The 7 Best Community Platforms for Community Builders [2024]

best online community platforms
Here, we're going to explore the 7 best online community platforms for community builders. Ready to build an awesome community in 2024? Let's dive right in!
best online community platforms

Table of Contents

Online community platforms became the go-to spaces for bringing together like-minded individuals. In fact, community apps help foster rich discussions and build huge networks among users. Although there are many reasons why people join online communities, connection is certainly the main one.

If you are a community builder, the right platform will help you nurture engagement, promote collaboration, and cultivate brand loyalty among your members. There are many community apps out there, but don’t get overwhelmed!

Here, we’ll explore the 7 best online community platforms for 2024, including insights on their features, benefits, pricing, and use cases.

Ready to build an awesome community in 2024?

Let’s dive right in!

What to Look For in a Community App?

There are so many online community apps! When starting an online community, it may be difficult to choose the best platform for your goals.

Naturally, a remote working team won’t have the same community requirements as a brand or niche-oriented community. So, first, make sure you’re crystal clear on the¬†needs¬†you want your community app to fulfill, and on the goals you want to achieve.

But, how do you find that perfect blend of useful features and ease of use?

Let’s start by reviewing some of the features community builders often praise:

  1. Engagement: You probably want diverse engagement options, like real-time chats, 1:1 connections for members, and the possibility to organize events.
  2. Monetization: E-commerce or membership options are useful for those building paid communities.
  3. Automation: To get rid of boring moderation tasks, onboarding workflows, and member updates.
  4. Analytics: If you’re serious about your community, you’ll value an analytics dashboard. Here, you can see key metrics to analyze user¬†engagement¬†and community growth.
  5. Customization: Do you want a white-label platform to create a community under your own branding? Are you looking to design or code your community’s interface? Or, conversely, do you want something easier?
  6. Support: A live chat, a forum, and extra communication channels are very important. You’ll probably need help with your community down the line.

By knowing what type of community are you looking to build, you’ll also know what needs you have. The best online community platform for you should target those specific needs AND adapt to your budget.

There are literally dozens of online community platforms to choose from. Here, however, we’ll focus on listing the most popular community apps. Those with the best reviews, unique benefits, and lots of users. We’ll also provide insights into their features and pricing information.

This way, you don’t have to waste time trying lots of different platforms. You can determine the best for you from this list and start from there knowing it’s a proven platform.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the top 7 online community platforms for 2024:

  1. Discord
  2. Slack
  3. Mighty Networks
  4. Circle
  5. Disciple
  6. Discourse
  7. Hivebrite

#1. Discord

Discord is one of the most popular online community platforms out there. Once exclusive to gamers, the platform has now become a versatile community hub.

In fact, Discord welcomes a diverse range of groups and interests in all sorts of communities. We have over 200 Discord servers for you to join listed here in Unita!

Your community in Discord will be a server, where you can organize discussions into diverse channels for members to chat in real-time. The platform also allows you to assign members different roles according to their status in the community, host events (like live streams or Q&As), and offer paid subscriptions.

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Features

  • Text and voice channels to communicate in real-time
  • Personalized roles and levels for members
  • Host events like live streams or classes (with the possibility to also have guests)
  • Advanced moderation options and permission settings for admins
  • Server insights to see analytics and reporting
  • Advertise your community on Discord‚Äôs Server Discovery
  • Automated onboarding
  • Make money by offering subscription tiers

Pricing

One of Discord’s biggest benefits is that making a Discord server is¬†completely free. Since its origins, the platform has worked with a¬†freemium model that allows users access to core features for free.

You can also subscribe to Discord by buying a Discord Nitro subscription. This allows you to have more MB for uploads, custom emojis, unlimited super reactions, a Nitro badge, and more.

However, if you are a community builder, it may be more beneficial to boost your server instead. This gives the entire server special perks, and not to your personal account only.

The prices of boosts and Discord Nitro vary depending on the region. In the United States, prices start at $2.99 for Nitro Basic, $9.99 for Nitro, and $4.99 for boosts.

#2. Slack

Discord and Slack are probably the two most used online community platforms. However, although many use it to build online communities, Slack’s features may be best suited for project management teams and businesses in general.

Slack is a powerful communication and collaboration tool designed for professional settings. It allows teams to stay in touch and communicate quickly and effectively.

