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How to Add a Forum in WordPress with bbPress

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Do you want to add a forum in WordPress with bbPress?

Forums are a great way to boost user engagement and build a community around your site. This can keep visitors coming back to your WordPress blog and grow your audience.

In this article, we will show you how to add a forum to your site with bbPress.

Adding a forum in WordPress using bbPress

Why Add a Forum to Your WordPress Website?

A forum allows visitors to sign up, start threads, post replies, and connect with each other. When people engage with your content, they are going to spend more time on your site, so a forum can increase your pageviews and reduce the bounce rate.

An active forum can help build brand loyalty and get you more repeat visitors. If you make money online blogging with WordPress by showing ads, then an active forum can also increase your income.

If you run an online store, then a forum is another way to support your customers. Many people prefer to post their questions in a forum instead of calling customer service staff, so a forum can improve the quality of your customer support.

Forum members may even help each other out by sharing their own solutions, which will improve the customer experience without any extra work from you.

With that being said, let’s see how you can add a forum in WordPress with bbPress.

How to Add a Forum in WordPress With bbPress

The easiest way to add a forum to your WordPress website is using bbPress. It is the best WordPress forum plugin and has everything you need to create, moderate, and maintain an online discussion board.

A forum created using bbPress

bbPress also works with any WordPress theme. In fact, many of the best WordPress themes come with custom bbPress styles. For more information, see our expert pick of the best WordPress themes for bbPress.

How to Create a New Forum

First, you’ll need to install and activate the bbPress plugin. If you need help, then please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Forums » Add New.

Creating a bbPress WordPress forum

To start, type in a name for the new WordPress forum.

This will be visible to visitors, so you’ll want to use a title that describes what the forum is about.

For example, the following image shows three forums called Entertainment, General Chat, and Music, on a page known as the forum index.

WordPress forums created using bbPress

The title will also be used in the forum’s URL, so it’s smart to think about SEO and include relevant keywords where possible.

You can also add an optional description by typing into the main post editor. This description will appear on your site’s forum index page.

bbPress WordPress forums

By default, bbPress forums are public, which means everyone can see the forum, including people who haven’t registered with your WordPress website. This can encourage people to sign up and join the conversation.

However, sometimes, you may want to restrict access to a forum. For example, you might create a private forum for students who’ve purchased your latest online course.

To create a forum that only registered users can access, open the ‘Visibility’ dropdown and choose ‘Private.’

Changing the bbPress forum visibility settings

Note: The ‘Visibility’ dropdown also has a ‘Hidden’ option that only gives moderators and bbPress keymasters access. This setting allows you to remove a forum from your site without deleting its contents, similar to setting a live post back to ‘Draft.’

Create Forum Moderators

Next, you may want to add moderators. This WordPress user role allows people to edit and delete posts by other users, edit your forum, and manage the forum tags.

To give someone the moderator role, simply start typing their username into the ‘Forum Moderators’ field. To add multiple moderators, simply separate each name with a comma.

Adding moderators to a WordPress forum

If the person doesn’t already have an account, then check out our guide on how to add new users to WordPress.

Organize Your WordPress Forums

If you are creating multiple forums, then you may want to organize them into a parent-child structure. For example, you might create a ‘Customer Support’ forum and then have a separate child forum for each WooCommerce product.

By default, bbPress creates each forum as a parent forum. To turn it into a child, simply open the ‘Parent’ dropdown and choose the forum that you want to use as the parent. This is similar to how you create categories and subcategories in WordPress.

Child and parent WordPress forums

When you are happy with how the forum is set up, click on the ‘Publish’ button.

You can create more forums by repeating the process described above. When planning your forms, it may help to think about the keywords you want to rank for.

By encouraging members to talk about particular topics, you may be able to improve your WordPress SEO by including lots of relevant keywords in an organic way.

For example, if you want your website to show up when people search for ‘best home gym equipment’, then you might decide to create a ‘Home workouts’ or similar forum.

How to Add the bbPress Forum Index to Your WordPress Website

bbPress creates a forum index automatically, which contains links to all your forums. To see this ready-made page, simply add ‘forums’ to the end of your site’s URL, such as

You can also add the forum index to any area of your site, which gives you more control over how it looks. For example, you might want to design a custom page using a drag and drop WordPress page builder like SeedProd, and then embed the forum index.

You can add the index to any page or post using the [bbp-forum-index] shortcode.

