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20 Best Online Community Platforms of 2024 (Ranked)

The right community platform can help your brand or business take off. We’ll introduce and rank 20 of the best.

By Mighty Team

June 28, 2024

29 min read



    We're looking for community. And brands and creators are building some AMAZING community spaces, whether free or monetized.

    But to create a community, you need an online community platform to bring people together.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - 2024 - Livestreaming GIF

    And with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose.

    Ahead, we’ll talk about what makes a community platform, help you know what to look for, and show you the best online community platforms on the market.

    We’ll help you find the right online community platform for your needs.

    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!

    Start Your Free Trial


    What is a community platform?

    A community platform is a dedicated virtual space where people who share the same goals, interests, or motivations can connect and build relationships.

    The best modern community platforms bring together content, community, courses, and commerce in one place – without mixing and matching software. And if you’re running a paid community, the platform needs membership business tools.

    But there’s a bigger answer.

    What is a community platform?

    In the brave new world we live in, with new AI tools and software every month, definitions get fuzzy.

    But really, online community software is about people. Connecting us. Helping us make friends. Walking through a journey together. Learning. Growing. Evolving.

    Once we sat around campfires telling stories. And the heart of an online community isn’t that different.

    A great community platform gives us a place to belong.

    Start Your Free Trial

    The 5 best community platforms

    1. Mighty Networks: G2s top-ranked community platform with powerhouse community features, AI engagement built in, and options to sell memberships, courses, events, or bundles. (Try it free)

    2. Mighty Pro: Best for brands and businesses looking for community on your own branded apps. (Find out more here).

    3. Discord: Best free community platform for Hosts who never plan to charge.

    4. Geneva: Best free video chat platform for friends who know each other already.

    5. Hivebrite: Best for alumni networks and corporate forums.

    Benefits of community platforms

    Creating space to belong & transform

    When you stop chasing customers, followers, subscribers, or whatever, and shift to the mindset of looking for members, it transforms what you're building.

    People are looking for places where they can feel like they belong. That’s what an online community does at its best.

    And at a time when 1 in 4 people say they are "very lonely," community is a human necessity.

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Livewell-Feed-DarkMode

    But there's more.

    The best communities often go through a transformation together.

    Whether it’s the…

    • Marketing managers who want to move up to VP

    • Wanna-be scrapbookers learning to freeze memories in time

    • First-time dads learning how to dad

    • Rookie yogis learning the practice

    The transformation journey is what makes communities work.

    That’s why we use something called a Big Purpose as a mission statement for community. It’s a rock-solid plan for the people you bring together and the transformation they achieve.

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - your-big-purpose

    The ultimate business model

    We’ve watched thousands of communities grow and thrive. And we’ve learned something about what it takes to turn a community into a 6-, 7- and even 8-figure digital business.

    In fact, the greatest opportunity in the world is staring brands in the face. Your competitors probably aren’t doing it.

    Brands that give people a place to belong have the ultimate competitive edge.

    And that’s why online communities are so powerful. McKinsey even identified a community flywheel as the best business model for the 2020s. When brands build community, it’s a flywheel. Members keep coming back and keep engaging, and selling becomes effortless.

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Flywheels.001

    Think about it…

    • Your members create the content they care about (aka user-generated content) and engage.

    • They ask for what they want and they trust you when you sell. Throw out the high-pressure sales funnel (Did it ever really work?).

    • If you’re charging a membership fee, you’ve got recurring revenue.

    • You create the same stuff whether you’ve got 100 or 10,000 members. It’s scalable.

    Community Hosts evolve into facilitators of self-driving membership communities. It's a business model like no other.

    Here are some examples from Mighty:

    • An entrepreneurship org. launched to 5,000 members and made over $30,000 in 2 ½ weeks.

    • A health-focused community launched to 100 high-ticket members and added $40,000 in ARR.

    • An author & speaker launched a 4-week promotion in their membership community and saw an additional $30,000 in revenue.

    • A podcaster and author sold 5,000 seats to a $997 course in 10 days to existing members.

    • One community launched a 13-week add-on course and generated an additional $100k in revenue in 2 months.

    The platform is your secret weapon

    What role does community software play in creating spaces to belong? In creating businesses?

    The single platform is where the magic happens. It’s the operations. The tech stack.

    Your members engage with your platform every time they come on. In a perfect world, they don’t think about the tech. And they definitely shouldn't fight with it. They just start connecting and creating.

