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5+ best forum plugins for WordPress to build a loyal community in 2019

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Looking for the best forum plugin for WordPress to build a community and keep them engaged? Let us save you the time and choose among these six we recommend.

Does forum still work in 2019?

In short, yes. One of the best ways to attract your target audience and maintain customer engagement is through forums. Sure, social media is the go-to tool for that nowadays, but (there’s always a but)… As I sad numerous times before – it’s not your playground to play on. You want your audience on your ground and terms, and that is YOUR forum on YOUR site. Furthermore, knowing that people no longer believe ads and brands promotion, WOM that comes from forums is priceless. And you can have it all if you build a forum on your site.

Reasons to have a forum on your WordPress site

Simply put, forums make your websites better. Better in engagement, in more traffic, lower bounce rate, and so much more. To have a forum on your WordPress site or blog means you’re on your way on building a community around an idea, or niche you cover. Here’s more:

Content

Forum gets you fresh content made by your community, keeps your website/blog alive, so you don’t have to write more and more. If you don’t want to.

Engagement

Forum means you gather people to discuss, share ideas, do Q&A, and more. All these improve your site’s engagement and make people connect.

SEO

More content, more people, more engagements, leads to better SEO. It helps you be more discoverable and rank higher on search engines. An active forum is a never-ending source of keywords and always fresh content which will attract more and more people and improve traffic.

WordPress forum downsides

Like in any other type of online work, having a forum on your website does have few disadvantages. If you genuinely want to engage in it, you need to have a person or people in charge of it. That means a moderator and admins who will make sure the conversation is good, keep the spammers away and that sort of things. And, of course, the very beginning. You need to have a solid base, to begin with. Meaning, topics people will gather around, can’t attract people with an empty forum 🙂

But, it sure is worth your time and effort.

How to build a forum on WordPress?

You can build a forum on your site with the help of specific WordPress forum plugin. Easy to set up and use, you can finish it within a day or two. Now, WordPress depository has hundreds of plugins that can wholly or partly help you set up a forum and without any coding knowledge. However, choosing the right one can be a bit intimidating, especially in the beginning, or if you don’t quite know what you want your forum to look like.

Is there the best forum plugin for WordPress?

Not just one, but of them! To save you time in self-search, we tested all of them and here’s our recap. Sit back and read all the way through before deciding which one to choose. And when you do, feel free to share your top pick!

Asgaros Forum

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-asgaros-forum

Free, lightweight WordPress forum plugin that helps you create feature-rich discussion board. Once you install it, a new forum page is automatically created. To see it, type:

domainname.com/forum

Now, talking about setting up, Asgaros Forum will appear within the WordPress dashboard sidebar. And it’s the very place where you do all the customization, insert basic content for the forum and its categories.

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-asgaros-forum-dashboard-screenshot

Some of the features that come with this plugin are:

  • Polls
  • Statistics
  • Who is online
  • Reactions
  • Reporting and banning
  • Guest postings
  • Simple Content Management

and more.

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-asgaros-forum-screenshot

A perfectly great solution if you’re a newbie and have no clue what to do. It basically does almost all of the work for you 🙂

bbPress

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-bbpress

WordPress forum plugin which comes from the Automattic’s kitchen. One of the simplest and most useful forum plugins for WordPress, it’s installed on more than 300,000 sites. Just as Asgaros, once you install it, it’s integrated within your WordPress admin. Go to the Forum settings and start adding new Forums. Adding a new Forum is pretty much the same as adding a post, the Visual Editor is the same. After you finish adding the basics, your forum will appear at this address:

domainname.com/forums

Some of the bbPress features are:

  • Setting time limits and other user posting capabilities
  • Anonymous posting
  • Revisions
  • Topic tags
  • Subscriptions
  • Auto role
  • Reply threading
  • Post formatting

and more.

One of the added perks of using this forum plugin is the support. There’s a bbPress forum with all the things you’ll ever need sorting out you can think of, so be sure to check it out.

BuddyPress

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-buddypress

This plugin serves as more than just a forum. BuddyPress is a social network software that helps you build an engaging platform for your community. The members can create their profiles and discussion groups, make social connections, private conversation, and much more! And the best part – it’s completely free!

Whether you have a niche website or run a sports team, maybe work in a school, this plugin helps you attract and connect the relevant audience in one place. This plugin enables you to build a community around your brand, your company, an idea, or topic you have. Build forums, private or open discussion boards, even your own social network – all within your WordPress website.

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-buddypress-screenshot

It comes with features like:

  • Activity streams
  • Notifications
  • Private messaging
  • Friend connections
  • Site tracking

And more. And for any further doubts or issues while building your forum, feel free to check out BuddyPress’s support page.

Discussion Board

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-disscusion-board

A freemium WordPress forum plugin that also comes with easy installation and set-up features. Once you install it, it automatically creates three pages:

  1. Topics (domainname.com/topics)
  2. New Topic Form (domainname.com/topics/new-topic)
  3. Log In (domainname.com/topics/log-in)

The fundamental thing you need to have a fully operated forum, so no need to do many configurations on your own. From there on, you only need to start adding content and promote your forum to the audience. Some of the features that come with the free version are:

  • User management
  • User Roles
  • Shortcodes
  • Styles customization
  • Spam reduction

Pro version comes with features like:

  • Multiple boards
  • Follow topics and boards
  • Media uploads
  • Board following
  • Categories and tags

And more. The price starts at $49 per year for one site.

DW Question & Answer

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-dw-question-answer

If you’re looking for a way to have a Quora or Yahoo Answer kind of forum, this is the plugin to build it with. A typical Q&A forum which will attract your target audience and get them to engage around a series of topics to learn from. Some of the main features of this freemium plugin are:

  • Shortcodes
  • Captcha supported
  • Sticky Question
  • Voting system
  • Email notification

Upon installation, you can find this plugin within your WordPress admin dashboard, where you can customize and configure all the features.

And if the free version is not enough for you, there’s a Premium version that comes with options such as:

  • Multi-style
  • Markdown Editor
  • Permalink friendly SEO
  • File upload
  • Notification Bar
  • All premium extensions.

The price for the Premium WordPress forum plugin is $39.

wpForo Forum

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-wpforo-forum

A modern and responsive forum plugin that comes with multiple style layouts and boards to meet your needs. Furthermore, it has built-in-forum SEO functions, Sitemap and Search Engine ping, and Antispam/Akismet integration. Simple installations take only five steps:

  1. Activate plugin and find forums on /community/ page, (/community-2/ if /community/ is used),
  2. Manage Forums in Dashboard > Forums > Forums admin page,
  3. Manage Forum Menu in Dashboard > Appearance > Menu admin page,
  4. Manage Forum Widgets in Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets admin page,
  5. Manage Forum Colors in Dashboard > Forums > Settings > Styles admin page, where you can choose forum color styles.

Within the Settings page is where you configure general and Forum basics, user moderation, and more:

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-wpforo-forum-screenshot

The overall forum on your site will look like this:

best-forum-plugin-for-wordpress-wpforo-forum-screenshot1

Conclusion

So, there you have it. The very best WordPress forum plugin options for whatever purpose you might need. Depending on your ideas, niches you come from or the complexity of the project, these six forum plugins are the ones you choose from. From general discussion boards to Q&A’s to social network kind of forums, these are the very best, most relevant, and freshly updated WordPress forum plugins. And, what’s even more satisfactory, they all work with our premium themes, too 🙂

forum plugins for wordpress

If you liked this article, show us some love on social and feel free to let us know which of them is the one you opted for.

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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