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What's an inexpensive but safe option for Forum Software to create a Customer Community [free vs paid]?

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Hello,

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with the large number of forum software platforms in existence and which one to choose.

Is there a similar alternative to Invision but not as expensive?
I'm hoping that someone can please help me make an informed decision based on my requirements below. 

OBJECTIVE:
I want a forum where my customers are able to register an account which enables them access to a secured forum; where I can post topics/documents/, they can ask questions, and connect with other customers on similar product and application related topics.

MINIMUM REQUIRED FEATURES

  • Customers to Register an account themselves - customers to sign up their own unique login/account, which I can approve or deny
  • New Member Approval / Deny - I need to be able to have full control over ppl joining up, with a one-click approval system, and be able to deny non customers from accessing the forum.
  • Moderator - I need to be able to moderate comments, and get email alerts for  new comments posted
  • Customers to interact - have a question and answer forum format, be able to Share/upload files (documents, photos, videos and files)
  • Notifications - Users to be able to opt in to email notifications, should they want to receive them
  • Customise Forum Look - Change colours, upload logos etc
  • Security - ideally I don't want to have to download any forum software to my PC. Also the free software seems too good to be true
  • Cost a lot of the platforms have very expensive monthly plans, which I cant justify for my small community of customers

CONCERNS

  • Security - The free forums seem too good to be true, I dont want to download software to my PC.
  • Cost - Ideally, I would like to use invisioncommunity.com as the functionality is perfect (obviously this Squarespace forum is using Invision), so far a great experience However it is a little costly for my small community of customers (approx. 20). I also saw on another thread in the Squarespace forum that someone was receiving a lot of SPAM? 


These are the platforms I have seen consistently recommended in blog posts (I'm sure there are many more):

 

  • Codoforum
  • Discourse
  • Drupal
  • Flarum
  • FluxBB
  • HubSpot
  • inSided
  • Invision Community
  • MyBB
  • Muut
  • phpBB
  • Simple Machines Forum
  • Tal.ki
  • Website Toolbox
  • Vanilla Forums
  • VBulletin

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-forum-software
https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/best-forum-software

Edited by LM_Squarespace
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What is your budget?

You can try Xenforo. Many forums now use it. In my country, 90% of forums use Xenforo ($160/year)

It has all

  • Customers to Register an account themselves - customers to sign up their own unique login/account, which I can approve or deny
  • New Member Approval / Deny - I need to be able to have full control over ppl joining up, with a one-click approval system, and be able to deny non customers from accessing the forum.
  • Moderator - I need to be able to moderate comments, and get email alerts for  new comments posted
  • Customers to interact - have a question and answer forum format, be able to Share/upload files (documents, photos, videos and files)
  • Notifications - Users to be able to opt in to email notifications, should they want to receive them
  • Customise Forum Look - Change colours, upload logos etc
  • Security - ideally I don't want to have to download any forum software to my PC. Also the free software seems too good to be true

--

If you use Xenforo, you need a hosting/server (min: $5/month) to install xenforo.

 

Email me if you have need any help (free, of course.). Answer within 24 hours. 
Or send to forum message

Contact Customer Care - Learn CSS - Buy me a coffee (thank you!)

Link to comment
  • 1 year later...
On 5/29/2021 at 11:24 PM, RRLeagues said:

Hi @tuanphan

 

We have a XenForo forum that we're trying to transition into our new SquareSpace site but we just keep getting an error when we try to embed it.

Don't suppose you have any ideas do you?

TIA

https://rrleagues.com
htpps://rrleagues.squarespace.com

How did you embed?

Email me if you have need any help (free, of course.). Answer within 24 hours. 
Or send to forum message

Contact Customer Care - Learn CSS - Buy me a coffee (thank you!)

Link to comment
  • 8 months later...

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