Social community websites are among the most high traffic websites in the world. Combined, the top 18 social community websites have over 16.1 billion monthly active users. Facebook alone has more than 2.7 billion.
A social community site is a platform that allows members to create profiles and connect with others within the network. When thinking about these types of websites, it’s common to think of social media networking sites like Facebook first, but there are thousands upon thousands of external and internal social community sites for businesses’ customers and employees.
According to the Community Roundtable’s 2020 State of Community Management Report, these types of communities are proven to positively impact a wide range of business outcomes, including customer loyalty, organization and cultural change, and awareness and branding.
One of the most popular plugins for building an online community is BuddyPress. BuddyPress helps you build any kind of community website with member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more. In addition to installing this plugin, you can install a WordPress theme that’s compatible with or built especially to integrate with the BuddyPress plugin. This will provide you with more features and flexibility to build a community website that suits your audience and needs.
Let’s check out your best options below.
Best BuddyPress Themes
The collection below features free and premium themes. Some are designed specifically for the BuddyPress plugin, while others are compatible with BuddyPress and other social community plugins. Some are ideal for beginners who are building their first community, others are ideal for experts with more experience.
No matter your budget, business needs, or experience, you should be able to find the right theme for your site. Let's get started.
Eduma is the top-selling WordPress education theme in the ThemeForest marketplace.
Built to integrate with the LMS plugin LearnPress as well as BuddyPress and bbPress, you can create a powerful education hub where you can offer courses and create a community among your subscribers. This theme is ideal for grade schools, universities, tutoring centers, and extracurricular programs.
2. Boss Theme
Boss is a beautiful, highly customizable theme designed by the BuddyBoss agency. The Visual Customizer will help even a newbie to create a unique website without any coding.
This fully responsive and SEO-ready theme comes with useful shortcodes, font icons, easy-to-use forms, and a lot more. Using the built-in visual customizer, you have full control over the logo, widgets, navigation, cover photos, and other elements on your site.
BuddyX is one of the best free themes for building community and membership websites.
In addition to its support of the BuddyPress plugin, it also supports WooCommerce, WC Vendors, LearnDash, LearnPress, and Gamipress plugins. That means you can use this theme to create a website where you sell online courses or other products and services and award users with points, achievements, or rankings.
OneSocial is a newer BuddyPress theme that simplifies BuddyPress and improves its overall usability. The theme re-thinks how BuddyPress should be displayed, and the result is outstanding.
This theme is a great choice if this is your first BuddyPress project, if you have a project that requires a lot of customization, or if you just want to keep it simple so your users won't get lost in your site.
If you are looking for a powerful community theme to work with BuddyPress, Woffice is an excellent choice.
This multipurpose theme offers all the features you need, like a custom login page, project management system, wiki, chat and messaging options, files manager, event calendar, directory extension, forum, ecommerce plugin, and more. This makes it ideal for creating intranets or extranets, community portals, and business forums.
Online Communities is a simple and minimalist theme designed for creating community and membership sites for WordPress.
It comes with a demo importer, custom headers and footers, and advanced features like push notifications, branded and customized emails, and group messaging.
You can also monetize your site by charging membership fees, recurring subscriptions, or a one-time fee to access your content.
Kleo is one of the best-selling BuddyPress themes in the CodeCanyon marketplace.
This modern, multipurpose BuddyPress theme with comes with over 25 pre-designed demos, many of which are specifically designed for community websites. You can install these with the demo importer and then customize them with the built-in page builder. You can add unlimited sidebars and colors, change fonts, choose different layout types, and more.
With Kleo's integrations to BuddyPress and bbPress, you can create a great-looking and feature-rich community site in no time.
If you have ever wanted to create a powerful marketplace where users can create a shop and sell products, Social MarketPlace is the theme for you. You can build a comprehensive marketplace using this theme and its integrations with BuddyPress, WooCommerce, and WC Vendors.
You can allow your users to create their shop and brand it while you act as a host and ensure everything is running smoothly. Your users will have complete control of their shop, and BuddyPress will ensure you have all the community features you need. The complete product management system, order tracking for vendors, coupon management systems, and automated commission features will help simplify how you manage the marketplace.
You'll also have powerful search options to look up different stores, as well as favorite store options and feedback options in order to keep users engaged.