    What happens when the community software gets in the way?

    • When members face friction at checkout or accessing spaces?

    • When members can’t find things like event links or courses?

    • When using features isn’t intuitive?

    • When members can’t access the community on a mobile app?

    Best-case scenario, you end up with frustrated users. Worst-case scenario, you end up with churn and angry ex-members.

    Nobody wants that.

    That’s why the platform you choose really does matter.

    Types of online community platforms

    There are three types of people using community platforms, and platforms built for different uses. For example, Discord is a great (and free) platform that’s “just for fun,” but you wouldn’t build a business there.

    You need to choose the right platform based on your needs.

    Here are the three most common users of community platforms:

    • Enterprise - “We’re a business and we need a brand community.”: Established businesses and brands looking for robust and brandable community platforms. They need customization, branded apps, advanced member features, and a powerful community engine.

    • Digital Business - “I’m a creator or solopreneur starting a membership business.”: Creators and leaders (e.g. coaches, fitness instructors, mastermind leaders) planning to build a digital business around their community. They need good community features for their budget, and want to mix in payment gateways and bundling so they can sell memberships, courses, events, etc.

    • Personal - “I want to bring people together for fun.”: There are Hosts looking for a free community for fun who won’t charge their audience. They’ll choose platforms like Facebook or Discord, which are free and easily accessible but don’t have robust community engines, monetization options, or branding.

    Which of these descriptions apply to you? Once you know what level of platform you’re looking for, you can choose your community solution.

    Pro tip: Give yourself room to grow though. It’s always possible to migrate a community, but it’s a lot of work.

    Start Your Free Trial

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - GalaxyDAO-Join

    What should you look for in an online community platform?

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - OE-Discovery

    • Great content options (e.g. discussion posts, polls, surveys, and Q&As). A community thrives on content that your members create. The easier it is to create what they want to, the better this will be.

    • Flexible Spaces or subgroups. Not every member wants the same thing. Spaces let you organize people and content (ex. A course Space vs an event Space).

    • Accessible on web, iOS, and Android apps. People can’t always run to a PC to log on. (“Mobile friendly web apps” don’t cut it).

    • Branded apps (under YOUR brand on iOS and Android). Established brands and businesses should consider branded community apps (that’s YOUR app in the App Store and Google Play Store).

    • Course platforms. If you have something to teach, make sure your community platform can host a live and/or pre-recorded course.

    • Multiple ways to monetize through events, paid memberships, subscriptions, and online courses.

    • Detailed member profiles and community analytics.

    What about communities and AI?

    MN Graphics - 2024 - co-host-similarities

    Since AI is the word on everyone’s mind, how does AI fit in with community software? Not everyone has adopted it yet, but here's how we’re using it.

    We didn't just want AI to create more content. We asked, "How can AI help us build better communities?"

    And we started with one data point.

    We can predict with 93% accuracy whether a community will succeed or fail. Communities succeed when members connect or collaborate with each other.

    • The question is NOT, “Do your hosts create enough content?”

    • The question is, “Are my members making friends?”

    Communities don’t just thrive because people show up. They thrive because people meet each other.

    So we harnessed AI to make those meetings better…

    • Tools to help you know what you have in common with other members

    • Tools to get your creativity flowing (like member profile prompts or post help)

    • Tools to start conversations (like discussion prompts)

    And we automated the community-building process so that Mighty Co-Host™ can get a community up and running in minutes.

    Mighty’s CEO, Gina Bianchini, wrote an article about this on LinkedIn if you want to read more!

    Gina LinkedIn

    Why communities fail

    As you look at building a community, you might experience a specific fear. It’s common with new hosts. The fear is, “What if nobody shows up?” Or (maybe worse), “What if they show up and don’t like it?”

    Let’s talk about it.

    We host 12,000 communities on Mighty Networks. Here are the most common reasons communities fail:

    • They don’t follow the principles of Community Design™. Communities fail when they have no clear Big Purpose or Ideal Member. Letting everyone in and throwing content spaghetti against the wall is a surefire way to fail. Get clear on one person you can help and bring them together.

    • They don’t connect people to each other. If it wasn’t clear from what we said above, you need to connect people to each other for a community to thrive.

    • They drown people with content. “Welcome to our community. Here are the 47 hours of past course content and webinars you can consume.” Who the heck wants to do this? Communities don’t thrive from content alone. They thrive on connections and transformations.

