bbPress vs BuddyPress: Which one should you opt for?
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bbPress vs BuddyPress: Which one should you opt for?

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WordPress is one of the most essential tools for the web today, and statistics support this claim. More than 33% of all websites published on the internet today are done using WordPress, making it safe to say that the platform has had a massive impact on the world.

If you want to keep visitors interested in your content and activities, you will want to use a tool that will optimize traffic, provide beneficial features, and promote user-friendliness, which will keep users coming to your website. Therefore, the benefit of using either bbPress or BuddyPress is a topic that we aim to bring to light.

In just a moment, you will understand what both do. Plugins are a great way to make your site easier to navigate through,as well as to bring different features to it to optimize performance and traffic. In this article,we will be comparing two of the best community plugins made available for the WordPress platform designed to do just that.

Why do You Need a WordPress Community Plugin?


As the competitive nature of the online environment becomes more intense, many brands are shifting their focus toward ways to really bring attention to the services they offer via their websites. One of the best ways to do this is by having the right balance of social and digital interaction with users.

Online communities need tools that can help them engage directly with their users. Understanding the various advantages and disadvantages of both bbPress and BuddyPress will be very beneficial when trying to improve the functionality of your website.

One of the best things about utilizing plugins is that you won’t need to build a community platform from scratch, as plugins can help you with this task. A plugin is a great piece of software that will allow you to add specific functions to your website. You will save a lot of time and energy by avoiding the hardest part of creating a platform from nothing.

bbPress vs BuddyPress: Features



bbPress is a free for use, community-based plugin that was created for WordPress. So, what is bbPress? It is a plugin that creates discussion boards on your website, thus extending the functionality of the website, as well as the interface of it.

bbPress is a great tool to use in support forums where there are going to be a lot of questions posed by users but also works for projects that are more focused on both questions and answers. What we really like about bbPress is that it offers:

  • Single and multi-site forums
  • Easy to customize templates
  • Fast speed
  • Easy to install
  • Different add-ons to improve its functionality
  • WordPress user accounts can be synced with bbPress users



Continuing our bbPress vs BuddyPress comparison, we will also be exploring the features offered by BuddyPress. BuddyPress was built by the same team that created the WordPress platform, and as such, it works great with the system. It is one of the best ecosystems for social network creation, and it has thousands of plugins that can make any website that utilizes its features successful.

You can use BuddyPress in order to create similar sites with Facebook, and it has all the features that you could ask for, including:

  • User profile extensions together with settings
  • Users can modify, delete, or create an account
  • Similar Stream feature to Facebook
  • Users can connect with each other and follow them
  • Fast Messaging
  • Users can engage with new friends
  • Sending messages
  • Notifications and Updates
  • User Groups
  • Users can customize their notification settings

bbPress vs BuddyPress: The Similarities


Although they are different plugins that can be used for achieving different goals, both bbPress and BuddyPress have several similarities. Let us look at some of the similarities between bbPress vs BuddyPress.

Both plugins were developed by the company Automatic, which is the same company responsible for the creation of the WordPress platform. Because the same team did both plugins, this adds a lot of reliability and value to both.


As WordPress is needed to use and utilize both bbPress and BuddyPress and supports both plugins, you will run into fewer errors and issues with them, meaning you will save time and be able to focus on the more important tasks associated with optimizing the performance of your website.

Both plugins are also open-source, meaning that you will be able to use them for free. The platform: PHP and MySQL should not be a surprise.

bbPress vs BuddyPress: The Differences

While there are certainly similarities between bbPress and BuddyPress, we must also examine what makes them different.



bbPress is a type of forum software, while BuddyPress is a social networking plugin. If you just need to receive comments, start certain topics, or let users interact with each other in a thread, then bbPress may be the best option for your website moving forward.


If you want more advantage features, such as the ability of users being able to create groups, exchange messages privately, and more, then BuddyPress is the plugin that you would want to use.



BuddyPress has a self-developing system that can gather people into a group according to their communities or organizations. As BuddyPress has a longer history than bbPress, this means it also has a few more useful features that can help to optimize your site.

