Facebook, Friendster and Myspace are the common examples of social communities on the internet. They allow their users to communicate with each other across the globe. Some people would like to run customized versions of these sites, so they can answer every single need of their users. Below are some open source social networking systems that let you create your own social society:
Elgg is an open source social networking software which provides its users the features needed to create an online social environment. In 2008 Elgg won the best open source social networking platform, this proves that it is highly usable.
It offers array of services and features.
Some of the highlighted features of Elgg are as follows:
Powerful Data Model
Elgg provides a powerful data model making the creation of different entities simple, yet flexible.
The granular activity stream API ensures your plugins can push the required content to your users.
Use Elgg’s powerful plugin API to build and add your required features.
Elgg handles your user management and relationship requirements.
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.
Elgg requires a web server (usually APACHE), the PHP scripting language, and a MYSQL database. It is advised to use the following versions:
- MySQL 5 or greater
- PHP 5.2 or greater with the following extensions:
- GD (for graphics processing: user and group profile icons plus many plugins)
- Multibyte String support (for internationalisation)
Web server with support for URL rewriting
Words from the Users
“Elgg social networking software has won my heart. I’m going to tell you why. I have been looking for a good social networking software that was not only decent but free. Elgg unlike alot of other software I was looking at offers it’s software absolutely free. IT may not have all the features that most social networking software offers but it is worth checking out.”
Mahara is an open source e-portfolio and a social networking system with a flexible display framework. It provides users with tools to create and maintain a digital portfolio of their learning, and social networking features to allow users to interact with each other. It also provides users a tool used to customize the way other people see the contents of your account called View Creator.
Features of Mahara
Aside from having a view creator Mahara offers the following features:
Mahara includes a file repository which allows users to upload multiple files and create Folders and sub-folders to manage the files.
A comprehensive blogging tool is provided in Mahara, where blogs and blog postings are considered Artefacts and may be added to a View. Blogging is easy for it supports WYSIWYG editor.
Mahara includes a resumé builder which allows users to create digital CV’s by entering information into a variety of optional fields.
Interface with Moodle
Mahara provides a single-sign on capability that allows users, at the option of the administrator, to be automatically logged in to both their Mahara and Moodle accounts by providing a username and password at only one of these sites.
Mahara operates with the following requirements:
- CPU: any modern CPU produced in the last few years is fine, the faster the better naturally. PHP pages are CPU limited, so faster CPUs mean quicker response times.
- Memory: 256MB at an absolute minimum. 1G or more is recommended.
- Disk: This will depend largely on how much disk quota you want each user to have. For a site of 1000 users, each with a 250M quota, you might need 50G to start with.
- Linux – any distribution should be fine, Debian or Ubuntu are recommended as they’re most regularly tested on, and even have debian packages.
- PHP – 5.1.3 or greater. You’ll need these PHP extensions also.
PostgreSQL – 8.1+ (recommended), or MySQL 5.0.25+ with InnoDB table support.
- Apache – 1.3 or higher, version 2 or higher recommended
Words from the Users
“This mahara ting issss killllinnnnggg it … Fulllly .” ~ kphizzle20 (Twitter)
“@donpresant I like the way you combine Moodle and Mahara elements to get the best of the 2 systems” ~ networking_lady (Tweetdeck)
Social engine is a social networking software powered by PHP and ZEND which allows user to create their own social network or online community. Main features include administration of small-to-mid scale social networks, complete customization abilities, unencrypted code, multilingual capability, and modular plugin/widget compatibility. It also supports messaging system, photo albums, video gallery and other file managing tools.
Social Engine Features
Some of the features of Social Engine offers users 100% control over their networks.
Drag-and-drop Site Designer
You can completely rearrange most areas of the site without having to write any code. You can place the widgets and plugins to columns you wanted to make(1-3).
Profiles contain multiple content sections which show profile information along with a member’s photos, blog entries, comments, groups, friends, statistics, and other items you decide to enable.
You can create profile accounts other than “member”, you can be a Musician and you will have to provide information about your craft for other people to see.
You can use plugins provided by third-party and still see available updates for the plugins.
- PHP 5.12 or newer
- PHP extensions: gd2, curl
- Safe mode must be OFF
- Memory limit: 32M+
- MySQL 4.1 or newer
- InnoDB table support
- Apache-based shared web hosting
- Php 5.26 or newer
- MySQL 4.1 or newer
- Apache-based VPS or dedicated web server
- mod_rewrite (for SEO-friendly URLs)
- memcached (speed boost)
Words from the users
SocialEngine has enabled us to bring our business to life. We highly recommend SocialEngine to anyone who wants to start their own online community.
~ Max Ryerson
Just a note of thanks for such a wonderful platform. It has been a pleasure to work with your product. I wish all software developers approached their products like you do. And on top of that your support has been exceptional.
~ Brent MacKinnon
Built using Ruby on Rails, is an open source social networking system that allows user to blog, upload photos with captions, site-search for friends and support messaging between users. It also offers Flickr and Youtube integration.
Almost all the things needed to maintain a social network is offered by LOVD just like the others but for someone who prefers using Ruby instead of PHP this is one good alternative.
These are the current features of LOVDbyLess:
- Follow a user, mutual following is friending.
- User-to-User Messaging
- Profile Comments
- User Blogs with Comments
- Photo Gallery with Captions
- Site Search for Friends
- Profile Bio and Information
- User Dashboard (Recent Activity of Friends)
- Emailed Activity
- Flickr Integration
- YouTube Integration
The main requirements of LOVDbyLess are Ruby and MySql only.
