Vanilla is a free, open source forum software that is used by over 350,000 websites around the world. Vanilla is used by companies, organizations, and miscellaneous groups who wish to have a community for their members. Vanilla can be easily installed on the user’s website and is compatible with normal forum standards. Vanilla is exceptionally customizable and is easy to use for both the webmaster and his/her end-users. The software supports multiple languages, fast chat-like response to forum posts, and golden stars that can be used to flag specific topics that the user is interested or is participating in. Vanilla can be downloaded from http://vanillaforums.org/ .
phpBB is an extremely popular forum software that is completely free and highly customizable. PhpBB comes with hundreds of different layouts, font types, colors, and backgrounds that can be used to create a very unique forum in a short amount of time. PhpBB is written entirely in PHP so can be used with a wide variety of other applications such as WordPress. PhpBB can be used as a stand-alone forum, integrated with a website, or have a website formed around it so that the forum is actually the majority of the website. PhpBB can be downloaded from http://www.phpbb.com/ .
E-Blah is another free, open source forum software that is very popular among computer users. Users may not know it, but E-Blah forums have a very recognizable look and feel to them that is unmistakable. E-Blah provides users with a wide variety of features including an Administration Center, private messages, security tools, system logs, a calendar, and spam protection. E-Blah also provides 24/7 technical support and can be downloaded from http://www.eblah.com/ .
YaBB stands for Yet Another Bulletin Board and is yet another free, open source forum software. YaBB is written in Perl so it does not require much from the server to perform efficiently. The software can be used by virtually anyone who has a computer and features its own support forum that can be used to communicate with other members about how to setup YaBB and fix common errors. YaBB can be completely customized to fit the user’s needs and users are even able to contribute to the YaBB project by submitting their own codes and layouts. YaBB can be found and downloaded at http://www.yabbforum.com/ .
miniBB is a free, open source forum software that includes only basic features. MiniBB can, however, be extended into a much more powerful forum by adding customized features, settings, and layouts. MiniBB was written in PHP and can be used by many different groups and individuals who wish to communicate with each other concerning a specific subject. MiniBB can be downloaded from http://www.minibb.com/ .
ActiveBoard is a free forum service that hosts the user’s forum and manages the forum software. ActiveBoard provides the user with a URL that is accessible by him/her and his/her community members. ActiveBoard also features an Administrator Control and an extensive list of additional plug-ins and features. ActiveBoard is preferred by many users due to the fact that nothing needs to be installed: ActiveBoard does all the work. Users can signup for ActiveBoard at http://www.activeboard.com/ .
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