Software Platforms that host online communities


Article Title: “5 Software Platforms that host online communities”

With my focus being to build an online commuity of practice where all the different stakeholders will communicate and collaborate, I decided to look at the current online community platforms that are available and what features they possess.

  1. XenForo
    • secure
    • software is fast-loading allowing for an excellent user experience
    • social engagement – make users feel appreciated for their engagement – when they reach milestones, offer them trophies – integration with Facebook allows for easy registration and sharing
    • alerts – when someone quotes a users post, responds to a status update, when they receive a new trophy etc.
    • Add-ons – huge array of add-ons available or receive help to create your own add-ons
    • Recent Activity Stream – users will see the most recent happenings in the forum and members can follow each other to create more personalised news feeds
    • endless customizing options – styling etc.
    • mobile-friendly
    • SEO Built-in
  2. vBulletin
    • two options – host vBulletin yourself or use vBulletin Cloud and they’ll handle the hosting, maintenance and upgrades
    • easy to customise and easy to use
    • engaging social functionality
    • robust – moderation control, built-in SEO, strong security and support
    • quick set up with vBulletin Cloud – costs less but doesn’t offer the same customisation features as the self-hosted option
    • useful if you don’t have the technical knowledge to maintain and self-host a community
  3. bbPress
    • created by those behind WordPress
    • forum software that allows anyone running on the WordPress platform to set up a discussion forum almost immediately
    • simple installation
    • free to use
    • can be managed from the same website administrative area
    • offers 277 plugins
  4. MyBB
    • open-sourced software
    • free to use
    • access to tutorials, custom themes, plugins, modifications & software support within the community
    • easy to customise the look and feel through different themes and templates
    • several hundred plugins that allow the addition of new features and functions
    • features of MyBB include private messaging, threads, posts, polls, calendars and events, mass mail and newsletters, task scheduling system, user promotions etc.
  5. Vanilla Forums
    • cloud version or open sourced version
    • the free open-source option requires the user to host & maintain the software and fix it if any issues arise
    • the cloud version of Vanilla offers optimised hosting as well as customer support
    • customisation capability
    • powers more than 816,000 discussion forums
    • feautures include – forums, themes, Q&A, ideation (members submit and vote on ideas), Gamification & Reputation, SSO (Single sign on), easy moderation, administration, integration plugins, easy to use API, mobile friendly theme, social media integration, community specific analytics, multi-forum management, multi-language support, roles and permissions, ranks, spam prevention, advanced editor, microsoft account login,

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