Forum WordPress Plugins: The 10 Best for 2024

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Jamie Juviler
Jamie Juviler


Adding a forum WordPress plugin to your site is an easy way to gather feedback, develop a community, and increase user engagement. So, if you're a business owner looking for a way to listen to your visitors, leads, and customers, you're in luck.  And the best part? It's easy to get started.

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There are plenty of options for those seeking a forum WordPress plugin, but choosing wisely is essential to ensure you find the right plugin for the job. The best forum plugin for WordPress has all the features you need, is at the right price point, and is quick to set up. We've rounded up ten excellent forum WordPress plugins.

Why is adding a forum WordPress plugin a good idea?

Adding a forum WordPress plugin to your website is a clever way to create a space for site visitors to collaborate and share ideas to help them make the most of your business offers. Additionally, forums help you as the site administrator. By taking note of common visitor comments and complaints on the forum, you'll have a better idea of what users want to see — and what they don't.

There are other reasons why adding a forum to your website is a good idea, too. For instance, a forum helps boost your site's traffic as it attracts visitors to land on your site. A WordPress forum can also increase users' time on your site, which leads to revenue growth if your site runs ads or sells products and services.

1. bbPress

forum wordpress plugin: bbPress

For many WordPress users, searching for a basic forum tool starts and ends with bbPress. It boasts over 200,000 downloads, which is a testament to this plugin's reliability.

The goal of bbPress is to make a simple but effective forum area on any WordPress site, regardless of experience level or budget. It's maintained by the same developers working on WordPress core, which significantly benefits it. As you can guess, the plugin seamlessly blends into your WP administrator dashboard and won't cause issues with your theme or most other plugins you install.

bbPress is entirely free, which makes it an excellent option for those building a website on a budget. Plus, no premium version is available, so you don't have to worry about being upsold after downloading it. However, its functionality is robust enough to handle everything you need. bbPress includes tools to make a user account for posting, moderate the forum, create several discussion threads, change style aspects of the forum, and beyond. If you want to see bbPress' full capability, download it.

Out-of-the-box, bbPress comprises lightweight, well-written code that keeps your site high-performing. For additional functionality, you can download free extensions from its library. Hundreds of extensions are available to help you manage everything, from private groups to uploading multiple images to adding a CAPTCHA.

To learn how to set up bbPress on your site, see our guide to creating a forum in WordPress.

Notable Features:

  • 100% free

  • Multiple discussion threads

  • Maintained by the same developers that work on WP core

  • Customizable design

2. BuddyPress

forum wordpress plugin: Buddy Press


Up next is BuddyPress, a powerful forum WordPress plugin developed by WP contributors. However, BuddyPress is more than a simple forum plugin — it's software that transforms your WordPress site into a robust social network. The best part? It's free.

BuddyPress is great for business owners and bloggers who want to form a community around their content or product, so if that's you, this could be a great option. Like bbPress, BuddyPress is quick and easy to add to your site and configure. With the plugin installed, visitors can create profiles, make friends with other users, post their activity, share photos, make public and private groups, and send personal messages to each other. The opportunities to grow your community are endless.

In addition, there is a myriad of BuddyPress plugins to handle anything that BuddyPress doesn't do itself, and BuddyPress themes that work incredibly well with the plugin. You can even use bbPress with BuddyPress to place forums on your social networking site.

Notable Features:

  • Photo sharing

  • Public and private groups

  • Visitor profiles

  • Updated regularly

3. Peerboard Forum and Community

forum WordPress plugin: Peerboard Peerboard is an excellent plugin if you're looking to build a community on your website. Embedding an online community platform on your site is simple with the help of this plugin. And because this plugin is for WordPress users of all experience levels, you can rest assured the user interface will be easy to navigate.

Another reason this plugin is an excellent option is that it can help you boost your SEO efforts, garner user-generated content, and even gain feedback. This plugin offers user-profiles and member groups, as well as allows for the creation of public and private spaces. Plus, the plugin is customizable so that you can add your branding, so it's as cohesive with the rest of your website as possible.

Notable Features:

  • Customization

  • No coding knowledge required

  • Build member groups and reward them

  • User profiles

4. Discussion Board

forum wordpress plugin: Discussion Board

Discussion Board is another forum WordPress plugin that offers an easy way to place a forum on your website. When you install this plugin, this free tool adds three new pages: A login page, a page for existing forum topics, and a page where users can submit new topics via a form. As a result, Discussion Board is simple and intuitive for visitors and admins alike.

Aesthetically, Discussion Board's forms are minimal. Thanks to this, the plugin is functional with any theme, and you can change its colors through the customizer to ensure it's cohesive with the rest of your website. Admins can place new topic forms, login forms, and topic lists via shortcodes. To control spam and abuse, Discussion Board also lets you limit how often users can re-post, approve or deny new topics and block specific email addresses and domains from creating accounts on your site. We also love that this plugin gets regular updates.

All of the above features are included in the free version of this plugin. Upgrading to the pro version (starting at $69 per year for one website) gives you multiple discussion boards, image uploads, advanced board permissions, user profiles, and WYSIWYG editor for easier formatting. You can also opt for the more advanced premium option, which offers enhanced functionality and costs $109 yearly.

