Top 5 Open Source Forum Software in year 2020

Best guide to choose the best forum software in 2020

Discussion Forum Software are the precursors to social media. If you looking to start your community, our team has picked best online community software in 2020

Top 5 Open Source Forum Software For 2020

Forums are the most used software of internet. In fact, they are the precursors to social media platforms such Facebook. It has become very easy now to setup a discussion forum software and enable your users to interact with each other.

Not only Large companies use forum software to build communities around their products. But, individuals or group of people with shared interests establish such communities. To share their ideas, experiences and provide a platform for others to benefit from the like minded people.

So, To help you choose right forum software our team created a list of top discussion forum software.


Discourse is 100% free open source discussion forum software. It’s very simple and easy to use. In other words, all the conveniences and features you see in major social media websites like Facebook, Twitter are present in Discourse.

It Gives users full control to hide the discussions they are not interested in. And the software presents the discussions with suitable categories. Above all, Discourse has strong community support; wide range of free plugins are available. Therefore, it allows you to extend and customize your discussion forum. So, Here are some of the important features

  • Dynamic Notifications
  • Built-in mobile layout
  • Single Sign-on and Social Login
  • Diverse Plugins
  • Comprehensive API
    Read More


Flarum is a wonderful discussion forum software with great features. Its 100% free and open source. It has beautiful modern design and its fast, simple and easy to deploy forum software. It is developed in PHP which is the most popular programming language.

This forum software is more human centric and is carefully designed to be consistent and intuitive across platforms out of the box. Architecture of Flarum is amazingly flexible, with a powerful extension API. As a result, it helps developers to customize, extend.

Flarum provides most of the features provided by the top social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These were just the very few highlights which we mentioned here for this platform, here are few more top features

  • Great community
  • Modern UI
  • Easy Installation
  • Powerful Permissions
  • Fine-Grained Settings
    Read More


Vanilla offers both open-source and premium versions. Premium version is expensive and is only meant for enterprise-level customers. However, the community edition also offers more than enough features which makes it comparable to any other open source free forum software.

Vanilla platform’s biggest highlight is its high level of polish and stability. Above all, it is the top of the line endeavor online community software today. Most importantly, it helps you to boost loyalty, increase sales, and improve client support.

Its integration workflows allow you to integrate, enhance functionality. In other words allows you to share data with top-notch single sign-on and CRM applications such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Hootsuite, Mail Chimp, Github, Funnel, WordPress and more.

So, Here are some of the top highlights of the platform

  • Mobile Ready
  • Secure
  • Simplified theming
  • Eliminate Spammers & Trolls
  • Multi-language Support
    Read More


NodeBB is free and open source community discussion forum software. It’s a great value for money tool. The interface is very easy to use. Therefore, anyone with a limited knowledge of forum software can use without any problem.

It is extremely reliable, powerful and can scale to cope with enterprise level high traffic. It supports social media integrations with most of social networks. As a result, it helps users to share content to external communities on Facebook, Google an Twitter.

NodeBB is built with Node.js as name suggests and has all the performance benefits of it. Backend uses Redis and MongoDB along with WebSockets which makes the platform super-fast.

So, Here are some of the top features of NodeBB

  • Real-time Streaming
  • Built-in Realtime Chat
  • SEO Friendly
  • Spam Prevention
  • API & Roles & Permissions
    Read More


phpBB is free and open source flat-style discussion board software. It is most widely used and time tested since last two decades. phpBB is a flexible forum platform. Therefore, it enables you to create boards where registered users can post messages.

Once you have a forum set up, you can create as many internal message boards as you want. In other words, this tool can handle thousands of users. It has detailed security system that let you ban users by username, name and IP address.

phpBB has strong community support and it enables you to use extensions to add new options to your forum. There are hundreds of free extensions you can use, which enable you to add almost any forum-related feature you might want.

phpBB provides lot more feature including the custom themes, here are some of the highlights

  • Moderators & Administration
  • Private Messaging
  • Anti-spam & Security
  • Caching & Search System
  • Plugins & Notifications
    Read More


In this article we have reviewed the best open source online discussion forum software. phpBB, Discourse and Falurm has good community base and supports integrations. So, if you want a more reliable and proven you can choose these. However, if you need more simple and easy to setup solutions then you can choose NodeBB and Vanilla.