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Benefits of Taking Part In Discussion Forums.15 Best Forum Software Explained

I love online Forums, and even my online journey started with a forum. I recently launched a forum 24x7forum.com to have a discussion board where I can solve queries of my blogging friends and others who need some assistance. Not just me, various other forum members also solve each other’s queries. You must join and actively participate in this forum if you really love to discuss on tech, WordPress blogging, SEO, and other related stuff. Here is the link => 24x7forum.com

Now, I would like to tell you why taking part in discussion forums is beneficial?

There are many different reasons I can list here that will make you think about joining such discussion forums. However, I am listing only 5 reasons in this post.

Below are the 5 reasons that will make you think about taking part in Discussion Forums

1. Knowledge Sharing

Though blog posts give better insights on particular topics,forum comes very handy when you have to ask tricky questions which will be answered later by some other members. This way, you ask the question, other one replies with a solution, and there knowledge sharing happens. Similarly, when you are able to solve someone else’s query, you can also try responding with the solution.

If you are a newbie, you can get your doubts and questions answered quickly, and if you are an expert of something, you can respond to others with solutions. This is how discussions forum works.

All of this knowledge sharing is absolutely for FREE. You just need to devote some time for it.

2. Brand Yourself As An Expert To Get More Business

If you are an expert of something, say WordPress, you can reply to all the queries that are related to it. Other members and regular users of the forum start considering you as a WordPress expert.

Later when they get some serious issues that cannot be fixed by them even by reading the responses; they may think to hire some expert to do this. And, if you are already there in the mind of those people, they would surely try to hire you. This is how your business increases too.

For example, I have been asking a lot of question from a theme developer for customization as that theme was tough to edit. That developer helped me with all the queries, and now I am thinking that when I have to create my own theme or have some serious issues, I would hire that developer only as I saw his expertise already.

Therefore, if you are a freelancer or offering some services, you must build your authority in some good forums.

3. Creative Blog Post Ideas

If you are a blogger, and you are running out of ideas, then you must start checking out and participating in forums because you will see the new type of questions and solutions every day which will give you some good ideas for creating your next blog content.

Try it, and I am sure, you will never run out of ideas for blog posts.

4. Improve Your Site Traffic

When you regularly participate in the forums, you get your signature feature enabled in which you can add your website or blog link. So that whenever you reply to any queries, your signature link will be there that will surely help you increase your traffic as there will be many who will be clicking on your link to visit your site.

5. Building Relationship

When you work online, building relationships is utmost important. Until you have healthy relationships with clients and other people, they won’t recommend you. And, you know how recommendations are important for the people who work online.

In the forums, you can easily build good and healthy relationships with other industry experts and some potential clients as well.

In the technical language, this is called Relationship Marketing which means that you build relationships to help your customers and others that later benefits your business. You should read the article by Swadhin where he talks about Relationship Marketing in detail.

Now, you know how important it is to participate in Forums. Look at the list of best online forums that you should join and participate actively to get the benefits.

List of Best Online Forums which you will love to Join:

  1. Digital Point Forum – Internet Marketing
  2. Warrior Forum – Digital Marketing
  3. 24x7Forum – Tech/Marketing/SEO/Wordpress [we own it]
  4. Cnet Forums – Software
  5. V7N Forum – Web Development and Internet Marketing
  6. Webhostingtalk Forum – Web Hosting

These are some nice forums which you can join and participate actively in order to gain and share knowledge.

Now let’s talk about some popular Forum Software/CMS that you can use to build your own Forum site.

Below is the list of 15 Best Forum Software:

15 Best Forum Software/CMS

1. PHPBB

PHPBB is one of the best forum software when it comes to free. Yes, this forum CMS is absolutely free to use and has a number of awesome features. The excellent look of this CMS is what makes your forum looks like a perfect discussion board.

It is coded in PHP programming language, and its full form is PHP Bulletin Board. Many big forums are using PHPBB as CMS such as Joomla Forums, Adblockplus forums, etc.

PHPBB

Even the Forum I have started 24x7forum.com is also using PHPBB only, and I can say that its admin section is quite great too. I really enjoy working with it.

Though PHPBB is a great forum CMS, there are some downsides such as social login integration is not there, and they don’t seem to be modernizing their CMS with the time. Also, its URLs are not optimized for SEO which is a big downside of it.

Since millions of people using it, you must not think a lot, and try this out if you want to setup a discussion board for your business or even for personal use.

Some great features which it offers are:

  • Private messaging
  • Password Protected Forums
  • Forum Subscription
  • Unlimited number of sub-forums under the parent
  • Warning and Ban Options
  • Easy media attachments
  • Who is online feature
  • Detailed Search Feature

You can check more features of PHPBB here.

