The history of flarum is that of failure but massive success, flarum started out as an entirely new project from one of the creators of esoTalk, originally the goal was to raise funds on Kickstarter however that didn't work out but enough interest was shown in the project to get things going and things got going!
Flarum is perhaps a little too modern for itself in the fact that the installer does require the user to make use of composer, composer is a package manager for PHP - it does sound more daunting than just uploading a package.
It's not shockingly hard to get running but because it's the only one that requires composer to get the package on your hosting before you can run the installer if I had a scoring system it would come under slightly harder than normal...
Once you run composer and that has done its business, you can then visit the domain and run the installer which is very much like every other system with database and admin user setup, but it is clean and very straightforward.
Flarum is as its core a forum first but only installs the very basic packages out of the box, but the configuration itself is perhaps the most simple I have ever done, you can be up and running very quickly.
Permissions can be a little tricky as they are far more simple than most forums with the default user groups consisting of public, members, mods, admins - you can create new groups and you can restrict permissions at the tag level also... it's very simple but it works quite well.
Flkarum is built to be simple, good looking and efficient at what it does and succeeds at this.
Mods / Plugins / Styles
Themes do exist, but they are not huge in quanity or massive changes from what Flarum ships with - although I did once see a hack where somebody turned tags into channels and the theme was like some weird form of Discord.. it was impressive.
Plugins are a little bit of a different story with a large quantity of plugins that have been put together and several development groups constantly working on adding to and improving Flarum via plugins.
The biggest issue, again compared to the others at present is the fact you need composer to install themes, plugins and update them.
We use Flarum here and with all the plugins we have installed the most comparable system would be Vanilla Forums which does ship with more but is a little more limited in terms of third party development. If you can get past what seems like a difficult task like using composer then you will be set up with an efficient well maintained and very active forum platform, that's still very young but progressing at a nice safe pace.
- Composer may put some people off but it makes life so much easier, more so with updates.
- Out of the box it's very light
- Under very active development with a very transparent development team
- great third party dev community
- Composer could be daunting for some
- If you want a traditional category system you'll need to go the third party route
- Could do with a few more features in some core plugins like Suspend, Subscription and Lock
- This forum is powered by Flarum but I'm not working on or affiliated with the project
- unlike other forums I did not do a clean install of Flarum, it was only two weeks ago I installed this forum so i was very much aware of what was done.
This post is part of our "best forums 2022" series, you can see the hub post here and you can also use that post for suggestions on other forums we should look into.
Otherwise, let us know what you think of our review of this forum in a response below, did we make a mistake? has it evolved in some massive way so needs a re-review?