Free Forum PHP Software: Add a discussion board to your website

Forums, also known as discussion boards, bulletin boards (“BBS”), message boards, or community forums
(and possibly some other names that I’ve missed out), have always been popular. They allow visitors to
your site to interact with each other and discuss the various topics relevant to your website. An active
forum site also gets return visitors to your site, since members feel that they can get answers there, or
contribute and help others in some way, and/or a myriad of other reasons (depending on the purpose of your site).

The forum software listed on this page are the PHP versions. If you want Perl versions, please see
the Free Forum
Perl Scripts
page instead. There are also
free ASP forum scripts
as well. Most, if not all, of the forums listed on this page require your host to have SQL support
(usually MySQL).

Please note that installing a forum is not quite the same as
designing a
website with a web editor like Dreamweaver
, or even installing a
feedback form. Be prepared
to invest a fair bit of time learning how to set it up properly. They also
huge amounts of resources
, both in terms of processor time as well as disk space, so if your forum becomes
very popular, you may find yourself looking around for a
dedicated server.
(No, don’t do it just yet. A regular
shared web host
is usually more than sufficient if you’re just starting out.) Another thing that you’ll need
to remember to do is to back up your forum database daily (if not more often) in order to minimize your losses
should your web server’s hard disk crash or some such disaster. If you don’t know how to do that, find out how.
(The documentation that comes with the forum software may give some information on this.)

For those who find installing a forum too difficult, another alternative is to use one of
the free forum hosting services
available on the Internet. While you lose some control over the board that way, it saves you the need to host and install
it yourself. Personally, though, I think it’s best to install your own.

Related Pages

Free PHP Forum, BBS, Message Boards, Discussion Boards Scripts

Quicksilver Forums

This is a PHP forum script that uses a MySQL database. Features include the ability to format posts using BB code,
add attachments to posts, embed images in posts, send private messages (PM), get RSS feeds on posts, insert polls, etc.
Administrative facilities include a variety of spam protection mechanisms, such as to require (if you wish) validation by email
on registration and adding “nofollow” to links, banning members as well as IP addresses, censor inappropriate words,
restrict access to different areas of the forum, restrict who can start new topics (etc), move, split, pin and lock topics,
customisation (“customization” in US
) of the forum “skins”, install your own emoticons and post icons, award special titles to members, backup
and restore the forum, etc.

Simple Machines Forum

Simple Machines Forum, or SMF, is a PHP forum software that uses a MySQL database. Its visual layout is controlled by templates, so you can
customize its appearance by changing the template. It features the ability to group sub-forums, or boards, into categories; assign moderators
to each board; create member groups and assign users to one or more of such groups; assigning certain member groups to certain boards/forums;
controlling the permissions for each member group; board statistics that let you track topics, messages, new members, individual member statistics;
banning members based on usernames, email address, IP address or hostname; support for polls, calendars, attachments; etc.

phpBB Forum

This PHP based forum or BBS requires you to have MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL, or an
Access/ODBC database server. It purports to be customizable, has a search utility
(allowing your BBS visitors to be able to search the forum), private messaging system,
unlimited forums and posts, multiple forum moderators, IP tracking on posts,
an installation script, the ability to turn on/off HTML in posts, and so on.

Zorum Community Forum Software

This is another PHP based community forum (message board) software.
It requires a MySQL database, the Apache web server, and
PHP version 4. According to its website, your server must also be
running on Linux. The software supports both threaded and linear
views. Other features include different permission levels, user profiles,
moderated forums, personalisation, etc. It may be used
free of charge for non-commercial purposes, but you have to
register, and you may not put advertisements, banners, affiliate
links or “any kind of commercial activity” on the forum pages of the site.

Phorum Message Board

Phorum is a PHP based message board with support for threads and
interfaces with MySQL, PostgreSQL and possibly others.


MercuryBoard is a bulletin board script written in PHP 4. It uses a MySQL database
and supports emoticons, search engine, help engine, an admin control panel, etc. This
software is apparently “no longer under active development” (according to their website).

Search the site using Google.

It will appear on your page as:

Free Forum PHP Scripts


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