Updated: August 30, 2023

21 Best Community Building Software for Businesses in 2023

You found our list of top community building software.

Community building software is a tool that allows companies to build an online community and foster connection and interaction among  its employees and fans. Also known as social software, collaboration software, or groupware, examples of community building software include PeerBoard, Tribe, and Honeycommb. The community building software allows an organization to centralize the administration of all vital business documents and make them readily available to all employees.

You can learn more about collaboration at work and team building tools.

This article contains:

  • community management software
  • free community platforms
  • community building apps
  • community building tools

Let’s get started!

List of community building software

Brands may interact with their consumers and build more active human networks with community management software. Below are some of the options available.

1. PeerBoard

PeerBoard is code-free, plug-and-play software that lets you create a community forum with your own branding with many features on your website. For example, PeerBoard allows you to set up a subreddit-style forum directly on your domain, saving your community the trouble of going elsewhere to interact.

While conventional forum layouts might be confusing, PeerBoard’s single news feed with categories works much like Facebook’s feed but is easier to navigate.

Using the PeerBoard forum plugin for WordPress, you can have a fully functional forum up and running in your WordPress installation in about 20 minutes. The  platform is easy to set up, but fine-tuning the many group and category options takes time. WordPress plugins make it easy to link the software to a website, and setting up your site should be a breeze. Unlike most online community platforms, PeerBoard’s starting plan is free, so there is no risk in trying it out before committing to a paid plan.

Learn more about PeerBoard.

2. Brilliant Directories

If you run a membership site or are a part of an organization, then you can save time and money by using Brilliant Directories for your online community. The platform offers a ready-to-use, all-inclusive service with quick setup time and no restriction on customer support. Features such as website creation, online payment processing, different membership tiers, overdue payments tracking, and exclusive material for premium customers are all part of the package.

Learn more about Brilliant Directories.

3. Mobilize

Non-profits, businesses, organizations, and resellers may all benefit from Mobilize, a cloud-based event and community management platform. Mobilize is an optimal choice for groups, regardless of size. Mobilize allows users to set up and control events using features like shared calendars, email invites, and local timezone support. Members may respond via email, calendar, or Mobilize to confirm attendance. You can also send regular emails and SMS messages with custom CTA buttons, embedded URLs and photos, and customized reply permissions.

Mobilize offers group discussion forums, document storage, and networking features. Users can manage privacy and member permissions. Community participation can occur through different content options like discussions, events, recommendations, and private chats.

Learn more about Mobilize.

4. Tribe

Tribe is a creator-focused platform that also works well for brand-driven communities. Tribe-run communities look and function superbly across desktop and mobile browsers. You can even turn the communities into applications. With Tribe Platform, you will have complete control over how your community looks and feels and how it connects with your business. Your site and the product itself may use widgetized versions of features like the activity feed, groups, and posts.

The design layout draws the concept of well-known social networking sites in mind, allowing you to launch your version  of Facebook, Quora, or LinkedIn. You can create GDPR-compliant communities with the help of this secure community tool. The platform offers a Social Login system that works with platforms like Facebook, Slack, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter making it easy for new members to sign up and become active in your community.

Tribe is a cloud-based community building platform built for large businesses.

Major features include:

  • full personalization
  • embeddable widgets
  • a cutting-edge design
  • a rich API
  • gamification, analytics
  • robust moderation tools
  • a newsletter system

The platform also allows integration with popular tools like Google Analytics, Slack, Shopify, Telegram, Hotjar, and MailChimp.

Users may initiate a conversation for their community on Tribe and use the platform’s other features, which enable them to ask questions, create polls, plan events, follow other users, comment on posts, and share material. Moreover, admins of online communities may make the service their own by adding a logo to the top and footer of the site.

Using Tribe’s free lifetime plan, businesses may create communities with up to 500 users and unlimited content on a subdomain of their choice. The premium plan is available for a monthly fee.

Learn more about Tribe.

5. BuddyPress

BuddyPress is a powerful WordPress plugin that lets users create a social networking platform or community directly within their WordPress website. The software offers features like user profiles, activity streams, group creation, and private messaging. With its seamless integration into WordPress, BuddyPress provides a familiar environment for website administrators and users. Site visitors can discuss, share content, and connect with others. These features make BuddyPress an excellent choice for those looking to build a community around their existing website or blog.

Learn more about BuddyPress.

6. PlushForums

PlushForums is a cloud-based forum platform with several tools meant to improve the quality of discussion and facilitate more meaningful outcomes. PlushForums is a platform where companies and individuals can have meaningful, real-time conversations differently from what social media platforms offer.

