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How to Add a Forum in WordPress with bbPress

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How to Add a Forum in WordPress with bbPress

Bulletin boards and forums are good old reliable tools to build online communities. There are plenty of open source forum softwares that you can install on your website. However, if you are running a WordPress site then integrating a third party forum with WordPress can be a mess. bbPress is the answer to that problem. In this article, we will show you how to add a forum in WordPress with bbPress.

What is bbPress?

bbPress is a forum software built the WordPress way. It uses your existing WordPress core which makes it really easy to add a forum in WordPress with bbPress. It is extensible, so you can add additional add-on plugins to extend the functionality. bbPress is light-weight and faster than other popular open source forum softwares.

How to install bbPress

bbPress is available as a WordPress plugin. You can install it like you would install any other WordPress plugin. Simply log in to your WordPress admin area and go to Plugins » Add New . Search for bbPress and then select bbPress from results. Install and activate the plugin. Upon activation you will see the welcome screen for bbPress.

bbPress welcome page

Creating a Forum with bbPress in WordPress

Once installed, bbPress adds Forums, Topics and Replies menu items in your WordPress admin.

bbPress admin menu items

Click on Forum » New Forum. This will take you to a screen similar to WordPress post edit area. Provide a title for your forum and enter a little description of it. Then press the publish button.

Creating a new forum in bbpress

Displaying bbPress Forum in the Front End of WordPress

Now that you have created a few forums, it is time to display those forums on the front end of your WordPress website. Create a new WordPress page. Give this page a title, like Forum, Community, Support Forums, etc. Paste the following shortcode in your page:


Turn off comments and trackbacks on this page and then publish it.

Go to Appearance » Menus and add this page to your navigation menu.

Now when a user clicks on this page, it will show your main forum index.

Forum Index page in bbpress displayed in Twenty Twelve WordPress theme

Integrating bbPress with your WordPress Theme

In most cases, you would probably want to open your forum for new registrations. To do that you need to open your website for registrations.

Go to Settings » General, check the box next to “Any one can register” to allow registrations on your website.

Opening your bbpress forum for registrations

Now that your website is open for registration, the first thing that your forum participants would look for is a registration page. To create this simply create a WordPress page, and give it a title, e.g. Register. Add shortcode [bbp-register] and publish the page.

Another page your users would need is the lost password recovery page. Create another WordPress page, give it a title e.g. Lost Password. Add this shortcode to the page [bbp-lost-pass] and publish the page.

bbPress comes with a handful of widgets. Go to Appearance » Widgets to check those widgets. The most important widget that you would need is the (bbPress) Login Widget. Drag and drop Login Widget to your sidebar or any other widget area. Enter the URI(s) for the registration and lost password pages and save the widget.

bbPress log in widget settings

Now a login form with links to registration and lost password recovery pages will appear in your sidebar. Logged in users would see their usernames and a log out link instead of the form.

bbPress login form in sidebar

Managing bbPress Forum Settings

Unlike other popular forum software, bbPress has a very simplified configuration page. To manage settings for your bbPress forums, go to Settings » Forums. This is the bbPress settings page from where you can control several aspects of your forum.

bbPress forums settings page

The first option you would see on Forums Settings page is “Disallow editing after”. Default option for this setting is 5 minutes. This setting allows Forum participants to edit their posts after publishing. After this time they will no longer be able to edit their posts. However, a forum Keymaster or Moderator can over ride this setting.

The second option “Throttle posting every” 10 seconds is basically a forum flood protection measure. It allows you to control after how much time a new post should appear on the forum.

On the settings page you can configure forum and topic slug as well as the number of topics and posts to appear per page. You can also allow users to subscribe to topics or add topics as favorites.

User Roles in bbPress

bbPress comes with five pre-defined roles, each with different capabilities.

1. Keymaster – The website owner or the WordPress administrator is automatically assigned the Keymaster role when they install bbPress. A Keymaster can delete and create forums, can create, edit, delete all posts, topics, forums.

