Integrating BuddyPress with bbPress Forums the Right Way

    Bharat Pareek
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buddypress+bbpressI have a question. How many of you think that BuddyPress has its own forums? And do you still use these forums? For those still living in the pre-BuddyPress 1.7 era, this article is not for you. This article will provide BuddyPress 1.7+ users, looking to add forums, a definitive guide to BuddyPress and bbPress integration.

For newbies, you can get started with our Beginner’s Guide to bbPress v/s BuddyPress, which explains the primary difference and applications of both these plugins.

Okay moving on.

Since BuddyPress and bbPress have been developed by the same company, over time, they have been updated to work seamlessly well together. Integrating bbPress with prior versions of BuddyPress, was a tricky task. But since BuddyPress 1.7, the functionality of the plugin has been updated, and bbPress is now needed to add forums to your BuddyPress social network. So how do you begin integrating the two plugins? Let’s find out.


How to Setup bbPress forums for BuddyPress

  1. To avoid panic attacks in case of any unexpected errors, it is recommended you take a backup of your database before you proceed.
  2. Install BuddyPress and activate it. (If you do not have it installed beforehand. Make sure you are using the latest version of the plugin.)
  3. Install bbPress (version 2.3 or higher) and activate it.  (Great going. You’re half way there)
  4. Create a new page, Pages->Add New and name it Forums. You do not need to add any additional details. Just publish the page. This page can be used to access all forums available (provided you haven’t changed the default ‘forums’ root slug).

And you’re set. Any forum activity will be tracked under the member profile. But this is just a basic setup. These forums in bbPress will be site-wide forums by default. That implies that all members irrespective of any group will be able to access these forums. We’ll take a look at how to add group specific forums next.


How to Assign bbPress Forums to BuddyPress Groups

To assign forums to a group, you have to have a group created. You need to then configure bbPress to allow groups to have forums.

  1. For this, you need to create a parent forum for all BuddyPress forums. Add a new forum in bbPress, Forums->New Forum, and name it Group Forums (the title does not have to be necessarily Group Forums. Set any title of your liking, except Forums of course).
  2. Set the Forum Attribute Type to ‘Category’, and publish the forum.
  3. Next, you need to configure bbPress for BuddyPress groups. Go to Settings->Forums. There will be settings categorized under BuddyPress Integration. Set the ’Group Forums Parent’ option to ’Group Forums’, the new forum you’ve created in bbPress. Ensure that the ‘Enable Group Forums’ option is checked. Save the settings.
  4. If you do not have a group, create a new group under Groups->Add New. Proceed through the setup steps. There will be a ‘Forum’ settings step. Check the ‘Yes. I want this group to have a forum’ option. Continue with the setup steps and create the Group.
  5. For existing groups, edit the settings of each group, and check the ‘Yes. I want this group to have a forum’ option, under ‘Group Forum Settings’. And save the changes.

A ‘Forum’ option will now be available in your Group’s primary navigation menu, which you (or group members) can use to add new topics.


Bonus Tips

Here are a couple of tips I have consolidated from various discussion threads.

Add a BuddyPress Private Messaging option for Author in bbPress Forum

Thanks to Stephen Edgar for this piece of code. To display a private message link, add the below code in a custom plugin or your child theme’s functions.php file.

function ntwb_bbp_bp_pm() {
   if(function_exists('bp_send_private_message_link') && is_user_logged_in() ) {
    <a href="<?php bp_send_private_message_link() ?>" title="Private Message">Private Message</a>
add_action( 'bbp_theme_after_reply_author_details', 'ntwb_bbp_bp_pm' );


Award Badges to Members

Want to track how members are participating in your forums? Gamify their contribution. Using the BadgeOS Community Add-on, you can award members points and badges based on their participation, and forum activities.


Simple isn’t it?! Do let me know if you try out these steps and if this article helped you out. If you’re stuck anywhere, you could leave your comments and questions in the comment section below, and I will try my best to help you out. 🙂

Bharat Pareek

Bharat Pareek

6 Responses

  1. I have a question: if one has wp+bbpress already setup, is it ok to install buddypress ontop of that afterwards?

  2. Despite the age of the article (over two years old at the time I am installing both pieces), the instructions are still awesome and stepped me right through the process. Just wanted to say thank you.

    BadgeOS does seem to be a little out of date at the moment though. 🙂

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