I love xenForo but it comes with a price tag. So what are the free xenForo alternatives to build an active community online.
XenForo is the best and most active forum solution currently available, but it comes with a price tag. If you are looking for a free alternative to XenForo, you have come to the right place.
Each of these xenForo alternatives is different and have their pros and cons.
In this article, I will show you some of the most popular alternatives to xenForo currently available.
Discourse is 100% an open-source (free) platform. It is the best solution for developers who wants to create discussion forums, chat rooms, and more.
Moreover, it is an excellent alternative to xenForo. It’s a Ruby-on-Rails based solution. Discourse offers exciting out of box features for creating discussions among members – for example, dynamic notifications and auto-link expansion. Besides, it is designed for high-resolution touch devices. Now that’s what a modern discussion platform demands.
For a complete forum site, it is a perfect solution. The only problem with Discourse is, as it is an RoR based solution. So if you already have a PHP based WordPress website and want to add a forum, you have to opt for a second hosting or server solution.
It is developed from user-driven purposes. Users can customize layout or sync existing membership system with Discourse.
Like Discourse, phpBB is also an open-source bulletin board system. It is widely prevalent among those looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website. Good news is phpBB comes with built-in features a webmaster needs to build an active online community.
It’s one of the oldest forum solutions. I can tell this because phpBB was available even when I started using vBulletin. If you are searching for a free PHP based Free xenForo alternative solution, then phpBB is the right choice.
phpBB offers an extensive administration panel. It allows the user to customize the most intricate features without editing the code directly. On the other hand, phpBB integrates into an existing system.
Also Read: phpBB Vs vBulletin
Build an engaging community-based forum with MyBB open-source software. Users get a ton of great features. For example, plugins. With an advanced plugin system, users can make their forum easy to use. Built-in templates & themes give an attractive makeover to your forum.
MyBB has an exciting user-oriented feature – Reputation System. Users can rate other users (negative, neutral, or positive) based on their actions and posts. So, each member has an overall reputation score.
The system displays comments publicly along with ratings. This way, it can help limit abuse and spam.
If you are sick of the slow and bloated forum or bulletin board software, then bbPress is for you. It’s forum software, easy to integrate and use, focused on speed. Being free and open-source, BBPress is the most popular forum plugin for WordPress.
With more than 300K active installations, BBPress gives excellent forum features. For example, subscription, topic tags, search, post formatting, auto-embed links, and reply threading are few to name.
Hence, if you are looking to add a simple forum to the WP website, then BBPress is highly recommended.
Also Read: 35+ WordPress SEO Checklist to Maximize SEO for WordPress
SMF or Simple Machine Forums is yet another open-source PHP based forum solution. It is similar to phpBB and is a good Xenforo alternative. Although I haven’t tested SMF yet, still I would say it is lightweight and fast.
SMF supports multi-language and has open and well-documented source code. It has a package manager that automatically installs or uninstalls mods (aka hacks). Users can group forum boards & categories into collapsible & non-collapsible.
Additionally, users can ban members based on their username, hostname, email, or IP addresses. Furthermore, SMF offers a wide range of features related to forum security, settings, and a lot more.
6. Vanilla Forums
Vanilla forums is yet another PHP based open-source solution to host your community online. Vanilla forums also offer a cloud-based solution where they host your forum, and you focus on working on making the forum popular.
Try their cloud-based solution for a month for free to see if they offer the kind of features you want. If they do, either go for the open-source version or keep using the cloud-based solution.
7. PunBB 8. FluxBB 9. MiniBB
PunBB, FluxBB, MiniBB are PHP based open source forum software. All three of them are free to download and highly customizable.
They are professionally written from scratch with the base of native and original PHP code. Each one of them is fast and easy to integrate compared to other software in the market.
You can choose anyone if you are planning to attach a forum to your existing site with a higher level of integration.
PunBB 1.2 and FluxBB 1.2 are identical and from the same source. However, both of them offer very little after the 1.2 version.
The limited better choice of free xenForo alternatives, I think the price tag of xenForo is worth it if you are serious about building a thriving community for members.