Since you are in this page, I hope you planned to start a new forum website or want to add a forum to an existing website. You might confuse with reviews, pros and cons of each forum software. Here I listed Best Free Forum Software which will help you to decide which forum software is suitable for you. Before you moving out of this page, you will get a clear idea of which forum software to choose for your business.

#1 phpBB

PHPBB3 is the most secure and popular forum software in the bulletin board family founded on 2000. It has a lot of powerful features to customize the forum.


Easy to install and customize.
Very Secured codebase.
Constantly updating reliable software


Since it’s a open source project, Most of the plugins will be out dated.
No SEO friendly URL.


Famous sites using PHPBB forum:

#2 MyBB

MyBB is the second most popular open source software founded on 2002.Unlike PHPBB, MyBB is the well-suited forum for beginners.

Reliable software.
Message rating: Users able to rate forum posts
Well suited for beginners.

No SEO friendly URL

See Also: Top 3 Best Free WordPress Security Plugins 2015

#3 bbPress

Bbpress is not a standalone forum software, its a plugin of WordPress to add simple forum to the WordPress site. If you have an existing WordPress site, then bbpress is the best choice to start with.

SEO friendly URL.
Its created by founder of WordPress.
Themes look similar to your existing theme.

Not a standalone software. Need WordPress site or blog to run this plugin.
No guest posting allowed.
No forum moderating option.
Missing forum functionality like private message, moderating, live users display, etc,.
Need additional plugins to add any optional extra features.

Famous sites using bbPress forum:

#4 Simple Machines

Simple Machines forum was founded on 2009 to provide bulletin board which run in minimal server resources.

Nice looking themes similar to vBulletin themes.
Use minimal server resource.

No SEO friendly URL.
Minimal features comparing to PHPBB and MyBB.


Famous sites using Simple Machines forum:

See Also: Setup Amazon CloudFront CDN in WordPress using W3 Total Cache Plugin


phpBB and MyBB are the most popular open source forum software. The Top 4 Best forums listed above will be chosen according to the user preferences. All have positive and negative lines, so you need to choose which one is suitable for you. I would recommend software according to the usage.

phpBB – Best suited for intermediate and advanced users. Even beginners can also use.
MyBB – Best suited for beginners.
bbPress – Best suited for WordPress sites. Stick to it if you want to add forum to WordPress site.
Simple Machines – Choose it if you want your forum with charming themes and features.