2. Moderators – Users with moderator user role have access to moderation tools, which they can use to moderate forums, topics, and posts.

bbpress moderator tools

3. Participants – This is the default user role, participants can create and edit their own topics and posts, they can favorite and subscribe to topics.

4. Spectators – Spectators have a read only access to public forums, topics and posts.

5. Blocked – When a user is blocked all their capabilities are blocked. They can still read publicly viewable topics and posts, but can not participate in the forums.

That is just how easy it is to create a forum in WordPress with bbPress. Ofcourse you can add other functionality by using over 100+ different bbPress plugins.

We hope that this article helped you learn how to add a forum in WordPress and how to install and configure bbPress. If you have any questions, best practice tips for working with bbPress or any other feedback, then please leave a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Isaac says:

    1. Please i have a wordpress blog before now and i want to create forum as a category on the site.. Will that be a good idea?
    2. When i choose the option ANYBODY CAN REGISTER, will it not affect my blog too because i am the only one that wants be posting on the blog, while forum anybody can post or register.

  2. Renu Bakshi says:

    For my site I am using woedpress 4.5.1 version and Modern Blogger Pro child theme of Genesis. I have installed and activated bbPress. But bbPress has not added Forums, Topics and Replies menu items in my WordPress admin. So, I can’t make forums.

    Please help…..

  3. Glen says:

    Is it possible to setup multiple forum pages? E.g one forum page for each admin member?

  4. Swagatam says:

    Thanks for this detailed info! I had a question which is perhaps not yet answered anywhere so far.

    I have a website hosted by Hostgator but it’s operated as a custom domain from my earlier blogger interface.

    I am interested to use my software which is lying idle in hostagtor to create a forum by using the method explained in the above article.

    Kindly advise, would this be possible without having a prior site.


  5. Projjal says:

    Thank you very much for this tutorial. Now i have built my forum. However i am not sure that should i noindex-follow my forum or index and follow my forum?
    Do let me know.

  6. vicky says:

    how to add theme in bbpress

  7. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this clear, concise manual for setting up bbPress. Your instructions were far superior to the guide provided on bbPress website. I’ll be reading your blog regularly now.

  8. mohanad says:

    Hi, I installed the forum and it is ok when I use it with my log in, but when I want to register as a new user it shows only an empty page!.
    what can I do to solve this issue??

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Try updating your permalinks. Go to Settings > Permalinks and click on save changes button without making any changes.

  9. seth says:

    Your post on How To Add a Forum…BBpress was very helpful and quickly got my forum all set up. A couple extra questions:

    – As shown, I added both a registration page and a lost password page, and inserted the proper shortcodes, and I added the login widget to my right sidebar. My understanding is that a new visitor to my site who wants to subscribe to & post on the forums, will see a username & login box in the right sidebar. plus the links Register and Lost Password. If they click Register and fill in their choice of User/Pass, will it then automatically be sent to my email for approval & verification?

    – AS Keymaster, when I want to start a new topic in one of my forums, I click on that forum title and it takes me to a page with an empty title & text editing box. Is that what subscribed users will see too, so that they may also easily get to start new topics?

    — On the Forums index page, how do we get the forum titles in that nice teal-blue color instead of black. It is taking the titles from Forums I created, and the WP text editor allows you to select text color for the content body text, but not for the title box?

  10. Kelly Drury says:

    I have installed bbPress on my website. I want to allow automatic registration. I clicked on “anyone can register” and set this for “participant” level. However, my website still requires users to enter their name and email address and then wait for an email with a link to a long password, etc. This is too cumbersome. I assume this is the manual sign up. If so, how do I get rid of this? In the automatic registration, can users simply establish their own user name and password and automatically be registered?

  11. Julie Maxwell says:

    Hi, I have it set up but the people that are requesting membership are not getting the emails. plus when I approve them on the backside, they are not showing up under members.

    Also, do I need both bbpress and buddy press or just one? and which is the best one.


    • WPBeginner Support says:

      For emails please see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending emails issue. bbPress and BuddyPress are both different software. They can work together too. You need to set them up based on your requirements.

