Are you looking for a WordPress forum plugin to create an online discussion board at your site?

Whether you are looking for a powerful solution to handle your huge community or just wanting a small place for your customers or readers to chat.

Choosing the Best WordPress Forum Plugin.

Any WordPress Plugins require testing to figure out whether you’re going to like the user experience and enjoy the way it appears on the front-end of your site. This is especially true when choosing to have a forums implemented into your site and since you’ll have to manage the community and make sure that the forum looks nice so people want to come back for more.

So, this WordPress Wednesday, I’ve collected five forum options that you can test them for yourself to see which option is best for you.

1. bbPress

Bbpress

bbPress is the first and original WordPress forum plugin, and this plugin was launched wayback in 2004 as a solution WordPress.org support forums which it is still being used today. Since then, it has been updated to keep with the times and is available as a free plugin through WordPress.org.

The core bbPress plugin is lightweight, and there aren’t a lot of features there, bbPress uses custom post types to help you to manage forums and topics plus it will give to an essential working forum, as it’s pretty barebones.

But, what makes bbPress flexible is the fact that there’s a vast range of third-party extensions. So if you need to have some extra functionality, there’s a decent chance that you can find a third-party extension solution for it. Also, if you want to create a more social feel to your forum, you can integrate bbPress with BuddyPress that will add more detailed profiles, private messaging, and more.

There’s a live demo of bbPress that you and test over at the WordPress.org support forums.

Price: Free but there are some premium third-party extensions

2. wpForo

Wpforo Forum

wpForo is a freemium forum plugin that comes with a some great built-in feature list, but also the ability to integrate with WordPress plugins like BuddyPress and Ultimate Members to boost up the social feel of your forum.

This plugin comes from the same developer as the wpDiscuz comment plugin, the core of wpForo is free, and then there are various add-ons that you can purchase as you needed.

In the free version it gives you a drag and drop editor to set up your forums and categories, as well as settings area where you can:

  • Restrict access to certain forums
  • Create a custom reputation system based on post counts
  • Translate your forum text strings (great for localisation)
  • Customise the looks of your forum
  • and more

While you’ll find that the premium add-ons has features such as:

  • Ads manager
  • Polls
  • Private messaging between users
  • Automatic blog cross-posting
  • Attachments and embeds
  • User custom fields

Price: Free for core version.  Premium where you can purchase individual add-ons or a bundle starting at $99.00

3. Asgaros Forum

Asgaros Forum

Asgaros Forum is a lightweight and is completly free forum plugin, It has a lot of similarities that you find in wpForo, but it doesn’t have quite as many features.

This one can be a really great option if you just want something simple that looks good out of the box, but it doesn’t have the deep feature list that some of the other plugins offer.

With Asgaros, you get some excellent features like:

    • Polls
    • Integrated ad management
    • User groups
    • View counts
    • Activity feed
    • A pretty nice user profile page

This forum plugin is nice clean, out-of-the-box design and to mention it again it’s tottaly free, which is very hard to argue with.

Price: Free

4. Simple:Press

Simple Press

Simple:Press is a well-known forum plugin that’s been around for 13+ years. Since it’s been around so long, it has built up a long feature list, and it’s probably the most feature-rich forum plugin. It uses its own custom database tables rather than using regular WordPress custom post types, which is unique in comparison to other WordPress plugins.

With Simple:Press you will have over 70 plus add-ons and themes. Nevertheless, it’s also modular, so you don’t have to overload your forum with features that you don’t plan to use.

Here are some of the features:

  • Private messaging
  • Lots of moderation tools
  • Gamification with badges and ranks
  • @mentions
  • Polls and surveys
  • Post ratings
  • User bans

The single downside with this plugin is that the overall look default design looks a bit outdated, but they are different themes, and it gives you options to customise your forum styling.

Simple:Press has a free version at WordPress.org, but I think picking up the premium version is where this one shines.

Price: Free for core version.  Premium where you can purchase individual add-ons or a bundle starting at $99.00

5. ForumWP

Forum WP

Released in 2019 ForumWP is a WordPress forum plugin that comes from the same stables as the popular Ultimate Member plugin, which you find that being used on over 100,000 WordPress sites.

ForumWP comes with exceptional minimal design and user experience. It has Ajax and modal interactions, which it eliminates a lot of situations where forum members would otherwise have to load an complete new page, which makes for a smooth and slick experience.

As for example, members of your site if you use ForumWP can create a new topic from within a modal, rather than navigating to a specific page. Same if they can log in from a modal.

It includes a “likes” feature that lets members like topics or even replies, as well as an option to sort them by likes. Each user gets their own profile. But, if you have even more power as ForumWP has a dedicated integration plugin to connect to the Ultimate Member WordPress plugin.Also they have plans to add features for post moderation, “solved” tags which is an excellent use for a Q and A forum, voting such as you seen in Reddit and more great features.

Price: Starts at $99.00 per year

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WordPress Wednesday – 5 WordPress Forum Plugins