The Best Forum Search Engines to Search Message Boards

Dan Price Updated 13-09-2019

Some of the best information on the web can be found hidden away deep inside forums and message boards. If you have a niche question or problem, forums might be your best chance of finding a solution.


Clearly, it’s not practical to search every forum individually; you need a dedicated forum search engine that can scan thousands of communities simultaneously.

So, if you want to know how to search forums and search message boards, keep reading. We’re going to look at the best message board search engines available today.

1. Boardreader

boardreader forum search engine

Boardreader has been around for many years and has cemented its place as one of the best forum search engines since the respective demises of the once-popular BoardTracker and Omgili.

Unfortunately, Boardreader does not provide information regarding the specific forums and message boards that are included in its results. However, after running a few unrelated searches across several topics, we can see many of the well-known big hitters are crawled.


They include Reddit, Bitcointalk, DeviantArt, Yahoo Answers, IMDb, The Student Room, The Answer Bank, Mobilism, TechNet, Tom’s Hardware, BoardGameGeek, and loads more.

There’s also a near-endless supply of niche forums across subjects such as fashion and beauty, gardening, gaming, celebrities, and movies and TV shows. And Boardreader even offers plenty of foreign language forums for those who can speak multiple dialects.

As you’d expect from a message board search engine, there are some filters to help you narrow your results. The filters include date, language, domain, and various Boolean parameters.

On the downside, Boardreader has faced criticism for its decision to sell its data to ad companies. Only you can decide whether you’re comfortable with the trade-off.


2. Google Forum Search

Discussions Button for Google Search message board search

You may remember that until a few years ago, Google used to offer a Discussions button when performing a search. It filtered your results so they only displayed hits from forums, message boards, and blog comments.

Sadly, the button went the same way as Google Plus and Google Inbox—but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use the functionality. You just need to use a third-party Chrome extension called Discussions Button for Google Search.

The extension restores the Discussions button alongside the Images, News, and Videos tabs at the top of the results page.


The extension doesn’t work in the same way as the old native feature used to. Instead, it modifies your queries and adds a bunch of filters behind the scenes. They allow the tool to as closely mimic the old functionality as possible.

Discussions Button for Google Search is only available on Chrome.

Download: Discussions Button for Google Search (Free)

3. Find a Forum

find a forum search


Of course, in addition to trying to find relevant results in forums and message boards, you might also want to find a new forum that focuses on whatever topics you’re interested in. Like the best Android forums The 5 Best Android Forums for Help and Discussion Here are the best Android forums to talk with other fans online. Get app recommendations, troubleshooting help, and much more! Read More , for example. You can then join the community and engage with other like-minded individuals.

There are lots of forum searchers out there, but we just like Find a Forum. At the time of writing, it includes more than 1,350 different forums and message boards for you to dig into.

All the forums are neatly categorized into categories.

The top 10 categories with the highest number of forums are Recreation and Hobbies (295), Games and Entertainment (141), Computers and Internet (124), Sports (114), Business and Economy (91), Health (80), Travel and Tourism (77), Family and Home (70), Music (58), and Society and Culture (47).

Find a Forum also has loads of stats about how active a forum is. For each listing, you can see the number of members, the number of topics, the number of posts, the maximum number of concurrent members online, and the last known number of concurrent members online.

You can also see what forum software the site uses, whether the forum has an RSS feed and if the website uses Google AdSense and/or sponsorship.

All these features mean that you can quickly establish whether a community is a good fit for you. You don’t need to spend hours clicking aimlessly around dead message boards.

4. Create Your Own Forum Search Engine

google boolean search engine

As you might have realized, there are very slim pickings when it comes to reliable forum search engines and message board search engines.

So, why not take matters into your own hands and make your own? Or more accurately, set up Google, Bing, or one of the other mainstream search engines to work the way you want?

Remember, all major search engines work with Boolean operators. As such, you can make them search a specific set of sites and only return results from those domains.

To do so, you need to use the following Boolean term:

[Your search queries] OR OR

Obviously, this doesn’t help if you don’t know which forums you want to search. But if you’re a member of several forums already, or if you know which forums are the most popular for your specific interests, it is an easy way to find the information you need.

To save time, perhaps you could keep a TXT file on your desktop with pre-made Boolean operators for the forums you search most frequently. You can just copy and paste them into Google as needed.

5. Search Forums Directly

native forum search engine

Lastly, keep in mind that almost all forums and message boards offer their own native search engines.

Sometimes you’ll be able to use the search tools as a guest; other times you might need to register before you can dig into the content.

Other Ways to Search the Web

We know the solutions we’ve presented aren’t ideal. Sadly, the forum search engine choices aren’t as extensive as they once were. Perhaps that’s a symptom of the way the web is developing. The availability of groups on networks like Facebook and Reddit means there’s an ever-decreasing demand for traditional forums and message boards. Don’t let that stop you setting up your own forum, though.

So, if these five approaches haven’t yielded the results you want, why not read some of our other articles about searching the web? We recommend starting with the best Google Chrome alternatives 5 Google Chrome Alternatives for a Better Browser on Desktop or Mobile Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. But it still has issues. Can these alternative browsers be a better choice? Read More and learning how to create custom searches in Google Chrome Custom Search Engines in Google Chrome: Essential Tips and Tricks You can create custom search engines to search any website from Chrome's address bar. Here's how you can make that happen. Read More .

Related topics: Online Community, Search Tricks, Web Search.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Thurman
    April 27, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Thanks for every other informative web site.
    Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal approach?
    I have a undertaking that I'm just now working on, and I've been on the look out for such info.??????">??????

