If you wanted to add a user forum to your software site, and make it look and work like your WordPress blog, what forum software would you choose?

Apparently bbPress has the same origins as WordPress, but is it best or are there other choices that are better?

9 Answers 9


Great question, one that I want constantly asked myself. At this point I am aware of two potential options (if you ignore integrations with vBulletin, phpBB, etc.) If there are others I sure would like to know.

Note the Pros and Cons are from my current understanding perspective only and certainly not a complete list:

1.) bbPress


  • Blessed by Automattic thus the "official" forum for WordPress
  • Similar to WordPress in theming architecture (i.e. Template Tags)
  • A decent number of plugins
  • Open Source


2.) Simple:Press


  • Is a WordPress Plugin
  • Appears to be actively supported
  • Reasonable amount of Features
  • Reasonably attractive look and feel
  • Appears to also be open source


  • Not being the "official" will always relegate it to 2nd class in the community
  • No evidence of 3rd party plugins
  • No visible financial support so if the team looses interest...

3.) BuddyPress

There is actually a 3rd option to consider which is BuddyPress. It's more like a Facebook-in-a-box social network than a forum but might address your or other's use-cases. It appears that it is currently getting a lot more attention than bbPress so that's good and it's Pros are similar to bbPress. Might be something to consider...

Anyway, those are the ones I know of any my impressions. If looking forward to any other options people have to suggest.


Here's another potential forum plugin for WordPress from Justin Tadlock. He hasn't released it yet but I sure hope he does, sooner than later:

  • The rumor has it that bbpress is being worked on these days to come out as a wordpress plugin...
    – Tal Galili
    Sep 4, 2010 at 6:19

Please read the topic forum integration with wordpress .You can get some Idea on Integrating different CMSs and forum softwares with Wordpress for this functionality . I think this forum post helps you to decide.

Update :Another article

How to Integrate WordPress with Forums: IPB, SMF, vBulletin, phpBB & Vanilla

  • You do know that the first link you give links back to this page, i.e. the page it is on. That couldn't be right.
    – lkessler
    Feb 16, 2011 at 22:19
  • Sorry! I should have link another article and paste this URL by mistake.I will correct it in a moment
    – Name-AK
    Feb 18, 2011 at 2:54
  • I found it and updated the post
    – Name-AK
    Jul 8, 2011 at 9:36
  • Right now, the second link is almost dead (database connection error). Here's a mirror in the Internet Archive Way Back Machine.
    – brasofilo
    Jul 22, 2012 at 20:28

One annoying function of Simple:Press is that it does not update via the standard update method. You have to upload a new version every time they update. :(


There's a good comment thread going on right now over at http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2010/08/14/wordpress-and-forums/. You'll be able to read a lot of different opinions there.

Like I posted over there, I'm waiting for one from Justin Tadlock at www.themehybrid.com that is supposed to go into beta in the next two weeks.

A comment about the post above and BuddyPress. It is getting more hype, but the forum software at the core of it is also bbPress, and subject to the same limitations and cons. They are planning on splitting it in the future, but for now the whole package comes together.


So far I consider bbPress the best option as it is able to share users, user meta data, cookies(single sing-on) and even plugins with Wordpress(although the latter comes at the cost of speed). Achieving user integration is quite easy but for cookies and and plugins it gets somewhat tricky. Keep in mind that bbPress is a basic package - it lacks many features that are standard to other forum boards. Hopefully the upcoming plugin version will open up new possibilities.

Another choice that I'd advise is Vanilla - version 2 came out recently and they provide single sign-on with WP: http://vanillaforums.org/page/singlesignon Vanilla is lightweight but pretty powerfull.


I use WP-United to integrate WordPress and PHPBB3. Very flexible and easy to merge user database and style / theme between the two: you can let WordPress 'take over' PHPBB, or the other way round.


It really depends on how robust you want your forum to be. For http://www.10thplanetjj.com, forums were EVERYTHING, so we went with vBulletin, and use the vBulletin Bridge Plugin to bridge vBulletin to Wordpress.

It works, and allows us to get the best of both worlds. I can secure posts and pages in wordpress and only show them to certain vBulletin groups or users.


Simple machine forum integrates excellent within the theme of your wordpress site.

Here is an example : http://funraising.info/?page_id=333

Here is the website http://www [dot] fahlstad dot se and their sample forum http://www dot fahlstad.se/wp-forum/

Last time i installed it, There is a little trick tho, after you install the plugin, go to your filezilla/file manager, browse to wp-content/plugins and rename wpforum to wp-forum , then enable the plugin, otherwise you will be getting an error message

Hope this helps (sorry for put the [dot] word, but i dont' have enough reputation yet to post multiple links )


Edit: the bbPress plugin has been released: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress/

I'll probably be going with the bbPress plugin when it comes out (http://buddypress.org/2010/08/buddypress-and-bbpress-the-future/). In the meantime, I looked at simple press; it was slow and bloated. I ended up going with mingle forum (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mingle-forum/). Nothing fancy, but it was easy to set up and it gets the job done just fine.

Sometimes less is more :)

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