Themes and extensions



There are many themes that work with bbPress. As you are already aware, you can use free plugins in WordPress for your bbPress forum, but you can also find bbPress plugins that are made to provide new functions to the core bbPress plugin. One of the themes that we highly suggest is Be Theme.

This WordPress premium template works well with bbPress. The theme has around 45,000 users and is one of the top-ranked themes of all time on WordPress. It was created by a top WordPress development company called Muffingroup and has garnered a lot of positive attention since its creation.



BuddyPress also works great with many of the themes on WordPress. However, if you want to focus more on messaging between users, for example, then you should go for themes that have templates for each BuddyPress component already built in.

As with bbPress, we still recommend the Be Theme with BuddyPress. It has a lot of unique features and makes integrating them into your website quick and easy, providing you with the tools you need to optimize your website.

FAQ on bbPress and BuddyPress

What's the main difference between bbPress and BuddyPress?

Well, here's the deal. bbPress is all about forums. Think of it as a tool to add discussion boards to your WordPress site. On the other hand, BuddyPress? That's your go-to for creating a social network. It's like giving your website its own little Facebook. So, bbPress = forums, BuddyPress = social networking. Got it?

Are they both plugins for WordPress?

Absolutely! Both bbPress and BuddyPress are plugins designed specifically for WordPress. So if you're running a WordPress site and you're thinking, "Hey, I want to add some forums or maybe even a social network," these are your tools. Just pop 'em into your site and you're off to the races.

Can I use them together on the same site?

Oh, for sure! If you're feeling adventurous and want both a forum and a social network on your site, you can totally use bbPress and BuddyPress together. They're like peanut butter and jelly – different, but they complement each other pretty darn well.

Which one is easier to set up?

Hmm, that's a bit subjective. But in general, many folks find bbPress a tad easier since it's more straightforward. It's just forums, right? BuddyPress, with its social networking features, can be a bit more involved. But hey, don't let that scare you off. With a bit of patience, you'll get the hang of it.

How customizable are they?

Both are pretty flexible, to be honest. With the right themes and some additional plugins, you can tweak and twist bbPress and BuddyPress to look and function just the way you want. It's like giving your site a tailor-made suit. Snazzy, right?

Do I need to know coding to use them?

Nah, not really. Both plugins are designed to be user-friendly. But, like anything, if you want to dive deep and customize every nook and cranny, some coding knowledge might come in handy. But for the basics? You're good to go without being a tech wizard.

How's the support for these plugins?

Pretty solid, I'd say. Both bbPress and BuddyPress have been around for a while, and they've got a robust community backing them up. Got a question or hit a snag? There's likely a forum post or a helpful user out there who's been in your shoes.

Are they mobile responsive?

You betcha! In today's world, you've gotta be mobile-friendly, right? Both bbPress and BuddyPress are designed to play nice with mobile devices. So whether your users are on a desktop or browsing on their phones, they'll get a smooth experience.

What about security? Are they safe?

Safety first! Both plugins are developed with security in mind. Regular updates, patches, and the backing of the WordPress community ensure that bbPress and BuddyPress stay on top of any potential vulnerabilities. Just make sure you keep 'em updated, alright?

How do they handle spam?

Ah, the age-old battle against spam. Both bbPress and BuddyPress have tools and integrations to help combat those pesky spam bots. With a combo of built-in features and some additional plugins, you can keep your forums and social networks pretty darn clean. No one likes spam, after all.

Ending thoughts on bbPress and BuddyPress

In conclusion, while both bbPress and BuddyPress have a number of differences and similarities, both plugins are free to use and great communication tools for your users.

Choosing one over the other is going to be determined by what your needs are for your platform, and what are you trying to accomplish with your site. Because you can use them independently of each other, you will be able to give them each a try and see which plugin better suits your needs to help you reach your goals.

If you enjoyed reading this article on bbPress vs BuddyPress, you should check out this one about how to fix the Contact Form 7 not sending emails.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like 
Polylang vs WPML, Contact Form 7 vs Gravity Forms, the best WordPress redirect plugin.

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 260,000+ customers.
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