I’m incredibly excited to introduce Waterhole – a modern, Laravel-powered discussion platform.
Waterhole has a simple, extensible architecture; an inclusive, customisable design; and thoughtfully crafted features that streamline building healthy communities. It's made for brands, creators, and teams who want to build bespoke and tightly-integrated communities.
Waterhole is open source and free to try locally, but you must pay for a license to run it in production. This business model allows me to focus on developing and supporting a great product, and creates an opportunity for the wider Laravel ecosystem to provide hosting, customization, and consulting services.
The Philosophy Behind Waterhole
Waterhole is the product of years of experience building forum software and custom communities. It doesn't try to reimagine what online communities are supposed to be, but it puts the focus back on the things that matter: healthy discussion, tight integration, sustainable ownership, and inclusiveness.
For community managers, Waterhole integrates best practices for growing healthy communities directly into the core product. You can easily set up your community Structure with channels tailored for discussion, ideation, support, and more.
For end users, Waterhole has a lightning fast, inclusive, and resilient user experience, optimized for slow connections and older hardware (unlike many modern competitors). The design is clean and content-focused, and it's easy to navigate around the community and within discussions.
For business owners, Waterhole is a much safer bet than many other alternatives. Waterhole licenses are perpetual, meaning that you can keep using the version of Waterhole you paid for, forever. You are always in full control over your server, your code, and your data; the fate of your community is not tied to the whims of a large corporation, or the fortune of an unprofitable SaaS company.
It's been quite a journey since then, involving a lot of iteration to work out exactly what I wanted to build. I'm very proud of the product that I'm releasing today and I can't wait to keep making it better. Let me know your ideas!