I have been a phpBB fan since phpBB 2, they are the standard for me, when it comes to forum software.  However the phpBB 3 package is complex to work with, it has way too many buttons, the permission system is crazy deep and while phpBB 2 was a fun target for modding, the modding community did not take up phpBB 3 that good IMHO. With the release of phpBB 3.1 they took a different direction, they included a framework, Symfony -now this is personal- but I’m not a huge fan of Symfony either, I’m more of a CodeIgniter guy, though luck. Today I’m searching for alternatives to phpBB, while I am not sure I will find my next forum software package, one thing is certain, its goodbye to phpBB and its not-always-so-friendly community.


 

I don’t think its essential to be free or/and open-source, but its an advantage (one can test before having to commit) . I however require the software runs in a Linux environment so no windows-only tools. (PHP/MySQL is not a requirement, but its the easiest for me, and one of the most used languages) I did sorted this list, by how-much I like them after trying to install and playing with the demo. (allot of forums are missing, feel free to join in!)

Flarum

+ free, open-source
+ modern design
+ active development
+ build for current expectation : (single login, likes, …)
+ forget complex forms
+ wysiwyg editor
– learning curve ?
– beta
– small dev. team (mostly written by 2 people)
-/+ uses composer, dependency manager for a forum (?) not sure if that is a good thing

Discourse

+ free, open-source
+ looks amazing
+ gamification
+ single sign on (google, facebook, yahoo, github, twitter,…)
– high requirements (browser)
– no focus on categories
+/- no LAMP stack

nodeBB

+ look & feel amazing
+ stable, looks similar to Flarum (which I love)
+ nice category + fP
+ tons icons, wyisyg edit
– editor is rather complex compared to Flarum, 1080p/2 = mobile ?
– small community, small dev. team (3?)
– focus on paying customer

Simplemachines

+ free, open-source
– doesn’t look to great

vBulletin

+ looks oke
– not free
– looks pretty fill

InvisionBoard

+ looks oke
– not free
– is it an upgrade over phpBB?

VanillaForums

+ design idea is good, but done better by alternatives
+ free, open-source
– small community

Xenoforo

– not free
– small community
– not a fan of the design

MyBB

+ free, open-source
+ active community
– phpBB instant replacement …
– not really modern
– even more “clutter” then phpBB

todo :

https://www.woltlab.com
http://www.phorum.org
bbpress
http://fluxbb.org