Node.js based Forum: NodeBB


NodeBB is a Node.js based forum software that has gained a lot of traction in the first year of its existance. It’s making use of to communicate between client and server in real time. This means that the whole experience of using a forum gravitates towards the feeling of a chat, with the benefits of only tuning in on topics that interest you.


NodeBB is open source and can be downloaded through the github page of the project and maintaining company Design Create Play. Currently the forum provides basic functionality and can be extended through numerous plugins that can be found on npm: nodebb-plugin or through an in-app installer.

Installing NodeBB

You can easily install NodeBB on most Linux servers that support node.js, mongodb or redis and nginx 1.4 and above. The full requirements are available in the documentation.

You can get it up and running by running very few commands and only editing one config file. The dependencies are managed by npm.

In lines of code:

sudo apt-get install mongodb node
git clone
cd NodeBB
npm install
./nodebb setup

Extending / Translating NodeBB

There is a functional plugin and theming API, that currently is well populated on the plugin side at least. The themes / templates are compiled by a custom templating engine called template.js, which is being developed by one of the NodeBB core contributers.

The translations are managed with an online service, called transifex that does not require any programming experience, which I of course learned after sending a good old pull request after fixing up some of the German translation.


NodeBB is a great piece of forum software. If you need a forum, you should check it out! More info is available in the forum on NodeBB or the development blog.

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