Easiest free forum software?

earlybird

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
141
Right now, I am starting my forum on webs.com, but once it outgrows webs, I want to relaunch it on its own domain with some free software. The issue is, I have very little HTML experience, but I want to customize the User titles, ect. Is there a forum software that is simple to use and doesn't require that much HTML?
 

Darth_Apple

Adherent
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
268
I'd say myBB, personally. MyBB makes everything very simple, including board setup, usergroups, themes, and plugins as well. PhpBB and SMF plugins are really just core file edits, presenting many problems to inexperienced administrators on the technical side of things.

I've heard of some arguing that SMF is easier than myBB. For the basics such as getting boards and categories set up, it is, but once you run into technical issues (such as a faulty plugin or an error in a theme template file), it is much harder to work out the issue with SMf than it is with MyBB. In my experience, MYBB is easier to use than SMF for that very reason.
 

meetdilip

Tazmanian Master
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
6,675
I will anytime vouch for SMF. I started using when I knew no coding. There are lot of free mods, you can use ranks from Graphics section here and you can also get a lot of support on official and other forums.
 

Casmic

Software Developer
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
284
Everyone here will have a highly biased opinion (so do I, but I've already expressed it elsewhere). I recommend you try out a demo of each of the main forum systems. Here's a list of the ones which you may want to look at (no particular order)

Free: phpBB, MyBB, SMF, Vanilla
Paid (on average about $150): vBulletin, Invision Power Board, XenForo

I recommend you go with whatever you like the most, because different people have different definitions of "easy." You can find an end-user demo of each, obviously, by going to their support forum. Admin-side demos can be found at various locations, including official ones for some solutions.

Demos:
phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/demo/
MyBB: http://www.opensourcecms.com/demo/1/117/MyBB
SMF: http://www.opensourcecms.com/scripts/details.php?scriptid=126

The commercial solutions all offer demos on their websites, but you'll need to provide an email to register for them. Google vBulletin, IPB, and XenForo respectively to find each of their demos.
 

meetdilip

Tazmanian Master
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
6,675
I would suggest you do not got by the basic looks of SMF. Some people (including me) don't like it. But you can find a lot free themes. And there are a few sites which offer premium theme as well. SMF has more good mods (additional features like sharing on FB, portals, sidebar etc). But the above poster is correct. Go through all and find the one you like most. I wrote this as you may miss features as you are new to it.
 

Casmic

Software Developer
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
284
I would suggest you do not got by the basic looks of SMF. Some people (including me) don't like it. But you can find a lot free themes. And there are a few sites which offer premium theme as well. SMF has more good mods (additional features like sharing on FB, portals, sidebar etc). But the above poster is correct. Go through all and find the one you like most. I wrote this as you may miss features as you are new to it.

This is a good observation, and it applies to most forum systems. The out-of-the-box theme is often inferior to what is available even for free.
 

HTML

Big Board Coder
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
260
MyBB, definitely. Highly configurable and my choice of forum software. My "Big Board" is actually powered by MyBB.
 

echo_off

Life is an illusion...
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
1,274
I would also have to say MyBB, I've used SMF/phpBB for a few days each, just getting used to them, and I couldn't. I own an IP.Board license, and I have used that on my forum for ~7 months. And I really like it, but there are some things on MyBB that I liked more. If even a situation came along where I could no longer use IP.Board, I would have to choose MyBB as my forum software solution.

SMF just feels outdated, not it's theme as such, just how it works.
MyBB is coming up to MyBB 1.8, which will use jQuery, and will have more modern features. MyBB, I think, is the best free forum software. phpBB second (and they haven't updated in ages), SMF third.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,588
SMF is probably the easiest to manage, thanks to its remote addon fetcher/installer.
 

