Web hosting forums are an important online community for webmasters and bloggers to ask questions, share knowledge, and socialize with others who share their interest. I’ve listed the best web hosting forums that cover everything from domains, search engine optimization (SEO), hot topics like WordPress, ecommerce, plus forum software. Readers can add more to the list of web hosting forums that they personally find helpful.
Best Web Hosting Forum
Choosing forum hosting can be a difficult task. The forum is a non-standard resource that has its characteristics and needs. Given the large selection of hosts specifically for forums, the job can be complicated if you do not know what criteria it is to choose.
To facilitate your choice in this matter, we have collected a list, so you can find the best forum hosting. Each item has its own characteristics and advantages. You can find the right and best free forum hosting.
5 Best Forum Hosts
- GreenGeeks – best-known forum hosting service
- A2 Hosting – fastest provider
- Hostinger – ideal hosting for large sites
- JustHost – more suitable for U.S. forums
- SiteGround – most popular provider
How to Choose the Best Forum Website Hosting?
But before we move on to the list of the best forum hosts, it is necessary to understand what parameters you need to pay attention to before choosing. Forum – it’s a specific resource that works differently than most sites.
Therefore, the requirements for hosting will also be slightly different. Consider the most important factors about forums web hosting in detail.
Hosting factor #1 – Email limits
Usually, forums send more emails than any other resource: registration confirmation, notifications of new threads and discussions, replies to comments, etc. Therefore, when choosing a forum website hosting, it is necessary to pay attention to email sending’s daily limit.
It may be a lot for an ordinary website if it goes about several thousand, but not enough for a standard forum.
Hosting factor #2 – RAM
All actions on the forum are dynamic, and their number can reach tremendous values. Therefore, one of the critical factors when choosing a hosting is the amount of RAM. Typically, web hosting has two limitations: the total amount of RAM and the memory limit for a single process.
If the best forum hosting service provides less than 1 GB of RAM and allocates less than 512 MB per process, the forum will not work well. The optimal amount of RAM depends on the specifics of the forum. The main recommendation is that the more, the better.
Hosting factor #3 – Disc type
The worst option for a forum is the traditional HDD. They have already been abandoned by all advanced best forum hosting sites, but some providers still use them. The optimal option is an SSD, which handles data many times faster. There is also a more efficient type of drive SSD NVMe, but the price for such type can be very high.
It is also worth separately clarifying whether the hosting uses an SSD to store files and a database. Some providers in this industry combine SSDs with old HDDs, which is not suitable for the forum.
Hosting factor #4 – PHP
Only the latest version of PHP is suitable for smooth operation. It has no bugs of the previous version and also speeds up the work. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the provider offers the latest version of PHP.
Hosting factor #5 – Free trial
The choice that seemed perfect may not give the desired result. Therefore, it is necessary to test it before paying a provider. It is advisable to choose a provider that offers a free trial period. Some providers instead promise a refund in case of failure. Both options are suitable.
The Different Types of Best Forum Hosting
In addition to the features of hosting, it is valuable to pay attention to its type. Each type of the best forum hosting has its own characteristics and advantages, so it is essential to consider them.
A shared server is the most popular type of hosting used by most sites in the forums community. This hosting usually hosts several sites that use one common server. From this follows the first disadvantages.
Shared hosting has many limitations, including the amount of RAM. Heavy loads on one site can cause problems on all the others on the server. Therefore, this type of hosting is not the best option for online forums. However, its main advantage is the price.
Shared type is usually cheaper than others, so they are suitable for small projects with a limited budget.
Managed and unmanaged hosting
Difference in the way they are managed. All managed ones support is under the control of the provider. Any malfunctions and problems will be solved by the internal support service, which can significantly simplify working with hosting. However, this type of hosting will cost more.
Unmanaged hosting is cheaper, but all the administration in the hands of the owner of the site. Therefore, to work with such a hosting will require additional staff.
The virtual private server hosts only one site, which can freely use all server resources. Therefore, the impact of other sites is excluded. But such type is usually much more expensive than shared, so it may not be suitable for projects with a limited budget.
Cloud type is the most stable because it uses cloud technology. Such hosting uses several servers at once, which complement each other. Therefore, even if one server fails, another will replace it. Cloud provider is usually not limited in capacity so that they can run the largest sites.
The payment system of cloud hosting is more flexible than the others. You pay when you use the server only. If the site is idle, you do not have to pay.
#1 – GreenGeeks – best-known forum hosting service
GreenGeeks is also one of the best-known hosting companies. During its ten years of experience, the company has recruited top professionals and created a stable and competitive environment.
A key feature of GreenGeeks is sustainability. It is one of the few such companies that operate solely on renewable energy. GreenGeeks says it purchases three times as many renewable energy certificates as it consumes. The provider partners with EPA Green Power, which works with wind power.
