5 Great Sites to Create Your Own Forum

Joe Keeley Updated 04-12-2019

A forum is a great way to chat with like-minded people online. These message boards have been usurped by social networks in popularity, but they still have their place.


If you want to create your own forum, we’re going to give you the best forum creator tools. These services will let you create a free forum around your favorite topic. They are all remotely hosted, which means you don’t need to maintain your own server or software.

What’s a Remotely Hosted Forum?

All the forum services listed here are remotely hosted. Unlike traditional forum software that you download and install to a website (where you pay for web hosting and a domain), remotely hosted forums are much simpler.

With these, you follow a registration process and your forum is automatically created for you. The services chosen below are free, but run adverts in order to maintain that.

There are limitations to a remotely hosted forum. The biggest issue is that your data is in the hands of someone else, so if the service shuts down then you could lose your forum without warning. You may also find them more limited in their customization abilities compared to a self-hosted forum.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for a quick and simple way to launch a forum, these are the best of the bunch.


1. ProBoards

ProBoards forum

ProBoards was established in 2000 and has gone through various iterations, which means it’s rich in features. It remains one of the best and easiest ways to create your own forum.

Unlike many other free providers, ProBoards doesn’t place any limitations on bandwidth or how many categories, members, or threads your forum can have.

Some of its features include media embedding (including uploading files directly into posts), easy design customization, and comprehensive moderation tools. If you get stuck, there’s a helpful guide and support community.


The service remains free by running unobtrusive advertising on every page. This can be disabled for a fee. Another premium feature is being able to use your own domain name—otherwise, your forum will be a subdomain of

2. Forumotion

Forumotion forum

Forumotion will have you running your own forum within minutes. It’s a great, modern choice since all the forums are optimized for mobile display and search engines.

The best feature of Forumotion is that you can switch between different platforms at any time—even when your forum is live. The platforms available are ModernBB, phpBB3, phpBB2, and Invision.


Don’t worry if you don’t know what these are. When signing up, you’ll see a preview of what your forum will look like. You can also choose from a pre-made design or customize one yourself if you have CSS knowledge.

Forumotion is entirely free, though supported by adverts which you can pay to remove. A nice bonus is that all forums are HTTPS secured, which some other providers make you pay for. There’s virtually no restriction on how large your forum can grow, either.

3. Boardhost

Boardhost forum

Boardhost is a simple, easy to use service that has been in the game for over 20 years. This makes it a reliable option to host your forum.


You can choose from an existing design theme or code your own in CSS for full customization. You can also implement additional code through HTML, which means you could expand your forum’s functionality if you have the know-how.

It has all the features that you would expect from a good forum service, like a handy administration section, user group limitations, polls, and more.

Boardhost is entirely free, though it displays adverts and Boardhost branding that can be removed for $13.99 a month. Happily, the free version puts no limitations on how many posts, categories, or sub-forums that you can have.

4. Create a Forum

Create a Forum

Create a Forum offers free message boards built on the Simple Machines Forum (SMF) platform. It usually has to be installed on your own site, so it’s great to have a service that makes them for you. SMF is a feature-rich forum platform that gives you everything you could need.

Features include a calendar that displays events and birthdays, a live chat, advanced user permissions, template system for designs, and more.

There’s no limit to the number of posts and topics that you can have. However, you will see adverts at the top and bottom of some pages, unless you choose to upgrade to one of the paid tiers.

Create a Forum also includes a portal system to let you create your own small website alongside your forum, should you desire. You can also enable an arcade system that has over 100 games.

5. CreateMyBB

CreateMyBB forum

As the name suggests, CreateMyBB allows you to create a forum using the MyBB forum software. MyBB was released in 2002 and is used to power thousands of communities.

It’s easy to see why. There’s a powerful search engine, complete user profile customization, the ability to attach files to posts, different thread viewing methods, and more.

CreateMyBB makes it quick and easy to get your own forum up and running within minutes. It runs adverts to keep the service free, but they are unobtrusive.

You can enable some preselected plugins to enhance the functionality of your forum. You can also edit your forum’s logo, images, and color scheme to your heart’s content.

Host Your Own Forum

Be sure to check out all these services to make your own forum and see which one best suits you. They each offer something different but importantly are all free. You’ll be running your own successful community in no time!

All the services recommended here are remotely hosted. If you want to host your forum on your own website, check our recommendations for the best self-hosted forums The 6 Best Free Bulletin Boards to Set Up Your Own Forum A forum or a bulletin board is a great way to create a community. Here are the best free bulletin boards you can find today. Read More .

Related topics: Online Community, Web Hosting.

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

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  1. cat1092
    February 14, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    So what about networking costs other than what's described in plan? Who's eating the costs?

    Example, I'd like to run a Tech forum on my Home network. Does the traffic go through the forum software or the owner's IP address? Most residential ISP agreements doesn't allow commercial usage, so would have to purchase such plan, which often includes network hosting (to include setup/tech assistance). Over time, if a forum of any type becomes successful, there'll be targeted Google ads (good for owner), still on which end does this bandwidth come from & for how long? Again, I don't believe the Home ISP allows for this, unless non-profit & limited usage only.

    Of course, once a forum becomes successful by hitting it's intended target, the owner should be able to attract the ad funding for near total upkeep, to include any maintenance (software or hardware issues).

