Best free or low cost forum software?


The Geek Redneck
May 27, 2002
Hello folks!

I run a VERY small forum with an absolutely ancient version of vBulletin (on a legitimate owned license). I lloathe what Internet Brands has done with Jelsoft / vBulletin and refuse to put money into updating my vBulletin license. If I was going to put cash into something it would be Xenforo.

However I'm wondering if there aren't any free solutions that would meet my needs without having to spend the $140 for Xenforo.

I'm pretty flexible and really I just want the following:

1. A forum frontend that either looks and works like vBulletin 3.x categories and subforums structure or one that can be made to look like that through themes and skins. I'm no stranger to working on my own skins and can usually get what I want done with HTML and CSS when working with vBulletin. Ideally I'd like a software package that will continue to give me that flexibility.

2. I really really want something with a better post editor. I uber love the 'dropzone' type editor in Xenforo where you can just paste an image from the clipboard or drag and drop and have it automatically be uploaded and inserted into the post. In fact that sort of capability is the number one reason I'm so close to spending the $140 on Xenforo - even if it is just a small forum with a few dedicated friends using it.

3. A thriving community of third party mods and addons would be a nice bonus...

I've looked briefly at Vanilla forums and am thinking about doing a demo install to see if it meets any of the above.

I know this post is sort of vague, but asny opinions would be greatly appreciated... :)
Nothing? No one?

Shit. I'm gonna have to pony up the $$$ for XenForo lol...
Nothing? No one?

Shit. I'm gonna have to pony up the $$$ for XenForo lol...
Ive used vbulletin, Mybb, SMF, and a few others. Then I bought Xenforo. And I thought... I won't like it enough to pony up the cash for my other forums.

Until I started using XF. It was worth every penny in my opinion. But for a small forum, I'd stick to mybb, but that is just my preference when it comes to free software.