Here are some facts you should know about GreenGeeks:
- It hosts the fastest speeds of any company on this list. It applies to all regions, from North America to Asia.
- The speed may be slower in Singapore since GreenGeeks does not have a data center there. But the slippage is insignificant.
- GreenGeeks also provides adequate security guarantees, including malware scans. Also, all sites are protected from the influence of other resources on the server. Usually, on shared servers, too much activity on one site can disrupt others. GreenGeeks has no such problem.
- Another good plus is the user-friendly interface that even a novice can cope with. GreenGeeks has a rich knowledge base and prompt support service that will help with any problem if there are any difficulties.
However, there are some disadvantages.
- In the case of refunds, the provider will only refund part of the money spent. The cost of installation will cost $15, and additional software is not included in the refund.
- The renewal price is much higher than the first month’s fee. The cheapest plan will cost $2.95 for the first month. Renewals are $9.95.
- GreenGeeks Shared Hosting has catastrophically low RAM capacity. Even the most expensive plan, which costs $11.95 for the first month and $24.95 for the next, offers only 1 GB of RAM. And that may not be enough for a forum. The solution is moving to a VPS with 2 GB RAM or more. But the cost of such a tariff is $39.95 per month.
#2 – A2 Hosting – fastest provider
A2 Hosting is an experienced provider that has been providing its services since 2002. It has data centers in Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore, which gives global coverage. Therefore, there will be no speed problems with hosting anywhere in the world.
The main advantage of A2 Hosting is the high speed that its impressive resources provide. Even the cheapest plan offers a full SSD, 1 GB RAM, and a dual-core processor with a frequency of 2.1 GHz. Hosting uses Cloudflare CDN technology, which loads site pages twice as fast.
Also, A2 Hosting has a friendly pricing policy. Even though the renewal price is higher than the initial cost, it is still not as high as other web hosting companies. A2 Hosting guarantees a full refund in case of failure. The provider is also willing to refund money for unused features.
One of the main drawbacks of A2 Hosting is the support service. It is not always available in chat rooms. If you encounter problems, you will most likely have to wait for a while. Another disadvantage is the paid migration of the site.
The cheapest plan will cost $2.99 for the first month and $9 for subsequent months. For this, you get an SSD, 1 GB RAM, and unlimited emailing. That should be enough for a regular forum.
Ready to choose your plan? — Go to A2Hosting hosting
Want to read some more information — Go to A2Hosting review
#3 – Hostinger – ideal hosting for large sites
Hostinger has an extensive range of hosting services. The provider will suit both large sites with numerous staff and newcomers working with hosting for the first time.
The indisputable advantage of hosting is the price. The cheapest plan costs just $0.99 for the first month and $2.99 for the following months. It is the most profitable hosting plan on this list.
Unfortunately, this plan will not suit forums, as it has a lot of restrictions. However, even the optimal plan, which will cost $1.89 for the first month and $4.99 for the renewal, is hugely profitable. For that, you get 20 GB SDD, unlimited email, and 1 GB RAM.
Problems with Hostinger may occur for those who are planning to move their website to a new hosting. The provider does not provide any support, so you will have to do this on your own.
You may also encounter problems with the installation of an SSL certificate. It will have to be created separately and copied into your account.
Ready to choose your plan? — Go to Hostinger hosting
Want to read some more information — Go to Hostinger review
#4 – JustHost – more suitable for U.S. forums
JustHost provides its services to medium and large businesses. The provider’s data centers are only located in North America, so this hosting is only suitable for U.S. and Canadian sites.
JustHost has a reasonably high upload speed and good uptime. The provider offers the most considerable amount of RAM of all those on this list, which is critical for any forum. It is also effortless to manage, so it is suitable for beginners. If you do not like the hosting, you can request a refund.
One of the main disadvantages of JustHost is the price. The cheapest plan will cost $3.95 for the first month and $11.99. This offer may seem lucrative, but it has email restrictions, which is no longer suitable for forums.
The optimal plan will cost $6.95 for the first month and $14.99, which is already more than some other hosts on this list. For this money, the provider offers 4 GB RAM and more, which may be worth it.
Ready to choose your plan? — Go to JustHost hosting
Want to read some more information — Go to JustHost review
#5 – SiteGround – most popular provider
It’s one of the best and most well-known platforms. Over the past few years, the company has shown incredible growth and constant development. Therefore, this hosting is worth paying attention to in the first place.
It is worth noting that SiteGround is suitable not only for forums but also for any other site, as the provider offers its customers all kinds of hosting: from shared to the cloud.
Here are some main advantages of SiteGround.
