I know it’s hard to find Good, free and secure forum script with Good User interference. I have almost tried more than 20 Forum scripts to find out best ones and after coming to know a lot about them, I thought to write a relevant blog to help you people choose the right software.

Most of paid and free forum scripts have outdated user interference and many complicated things that you don’t want to go in, but there are few with amazing layout and style that will force you to use them on your site. The forum should be engaging and helpful not complicated.


Top 10 Best Forum Scripts

These are top ten best and most trending forum scripts of 2017.


Discouse forum

Discourse is one of most trending forum script these days. Its 100% free and open source. There are a lot of plugins available for this forum and you can build engaging and beautiful communities using this script.

When I say things should not be complicated then I mean it for your users, not for you. Unfortunately, this forum is built using NodeJS not PHP which will impose some limitations on you if you don’t know NodeJs framework. You can still use it but you can’t modify things like you do with PHP scripts. Another thing is that you need separate hosting environment for Discourse, it can’t be used on your current Cpanel hosting.

You can use DigitalOcean one click discourse install if you don’t want to get your hands dirty.

Demo: http://meta.discourse.org/

Developer Site: http://www.discourse.org/

Release: stable

Language: Java Node.JS FrameWork

Difficulty: Medium

Cost: Free


I purely love the UI & UX of this forum script. It will be one of best forum script of future. Unfortunately, they haven’t released a stable release yet but still, you can install and use a beta version of this script, and I am sure that you will love it.

This script isn’t yet stable but still have a large number of users and developers which mean soon they will release stable release.

 There are also many predeveloped plugins for this script including spam protection.

Support them so they can give produce stable release as fast as they can.

Demo: https://discuss.flarum.org/

Developer site: http://flarum.org/

Release: stable

Language: PHP

Difficulty: High

Cost: Free


Nodebb Forum

Forgive me but developer now loves NodeJs that’s why they are creating most of new scripts in NodeJs. This script is also made using NodeJS.

This script has also good UI and many good features which will force you to use this script.

Demo: https://community.nodebb.org

Developer site: https://nodebb.org/

Github Respiratory: https://github.com/NodeBB/NodeBB

Release: stable

Language: Java Node.JS FrameWork

Difficulty: High

Cost: Free

Invasion Power Board

This one is paid forum script with common forum UI. The reason I included this forum script in this list is because of its features and clean style.

There are many modules available with this script which can help you to do everything you want to do on your forum like selling stuff, creating Galleries or managing blog.

Demo: https://invisionpower.com/forums/

Developer site:  https://invisionpower.com/

Release: stable

Language: PHP

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Paid


This one is simple, free and easy to use forum script that you can install anywhere and use it easily, but I don’t like its interference.

Demo: http://www.elkarte.net/community/index.php

Developer site:  http://www.elkarte.net/

Release: stable

Language: PHP

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Free & Open Source


How I can forget to include this in my list, although UI and UX are poorly designed but still its one of most used old & free Forum Script.

This forum script is developed using PHP and have a lot of plugins and skins but you are not going to find professional looking themes easily.

Demo: https://community.mybb.com/

Developer site: https://mybb.com/

Release: stable

Language: PHP

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Free & Open Source


This one is most used paid forums script and has many plugins and themes in its respiratory. You have to pay around 200$ annually for this script to keep updated or otherwise, you can face major security breaches.

This is good for people with deep pockets.

Demo: https://www.vbulletin.com/forum/

Developer site: http://www.vbulletin.com/en/

Release: stable

Language: PHP

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Paid

The forum should be engaging or user will never come back, that is why I have added Flarum to the top of the list. I myself use Flarum on few sites and recommend others too, but if you want to create a long-term engaging forum for your users then you should opt out for NodeJS as most companies are doing. 


Don’t create Dead Forum

It’s not easy to engage people on your forum unless your forum has something special that no one is offering. Ninty percent of forums fail in the first year so make sure you don’t waste your time and money on creating a dead forum that no one will use. Here are some tips to help you make an active forum.

You should have a clear vision of your forum. Why are you creating a forum? what extra thing you are offering?. If you are not clear yourself then you will find it very hard to have long-term community site.

Offer something extra that no one is offering. You can offer any an important tool, service, free course or something that people are interested in. It will help you get returning and engaging visitor.

Most of the people create a forum as an addon but if you are only offering forum as standalone site then post great content in start to get initial visitors which may help you kickstart your community.

The best Advice I can give you is that work on Trending content in your niche, as new and trending content mostly have very less competition.

Hope you find these tips helpful. If something special worked for you then don’t forget to share it with me.


Hi Readers, Welcome to My Blog. I am Hamza Ahmed, a tech geek From Islamabad Pakistan. I love to write, code and explore new amazing stuff. You can connect with me on Twitter & Facebook. Read more about me here.

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