Best Of 15 Open Source PHP Forum Scripts (bulletin board)

A Forum  is an online community place or an Internet message board or a medium where ideas or views on a particular issue can be exchanged. Now a days Forums have become as popular as the blogs. With the growing popularity of these forums everybody wants to setup their own forum. So if you want to set up your own forum community, here is a list of 16 best open source PHP forum scripts. I have listed these scripts in their ranking from number 1 to number 16 based on some features, usability and some other criteria.

1. phpBB

phpBB is most widely used open source forum script. phpBB is written using PHP scripting language and uses MySQL database. It is very easy to install and has got a very good and easy to use Admin control panel. phpBB has got wide development community who can help you in solving any issues. You can easily create your own theme or there are lots of themes available that you can use free of cost. phpBB is the best open source forum script which can fulfill all your demands.

2. bbPress

bbPress is one of the widely used open source forum scripts by the makers of WordPress. This is very similar to WordPress. The Admin control panel is very much similar to the look and feel of WordPress, so using this is extremely easy. Like the WordPress, bbPress has also got a wide development community and lots of themes and plugins are freely available. The only demerit of bbPress is that for each and everything you need to install plugins which may reduce the performance of  the forum. The only core does not even support email reply feature. But still this is a better option for you.You can easily integrate bbPress with your existing WordPress blog. bbPress stands at number 2 in my list.

3. Simple Machines Forum (SMF)

SMF is a very powerful open source forum script. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the layout of your message board and with the unique SSI – or Server Side Includes – function you can let your forum and your website interact with each other. SMF can be integrated with several content management systems like Mambo, XOOPS etc. SMF also supports plugins, so with the plugins you can add more features to SMF. So SMF stands at number 3 in my list.

4. MyBB

MyBB is one of the most promising open source forum scripts which allow you to easily migrate from any other forum script like phpBB. It supports plugin system which helps you in extending the features of the forum. So MyBB stands at number 4 in my list.

5. SEO-Board

SEO-Board is a forum software that’s fast, free, and search engine friendly. It is the perfect solution for small and medium-sized forum but it is not an ideal solution for very large scale forum. It has got inbuilt anti-spam support and different language support. So SEO-Board stands at number 5 in my list of best open source forum scripts.

6. Vanilla

Vanilla is another open source script that is very flexible and easy to use. Vanilla provides both hosted and self hosted option. This is themable, pluggable and multilingual forum script. This is a community supported script that can do a lot for you. So Vanilla stands at number 6 in my list.

7. FluxBB

FluxBB is designed as a lighter, faster alternative to some of the traditional feature heavy forum software. It is easy to use and has a proven track record of stability and security making it an ideal choice of forum script. It supports both PHP4 and PHP5. It also supports MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite databases. So FluxBB stands at number 7 in my list of open source forum software.

8. PunBB

PunBB is a light weight and faster forum software that can fulfill your requirements. Extra functionality can be added to PunBB through the extensions. So PunBB stands at number 8 in my list.

9. Phorum

Phorum was the original PHP and MySQL based open source forum script that was started in the year 1998. Its a lightweight and easy to use simple script. So Phorum stands at number 9 in my list of best open source forum scripts.

10. MiniBB

miniBB is a standalone open source application that can easily fit into your existing website. So miniBB stands at number 10 in my list.

11. IceBB

IceBB is a free and open source forum or discussion board powered by PHP and MySQL. IceBB stands at number 11 in my list.

12. FudForum

FUDForum is a plugin supported open source discussion board. FUDForum stands at number 12 in my list of open source forum scripts.

13. XMB – eXtreme Message Board

XMB gives you good features that you need to get your forum up and running. It stands at number 13 in my list.

14. Advanced Electron Forum

AEF is another open source script that stands at number 14 in my list.

15. UseBB

UseBB is a PHP4 based forum script that stands at number 15 in my list. UseBB 2 project has been cancelled so you can use the UseBB 1 for your forum.

Manikandan is Founder and author of codenread. Tech Blogger by Passion | Computer Science Engineer by Qualification