Comparison of Internet forum software
This is a comparison of the features of various Internet forum packages.
Basic general information about the archivers: creator/company, license/price etc.
|Creator||Current stable version||Programming language||Cost (USD)||License||Latest release date|
|aterr ||Chris Jenkinson||0.9.2||PHP||Free||GPL|
|bbPress ||Automattic||Nightly Builds Only||PHP||Free||GPL|
|Beehive Forum ||?||0.7||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-10-04|
|bttlxeForum ||Battleaxe Software Ltd.||2.0||ASP||Free|||
|Burning Board ||WoltLab GmbH||2.3.5||PHP||25 Euro||Proprietary||2006-06-26|
|Community Server ||Telligent||2.0||ASP.NET||Free(Express Edition), $299 (Standard), $1499 (Professional), $9999(Enterprise)||Proprietary|
|Discussion Board ||Active Data Online||2.0||ASP.NET 2.0||$200||Proprietary|
|E-Blah ||Justin Osborne||10.1||Perl||Free||GPL||2006-10-06|
|ExpressionEngine Discussion Forums ||pMachine, Inc.||1.3.1||PHP||$49.95 (non-commercial), $99.95 (commercial license), requires licensed copy of ExpressionEngine Web Publishing System||||2006-09-06|
|FUDforum ||Ilia Alshanetsky||2.7.6||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-09-19|
|FuseTalk CF ||FuseTalk Inc.||4.0||ColdFusion||$649 (Basic), $2,998 (Standard), $2,598 (Education), $4599(Enterprise)||Proprietary|
|FuseTalk.NET ||FuseTalk Inc.||3.0 beta 1||ASP.NET||$649 (Basic), $2,998 (Standard), $2,598 (Education), $4599(Enterprise)||Proprietary|
|FusionBB ||InteractivePHP, Inc.||1.0||PHP||$149 Standard License, $39 Renewal||Proprietary|
|GoBoardz ||Nathan Cope||1.0||ASP||Free||Proprietary||2006-08-13|
|Gossamer Forum ||Gossamer Threads||1.2.3||Perl|| License: US$200
Free for Non-Profit
|Groupee Forums ||Groupee, Inc.||4.0.3 (with Groupee Community 1.2.11)||Java|| $25/month on shared server,
$499/month on dedicated server
|IceBB ||XAOS Interactive||0.9.3||PHP||Free||GPL|
|Ideal BB ||Ideal Science||1.5.3b||ASP||$299||Proprietary|
|Ikonboard ||Ikonboard Development Team||3.1.4||Perl||Free||Proprietary|
|Invision Power Board ||Invision Power Services Inc.||2.1.7||PHP||$69.95 p.a. / $185 perpetual (1 yr support)||Proprietary||2006-07-13|
|JForum ||Rafael Steil||2.1.6||Java||Free|
|Jive Forums ||Jive Software||5.0.4||Java||$1950 - $19950 - plus 20% P.A for support / upgrades||Proprietary|
|k4BB ||Peter Goodman, Geoffrey Goodman||2.0 RC2||PHP||Free||LGPL|
|Kareha ||Dag Agren||2.0.3||Perl||Free||Public Domain|
|MegaBBS ||PD9 Software||2.2||ASP||Free / $35 Link Removal & Additional Features||Other|
|MercuryBoard ||Jason Warner & Mark Elliot||1.1.4||PHP||Free||GPL|
|miniBB ||Paul Puzyrev & Sergei Larionov||2.0RC5a||PHP||Free / Paid plugins||GPL|
|Monkey Boards ||James Greenwood||0.3||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-07-10|
|mwForum ||Markus Wichitill||2.10||Perl||Free||GPL||2006-08-05|
|MyBB ||MyBB Group||1.2.1||PHP||Free||Other||2006-09-27|
|MyTopix ||Jaia Interactive||1.2.3b||PHP||Free||Other|
|OvBB ||Jonathon J. Freeman||V0.12a||PHP||Free||MIT||2006-09-20|
|PasForum ||?||?||Pascal (FPC, Kylix, Delphi)||Free||Artistic/Other|
|Phorum ||Brian Moon||5.1.12||PHP||Free||BSD like|
|phpBB ||James Atkinson||2.0.21||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-06-07|
|PunBB ||Rickard Andersson||1.2.13||PHP||Free||GPL|
|Quezza ||Luke Cousins||1.2.0||PHP||Free||GPL|
|Quicksilver Forums || Geoff Dunn, Roger Libiez (Samson) &
The Quicksilver Forums Development Team
|RForum ||Andreas Schwarz||0.2||Ruby||Free||MIT|
|SMF ||Simple Machines||1.0.8||PHP||Free||Other|
|Snitz Forums 2000 ||Snitz Communications||3.4.06||ASP||Free||GPL|
|Sylphagora ||Vystrix Nexoth||1.2||PHP||Free||GPL|
|Tuvai BB ||Leroy Gerrits (Tuvai)||1.5||PHP||Free||Other|
|UBB.classic ||Groupee, Inc.||6.7.3||Perl||$199 standard license, $99 renewal||Proprietary|
|UBB.threads ||Groupee, Inc.||6.5.2||PHP||$299 standard license, $125 renewal||Proprietary|
|Unclassified NewsBoard ||Yves Goergen||1.5.3||PHP||Free||GPL|
|UseBB ||UseBB Team||1.0.2||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-09-15|
|Vanilla ||Mark O'Sullivan ||1.0||PHP||Free||GPL|
