Best Online Community Building Tools In 2024

May 29, 2024


Having an online community can be an awesome addition to your web profile. But as with most things on the internet, there are a crazy number of choices to choose from. In this post, Jonathan reviews the pros and cons of a deep listing of community tools. With the insight in this post you will be able to narrow your search and take steps in the direction that matches your use case. 


Best Online Community Platforms in 2024: Top Choices for Community Building

Choosing the right online community platform is vital in 2024 for anyone looking to build a thriving online space. From supporting online courses to enhancing community engagement, the best platforms combine ease of use with powerful features. Social media platforms offer broad reach, but a dedicated online community platform can provide better control and more meaningful interactions.

These platforms vary widely. Some target specific needs, like course sales or branded communities, while others excel in moderation tools and community features. An excellent community platform should offer a mix of reliability, flexibility, and customizable options to cater to diverse community needs. Free trials and plans may help you evaluate what works best for your audience without a significant upfront investment.



As you navigate the choices available, consider whether you need an all-in-one solution or a specialized tool. Current community platforms in 2024 offer various features, so understanding your priorities will help you select the best fit. The right platform can ultimately foster a vibrant, engaged, and thriving community.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider your specific needs when choosing an online community platform.
  • Evaluate using free trials and plans to find the best option.
  • A dedicated platform often offers better control and interaction than social media alone.

Types of Online Community Platforms

Discussion Forums
These platforms focus on text-based conversations where members post and reply to threads. Popular options include phpBB and Discourse.

Social Media Groups
These groups live within more extensive social media networks, such as Facebook or LinkedIn Groups. They offer easy access but limited customization.

Membership Sites
These platforms provide protected content for members. Patreon and Memberful are examples of allowing subscription-based access.

Course-Based Communities
Platforms like Teachable and Thinkific combine online courses with community features, providing a learning-centric environment.

Dedicated Community Platforms
Platforms like Mighty Networks and Hivebrite are built specifically for community engagement. They offer customization and various tools for interaction.

Enterprise Platforms
Designed for large organizations, these platforms like Salesforce Community Cloud offer extensive features and scalability.

Open-Source Solutions
Platforms like WordPress and plugins like BuddyPress allow complete control but require technical know-how.

Event-Based Platforms
Platforms like Meetup focus on organizing and managing virtual and in-person events, fostering community through shared experiences.

Public Social Networks vs. Private Online Community Platforms

Public social networks like Facebook and Twitter are open to everyone. They offer broad reach and fast connections. People use these platforms to share ideas, news, and personal updates.

Private online community platforms are different. They focus on smaller, dedicated groups. Access is often restricted to members who share common interests or goals. These platforms prioritize privacy and tailored content.

Comparison Table:

Feature Public Social Networks Private Online Community Platforms
Accessibility Open to everyone Restricted to members
Privacy Lower Higher
Engagement Wide audience Focused group
Content Moderation General guidelines Custom rules
Purpose Broad and diverse Specific and niche

Private communities often offer more personalized experiences. Members can find content and connections that are more relevant to their needs, and administrators can control and moderate the environment more effectively.

Public social networks provide scale. They are suitable for brand awareness and reaching a larger audience quickly. Yet, they may lack the depth in engagement and custom features in private platforms.

Choosing between the two depends on the goal. Public networks have a wide reach, while private platforms are for focused engagement. Both have benefits and limitations.

How to Choose the Best Online Community Platform for You

When choosing the best online community platform, consider factors like ease of use, customization options, and integration capabilities. These features ensure your community is engaging and effectively meets your needs.

Higher Logic Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums offers a customizable platform that suits various community types. It allows you to create engaging discussion boards and offers features like Q&A and gamification. Pros include user-friendly moderation tools and robust analytics. Cons may involve higher costs and limited free plan options.

Prices on Request



LearnDash stands out for its focus on online courses. It integrates with WordPress, making it easy to create a learning community. Pros include robust course management features and quizzes. The cons might be its steep learning curve and the additional costs of premium add-ons.

Prices $199 per year


Hivebrite is ideal for alumni and professional networks. It offers event management and job boards. Pros are its extensive customization and strong analytics. Cons include complex setup and higher costs for advanced features.

Prices Connect $799 | Scale prices on request


Disciple is known for its robust branding options. It offers mobile apps and integrations with social media. Pros include customizable features and a strong focus on community engagement. The cons might be its higher cost and limited free trial.

Prices Grow $633 | Pro $999 | Enterprise press on request



Bettermode (formerly Tribe) is a modern community platform that supports customizable spaces for discussions and content sharing. Its pros are its versatile API and integrations. Cons include potential complexity and costs for premium features.

