How to Set Up a Community Discussion Forum

If you want to create a Community Discussion Forum Website, you can do this quickly and easily without any real coding knowledge or experience. This is because there are a good number of Community Discussion Forum Software scripts available for you to download and install.

Many of them are available from our easy software installer inside your web hosting account.


What is a Community Discussion Forum?

A Community Discussion Forum is a website where users can pose questions or start a topic of conversation and other others can answer and join in by replying.

Members create profiles and can then join in discussions. In some cases, members can also send each other private messages and some also have chat functionality built in.

Depending on the software, users can also rate responses and other members to.

Many of the software scrips also have themes that you can but to change the look and feel of your forum.


Why Build a Community Discussion Forum?

There are lots of different reasons why someone might choose to build a community discussion forum. Here are some of the main reasons:

  • An addition to an existing community to allow further conversation and discussion
  • To provide support to product users
  • For people to pose questions to problems that they are facing or questions they want answering and for members to offer their help and support
  • To sell something to other members or to find something that you want to buy


Community discussion forums are a great way of building engagement and interacting with your customers or other likeminded people.


Available Community Discussion Forum Software Scripts

We’ve added 2 types here – commercial and free (open source)


vBulletin – vBulletin is a commercial community forum discussion forum. You pay a one-off fee for a licence and can then pay a further monthly fee for support.

vBulletin’s features include Discussion Forums, Groups, Polls, Built in Blog, Admin Controls, User Controls and Security. You can see the full list of vBulletin features here.

All of our web hosting packages meet the requirements of vBulletin.

xenForo – xenForo is a commercial community discussion forum software script. You pay a one-off fee for the software. You can also buy other add-ons and then a fee later for additional support should you need it.

xenForo’s features include Discussion Forums, Social Engagement, Activity Stream, Alerts, Built In SEO and Easy Styling. You can see the full list of xenForo features here.

All of our web hosting packages meet the requirements of xenForo. And, if you choose one of our premium super fast web hosting packages with LiteSpeed Web Server, you can install the xenForo LiteSpeed plugin in harness the full power of LiteSpeed and LiteSpeed Caching.


Free (Open Source)

  • phpBB
  • FluxBB
  • Vanilla Forums
  • MyBB
  • SMF (Simple Machines Forum)


phpBB – phpBB is an open source forum script. phpBB is currently the most used free forum application with millions of people using the application every day.

phpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customisable open-source bulletin board package. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built-in.

phpBB’s has an extensive administration panel, which allows the customisation of even the most intricate features while advanced users will value the ease with which phpBB can be integrated into existing systems.


  • Intuitive interface.
  • Multiple discussion forums and categories are supported for maximum flexibility.
  • Anti-spam tools
  • File sharing
  • Moderators can help to maintain order by assisting users and enforcing the rules.
  • Private messages are direct messages between two or more users.
  • An advanced caching system to increase performance.
  • Easy administration settings for full control over the look, feel, and operation of every board.
  • User groups
  • Search system enables users find topics, posts, and users.
  • Plugin system to extend phpBB’s functionality.


FluxBB – FluxBB is a popular lightweight forum script.

FluxBB is a lighter, faster alternative to some of the traditional feature heavy forum applications. It’s easy to use and has a proven track record of stability and security making it an ideal choice of forum for your website.


  • Clean interface for ease-of-use and usability.
  • Focus on the most essential features a forum needs which makes it really fast
  • Clean admin interface
  • Flexible permission system
  • Powerful moderator tools


Vanilla Forums – Vanilla Forums is an open source forum application and discussion framework.

Vanilla Forums is pluggable, themable and multi-lingual. It comes with social tools, and great user experience. Vanilla is also built with integration at the forefront, so it can seamlessly integrate with your existing website, blog, or custom-built application.


MyBB – MyBB is an open source forum application and is packaged full of useful and to-the-point features for both you and your visitors, helping you to make running your bulletin board as easy as possible.


SMF (Simple Machines Forum) – Simple Machines Forum is a free forum application. Described as a next-generation community software package that is jam-packed with features, while at the same time having a minimal impact on resources.


  • Advanced permission and user management.
  • Tracking of new and old unread topics
  • Package manager that automatically installs or uninstalls mods
  • Major actions are time and IP locked, preventing ‘hammering’.
  • Create child boards under other boards.
  • Configure permissions
  • Both cookie and session based authentication
  • Include an expiration time for bans.
  • Export forum data
  • Members can choose which smiley set they wish to use
  • Spell Check, Quick Reply, WYSIWYG, ‘Insert Quote’, and other editing features.
  • Polls can be added or removed to existing topics.
  • Attachment filenames can be encrypted to increase the security (so you can upload .php files, etc.)
  • Ability to allow members to use moderation on just topics they posted.
  • Ability to Merge/Split topics.
  • Recycle bin/board for all deleted topics and posts.
  • Options to hide other members’ avatars and signatures.
  • Advanced user resources, including the ability to show new replies to your posts.


All of our web hosting accounts meet the minimum requirements for the above Community Discussion Forum Software Scrips. Our super fast premium web hosting accounts will always deliver better performance.

And, all of the above free forum software scrips can be installed via our easy software installer.