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