Any suggestions for forum plugins other than bbPress?

(Yash Chandra) #1

The title of my post says it all. Am I really missing something here ? Other than bbpress, there are no better alternatives for wordpress forums ? I find it hard to believe but it does seem like it. I am not a big fan of bbpress as it seems too bloated and has too many features.

Heck, I even thought of starting a forum plugin project of my own but that will be a big undertaking. Please tell me if there are good alternatives out there as my googling skills did not give me a lot of useful results.

(Jesse) #2

bbPress isn’t really bloated I think if you custom code a theme for it.

I’ve come across Sabai Discuss a few times and have wanted to try it out but have not yet. Although keep in mind its more of just an Answers type engine more than a true discussion forum:

(Leland Fiegel) #3

Can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone describe bbPress like this before.

If anything, it’s too lightweight and doesn’t have enough features. Private messaging, liking of posts, @replies, all require additional addons or custom programming. These are features many would expect out-of-the-box in “modern” forum software.

I remember back in the day, when bbPress was its own standalone software and not a WordPress plugin, I used the Simple Press plugin. That was several years ago, and I can’t vouch for it today. It also looks like it’s a bit more feature-packed than bbPress though, so I get the feeling you wouldn’t be a fan of it either.

There’s also a forum plugin that @justintadlock was working on. I’m not sure what the status of it is today. The GitHub repo readme still says, “Early alpha software. Only the brave dare install.”

Besides those three, I’m not familiar with any WordPress forum plugins (haven’t heard of Sabai Discuss before, thanks for the tip @jessuppi).

If none of the above are a good fit, you’d have to venture out into “standalone” forum software territory, and try your luck integrating it with WordPress.

(Miroslav Glavić) #4

I fell off my chair laughing at the thought of bbpress being bloated. it’s really the opposite.

Try PHPBB. There are bridges between WordPress and PHPBB.

I use PhpBB, I refuse to use BBPResss.


If I have to choose a forum solution, probably I would go with Discourse like this site as from a user experience I enjoy it, never experienced any issue, it works and it’s fast. If integration with WP is essential, I think bbPress is still the best option. Even if it misses some features, currently it holds one of the biggest forum online on, and it works.

(Yash Chandra) #6

haha i guess my definition of bloated is indeed different :slight_smile: looks like bbpress is still one of the best options for wordpress and I would love for a Discourse type wordpress plugin. Another one that is looking good is this one below in case anyone is interested in a php based solution (no wordpress though)

(Leland Fiegel) #7

Flarum looks quite nice.

Another thing to consider: do you really need to integrate them? Do regular users need to login on the WordPress side of things, or is it just you and other admins to update site content? Do you need to share data between WordPress and the forum software for some reason?

For example, it’s common for WordPress-powered membership sites to restrict content to users with certain capabilities, and restrict bbPress forum access based on the same capabilities. In this case, you’d be better off using bbPress and not worrying about potentially complicated integrations with other forum software.

If you’re just concerned with making things look “seamless” between the main site and the forum, there are ways of theming it to look the same without any sort of integration at all.

Basically, unless you have a purposeful reason for doing so, I wouldn’t rule out standalone forum software just because it doesn’t have a publicly released WordPress integration.

But if you just want a plug-and-play WordPress-powered solution, there’s no better option than bbPress. It just works.

By the way, there are a few Discourse <-> WordPress integrations out there already, like this one. It doesn’t seem to cover templating, but covers SSO.

(Chris Rault) #8

For an example of how flexible BBPress is, check out the new Beans community forum - Thierry built an entirely new front-end for BBPress from scratch and it’s pretty darn slick if you ask me.

Regarding Flarum, I have it installed over at and it’s definitely one the nicest forum systems I’ve used over the years. That said, it’s still in active development, so be prepared to get your hands dirty from time to time. I had a few issues when they switched to Composer for updates and packaging, but nothing a few hours of tinkering couldn’t sort out. Also, like Leland mentioned there is no integration with WordPress yet - which was fine for me, as ThemeButler doesn’t have any front end access yet, but that will of course depend on your own projects requirements whether that’s a deal breaker.

Thierry did mention he’d be will to share the work he’s done on the Beans forum (using BBPress), but the only catch is it needs to be setup as a theme, which would work fine in a multi-site setup, but probably not for most normal sites.

Hope that helps!

(Leland Fiegel) #9

This looks awesome. I’m wondering if it’s even necessary to build an entirely separate theme though. You can probably compartmentalize forum-specific views with creative use of the template hierarchy.

(Chris Rault) #10

Yeah, I’m sure it’s possible. It’s just how it’s currently setup, as Thierry has the forum setup separately from the main site :slight_smile:

(Andy McIlwain) #11

On the subject of bbPress: My only complaint is with the default styling. The text is too small, the width is too narrow. I’ve never had a decent-looking vanilla installation. :frowning:

As for alternatives, ideally if you’re not looking to share a user DB with WordPress:

Flarum, as already mentioned, is still in development - but it looks damn good. It reminds me of Discourse but with easier installation/configuration.

Muut is an embeddable forum (SaaS model) that has a richer set of features (e.g. private messaging). They were sponsoring WordCamps a few years back IIRC.

(Anna) #12


I’m curently using the DW Question & Answer Pro and I think it’s great. This plugin helps my site to have a full feature question and answer system like Stack Overflow, Quora or Yahoo Answers.

Highly recommended to you!

(Leland Fiegel) #13

@anna, would you still recommend it without the affiliate link (which I just removed)? Please take note of the rules in the welcome thread.

It also appears you’re employed by the company that develops the plugin. Again, against the rules to be a shill. First and final warning. :slight_smile:

(Calum Allison) #14

To @ychan and others. Just wanted to let you know that @danieliser and I will be launching a new forum plugin for WordPress fairly soon. Just announced it today, you can read more about it here:

(Leland Fiegel) #15

@calumallison Sounds interesting! Any ETA on a beta or anything like that?

(Calum Allison) #16

@leland Hopefully in a few weeks. Will post here once we have a working demo/beta people can play around with :slight_smile:


I highly recommend WPForo plugin for this. Simple, fast and pretty easy to config

(Naresh Devineni) #18

I had recently worked on BBpress for two projects . I have to say its awesome and flexible. Custom roles, Custom styling, Custom templates, compatibility with login plugins or content restriction plugins is a huge plus :blush:. If you are looking for custom features, then you have to write your own extension plugin for BBPress. Thats the only backdrop. But it plays well with most of the standard forum requirements.


BuddyPress is great for building a forum, but I have heard good things about WPForo as well. I would suggest you try out BuddyPress first. It is simple to setup.

(Leland Fiegel) #20

I recently set up a forum using Discourse (this is what WP Chat runs on) connected to a WordPress site through the WP Discourse plugin. So WordPress users can login to the Discourse site with the same cookie.

You need to run Discourse on a separate server, and there’s minimal integration outside of single-sign-on, comments, and auto-posting new threads based on WordPress posts…but if all you want is a forum tacked onto a WordPress site, it offers the best experience IMO.

Also, Memberful can be used to make private forums based on paid membership levels. But I’m not doing that.