Olympus is ideal for creating a social networking site. It is not just compatible with the BuddyPress plugin — it's integrated with BuddyPress and the premium plugin Youzer. Youzer offers a secure membership system, comprehensive membership features, and unlimited profile widgets to help you improve community engagement, brand exposure, and sales on your website.
This theme is therefore ideal for users who want to create a powerful community website with hundreds of members.
ExS is designed to be the fastest multipurpose theme available in the WordPress directory.
To customize your community site, ExS offers unlimited color options, multiple header and footer layouts, 15+ blog layouts, and more. It also comes with over 10 demo sites, including a BuddyPress-specific demo, so you can create your community site in no time.
Aardvark is a highly-rated premium community and membership theme. It's specifically designed for WordPress users who want to create an online community, paid membership site, intranet, or extranet, or sell online courses.
In addition to offering community demo sites, Aardvark comes with unique BuddyPress elements, like custom masonry displays for members and groups, a front-end notifications menu tab, and custom activity, member, and group page builder elements.
BuddyApp is a great-looking BuddyPress theme built with a mobile-first approach. That means you can create a highly optimized community site that mobile users will be able to access and use seamlessly.
You can use this theme to create intranets and extranets as well. Features like live notifications, AJAX search, live chat, file management, rtMedia gallery, and the BuddyPress "like" button will ensure your community site has the features that members want and expect.
Thrive is a clean, professional BuddyPress theme that you can use to create a powerful social community site.
You can create a forum with the bbPress plugin, and polls to get to know your visitors with the WP Polls plugin. Thanks to other integrations with popular WordPress plugins, you can foster your community with a combination of social networking, messaging, forums, events, project and task management, file sharing, ecommerce, and eLearning.
Thrive also comed bundled with the premium drag-and-drop Visual Composer plugin, so you won't have to worry about coding when customizing your site.
14. Social Learner
Social Learner is a responsive BuddyPress theme created for educational websites. It integrates two of the most popular learning management plugins — Sensei and LearnDash — with BuddyPress.
This allows you to create an engaging community-based learning site.
If you want to create a pricing comparison and daily deal site, REHub is the theme you need. This theme works perfectly with the BuddyPress plugin to help you create and foster a community.
With this theme, you can promote affiliate products and make money every month. The visually appealing design will set your site apart from the rest.
REHub works perfectly with the WooCommerce plugin, and it is a highly customizable theme.
Socialize is a modern BuddyPress theme with a stunning design. It is a great theme for combining blogging and community.
This theme offers multiple predesigned layouts and the premium Visual Composer plugin to help you in customizing your site. It also comes with multiple header options, unlimited sidebar options, child theme options and a lot more for creating a beautiful, engaging blog with community features.
NanoSpace is a multipurpose WordPress that’s compatible with a wide range of plugins, including BuddyPress, bbPress, WooCommerce, and Elementor.
Its plugin compatibility, minimalist design, and custom header and footer builders makes it suitable for businesses and individuals as well as community sites.
Square is a popular free theme that’s compatible with the BuddyPress plugin. Its minimalist and mobile-friendly design makes it a good fit for several business niches and types of sites, including community sites.
There’s also a premium version that includes more demos, blog layouts, typography options, and more.
Jannah is a modern, magazine-style BuddyPress theme that you can use to create a news magazine or blog with community features.
This theme comes with more than 20 different demo design options to choose from and import as well as unlimited header and footer styles and a responsive design.
You can also create and fully customize a mobile menu option, have live notifications, and get hourly statistics of the subscriptions and conversion rates on your posts and pages.
Besocial is another comprehensive WordPress theme created for social networking.
The theme comes with essential features, including a like and dislike rating system, featured member system, FAQ system, profile search, and custom BuddyPress widgets. It also comes with a front-end login and registration system with a social login option so that your users can get started immediately.
Monarch is a clean BuddyPress theme that you can use to create your online community site.
Monarch has a fully responsive, high-resolution design to ensure that your site looks great on all devices. The Monarch theme offers a few different homepage designs to choose from so you can perfect your site.
Users will have a great looking profile dashboard where they can manage everything and make use of all the BuddyPress features such as the activity feed, discussion forum, and more. With the help of RTMedia, users will also be able to upload rich media posts such as audio and video.
And, in case you want to create an intranet for your company, this theme allows you to make your site private.
