Free Social Network Software

Create your own social network/media website

Free Social Network / Media Software

If you have ever fancied creating a social network website, either for your own group of friends, school or company, or even because you want to compete with Facebook and Twitter, the software/scripts listed on this page let you do it without having to write your own program from scratch. Such scripts vary in the features supported (just as the features of the different social media sites vary too), but they generally allow for some sort of user-initiated posts and interaction around those posts.

Note that if you merely want a discussion forum for your website, and don't want the additional features listed below, you may also want to take a look at the list of free PHP forum scripts and free Perl forum scripts. If you only want users to comments on posts you write, you are probably looking for blogging software instead, in which case you should read How to Create a Blog for a quick way to get started.

Alternatively, if all you want is a means for your visitors to rate articles or photos (or whatever) on your website, take a look at the Free PHP Rating Scripts page. You don't need a full-blown social media software to do simple things like that.

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Free Social Media Software

Mastodon New

Mastodon is a microblogging platform (like Twitter), where you can publish text posts together with pictures, video, audio and polls; follow friends; etc. It is interoperable with other servers that implement ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol. Your server must have Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Redis, and Node.js. (See their site to read the specific minimum versions of those software that you need.) The software is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License, which I understand to mean that in addition to the usual GNU General Public License terms, if you modify the Mastodon software, you must allow your users to download the modified source code.


Elgg is an open source social networking engine that allow you to set up your own social media site or social app. It supports user profiles, avatars, friends, activity streams, RSS feeds, private messages, file repositories, blogging and microblogging (like Twitter), message boards, etc. If you can't find a feature in the basic installation, there are also additional plugins and themes available which might have the facility you need. The software is free, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This PHP software requires MySQL, cron, and needs to be installed on a web server that supports URL rewriting (like Apache and Nginx, both of which are the only servers officially supported).

Open Source Social Network

The Open Source Social Network, or OSSN, features groups (including group cover photos), photo galleries, news feed, wall posts, live chat, support for advertisements, "likes", friend requests and invitations, search, user block and poke systems, etc. This program requires PHP and MySQL on an Apache web server.

HumHub (Community Edition)

HumHub lets your users post, follow others, "like" stuff, share files and content, search for people and discussions, etc. You can also organize your users in groups. The software requires PHP and MySQL. You may have to disable their style sheets in your web browser if you have difficulty reading their website. (At the time I write this, the legibility of the text on their site is very low, with faint, light grey text on a white background and the occassional white text on a light background.) For example, in Firefox, you can temporarily use the "No style" setting in the "View, Page Style" menu so that you can comfortably read what they say.

thenewboston Social Network

This social network software allows your users to view posts, images and videos from their friends, communicate with others via private messaging or real-time chat, create and manage their own pages, search (eg for friends, pages, forum posts), participate in forum discussions, etc. It also includes some Bitcoin-related tools where your users can buy or sell items with Bitcoin, and where advertisers and publishers can buy and sell advertisements, etc. The program is in PHP. The last update to the code appears to have been in 2015, so I'm not sure if it's being updated any more.


This was the source code for Reddit in 2016 and earlier. It was frozen in 2017, and the developers no longer plan to update the version available here to reflect the actual code used on the "live" Reddit. It depends on you having numerous things installed or available, including PostgreSQL, Cassandra (another database), Python, RabbitMQ (a message broker software implementing the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol, or AMQP), HAProxy (load balancer), stunnel (for HTTPS) and many more. You will also gcc (the GNU C/C++ compiler) to compile some Python modules. Based on the requirements given, I suspect that you will need a dedicated server to run this rather than just a normal shared web hosting account.


This was the source code for Slashdot in 2009 and earlier. The developers no longer update the version here with the actual code used for the "live" Slashdot. The software essentially lets you create a sort of user-moderated forum oriented around news that users post. The code is written in Perl and uses a MySQL database. It requires an Apache web server with mod_perl installed (although you may have to rebuild mod_perl from scratch to configure it to work with the Slash code, which may mean that you will need a dedicated server for this instead of a normal web hosting account) and lots of Perl modules. There are probably also other dependencies.


Rehash is the source code for SoylentNews. It is derived from the original Slash code (see elsewhere on this page), and has been partially rewritten (to quote from their site) "to increase functionality [and] improve usability", and to make it work with modern versions of the software it depends on (namely, Apache, Perl and mod_perl). Like the original code, it requires MySQL.

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