Best Free Forum Software 2020 – Build the Best Online Community

Best Free Forum Software 2020
By Tapas Pal Updated

Forums are surely the relief for those who want to find an online community to interact with the likeminded people and resolve their queries. You can easily find hundreds of forums online which offer the best communication and solution. Now, the most interesting part is that you can build a forum too! There are multiple worthy forum software that can help you create your own community and let others join! If you are looking for such forum software, you don’t need to look anymore. Here in the list, I am sharing the best free forum software for 2020 which are all futuristic, lightweight and easy to use.

Here Is The List Of Best Free Forum Software 2020

1. PhpBB Forum

Phpbb Forum

phpBB Forum tops the list. PhpBB can power your entire website or stay in touch with a group of people Millions of users use phpBB as it is a free package manager which allows the user to make fast, high – quality forums. phpBB is released under the GNU General Public License. You don’t really have to take the permission from the phpBB group if you want to make any change in the code.


2. bbPress Forum

bbPress Forum

bbpress is one of the most popular WordPress forum plugins. It provides various options for creating and managing a forum. Visitors to your forum can subscribe to the forum itself or particular topics or replies. It focuses on ease of use, integration, and the speed of web.

3. Discourse Forum

Discourse Forum

The best self – hosted forum software today is Discourse. It is a modern approach to forum software, deviating focus from nodes (categories) to the actual discussion. It offers a more modern user experience. Discourse is licensed under the GNU GPL2 and is written in Ruby – on – rails. It is famous for the minimalist ‘conversation’ style forum threads.

4. Vanilla Forum

Vanilla Forum

Vanilla is the original attempt to refresh the idea of Internet Forums. It is ideal for custom community solutions and has been adopted by over 300,000 business, brands, and fans. Most importantly Vanilla allows owners to focus on their community rather than a myriad of complex backend options. It is open-source, multilingual, themeable and self–compliant.

Vanilla Forums also offers a hosted service for. Users who don’t want to have worry about hosting, there is also an open-source version which runs on PHP/MSQL

5. Simple Machine Forums

Simple Machine Forums

Simple Machine Forum is licensed under BSD and written in PHP. SMF is a free, professional-grade software package which allows you to make an easy, elegant, customizable and high-quality discussion forum. It uses MYSQL database on the backend.



MyBB is another lightweight free open source forum that has been around for a while. It is written in PHP/ MYSQL and competes with other paid forum software. It has evolved from other bulletin boards into the forum package. Today, it is the most professional and efficient forum script, developed by an active team of developers. The MyBB history has been recorded and is available for the interested user to read. You can also read more about the MyBB team and how they develop MyBB in their spare time.

7. FluxBB


FluxBB is a lightweight and user – friendly forum application for your website. FluxBB serves as a lighter, faster alternative to some of the heavy forum and traditional – featured applications. It is easy to use and has a proven track record of stability and security making it an ideal choice of forum for your website.

8. MiniBB Forums

MiniBB Forums

miniBB is a free and open-source program for building the online forum. It is written in PHP and uses MYSQL database as the backend. The PHP bulletin board script offers you a simple and stable message board that includes full customization of the layout to the look of your website and synchronizes your existing membership system.

9. Phorum


Phorum gives the web designers the power to rearrange the data in any order, form or fashion they want. You can use the existing templates as a starting point or start from scratch. The choice is yours. It has a very flexible hook and module system which makes it user – friendly forum.

10. YaBB Forum

YaBB Forum

YaBB is the leading open Source community forum system. It is the only forum written in Perl. This system is the first and most popular open-source Perl forum software which runs very fast. Users, on YaBB, get the power to create and control the Bulletin Board which can become a robust and functional addition to your website or even become a standalone as a website or communication tool for 24/7. You get real-time support and chat system for the visitors with YaBB along with the freedom to customize to match your designing needs. With topnotch security system (that includes encrypted passwords and usernames), censor controls, and spam filtration and elimination, YaBB is the best forum software you can download for free directly from their official website.

11. PunBB Forum

PunBB Forum

PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP – powered forum script. It is released under the GNU General Public License. It is faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB may not have as many features as the other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML – compliant pages.

12. UseBB Forum

UseBB Forum

Unlike other popular forum systems, UseBB does not strive to have as many features as possible. UseBB is an Open Source forum package developed in PHP 4 and uses the popular MySQL database back-end to store data. It is one of the easiest and most usable forum packages, limiting the basic feature set to only the essential. UseBB is the pure forum software.

13. CodoForum


CodoForum is a free PHP based modern forum script. It is built using the latest coding patterns and is fully compliant with the new PSR-0 standards. This forum software lets the users enjoy each and every feature and functionality that can be availed from such software. CodoForum is the best solution to your search for the software for forums.

14. YetAnotherForum


YetAnotherForum.NET (YAF) is the open-source discussion forum for websites running in ASP.NET.  Yet Another Forum is a unique combination of Open Source, Microsoft’s .NET platform and an international collaboration of the .NET developer community. YAF can run on any web server that supports ASP.NET v2.0 (and above) and SQL Server. YAF is licensed under GPL.

15. Flarum


An open-source forum software, Flarum comes with a focus on simplicity and reliability. Flarum can help you set up a discussion forum for your website in the easiest manner. Developed on GitHub, Flarum is a free forum software that is a nice combination of FluxBB and esoTalk. Along with simplicity, Flarum offers a blazing fast approach without any bloat, clutter, and complicated dependencies. The interface of this software is powered by Mithril and the whole software is built with PHP which eliminates any complexities in deployment.

This is the list of the Best Free Forum Software 2017. However, if you are looking for the best of all the forums and you are ready to pay then the Premium Online Forums like vBulletin, Xenforo, Invisionpower can serve you the best.