      • Julie Maxwell says:

        Thank you. Which is the better software? also why am i not seeing approved members in the list?

        • Kimberly says:

          They are two different things that can run separately/independently. bbPress is a forum and BuddyPress is more like social network and discussion. You can have both or just one. I started off with both, but now I am not so sure I need BuddyPress. Can’t answer the other question….since I am just now installing it.

  12. Brian says:

    Hi, is it possible to create a forum where user access is only allowed by a certain subscription level defined in the membership rules of a WordPress site. For example a visitor purchases a level 3 subscription and by doing so they now have access to what is effectively a private forum.

    Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance.

  13. Doug says:

    I have followed your instructions and all went well until I published my forum (index) page. The formatting is all wrong. I don’t know if it’s due to my theme or some other reason. For your info., I am using a 3rd party child theme on a Genesis Framework. Also, I have installed the “bbPress Genesis Extend” plugin, but that hasn’t helped.


    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can switch to a default WordPress theme to see if it resolves the issue. If it does, then you may want to contact your theme’s support.

  14. Banks says:

    hello admin,i created the forum page succesfully,but when i post a new topic,its doesnt appear in the forum page. Any help?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You also need to create a forum first and then add a topic. The forum index page, displays forums not the topics.

  15. Pete Chapman says:

    Great forum plugin. Very easy to use, but is there anyway to lock a forum post ?

  16. Rahul says:

    Why dont you have installed any GOOD comment system…………something SOCIAL

  17. Fred says:

    Are there any GOOD/RELIABLE ways to allow forum users the ability to add/embed/play multimedia files…specifically images and audio? I have looked at reviews of rtMedia, but it seems very flaky.



  18. Katie says:

    Hi there! I’ve found your site to be very helpful in my discovery of which forum plugin to use. I’ve gone with BBpress…but seeing that it has issues with my template. The only issue is that you are not able to type anything to the topic text area…everywhere else you can. I know it’s my theme because when I change it to the default it works. Any ideas if this is an easy fix or not or do I need to scrap this forum plugin and move on to the next? I appreciate your time. Thank you!

  19. sheriff sarafa says:

    i own a website, which is not with wordpress, how do integrate the forum to this website?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can install WordPress on a subdomain and then use bbPress to create a forum. You can also look at other forum software like phpbb, invision board, etc.

  20. Jackie says:

    Thank you so much for not presuming I would know anything about forums.
    This was such an easy walkthrough and I have managed to create a forum on the site.
    Thanks again

  21. Sallianne says:

    Hi there,
    This was a great run down but I am looking for a way to export all my users and tidy it up. I (stupidly) loaded a whole lot of users with their first name as a username and all other users that were previously loaded use their email. I want them all to be emails and I want to email everyone (through my mail chimp) to tell them about the forum changes. Your advice or direction to your knowledge base would be appreciated.

  22. Mohit Chauhan says:

    I have a question for you all-
    Should i implement forum on my website or not,basically what is the need of forum? Does it increase my ranking or serps?

  23. Waqar Ul Hassan says:


    I have installed the bbPress as your instructions but when I try to access the forum page it redirect me to site home page, my site already have an member area via Wishlist Members plugin. Any help will be appreciated. thanks :)

  24. Friday Alex says:

    Nice information going on here.
    What if I choose to turn the whole theme to a forum site

  25. Tommo says:

    Brilliant intro to bbpress, thanks, so many tutes assume people know it all already, this was great.

  26. Candy says:

    I need a members only forum for a dog group. We have installed bbpress. Can I make it so only club members can access the forum?

  27. Lisa says:

    People have to login to the site where my forum will live. Can I make it so there does not need to be a second log in to use the forum? So basically once they are logged into the site, they can access the forum.

  28. Matt T says:

    Great Post, Thank you!. Forums are a great way to create original, unique content. I think many of us overlook the power that forums can create for a quality website.

  29. shel says:

    hi i have installed this on my wordpress site which is using a sitemile auction theme. My web developer has installed Vanilla forum for another part of my website. How can i use bbpress around the vanilla forum so that they are 2 seperate forums.

