Internet forums are an effective medium of building online communities. Even though there are social media sites for building strong communities online, forums stand distinct owing to the discussion platform it provides to the users. Forums help in formation of virtual community of members pursuing interests in the same field and thus becomes a source of knowledge exchange for its members.
- bbPress: bbPress is the forum software from the creators of WordPress (CMS behind successful websites). bbPress is a template based forum which can be easily customized with themes and plugins. It is released under GPL2 license and is free and open source. The software is powered by additional plugins to offer the features provided by majority of forum software.
- vBulletin: vBulletin is one of the most powerful community software. With the release of its latest version 4.0, now vBulletin is also offering a publishing suite as well. The publishing suite provides great features for managing CMS in form of blogs and forums, while its classic version is good for creating successful forums. vBulletin is a commercial software available for $285 (publishing suite) and the classic version is available for $195. Read vBulletin review for more on vBulletin, the software of choice for building strong community.
- Invision Power: Invision Power is a professional solution released under commercial license. Invision power is engaged in building and hosting forum software for around 10 years. From maintenance point of view, its well built support system helps in keeping the safe and sound.
- Simple Machines Forums: Simple Machines Software or SMF for short is a professional grade solution offered for free. SMF offers full flexibility of customizing the forum to your needs and requirements (and also assures the interactivity of the forum with the main website).
- phpBB: phpBB is one of the oldest and popular forum software which keeps track with other forum software by releasing new versions (and new versions). phpBB supports almost all the database management systems. It is free and open source.
Which forum software are you using?