    • They are struggling with tech debt. Mixing platforms, payment gateways, hacking together software. The more places your members have to go, the more they have to remember, the more likely your community is to fail.

    • They quit too soon. We can all get excited about 6-figure launches, but often a great community takes time. If you’ve done everything right, good things still take time to grow. Keep at it. Small communities can be amazing. And thriving communities can grow out of 5 founding members.

    20 Top community platforms ranked

    What are the best community platforms? Here are our top picks.

    1. Mighty Networks

    Ranked Best Online Community Platform by G2

    Mighty Networks is G2’s top-rated community management software and it powers $370 million in community businesses and brand communities.

    Mighty mixes content, courses, community, commerce, and events on a platform that’s intuitive yet powerful. And only Mighty has people magic, online community software that’s designed to create connections between members.

    Here are some of the community features Mighty gives you:

    • The ultimate content engine for anything you or your members want to create: short and long-form text, video, livestreams, polls & questions, and discussions.

    • Create courses (live or pre-recorded) and virtual events with built-in content creation software.

    • Built-in community engagement tools

    • Customizable Spaces with features you can turn on or off.

    • Community management features with chat, messaging, and moderation tools.

    • Software that makes people magic: rich member profiles & profile assist, “things in common” and conversation prompts, “make it better” text editor, auto landing and sales pages, and more.

    • Sell memberships, courses, 1:1 or group coaching, masterminds, events, or bundle any of these in 135 different currencies. You can build memberships, bundles, one-time fees, and more.

    • Built-in ConvertKit integration to mix the best community platform with the best email marketing platform.

    Here's an example of how people magic looks in the Mighty app.

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - FaceExplorer-Mobile-2

    On G2, Mighty Networks has a customer satisfaction score of 99 – the highest of any community platform.

    A Mighty Network also has tons of customization options to build a thriving community under your own brand.

    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.

    It’s the last community platform you’ll ever need.

    No stitching together integrations to get courses and community and events–it’s all in one place. You can even upgrade to a branded app when you’re ready.

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Livewell-Full

    Mighty Networks features

    • Discussion forums, video content, text & articles, polls, livestreaming, and more built-in

    • Dynamic course platform with course communities, a versatile LMS, live events, course discussions, and all-member chats

    • Tons of branding flexibility to customize–even light or dark mode.

    • Enhanced analytics, with a custom dashboard

    • Unlimited members, admins, and moderators on every plan

    • Sell memberships, bundles, or one-time products in 135 currencies globally or with token-gating

    • Members can access your community on a beautiful native app that works for every device

    • Integrated community AI with Mighty Co-Host™ that can instantly create course outlines, landing pages, and member profiles.

    • Tons of free support in the Mighty Community!


    Starts from $41/mo. Check our pricing page for more info.

    Start Your Free Trial

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - ModernCreator-Join

    "As a host, Gina Bianchini and her team LISTEN!! I'll say that again, THEY LISTEN TO THE HOSTS! So over the last 6 years they have been asking us what we want and making changes to the platform in response to what the hosts, our communities and our members need. Yeah, that's cool!" Verified G2 Review

    2. Mighty Pro

    Best Community Platform on Branded Apps

    MN - GRaphics - 2024 - App Screens - LiveWell

    Mighty Pro is G2’s top-rated community platform on your own branded apps.

    We’ve built branded community apps for Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Jim Kwik, Drew Binsky, the TED community, Cambridge University, and Sadie Robertson Huff.

    When you choose Mighty Pro, you’ll work directly with Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses.

    If you’re an established brand or business, we’ll show you what we could build together.

    Imagine saying, “Download our app!”

    That’s what Mighty Pro does. And it adds to Mighty Networks’ powerhouse community features:

    • Your brand’s apps in the App Store and Google Play Store

    • Branded push notifications and splash screens

    • Proactive upgrades, app submissions, and VIP support

    • Premium Mighty Co-Host™ AI features

    • VIP support before and after launch

    Mighty Pro is the ultimate place to build member and customer communities on your own branded app.

    Schedule a custom demo and we’ll show you what we could build together! This includes your own app prototype, your preliminary launch plan, and a custom business case.

    Learn more about Mighty Pro

    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Path001

    Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a custom app, Mighty Pro’s white-label approach will give you more for less.

    MN - Graphics - Pro - GIF

    Mighty Pro features

    • G2’s top-rated community platform on your own branded apps.

