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I need to run a simple forum. I have limited control of the box, so I need something with the same runtime requirements as phpBB.

However, we are talking about a local forum here for maybe 300 or so users max and phpBB is just overkill in terms of functionality and presentation.

Is there something else I could use that would be a bit more suitable for something this low traffic.

I think that phpBB would just look very sparse and it's also kind of intimidating for the non-technical audience I have in mind.


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This actually may get some more answers at StackOverflow than here, but I don't know. – Joshua Nurczyk Jun 30 '09 at 21:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm kinda partial to Vanilla. It works somewhat differently than phpBB, but is really nice to use. Here's a demo forum (actually their community forums).

Thank you. This is what I'm looking for. All the other's look nice but have basically the same UI as phpBB. This one simplifies it all down by removing the categories. – Gareth Simpson Jun 30 '09 at 21:56
The categories are still there, but the default view is a list of recent posts in all categories. I much prefer this view when trying to keep up with everything going on in a small forum. – Mark Jul 1 '09 at 0:31

SimpleMachines Forum (SMF) seems pretty good.


FUDforum may also work well. Check it out at


I've only kicked the tires on FluxBB, but I'm impressed. Check out their forums for look & feel.


I liked PunBB when I worked with it. It's missing some features, but nothing I missed. I also used Phorum a few years ago, but I don't know anything about its more recent releases.


phpBB may be overkill for you but so what? It's only a bunch of scripts and won't load you machine or network any more than a "lightweight" system. Does it really matter that it has features you may not use? There's a lot to be said for it being so well tested and equally well supported.

It's the phpBB UI I object to, not the system resources. So yes the unused features do matter because they will be a turn off to my target audience. – Gareth Simpson Jul 1 '09 at 18:48
Plus the damn spam - no matter what techniques you use to lock down PHPBB from spam you just can't end it! – Sohnee Feb 23 '11 at 19:11

Another one to take a look at is bbPress from the makers of WordPress.


I just run a VM with phpBB installed using Turnkey Linux. Everything works perfectly out of the box and I just install from the .iso I downloaded. This way I'm still familiar with the forum, it doesn't require much for resources, and it has the great phpBB support base.


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