Seeking forum software with private subforums

I manage a small role-playing community, and it has been using phpBB for the longest time, but I’d like to move us into something new, and simpler. phpBB is too bloated and a pain in the rear to keep updated and spam-free.

The most important thing we need is easy to set up membership levels and private subforums for each group. I find there are too many steps involved in doing this on phpBB.

We would also really like to have private messaging between individuals.

Apart from that, I don’t think we need file uploads, polls, or any of the other bells and whistles contained within phpBB.

Our community is very small and is not in it for profits. We defiantly can’t afford one of the pay by the month services, but a one-off purchase for software might be doable.

Edit to add: I’m quite adept with WordPress - but I think I’d rather use a good membership-area plugin, rather than bbPress (which I don’t think has private forums for individual groups anyway). The less software/plugins/features I have to manage, the better.

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Discourse have a $99 installation fee and then $10/month for a DigitalOcean Cloud Server.

It may be worth transferring everything to DigitalOcean and dropping your current webhost.

A trial is available:

I don’t have any problems with our web host, and I’m already paying less than $10/month.

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I don’t have any problems with our web host, and I’m already paying less than $10/month.

DigitalOcean has a $5/month option and if your customer database is small then maybe request Jeff Attwood to install on the less expensive server option,

I’ve an idea that b2evolution could do what you’re looking for. I’ve posted a question across there, but due to the way they moderate their forum (which is running b2evo), it’s not publically visible yet. Feel free to go take a look at their online demo though.

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Huh? I had no idea b2 was still operating. I thought disappeared into the mists when WP became the most popular self-hosted blogging tool. :slight_smile: But I may have to give this platform a test drive.

Thank you!

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I’ve been running mine just for blogging for over 10 years now. I’ve yet to come up with a reason to change. I had an article published here last year which might be of interest to you -

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I like that it’s built with Bootstrap, but it’s missing a vital feature on my list of requirements: Private sub forums for groups of people.

I’ve seen one comment on the thread (also not public) I started saying they thought it wouldn’t be easy. Francois posts regularly though - I’ll be curious to see what he says.

I have just installed b2evolution and finding my way around. Thanks @chrisofarabia

I think you may be able to only allow non-registered users to see a limited amount of posts and forums.

Registration is essential to gain access to the complete forum.

Yeah, the sub forums for user groups are essential.

You see, this is part of a game, where members of certain clans/houses need to discuss things privately from other members. But we only use it at certain times of the year, that’s why I want to avoid spending money on the CMS, or upgrading our web hosting.

I would also like to know if Vanilla Forums could facilitate such a thing.

Just wanted to clear this point up, that the Discourse team will not install Discourse on the $5/mo DigitalOcean setup because it doesn’t meet the memory requirements.

Also, you may want to look at Flarum. It is built on PHP (which seems to be what you are favoring), and has a lot of the design asthetics that Discourse has (if you are looking for something that doesn’t look like a traditional forum)


Looks like they’re treating it as a feature request

@kpixel Francois Planque has made a suggestion as to how what you’re after could be achieved. Which ever direction you’re now going in, I’d be interested to hear whether you think that would get you (and others) close to what you’re looking to achieve.

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