Latest Reviewed Forum Software
Filters Web Servers: All, Databases: All.
PHP Language is the most common and most used programming language on Internet. It is available on almost all platforms, is easy to learn, easy to understand, and customizing or modifying an existing project based on this technology is within the realms of possibility.
However, due to this relative simplicity, non professional (Note: ≠ from free or open source) forum software could easily be a nest of security issues.
PERL Language is older than PHP, that was developed as a successor of this first language. The consequence is that PERL forum software will be often "old" software, that were started at a moment PHP was either not existing or considered as a correct alternative.
Using an old forum software is however not especially a bad idea, because 10 years of experience and bug fixing is generally a good insurance of having a secure and polished software, used by thousand people before you. This, of course, does not take the style into account.
Java / JEE Forums
Forums based on the Java/JEE technology and language are mostly targeting the professional and the business world, as the first purpose of these forums is usually to allow interconnection with other Java tools and services. This is of course not always the case, and you can safely install any Java forum software on your own application server.
Unfortunately, a low number of providers sell ready-to-use Java environments and servers, which basically means you will have to configure and rent a dedicated server in order to host your JEE/J2EE forum.
Hosted forums and services are a perfect way to delegate hardware and software issues to a third party company, and focus on the content and the management of your forum community.
However, the downside is that, most of the time, you are not totally free with the hosting and cannot entirely customize and improve your forum software. In the worst case, it's even impossible to export your forum data in order to retake control and reinstall them elsewhere.
Microsoft .Net Forums
Forums based on Microsoft .Net technology are most of the time reliable (if developed correctly, as usual), and are not necessarily limited to a Microsoft Windows environment, as the Mono Project provides an open source implementation of this language and technology.
Be however sure the forum supports other database systems than Microsoft SQL Server.