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Which is the best paid or free forum software?


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There is so many different forum software which you can sue to create a thriving online community. There are both free options like phpBB, MyBB, Flarum, and more premium options like IPB, Discourse, XenForo, and many others. But which one is the best? 

I personally prefer IPB as its easily customizable with different official apps that can enhance your traditional forum with a CMS, blogs, photo galleries, a file sharing system, and even an ecommerce system. And they also have one of the best admin control panels available. I also like their design which perfectly combines more traditional forum elements with modern social features and design.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't used a paid forum myself so I've only really tried phpbb and Mybb. They are both good but I think Mybb is more future proof as their devs seems to be more active.

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17 hours ago, Sanjo said:

They are both good but I think Mybb is more future proof as their devs seems to be more active.

I don't know, to be honest with you I think that phpBB and MyBB are clunky to use, both from an admin and user perspective. And they feel extremely old and unintuitive these days - especially phpBB. If I were to start a forum today using a free service, I would probably look for something more modern, like Flarum for example. I seriously doubt I would use phpBB or MyBB.

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Free i will go with MyBB as i am familiar and i find it easy to use. With paid i will go with Woltlab as it is cheap and it offers decent features for the price. But love to give IPB a try once in my life.

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2 hours ago, Jason said:

Free i will go with MyBB as i am familiar and i find it easy to use. With paid i will go with Woltlab as it is cheap and it offers decent features for the price. But love to give IPB a try once in my life.

Woltlab huh I've never heard about it or seen a forum using it. Is it popular? It seems expensive for what it offers. 

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13 hours ago, Sanjo said:

It seems expensive for what it offers. 

Yeah, one Woltlab software license costs €100. That's just around €40 less than one Xenforo license would cost. Sure, it's almost €70 cheaper than an IPB core + forum license. I like that they offer different apps - such as blogs and photo galleries. But even the calendar app will cost you a whopping €60 - a feature which is usually included in most paid forums.

In my honest opinion, it would probably be better to spend a little bit extra to get either a Xenforo or IPB license. 🤔

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

I will think about that, as of now my forum will be powered by MyBB. When i have a decent budget i will make the move.

And that is all right. I genuinely wish you the best of luck with your forum. And whenever you decide to migrate over to a paid forum software, please do share your experience with us here. 🙂

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In terms of free forum software, it has to be MyBB for me. No other free forum software comes even close to it really. With paid software, it's XenForo for me. I've used it for a while now and I really like it.

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On 3/8/2021 at 10:33 PM, Ash said:

With paid software, it's XenForo for me. I've used it for a while now and I really like it.

Why do you choose Xenforo over IPB - or any other paid option?

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On 3/13/2021 at 9:47 AM, Jason said:

Xenforo and IPB have tough competition. Need to have some stats to see which is leading.

I would guess that Xenforo is the more popular forum software. Didn't most people that left vBulletin go to Xenforo considering it was started by former vBulletin devs? 

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