Not only does bbPress (the forum software created by the same people who make WordPress) integrate very easily into WordPress, it’s also very similar to it in that it often takes a number of plugins to get it working the way you’d like.
In this post we’ve got 15 very good ones for you. These plugins will allow you to extend bbPress’ features to get it running the way you want your forum to run.
The WP User Avatar lets the admin upload a custom default avatar. It also allows users to upload a local avatar instead of using Gravatars.
You can limit the file size and image dimensions if users are uploading their own avatar.
The plugin comes with shortcodes for both an avatar uploader and for displaying avatars in posts.
The GD bbPress Tools plugin is like a few different plugins rolled into one.
It lets you add signatures, and then it also lets you control what users can use them, as well as the length allowed. You can also decide whether to allow HTML or BBCodes in the signature.
Speaking of BBCodes, it allows you make standard BBCodes (things like [b] … text …[/b] for bold) apply to your forum. You can also control which level of user has access to these codes.
This plugin will also add quoting a reply or topic, topics search results, toolbar menu integration, and limiting bbPress’ admin side to certain user levels.
The GD bbPress Attachments lets you allow attachments to topics and replies.
The plugin comes with a number of controls, letting you control how large the files can be and also the number of files a user can attach per topic.
The plugin can embed attached files, and thumbnails can be generated.
The Rating-Widget: Star Rating System lets users giving star ratings for forum topics (as well as posts, pages, comments, and BuddyPress topics).
The plugin comes with a number of different styles for the ratings, and you can also customize them.
You also get a “Top Rated” widget you can use.
The myCRED plugin gives your forum a points management system that lets you control how points are awarded, used, traded, managed, logged, and presented.
myCRED supports MarketPress, WooCommerce, and WP E-Commerce.
There are also a number of premium addons available on the author’s website.
The bbPress Report Content plugin gives your forum users the ability to report content to the administrator.
Logged in users can both report content and also see that it has been flagged as reported. Only an administrator can reverse the flagged state.
The Private Replies lets you give your users the option of replying privately to a topic, meaning that only the original poster (as well as admins) can see the reply.
Of course you’ll want to make sure users know that admins will be able to see their reply when sending a private reply.
The Better bbPress Signature plugin lets you give your forum users the ability to add signatures.
This will present users a WYSIWYG editor that will let them insert unrestricted HTML.
The Anti-spam by CleanTalk plugin helps stop spam comment, spam registrations, and spam through email contact forms.
It uses no captchas or any other type of challenges. It also provides stats about spam caught.
The Content Aware Sidebars plugin allows you to display a different sidebar depending on which content is being viewed. While this plugin is useful for a traditional WordPress site, it also has a special function built in especially for bbPress profiles.
You can set to display a specific sidebar for all user profiles, or you can even narrow that down to one individual user – showing Sidebar A to User X and Sidebar B to User Y.
That’s pretty granular.
The bbp topic count plugin lets you display counts for each user. You can show their total number of topics, their total number of replies, and then their total number of the two added together.
This type of info always gives a good clue about how committed people are to the forum, and it’s often a topic of discussion on forums that show these numbers. So it may be a smart thing to add.
The bbPress Live Topic Suggestions plugin could prove to be very useful for large forums. As a user begins composing a new topic, the plugin looks at the keywords in the title and tag areas and presents them with a list of similar topics that may answer whatever questions they have or address whatever topic they are talking about.
If you’ve ever been on a busy forum, like wordpress.org’s for example, you know how much repetition there is. This plugin can help cut that repetition down (if users pay attention to it, that is).
The bbPress New Topics plugin puts a little red “New” icon on topics that are new or that have new replies to them. These little icons are only visible to the forums admin and moderators, however.
In a busy forum, it may be hard for those in charge to keep up with what’s new. This solves that issue.
The bbPress Private Groups plugin lets you assign users to groups, and then you can control access to different forums by giving permission to view a forum to only certain groups.
For example, you could assign User 1 and User 2 to Group A. And then you could assign User 3 to Group B.
From there, you could create different forums and give access to different groups. For example, Forum X could be accessible to Group A only (User 1 and 2), and Forum Y could be accessible to Group B only (User 3).
The bbPress Protected Forums plugin lets you create forums that disable new topic creation for certain user roles.
This comes in handy when you need administration announcements, for example, or FAQs, but you don’t want people coming in and discussing it.
It could also be used for premium level forums.