2. BBPress

BBPress is Forum Software created by the creators of WordPress. This is the best if you want to integrate a discussion board inside your WordPress site. It is called as the forum software for WordPress.

BBPress

You get the power of some WordPress features when you use BBPress such Akismet protection for handling spam, and many others.

It is very simple to install as you can just install it as a plugin, activate, and you are done!

There are various plugins and themes available to customize your BBPress powered Forum.

3. vBulletin

First paid forum CMS on our list is vBulletin which is one of the most popular forum software available online. You won’t find most of the features in any other forum software that vBulletin offers.

vbulletin

It is easy to setup, engaging, and robust. Within 15 minutes, you can set up your very own forum powered by vBulletin. Social integration is somehow cool, and the modern features which many free software don’t have are the positive point of it.

Some Features of vBulletin:

  • Forum Subscription.
  • Private Messaging.
  • Support both HTML and BBCode for posting.
  • Unlimited hierarchy of Forums and Sub-forums.

And there are tons of other basic and advanced features you get. Though it is a great forum software, it costs a lot. So, if you have the budget, you can go for it without any doubt.

4. Simple Machines Forum

Simple Machines Forum is a free and easy to set up forum software that allows you set up your forum site within minutes. It is written in PHP and uses MySQL database. The custom made templates offer you interactive look and feel to your forum site.

Simple Machines Forum

It offers all the basic features you need in your forum site. The default look and feel of SMF is quite elegant and looks professional.

If you are thinking for free, SMF is just another option for you which is quite good.

5. XenForo

XenForo is another beast and much popular like PHPBB and vBulletin. Digital Point Forum is one of the prominent forums available on the internet, is powered by XenForo.

xenforo

It is a paid forum software with a lot of excellent features. It is quite well optimized for SEO. Facebook integration allows easier registration and sharing.

Social Signup is what nowadays recommended for almost every type of sites because users find it easy to sign up using Facebook or other social media sites. You can change color combinations to make your forum site look different.

In short, if you have the heavy budget, XenForo is the best deal.

6. MyBB

MyBB is yet another free forum software which is built using PHP and MySQL. The administration panel is quite easy to use and handle. There are themes available that allow you to customize your forum’s look and feel. For extending the functionalities, there are many MyBB plugins available that you can use as per your requirements.

MyBB

Your discussion board powered by MyBB looks so simple that even a new user can use it effectively.

7. PunBB

PunBB is lightweight free forum software which is built using PHP and MySQL. It loads pretty faster than any other forum Software because it is not much graphically rich.

PunBB

PunBB doesn’t boast a lot of features like others. But, being fast and lightweight it is the favorite of many.

8. Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums is a paid forum software, and it offers hosted and open source software for building your discussion board. It is highly customizable, and you can create customized community which allows rewarding the users for participation.

Vanilla Forums

You don’t need to pay for its open source version. However, if you want to go for business version, you have to pay. It is a good choice for creating your own forum.

9. MiniBB

MiniBB is a free forum CMS, and it is highly customizable. It is built for creating lightweight and speedy quick forum. If you are not thinking to build a forum with so many features and other stuff, go for MiniBB as it is lightweight and quick to setup.

MiniBB

Above is a demo set up of MiniBB forum.

Isn’t it looking simple and elegant?

10. Woltlab Burning Board

This is a paid forum software, and it offers a lot of features like other forum software. The design of this board looks quite beautiful and professional too. I really love discussion page, and specifically the way it placed the user avatars. It’s simply awesome.

image10

It is a good software, and pricing is quite affordable too. If you need to build a forum for your customers, this is a great option indeed.

11. IP.Board

IP.Board is another paid forum software on our list, and it is one of the best ones on this list.

This is a great choice for forum software if you need your discussion board for your company.

image11

You can go to their home page, and request a demo so that you can check out a demo forum. You also get admin login details for the demo, so that you can also check out the admin panel. Once you are satisfied, you can buy the software.

12. Phorum

image12

Phorum is open source forum software with excellent speed. It has excellent hook and module system that allow admin to create various modules for various tasks.

Bonus Forum Software

13. YaBB
14. FluxBB
15. Zetaboards

Wrapping Up

I started my forum for two reasons: one for helping people with issues and second for working on something else than blogging. I have been blogging for more than 5.5 years now, and I always wanted to work on something else too that is equally interesting. So, I chose the forum thing.

I am sure, after reading this article, you would like to join some forums and actively participate. It’s worth of spending time discussing on some cool stuff.