- Among the main advantages is the stability. SiteGround guarantees 100% uptime, which can be very attractive for forums.
- It can also be noted a very high performance, which provides SSD and support for HTTP/2.
- Many users report the support service’s excellent work, which will help you with any problems in any form you want.
- Another critical plus for forums is unlimited emailing.
SiteGround has some severe drawbacks as well. First, 100% uptime does not consider the possibility of DDoS attacks, which are a big problem for many forums. Second, there is the price. The cost of plans has recently increased dramatically and now starts at $6.99 for the first month.
Given the quality, the price increase is reasonable, but some smaller resources can no longer afford SiteGround.
As for pricing, the cheapest plan will cost $6.99 per month. However, it is only the price for the first month. Subsequent ones will cost $14.99.
It includes 10 GB of free space and 10,000 visitors per month. It may not be enough for a forum, so you have to go with a more expensive plan. The optimal plan for the forum will cost $9.99 for the first month and $24.99.
11 Best Forum Software to Build an Online Community in 2022
Creating a forum website is a great way to engage with your target audience and nurture communication with different communities.
An online forum usually focuses on a specific subject, from technology and politics to hobbies and recent trends. Many business owners use forum platforms for marketing their products and services to a broader audience.
In this article, we will review the 11 best forum software solutions along with a list of pros and cons from each forum builder.
We’ll also discuss what you should be looking for in an online forum software in terms of features and functionalities.
Best Forum Software – Our Top Picks
The list below is a curated collection of the 11 best forum software tools we recommend for those who want to create their own forums.
- phpBB – Hundreds of free extensions available
- MyBB – Fewer extensions available
- Vanilla Forums – Some free add-ons, more paid extensions
- WordPress – A lot of paid and free plugins available
- Joomla! – Fewer plugins available
- Drupal – Lots of paid and free modules available
- Simple Machines Forum – Large collection of modules available
- FluxBB – Limited plugin options
- Codoforum – Free and paid plugins available
- Discourse – Lots of free and paid plugins available
- Flarum – Free and paid plugins available
Let’s explore some of the best community forum software options in more detail:
phpBB is flexible free forum software that enables you to create boards where registered users can post messages. Once you have a forum set up, you can make as many internal message boards as you want.
Along with some basic functionality, phpBB enables you to use extensions to add new functions to the forum. There are hundreds of free extensions you can use to add almost any forum-related feature you might want.
Its design is responsive-ready, allowing you to provide the best experience across devices.
Moreover, phpBB includes a theme system, which you can use to change your forum’s overall look. Users also get plenty of options for customizing their profiles and posts.
Finally, phpBB is open-source and benefits from having an active community.
- Provides powerful forum software with multiple hierarchy options
- Enables users to customize their posts and profiles
- Offers access to plenty of moderation options
- Most phpBB themes look a bit outdated
Overall, phpBB is an easy recommendation if you’re looking for the most customizable forum software you can find. With extensions, you get access to all the features you might need to start an online forum.
There is some functionality that you can expect to find among all of the best forum software options. That includes the ability to set up message boards, enable user registration, and perform moderation.
MyBB shares a lot of features with phpBB. This free and open-source software offers robust plugin and theme systems, has an active community, and is easy to use.
It comes with a feature-rich control panel that lets you view and moderate various aspects of your online forum, such as statistics, posts, users, and groups.
The main difference is that MyBB doesn’t offer as many extensions.
However, it has an advantage over phpBB when it comes to customization. With a broader selection of themes, MyBB forums tend to look a lot more modern.
- Offers gamification and communication plugins for better user engagement
- Includes user-reputation systems out of the box
- It makes it easy to use calendars to schedule events
- It’s not as feature-rich as phpBB or other entries on this list
MyBB offers an excellent alternative to phpBB if you want something that looks more modern and stylish. Although phpBB offers more advanced features, MyBB is still robust enough to handle popular forums.
3. Vanilla Forums
Vanilla Forums offers both open-source and premium versions. The price of the premium version starts at $689/month and is primarily intended for enterprise-level customers.
However, Vanilla’s free version offers more than enough features to build a regular community forum.
The platform has a built-in knowledge base feature where businesses can create centralized content surrounding their products and services. This allows customers to find the resources and tools they need in an instant.
Overall, Vanilla Forums stands out from other software due to its high level of polish. The message boards you can create right out of the gate look fantastic. You also get access to theme and add-on systems.
These features include everything you need to set up a modern forum. Along with basic forum functionality, you also get access to “Best Of” sections, gamification features, and post autosaving.
