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An online forum should be straightforward so that the users can create accounts, make threads and respond to the messages of other users. Mostly, best forum software offer user role systems so that the moderators and admins can appear at the top and manage the website while maintaining the permissions of the regular users at minimal level. In addition to the basic functionalities of online forums, you should also monitor some other features when searching for the free forum software to use. If you need great experience, you should ensure that the software you intend to use allows the customization of profiles. That alone will enable people to customize their profiles after they have created them for easier control.

A powerful text editor is also vital because online forums are 100 percent text-based. In other words, you will have to provide the users with a strong editor so that they can publish error free and customizable posts. And because some people would want to keep their activities private when on the forum the software should allow that. Mostly, conversations on forums are public, but private messaging would also foster interpersonal relationships.

Moreover, just like you expect with profile customization, comment signatures will help you increase user engagement and allow the users to have more fun. Some forums are known to set up various user levers that people can unlock after a particular length of time or level of activities. It can be in the form of rewards for users who participate in the forum more often.

To choose the right free forumsoftware, you will have to consider the type of experience you would want to provide to the users. A quick example, if you need a forum that people can use to submit their support queries, enabling achievements and signatures would be overkill. Nevertheless, if you want to build a modern forum, including as many features as possible is a great idea. In fact, you should work to provide an experience that is very close to what the popular social media sites provide to the users. In other words, you will need best free forums software that offers many such features.

So, which are some of the best free forum software to try? Here are some.

WordPress
Today, WordPress is the highly used Content Management System (CMS) globally. The platform allows users to make anything ranging from a very simple blog to a very large online store thanks to the large number of plugins. Some of the plugins available for use when building basic forums come with many beneficial features in addition to many useful extras. At first, it might appear counterproductive to use a CMS platform to power a forum. However, WordPress CMS is the best choice for people who want to establish a forum together with a website.

Pros
– Offers a wide collection of plugins and themes to use when building websites and forums
– It is very easy to use and including the beginners can establish a forum within a short time
– You can establish both your regular website and the message boards at the same time
– You will have the chance to choose from a very wide range of forum plugins for personalized experience

Cons
– The developers did not build the platform with forums in mind. Therefore, you will have to dedicate more time and resources to get the forum up and running.

If you have been using WordPress for a long time, using it to establish your user forum should make more sense. If you have never used it before, you should not panic because it is very easy to use & most popular forum software. Moreover, learning how to use it will open up more doors for you.

Joomla!
The other CMS platform that you can use to create a forum is Joomla! Infact, you can use Joomla! to build any type of website you want. It offers many robust plugins and theme systems to facilitate customization of websites. The key difference between Joomla! and WordPress is that the former provides users with more control over projects. It is ideal for people with more experience in the world of website development. If you would want to use the system, you will have to select the best plugin. Some of the best plugins to use include EasyDiscuss, ChronForums and Kunena.

Pros
– Provides more control over new websites
– It offers many plugins to facilitate faster building of online forums
– Offers powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and security features

Cons
– The platform demands user experience
– The choice for forum plugins is limited

If you have been using Joomla! for some time and you would want to use to establish your user forum, you should go ahead. However, if you have no experience, WordPress would be a better choice.

pnpBB
If you need a more flexible forum platform, which allows creation of boards for users to post messages, phpBB is a perfect choice. After setting up your forum, you will be able to make the largest number of internal message boards possible. In fact, the tool can handle hundreds or even thousands of users at a time, particularly for people using high-end website hosting.

In addition to the basic functionality, the free software, allows users to use extensions to add more options to their forums. It also comes with a theme system that will help you change the appearance of your forum. Moreover, all your users will get many options for customizing their posts and profiles. And because it is an open-source software, you will benefit from the active community backing.

Pros
– offers strong forum software with many hierarchy options
– The users can customize their profiles and posts
– Provides access to many moderation options
– You can set up your themes and extensions to customize established forums
– The software is very responsive

Cons
– The themes are somehow outdated

Overall, the phpBB software is recommendable for individuals in need of customizable forum software. With the offered extensions, you can access all the features that you need to build a good forum.

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