Prices Free | Lite $19 | Pro $49



LifterLMS is geared towards e-learning communities. It integrates with WordPress and offers robust course management tools. Pros include flexibility and engagement features. Cons could be added costs for extensions and a need for technical knowledge.

Prices Free | Earth Bundle $149 | Universe Bundle $249.50 | Infinity Bunle $749.50


Kajabi excels in all-in-one community solutions for creators. It integrates online courses, websites, and marketing tools. Pros are comprehensive features and ease of use. Cons include higher pricing and limitations on customization.

Prices Kickstarter $69 | Basic $149 | Growth $199 | Pro $399

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are popular because they are easy to set up and have wide reach. They integrate seamlessly with Facebook’s social ecosystem. Pros include simplicity and accessibility. Cons might be limited data control and customization options.

Prices Free



Thinkific focuses on education-based communities and offers strong course creation and management tools. Its pros include ease of use and flexibility. Its cons could involve limited community-focused features and higher pricing for advanced plans.

Prices $36 | Start $74 | Grow $149



Circle is designed for professionals and coaching communities. It supports content sharing, discussions, and events. Pros are its user-friendly interface and rich integrations. Cons include a higher learning curve and a limited free plan.

Prices Professional $89 | Business $199 | Enterprise $360



Slack is well-suited for workplace communities. It offers real-time messaging and integrations with work tools. Pros include robust communication features and ease of use. Cons could be higher costs and limited scalability for larger communities.

Prices Free | Pro $4.38 per user | Business $15 per user



BuddyBoss is a WordPress plugin for creating social networks. It supports forums, messaging, and groups. Pros include substantial customization and integration with WordPress. Cons might be added costs for essential plugins and complex setups.

Prices $299 | $349 | $449



Geneva is aimed at private and niche communities. It offers group chats, forums, and event management. Its pros are its simplicity and focus on privacy. Cons could be limited scalability and fewer advanced features.

Prices Free



Discord is favored for gaming and tech communities. It supports voice, video, and text communication. Pros include robust engagement features and ease of use. Cons might be limited professional use and customization options.

Prices Free



Reddit is suitable for large-scale public communities. It supports forums, voting, and discussions. Pros are its wide reach and active user base. Cons could be limited control over content and monetization options.

Prices Free

Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is perfect for member-based organizations. It supports membership management, events, and payments. Pros include strong membership features and ease of use. Cons might be limited customization and higher costs for advanced plans.

Prices Personal $60 | Group $250 | Community $140

Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks


Mighty Networks is great for creators and niche communities. It combines community building with course creation and monetization. Pros are its robust features and flexibility. Cons could include higher pricing and a steeper learning curve.

Prices Courses $99 | Business $179 | Path to Pro $360

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the key features to look for in an online community-building tool?

A: When choosing an online community-building tool, look for features such as community engagement tools, community management capabilities, customization options, ease of use, mobile responsiveness, analytics and reporting, integration with other platforms, and security measures.

Q: How can I choose the right community platform for my needs?

A: To choose the right community platform, consider your budget, the size and type of community you want to build, the features you require, scalability options, ease of customization, customer support, and reviews from other users.

Q: What are the 17 best online community platforms of 2024?

A: The 17 best online community platforms in 2024 include popular options like Disciple, Mighty Networks, Hivebrite, Tribe, Zoho Community, Khoros Communities, Vanilla Forums, and more.

Q: How can I create an online community to sell online courses?

A: To create an online community to sell online courses, you can use platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi, which offer community-building tools and course-creation features.

Q: What are the best online community-building tools to monetize your community?

A: Some of the best online community-building tools to monetize your community include Patreon, Substack, Memberful, and Podia, which provide features for offering memberships, gated content, subscriptions, and more.

Q: How do I choose the right community platform for building a vibrant online community?

A: When choosing a community platform for building a vibrant online community, focus on features that promote community interaction, content sharing, events management, member rewards, and user-friendly design to enhance the overall community experience.

Q: What are the key elements when building your online community from scratch?

A: Key elements to consider when building your online community from scratch include defining your community purpose, setting guidelines for member behavior, creating engaging content, fostering relationships among members, moderating discussions, and continuously improving the community experience.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right online community platform is crucial for fostering an engaged community. Each platform offers unique features that cater to different needs, whether for selling online courses or building a community around a brand.

Consider factors like user engagement tools, moderation features, and ease of use. Platforms like Mighty Networks and Hivebrite are famous for creating a vibrant community space.

Evaluate the free trial or free plan options that many platforms offer. This allows you to test the platform’s capabilities before committing.

A good community platform should provide value to community members and make managing the community straightforward for the community manager. Choose the platform that aligns best with your goals and the needs of your audience.

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