  2. Jeremy
    April 21, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I'm thinking about making my own but I'm not
    sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions?


  3. Maricruz
    April 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    What's up every one, here every one is sharing such experience, thus it's pleasant to read this
    blog, and I used to pay a quick visit this webpage daily.

  4. Herbert
    January 22, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Nice style that's great!

  5. Ashiq
    December 24, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Great post, thank you. Helped me a lot.

  6. Joanna
    June 22, 2018 at 9:27 am

    iphone 7 plus case iPhone Cases jerwad49201

  7. Natasha
    October 8, 2017 at 4:08 am

    I really like the styles post248448

  8. Maurine
    July 16, 2017 at 5:29 am

    oczyszczanie w?troby

  9. Kassie
    July 9, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Mens Nike Pittsburgh Steelers Vapor Jet 2.0 Gloves.Collect 31 L.J.
    McCray Jersey online cheapest and free 25 Richard Sherman Jersey give to you, free
    shipping arrive oversea.

  10. Benito
    May 23, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    women jerseys reviews | Collect purchase us jerseys online
    cheapest and free majestic jerseys on sale give to you, free shipping arrive oversea.

  11. Gretta
    April 5, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Access Into - Fans reliable cheap jerseys from china shop,more coupons and promo code get.

    What i don't realize is in fact how you are not actually a lot
    more smartly-preferred than you might be now.
    You are very intelligent. You realize thus considerably in relation to this topic,
    made me for my part imagine it from numerous varied angles.
    Its like men and women aren't interested except it's one thing
    to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs nice.

    Always handle it up!

  12. bicinjubmam
    February 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

    {At {times|occasions|instances} {it is|it's} {just|simply} tiring {to watch|to observe|to look at} {girls|women|ladies} strut away in {those|these} painfully {beautiful|lovely|stunning} {high|excessive} heels. One {look at|take a look at|have a look at} {those|these} {fashion|style|trend|vogue} {shoes|footwear|sneakers} {is a good|is an effective|is an efficient} #file_links[d:\xrproject\27dktest\contentubb.txt,1,N] {enough|sufficient} {hint|trace} how uncomfortable {they can|they will|they'll} be. {That is why|That's the reason} the thought itself is so tiring. {If you|Should you|When you|In the event you|In case you|For those who|If you happen to} ask {a woman|a lady|a girl} why would she {prefer|choose|favor|want|desire} to {wear|put on} {high|excessive} heels {rather|quite|somewhat|slightly|fairly|relatively|moderately|reasonably} than {women|ladies|girls} fitflop {shoes|footwear|sneakers}? {Without any|With none} second {thoughts|ideas}, her {answer|reply} {would be|can be|could be}, they make her '{feel|really feel}' {sexy|attractive|horny} and confident. She would willingly {wear|put on} a pump or stilettos, {even if|even when} she her {feet|ft|toes} and legs {have to|need to|should|must} endure excruciating pain. Now that {fashion|style|trend|vogue} is {everywhere|all over the place|in all places|in every single place}, {women|ladies|girls} are accepting '{high|excessive}-{fashion|style|trend|vogue}', branded sandals in UAE as well.

  13. Sienna Pettiford
    January 15, 2017 at 1:24 am

    At this time it looks like Drupal is the best blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  14. julio bethelmi castro
    December 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Great post, thank you. You can hire an excellent service to improve your Google search engine ranking, go to

  15. Conrad Belmore
    December 6, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    At this time I am going away to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming again to read additional news.

  16. Stewards
    January 30, 2016 at 6:59 am

    While browsing if your browser get directed to or receive pop-up ads and online adverts then its a sign that your computer is get infectd with redirect virus. This infection will mess up your browser settings and slow down internet speed as well. You can't expect any relevant searhc result and also can monitor your online activities.
    Hence, you are strongly advised to remove The removal instruction guide is available on this page

  17. Aadhar Online
    January 9, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    The search data mainly returns result tailored to algorithm of the site, I suppose but it helps in certain cases not all.

  18. Jhadugar
    May 6, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Thanks but is there a way that it will be shown according to the date theyhave been made.

  19. Lee
    January 20, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    With search engine optimization a challenge for most company marketers to stay current with, how exactly are businesses supposed to confidently hire a SEO consultant? Google has an opinion on this if you haven’t noticed. Creative marketing agency D2M leverages content marketing, SEO, social media and paid advertising to meet client's business goals.

  20. onecylymn
    September 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Rather than posting here and there, I though I would list some of sites who offer jobs in trucking industry, If you have experience with good web site who offer such trucking jobs and they are not listed here, please let us know.


  21. wrewondoclawl
    August 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    hi all, i'm Boby

  22. Koen Verbrugge
    July 29, 2009 at 9:53 am

    All three of'm are integrated in [Broken Link Removed]

    If you need combined power

  23. renevranc
    July 27, 2009 at 3:25 am

    tried online tool with omgili got results for black jack
    perhaps such sites are directing us to somewhere for commercial raisons prefer a free open internet with search
    operators like with google to create our own searches
    hope google (or bing....) create more and more operators

  24. ben nguyen
    July 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Anyone know if the search results returned by using an outside engine is the same as those returned by using the forum's 'search' button?

    I know forums typically require a username and password, and have their own search engine with options like 'search in title only', or 'search in message body'.. I can't imagine Omgili/Boardreader/BoardTracker can access deep into the posts, yes?

    • Darko
      July 27, 2009 at 7:53 am

      No idea...send a message to Omgili they would answer you best.