It’s one of those ever present questions from people who are looking to start their own forum: what is the best software? I’ve been asked it or seen it asked countless times.

In some way, it’s a frustrating question because it brings out the people who treat software as if it is some sort of religion and act like some sort of extreme fanatic, as if the world somehow darkens when someone chooses Invision Power Board over phpBB or vice versa.

And sometimes you have developers, some of which are just as bad. Our solution is the best! We’re not bloated like the others! We’re the next evolution of forums! We’re here to save you! Gracious. No.

Here’s the deal: the forum software space has several great options. Mature options with good communities. Yes, several. We don’t have one, we have several. This is a good thing.

As much as anyone might want to tell you, or try to tell you, that there is one option that is simply the best, there is not. What people can tell you, however, is what their favorite option is. Maybe that’s the way the question should be worded. Personal recommendations from people you trust can be helpful.

Most, if not all, options will provide you with the ability to demo the software. Do that. Test it out, consider what features you need and how the various choices compare. Pick the one that you feel best fits your needs.

That is the definitive answer. Do some research, select one, go for it and recognize that, as long as you choose a reasonably competent option, it is your work and efforts that will have the greatest impact on the overall success of your community.