Gratify is a feature-rich theme that's ideal for creating portfolio community sites like Behance. In addition to its responsive design, it comes with a slider section, featured post column, multiple footer and sidebar options, and custom widgets for adding author information and advertisements to your site.
There's also a free version of the theme available for those on a budget.
If you want to create a gaming community site, GoodGame is one of the best options for you.
GoodGame has a modern, fully responsive design with a nicely integrated rating system to let your users know which games are well-rated and trending. It also comes with the Visual Composer plugin to help you customize your site, and works perfectly with the BuddyPress plugin.
Coded with HTML5 and CSS3 and based on the Bootstrap framework, GoodGame is cleanly coded and responsive.
OCTA is a great-looking multipurpose WordPress theme that can be used to create any kind of website. This theme comes with tons of modern features to save you money and help you create a great site.
The powerful theme options panel will ensure you can set up your site quickly. With over 150 ready-to-use demo installations to choose from, your design options are nearly limitless. To make things easier, you can use the one-click demo installation feature. You have five different headers with unlimited variations, amazing footer designs, unlimited menu locations, over 700 Google Fonts, unlimited sidebars, etc.
You also get the premium Visual Composer plugin and Slider Revolution plugin bundled with theme. While not included in the theme package, OCTA works perfectly with the BuddyPress plugin, as well as bbPress, so you can create a community website.
Caroline is a professional-looking WordPress theme that will help you to create a stunning community site.
Though the Caroline theme is created for universities and other educational institutions, you can use this theme for any type of site. You can even create a great online shop with this theme since it's fully compatible with the WooCommerce plugin.
Customify is a lightweight multipurpose theme that’s compatible with the BuddyPress plugin. You can create an ecommerce site that enables customers to create accounts, a nonprofit site that accepts online donations, a university portal, and more.
In addition to its responsive design, it offers a WYSIWYG header and footer builder that’s built exclusively for this theme and several demos so you can build and customize your community site quickly and easily.
Emmet is a clean and responsive WordPress theme that’s compatible with the most popular plugins, including BuddyPress.
It also comes bundled with the MotoPress Content Editor, a drag-and-drop front-end page builder, and is fully integrated with the built-in WordPress Customizer so that creating and customizing your social community site is easy.
Blackfyre is a custom-designed community BuddyPress theme for gaming sites.
The look and feel of the theme are perfect for a gaming site. The custom user pages and frontend forms will meet every user's needs.
The theme comes with the powerful Visual Composer theme builder which you can use to create custom pages for your site.
Cinematix is another beautiful theme which comes with a stellar design and lets users register on your site and create profiles, post messages, make connections, interact in groups, and much more.
It's a fully responsive WordPress theme with ten color schemes and over 40 inner page options.
Bstone is a flexible and fully customizable multipurpose theme for WordPress.
Offering a free and pro version, Bstone comes with a responsive design, 7 demo sites, multiple footer and blog layouts, and a header builder.
In addition to being compatible with page builders like Elementor and Thrive Architect, Bstone is compatible with BuddyPress and bbPress so you can easily create and customize a social community site.
Gauge is an attractive multipurpose WordPress theme that you can use for any website you want to, including community websites, since it's fully compatible with the bbPress, BuddyPress, and WooCommerce plugins.
The Gauge theme comes with a skin manager that will allow you to change the skin of your site. You can customize it using the Visual Composer drag-and-drop page builder plugin, which comes bundled with the theme.
Gauge offers other features like menu options, sliders, Font Icons, portfolio options, attractive video header options, a built-in review system, and much more for customizing your community site.
32. Sweet Date
If you plan to create a dating site, consider Sweet Date. This WordPress theme enables you to create a dating site within a matter of minutes thanks to its integration with BuddyPress and a whole range of other features.
Sweet Date is fully responsive and retina ready. It comes with a Facebook login and registration option so users can easily set up an account and start filling out their profile. It also has a quick profile navigation and matching system to helps members find other members with similar interests.
The theme comes with unlimited color options, a front-end login system, and much more.
Responsive is a modern and fully customizable WordPress theme that can be used to create a wide range of websites, including social community sites, blogs, and portfolios.
It comes with over 15 ready-to-use templates, each of which is easy to customize thanks to this theme’s integration with the drag-and-drop builder Elementor.
Responsive also works with other popular WordPress plugins, including BuddyPress, bbPress, and LearnDash, which can enable you to create a fully functional community site.
