Best Free Social Network Software

Social software applications, also known as social apps, include communication tools and interactive tools often based on the Internet. Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well. Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a pair or group of users. They focus on establishing and maintaining a connection among users, facilitating the mechanics of conversation and talk.

All social network scripts listed in this article are open-source and free for use. Feel free to suggest any other not mentioned in the article.


Project page:

elgg-social-01Elgg is open source social networking software that provides individuals and organizations with the components needed to create an online social environment. It offers blogging, microblogging, file sharing, networking, groups and a number of other features.

Elgg is an award-winning open source social networking engine that provides a robust framework on which to build all kinds of social environments, from a campus wide social network for your university, school or college or an internal collaborative platform for your organization through to a brand-building communications tool for your company and its clients.

Highlighted features

Powerful Data Model
Elgg provides a powerful data model making the creation of different entities simple, yet flexible.

Activity Streams
The granular activity stream API ensures your plugins can push the required content to your users.

Plugin API
Use Elgg’s powerful plugin API to build and add your required features.

User Management
Elgg handles your user management and relationship requirements.

Access controls
All objects in Elgg can have an access control level applied making granular access permissions possible.

Web Services API
Expose functionality through the REST API by building a plugin and then either publish the API for other developers to build clients or provide your own.

Browse the plugins gallery to find other exciting features to add to your Elgg network.

BuddyPress (for WordPress)

Project page:

buddypress-social-01BuddyPress is an open source social networking software package owned by Automattic since 2008.It is a plugin that can be installed on WordPress to transform it into a social network platform. BuddyPress is designed to allow schools, companies, sports teams, or any other niche community to start their own social network or communication tool.

BuddyPress inherits and extends upon the integral functional elements of the WordPress engine including themes, plugins, and widgets. As it is built on WordPress it is written using the same primary technologies, PHP and MySQL.

BuddyPress has a range of features that will allow the creation of a social network application. However, based on your interest you can start with a couple of features and simply turn off features that you don’t want by the click of a button.

The basic installed system offers:

Activity Streams
User Profiles
Options to add user profile fields and sections
Avatar uploads
Group Creation
Group discussion forums
Group logo and Wire
Friend system
Custom themes
Blogs per user (via the WordPress engine)
Group discussion forums are provided by the integration of the popular GPL forum software bbPress. With 1.1 versions and above, bbPress is seamlessly integrated within BuddyPress allowing for single sign-on and one click forum integration.

Community Builder (for Joomla)

Project page:

community-builder-social-01Community Builder (CB) is the most popular and flexible social community networking solution for all versions of Joomla! (3.2, 3.x and 2.5 with ACL support).

For over 9 years now the 500,000 and growing Joomlapolis members have made CB the most widely used (over 2,500,000 public installs per Google) social networking solution. It’s free and has always been GPL.

Social websites go far beyond Facebook look-alikes and CB has literally hundreds of built-in features and extra (free or commercial) add-ons from CB Team and other parties that will help you realize your very own – tailored to your specific needs – website.

CB also has a powerful built-in framework (CB API doc. is available on Joomlapolis) so it can be extended and enhanced.

There are hundreds of built-in features you can use.

PHP 5.0-5.4.x and MySQL 4.1+ database are prerequisites (PHP 5.2.4+ and MySQL 5.0.4+, same as Joomla 2.5, are recommended).


Project page:

oxwall-social-01Oxwall is free and open source community software distributed under the Common Public Attribution License. It is written in PHP and is used as a platform for social networking and community sites.

The default Oxwall software core contains basic community features that include uploading/sharing content, friends networking, profile and page layout customization, user and content management, built-in SEO. Oxwall comes with several default themes that are customizable with admin dashboard tools.

The Oxwall core is extensible by plugins. The plugins are available at the Oxwall Store, and are provided both by native and third-party developers. Plugin installation is performed via the admin dashboard.

Oxwall software requires a web server capable of running PHP 5.2.6 or higher, Apache 2 or higher and MySQL 5.0 or higher.

Oxwall software has a community of users and developers interacting on the Oxwall Market and forum. Oxwall users can get support assistance, report bugs and post feature suggestions on the forum moderated by the Oxwall staff.

Oxwall software provides an advantage of simplified programming interface, which allows to develop and integrate plugins without making changes to the main core. Oxwall software is supplied with all necessary documentation on plugin development.


Project page:

jamroom-social-01Jamroom is a community focused open source software web content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a web hosting service. Features include a module based extension system and skins using the Smarty templating engine.Jamroom is distributed under the open source Mozilla Public License (MPL)

Jamroom users may install and switch between skins. Skins allow users to change the look and functionality of a Jamroom website. One very popular feature of Jamroom is its module architecture which allows users and developers to extend its abilities beyond the core installation. From Jamroom 5 the structure of the system changed majorly from the previous version. The largest change being that even the core of Jamroom itself became a module. By adding additional modules, more features can be made available to users on their profiles.

In the Jamroom community, the term “core” has 2 uses. The first is the initial set of modules and skins that are downloaded and used to install a Jamroom community site. The second refers to the jrCore module itself. Everything in Jamroom is either a Module or a Skin.

Drupal Commons

Project page:

drupal-commons-social-01Drupal Commons is a ready-to-use solution for building either internal or external communities. It provides a complete social business software solution for organizations.

Drupal Commons helps organize content into topic (organic) groups with blog, discussion, document, wiki, and event content types. It also allows users to create (user) relationships with each other in order to follow each other’s activities on a site. Authenticated users can view a personalized dashboard containing content from all their subscribed groups.

Drupal’s flexibility and power make it one of the premier platforms in the CMS space. So having both a solid platform like Commons, plus the ability to customize for the needs of an organization is a really big selling point.



Project page:

ocportal-social-01ocPortal is a free and open source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and based on a MySQL backend database.

ocPortal has a number of features which can be included when installing the software or added later. Some of those features are:

Social Media Syndication
Media Galleries including optional watermarking
News & Newsletters
Shopping Cart & e-commerce functionality
Quizzes and Surveys
Points store
CEDI (Structured Wikis)
Chat Rooms, Instant Messaging & Shout-out boxes
Multi-site network support including shared membership
Multiple User group support and customisation

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One Response to “Best Free Social Network Software”

  1. Ronnie says:

    Good list, but you forgot Jappix

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