Jforum vs. TinyBB: What’s the Difference?

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Jforum and TinyBB are both forum applications that use PHP as their programming language. Both programs provide the tools you need to create forums on your website, but they have many different features as well.

Deciding which program to use can be difficult because the two programs are quite similar and choosing one over the other comes down to personal preference. Let’s take a look at how the two programs compare and how they may suit your needs better than the other.

What is Jforum?

The biggest benefit to using JForum is that it is simple and easy to understand. With JForum, you don’t need a degree in computer science to figure out how things work and it’s incredibly user-friendly. You don’t have to download any complicated software or try to figure out how all of its features work.

What is TinyBB?

It is a PHP bulletin board software, which follows a clean and simple design concept. With its small size, it’s easy to install, even for non-technical users. Its powerful admin control panel makes it easy to manage your forum.

And with its open-source license, you can freely modify or extend it as you like. The latest version of TinyBB has been completely re-written from scratch using object-oriented PHP5 techniques. This means that all old bugs have been fixed and that TinyBB now has many new features!

Difference Between Jforum and TinyBB

The Platform: Jforum vs. TinyBB

Both JForum and TinyBB support a wide range of languages, PHP and Java primarily. In addition to being free and open-source, these platforms allow you to install extensions (or modules) and add-ons to your forum which extend its functionality. If you’re looking for an extensible, customizable forum that is sure to remain relevant for years to come, these may be good options for you.

The Community: Jforum vs. TinyBB

One of JForum’s major selling points is its vibrant community. JForum has been around for a long time (since 2002, to be exact) and most of its developers have done amazing work in fostering relationships with other developers who can help you implement new features into your forum quickly and easily.

This means that if you’re looking for new functionality—say, integration with Facebook or Twitter—you don’t need to wait on an official release from JForum; there will probably already be a developer out there who has created what you need. This is especially helpful if you run into issues or bugs while using JForum. You can usually find someone on IRC willing to lend a hand or point you in the right direction.

The Tools: Jforum vs. TinyBB

Both JForum and TinyBB are free, open-source forum applications that run on Joomla or WordPress. They each offer support for multiple languages and have similar feature sets. But there’s a difference between them that you should consider if you’re planning to use either software—and it all comes down to site structure. As you research forum platforms, keep an eye out for these subtle (but significant) distinctions.

The two platforms differ in their implementations of how forums work within your website’s framework. The first major distinction is how they affect your website design; they do so by utilizing templates and widgets differently. If you use JForum, you must add forum topics to template pages via special tags, which will insert your chosen topics into a list with no visible formatting effects.

Pros and Cons: Jforum vs. TinyBB

Having been active in both communities for years, I’ve noticed there are three things that JForum seems to be significantly better at. The first is documentation, as they have a comprehensive JForum-centric Wiki which links out to all relevant external information.

This gives people less of a reason to go off and look for answers on StackOverflow. The second is user experience; while it has improved greatly over time, TinyBB still feels like it hasn’t quite reached its full potential.

And finally, JForum has much more users than TinyBB does; although most of them are non-active (as seen by their stats page), it still makes me feel like I can reach more people with my questions and knowledge if I post in a forum rather than an IRC channel or Slack group.


You’ve already heard us talking about how JForum is going to be closing, so let’s sum up what you can do. Right now, use whichever forum software you want—they’re both free. The difference between them is fairly small, and right now it doesn’t matter which one you choose, because they’re both usable. But before long your options will dwindle down to only one – JForum will no longer be available.