    One must also have not merely a daily backup plan, rather a 24/7 plan & that'll be an upfront cost (Acronis & Macrium has choices). As well as a server or powerful computer with enough storage for the purpose. Drives doesn't have to cost a fortune, can add as needed. WD Gold HDD's are a great choice for 24/7 usage, with 2TB being near the cost of WD Black on cost, just be sure to have a case & Gold/Platinum PSU that can hold & power 8-10 drives (at some point). A dedicated Firewall appliance is a must, although can be constructed from a SFF PC with a dedicated network card (the latter found on eBay for $30 with guarantee) to redirect traffic back to the router, or better yet, away from a Home router & onto a network switch, protecting the router. Firewall software can be free or low cost, running on a Linux base. One cannot trust the NAT Firewall of a router for this purpose. If hacked, the entire network and any computers connected can become hacked & data destroyed, or worse, can become a zombie spewing Malware all over the globe. This is where the 24/7 backup plan can play a huge role.

    One place where forum owners can save are GPU's, there are lots of OEM GDDR5 models (1 or 2GB) for $35 or less on eBay. Some are powered by the motherboard only. A gaming card isn't a necessity & will be the most costly component in the computer consuming energy, if used. This is 2019 & I've purchased these in like new condition, for myself & others, often with (up to) a 3 year SquareTrade warranty. It'll be necessary to have a spare, especially if running a PC w/out onboard graphics. BTW, one can also use onboard, it's just that a low cost OEM card will make the forum look better on screen.

    Finally, what OS is going to be used for the forum? Linux is entirely free, if one already has some experience & willing to learn more, the OS can be 100% free of cost. Linux is used by many sectors where Windows (lack of) security can lead to infection & much harder to be exploited. Not impossible, it's just that Malware/Ransomware attacks successfully pulled off on a Linux system is rare. Should a security event arise, these are usually patched in 2-3 days, rather than once a month (Patch Tuesday) for Windows.

    Therefore, noting is entirely free, although we can lessen the impact by reusing any hardware already on hand, plus our known resources. Having spares of critical components such as PSU's, RAM & drives cannot be overlooked (if one has a spare PC, hang onto, may be needed). Again, anything worth having is not free of cost, beginning with the electric bill, provided everything else is always on hand.

  2. sujeet kumar
    May 25, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Wow great post

  3. Albert Cowz
    October 27, 2017 at 1:11 am

    I have a Proboards account. It's awesome! You can install plugins other people have made and edit them, and the same goes for themes. You can also email members via your forum Admin Area, plus you can do a lot more! Proboards is 5 star! My Proboards forum is Book Haven (Author's Ads). The URL is

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    June 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

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    April 22, 2017 at 5:37 am

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  6. Vinyl
    November 28, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    The British run forums are so frustrating and backwards. FreeForums, a living hell.

  7. Alex
    September 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Nice guide, with some offerings I hadn't seen before. You should also include some Twitter-style forum hosts like Muut and PlushForums. They are realtime, nice "social" style design.

  8. comshar
    April 25, 2016 at 7:30 am

    are you have try using
    i think this site help you to create mini forum with just under 10 minutes

  9. Xavier
    April 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Which are the most extendable? Which is best for commercial use?

  10. regan
    April 17, 2016 at 4:45 am

    which is the easiest to use?

    • comshar
      April 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

      you can use for easiest to use

  11. holaalo
    January 24, 2016 at 12:19 am

    thanks for the great guide

  12. jytjr
    January 2, 2016 at 3:36 am


  13. anubha
    December 17, 2015 at 10:17 am


  14. Anonymous
    October 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm


  15. chriscampbell0197
    May 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I saw this on instructables. Completely free mirror hosted with no adds. and you can host whatever you want :-)

  16. Sam
    February 27, 2015 at 10:07 am


    I created a forum on Forumotion and I find the service very good. They are 100% free and they provide new features every month. Moreover the support forum is very effective and available 24/7 :)

    I hope it helps

  17. micheal
    December 24, 2014 at 4:39 am

    I do accept as true with all the ideas you had introduced for your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for beginners. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  18. andriken
    December 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

    which has good seo above of them ' please tell me i need to know before i create it ' Thanks

  19. Anonymous
    May 5, 2010 at 4:17 am

    that's a good idea, I need to set up my linkedin account

  20. althafhameez
    April 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I don't know about you guys, but I find Zetaboards pretty easy to use and to manage forums.

  21. Jack Carlson
    April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I have used and recommended SimpleMachines forums for years on different sites. It's free, feature-rich and easy to install on your own host.

    • Jack Cola
      April 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Jack. I have used Simple Machine forums a few times before. It's quite nice. Thanks for your comment.

  22. Virtual Worlds For Kids
    April 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I think it is important to know how easily hackable phpBB is. Seriously you can set up one of these forums pretty easily but if you attract the wrong crowd, they can make your live miserable. just a friendly warning. Do some searching on this before you get started. Thanks.

    • Jack Cola
      April 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Yes, that is a very good point to look out for. I have had a couple of phpBB forums and I was getting a lot of spam. Once I updated it to the latest version, it stopped. The good thing about these services is that you don't have to update it every time a new version is released, which is a bonus compared to hosting it yourself.