Looking for a little design inspiration? Need help with that tricky bit of CSS? Want feedback on your latest site mockup? There are forums that can help with practically any question you can come up with. There are forums for web design, web development, and every programming language, no matter how obscure.
These online communities are excellent places to exchange ideas and engage with fellow designers and developers at all levels. Joining one or more of these communities is a great way to catch up on the latest trends, share knowledge, network, and gain skills to up your game.
Joining web design forums is advantageous
Getting troubleshooting help and gaining new skills are good enough reasons to join web design and development communities, but there are even more benefits.
In many forums, you can build a reputation over time by contributing posts that other members rate as valuable.
The more you participate and the more value you contribute to the community, the more other members will begin to recognize and respect you.
Some people like to build up a reputation in a popular community as a way to promote themselves and their services. Where else can you troubleshoot problems, keep up on the latest trends, and build a reputation — all in one place?
How to choose a web developer or web design forum
Where should you spend your time? There are plenty of forums out there, but all are not created equal. Every forum has its own personality. Some are large and busy, with postings on a great variety of subjects, while others focus on narrow niche areas.
A good forum has:
- Good moderation and clear guidelines.
- Posts that are responded to quickly.
- A format that works for you (discussions vs. Q&A vs. articles and tutorials).
Your current career path may affect your choice of forum.
There are forums that cater to beginners and others that expect a more advanced perspective from members. You’ll be able to tell by the nature of the questions that other users ask and the quality of the answers.
Most forums center around threaded discussions, but some include areas that operate differently, such as design showcases or marketplaces. If you like those marketing aspects, that could be the thing that tilts you toward one forum over another.
Top web design forums
Although the following list is organized into sections, many forums cross boundaries, covering both web design and web development topics. We’ve also thrown in a few coding forums for when you run into a tricky programming roadblock.
Whatever type of forum you’re looking for, this list should help you pinpoint the online community that will best meet your needs.
Designer Hangout lists its mission as “creating the World’s most reliable brain trust for UX designers in a fast-paced age,” and the fact that it has over 15,000 members suggests it’s well on its way.
When you visit the site, you’ll quickly notice it’s invite-only; however, anyone can request an invitation to join. The bad news is that there’s a waiting list to get in, so it may be a while before you’re accepted.
Once inside though, you’ll find advice, discussions on the latest trends, and insights shared by some pretty bright minds. There’s also a real-time chat capability and a job board.
Graphic Design Forum (GDF)
This traditional-style forum boasts nearly 4,000 members and 35,000 posts.
You don’t have to create an account to browse the existing trove of advice, but you will if you want to fully participate. There’s also a special section called the Crit Pit, where you can post your designs and request critiques from other users.
Be aware, though: No self-promotion/job seeking is allowed. This forum is also indexed by Google, so anything you post there is essentially public.
Graphic Design Forums (UK)
If you need help with general graphic design questions, illustrations, logo design and brand Identity, fonts, or anything else related to graphic design, Graphic Design Forums is a great resource.
The site also delves into web design and has sections for specific hardware and software support. If you’re looking for work, this board just might hook you up through its Tenders & Services Required forum. With over 22,000 registered users and 21,000 threads, you’re sure to find something helpful here.
With more than 275,000 posts and 60,000+ members, WebDesignForums.net is a hopping place.
Posts are neatly organized into Web Design Help (this is where you can ask for website reviews), Design Software Help, Programming and Development Help, Web Marketing Help, Hosting and Server Setup and Other.
There’s also a collection of user-submitted articles and tutorials on topics such as Responsive Web Design and How to Make Transparent JPGs in Flash. The tutorials are listed by popularity (number of views), which means you may need to use the search function to find what you’re looking for.
The Web Design Forum
With just over 2,400 registered users, The Web Design Forum is cozier than some others, but still plenty busy. It’s cleanly organized into key sections: Web Design & Development, Tools of the Trade (hardware and software), and Business, Marketing & Networking.
Recent topics include: Becoming a front end web developer, a request for help creating an HTML/Bootstrap dropdown, and a question about what a web designer needs to do to comply with GDPR.
Top web development forums
Web design isn’t the only area with helpful forums. There are also plenty of forums for developers to hone their skills.
