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Which systems are considered to be the market leaders in user numbers, reputation and features in the forum software (as opposed to hosted service) field?

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I realise this is slightly subjective, but I am looking for a rough top 3 or 4 - rather than an absolute winner. I'm interested in going with the best regarded offering. – Jon Hadley Aug 17 '10 at 14:40
Guess that makes this community wiki. Don't you think? – thunderror Aug 17 '10 at 17:04
up vote 5 down vote accepted

phpBB and vBulletin dominate the market.

phpBB is free and open source where as vBulletin costs a couple hundred bucks and is closed source. (but sometimes has a few more features)

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If you want to compare site traffic: siteanalytics.compete.com/phpbb.com+vbulletin.com – Ami Aug 17 '10 at 15:49

3 market leaders in forum software, scale, big clients, in no particular order:

  1. Jive
  2. Lithium
  3. LiveWorld
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I agree. They, like you said, target companies and enterprises. – its_me Jan 7 '13 at 13:11

BigBoards lists what the most popular forums use.

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