How to Add a Forum to your WordPress Website

WordPress

If you are looking to build an online community around your website, creating a forum is great idea. There are dozens of available third party software programs out there that can provide a functional forum for your WordPress website; however, one stands head and shoulders above the rest, bbPress.

bbPress is forum software that uses the existing WordPress core so that you can start building your online community easily. It is also compatible with various plugins so that functionality can be extended and tailored to your needs. In this tutorial, we will show you how to get set up with bbPress.

Installing bbPress

bbPress can be installed as any other plugin, so go to Plugins > Add New from your WordPress dashboard and enter bbPress in the search field. When you’ve found it, click on Install and then Activate and you’re all ready to go.

Creating a Forum

Once bbPress has been activated, you will be shown a welcome screen and Forums, Topics and Replies will be added to the left column of your WordPress dashboard. To create a forum go to Forums > New Forum.

bbPress keeps things simple by making the New Forum page like a post or page editing page, so you should have no trouble finding your way around. Give your forum a title and a description and click on Publish.

To create extra forums based around different topics, simply repeat these steps.

Displaying the Forum

Now that you have a forum created, the next step is to display it on your site so that it is easily visible and accessible to visitors. To do this you will need to create a new page.

Go to Pages > Add New and give your page a name (i.e. Forum). Turn off the options for comments and trackbacks and paste the following code in the page:

[bbp-forum-index]

Click on Publish to make the page live.

Next, go to Appearance > Menus and add your new page to you main navigation menu. This will turn the new page into a forum, which can be visited by clicking on the option from the menu.

Opening the Forum for Registrations

To get people interacting with the forum you are going to need to open it up to registrations. To do this go to Settings > General and check the Anyone can register box alongside Membership.

To create a registration page for new users go back to Pages > Add New, give your page a title and paste in the following shortcode:

[bbp-forum-index]

Click on Publish to make the page live.

If you wish to add a login option, bbPress comes with its very own widget that you can simply drag-and-drop in your sidebar. With your forum up and running, you are now free to tinker around with the available settings and pre-defined user roles to tailor it to your needs.

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