Is an open source content management system written in PHP that was originally a portal system but developed to be a web application platform. XOOPS is acronym for eXtensible object oriented Portal System. It allows user to start from a personal weblog to a social networking site.
Yogurt is the particular module that allows you to transform your blog made in XOOPS to a social networking site.
Features of XOOPS
it uses MySql to store data into the content management system.
Users can customize the site by choosing skins or themes and uploads of customized avatars.
Modules can be installed/uninstalled/activated/deactivated with a click using the XOOPS module administration system. There are hundreds of modules available for download.
- A web (www) server (Apache, IIS, Roxen, etc)
- PHP Version 4.1.0 or higher for XOOPS 2.0.x
- PHP version 4.2.0 or higher for XOOPS 2.2.x
- MySQL Database 3.23.XX or 4.X.XX
There are no specific hardware requirements to run XOOPS but people have XOOPS running successfully through the following platforms:
- Windows 98, 98SE, 98ME
- Windows 2003 Standard
- Windows 2003 Enterprise
- Windows 2000
- Windows XP
- Windows NT
- Mac OS X
Words from Users
“Top CMS for ease of use. Great as a base for developers, base system code easy to follow. “
Insoshi is an open source social networking platform written in Ruby on Rails, it is developed by Michael Hartl the author of RailsSpace. It allows users to share photos, comment on walls, blog and other things just as like the other social networking system provide.
The current available version of Insoshi offers the following key features:
- Activity feed
- Personal profiles with photo upload and comment walls
- Internal messaging system with read/replied/trashed messages
- Contacts list
- Blogs with comments
- Discussion forum
- Search for profiles, forums, and blogs
- Admin panel with site preferences
- Option for email verification and activity notifications
Using Insoshi requires:
- Ruby on Rails
Dolphin Smart Community Builder is an open source software that lets user to create any kind of social network with many easy to use features. Written in PHP, Dolphin allows user to use Flash and mobile applications and giving the the user full control of them.
Some key features of dolphin are as follows:
Video player and Recorder
Allows its members to record videos and share them with others.
Music Player, White board, Shoutbox and Desktop Apps
Provides members full blown music streaming, interactive white boards and shoutboxes.
It allows members to communicate well using the built in video chat.
- Linux/Unix (Red Hat, Debian, FreeBSD, Mandrake, etc.) or Windows OS
- Apache Web Server ver. 1.3 or higher.
- PHP 5.2.0 or higher.
- register_globals must be Off
safe_mode must be Off
exec() (executable files) must be allowed
allow_url_fopen should be On
allow_url_include should be Off
open_basedir should not have any value memory_limit should be 128M or higher
- mbstring, gd and xslt extensions must be installed.
- MySQL 4.1.2 and higher.
- The magic_quotes_gpc option must be disabled for Dolphin 7.x, but enabled for Dolphin 6.x.
- If security module is installed (such as mod_security for Apache), it should be able to be configured for specific folders (or disabled).
- Direct connection to boonex.com should be able to be established (i.e. connection without requiring proxy authorisation). This is required for license verification.
- GD library compiled with FreeType fonts (for photo processing) or ImageMagick as an alternative.
- Sendmail or Postfix programs for sending emails.
- Ability to create Cron Jobs.
- You should be able to run executable files (you would need it for ffmpeg.exe, which converts videos).
Words from the Users
“In the past, I’ve tried and worked with several social Web app projects. When I saw what Boonex was doing, it took me only a few hours to realize that I had found the foundation framework, not only for my own work but also for my clients. Think about it – Dolphin is killer combination, and it’s all automatic baby! It is awesome. But most of all, I think BoonEx products are so far ahead of the ones I’ve tried. To date, there is nothing that I’ve seen that comes close to what BoonEx has done.”
~ James Tadeo
Mixxt is an open source social networking system that lets user create a social network like facebook fast and made easy. It is a free alternative to NING. Mixxt allows you to customize your layouts, share media and files, event management and forum discussions.
Mixxt offers user quality features.
Community Management Features
- Customizable welcome emails.
- Activity feeds
- Decide who can access your network.
- Wikis, photo albums, file sharing
- Customize your design using layout manager
- Customize pages using CSS
Words from Users
“Those looking 2 manage a decent Facebook style site, try @mixxt. So far I’m loving it. Add files, links, have great control #sschat”
“@bethcagnol @lydbury I recommend mixxt.eu as a free alternative to ning”
Aroundme creates collaborative social sites rather than making a social networking site itself. It allows the group to create web pages and gives access to forums, wikis, guestbooks and blogs. It is customizable using XHTML, CSS, JAVA and PHP.
The main feature of AroundMe is to show the user his surrounding. It gives full list of establishments and businesses in the category selected.
AROUNDMe requires a web server running either Apache 1.3/2.x or IIS5/IIS6 with PHP5.x installed including Curl, BCMath and GD library with MySQL 4.1 or MySQL 5.0 database.
AROUNDMe uses a domain name / sub domain as your group. You need to own or have access to a domain name to install this product.
Words from the Users
“ AroundMe is simple to use and produces results fast. It’s a serviceable finder app, though it doesn’t do anything particularly ground-breaking. Since other apps offering more specialized searches can clutter up your home screen, AroundMe can consolidate those searches into a single free app.”
~Daniel P. Sama