So, if you want to connect with your remote team or need a more corporate-centered platform, Slack is a great choice. There are over 220 Slack groups listed in our directory for you to get inspired to create your own.

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Features

  • Integrations with business apps like Google Drive, Zoom, Zendesk, and Hubspot
  • Automation tools to streamline workflows
  • Organize discussions in channels to enhance communication
  • Slack Huddles to have meetings with audio and video
  • Record clips to share updates on your projects
  • Create Canvases (rich and flexible docs to collaborate with your team)
  • Share files and search past conversations
  • DM individual members and create threads in larger conversations

Pricing

Slack is free to use, but the free version comes with significant issues. It only allows you to have 90-day access to the message and file history, and have only one-on-one huddles, which doesn’t make much sense for a community.

You can also choose from different subscription plans. The caveat is the cheapest plan starts at $7.25 per person per month, which adds up quickly when hosting a community.

#3. Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks is mostly used by educators or online course creators wanting to start a tutoring business. Due to its course integration capabilities, live events, and member engagement tools, this platform is great for educational communities.

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Features

  • Create online courses and live cohorts
  • Native live streaming, chats, and other interactive options
  • User-friendly experience, especially for non-technical users
  • Monetization options to create memberships and paid communities
  • Analytics and member data reports
  • Automation possibilities with a Zapier integration

Pricing

To create a basic community in Mighty Networks, the pricing starts at $33/month. There is also a $99/month plan for businesses.

#4. Circle

Circle is a white-label community platform to create your own brand community. Its features allow members to participate in discussions, join livestreams and events, and connect with others via chat.

It’s¬†really easy to set up a Circle community and customize it to suit your branding.¬†It also provides an ad-free,¬†distraction-free environment. And for content creators and influencers, it allows you to monetize your community and add plenty of integrations.

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Features

  • Completely customizable community with your own brand colors and even custom domain
  • Interactive courses and group cohorts
  • Live streams, group chats, 1:1 connections, and DMs
  • Community events
  • Rich profiles for your members
  • Membership options or monthly recurring subscriptions
  • Analytics tools
  • Workflow automation opportunities
  • Integrations with other apps

Pricing

Circle has a 14-day free trial for you to try the platform before committing to a subscription. To get the key community features Circle has to offer, subscription plans start at $89/month.

#5. Disciple

Disciple isn’t a community app. Instead, it allows you to create your own community platform, without necessarily knowing how to code.

This platform offers a range of branding tools and content management capabilities, making it ideal for those who want to fine-tune every aspect of their community. Additionally, Disciple’s monetization options are a game-changer for creators looking to turn their community into a revenue stream.

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Features

  • Quickly create a community with a mobile app
  • Advanced customization options
  • Live streams, broadcasts, polls, and other interactive ways to engage with your members
  • DMs and push notifications for individual connections
  • Monetization options (such as subscriptions, in-app purchases, and premium groups)
  • Integration capabilities

Pricing

You can book a 20-minute demo in Disciple to test the platform before committing to buy. Their subscription plans start at $633/month.

#6. Discourse

Discourse is an open-source, forum-based platform. It’s known for its robust discussion capabilities and customization options and is the go-to for those looking to organize discussions in a way that allows them to spend less time moderating.

For example, you can point users with the same concerns to a FAQs library, which is a useful solution when multiple members have similar questions or problems. This is only one of many features Discourse brings to community builders.

Also, Discourse it’s great if you want¬†user-generated content¬†in your community to be indexed (and thus discoverable in search engine results).

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Features

  • Create a forum-like community for your members to connect with each other
  • Plenty of customization options to make your community truly yours
  • Powerful moderation tools and automation options
  • Unlimited conversation history
  • Real-time chats
  • Admin dashboard with metrics and analytics
  • Integrations with Slack, WordPress, Zendesk, and more of your favorite tools
  • Official plugins to extend functionalities

Pricing

Discourse offers a 14-day free trial. After that, if you want to continue using the platform, you’ll need to buy a subscription plan, which starts at $50/month.

#7. Hivebrite

Hivebrite is a top choice for organizations looking to foster professional connections. In fact, the platform is designed to facilitate not just communication but meaningful professional growth and opportunities.