PlushForums provides a place for all members of your team to stay in the loop and contribute ideas, tactics, and information while working on a project together. The intuitive interface combines many communication tools, such as blogs and private chat, into one convenient service for the user. Interface branding is also easy with the available customization options.

Learn more about PlushForums.

7. Higher Logic

Higher Logic is a comprehensive community engagement platform designed to foster interaction, collaboration, and networking within organizations and associations. The platform offers a range of tools like discussion boards, events management, document sharing, and member directories. Higher Logic also provides analytics and engagement metrics to help organizations understand and enhance community participation. This software is particularly suited for businesses and associations looking to create a dynamic online space for their members to connect, share knowledge, and collaborate.

Learn more about Higher Logic.

8. phpBB

phpBB is a widely used open-source forum software that enables the creation of online discussion communities. The platform provides a user-friendly interface, customizable themes, and support for various extensions to enhance functionality. Ideal for those looking to establish a traditional forum format, phpBB allows users to post topics, engage in discussions, and create a sense of community around specific interests. The software’s simplicity and large user base make it a popular choice for hobbyists, enthusiasts, and website owners looking to add a discussion element to their online presence.

Learn more about phpBB.

9. Website Toolbox

Website Toolbox is a community management platform that allows organizations to set up discussion boards where consumers can ask questions, provide comments, and collaborate. In addition, users may make unique and professional forums by altering the look and feel with features like color schemes, corporate logos, and the organization of topics into subcategories.

Website Toolbox facilitates the collection of one-time and recurring membership dues, the placement of adverts, and the administration of contributions. Customers have a better overall experience with the company when members can interact with them via features like liking and disliking posts, chatting with other subscribers, and rating the overall quality of the service they get. The platform also offers automatic notifications, data import, newsletter management, @mentions, a calendar, and membership administration.

Using Website Toolbox, companies can connect their sites to various third-party apps, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Wix, and Shopify.

Learn more about Website Toolbox.

10. AnswerCart

AnswerCart is a cloud-based community and forum management system designed for small and medium-sized organizations in various sectors, including education, finance, and technology.

The platform’s most prominent features  include:

  • Forums for user-to-user communication
  • media creation and editing tools
  • one-on-one chat
  • an integrated advertising panel
  • gamification

Users may share their articles, conduct surveys, provide comments, and respond to questions on the platform’s discussion boards. In addition to text, users may also upload files, embed media, communicate privately with other members, and distribute forum material through social media.

AnswerCart also offers features such as:

  • word suppression
  • access roles
  • peer moderation,
  • flood control,
  • administrative control panel

You can also access APIs for callbacks, automated distribution, and automated responses. In addition, the platform offers integrations with third-party apps like Zendesk, Salesforce, Facebook, and Twitter. Users may contact support via phone or email.

Learn more about AnswerCart.

11. Ning

Ning has been around since October 2005 and is the most popular SaaS platform for creating social networks. The platform is complete with community management tools and social media integration for businesses and brands. In addition, with the platform’s e-commerce tools, users may monetize their online groups.

Ning makes it easy for users to create their own social networks through simple steps along with customized branding elements like a name, color scheme, profile questions, and advertisements. Ning sites are optimized for speed and come loaded with cutting-edge tools and analytics.

Learn more about Ning.

12. Vanilla Forums

If you are looking for a reliable enterprise-grade online community solution, then you can consider Vanilla Forums. Online community software like Vanilla Forums makes it simple to increase client retention, boost revenue, and enhance support for existing customers. Some of the features available include:

  • an intuitive interface
  • seamless interaction with your current tools
  • adaptability in branding
  • scalable knowledge bases
  • pre-built gamification
  • brainstorming
  • question and answer functionality

The platform’s online community and extensive self-service knowledge base are a winning mix that boosts engagement and frees up Customer Success teams’ time to focus on strategic initiatives that directly benefit the company.

Learn more about Vanilla Forums.

13. Muut

Muut is a real-time discussion platform that users can seamlessly integrate into websites to start dynamic community interactions. Unlike traditional forum software, Muut offers a more modern approach, enabling users to engage in conversations as they happen. The platform has real-time capabilities and features like embedding images and videos directly within posts. These attributes make Muut a great choice for websites and blogs aiming to provide instant and visually rich discussions. Muut is especially well-suited for websites seeking a more fluid and visually engaging community experience.

Learn more about Muut.

14. Jive

When it comes to getting work done, Jive’s interactive intranet and collaboration center offer all the required resources. Jive is a central hub for all company-related activities, including internal messaging, group work, employee portals, internal social networking, document sharing, information retrieval, and analytics. Jive works with other business systems and is accessible from any web browser or mobile intranet app. The platform allows you to unify previously siloed data and facilitate hitch-free collaboration across your programs.

