The best WordPress forum plug-ins in comparison

Regardless of the topic, forums are a great way to exchange ideas, have conversations or get information from others. As a company, you can use a forum to build up your community and encourage user engagement among visitors to your platform. If your web presence isn’t fully dedicated to being a forum site, you can use a WordPress forum plug-in rather than a full WordPress forum theme. This way, you can set up an area for visitors to talk to each other alongside your regular content.

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WordPress forum plug-ins: an overview of the best providers

If you want to set up a forum, you have a choice of several different WordPress forum plug-ins depending on your needs. Do you want something rather slim with just the basic essential features? Or would you prefer additional features such as votes and personalized user profiles? The right plug-in for you depends heavily on your answers to these questions.

bbPress

bbPress is a very popular WordPress forum plug-in. Developed by the makers of WordPress, it wins people over with its simple structure and significant creative freedom. You can use it to quickly set up a forum divided into individual categories.

The best part is that bbPress is completely free. All standard features are available in the base version. With over 200 extensions, you have a wide choice of additional features.

WordPress forum plug-in bbPress: overview of pros and cons

Pros Cons
Completely free The base version has only basic features, meaning you need to install additional extensions for additional feature options
Over 200 extensions are available to allow things like questionnaires or evaluations Only one layout available
Slimline  
Compatible with multiple websites  
Supports user profiles  
Notifications for new threads  
Automatically adapts to the color and font of the site You can customize it further using code  
Akismet support  
Simple to use  
Compatible with many WordPress themes  
Designed for WordPress and uses the same coding standards  
Available in several languages  
Optimized for mobile devices  

BuddyPress

Buddypress doesn’t just give you a basic forum – rather, you will get a full social network that allows members of your community to make user profiles, join groups, and send private messages. Just like bbPress, BuddyPress is an official WordPress plug-in that uses the same coding standards and practices as WordPress. This makes the WordPress forum plug-in compatible with many WordPress themes and sites.

You can set up your network in just a few simple steps. It is easy to choose the settings, activate the features you want and make any display changes – you’ll have your own social network up and running in no time.

Just like the WordPress forum plug-in bbPress, BuddyPress is completely free and can be installed directly from your admin area.

Tip

To meet the needs of different user groups, you can always combine BuddyPress with bbPress or other extensions. This way, you can set up an area for a standard forum as well as a space for social interactions on your website.

WordPress forum plug-in BuddyPress: overview of pros and cons

Pros Cons
Completely free You need extensions for a fully-fledged online community
Hundreds of extensions are available to give you things like questionnaires or evaluations  
Slimline  
Available in several languages  
Automatically adapts to the color and font of the site – you can customize it further using code  
Extensive social network with many features, including user profiles, friend requests, groups and activities  
Simple to use  
Compatible with many WordPress themes  
Optimized for mobile devices  
Designed for WordPress and uses the same coding standards  

wpForo Forum

wpForo Forum is a free WordPress forum plug-in with a more modern design than that offered by many other forum plug-ins. The basic version offers a choice of four different layouts for your WordPress forum. With paid add-ons, you can integrate more extensive features such as questionnaires, file sharing, user-defined fields, and much more.

You can add a new forum or category easily in your admin area and then drag and drop it to organize the structure of your forum.

WordPress forum plug-in wpForo Forum: overview of pros and cons

Pros Cons
Free Paid add-ons
Modern design A little more complex to use
Integrated SEO, xml sitemaps and cache features  
Available in several languages  
You can adapt colors and styles to your corporate design (using code)  
Questionnaires, file sharing, user-defined fields and much more available with extensions  
Compatible with many WordPress themes  

Asgaros Forum

Asgaros Forum is a particularly lightweight WordPress forum plug-in. You can use the code shortcut “[forum]” to add a forum to any page. You can easily customize fonts and colors with the editor in your admin area.

Asgaros Forum is another completely free WordPress forum plug-in which offers a manageable platform with many useful features, such as page statistics, file sharing and questionnaires.

Tip

Want to know how to disable comments in WordPress? Find out how in our how-to article! 

WordPress forum plug-in Asgaros Forum: overview of pros and cons

Pros Cons
Completely free Only a small number of extensions available
Very lightweight plug-in, good for site loading times  
Very simple to use  
Compatible with multiple websites  
Available in several languages  
You can adapt colors and styles to your corporate design  
Integrated statistics to measure forum performance  
Possibility to upload several file types  
SEO friendly  

WordPress forum plug-ins: a comparison overview

All of the WordPress forum plug-ins above let you set up a forum on your website. If you want to keep your website sleek, we recommend bbPress or Asgaros Forum. wpForo Forum offers a more modern solution with different layouts and visually adjustable designs. If you’d rather create a whole social network, BuddyPress is the best solution. To help you make your choice, the table below compares and contrasts all of these plug-ins:

Feature bbPress BuddyPress wpForo Forum Asgaros Forum
Colors and fonts can be adapted to corporate design Adapts automatically Adapts automatically Font adapts automatically, colors need coding Yes
Simple to use Yes Yes More complex Yes
Compatible with multiple websites Yes Yes Yes Yes
Extensions available Yes Yes Yes Yes, but not many
Aksimet support Yes Yes Yes No
Available in several languages Yes Yes Yes Yes
Notification system Yes Yes Yes Yes
Content moderation Yes Yes Yes Yes
User profiles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Social network with friend requests, private groups and activity feed No Yes No No
Different layout possibilities No No Yes No
Modern design No No Yes More modern than bbPress
Compatible with many WordPress themes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Optimized for mobile devices Yes Yes Yes Yes
Member reputations Yes (with extensions) No Yes Yes
Free version Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paid version No No No, but some extensions are paid No
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