Everyone from seasoned professionals to absolute beginners is welcome at Webdeveloper.com. The active forum is divided into five sections: Client-Side, Server-Side, Website Management, Web Developer’s FAQs and Etc. Discussions extend from the highly technical to water cooler chat.
Under Website Management, recent topics include lots of threads on SEO topics, questions about hosting options for WordPress, and a discussion on increasing page load speed.
If you’re looking for a buzzing, active community, SitePoint home to over 1.3 million posts and thousands of active users, won’t let you down.
There’s also a Showcase where you can show off projects you’re particularly proud of. These are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are more than 20 different sections to choose from.
You can read without creating an account, but to post, you’ll need one.
The home page shows the latest posts, but the best way to find topics and threads relevant to you is by clicking the “Categories” tab on the home page. This will bring you to the list of sections, so you can dive into the one (or five) that suit you.
With more than 34,000 members, Webdevforums is one of the busiest web developer forums.
Slower forums include Graphic Design and the Tutorials sections. You are welcome to post a website review request here, but only after you’ve been a member at least seven days and have contributed 12 useful posts.
GoDaddy Community forums
While you will, of course, find a focus on GoDaddy products here, the value of the GoDaddy Community message boards extends far beyond that.
Critical topics such as SSL and Security, managing cPanel or Plesk hosting, and working with domains and DNS records are hot subjects. With more than 11,500 users and 27,000 posts, this is a very active community.
You may or may not be familiar with CoffeeCup, the HTML editor, but whether it’s your go-to or not, you’ll find the company’s forums valuable.
Most sections of the forum do focus on CoffeeCup products, but the general web design forum is also an active place. Recent discussions include conversations about GDPR compliance, how to generate a favicon, and where to find a helpful JQuery tutorial.
Digital Point brings a massive webmaster community to your desktop.
It hosts one of the most active discussion boards about search engines and how to optimize your site for them and achieve marketing success for your website.
You’ll also find helpful discussions on general marketing, payment processing, legal issues, pay-per-click advertising, and practically every other topic related to designing, developing or running a website.
There’s even an active Buy, Sell or Trade section, where you can sell your unused domains or sign up to do a job for someone else.
If you need an answer to a technical question that’s tied to a particular platform or technology and you need it fast, this is where specialty forums shine.
Bootstrap Community Forum
Sometimes you need to get right to a very specific topic, and if your question relates to Bootstrap, the Bootstrap Community Forum is the place to get it answered. Smaller and more focused than some other boards, this one has over 1,800 members.
The downside here is that there are more questions than answers, and quite a few posts go without any replies. Still, this can be a good resource for Bootstrap-specific questions.
If you have a nitty-gritty coding question, the Stack Overflow forum is for you. It is by far the largest online meeting point for programmers, with over 11 million registered users and 18 million questions already answered.
You can even offer a bounty, in the form of reputation points, if your question is particularly tricky or you need a quick answer.
Recent threads include: How to set up a self-signed certificate in a development environment, How to make a splash screen and a bunch of highly technical programming questions. If you need a coding forum or want to build your reputation on a respected platform, definitely check this one out.
WordPress Support Forums
If you have a WordPress question or just want to expand your knowledge, the official WordPress Support Forums should be your first stop. Sections include: Installing WordPress, Fixing WordPress, Developing with WordPress, Networking WordPress, Accessibility, and Localhost Installs, among others.
You can also find out how to contribute to WordPress, should you be so inclined.
Getting the most out of online communities
You don’t have to design and develop alone. By searching out forums that are a good fit for you, you’ll always have a place to get help, stay up to date, and make connections.
When you contribute to forums, make sure your posts are:
- Relevant. Say something that is on topic and helpful to others.
- New. Only post things that haven’t already been posted or given as an answer – especially in the same thread. Nothing turns a forum from useful to useless faster than the same question asked over and over.
- Meaningful. Don’t just post to get your name out there, say something substantive that engages others.
Be sure to scan over the forum’s FAQ to avoid committing a faux pas. For example, some forums allow you to include a signature in your post and others do not.
Forums are a powerful tool for connecting with others and building your knowledge and are a great resource to help you excel at web design and development.