Train

Bookworm Moderator
Joined
Aug 13, 2004
Messages
1,282
Depends on what you mean by "easiest."
I would agree with LeadCrow that SMF is probably the easiest forum to manage. I haven't used it at length though, so I don't know how true that is from an editing standpoint. I would probably say phpBB if your knowledge of HTML is limited and you wanted to modify the board. I will say however, I have little use for phpBB's admin and mod tools. I don't think they're the best by any means.

All in all, it's more finding what fits you the best. There are plenty of demos out there that you can get your hands on. The best thing to do is to try each one and find that sweet spot for yourself.
 

earlybird

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
141
Everyone here will have a highly biased opinion (so do I, but I've already expressed it elsewhere). I recommend you try out a demo of each of the main forum systems. Here's a list of the ones which you may want to look at (no particular order)

Free: phpBB, MyBB, SMF, Vanilla
Paid (on average about $150): vBulletin, Invision Power Board, XenForo

I recommend you go with whatever you like the most, because different people have different definitions of "easy." You can find an end-user demo of each, obviously, by going to their support forum. Admin-side demos can be found at various locations, including official ones for some solutions.

Demos:
phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/demo/
MyBB: http://www.opensourcecms.com/demo/1/117/MyBB
SMF: http://www.opensourcecms.com/scripts/details.php?scriptid=126

The commercial solutions all offer demos on their websites, but you'll need to provide an email to register for them. Google vBulletin, IPB, and XenForo respectively to find each of their demos.
I like the demo idea. I will try that. So are these the admin demos?
 

earlybird

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
141
I know that the three best ones are phpbb,mybb, and smf, but what are the pros and cons of each? I want to see if any stands out as having the qualities I want and only the issues I am willng to put up with. So far I am leaning toward MyBB. What iare the biggest issues with that? ArIs the software completely free?
 

Alex.

The Ancient Dragon
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
11,579
MyBB is fairly easy. I used it once as a local install. At the time the ACP was similar to phpBB, and they were fairly good imitations of the then IP.Board ACP. Not many people prefer such a system and prefer something like vBulletin's. I've never been able to wrap my head around that one because the vBulletin ACP has always looked dated and clumsy. One drawback I've always found with the universal search for IP.Board's ACP is that you need to type out the exact phrase or keyword of the module you wish to view. I wish they include a tagging system for the ACP because it's much easier to remember a personal term rather than what's been given by IPS.
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,873
The easiest free forum software in my opinion is any one that offers plugins for adding modifications (like SMF or MyBB). That already makes it much easier for you to make the changes you want without having to edit actual code.

So stay away from phpBB for that. At least unless the next major version gets released, which will apparently have a plugin system.

Other than that, I can't help much. Most forum systems are pretty easy to use from an admin perspective, since overly complicated admin control panels haven't exactly been common for years now.
 

radu81

Fan
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
657
SMF just feels outdated, not it's theme as such, just how it works.
MyBB is coming up to MyBB 1.8, which will use jQuery, and will have more modern features. MyBB, I think, is the best free forum software. phpBB second (and they haven't updated in ages), SMF third.
I agree, mybb & smf are both good software, but in my opinion phpBB could not take the second place. I started my first forum back in 2005 using phpBB, I was hacked two times in a year, and was a real pain to install mods. In the end I close that forum and started a few others with smf.. I think it's the easiest board to use and no security bugs. I also like mybb but does not have a decent portal. That's why I keep using smf
Also the new smf 2.1 uses jquery
 

HTML

Big Board Coder
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Messages
260
I look forward to MyBB 1.8 and 2.0. Will 1.8 or 2.0 feature modal popups?
 

earlybird

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
141
I know that the three best ones are phpbb,mybb, and smf, but what are the pros and cons of each? I want to see if any stands out as having the qualities I want and only the issues I am willng to put up with. So far I am leaning toward MyBB. What iare the biggest issues with that? ArIs the software completely free?

So what is the biggest issue with mybb, and is the software completely free? I am really leaning toward mybb now, since from what you say, the only issue is the ACP and that's really a matter of preference.Is there any major issues?
 
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