With the growth of search information purposes, you may find even more and more web projects to be amazed of – websites, professionally designed blogs, online stores. And you know, even the forums may be compared to the goldmine of every Internet web project. Many wonder, why so many people are joining forums on a day-to-day basis. Trust me, there are lots of reasons:
- it’s a great way to interact with like-minded people
- it’s a place for a perfect knowledge base
- it can be a great place for a round-up of friends
And nowadays, the diversity of forum softwares is more that you think. There are dozens of forum platforms that possess various functions and options, thus it’s pretty puzzling to choose this or that forum solution. So, that’s why on this subject you are offered the feature checklist of your perfect forum software.
So, let’s buckle down on the best free/ and paid forum softwares:
Simple Machines Forum (SMF)
bbPress (WordPress plugin)
Kunena (Joomla Extension)
Before you’ve chosen one of these softwares, there are several conditions that denote the ideal forum platform.
1. Simple Forum Software Installation
So, starting from the very beginning, make sure that you may install your forum platform easily. If you have a website built on WordPress or Joomla, so the forum installation is like a breeze. You just have to activate the plugin/extension – bbPress or Kunena respectively, or any other and your discussion board is up. In the case, you want to launch the so-called, self-hosted forum software, you should take care about your future hosting provider that will actually point you out on your further forum setup.
2. Intuitive Back-End Dashboard
Before you get started with your forum management, initially, install the trial version of your website. Make sure that the back-end is comprehensive and understandable for you. Of course, you’ll spend some time on testing several forum softwares, but it will help you to make the right further decision and be sure of your future website building tool.
3. Everlasting Update
One more crucial thing of choosing a forum software is the certainty that your forum will be constantly updated. Usually, ‘stand alone’ forum platforms, both free and paid, like phpBB, MyBB, IP.Board, and vBulletin regularly provide their users with the out-of-the-box update/upgrade option at no cost or on a paying basis respectfully.
Also, you should be careful with the plugin/extension-like forum tools. Sometimes, if you decide to upgrade your website version, check up whether the your forum is supported in the new version.
4. Authoritative Security System
You should admit that the protection of your website is the most important issue of the site management. No matter whether you run an amateur or business forum, the reliable spam protection, both from spammer bots and humans, is the necessity. Let’s look through the forum softwares offers:
- phpBB – Q&A CAPTCHA – this is a spam protection plugin that works in such a way: the user should answer a question or fill in the gap, for instance, “to be or not to …”, “What is the second letter of word ‘ladybug’?” Also, you may combine such questions and sentences in accordance to your niche. So, it’s kind of creatively different way of anti-spam security.
- vBulletin – Built-in – this commercial forum enhances the built-in protection options: image verification – traditional retyping the letters and numbers from the picture, Question and Answer – this type of protection method is mentioned below, and the last one – reCaptcha – it contains two words that should be retyped. So, you may choose one of these techniques.
- MyBB – Register Time– this plugin allows to prevent spambot registration. You know that the spam robot may register in a few seconds, while it’s impossible for human. So, the plugin measures the time of forum loading and the time when the registration form is submitted. In addition, you may choose any spam protection method right from MyBB official repository.
- IP.Board – IPS Spam Monitor – This protection system analyses every new registered user and denotes the possible level of spamming – marking from 0 to 4 risk of spam, where 0 is no risk and 4 – certain spammer, then you may automatically ban a user or give a permission for further actions.
5. Permission Levels
Various permission levels allow to organize the forum properly. It’s recommended to have approximately five levels of permission:
Basically, these are the main levels of permission, some forum software have a few more. Such a distribution also allows to take the website spam protection under control.
Summing up, those are the most crucial features for your/ best forum platform. Nevertheless, apart from all these technical site conditions, you shouldn’t forget about the main purpose that inspires you to run your forum. Be creative and overshoot the mark of your forum management.