It offers a range of features such as event management, job boards, and networking tools, making it an ideal choice for community builders looking to create vibrant and interactive digital spaces tailored to professional and educational communities.

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Features

  • Create a fully customizable community, with its own URL, visual identity, and mobile app
  • Use groups, categories, and tags to organize your community
  • Powerful moderation tools
  • Analytics and reporting tools for admins
  • Customizable profiles and badges for members
  • Host different types of events
  • Make job boards and group projects
  • Networking tools like maps, directories, portfolios, DMs, and connections
  • Monetization options (like memberships, selling tickets for events, partnering with other businesses, and creating donation campaigns)

Pricing

You can book a demo with Hivebrite’s team to decide if the platform is the right solution for you. Subscription plans start at $1000/month.

Choosing the Right Community App for You

Selecting the platform you’ll use is a crucial decision that will significantly impact the success of your online community. Choosing an online community platform is not an isolated decision: It needs to be part of a strategy that encompasses everything related to your community.

As part of this strategy, you should ask yourself who your target audience is. Who will engage with your content and reach out to your community for help?

Additionally, ask yourself what kind of community you want to create. 

Do you want to teach your members? Make money with your community? To engage in professional networking? Or do you simply want a space to connect and collaborate with like-minded people about a shared interest?

After considering your goals, it will be much clearer what platform might be best suitable for your situation. Next, consider external factors like cost, customization options, scalability with monetization tools, and ease of use to make your final decision.

Each platform has its strengths: Discord and Slack for real-time communication, Mighty Networks for educational content, Circle for content creators, Disciple for fine-tuning customization, Discourse for forums, and Hivebrite for professional networking. Weigh these factors against your community’s specific needs to find your perfect match.

PlatformCost (USD)General FeaturesMonetizationEngagement
Discord– Free
– Nitro: $2.99+
– Boosts: $4.99+
Personalized roles, server insights, automated onboardingSubscription tiers
Text/voice channels, live streams, events, roles, Server Discovery
Slack– Free
– Plans start at $7.25/user/mo
Integrations with business apps, record clips, create CanvasesChannels, Slack Huddles, file sharing, DMs, threads
Mighty Networks– Starts at $33/moUser-friendly interface, Zapier integration for automationMembershipsOnline courses, live streaming, chats
Circle– Starts at $89/moCustomizable community, brand colors, custom domainMemberships, recurring subscriptionsLive streams, group chats, 1:1 connections, DMs, events
Disciple– Starts at $633/moAdvanced customization, mobile appSubscriptions, in-app purchasesLive streams, broadcasts, polls, DMs, push notifications
Discourse– Starts at $50/moCustomization options, official pluginsForum-like setup, real-time chats, powerful moderation tools, integrations
Hivebrite– Starts at $1000/moFully customizable visual identity, custom URL, mobile appMemberships, event tickets, donationsGroups, categories, tags, job boards, networking tools, events

By carefully evaluating these aspects, community builders can make informed decisions and select the platform that best aligns with their unique community goals.

FAQs

What is an online community platform?

An online community platform is a digital space where individuals with shared interests or goals can connect, interact, and engage with each other. These platforms facilitate discussions, resource sharing, and the creation of a supportive environment.

What is the best platform for a community?

The best platform varies based on the specific needs and goals of the community in question. Different platforms offer unique features and capabilities, and you should have them in mind when deciding which platform to commit to.

How do I choose a platform for my community?

When choosing a platform for your community, it’s important to consider factors such as your community’s specific needs, the level of customization required, the potential for scalability, and the overall cost and ease of use. Evaluate how well that platform aligns with your community’s goals and interests.

What is the best way to build an online community?

The best way to start an online community is to start by understanding your audience, choosing the right platform, creating engaging content, and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment. Consistent engagement and providing value are key.


In summary: starting or joining an online community is filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and connection. To get inspiration and knowledge, join like-minded groups and see what other community builders are up to. Your digital tribe awaits!

Paola Baselica

Paola Baselica

Hey there! I'm Paola, and I like to call myself a word wizard. Since 2018, I've been writing content for diverse places across the web. Now I'm rocking it with Unita's copywriting crew, where I get to explore, write, and polish up the coolest communities you'll ever find on the web. It's been a wild ride, and I'm here to make every word count and every story pop ūü鮂ú®ūüďö