    • Empower your Hosts with Mighty Co-Host™ AI features including community moderation tools, the Infinite Question Generator, and auto course outlines and profiles.

    • Branded apps, splash screens, and push notifications.

    • Proactive updates and App Store & Google Play Store submissions.

    • VIP support from the Mighty Pro Team.

    • Access to the Mighty Pro community.


    • It varies. Learn more below.

    Learn more about Mighty Pro

    3. Discord

    Best free community platform

    Discord is a community platform that’s built for gamers, but hosts all kinds of free communities. It's got 150 million users. For its powerhouse features, plus its cool design and intuitive UX, Discord is the best free community platform on the market.

    Discord has a community forum-type engine that supports different kinds of content, stickers, emojis, video, and more. But you can also livestream (+ screen share) and live chat.

    Discord - Server

    Discord is perfect for free communities.

    But it’s not made for paid communities.

    Discord did recently create a paid subscription offer, but it's limited to American users right now. It takes a 10% cut of your revenue and isn’t robust enough to create a real community business. You can't really personalize Discord either.

    Discord features


    • Free community forum engine with chat options

    • Good for streaming

    • Popular among gamers


    • Limited community features

    • Almost no way to build a real community business (+ Discord takes 10% of anything you do earn)

    • No branding options (here’s why branding a community is important)


    • Free

    4. Geneva

    Best free video chat platform

    Geneva is a community platform and chat app with chat rooms, forums, video, and audio-only rooms. It’s great for hosting different kinds of video-based conversations. Geneva comes with an events calendar and virtual events (including RSVPs), application forms, moderation features, and the option to add admins. And it has DMs included for 1:1 conversations.

    Geneva has decent membership controls: admin roles and applications. And it has post rooms for content creators (although there are better content creator platforms).

    Geneva chat

    Geneva is free, which is great! But it’s missing monetization features–so it’s not good for a paid community of any kind.

    And, while Geneva’s video chat features are cool and it’s good for organizing small groups, Geneva is not great for running large communities. And it’s bad at introducing people who don’t already know each other.

    Geneva features


    • Chat features with video, audio, and different rooms

    • Virtual events hosting & traditional blog posts

    • It’s free

    • Good apps for every device


    • Can’t be monetized

    • Minimal member-management features

    • Not good for a large community


    • Free

    5. Hivebrite

    Built for Alumni Management

    Hivebrite is a community platform built specifically for alumni networks, although it can be used for other things. It includes a a content management system, dedicated subgroups where students and alumni can connect, a branded mobile app, and a job board feature.

    Hivebrite community

    Hivebrite also comes with a built-in event management system for in-person events, including calendars, invitation emails, ticketing, online payments, and integration with social networks. Finally, it can also run donor campaigns.

    hivebrite live events

    The downside to Hivebrite is that it’s missing a virtual event feature, which means that if you want to get your alumni together for virtual meetings, coffee hours, or training sessions, you’d need to pair it with a different event or virtual event app.

    And the community platform feels pretty dated; it’s really just a simple forum.

    Hivebrite features


    • Alumni networking app with dedicated subgroups

    • CMS + Custom feeds

    • Live event management, ticketing, schedules

    • Job board, data and analytics

    • Branded apps


    • Community-building features are extremely basic

    • No livestreaming, video, or courses

    • Very limited virtual event features


    • Starts from $8,000 yr.

    6. Higher Logic Vanilla

    Best Corporate Forum-Only Platform

    Vanilla Forums is an online community platform for adding customer communities to corporate websites. It can be customized, and it has community management features. Members can publish content, create groups and subgroups, and add questions and polls.

    vanilla forums screenshot

    While Vanilla Forums offers companies a chance to build customer support and engagement, access to a knowledge base, and useful integrations, it is only a forum feature. It doesn’t have options to sell memberships, subscriptions, or online courses. So, if you’re looking for a community that you can monetize, this isn’t the right choice for you.

    It’s the best fit for companies looking to add a free, branded forum to a website.

    Vanilla Forums Community

    Vanilla Forums features


    • Corporate forum solution

    • Some customization features, reporting, and gamification

    • Moderation tools + integration with business apps like Salesforce and Zendesk


    • No real features other than a forum (e.g. no courses or payments)

    • Limited subscription tools

    • No apps or white-label apps


    • Est $9,000 - $150,000/year

    7. Disciple

    Enterprise Branded Apps

    Disciple is an enterprise community software with a community platform, things like an activity feed, discussion forums, Q&As, and content creation–text, videos, and images.

