towards Success for Customers and Community professionals that want to effectively increase engagement, support, and feedback on products.

They have a great mix of customer base, knowledge base, and in-app support. What sets them apart from other platforms is integration with software like Zendesk, Salesforce, Mixpanel, and Gainsight so you can connect your community to the entire tech ecosystem and create a vision. 360 degrees of your customers.

mixpanel_communityImage source

Ways to build your community using forum software

People pay attention when brands listen and talk to their customers, and they pay special attention when brands promote their own communities. How? Through the power of Word of mouth. Customers who consider themselves valuable members of your community are more likely to talk about your brand with their friends.

Here’s how you can build a strong community using your forum software.

1. Communication.

Nobody will join your online community if they don’t know it exists. Promote your new forum by including CTAs to join your forum in email newsletters or social media posts. Ask your brand ambassador or loyal fan to start posting on the forum and post content on the forum so that when other users join, you have a permanent presence on the channel.

2. Listen to and check out your community regularly.

Reviewing your forum and responding to what your audience says is an important part of community building. Your customers are less likely to continue interacting and participating on your forum if they feel as though they are being ignored. Responding to their feedback shows your users that you value their opinion and are interested in their experience with your product.

Also, your task is to make sure everything is running smoothly on your forum. Checking out your community regularly will help you get rid of any service requests and give people the support they’re looking for.

3. Cultivate a productive discourse.

Forums should be a safe place for your customers, prospects, employees, fans, and audience to interact, ask and answer questions. By establishing useful qualities early on or creating community guidelines that prioritize patience and kindness in responses, your community will grow without having to constantly follow it. / 7.

Editors’ note: This post was originally published June 2019 and has been updated for inclusion.

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