- Allows you to set up stunning online forums using themes and add-ons
- Enables your users to use an advanced text editor with plenty of helpful features
- Includes the option to create private groups for your users
- Allows you to create a knowledge base system with customer service articles and community posts
- The overall collection of free add-ons and themes is not as extensive as you might expect
Even though Vanilla highlights the premium software on its homepage, its free version is one of the best forum software options you can get.
You’ve probably heard of WordPress before since it’s the most popular content management system (CMS) today. What you may not know is that this platform enables you to create almost any type of website, from starting a blog to an online store, thanks to its massive collection of plugins.
Some of your best options to set up a forum using WordPress include Asgaros Forum, wpForo Forum, and bbPress. All these plugins provide all the basic online forum features you need.
It might seem counterproductive to use a multi-purpose platform to power your online community. However, a CMS such as WordPress is one of the best choices if you want to set up a regular website and a forum side-by-side.
- Provides access to the largest collection of themes and plugins on the web
- Allows you to set up both regular websites and online discussion sites
- Provides a wide variety of forum plugins for a highly personalized experience
- WordPress is not a regular forum building software, so it requires some technical knowledge to get one up and running
If you’re a WordPress user, it makes sense to use the platform to set up your new forum. What’s more, knowing how to use WordPress can open a lot of opportunities in the future.
Joomla! is another excellent CMS that enables you to build almost any type of website you can imagine, including online forums. Just like WordPress, it features a powerful plugin and theme collection, so the platform is incredibly customizable.
The difference between WordPress and Joomla! is that the latter provides you with more control over your projects out-of-the-box. However, it’s aimed at users with more web development experience, so it’s not as hands-off as WordPress.
If you’re looking to use this robust CMS to power your forum, you’ll need to choose the right plugin to do it. Some of our top picks include Kunena, ChronoForums, and EasyDiscuss.
- Offers more control over your website out of the box, especially if paired with Joomla web hosting
- Enables you to choose from multiple plugins to set up your online forum
- Provides powerful built-in security and SEO features
- Getting started with Joomla! is a bit more complicated than using other platforms on this list
- Your choices for forum plugins are more limited compared to WordPress
In comparison, WordPress is much easier for beginners to get started with, whereas Joomla! requires a bit of web development experience to get the most out of it.
However, it’s still an excellent solution for building a feature-rich online forum.
Drupal is another popular CMS, but it sits a step above WordPress and Joomla! in terms of default features.
When it comes to functionality, Drupal is one of the most powerful CMS platforms available. However, those added features also mean there’s a steep learning curve. Trying to use Drupal without any development experience can be a bit overwhelming.
That said, the platform offers a solid collection of modules and themes to customize your experience further. However, you don’t need to use any extensions to set up a forum with Drupal – the platform includes that functionality among its core features.
Moreover, some modules enable you to extend the default options, such as Advanced Forum.
- Provides tons of customization options
- Offers built-in forum functionality, no need for additional plugins
- Provides access to modules and theme selections to improve the online forum
- It can be difficult to get started with Drupal if you don’t have prior experience in web development
Overall, Drupal is a strong choice if you’re looking for enterprise-level features and scalability.
If you’re a web developer yourself, you shouldn’t have any problem launching your first forum using this platform.
7. Simple Machines Forum
If you’re looking for a quick comparison, Simple Machines Forum is most similar to phpBB. What sets this forum building software apart is the sheer flexibility of its module and theme systems.
Simple Machines Forum uses a package manager that makes installing and updating modules a straightforward process. Plus, it offers the most extensive collection of plugins and themes you can find for open-source forum software.
What’s more, Simple Machines Forum supports paid subscriptions for your forum members, as well as all the other features you’d expect to see from any premium forum tool.
- Provides access to a broad collection of modules and themes
- It lets you switch between multiple languages with a single click
- Simplifies setting up premium subscription options for users
- Most of its themes look quite outdated
- It doesn’t offer a lot of profile customization options
In summary, this forum software is an excellent option if you want to have access to as many modules and themes as possible. These various options enable you to implement nearly any feature you want on your online forum.
However, if you want something that looks more stylish, Simple Machines Forum might not be for you.
Sometimes you don’t need to use a platform that overwhelms you with hundreds of features. FluxBB, for example, focuses on providing a performance-oriented lightweight alternative to other forum software.
That doesn’t mean that FluxBB lacks features. It offers all the essential tools you need to set up a community forum, such as message boards, along with plenty of moderation options.
There are theme and plugin systems included, although it somewhat lacks different options available for either.
Overall, FluxBB offers a fantastic experience if you want a simple and effective platform.
- Offers top-notch performance out of the box
- Includes advanced profile customization options and a user-ranking system
- Its plugin and theme options are limited
FluxBB manages to offer the essential functions you need to set up a robust forum. It’s a perfect alternative if you don’t want to deal with complicated software and you’d like to get something up and running fast.