The Best Forum Software for Creating an Online Community in 2021

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Forums provide the opportunity to build an online community that allows your audience to connect in a place where they know their interests are shared. This particular sense of connectedness is more important than ever before in a time exactly where more work, conversation, and socialization is being done online.  

Online communities are usually particularly beneficial for companies because they allow customers to interact with each other in a smaller circle than they could via social media, which improves engagement and brand name affinity.

For instance, let’s say one of your customers has a very exclusive problem with your service or product, and posts about this on your forum. That will post is much easier to find than it will be on social media, where millions of users are talking about a million various things.

Even better, maybe another forum consumer has faced that will same problem and can answer their query before your program reps even view it.

There is an amazing amount of value in reaching and creating your community using a forum. Here, we will explore the best community forum software to get you started.

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1 . WordPress (With Plugin)

Cost: Free (plus the price of hosting)

Using a multi-purpose platform like a CMS to energy your online community permits you access to many different software options in the form of extensions and applications. For example, you might use the bbPress plugin to create multisite forums, and maintain all of them from one dashboard inside your WordPress site. This can be a great option if you want to set up a regular web site and forum collectively.

There are many choices to choose from using Wp, all of which will provide you with the simple forum features you require, plus plenty of helpful extras.

WordPress with bbPress forum plugin Image Supply

second . Joomla!

Price: Starts at $99 per year (plus development and hosting costs)

Joomla! Is a CMS software such as WordPress, but demands more attention to details and management. It is a robust CMS which will power your discussion board plugins like Kunena or EasyDiscuss, which are specifically created for Joomla! ‘s system. The price point comes from the open-source content management system, which will enable you to build powerful online applications alongside your forum software.

joomlapolis, a forum example using joomla! and kunena Image Source

3. Discourse

Price: Starts from $100 per month (plus cost of hosting)

Discourse is open-source forum software that you could in tandem with your existing website and CMS platform. Not only can community people use it on their mobile devices,   but they’ll also get dynamic notifications, badges, emoji, and much more. Best of all, there’s a built-in moderation system to assist you protect your local community from spam plus abuse.

discourse forum software

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4. Vanilla Community forums

Price: Variable based on your needs

Vanilla has an abundance of features — one of the most notable becoming the intuitive dash that lets you take care of every aspect of your online community. You can view stats, control users, and use an advanced editor that recognizes HTML, BBCode, and Markdown employing this software.

In addition , Vanilla gives you the opportunity to adjust permissions of forums or users if you’re looking to control access. The software allows customers to publish, view and election on ideas to drive innovation for your company, or use the Q& A option to match and help each other get more out of your products or services. Best of all, Vanilla offers an on-boarding process along with useful checklists, teaching materials, and help from one of their assistance reps.

Vanilla Forums example Image Resource

five. Codoforum

Price: Free

Codoforum is forum software program that has a fresh UI with modern design. It’s simple, thoroughly clean, and easy to use. Codoforum is built with PHP using the latest coding patterns and is completely compliant with new PSR standards. This software provides a reactive layout structure with regard to mobile and desktop computer, SSO and integration, as well as mention notifications for users.

Since it’s free to use, Codoforum is an excellent option if you’re still testing out forums or even aren’t sure regardless of whether they’ll be useful for your personal website and community.

Codoforum example Image Source

6. phpBB

Price: Free of charge

PhpBB is really a forum platform that has a typical and intuitive board set-up where users can submit public or private messages. With phpBB, you can create as many internal messaging boards as you want with no additional costs.

Additionally , you can use plug-ins to add new choices to your forum community. This makes the software program very customizable, plus allows you to adapt the program to the growing requirements of your audience.

