In today's world, there are over thousands of different scripts to choose from in order to build a community. When you are starting out, this is one of the biggest choices you have to make. Here's some help when deciding as to which platform to mold your creation onto.

First things first, you must decide whether you want to use free software or paid software. Open source is great for those who don't have a whole lot of money, or who just paid all that money on a nice hosting plan. Currently, these are the top picks when it comes to free forum software:

* phpBB
* SMF (Simple Machines Forum)
* MyBB

Paid software is great for those who want to really blast their community off and are serious about security and want to modify their forums with a bunch of things. If you are looking at paying for forum software, the following are the top picks in paid forum software:

* vBulletin
* Invision Power Board
* WowBB

Once you decide on the pricetag, the next thing to do is take a look at the main features each forum script provides. You can actually compare tons of them side by side and narrow down your choices drastically. Go to ForumMatrix - Compare Them All and select any of the ones on the side. Then go to the top of the left column and hit the orange button that says Compare.

After comparing the main features of the forum scripts, let's take a deeper look...

Open the link to each of the forum scripts you are choosing and take a look at any forums they have or if they offer a demo, go ahead and try it out! The biggest thing people make a mistake on is the admin control panel. If you are one of those people who want to get things done in a hurry (like me) then you'll want to highly consider what the admin control panel looks like and how it may impact you down the road.

Some other things you might want to consider are how the forums main index looks, how the forums post, how the user profiles work, how customizable it is, and whether it uses templates or old fashioned HTML and PHP pages.

Happy Hunting!