Gwangi is a feature-rich premium theme that's compatible with the BuddyPress plugin and many related plugins like BuddyPress Member Reviews.
With 9 demos, most of which are specific to BuddyPress, Gwangi is the perfect theme for community networks, dating sites, e-learning communities, community forums, and more. You can monetize your site through subscriptions, premium content, and advertisements.
35. X | The Theme
One of the most popular WordPress themes of all time, x is a multi-purpose WordPress theme that has virtually unlimited possibilities.
With X, you can choose from four different design templates to build a custom WordPress website. In the live previewer, you can see exactly how your logo, fonts, and layouts will appear before you publish. You also can add search functionality, so your visitors can easily locate content or other members on your site.
X theme supports BuddyPress and bbPress so you can create a community around any business.
Cera offers deep integrations with BuddyPress as well as Youzer, bbPress, WPML, and LearnDash.
In addition to these integrations, it comes with four starting demos: Cera Intranet, Cera Intranet Dark, Cera Youzer and Cera Learn. This makes Cera ideal for creating intranets, extranets, and community networks.
This is a Bootstrap-based, fully responsive and retina ready BuddyPress theme. The theme comes with optional custom colors for each category and custom backgrounds as well as a custom CSS option.
The theme is packed with tons of other useful features such as MailChimp compatibility, unlimited sidebars, unlimited widgetized areas, unlimited colors through Color Pickers, and a built-in review system.
The OneCommunity theme is fully compatible with the BuddyPress plugin which lets users register on your site and start creating profiles, posting messages, making connections, creating and interacting in groups and much more. The theme is fully compatible with bbPress as well.
It comes with nine color variants, four front page styles, and is WooCommerce-compatible.
Buddy is a simple but very effective BuddyPress theme that you can use to create a professional community site.
The theme is clean, modern and fully responsive and can be used for any website: business, corporate, community, magazine, portfolio, etc.
Lynk is a responsive theme that can be used to create online communities, directory sites, magazines, event calendars, social networking sites, and ecommerce shops. It offers BuddyPress shortcodes, multiple header styles and page layouts, and an installation wizard so you can create your community site in as little time as possible.
Other advanced features include AJAX global search, which makes it easy to find fellow members, groups, or posts, and notifications so users know when a new post has been published, or they have friend request pending, or been sent a private message.
Seeko is a modern BuddyPress theme that can be used to build any type of community or membership site, but it’s particularly ideal for dating sites.
It comes with redesigned BuddyPress pages, a built-in matching system, and a premium search module called Seeko Search Pro — all of which are designed to make it easier for users to connect with each other.
Beehive is a five-star rated social network WordPress theme. It offers all the features you need to create a social networking site with no coding required: a newsfeed, photo feed, social likes, notifications, private messages, and forums, among other features.
To start creating your site, you can start by selecting from three homepage designs and multiple social templates. Then you can customize it with Beehive’s powerful theme options panel.
Guru is a powerful learning management theme that effectively uses WordPress, Sensei, BuddyPress, WooCommerce, Event Calendar, WPML, and MailChimp. It helps any user to create a community or online shop easily.
SocialChef is a powerful and professional WordPress theme with strong community features. It's a beautiful, clean and responsive WordPress theme that comes with advanced search and front-end content submission options to help you create a community-driven site.
This theme is fully optimized for search engines and offers an extensive theme options panel.
SocialChef is a custom made theme for a food and recipe community site. Your users are able to submit recipes from the frontend of the site because of that frontend content submission option.
It also supports the WooCommerce plugin.
Salutation has a clean design focused on high-level content organization. It’s easy to navigate and promotes a feeling of user satisfaction.
The well-organized menus and page structure encourage a positive user experience where your visitors find what they're searching for quickly. The theme includes administration features that give you complete control over your site's layout and design.
Mingle is another highly customizable WordPress theme that’s BuddyPress ready. So you can let your users interact through groups, forums, friends, status updates, private messaging, and anything else that’s required of a fully functional community portal.
Mingle’s administration features provide you complete control of your website’s layout and design so you can create a community site that will stand out and be remembered.
Slimvideo is a great video theme that comes with a lot of amazing features that will help you create an engaging site. Because this theme is fully compatible with the BuddyPress plugin, you can use all the community features on your site.