For more information on how to place the shortcode, see our guide on how to add a shortcode in WordPress.

How to Add Forums to the WordPress Menu

To help visitors find your forum, we recommend adding it to your site’s main navigation menu.

To update your site’s menu, simply go to Appearance » Menus. In the dropdown, select the menu that you want to edit and then click ‘Select.’

The WordPress menu settings

If you want to add a link to a specific forum, then click to expand the ‘Forums’ section.

You can then check any forum in this section and click on the ‘Add to Menu’ button.

Adding a forum to your WordPress menu

If you’ve created lots of forums, then there might not be enough space in the menu, even if you are using a custom navigation menu or a dropdown menu.

In this case, you can add a link to the forum index so visitors can choose the forum they want to visit.

Simply click to expand the ‘Custom Links’ section and then add the index’s link to the ‘URL’ field. Remember, this is simply your site’s domain name with ‘/forums’ on the end, such as

You’ll also need to type in the ‘Link Text,’ which will appear in the menu. Visitors will see this label, so you’ll want to use something descriptive.

Adding custom forum links to a WordPress menu

After that, click on the ‘Add to Menu’ button.

When you are happy with how the menu is set up, click on ‘Save Menu.’ Now, if you visit your site, you’ll see the updated menu in action.

A WordPress menu with a forum link

How to Allow User Registration on Your WordPress Forum

Even if you’ve created a public forum, people will still need to register before they can post. This means you’ll need to allow user registration on your site if you haven’t already.

After that, you’ll need to create a registration page so visitors can sign up for your forum.

bbPress comes with a built-in user registration form that you can add to your site. Simply open the page or post where you want to place the form and create a new shortcode block.

You can then add the following shortcode: [bbp-register].

Adding a bbPress shortcode to your WordPress website

For step-by-step instructions on how to place the shortcode, please see our guide on how to add a shortcode in WordPress.

You can now publish or update the page to make the form live. If you visit the registration page while logged into your account, then you’ll see a ‘You are already logged in’ message.

Viewing the forum registration page as a logged-in user

Try visiting the same page in your browser’s incognito tab or when logged out of your WordPress account.

Now, you’ll see the user registration form instead.

The bbPress user registration page

Next, you’ll need to give visitors a way to recover their accounts by creating a password reset page. Simply open the page or post where you want to add the bbPress password reset form or create a new page.

Then, create a shortcode block and add the following code: [bbp-lost-pass].

Creating a password recovery page for your WordPress website

When you are happy with how the page looks, click on ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ to make your changes live.

To see the form in action, simply log out of your account or visit the password recovery page in an incognito tab.

A password recovery page for a WordPress forum

Finally, you’ll need to add a login form so that registered users can log in to their accounts and post on your forum.

Thankfully, bbPress comes with a ready-made login widget that you can add to any widget-ready area. This allows visitors to access their account from any page on your WordPress blog or website.

To add the widget, go to Appearance » Widgets. Then, find the area where you want to show the login widget and click on its arrow to expand.

Adding the bbPress widget to WordPress

After that, go ahead and click on the blue + and search for ‘bbPress Login Widget.’

When the right widget appears, drag it to the area where you want to show the login form.

The bbPress login widget

This form can also redirect visitors to your site’s registration and lost password pages, so make sure you add these URLs to the widget’s fields.

After adding this information to the ‘Registration URL’ and ‘Lost Password URL’ fields, click on the ‘Update’ button.

The WordPress widget editor

Try visiting your site while logged in, and you’ll see a ‘Log out’ link plus your username and user avatar.

If you visit your website while logged out, then you’ll see the login form with links to the registration and password reset forms.

An example login form for a WordPress forum

Managing bbPress Forum Settings

Unlike other popular forum software, bbPress has a very simple configuration page. To manage the settings for your bbPress forums, simply go to Settings » Forums.

Forum settings page

The default options on this page should work well for most forums. However, there are a few key settings you may want to change.

By default, a member can only post to your forum once every 10 seconds, which helps protect against spammers and bots. However, you can make the delay longer or shorter by typing a different number in the ‘Flooding’ field.

The bbPress settings screen

Out-of-the-box, bbPress lets users edit their posts for 5 minutes after publication. This gives members a chance to fix any spelling mistakes or other obvious errors.

You can give forum visitors more or less time by typing a new number into the ‘Editing’ box.

However, you’ll typically want to avoid giving members too much time, as they might go back and change a post someone has already replied to. This can make the thread difficult for other forum members to read and understand.