Notable Features:

  • Minimal design

  • Re-post limits

  • Color customizer

  • WYSIWYG editor (pro version)

5. wpForo Forum

forum wordpress plugin: WP Foro Forum

If you want a more advanced forum WordPress plugin, try wpForo Forum. This feature-packed option has three forum layouts: simplified (a basic, minimal forum), extended (a more traditional look), and a question-and-answer format. All that's to say, the options are endless. Additionally, all layouts are mobile-friendly and notably more modern-looking than other plugins here — check out wpForo's community page to get a better sense of the design.

Beyond appearance, wpForo forums allow essential forum functionality. Additional desirable features include member ratings, badges, topic tags, social sharing, and a drag-and-drop interface for forum management. wpForo also integrates with BuddyPress to make your site even more community-oriented.

wpForo offers several paid add-ons to extend your forum with extras like polls, private messaging, and an ad manager. Pricing per add-on ranges from $11 to $35. Overall wpForo offers a highly robust experience for admins and users — which is why it's a great choice.

Notable Features:

  • Three forum layouts

  • Mobile responsive

  • Member badges

  • Ads Manager

6. Asgaros Forum

forum wordpress plugin: Asgaros

bbPress and BuddyPress may be popular, but other options exist for adding discussion boards to WordPress. Enter Asgaros Forum, a free and lightweight plugin for simple WordPress forums. You're in the right place if you're looking for a free option that won't slow down your site.

Asgaros Forum prioritizes speed and ease of use, which is why it is ideal for new WordPress users looking for basic forum functionality. This plugin is also beneficial because it features built-in SEO optimization, file uploads, reactions, posting permission controls, statistics, forum searches, and polls. While you'll typically see many of these features only available with premium plugins, Asgaros provides them free. Also, this plugin is updated often.

Notable Features:

  • SEO optimization

  • File uploads

  • Forum search

  • Voting and Polls

7. Simple:Press

forum wordpress plugin: Simple:Press

While less established than other plugins on this list, Simple:Press is a powerful alternative and boasts perhaps the best-looking forums out of any option. Its threads are clean, navigable, and customizable, with simple colors that complement your content and are cohesive with your branding.

Simple:Press is a freemium plugin — there's a free-to-download lite version that includes unlimited forums and posts, forum groups, private forums, breadcrumbs, and the ability for moderators to lock and pin forums. Another benefit of this plugin is that you, as the admin have tight control over permissions, forum members, and many other perks on the download page.

However, Simple:Press is really made to be a premium tool. It offers over 70 premium add-ons for virtually anything you'd want on your forum, like warnings and suspensions, topic redirects, tagging threads, and upvotes/downvotes. You can purchase premium add-ons or subscribe to an annual plan (starting at $199 per year for one site) to access all add-ons. Plus, Simple:Press is known for how speedy it is.

Notable Features:

  • Free to use

  • Unlimited forums and posts

  • Moderator access

  • Upvotes/Downvotes

8. CM Answers

forum wordpress plugin: CM Answers

CM Answers isn't your average Q&A WordPress forum plugin. In addition to the traditional Q&A stack-overflow style, this plugin incorporates sophisticated moderation, notification, and voting features. As a result, it's optimal for sites that not build community through conversation but also through competition. If your site ever issues awards, hosts contests, or even crowdsource ideas for your next product or service, CM Answers may be the best forum plugin for WordPress for your purposes.

Our favorite thing about CM Answers is the notification feature. Your forum users receive a notification when there's new content posted. This leads to higher engagement and keeps visitors returning to your site. Whether you, as the admin, post the majority of the content or if you're looking for user-generated content, CM Answers has the features you need to get the conversation started — and to keep it going.

Notable Features:

  • Polls and voting options

  • Moderation access

  • Forum categories

  • New Content Notifications

9. Sabai Discuss

forum wordpress plugin: Sabai Discuss

Sabai Discuss is a premium forum plugin created especially for question-and-answer boards. This responsive, highly flexible Q&A plugin lets you group threads into categories, close and reopen questions, enable voting on questions, site search with suggestions, and let users report malicious posts and comments.

These features make Sabai Discuss ideal for support sections of your product website or as a knowledge base in which the best answers are voted to the top. In addition, search engines index responses to common questions — when your product users search for a solution in Google, your support pages are more likely to rank. This is great for your site's visibility.

Notable Features:

  • Thread category grouping

  • Q&A Voting

  • Site Search

  • Common questions indexed by search engines

10. ForumEngine

forumengine plugin's homepageForumEngine is a WordPress plugin designed to help website owners create and manage a fully-featured forum on their site. It is a powerful tool that allows users to create and participate in discussions, share content and knowledge, and connect with like-minded individuals in a community-driven environment.

With ForumEngine, users have the ability to fully customize the front-end interface with a style customizer, and a control panel that lets you publish content without ever leaving your homepage. The back-end panel also gives you full control with a drag-and-drop editor to keep things simple for you. This makes integrating the plugin with your website's design and branding easy, providing a seamless user experience.

Notable Features:

  • Drag-and-drop back-end panel editor

  • Built-in translator

  • Highly customizable/intuitive front-end controls

  • Badge system for extra permissions

Get Your Visitors Talking

Whether you're looking to answer questions about your product or promote general discussion on your website, you'll have plenty of options for implementing a forum in WordPress.

We've listed some free and basic options for smaller organizations and premium choices for those needing more customization. Now, you can find the best forum plugin for WordPress for your purposes and get started using it.

This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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