Best forum software for new business related forum/network

I’m thinking of setting up a business related forum/SN and was wondering if anyone has any advice on which forum software to use?

My plan was to go with WP+BuddyPress, and just use the group forums options, but after looking into it it seems that a more dedicated forum software package might be a better choice.

I’ve used phpBB3 in the past and each time have had the forum completely hacked with spam to the point where I just gave up on it (even with various security measures) so I’m very reluctant to use phpBB.

I’m a big fan of WP, so bbPress looks good but I’m thinking maybe a more pro forum package such as IPB might be a good way to go? I like the look of IPB but it’s $175, and not obviously based on WP.

As for my actual site, I like the idea of a private members only section, and perhaps even allow for some kind of paid member ship, which I’m not sure the free forum options offer. I want to be able to customise the look somewhat and not have it look like all the other 1000s of forums out there (or is that not that important?). It has to be responsive to look good on mobile. Also obviously anti-spam measures are very important.

I keep reading good things about XenForo as well.

Thanks for any advice.

Almost all the forums I visit use vBulletin, including these ones (Sitepoint), so I think vBulletin would be the way to go.

In addition to being well-developed, feature-rich, and having several measures to combat spam, the fact that vBulletin forums are so ubiquitous means most people are familiar with them. Whenever I come to a vBulletin forum, I know how to use the Advanced Search function, how to create a Member Profile, how to spell-check, etc. The learning curve is almost nil.

However, if I come to a forum powered by a different forum software, it takes a while to get used to it, and some features I’d like aren’t even there.

My vote: go with vBulletin. It will be the most convenient for your users. And if you need help, it has a huge support base.

Keep in mind with vBulletin it was bought out by Internet Brands and it is not the same developers anymore. Many of the people that used to be fans of vBulletin have switched to Xenforo. And a couple of the developers of Xenforo used to develop vBulletin but left after the buyout by Internet Brands. I personally did not have a good experience with vBulletin since they were bought out, but had a great experience transitioning 2 forums to Xenforo. I am not the only one and there have been some big forums make the same switch that I did.

Yeah I read lots of good things about XenForo, the thing is monetization is an important aspect of the forum I want to create, paid member areas, all that kind of thing, and IPB seems to have that out of the box, whereas XenForo seems to be behind in that regards.

I think if you can afford then vBulletin is best otherwise Mybb is well

Yes, I think IPB is a good choice too. I think Xenforo is going places still, but IPB may already be there.

I would suggest MyBB as i have 3 forums based on it.
Integration into WP is a bit difficult , but it is easy to use forum software with loads of plugins and themes.
MyBB v2 will have an API so you can integrate into any software.

Don’t forget to check out Their hosted solution was a pleasant surprise for a recent project. They also took care of the migration for me :slight_smile:

I would NOT suggest vBulletin, not at all these days. It’s gone downhill the last few years and is crumbleing fast. This site is using the 4.x version, if you have any part of your body interested in vBulletin then check out It’s running the “flagship vb5 product” it’s very slow and very incomplete.
Anyways… I could suggest xenforo, there are a few nice wordpress integration plugins. I also remember IPB haven’t wordpress mods for it, worth looking into as well.

I repeat… stay away from vBulletin

And I have to say that Brandon Sheley is someone who knows!

Thanks for the tip on the WP Bridge. I just installed a new Xenforo for a customer today, and this will be perfect for that project.

vBulletin is the most popular :slight_smile:

I had a big problem with spam in my phpBB until I changed the spam image to a math question. Apparently the stock spam images they use have been harvested by the spam bots. They say that with some digging. I don’t know if you can easily edit the core system of vBulletin to suit your needs but you can in phpBB. I have made at least 20 custom edits to the core software. Not too hard once you find the correct thread to follow.

I found it best to integrate a forum into my blog on wordpress with WPBB.