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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 lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Candy

    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?

    • WPBeginner Staff

      Yes you can.

  • Lisa

    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.

    • WPBeginner Staff

      If you are using bbPress then they will not need to login again.

  • Matt T

    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.

  • WPBeginner Staff

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

  • Ugoxuqu

    Straight to the point. Thanks!

  • dario

    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

      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.

  • UNspoiled! Podcast

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

  • Raqs

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

  • Jason B

    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?

  • Christopher Martin

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

  • Michael

    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! :)

  • SeeSee

    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!!!

  • kevin vancolen


    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

  • Julie Hassett

    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

  • Phil Selwood

    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?