    Disciple Community

    Like others on this list, Disciple has member management tools, analytics, and even a built-in email feature. And it can be used to monetize with subscriptions or gated content.

    Finally, a Disciple community can be deployed on a branded mobile app. The app has features the website doesn’t have, including livestreaming.

    Unfortunately, the app and the online community platform have different features and UX, so it's not a unified experience.

    Disciple features


    • Online community forum with good content options

    • Sell subscriptions or gated content

    • Branded mobile apps


    • Different UX between the online platform and the app

    • Outdated community features and feel

    • Pricing increases the more members you have

    Prices start from £38/mo for the first 100 members (web only), £499/mo to include a mobile app (and up to 500 members), and £833/mo for a white-label mobile app. And virtually every feature is an add-on.

    disciple media pricing

    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.

    8. Kajabi

    Best for Course Creators + Minimal Community Functions

    Kajabi is well-known among course creators as a place to host an asynchronous course. It has an excellent course platform and marketing toolkit to sell courses with things like landing pages, email campaigns, and triggers.

    Kajabi app

    In previous years, they weren’t on this list because of the lack of community options. But with many course creators wanting course communities, Kajabi recently bought a company called Vibely to improve this feature.

    Kajabi 2.0 - app screens

    The result is "Community 2.0.," which moves Kajabi beyond a simple forum and adds a livestreaming feature and meet-ups. The new community feature is an improvement, but it’s still awkward for UX--especially compared to alternatives. You need a separate login to access your community–making it impossible to integrate well with a course. And if you wanted to teach a live course on Community 2.0, the LMS isn’t integrated.

    It ends up feeling a bit like 2 separate products, which is basically what it is.

    Kajabi features


    • Excellent asynchronous course LMS with drip content, evaluation options, and customization features

    • Integrated email marketing, landing pages, and other sales tools

    • Some new AI features for course creation, landing page copy, and scripts

    • Community 2.0 adds livestreaming and video conferencing features


    • Community 2.0 needs a separate login, doesn’t connect to the LMS, and still has limited community functions.

    • One of the most expensive options on this list.

    • No branded apps, which many successful communities need.


    • The basic plan is $149/mo for 3 products, the growth plan is $199/mo with up to 15 products. The pro plan is $399/mo with 100 products.

    Kajabi Monthly Pricing

    9. Bettermode

    The Forum Platform for Corporations

    Bettermode (formerly Tribe) is another white-label community platform for adding community spaces on brand websites. Its forum tool gives brands a place to create discussions, post content, and reach customers on a mobile app. The content options are flexible, you can add blogs, Q&As, and videos.

    Tribe- screenshot

    On Bettermode, customers can connect by asking questions, participating in polls, and posting images and videos. And these members can create profiles and you can assign member roles.

    You won’t get access to standard community features like connecting members by location or common interests, and more. There’s no way to create and host online courses or live events, which limits how you can connect members.

    This means Bettermode is best for a certain kind of community: a customer community on a corporate website.

    Bettermode Features


    • Forum-based community with an explore function

    • Organize conversations with “spaces”

    • Custom domain & website builder

    • White-label app options


    • Limited community functions

    • No courses or live events


    • Starts from $599/mo with custom enterprise pricing

    10. Circle

    Circle is a community platform with features like discussion forums, livestreaming and events, and different ways to create content. It also has member profiles that let your members showcase themselves and find like-minded people.

    Circle.so - CIRCLE - Community - new image

    Circle lets you create memberships and bundles, giving you a way to monetize your community. You can create spaces and dedicate them to either discussions, chat, courses, or events.

    The downside to Circle is that you can’t put multiple things in the same space. You can’t chat in an event space. You can’t have a discussion in a course space. This segmentation can hurt engagement.

    With additional costs to add many extras (things like admins, spaces, etc), it’s a more costly option than an all-in-one like Mighty Networks.

    Many of Circle’s features are also really early in development, with apps and courses added in the past year. They’re still working the bugs out and it’s hard to say how these features will fare long-term.

    Circle features


    • Create discussions, chat, events, and course spaces

    • Monetize memberships with subscriptions or bundles


    • Only one feature per space. Courses can’t be mixed with events, with chat, etc.