Goodnews is a responsive WordPress theme that's fully integrated with BuddyPress and packed with amazing features.
In addition to providing multiple layouts, unlimited color options, and other design features, Goodnews also offers custom widgets for adding reviews, ads, social icons, newsletters, videos, and custom text to your site.
Kallyas is a modern and feature-rich theme that's been among the best-selling themes in the CodeCanyon marketplace for six years in a row. One of its best features is the built-in Zion builder, an easy-to-use page builder that enables any user to create and customize a high-quality site.
Since BuddyPress and bbPress are seamlessly integrated into the Kallyas theme, you can start connecting people and creating communities in no time.
Fraction is a quality news magazine WordPress theme that is fully compatible with BuddyPress. You can easily create a great community around your news site with this feature-rich theme.
Fraction comes with multiple mega menu options, sidebars, WooCommerce compatibility, and over 600 Google Web Fonts, among other useful features.
Sahifa is an ultra-modern news magazine theme that is very powerful and packed with features. This theme can work with BuddyPress, bbPress, and WooCommerce. This theme is fully responsive and retina ready.
It offers tons of useful features, like a drag-and-drop homepage builder, multiple block layouts, a mega menu, 650+ Google Web Fonts, and a lot more.
NewsPlus is a news magazine WordPress theme you can use to create a social networking site and provide a platform for your users to submit content to your site.
It's an all-purpose WordPress theme designed for an online magazine, technology blog, news, or editorial venture. The theme is fully responsive, retina ready, and supports proportional layout scaling.
GeekMag is another news magazine WordPress theme that you can use to create a blog, a magazine site, or a content-based community site. This theme works perfectly with the BuddyPress as well as bbPress plugins to make sure your community features work perfectly.
GeekMag is a beautiful, modern, fully responsive design that offers the easy-to-use website builder. It also comes with the live website customizer option so you can see the changes you make in real-time.
This theme is incredibly powerful and has plenty of customization options thanks to a live CSS editor, powerful theme options panel, flexible footer, different header design options, multiple post formats, live search options, custom banner ad placements, and more.
Epsilon is a complete learning management system that runs on the WordPress platform. This theme offers you all the features required to create a modern educational website.
This theme works with the LMS plugin, a lightweight and user-friendly plugin that brings in custom post types like courses, lessons, and quizzes. This means you will never lose your educational data even if you change themes.
This theme is also compatible with bbPress, BuddyPress, and WooCommerce so you will be able to add membership features to and gamify and monetize your educational site.
The Exception is a multipurpose WordPress theme with tons of modern features.
It comes with 14 homepage layouts, seven header footer styles, and multiple menu animations. It also comes with over 300 theme options so you can customize almost every element of the site.
This theme offers you three different mega menu styles to make it look unique. It's an SEO-optimized theme that's compatible with the BuddyPress and bbPress plugins so you can easily create and customize a social community site.
Newspaper is one of the best-selling multipurpose WordPress themes that's integrated with the BuddyPress plugin.
This theme uses the best clean SEO practices, and it’s fast, simple, and easy to use. It comes with tons of features, such as the sticky menu, drag-and-drop gallery builder, YouTube and Vimeo playlist builder, different post layouts, and multiple designs and layouts for your site.
This theme is powered by the Bootstrap framework so its responsive and mobile-friendly.
Multinews is a fully-featured news magazine theme for WordPress that offers tons of amazing features. The Ajax live search option makes it easy for users to find content on your site.
This theme is fully compatible with BuddyPress, bbPress, WooCommerce, and many other premium plugins. The Visual Composer plugin comes in the theme package to help users create beautiful layouts for their pages.
Multinews is a fully responsive and retina ready design that offers you an integrated review system, a mega menu option, unlimited sidebars, custom widgets, and a lot more.
WPLMS is a clean and professional WordPress theme that's ideal for universities, schools, and colleges looking to create community websites. In addition to being fully compatible with BuddyPress and bbPress, WPLMS includes eight custom plugins to enable site owners to provide a complete learning experience.
Selecting Your BuddyPress Theme
Launching an online community can provide several benefits, from fostering trust with prospective and existing customers to gathering customer feedback. If these align with your business goals, you can turn your WordPress website into a thriving social community website with the BuddyPress plugin and any of the themes mentioned above.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jan 29, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated August 30 2021