Also, if you want to build a forum site for your business, then you can make use of the 15 best forum software that I mentioned above. Most of the Forum Software mentioned here are free to use. So, you don’t need to worry about the investment. Just get an affordable hosting, and set up your Forum in minutes. You can also read a post by Yaro Starak about building a popular Forum in 5 steps which will guide you to build your forum in a better way.

As per my experience, when it comes to free, PHPBB is the most efficient forum software which gives your site an excellent professional look that gives a great feel of the discussion board. I just love it.

Share your thoughts and views in comments.


Comments (40)

  • Webhostingtalk is like a treasure..i love their site and the people who come and help others. Few weeks back i switched to xenforo and it is very nice to use. Light and efficient, but still need to learn a lot. 🙂

    Reply
  • Hey Atish,

    It si always believed that the forums have more to provide its users. There are many people around there with whom all the bloggers can interact.

    It would be good to get more traffic exposure from the forums. Proving yourself as pro maybe something people would crave for.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Enjoy the day.
    ~Ravi

    Reply
    • Author

      Thanks for reading the post, Ravi.

      I am in love with answering to queries in the forum. Since you write much about WordPress, you can also try to participate in our forum :-). It is fun helping others.

      Have a good time.

      Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    I must say, well-written post with a dash of wisdom. All of your reasons are apt and worth trying. Participating in forums is a great way to interact and promote yourself. Thanks for informative post.

    Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    Well forums are the platforms where individuals can easily find the solutions of their queries instantly. It is in fact the powerful source for bloggers where they build relationship with other bloggers and share their knowledge and increase their blog traffic.

    Well i am also a part of Warrior forum,v7n and digitalpoint.

    Thanks for lovely share 🙂

    Regards

    Mairaj

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Mairaj,

      Great to know that you are a member of many forums. You must register to our forum as well that is mentioned in the article.

      Thanks for coming by.

      Reply
  • This is such a thorough article that include all I need to know about forums. Obviously, forums can do us a lot of favors in increasing traffic and finding solutions for our issues. And you are very dedicated to also point out few main forums that are free and paid. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Hello bro,
    This is a great article and yes the benefits of forums are really visible to me because I recently participated in your forum.

    I did not ave an idea about forum software so great you introduces so many of them to me.

    Thanks for the mention bro.

    Have a good day. 🙂

    -Swadhin

    Reply
    • Author

      Hi Swadhin,

      Glad you liked the post!

      Since you know how great it is to participate in forum, I don’t need to tell you about this. Hope you will keep enjoying in the forum.

      Thanks.

      Reply
  • Thanks for sharing…!

    I agree what you said, forum is the best for blogger to participant the community.

    We can get more creative while participant forum discussion. You know? When no idea come up with new blog topic, I went to the forum ask for new topic. What’s more, forum helps me to generate more sales and hunt the client out there.

    If you do well with from marketing, you’ll a decent traffic to your blog.

    Thanks for sharing…

    Reply
    • Author

      Hi Kimsea,

      Yes, it’s great. You get help in forum absolutely for free!

      Thanks for coming, reading and commenting.

      Have a nice day ahead.

      Reply
  • Hi Atish

    Great to learn about your forum because, even as a pretty experienced WordPress blogger, I sometimes get things I need help with because I’m not a terribly technical person.

    As a part-time blogger I don’t have a lot of time to research the answers and you’re never quite sure which answer to trust, so the thought of having somewhere to ask more technical bloggers than I is very appealing. I’ll be sure to pop along and have a look.

    Forum building isn’t something I plan to do myself, but I’d remember your post as a resource to send other people to.

    Looking forward to seeing your forum expand.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Joy,

      You are right! Even we are good at something, we may need help, and it is even better to ask in forums rather than just trusting on whatever information you get on Internet because there are a lot of wrong data available too. So, trusting the one that is genuine is very important.

      About the forum we started, within 22 days, it has around 300 posts, 71 topics, and 61 Members. It is going quite good.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Reply
  • Yeah, forums are indeed a best place to get answer for your queries, and also to help others by sharing your knowledge. Though I am not that active on forums now a days, but when I started by blogging long back, I was too much active on many forums. That helped me positively in gaining knowledge.
    And yes, you are doing great by maintaining these new forum 24×7. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Vishal,

      Forums are good if you join them for learning and discussions. I see most of the bloggers join popular forums just for the sake of getting backlinks. There is nothing wrong in that but it’s always good to join them for learning, and links will come naturally.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  • Hi Atish,
    Good to read the write-up on Forums and its benefits,
    Though I have been a member of Warrior Forum I was not active there and not much benefited by it. But after joining your new forum 24x7forum.com i realised the seriousness and usefulness of being a Forum member. I am glad that from the inception of this forum i am a member and i could well, post some posts and comments too.
    I really appreciate your guidance in participating in different activities in the forum.
    Thanks Atish for this wonderful initiative
    Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes
    With Regards and Love
    Philips
    @PVAriel

    Reply
    • Author

      Hi Philip,

      Thanks for stopping by, and being a regular member of the Forum. I love to solve queries of my friends and others with issues. It gives me happiness when I could help people with their issues.

