WordPress Forum Plugins

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A forum on your website can increase visitor engagement and allow you to start a loyal community. There are a few WordPress forum plugins available. Let's take a look at them and see what's best.
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There are a few WordPress forum plugins available. Let’s take a look at them.


The new BBPress 2.0 forum plugin integrates beautifully with WordPress. The previous versions of BBPress required some tedious fiddling around to combine it with WordPress, however it is now completely plug-and-play. Just install the plugin and you will have all the integration done for you. It adds all the forum management menu items directly into the WordPress admin menu, and is very easy to use.

The admin section of BBPress uses the WordPress UI does it immediately makes sense and there is a very low learning curve, making it probably the easiest forum plugin to use.

This video takes you through most of the BBPress features:


This is definitely my favourite WordPress forum plugin.

Get BBPress


Simple:Press is a very well developed forum plugin for WordPress. It is not as easy to customise at BBPress however. By all means give it a try, it might have more features than BBPress. I just keep going back to BBPress however as it always covers my needs.


Get Simple:Press

Have you used any of these plugins? What’s your experience?

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Jean Galea

Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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15 Responses

  1. Stand alones are probably the way to go as they have more features. Ive looked into it and you can use phpBB with a plugin called WP-United, this links the user db etc.
    Im gonna give it a shot if I cant get SPF to run faster

  2. Thanks for the work on the videos! I am trying to get a forum going and this saved me a lot of time and research!

  3. Any thoughts on Buddy Press? Since you didn’t cover it here, I guess it doesn’t count as a “forum plugin”.

    1. I would consider Buddy Press more of a social network than a forum. A forum is a more specific tool than Buddy Press, although of course it might well be the case that Buddy Press might suit your vision better than a forum plugin, depending on what you want to build.

  4. Jean,

    Thank you – this is really helpful. bbPress looks like a good choice, but I am concerned about making it compatible with my theme. Not a coder, and I don’t have a sense for how extensive the changes to my theme files need to be. Can you please comment?

    1. Hi Greg, bbPress can be compared to customising a normal WordPress theme in terms of difficulty. You can also find themes that include a skin for bbPress, you might want to consider that. I think it’s not that difficult to customise if you have some basic knowledge of CSS.

  5. Looking at the videos Mingle looks like the easiest to setup. With BBPress I don’t like that you have to update your theme files for it to work properly if the theme is not compatible. Unfortunately, Mingle’s simplicity comes at the expense of functionality.

  6. I’ve tried to install BBPress and Mingle lately and to be honest BBPress at this stage at its first relase as a plugin, with zero documentation is unusable. I highly recomend using Mingle for now, until at least BBPress gets some decent documentation and tutorials.

    1. Thanks Jakub. If documentation is very important for you, yes I would go for Mingle, however as a plugin bbpress is definitely a good one, and it will only be a matter of time until documentation is available. In the meantime, you can dig into the functions themselves or ask the helpful people on the forum.

  7. Hi Jean,

    Thanks alot for the quick overview of the forum plugins that can be incorporated into WordPress.

    We’ve been thinking alot lately whether to add a forum to our website or not. Our first and probably last choice has always been bbPress 🙂

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