    • There are limits on seats for admins, members, spaces, etc. with additional costs to add more


    • Pricing starts from $89/mo for the community features, $199/mo to add workflows and customizations, and $360/mo for an enterprise plan with all features, dedicated services, and priority support.

    11. Facebook Groups

    Let’s talk Facebook Groups. Since Facebook has a huge user base, and it's free and easy to build a Group, some people host communities there.

    It might be a good place to start.

    Facebook Groups 2

    As far as free online communities built on social media platforms go, Facebook groups work okay.

    For larger communities or paid membership communities, Facebook is probably not the right place to host though.

    • There's no payment integrations.

    • It doesn't do well for large groups.

    • You'll fight the algorithms.

    • Plus, some people are hesitant to put their data on Facebook.

    But if you’re just starting out, or want a really simple and free community option, it can work.

    Facebook Groups features


    • Free & easy to use

    • Good apps that integrate with a Facebook account

    • Well-known and popular


    • It’s a constant fight with the algorithm

    • No monetization options

    • You pay to reach your members

    • No real branding options


    • Free

    12. Slack

    Slack is a platform a lot of people know. Built for the workplace, it helps teams organize work.
    It’s got channel and messaging features and basic member profiles–meaning it can host discussions. With mentions, different content features, and “huddles” for quick calls, it does have some of the features that make online communities work.

    Slack channel 1

    But in the big picture, Slack isn’t great for online communities. It’s got limited member roles and limited content types, and it lacks the types of features to build out a full community business (events, courses, content gating, etc.) Slack is also missing monetization, so you can’t start a paid community on it.

    slack huddle

    It’s basically like Discord. Most Hosts outgrow it OR find that their community fails from lack of engagement options. Let’s not forget that Slack works for the virtual office because people HAVE to be there.

    Slack features


    • Good chat & messaging features (it replaced email for the office)

    • Organize conversations, tag relevant people

    • Mix 1:1 chat and group conversations.


    • No monetization

    • Missing features for a vibrant community (content, courses, events, etc.)

    • No personalization


    • From $8.75/mo per user up to enterprise-level pricing

    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.

    13. Wild Apricot

    The Community Platform for Nonprofits

    Wild Apricot is a community management platform created for nonprofit organizations. It has community engagement and discussion tools. But it's really made to manage members in an organization or association. With Wild Apricot, you can create, organize and manage your member databases, use the platform’s website builder to create a professional-looking website, securely accept online payments, and manage virtual events. Plus, you can create subgroups for regional chapters, so that each can have its own website and community.

    Wild Apricot - In Person Event

    This software works great as a nonprofit membership platform. It's not great for paid, robust communities.

    Wild Apricot - In Person Event

    Wild Apricot features


    • Forum platform & website builder

    • Member databases

    • Regional chapters & subgroups

    • Live event functionality for ticketing

    • Branding options


    • Dated look and user experience

    • Limited community features (courses, gated content, etc. missing)

    • No branded apps (despite being an enterprise solution)


    • From $60-$900/mo

    14. Discourse

    Best Open-source Community Platform

    Discourse is a community software with an open-source community code that they post for free on Github. Discourse gives you a discussion forum that’s simple, but effective. You can organize conversations and replies, and add moderators.

    Discourse- Snip

    The downside to Discourse is that you do need to pay for hosting somewhere. Discourse will do it for you, but it ends up starting from $100/mo, which is more expensive than several of the community platforms on this list.

    Basically, Discourse is an okay forum engine if you’re a developer, but otherwise, you’re better to go with an all-in-one that’s done for you (and potentially cheaper).

    Discourse Features


    • Forum with comments and moderation

    • Custom code that’s open-source


    • Extremely dated feel and user experience

    • No community features other than a forum

    • Requires development


    • From $50/mo

    15. Memberium

    Best WordPress Community Platform

    If you’re a diehard WordPress fan and looking for a community platform that’s a WordPress plugin, you could look at Memberium. It works like a content gate, barring off sections of your site to make them members only, and includes a community component. You can also pair it with an LMS plugin like LearnDash if you want to add a course.

    Memberium features


    • WordPress plugin

    • Gated content and member-areas

    • Forum features


    • Very basic and dated user experience

    • Likely requires development to customize

    • No apps


    • From $37 or $57/mo depending on your CRM.

    16. Memberful

    Memberful is another WordPress option. It’s a plugin that turns your WordPress website into a basic membership platform, opening up the option to charge for a community. Memberful is not a community platform, however, but can be used to gate other community platforms like Discord and charge for access. It can also sell digital goods–including online courses–and even physical goods. And there are sales options like coupons, discounts, and promotions.


