When comparing Discourse vs NodeBB, the Slant community recommends Discourse for most people. In the question“What are the best web forum software packages?” Discourse is ranked 1st while NodeBB is ranked 3rd. The most important reason people chose Discourse is:
Discourse is powered by Ruby on Rails, Ember.js, PostgreSQL and Redis. The code is licensed under GPL and available on [GitHub](https://github.com/discourse/discourse/).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro 100% free and fully open source
Discourse is powered by Ruby on Rails, Ember.js, PostgreSQL and Redis. The code is licensed under GPL and available on GitHub.
Pro Modern & polished UI/UX with lots of great smaller features
The best feature is its design: discourse is designed to aid in the creation of high quality online conversations. Flat discussions with well implemented quoting systems, expandable/collapsible replies, infinite scroll, clean UI and many more features come together to form a highly polished forum experience that makes legacy forums show their age.
Pro Effective search
Pro Has a built-in immune system from trolls, spammers and bad actors
Discourse has a simple user trust system that makes moderating the forum a lot easier. Users gain more permissions as they gain more trust, which limits the amount of damage spammers and trolls can do. Discourse co-founder Jeff Atwood also founded StackExchange, which is the gold standard for gamification/moderation systems so you can also expect Discourse to get better and better at moderation.
Pro Helpful community
Discourse has a comprehensive forum culture support hub at meta.discourse.org.
Pro Good to go out of the box yet infinitely tweakable
Discourse has sane, safe out of the box defaults, but a million dials and knobs to tweak.
Pro Hosted and self-hosted solutions
You can host it yourself in a $5 cloud server or on any Linux server you already have. And if you don't want to deal with this, you can use the hosting platform from the development team.
Pro Live preview while editing the post
The post editor has a synchronized side-by-side preview of the Markdown rendering of the post.
Runs in modern browsers and works identically on desktop and tablet and smartphone without the need for a native app.
Pro Easy one-click upgrade
Discourse can upgrade itself with one click in the admin panel. Not the same can be said about MyBB, or most other forums.
Pro Discussions can be organized in categories and tagged
Discussions can be tagged with an arbitrary number of tags, separately from categories. Categories are hierarchical and don't scale; tags do.
Pro Official Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin
Official Akismet plugin vets posts by new users to make sure they don’t look spammy before they hit your site. Akismet key purchase required.
Pro Export your posts
Pro Extensible via plugins
Pro User selectable themes
Users can choose between the themes made avaliable on their instances, and even use different themes on different devices (mobile vs desktop, for example).
Pro Good on-boarding experience for new users
New users are greeted withe the disco bot which has an interactive experience to teach the basics of using Discourse.
Pro Free and open source
NodeBB is free for all use cases, although the code is licensed under GPLv3, so the source code must be provided if you are re-distributing (and/or reselling) NodeBB.
Pro Has live chat
Private Messages (PMs) are live chats, just like messaging apps, allowing real-time conversations with one or a selection of users.
Pro Social integration through plugins
NodeBBs plugins are built to support features like: Rich media embedding (Youtube/Vimeo), advertising integration (Google AdSense, DoubleClick, etc), third-party single-sign-on, emoji, mobile phone notifications, sound packs, CDN support, rich-text formatting/colours, static pages, galleries, and much much more.
Pro Plugin support
A selection of plugins for NodeBB are available.
Pro Highly customizable themes
NodeBB's themes are more customizable and dispensable; use custom CSS and HTML code, integrate WordPress Themes or use one of NodeBB's themes with easy stylist functions to change colour schemes and category layout.
Pro Includes all commonly expected modern forum features
NodeBB bundles real-time updates (new posts/topics, chat messages), the ability to see "who's browsing this topic", recent/popular/unread topics, tags, post sorting, social sharing, notification system, inbound email support/reply-by-email, mobile responsiveness, favourites, bookmarks, spam control, and reputation/karma.
Pro NoScript support
NodeBB is one of the few modern forum software that has good NoScript support. The forum layout is the same and users can register, login, logout and post without scripts.
Built in local support with over 50 translated languages.
Pro Provides hosting solutions with multiple server locations
In addition to the hosting, NodeBB also provides support ticket access, and automatic deployment of security updates when necessary.
NodeBB's servers are located in New York, although instances can be manually provisioned in all of the other regions our hosting provider supports:
- San Francisco (west coast customers)
- London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt (European customers)
- Singapore (China, south Asia, etc)
Pro 24/7 technical support
Pro Active and engaging support community
Vibrant community is available to help guide you with installations, advise against common pitfalls, and answer any questions.
Pro Has a variety of gamification plugins
NodeBB’s gamification plugins extend user engagement by motivating users to participate and complete tasks by giving them incentives like achievements, badges, points and virtual currency. NodeBB's gamification and reputation system is more than just badges, the reputation engine is used to promote good content, grant member abilities and achieve rank among leaderboards. NodeBB has several gamifications plugins that gives forum users an RPG like experience: Advanced Dungeon and Rabbits, Minecraft, PVP RPG (Battle, attack & steal points from other users).
Pro Real-time post streaming
Posts are streamed in real time, if a new post is created it appears without having to refresh.
Pro Installation & maintenance easy
Documentation is complete and detail, otherwise community always find a solution
Con Complicated setup
Compared to standard PHP+MySQL apps, Discourse is more complicated - the app lives in a Docker container. However, a Docker image is available, which reduces the setup time to about 30 minutes.
Con Bad noscript support
When using a Discourse forum without scripts the experience is greatly reduced. It's really hard to use and is read-only, meaning that one can't comment or create threads without scripts.
Con Extremely expensive hosting
Discourse hosting is very expensive. Almost nobody would pay for it.
Con Leaves out users with shared hosting
Discourse requires sudo, which is only available on a VPS.
Con It is more "Free to Try" than really free
Con Very complicated installation process on shared hosts
If you do not have root ssh access or node js installed, it is impossible or very hard to install on shared hosts.