|vBulletin ||Jelsoft Enterprises||3.6.1||PHP||$85 p.a. / $160 lifetime||Proprietary||2006-09-13|
|Vikingboard ||VB Development Team||0.1.1||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-09-21|
|Web Wiz Forum ||Bruce Corkhill||8.01||ASP||Free / $54.46 Link Removal / $544.74 Developer||Proprietary|
|WSN Forum ||Paul Knierim||1.20||PHP||Free / $48.50||Proprietary|
|XennoBB ||Xenno Group||2.3.2||PHP||Free||GPL||2006-10-16|
|XMB ||XMB Software||1.9.5 Nexus Final||PHP||Free||GPL|
|YaBB ||YaBB Development Team||2.1||Perl||Free||Other||2005-11-08|
|Creator||Current stable version||Programming language||Cost||License||Latest release date|
Note: These comparisons do not include remotely hosted services (such as Conforums, Hyperboards, Proboards, and Suddenlaunch) which use their own proprietary software, rather than offering a package for download which webmasters can host by themselves.
Flat & Threaded
- A flat forum is one where each message is added onto the end of the discussion, with no set relation to any prior messages (other than being on the same discussion topic — except in case of Off-Topic posting).
- A threaded forum is one where each message must be specifically in reply to a previous message, allowing multiple discussion threads to evolve from a single initial discussion item.
Forums can either support one or the other of these methods, or both.
Most forums provide an option for the forum owner to customise the look and feel. Some forums also allow the administrator to create multiple styles or themes, and allow the user to choose which one they wish to view. Themes may simply be a different set of colours and graphics, or they may involve a different layout to the forum, such as one optimised for small-screen devices.
Some forums provide calendar functionality for storing events and appointments, either per-user or as a forum-wide shared calendar.
Most forums provide the option for a user to upload an image along with a message posting. This is usually accompanied by a space limit (eg: 1MB per user) to prevent users from filling up the forum host's webspace. Some forums also allow other types of file to be uploaded.
Unread message tracking
Unread message tracking refers to the way that is used by forum software to track and display messages that have not yet been read by the current user. This can be one of the following:
- Session — when a user's session starts, this method relies on user "last visit time" to display all messages created since that date as unread. Everything that was posted before "last visit time" is considered "read" regardless of whether user has actually seen it or not. Until user session expires this method properly tracks read/unread in the scope of messages that were selected as "unread" when user session started. This method is broadly used, due to the simplicity and speed benefits of only storing and checking against a single database value.
- Full — forum software which properly tracks what messages that have been read or unread by each user, regardless of user session expiration. Some forum software also allows the user to 'mark as unread', so that they can come back to a message later.
There's a simple test that can provide a good guess at whether the forum software supports "Full" unread message tracking:
- Login into the forum.
- Wait for unread messages to appear (unread markers shown). Do NOT read them.
- Logout from the forum (use "logout" link).
- Login into the forum again.
- Check whether unread markers that you've seen before the logout persisted through the logout/login.
If markers didn't "survive" logout/login, then the forum is most likely using "Session" unread message tracking. If markers did survive, then there's a good chance that forum indeed supports "Full" unread message tracking. Note that you should check unread markers at the topic level as there are at least some examples of using board-level markers to indicate things other than existence of unread topics within (e.g. SMF).
Information about what data storage system can be used.