Community software

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Make a social networking website

Build a community for your company, university, sports team or niche group by using one of our selected apps with your 123 Reg hosting package.

Using a social network makes communicating with friends, customers and influencers much easier and fun. It allows you to create a powerful social hub for your organisation without having to be a technical wiz. Members will be able to create profiles, post messages, make connections and interact with new people based on their interests. You can even create open or closed group discussion forums where users with the same interests can engage in conversation.

What are social networks?

If you’ve ever updated your Facebook status, posted 140-character messages on Twitter, shared photos via Flickr or made a business contact through LinkedIn, then you’ve used at least one social networking website. But what exactly is it used for?

It’s an online platform that focuses on building connections between people who share the same interests, passions, backgrounds or are part of the same company. These sites allow users to share ideas, events, and activities within a particular group of connections.

With online community software you can build a social network and connect with friends, family, university colleagues, business contacts, customers or work colleagues. While it’s a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and family, more and more businesses have started to tap into the power of online communities to reach their target audience.

Why make a social network?

It’s not just engaging but it’s also a great channel for meeting people with similar interests. In addition, when it’s used correctly it can be a very effective tool for entrepreneurs and businesses that are looking to acquire new customers.

They are also very easy to use. You create a profile, add friends or connections depending on your interests and then join groups where you start engaging in conversation. Some social networks also allow you to create your own blog, making it easier to keep people informed on what you’ve been up to or what interesting articles you’ve been reading.

Most sites also provide a variety of widgets, allowing you to add slideshows, photo galleries, guest books, events calendars or videos to your group posts or to your blog.

Which community software can I use?

With the Business and Unlimited hosting packages from 123 Reg, you can download and use any of the following apps that allow you to build a social network easily:


Joomla is a popular content management system that you can easily turn into a full-fledged social networking site. Every member can create a custom profile where they can post updates, photos and videos, moods and location.

  • tickPerfect for beginners, as it’s easy to use and customise
  • tickFacebook-like features that allow users to share any type of content – text, images and videos with everyone or a specific group of friends
  • tickYou might need to pay extra for extensions if you want to add extra functionality to your site


Drupal is a viable platform to create and run a community website and encourage your audience to join in the conversation. It includes many features such as support for OpenId, excellent security and customisation options.

  • tickIdeal if you want to cut costs
  • tickAccess to a variety of modules and themes that allow users to add polls, image galleries, books, videos and more
  • tickMay not be the best solution if you lack technical skills


MantisBT is a well-known solution originally designed for software development teams to track bugs. However, users have started using it for managing tasks, projects and teams in a variety of industries. You can use it to create your own community and encourage your team members and customers to discuss projects, ask questions and share feedback.

  • tickGood choice for IT teams
  • tickExcellent for managing projects, to-do lists and more
  • tickNot recommended for users with no technical skills


BuddyPress is an open-source app that allows you to endlessly customise your social networking website. Features include comprehensive personal profiles, friend connections, discussion boards, private messaging and more. Use it to create any kind of community you’d like, whether it’s for school or for catching up with old friends.

  • tickIdeal solution if you’re aiming to add your platform on to an existing WordPress website
  • tickHundreds of plugins and extensions are on hand to enhance the functionality of your site even further
  • tickSome BuddyPress themes might not be compatible with WordPress


Elgg is powerful open source community software capable of building all kinds of social environments, whether for universities or businesses and organisations. It offers blogging, microblogging, file sharing, networking, groups, and numerous other features.

  • tickEasy to integrate with other web based tools like wikis and blog
  • tickHundreds of plugins that you can install to add extra functionality, languages and themes to your site
  • tickNot a good choice for beginners


Pligg’s open-source CMS is simple to use and manage, and can easily help power social networks and other interactive communities. Users can submit articles that they find interesting, vote on them, and leave comments. Users with most votes eventually appear on the homepage of the Pligg powered website.

  • tickPerfect for beginners
  • tickPlenty of templates to choose from, along with a plethora of plugins and extensions
  • tickGood solution if you only want a simple social network with basic features


WebRing allows people to discover and share interesting topics (also known as WebRings) as well as meet people with the same interests.

  • tickExcellent choice for beginners
  • tickAllows you to organise content into categories and rings
  • tickGood solution if you’re just getting started and want to create a basic social network


StatusNet is a micro-blogging and online collaboration service dedicated to business professionals. It provides similar functionality to Twitter but with more features for enterprise use. Main features include groups, automatic URL shortening, attachments, embedding of content from other sites like YouTube and Flickr, and many more.

  • tickIdeal collaboration solution for small teams and corporations
  • tickEnables teams to collaborate using their own network
  • tickYou will require a corporate email address to sign up for a free trial

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