Building online forums requires a lot of patience and sometimes more than average technical knowledge. For beginners this usually means learning a new software system from the ground up. What if we told you that you can build a robust online forum within your familiar WordPress CMS? In this article, we will show you the best forum plugins for WordPress.
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When it comes to integrating a forum into WordPress, bbPress is handsdown the best plugin for the job. It is built the WordPress way and uses the existing WordPress core to power your forum. We have a tutorial on how to set up bbPress in WordPress.
- Built for WordPress, bbPress utilizes the same WordPress core and follows the same coding standards as WordPress.
- Integrates with any WordPress theme without any painful modifications.
- Nearly a 100+ plugins available to do just about anything you want.
- Since it does not have a lot of bloat, bbPress is fast and lightweight.
- Not as feature rich as full fledged forum CMS like phpBB, Vanilla Forums, vbulletin.
BuddyPress allows you to build your own social network with in WordPress. Just like bbPress, BuddyPress is also an official WordPress plugin. It follows the same coding practices and standards as WordPress.
- Easily integrates into any WordPress Theme.
- Plenty of plugins to extend the functionality.
- Creates activity streams, user profiles, social connections, groups, etc.
- Add a points system to ignite user engagement.
- It could be quite challenging to move a BuddyPress site to some other platform.
- It is not as well documented as WordPress and finding help can be difficult.
WP Symposium is an alternative to BuddyPress. It includes social networking features integrated into groups and forums.
- Premium support available by upgrading to premium membership.
- Includes features such as events, gallery, alerts,
- integration with Facebook, etc.
- Multiple style templates come builtin with the plugin
- Many useful features need bronze membership.
- Plugin adds a notice when a bronze feature is used on the site.
CM Answers allows you to build a Q & A community on your WordPress site. The basic free plugin comes with enough features to quickly set up a Stack Exchange like forum on your website.
- Integrates seamlessly with most WordPress themes.
- Users can vote on questions and answers.
- Premium version has a lot more features including the ability to choose best answer, profiles, comments, social media login, etc.
- Your forum is limited to Q&A format.
- Most useful features are available for the premium version.
- Some reviews on the plugin’s page indicate that users found it difficult to use.
DW Question Answers allows you to create a question answer site with WordPress.
- Allows question categories and tags. This gives your site an SEO boost with user driven content.
- Users can vote and comment on answers.
- CAPTCHA support helps you combat spam.
- Can be used as support forum.
- Your forum is limited to Question/Answer format.
We hope this article helped you find the best forum plugin for WordPress. As we said earlier, building an online community requires patience and consistency among other technical requirements. We wish you best of luck with your new forum.