BuddyPress For Beginners: The Ultimate Starting Resource
If you’re just getting started with BuddyPress, you probably have a lot of questions. The good news is that there are dozens of excellent resources out there – you just have to know where to look. I’ve prepared this guide that will hopefully help to answer your questions and put you in touch with the resources you need to build your very own open source social network with BuddyPress.
Common BuddyPress Questions
We get quite a few questions on Twitter about how to get started with BuddyPress. Here are some of the most common questions and answers:
How do I install BuddyPress?
It’s pretty simple in more recent versions. You can install BuddyPress just like any other WordPress plugin by going to Plugins >> Add New in your dashboard. Search for and install BuddyPress. Before you activate it, make sure you have pretty permalinks enabled. That’s basically all there is to it.
The BuddyPress Manual – WPMU DEV has a very detailed, illustrated guide for installing BuddyPress and getting started. The manual covers nearly everything you need to know about working with BuddyPress, including installation, activating themes, registration for single-user and multisite installs, detailed information on working with BuddyPress’ social features, plugins, and much more.
BuddyPress Codex – The BuddyPress plugin has its own codex that continues to grow and change with the project. It contains all the basic information for installing BuddyPress and configuring its components, troubleshooting, and administering your BuddyPress site.
What kind of sites can I build with BuddyPress? Can you show me some examples of larger sites using BuddyPress?
There are hundreds of excellent BuddyPress sites in the wild. Many don’t outright advertise that they are running on BuddyPress – all the magic happens behind the scenes. We’ve been keeping track of the latest and greatest BuddyPress sites as they pop up, and you can check out a few our showcases here:
BuddyPress Showcase: 11 Brilliant New Social Networks
BuddyPress Showcase: 17 New Niche Social Networks
BuddyPress Showcase: 12 New Stellar Customizations
BuddyPress Eye Candy – 17 of the Best and Beautiful
Another great resource you should bookmark is BPinspire. It’s a website dedicated to showcasing BuddyPress sites and themes. Showcase entries are broken down into categories and visitors can assign each a star rating. Follow @bpinspire on Twitter to stay up to date with their latest additions.
Where can I get support and answers for my questions?
The best place for free BuddyPress support is in the BuddyPress.org forums. The forum moderators are extremely knowledgeable about BuddyPress and are very active in assisting users. There’s also an entire community of people who may have an answer for your question. If you’re experiencing a common problem, a quick forum search will usually help you turn up the answer.
Where can I find BuddyPress plugins and themes?
Both WordPress.org and BuddyPress.org share the same listings for free plugins. The BuddyPress plugins page pulls in information from plugins listed at WordPress.org, so it just depends on how you prefer to search and sort them. Currently there are 313 plugins available in the repository for extending BuddyPress. The WordPress theme directory has approximately 20 themes tagged with BuddyPress, although many of them have not been recently updated.
WPMU DEV – WPMU DEV is the leading source for professionally-supported BuddyPress plugins and themes. Many of the plugins have even been created based on user requests. If you want plugins and themes that are guaranteed to always be updated for the latest versions of both WordPress and BuddyPress, then WPMU DEV is going to be your one-stop shop.
BuddyDress – BuddyDress.com offers the best commercial BuddyPress themes available. They offer both individual theme and theme club pricing, so that you can take advantage of all of the themes. Professional support and updates are also guaranteed.
BuddyDEV – BuddyDev.com is another website that offers BuddyPress plugins and themes. Some of their products are offered for free and others are professionally supported.
What BuddyPress plugins should I be using?
This is a very common question, but it depends completely on what you need your community to do. Plugins, for the most part, are for added functionality, and there’s no reason to include something that your community does not need or will not use. Look for plugins that are being actively developed, have mostly positive reviews, and have an activity community of users. We review nearly every new major plugin for BuddyPress on our blog, so make sure that you’re subscribed.
Where can I learn more about customizing BuddyPress?
Our BuddyPress category is full of tutorials for customizing your BuddyPress site.
Subscribing to BuddyPress developer blogs is another great way to find out about the newest tutorials and plugins.
Check out our recommendations of those who are active in the BuddyPress world:
15 Excellent BuddyPress Blogs You Should Be Reading.
BP Tricks – BP Tricks is a community of BuddyPress enthusiasts with a large collection tips and tutorials. Many leading BuddyPress experts have contributed to this site and you can often find quite a bit of useful information as well as BuddyPress news.
Slideshare Presentations – Another way to learn more about BuddyPress is to check out some of the many slide presentations from various WordCamps around the world. Simply search for BuddyPress on slideshare.net and you’ll find dozens of presentations, any of which you can view or download for free. Topics include everything from introductory presentations to more advanced topics, such as working with the BuddyPress groups API.
If you’re just getting started with BuddyPress, make sure to bookmark this guide. When you’re ready to dive in, it will help you get on track for learning more about the BuddyPress social networking platform.