Which Forum Plugins Work Best for WordPress?

Are you considering turning your WordPress website into a forum or adding a forum to it? If so, the right plugin can make all the difference. There are plenty to choose from, but they are certainly not all equal. Here’s a look at the top choices for WordPress forum plugins.

BuddyPress

BuddyPress

A very popular and powerful choice, BuddyPress provides many benefits for your forum. It will allow you to create a social network type of design and it’s an official WordPress plugin. The coding and practices used within the plugin follow the WordPress standards.

Some of the advantages of this plugin include:

  • User-friendly and easy to integrate into any theme
  • Comes with plenty of plugins to help with functionality and customization
  • Ability to add a points system for better user engagement
  • Helps users create profiles, groups, activity streams and more

The only real issue with BuddyPress comes into play when you try to move it to a different platform. This can be very challenging and there’s not much help found for doing so. However, this is one of the best choices for a forum with a WordPress site. It’s very feature rich and very user-friendly.

CM Answers

CM Answers

Those looking to create an answer-style forum can use the CM Answers plugin to do so. This type of plugin will allow you to create an active community asking and answering questions. It’s a free plugin and has plenty of features to allow you to get set up fast.

Some of the advantages of the CM Answers Plugin include:

  • Easily integrates into most themes
  • Allows users to vote on both answers and questions
  • The premium version provides a ton more features with profiles, comments, social medial login and the best answer

This plugin does limit you to a Q&A style forum and the best features are found within the premium version. However, you can get up and running quickly.

bbPress

bbPress

Another official WordPress plugin, the bbPress plugin provides a very easy to use choice. It’s known as one of the best choices for creating a powerful forum with plenty of features.

Some of the advantages of this forum plugin include:

  • Created specifically for WordPress and uses the same standards for coding as WordPress
  • Will work with any WordPress theme
  • Provides over 100 plugins for customization and functionality
  • Very fast and very lightweight

The only downfall of the plugin is that it’s not as feature rich as a CMS created for forums, such as vbulletin or phpBB. However, if you’re using WordPress, this plugin will get you as close to a CMS created for a forum as you can get with a plugin.

WP Symposium

WP Symposium

An alternative plugin to the BuddyPress plugin for WordPress is the WP Symposium plugin. This plugin allows you to create many social features including forums and groups.

Some of the advantages of this plugin include:

  • Upgrade to premium for better support and more features
  • Provides integration with Facebook
  • Allows for events, alerts, galleries and other features
  • Comes with multiple templates

This plugin does require a bronze membership to get many of the best features, however. It’s a very good choice as a free plugin, but the upgrade really makes the WP Symposium plugin very feature rich and worth using.

DW Question & Answers

DW Question Answers

Another plugin allowing you to create a question and answer style forum is the DW Question & Answers. This plugin is very powerful and gives you plenty of benefits.

Some of the advantages of this plugin include:

  • Allows you to use tags and categories for questions, which helps with your overall SEO
  • CAPTCHA support provides protection against spam
  • The forum can be a support forum for your website
  • Users can vote on questions, answers and comments

The only real disadvantage to this plugin is the limitation to the Q&A style of forum. If you plan to use this style, anyway, the DW Question & Answers plugin may be the right choice for your needs.

All of these WordPress plugins are very powerful. They will allow you to create a forum on your WordPress website for your users, for support, as a social network or in the Q&A format. Regardless of your choice, they are all top forum plugins for WordPress and provide plenty of great benefits.

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