Forum websites are the best trending on any niche, so in this post let us discuss which are the best forum software programs available.

In the below list some forum software programs are free, some are paid and some are partially free which means you need to pay only for hosting.



Although this forum software is not completely free, this is one of the best available software program

to create a forum website easily.


Discourse Forum


This is a super cool forum program which looks great, user friendly and also very easy to use.

If you see their demo website Discourse Demo you can see that this software has a lot of features with it.

Some of the notable features of discourse are:

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  • Ajax Search Results
  • Category view
  • Activity View
  • User Activities
  • Sign Up using Google, Yahoo, Twitter and GitHub
  • Facebook like user profiles
  • Unending Scrolling



Plans and Pricing

Discourse pricing plans offers four types of plans for its users, these plans are one time install, standard, business and enterprise.

The one time install plan costs you $99 you should note that this plan covers only installation (you need to pay the hosting charges).


Discourse One Time Install

Discourse Forum Discourse Plans


The standard plan which costs $100 per month is the most preferred and then comes the business plan which is $200 per month.

If you are a big organization with large amount of traffic then they also have a plan for you called enterprise plan through which you can customize your plan according to your needs.



Flarum forum


Flarum is a PHP based forum software which is in beta stage right now, it is a completely free and open source application.

Even though this platform is in beta stage the features it offers is highly attractive it is simple, fast and free.

Most of the codes are written with the help of contributors, you can see that Flarum Community is highly active with large number of members and contributions.

It is very easy to navigate and get used to this platform, flarum looks amazing with lot of features.

The only con with this platform is it is still in development, other than that this is truly a next generation forum software.

Like Discourse, Flarum also uses Ajax to display its search results and posts.

This program also has a additional feature called scrubber which looks like this:


flarum scrubber


This is like an activity timeline through which you can easily navigate through posts and replies.

Not only this there are lot of pros in this program, some of the major pros are:

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  • User Online Status
  • user profile with cover photo
  • live updates
  • Great Support
  • Easy Integrations
  • Reply Count
  • Fast Loading Speed
  • Different Categories


See the documentation on how to install and use forum here: Flarum Docs




phpbb forum


phpBB like Flarum is a free and opensource program, but unlike Flarum it is a bulletin board solution released under “GNU General Public License v2”.

This is a robust program present for a long time and has a lot of popularity. It is a fully developed software with millions of users worldwide.

One of the major feature of phpBB is customization with over 100 extensions which you can find here phpBB Extensions phpBB can be customized according to your website needs.

Since it is released under GNU license there is no restrictions in editing codes, you can add any kind of feature you like.

They also have flash tutorials  and extensive Documentations which will be really helpful for you in installing and using phpBB.

The only con with phpBB is it’s looks, compared to Flarum and Discourse this platform looks simple.But, you can add your own features and extensions to solve this issue.

view there demo forum here: phpBB demo.




xenforo forum


XenForo is another bulletin software which is used by many popular high traffic websites. This forum template looks a lot much better compared to phpBB but this forum software is not free.

You have to buy a license which costs you $140 for 1 year and can be extended with another $40. This cost is just a basic cost there are different costs for additional changes like,

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  • Brand Removal : $250
  • Installation Service: $50
  • Media Gallery: $60
  • Reasource Manager: $60
  • Xenforo Enhanced Search: $50


A detailed information on all their costs: Price of Xenforo.

If you are ready to pay some dollars for your website development then this forum software is highly recommended.

It is also SEO friendly which means it becomes easy to rank your website in google and other search engines using this platform.

There are different amazing features for both admins and users

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  • User alerts
  • Watch Thread
  • Close and Open thread
  • Limit users opening threads
  • Private threads for premium users
  • Premium membership support
  • Chat Box
  • Different widgets like popular posts
  • Advanced Search Functionality
  • Report posts to moderators
  • Private Messages


check out the demo here: demo


vBulletin 5 Connect


vBulletin forum


We can also see that vBulletin ranks as one of the most used forum bulletin software in the internet.Almost all forums you see on the internet will be using vBulletin as their platform.


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  • Blog Control Panel
  • Task Scheduler
  • Plugin Support
  • Private Forums for Premium members
  • SEO friendly URL’s
  • AJAX chat
  • RSS Content Syndication
  • Phrase manager
  • Anti Spam functionality


Plans and Prices Of vBulletin

The basic vBulletin costs you $249 and if you want to add a mobile suite bundle then it would cost you $399.


Top 5 Best Free and Paid Forum Software for your website