  30. Brian Kessler says:

    This was an awesome walk through. I had my forum up and running on my site in less than fifteen minutes. Thanks so much!

  31. Riyadh says:

    Hi.. I have installed bbpress plugins.But when i am logging to admin panel it’s redirect me to my home page(logged admin bar displaying) instead of dashboard.Deactivate the plugin all is ok.
    what i have to do for fixing this problem?

  32. WPBeginner Staff says:

    Please see the section “Displaying bbPress Forum in the Front End of WordPress”

  33. Siddardha Thammana says:

    Hi, nice tutorial and an easy beginning for me. Can you tell me how i can add a forum as a page to easily access it?

  34. Het Creatief says:

    I installed this plugin and I like it. But there is another question. I want de forum only visible for logged in users. But I can’t set it in the menu. If a user is logged out, you stil can see the forum in the menu. I set all of the forum and category to private, but it is still showing in de menu. Iff you click on it, you’ll get an 404 page. I just want it visible when a user is logged in.
    Is it possible?

    • Mark Shannon says:

      I use Nav Menu Roles plugin which allows you to set who can see what and you can choose to show menus to logged in users only.

  35. melanie bund says:

    Hi – i already have a login form on my site, how can intergrate bbpress log in with that?

  36. Ugoxuqu says:

    Straight to the point. Thanks!

  37. Measy says:

    Thank you this was great! I have created a forum. What if I want to create a new Forum Category? instead of “[bbp-forum-index]’ is there another code I can enter to start a new sub-forum on my website but on the same main page?

  38. Vasant Sakpal says:

    Hi, I have created forum as per your instruction and its goes well, I am very much thankful to your work.

  39. dario says:

    I created the forum that you say it in the forum prencipale with the shortcode nothing is written only this: Your Account Has the ability to post unrestricted HTML content. I think this plugin is not good for me, what can I do? thank you ..

    • WPBeginner Staff says:

      The plugin works fine and we think you have installed it successfully. Try creating a few forum posts and you will learn how to use it to meet your needs.

  40. UNspoiled! Podcast says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed walk-through. Such a massive help.

  41. Lavanya Rahul says:

    What an explanation. Hats off. Wish you were my Maths teacher :P I’d have passed atleast :D

  42. Lavanya Rahul says:

    Thanks a million times :) I created a forum now after wondering how to create one.

  43. Raqs says:

    wow this is a great help!
    installation just took a few minutes!
    thank you

  44. Jason B says:

    A reverse blog is so similar to a forum that I thought someone with bbPress might be able to help me make a reverse blog. I think the only difference is the number of comments is limited in a reverse blog. I would like to make it so that visitors wouldn’t have to click on a topic title to see more material, so that the page has the feel of a blog. Can anyone show me examples of this – and how to make one?

  45. Christopher Martin says:

    Perfect and easy instructions. Thanks! Just added it to one of my sites.

  46. Michael says:

    Man this made adding a forum to my website really painless and simple! Thanks for the advice! my website is if ya wanna check it out. Can’t wait to grow my forum! :)

  47. SeeSee says:

    Thank you for this very simple instructions. I have been struggling with trying to create a forum for weeks now but with this I did it in less than 20 mins…on a phone no less!!!

  48. kevin vancolen says:


    Thank you for this usefull information, my only concern is that users can access the WP dashboard, is there a way to let users create an account, without them having access to the WP dashboard ? maybe a seperate permissions plug in ?

    I’m looking forward to your answer ,
    Kind regards ,Kevin

  49. Julie Hassett says:

    Wow, this article was incredible. I had no idea how simple it was to create a discussion board in WP. I was dreading it. Now it’s done and I have a simple but functional discussion board on my website!

    Julie Hassett

  50. Phil Selwood says:

    So pleased I found this blog. The directions, and images, above were excellent and helped a lot!

    The standard registration for bppress seems to require only a username and email address.

    Is it possible to add First Name – Last Name as an extra requirement?



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