Learn more about Jive.

15. Discourse

Discourse is an open-source forum and one of the free community platforms. In addition to serving as a mailing list and discussion forum, this platform allows extended chatrooms. Discourse is one of the most popular free online community platforms. The source is open, so you may change the codebase to provide the necessary functionality.

Discourse is a relatively robust system straight out of the box. You can form a community, create sub-sections and threads, and set moderators. Users may then interact with one another through posting, messaging, and content sharing. Discourse’s automated screening for spammers and trolls is a fantastic feature.

Learn more about Discourse.

16. Hivebright

Hivebrite is a community tool that allows for extensive personalization. Hivebrite is one of the majorThe platforms and is used by some of the top companies in the world. The software makes customization easy. Hivebrite is the go-to platform for launching, managing, and growing completely branded private communities that help businesses of all sizes and industries achieve their objectives. The platform is easy to use and adapt, and it has features designed to improve community participation.

Learn more about Hivebright.

17. ToucanTech

ToucanTech develops and distributes free, open-source software for use by non-profits, government, and educational institutions. The app allows institutions to handle all community engagements in one spot in one easy, elegant system. ToucanTech is a comprehensive, low-cost solution that integrates customer relationship management, email, fundraising, news, events, and mentorship into a single platform. The platform can also sync with users’ social media accounts.

Learn more about ToucanTech.

18. Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is an all-inclusive membership management system customizable to your organization’s specific requirements. The platform allows you to:

  • manage your contacts
  • process payments
  • send emails
  • make event registrations
  • build websites

Thanks to the self-service layout and intuitive interface, you can easily modify any component of your membership management system. In addition, you may contact their helpful support staff and network of experts at any point for help.

Learn more about Wild Apricot.

19. Honeycommb

Honeycommb is a platform designed to help creators and brands build their own social communities. The platform offers tools for content sharing, discussion boards, events, and member profiles. With an emphasis on customization and branding, Honeycommb helps organizations create unique community spaces that reflect their identity. The software is a suitable choice for businesses, content creators, and influencers looking to establish their own community platform. Users can engage their audience, share content, and foster meaningful connections. When searching for community building apps, be sure to check out this platform.

Learn more about Honeycommb.

20. Rungway

Rungway is an internal communication and engagement tool that promotes open and inclusive workplaces. Staff members perform optimally because they feel heard, understood, and respected. You can ensure this scenario at work by improving how managers provide advice and interact with employees. Every staff member in the company, no matter their position or location, has access to the collective wisdom of the group via a web-based or mobile app. Users can voice their opinions and get feedback in a safe and anonymous environment.

Learn more about Rungway.

21. Forumbee

Forumbee is a cloud-based community and discussion forum provider with features like knowledge bases, mobile moderation, and social sharing. You can create private communities, a feedback forum, and a Q&A section. You also have access to customization options.

With Forumbee, you may personalize your forum with your colors and logos or use one of the many pre-made themes. Members may ask and answer questions in Q&A forums, to gain and share information. With Forumbee’s knowledge library, users may quickly find answers to common questions and guides on the platform. The website allows users to form private groups on the platform, ensuring confidentiality.

To help administrators keep the community safe and orderly, Forumbee provides several moderation options for removing, banning, and managing users who violate the rules. The “activity wall” displays events from around the network in real time. Participants can post images, videos, questions, and comments and initiate discussions. Forumbee’s mobile-friendly discussion boards are compatible with all major mobile platforms.

Learn more about Forumbee.


When it comes to platforms for building and maintaining online communities, users have a lot of wonderful choices. Knowing why you are building an online community before settling on a platform is important. Community building tools allow you to create brand-specific online communities. Therefore, your clients will have a more unified digital experience. You may improve sales, save expenses, and develop ground-breaking new ideas by harnessing the power of connection on an engaging social platform.

Next, check out our list of the best community building activities for work.

FAQ: Community building software

Here are frequently asked questions about community building software.

What is community building software?

Community building software, also known as social software, collaboration software, or groupware, facilitates the development of useful online communities on a virtual collaboration platform. The platform allows its members, including employees or customers, to connect and interact. Using community software solutions, organizations can construct, release, manage, and evaluate their online communities for maximum customer value creation and satisfaction.

What are the best platforms to build community?

Some of the best platforms to create your community include PlushForums and Tribe. Many companies also find PeerBoard to be an excellent solution for their community needs.

What are some good community building tools and technology?

Some excellent community building tools and technology to consider include Forumbee, Wild Apricot, and AnswerCart. These tools offer good features that will make running your community seamless.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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