Building online forums requires a lot of patience and more than average technical knowledge. However, you can build a robust online forum within your familiar WordPress CMS without breaking a sweat. Just like the simplicity that WordPress offers you in running your website, these tools will help you create a community between your users without much effort. Forums are a great way to add an extension to your existing website, build a community website around a theme, or create a support tool around a product or service so your visitors can interact with each other.
Here is the list of best Forum plugins for WordPress to help you get your community set up:
1. BBPress: When it comes to integrating a forum into WordPress, bbPress is one of the best for the job. It works the same way as WordPress and powers the forum by existing WordPress core. Built for WordPress, bbPress utilizes the same WordPress core and follows the same coding standards as WordPress. It integrates with any WordPress theme without any painful modifications. There are nearly a 100+ plugins available to suit your specific needs. Lacking a lot of bloat, bbPress is lightweight and fast.
2. BuddyPress: BuddyPress allows you to build your own social network within WordPress. Being another official WordPress plugin, BuddyPress follows the same coding practices and standards as WordPress. This WordPress community plugin is extremely powerful and flexible. It has features like activity streams, notifications, groups and user profiles. Its default functionality can provide a community forum for discussion. If you want to create a full-featured forum community, you can integrate it with other plugins like bbPress. It integrates easily into any WordPress Theme. There are plenty of plugins to extend the functionality. It creates groups, social connections, user profiles, activity streams etc. User engagement is ignited by using a ‘points system’.
3. SimplePress: SimplePress is a forum plugin that integrates seamlessly into the user’s WordPress website. Whether the users need a small private forum or a large public arena, SimplePress will scale to the needs of their community.
4. VanillaForms: Vanilla is a lightweight Internet forum package written in PHP using the Garden framework. It allows you to build a cloud-based forum that helps publishers engage their audience, generate traffic and increase sales. Vanilla Forums also comes with a hosted solution option which can easily be scaled as per your needs.