Building an online community is always among the primary goals for which a blog is setup. Bulletin boards and interactive forums are tried and tested tools towards such purpose. While there are many standalone, open source platforms for forums and bulletin boards out there, integrating one with WordPress can be a real mess. bbPress is the solution to this problem. In this post, we shall discuss the details regarding the installation and setting of forums using bbPress.
bbPress is available as a WordPress plugin. It is a software which is built with an architecture which is similar to WordPress. It uses the core structure of WordPress and is used to add forums to WordPress sites. Once you have installed bbPress, you can extend the basic features of bbPress using plugins. bbPress is a light plugin which means you don’t need a very powerful WordPress hosting solution, and it can run very fast.
Since it is a plugin, bbPress can be installed just like any other plugin. Go to the admin panel of WordPress site, find Plugin> Add New. Find bbPress and install it. Once the installtion is over, activate the plugin and you are done. After activation, you would be taken to ‘Welcome screen’ of bbPress.
Creating Forums with bbPress
After installation and activation, bbPress installs Forums, Topics and Replies menu items in the WordPress admin. To create a new forum
- Go to Forum>New Forum.
- Doing so will direct you to a page which is very similar to the WordPress post editing screen.
- Give a title to the forum and a suitable description.
- Press the ‘Publish’ button.
And you are done!
Displaying bbPress forum
After you have finished creating the forum, all that’s needed is to display it in the front end of the site. To do so,
- Create a new WordPress page. This page will be dedicated to your forum.
- Give a suitable name like ‘Community’, ‘Discussion’, ‘Forum’ etc. to this page.
- Add the following shortcode to the page
- Switch off components and trackbacks on the page.
- Click publish.
Now that you have created a new page, go to Appearance> Menu and make sure that this newly created page is on the navigation menu. Now, if in the site, when you click this page, in it will show the index of your forum.
Integration of bbPress Forum with WordPress theme
Generally, before someone can discuss in a forum, a registration is needed. If you want forum to be open to all, then you have to allow registration from everyone. This would be possible if you click Settings> General and click on the ‘Anyone can register’ checkbox. Once this is done, anyone who want to discuss in the forum would need a registration. So, you have to create a registration page. Follow the same procedure like the last time. Give the shortcode as [bbp-register] and publish it. Next, create another page which shall be needed for recovering the password for those who lose it. Give a suitable title and add the shortcode [bbp-lost-pass] and publish it.
bbPress comes loaded with few widgets. Go to Appearances> Widgets to find widgets. For the time being, you would need the Login Widget. Drag drop the widget into a suitable area or on the sidebar. Give a suitable title to it, (like Login etc.). Then in the Register URI enter www.yoursite.com/register and in the Lost Password URI enter, www.yoursite.com/lost-password.
Now the login form will appear in the position that you had placed it.
Managing Forum Settings
To manage the forum, go to Settings> Forums in the admin area. Here, you can control all the aspects of the forum.
- Disallow editing after– This is by default set to 5 minutes, meaning that a user, will not be able to edit his/her post after 5 minutes of posting it in the forum. However, moderators and keymasters (explained later in the post) will certainly be able to edit the posts.
- Throttle posting every– this is a protection measure. By default it is set to 10 seconds, meaning that two consecutive posts cannot be made between 10 seconds of each other.
You can also edit number of posts that appear in one page, number of topics, permission to subscribe to particular topics etc. can be controlled from this page.
User roles in bbPress
bbPress has 5 roles for users.
- Keymaster– This has the highest privilege. Website owner is generally assigned the role of the keymaster. Basically, the keymaster can do anything that’s possible with the forum and its posts.
- Moderators– These users have access to the editing rights to the posts in the forums. There are usually more than one moderators for a forum. They can delete topics and posts.
- Participants– Participants are allowed to make posts and participate in discussions.
- Spectators– These users have only a read-only access to the public topics and posts.
- Blocked– All the posting rights are seized. They can see public posts but cannot participate in the discussions.
Forums are a great way to increase traffic to sites and bbPress gives a very easy way to integrate one with WordPress. Hopefully, this post has helped you in setting up and configuring a forum in a WordPress site.