    Although you don’t technically need WordPress to start a community with Memberful, it’s weak as an all-around community platform. It’s best as a plugin.

    Memberful features


    • Membership plugin for adding content gates to WordPress.

    • Sell memberships, courses, physical, and digital products.


    • You would need to mix platforms together to get the functions of a good community.platform (and it still won’t work as well).


    • $49/mo + 4.9% transaction fees

    17. BuddyBoss

    BuddyBoss is the last WordPress plugin we’ll list here. It comes with the tools you need to add community dashboards, profiles, posts, comments, and messaging. And you can even add events, job boards, or an online store. If you want to add a course to this offering, you’d need another plugin like LearnDash.

    Buddy Boss

    BuddyBoss features


    • WordPress community plugin with gated content

    • Good community features like discussions, profiles, chat & messaging

    • Options to add a white-label app


    • WordPress plugins are often glitchy, and you need multiple plugins to get all the features

    • The app is really basic


    • Web theme only from $299/yr. Adding an app starts from $179/mo

    18. Skool

    Skool is a new forum platform created by Sam Ovens. Recently, influencer Alex Hormozi has been heavily involved selling the platform too--he's part owner.

    Skool - Discussion board

    Skool is really a community-style social media platform–and people usually love it or hate it. It features really basic forums that feel something like reddit–conversations you can join and respond to. There are also user profiles and a live event feature.

    There are two things about Skool that seem to resonate with the people who like it.

    1. The “discoverability” - Skool lets people search for and find communities in the way [Substack](https://www.mightynetworks.com/resources/substack-alternatives\) lets people find newsletters, and that may help people get found.

    2. The “gamification” - Skool has marketed its gamification features hard, and they may be useful to some communities. The best feature is a “leaderboard,” which shows who has engaged the most and gives members a ranking based on engagement.

    However, Skool has a lot of weak points which push it down this list.

    • Unlike Mighty Networks, Skool’s community features aren’t in line with a modern community platform. It’s a clunky discussion forum, with a running post list a bit like a Facebook Group.

    • The features are ridiculously basic. You can schedule an event, but you need to host on a different platform. You can “Create a course” in the settings tab. But the “course” is only a series of gated posts.

    • There’s almost no way to add your brand to anything.

    Skool - course builder

    Skool encourages its Hosts to sign up other Hosts to the platform–if someone gets you to join Skool through an affiliate link they earn 40% of your membership fees.

    Skool features


    • Discoverable, simple discussion forums

    • Leaderboards


    • Extremely basic UX

    • Almost no native features

    • It’s still more expensive than full community platforms


    • $99/mo + transaction fees

    19. Telegram

    Telegram is something in between a community platform and social media, although it’s better for broadcasting than turning strangers into friends. It does mix chat functions and email with the option to send files, voice, and video messages.

    The main community feature Telegram has is its Channels: themed groups people can join. The admin(s) can broadcast up to 200,000 people.

    You can monetize a Telegram channel with paid subscriptions–although you need an integration to do it. And Telegram has good apps for all devices.

    Telegram doesn’t let you build an interactive community where members can get to know each other. It’s built for top-down broadcasting and messaging.

    Telegram features


    • SMS and chat app

    • Broadcast features for reaching thousands of people at once

    • Can be monetized (with an integration)


    • It doesn’t have the features of a proper community platform. It’s built for top-down communication.


    • Free

    20. LearnWorlds

    We’ll round out this list with LearnWorlds–a great course platform with a basic community platform attached. LearnWorlds is a SCORM-compliant course platform with a website-builder attached. It also has some useful marketing tools, things like sales funnels, email, and affiliate programs.

    LearnWorlds has a good mobile app and you can livestream a course too.

    The community functions as a generic discussion forum, and you can create Spaces for individual courses. For course businesses with multiple teachers and admins, the instructors can follow the discussions in their course Spaces without seeing the whole community. It's really basic as a community platform, but good as a course platform.

    LearnWorlds features


    • Good SCORM-compliant LMS that can create courses and websites

    • Integrated marketing tools for emails, funnels, and sales


    • The community features are extremely basic


    • Basic version from $24/mo, but most features are on more expensive plans

    Conclusion – Ready to start building?

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    These 20 community platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. But there's something here for almost any type of community builder.

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