crucially simple

Cruciforum is a very simple web forum, designed to make it really easy to add a discussion forum to a website. If you want to start off some conversation around a bit of code you've written, provide somewhere to let people enter feature requests, or just want somewhere to chat with your mates, Cruciforum is for you.

Apparently the most simple discussion forum in the world — Gadgetopia


Installation is trivial. Simply make a new folder in your webspace and save cruciforum.php into it. Then visit cruciforum.php in your web browser, and it'll set itself up. That's all there is to it.

If you already have Cruciforum installed, and you want to upgrade to a newer version, read the upgrades section below.


Cruciforum is really, really simple. There's no database required to run it — you don't need MySQL or anything — it doesn't have user accounts, it doesn't need an administrator. It's really low-impact on your server because all the pages are plain HTML -- if someone's browsing the forum then they don't even use PHP! Just fire it up and go; all you need on the server is PHP support, which most things have.

Cruciforum is built with Joel Spolsky's thoughts on forum design in mind, and a few other tweaks that might be interesting. It's designed to be crucially simple.

But, but, but...

If you're about to say, but, we need user accounts! we need an administrator! then go ahead and use a more powerful forums system, like Vanilla or PHPBB. Go on, we won't mind.

There's more you can do with Cruciforum than you might think, though. For example, you can change the theme by just editing the CSS files created in the themes/ folder (and you can even create a whole new theme to drop in there if you want; just make sure it's called selected). Users get an avatar image if they want one; it's a gravatar based on their email address, so to get a picture, just get a gravatar. Your user details are remembered for the next time you return to the forum.

Can I stop people spamming my cruciforum?

You can. Cruciforum supports Akismet for spam protection. Once you've downloaded cruciforum.php, you should sign up for an Akismet API key on the Akismet website. you'll then need to edit cruciforum.php: at the top of the file it says:


Change this so that it includes your key, so it'll look something like this:

$AKISMET_API_KEY = "abc123abcdef123456";

After that, all posts to your forum will be checked and disallowed if they're spam.

How do I upgrade Cruciforum?

Upgrading's pretty easy as well. You need to do the following:

  1. If you're using Akismet for spam protection, make a note of your key, which is written in the top of the file: the upgrade process will remove it.
  2. If you're using a custom theme, copy it somewhere else; the upgrade process will overwrite it.
  3. Download the latest cruciforum.php file, and overwrite your existing cruciforum.php with it.
  4. If you're using Akismet, edit cruciforum.php and add your key to the file again as described above.
  5. If you were using a custom theme, copy it back again.
  6. Go to http://yourserver/yourforum/cruciforum.php in your web browser. If Cruciforum needs to do some work to make the upgrade happen, it will tell you so and lead you through the upgrade process. If it says "Bad call", then there's no other work for it to do; your upgrade has worked perfectly! Simply carry on using your forum.

Which licence is Cruciforum available under?

Cruciforum is under the GPL, v2 or greater.

How do I pay you money for this?

You don't have to pay for Cruciforum. I believe in Free Software, which this software is; writing this and seeing people use it is its own reward. Of course, if you're determined to give me money then I'm not going to stop you. You can send money to my PayPal account with the button below.

Can I get Cruciforum customised for my needs?

If you need specific work done to Cruciforum, drop me a line and we'll work something out.

Stuart Langridge, October 2007-date