      It is great to help via forum so that the resource will be available for other users too.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Have a great time!

      Reply
  • Hello Atish! Wow YOU have done your homework with this post my friend! I for one have never really participated in a Forum before, but after reading this post may have to rethink this!

    I love that you set up your own and will hop on over and check it out.

    Great Share.
    Thank YOU
    Chery :))

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Chery,

      Thanks for appreciating the post. You want you can join our forum and participate actively. You will surely get the most out of the discussions.

      Thanks for coming by.

      Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    You pointed out some of the very important facts about being active in a Forum. Even though I was a member of many forums, I never used to be an active participant. I totally agree with you that relationship marketing will make wonders in any online business by opening a way for getting in touch with a new client or someone hiring us for a freelance job.

    I am bookmarking this page for future reference as I need to go through the list of Forum software’s in future too. Also, please note that I just registered in your forum few minutes back while reading the post.

    Once again thanks for the good share.

    Keep sharing your valuable tricks and tips.

    Have a great time blogging.

    Best regards

    Reji Stephenson

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Reji,

      If you haven’t been a regular user of any forum, let’s participate in the forum we have created.

      Yes, I saw you have registered, and now I have activated your account already. You can now start posting.

      Thank you so much for coming by and joining the Forum.

      Reply
  • Great information and well written post. The reasons you mentioned are perfect and one must give a try.. Really forums are the best way to interact with each other….

    Keep sharing more tips…

    Reply
  • This is an excellent forum post site list. This list is very helpful for the posting we blink. Thanks for this post.

    Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    I never participated in any forum discussions. But your post is a great insight about forum discussions and its significance. i like the tips you have given in the post.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • Hello,Atish,

    Forums are the platforms where people find solutions to their queries rather quickly than any other medium.

    I was in many forums and FB groups when I used to play the game of Marvel Avengers and I am used to it.

    But I found few forums in Blogging which are very active. After Shout me loud forum I found 24&7forum a better place for immediate solutions.

    Great informative post and have a wonderful day.
    Gurunath recently posted…How to start a Blog – 93 Bloggers Sharing Real Life ExperiencesMy Profile

    Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    I love your forum and have to tell you that I’ve been absent for a while. I live by the ocean and it seems like every family member all of a sudden loves me. I’ve had a house full of guests for so long, I need a vacation he he he.

    Forums are a wonderful way to answer questions. By doing that one can show their expertise on a particular subject as well as get an answer to a pressing question.

    You know that when my house clears out I’ll be back on yours. I’m anxiously awaiting getting back into my home office which is a guest room now. Oh well…family first!

    -Donna

    Reply
    • Author

      Hi Donna,

      We are missing you there on the Forum. Hope you come back soon over there.

      And, yes, Family always comes first.

      Reply
  • I think at present forums are the best place to know some new things about modern technology and Even for business purposes. Thank you for sharing such a nice list with us.

    Reply
  • Hello,
    Thanks for the wonderful Post,
    Forum is a platform where you participate in the open discussion and you get chance to exchage your Idea and Thoughts. Apart from this google also consider very effective. really awesome areticle article.

    Thanks Again.

    Reply
  • Hi Atish. I am glad that you created this forum and I wish you success in your new project. Forums are indeed a great platforms to exchange ideas and build relationship. And one of the advantages of being a part of a forum is you are able to connect with people that shares your interests and knowledgeable of the things that you want to learn about your industry.

    Reply
  • Hi, thanks for sharing such useful forums. I am agree with you that one can get amazing ideas of new blog posts. They can highlight their brand by sharing their useful ideas and thoughts among the people and drive traffic to their own blogs.
    And congratulations for the new forum you created for us. I will join it soon..
    Purushottam Thakur recently posted…How to save Instagram videos without any app?My Profile

    Reply
  • after a long time visiting your blog mate! forums are the best place to get idea on writing articles of the blog posts, and can will get backlinks. Not only that, we build nice releation ship with forum members where we can exchange our business ideas. i follow most of the blog which releated to my blog niche. Thanks Atish Ranjan! sharing your ideas and knowledge through your blog. Keep posting more articles.

    Reply
  • Thanks for sharing an article about forums. Really forum discussions are the best places to discuss our ideas on various topics and communicate with people and to drive traffic to our blogs.

    Reply

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