Community Forum Software for the Modern Web

Online forums or bulletin boards were the place where communities first gathered and thrived on the Internet. Forums pre-date blogs, social networks and smartphones.  And millions of them are still going strong. From brand communities to product support boards, forums continue to be a great way to engage and provide value for communities.

At NodeBB, our mission is to take the spirit and energy of those great online communities, and give them all the modern features and performance they’ve come to expect from the social and mobile web.

Free and Paid Options

NodeBB has been developed as open source software under a General Public License, which means the source code is free to install on any server. We also offer a commercial server license as well as competitive monthly hosting plans, which you can set up instantly on our website. Pick the option that works best for you.

Performance and Scalability

NodeBB is built using the Node.js server-side Javascript platform. Sounds like nerdy stuff, so why should you care? Because Node.js delivers unmatched performance – just ask the folks at a little company called Walmart, who ran all their 2013 Black Friday mobile traffic through Node.js systems.

Building on this high performance platform means fast and dependable performance that will support even the biggest and most active community.

Modern Design and Customization

NodeBB has been designed from the ground up to be clean and user-friendly. It’s easy to customize so you can match your brand look-and-feel.  With a wide variety of free themes and skins, a great looking forum is just a few clicks away. If you want even more customization, NodeBB gives you the flexibility to change every color, font, button, menu, and layout element in the system.  And if you need help, we can provide design services to make sure you get a forum that looks exactly the way you want.

Robust Mobile Support

Increasingly, mobile is the way people engage on the web. And frankly, most forum software either looks terrible on a phone or tablet, or else it simply doesn’t work at all. With NodeBB, we’ve taken a mobile-first approach. Using true responsive design, we’ve created forums that take full advantage of every screen size from the smallest smartphone to the biggest desktop.

And don’t forget – even if you don’t care about supporting mobile devices, Google cares.  Sites that are not mobile friendly can be significantly penalized for SEO, and that includes your forum. Coupled with easy editing of metadata, NodeBB is one way to help boost your critical search rankings.

Powerful Administration and Analytics

NodeBB’s administration system makes it easy to control all aspects of your forum. You can create an unlimited number of administrator and moderator accounts, and you can set permissions on each account according to your needs. You can also control viewing and posting permissions, and create private topic areas just for certain community members, such as your staff or board of directors.

NodeBB also provides a built-in analytics dashboard with real-time info to easily see what your community is talking about, and who is doing the talking.  Identify trending topics, active members, popular usage times, and much more.

Social Sharing and Community Engagement

While running your own forum has tremendous benefits, it certainly doesn’t change the fact that web today is dominated by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.  That’s why we’ve created one-click shortcuts for your community members to share content from your forum to their favorite social sites. And the best part: these shares link back to your forum, providing traffic and opportunities to engage new community members.

The social web has also changed the expectation of how people interact online. Your members expect to be able to post their favorite images, video clips and much more, and NodeBB makes this easy to do. You can also activate features including likes, upvotes/downvotes, badges and rewards to help increase engagement. And private chats let members quickly reach out to one another, further building their relationship through your platform.

Integrations and Extensions Provide Even More Power

NodeBB comes out of the box with many great features, but you can instantly add more with a range of free plugins and extensions. This includes support for more than 50 different languages. Integrations with popular cloud services such as Wordpress, Slack, Mailchimp, and many others are available, allowing NodeBB to work with the tools you are already using to engage your community.  And plugins with features such as question and answer functions (a la Quora), canned responses, desktop notifications and many other customizations allow you to tailor NodeBB to your needs and the needs of your community.