WordPress forum plugins are designed to seamlessly integrate the features of a forum into WP blogs. Forums are great for building a sense of community and developing membership based websites. A well designed WordPress forum plugin effectively helps drive fresh new content to your site via its loyal members. The resultant user generated content can act as a powerful stimulus for obtaining organic search traffic. Currently there are several forum plugins for WordPress that can address the specific needs you may have for integrating a forum into your WP site. The review list we’ve compiled below outlines some of the best WordPress forum plugins available. Other related tools for your WP site can be found in our premium WordPress plugin directory.
Simple Press – This is the best WordPress forum plugin solution out there. It’s been around for several years, has a loyal following, and it’s well supported by its community. It offers tons of cool features and you can totally customize it to fit your needs. Simple:Press fully integrates with standard WordPress user profiles and logins as well as BuddyPress profiles. Other notable features include private messaging, post ratings, user rankings and badges, topic subscriptions, private and public forums, support for popular WordPress plugins, image and file upload tool, several skins and icon sets, and much more.
bbPress – This was once one of the best WP forum plugins available. It was a simple WP based forum that was easy to setup and customize. While it has the backing of Automattic, the development of this WP forum plugin has unfortunately deteriorated. The lack of support for this plugin means that if you run into any problems you’re going to be on you own. Until bbPress displays a clear plan for future development and a stronger community, it may be in your best interest to choose a different WordPress forum plugin.
phpBB Recent Topics – phpBB is one of the most popular open source software solutions for building a forum but it doesn’t hook into WordPress. If you prefer the phpBB software but you still want to integrate it with your WordPress blog, this plugin may just be what you’ve been looking for. The phpBB Recent Topics plugin allows you to easily display a list of the most recent topics from your phpBB forum directly on to your WP site via any post, page, or text widget. While this may not be the perfect solution to connect your phpBB forum to your WordPress blog, it does provide an effective way to promote your forum with your readers.
Wp2BB – This WP forum plugin represents another way to connect your phpBB forum to your WordPress site. Instead of bringing your forum to your blog, like the previous plugin does, Wp2BB automatically creates new topics in your phpBB forum every time you create a new article on your WP blog. Forum users can therefore easily enter the discussion of any blog post by simply clicking on the reply link located within the forum topic. There’s also a handy widget that can be used to display recent comments created by forum members.
WP Forum Server – A forum plugin for WordPress that delivers a complete forum system to your WP website. It has more of a grown-up forum feel to it compared to the other solutions which tend to look more like micro-forums when their implemented. The WP Forum Server conveniently connects with the WP users database to ensure that your blog users can access your forum without creating separate profiles. Additional features of this forum plugin include several translations, customization options, skins and some basic statistics for your forum.
Mingle Forum – This WP forum plugin allows you to install your own fully functional forum on WordPress. The Mingle Forum was developed by Cartpauj to provide a simple, easy to use, dependable forum for site owners. Features include categories, groups, user levels, private messages, forum search, the ability to assign moderators, sticky topics, hot topics, notifications, widgets, and support for multiple languages. The Mingle Forum plugin is compatible with many other Mingle plugins for WordPress (Mingle Avatars, Mingle Profiles, etc.).If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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