How To Make Your WordPress Theme Compatible With BuddyPress


This post is a little outdated now and the new process is outlined at the plugin page in the WordPress repository:


BuddyPress 1.2 official release is finally here with native support for WordPress. The BuddyPress site is also sporting a new look highlighting all of the plugin’s features.


We’re going to see floods of new users from the WordPress single user community because of the latest release. You may be asking the question – how can I keep my current theme and incorporate BuddyPress functionality? This tutorial will help you do that.

If you want to keep your present WordPress site theming and include the BuddyPress plugin, you will need to know how to make your theme compatible with BuddyPress. I’m going to walk you through this handy guide, available at the BuddyPress codex, for making your theme compatible.

First thing you need to do is make sure you have WordPress and BuddyPress installed. This has been simplified to 3 steps, as you can see in the instructions currently displayed on the site:


1. Download and Set Up WordPress with the Famous 5 Minute Install.
2. Plugins >> Add New >> BuddyPress
3. Activate the bundled theme or add your own

This tutorial is assuming that you are wanting to use your own theme but make it BuddyPress-aware.

Step 1. Download the BuddyPress theme extension pack.

This is not something you place in the plugins folder. You need to drop the contents of the extension pack into the WordPress theme folder that you are currently using.

Step 2. Edit the “functions.php” file in your WordPress theme.

Open up this file and add the following line to the very top right after the {code type=php}Step 3. Add BuddyPress Tags to your theme’s style.css

Add a “buddypress” tag to the top of the file. If you don’t see this line, add “Tags: buddypress” to the last line of the comment header without the quotes. This will tell BuddyPress that your theme is BuddyPress enabled.

Step 4. Refresh your site and check out the changes

The way to know that it’s working is that you will now see the BuddyPress bar across the top of the page. The BuddyPress pages should now be working with your theme, although the stying that comes with the theme extensions pack is fairly basic. You’ll want to get it styled to match your current theme. The ability to make your current theme BuddyPress aware is much simpler than the process used to be and will definitely make WordPress social networking more accessible for those who already have a single user WordPress site in operation. Let us know if you encounter any snags and if you have any more specific tips for adapting themes to BuddyPress. Happy theming! :)