It’s also a good idea to look through the ‘Forum Features’ section, which has all the features you can add and remove from your forums.

Add remove forum features

For example, bbPress allows visitors to embed videos from popular platforms like YouTube and Facebook. However, if this affects your forum’s page loading speed, then you may want to try disabling the video embed feature.

You can also change how many topics and replies bbPress shows on each page by typing new numbers into the ‘Topics and Replies Per Page’ section.

Pages that have lots of content may take longer to load, but clicking through lots of different pages can be frustrating. With that being said, you may want to try different settings to see what works best for your forum.

Changing how many topics and replies appear on each forum page

If you do try different forum settings, then we recommend tracking visitors to your WordPress site to see how they respond to these changes.

If long threads with lots of comments do slow down your site, then you may also want to see our top tips on how to speed up WordPress performance.

Similarly, you can change how many topics and replies bbPress shows on your RSS feed.

There are some more settings you may want to look at, but this should be a good start for most WordPress forums. After working your way through the settings page, don’t forget to click on ‘Save Changes’ to store your settings.

Saving your bbPress settings

Extending and Promoting Your bbPress Forum

Now you’ve created a bbPress forum, it’s time to promote it and get lots of new members.

Let’s look at some plugins that can help grow your online forum more quickly.

1. RafflePress


There are many ways to build your audience, but a viral giveaway can give you instant results.

RafflePress is the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market, and it allows you to easily run contests on your forum. It also comes with social media integrations for all the most popular platforms so you can introduce your forum to a wider audience.

Running a Twitch giveaway in WordPress

To learn more, see our step-by-step guide on how to create a viral giveaway contest.

2. MemberPress


At some point, you may want to make money from your forum by selling subscriptions. For example, users might buy a membership to unlock extra features.

That’s where MemberPress comes in.

MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin, and it has everything you need to monetize your WordPress forum. With MemberPress, you can create as many subscription levels as you want and accept payments using major gateways, including Stripe and PayPal.

For more details, please see our complete guide on how to make a membership website.

3. MonsterInsights

The MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin

By monitoring your forums, you can learn more about your visitors. For example, you might create support forums for the different products on your online marketplace.

If lots of people are visiting a particular support thread, then this suggests all your customers are experiencing the same problem.

MonsterInsights is the best analytics solution for WordPress that lets you set up analytics in just a few clicks. With MonsterInsights, you can see all the actions people take on your forum, including which threads they visit.

To learn more about monitoring your forum, please see our step-by-step guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.

4. WPForms


Every forum needs a contact form so members can get in touch if they have any questions or want to learn more about your products.

WPForms is the best contact form plugin for WordPress. It comes with a ready-made contact form template that you can add to your website with just a few clicks.

WPForms also has a drag-and-drop editor, so you can completely customize the template without having to write a single line of code.

The WPForms drag and drop editor

For more details, see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress.

You can even use WPForms to create surveys and polls for your members so you can get feedback and find out how to improve the user experience.

We hope that this article helped you learn how to add a forum in WordPress with bbPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to track visitors to your WordPress website or check out our expert pick of the best quiz plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

197 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
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  2. Mrteesurez says

    This shows how powerful WordPress is, from blog to ecommerce to forums and communities.

    I think we also have buddypress for this purpose which is one I use or is there anything different from bbpress and buddypress as I see that to do the same purpose. (community website)

  3. Polly says

    a helpful page thank you. I’ve got a bbpress forum set up but I’m feeling confused about the difference between categories and forums. If I’ve got lots of categories set up inside my forum, I can’t see how to add topics to them. Can topics be added to categories?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Topics should be able to be added to a category if you’ve added categories to your forum. Categories are subsections to help organize the content


  4. Deborah says

    Hi, thanks for this article, but my users can’t login because my email function is not working.
    What do I do?

  5. Danijel says

    I set everything up , and login widget, and when click on register I got blank page with this link listed in bar: about:blank#blocked
    ? Do you know how to fix this and what id blocking the option to register. I set in setting the option that everyone can register as subscriber.

  6. Marc says

    I have a host gator site , one of the default pages is a blog page. I am interested in converting this blog page to a forum page. Can I get a quick overview how this can be done ?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would edit your menu to link to the forum page of your could not set a posts page if that is what you’re wanting to do.


  7. Christian says


    Is it possible to just give access to a specific group of members? The members only should be able to read and write within the forum.