Among other things, phpBB enables you to create password-protected community forums for added safety, sub-forums, the option to display active topics towards the top of your forum, and the ability to add community forum rules at the top of a forum to ensure your own community abides simply by set guidelines.

phpbb forum example at opencart Image Source

7. VBulletin

Price: vBulletin five Connect $249, $15/month

Over 100, 000 websites are built on vBulletin — including NASA, EA, and Sony Photos — so it’s a popular option for hosting your own forum. The software consists of tons of great features, including built-in SEO, safety, and responsive web design. With VBulletin you could have an unlimited hierarchy of forums as well as personal forums.

Best of all, VBulletin provides thrilling unique features for your community members, which includes private messaging, the friends list, associate birthdays (shown over the Forum homepage), and the ability to see whoms online.

VBulletin is not known for becoming the fastest discussion board, but its design has been cleaned and it offers high quality support for its customers.

vBulletin forum example

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8. Invision Community

Price: Varies meant for forum size/data requirements, but starts in $45/month for 65 online visitors

IP Board was obviously a very popular forum software that has since expanded to Invision Community, which includes a forum application in addition to its various other offerings. According to the Invision Community website, the forums module capabilities thousands of message boards round the web, and Invision Community has many additional community management applications to help you interact with your own audience.

The application allows your users to take control over their own online communities, which you can keep track of at your discretion. For instance, Invision Community lets users create and manage their own towns, called “Clubs”, that are fully integrated along with your website — these clubs get specified Club Leaders, who are able to add new forums, calendars, or galleries towards the community.

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9. Flarum

Price: Free

Flaurm has a efficient design that is extremely easy to navigate. Forums using this software are fully responsive, and features include clean animations and available swipe features meant for mobile optimization. Flarum was built by developers of esoTalk and FluxBB, 2 of the fastest community forum platforms, and has excellent performance reviews.

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10. MyBB

Price: Free

MyBB is a totally free and open-source discussion board software that power thousands of communities. This features hundreds of extensions and themes so that you can customize, and the users that exist on the forum will help you establish your own personal community. Users also have contributed to the snel available for the content over the software. Now, community forums are available in over 30 languages to help you grow a more global neighborhood.

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11. inSided

Price: Adjustable based on your needs

inSided is a complete-featured Community Platform aimed at Customer Success and Community professionals seeking to increase engagement, advocacy, and effectively gather product feedback.  

They have a killer combination of a customer community platform, an understanding base, and in-app support. What units them apart from additional platforms are integrations with software like Zendesk, Salesforce, Mixpanel, and Gainsight to be able to connect your community to your entire tech-stack and create a 360 degree view of the customer.

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Ways to Build Your Local community Using Forum Software program

People notice when brands listen to and converse with their own customers, and they specifically notice when manufacturers foster their own organizations. How? Through the energy of word-of-mouth advertising. Customers who view themselves as valued members of your local community are much more likely to discuss your brand to their friends.

This how you can build a solid community using your community forum software.

1 ) Spread the word.

Nobody will sign up for your online community if they don’t know it is available. Spread the word about your new forum simply by including CTAs to join your forum in email newsletters or even social posts. Ask your brand ambassadors or loyal enthusiasts to start posting in regards to the forum, and posting content on the discussion board so when other users join, you already have a recognised presence on the approach.

2 . Listen to and check on your own community regularly.

Reviewing your community forum and responding to exactly what your audience has to say is a important part of community constructing. Your customers are far more unlikely to continue to communicate and engage on the forum if they feel as though they are becoming ignored. Responding to their own feedback shows your users that you worth their opinions plus care about their encounters with your product.

Additionally , it’s your work to make sure everything is usually running smoothly on your own forum. Checking on your own community regularly will help you dissolve any support escalations, and give people the support they are seeking.

a few. Foster a helpful discourse.

A forum should be a secure place for your clients, prospects, employees, enthusiasts, and audience in order to interact, ask, plus answer questions. Simply by establishing a helpful ethos early on, or even creating community suggestions that prioritize patience and kindness inside responses, your community will grow without the need to constantly monitor this 24/7.

Editor’s note: This post was originally released in June 2019 and has been up-to-date for comprehensiveness.

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