  8. Emmanuel Viardo says

    I have a WordPress blog and recently put another registered domain in as an add on domain. How do I install WordPress bb on this add on domain.

  9. Numan says

    I want to create a forum but I want to use buddy press is it better than bbpress or which theme will be perfect for it and my last question is should I use subdomain for my forum
    This article is last updated since 2013 I hope you will write a new one also using other plugins and themes
    Please reply

  10. Pawan Kr Singh says

    The details above were really user friendly and immensely easy to follow. I have successfully configured my web site using your instructions. Thank you so much for such articles. I would additionally wish to learn how to add user account login and registration on my store or blog page. Waiting to hear from you soon.

  11. Dilfgem says

    Good but i am running entertainment blog before so i want to add a forum page there , please how can i display the forum in my entertainment landing page so people will just click on the forum name then will now refer them to forum where registration or log in will take place

  12. Patricia May says

    I already have user registration on my site, how can I set up bbpress so my registered users dont have to register again for the forum.

  13. Yogen Basnet says

    I can start off by saying, thank you so much for this nice piece of information.

    I like bbPress but I love Question2Answer. This is the reason why I am unable to decide which one would be more community driven.

    Feature wise I think question2Answer rocks but support and Integration wise bbpress is the best. Could you write your view on this so that I can analyze and make a rightful decision?

  14. muazzam says

    Very simple and easy tutorial i have followed all this procedures but if i click the registar button it shows nothing found on the page.

    Please how can i add the registration?

  15. Martin Rathmanner says


    my Page uses WP-Members to limit some Content to registered users only

    If i show the forum pages only to “members” – do they need to register to bbPress again to post/create?


  16. Mo says

    is there a wp plugin that can show thumbnails of post content previews in the admin panel?

    I am familiar with the plugin ‘Featured Image Admin Thumb’,but it is not what I need.

    I am looking for a similar concept, however I need to preview the actual post content via a thumbnail so I can quickly review actual post content.

    Any suggestions?


  17. Nana Kwenu says

    Am grateful for the article, God bless you. After following this article to create a forum with bbpress, my register page and lost password page comes empty, What should I do please.

  18. Peter says

    The instructions are very clear but registration doesn’t work. If I visit my site and try to register I get the following error:

    “Authorization Required

    This server could not verify that you are authorized to access the document requested. Either you supplied the wrong credentials (e.g., bad password), or your browser doesn’t understand how to supply the credentials required. ”

    I’ve been working on this problem long before I came to this site. I’ve been to bbpress support forums. People say it’s a server issue and to contact my host. I’ve been to my host and they are no help. They referred me to the bbpress forums. I told them I had been to the forums and then they asked me

    “Is bbPress a plugin which requires outgoing connection from the server to it’s API?”

    I think they asked that question because they knew I wouldn’t know the answer and it would end the conversation. Do you know the answer to their question?

  19. Jamal Smith says

    Hello. Thank you for this super clear explanation.
    Somehow I don’t get the email with my password.
    Have I done something wrong ?

    And also is it possible to change the language?

    Thank you

  20. marjan says

    I’ve followed the instructions but oddly enough when someone registers they have acces to the wordpress dashboard (and see the black bar above the site). I only want them to have access to the forum. Where did i go wrong??

  21. Wendy says

    Thank you for this information. Is there an additional plug-in or way to create forum categories.

    Category A
    Forum 1
    Forum 2

    Category B
    Forum 3
    Forum 4

  22. Inna says

    Actually it’s hard to build something unique using a theme. I couldn’t sort it out.
    A friend of mine showed me a good theme, I tried it out and managed to create something. Turned out that it required a bit more effort to create a good site.

  23. Heather Brooks says

    EXCELLENT post. This article made the difference for me. I literally followed it step by step, and got my forum up and running in less than 15 minutes. No video needed, in my opinion.

  24. VoN says

    This really helped thanks. Eternally grateful. Setting up my forum was a breeze and it was just because of your grand simple and thorough help. Thanks again.

  25. Martin says


    I am using pilotpress to run a membership site and I would like to include a forum without people having to re-log in (as they have done it via pilotpress). Do you have any suggestion for doing this integration?



  26. Iwuala Valentine says

    Thanks so much because you really help me, am so much in love with all your posts because the are all helpful and straight to the topic

  27. michael solomon says

    thanks for this article. please if i click on any topic on my forum it usually take me back or rather redirect me to my main home page.

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