Is "Communities" plugin a "BuddyPress" replacement or do they work together in s
Seems like a BP replacement/alternative. Is it?

If yes, why would I choose one over the other?


  • aecnu

    Greeting Clifford,
    Seems like a BP replacement/alternative. Is it?

    If yes, why would I choose one over the other?


    The reasons to choose one over the other I cannot give you advice on. However, I can tell you that Buddy Press seems to cause a whole lot more problems for folks then most other things.

    It is your call on which path to take which also depends on what your end result and vision is supposed to be.

    Thank you for being a WPMU Dev member!

    If we can be of further assistance please let us know.

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • Clifford P


    You didn't give me any helpful information. The only potentially-helpful thing was that BP often has problems, but you didn't say that Communities does NOT have problems. And what kinds of problems? Just "problems"? Uh, then how/why is BP so popular if it just has problems?

    Also, you didn't tell me any pros/cons or features/benefits/drawbacks, which is what I wanted.

    I feel like you just go through these forums with the goal of marking things resolved without actually being helpful. I don't mean to be harsh, but this isn't the first time. Giving me helpful information (like @pcwriter did a bit) is typically required before something gets "resolved".

    So, as I initially asked: Yes or No to whether or not it's a full BP replacement?
    If it can't do 'everything BP can do and more', then what parts are the same and which are different?

    It seems like a reasonable question, doesn't it?
    If it's been answered before, please share that helpful info with me.

    Thank you very much.

  • Saunt Valerian

    I'm a big user of BP and I can say that I don't have any real major problems with it. I have a few seemingly permanent quirks that I struggle with, but users have no idea that those quirks even exist.

    BP is a more deeply layered and more mature product than the communities plugin. BP also has a greater range of support in the outside community (meaning: lots of additional plugins to enhance it). It also happens on the front-end of your site. It is also built around components, so you only need to activate the components you actually need for your community (for example, I don't use groups publicly and I keep them away from my general users).

    I haven't used the communities plugin, but I wouldn't given that I want more control over the look and feel of the site that I have. Communities takes place in the dashboard so you are limited to that. BP is almost infinitely flexible - I've gotten to the point where I'm confident that I could use it to do pretty much anything I want.

    What kind of online community are considering creating? Given the experience I've had with BP over the last 18 months, I could tell you, with confidence, if BP is a solution for your use case.

  • Clifford P


    Thank you SO much. Really great.

    I want a single location (WP MultiSite) where I manage the plugins and sites and admins and such.

    Within that, I want each sub-site to have its own public-facing site that looks like a "real" (professional) website, not just a "we have a group among other groups" look.
    And each sub-site should have its own "back-end" (i.e. must login, can be accessible from front-end, not saying it has to be a secret) - BuddyPress / Communities / etc. - where that group can be social and have private sections (i.e. Board Member documents), public sections (classifieds, property for sale, lost pets), and events (public - garage sales, and private - board meetings).

    If I can get that figured out today, that'd be great.

    I'd also like to have a custom field that integrates with PayPal so that we can keep track of which person owes how much. For example, $100 due January 1 every year. If Johnny mails in a check, I want to be able to say he owes $0 now and he paid on January 7. If Sallie goes into her profile, clicks to pay via PayPal, I want it to come back and show she's paid. If I have to go in manually to mark paid, that's fine too.
    But if I can't get that done right away, it's not the end of the world, but it would mean a lot to me.

    I'd LOVE to get your thoughts.


  • Timothy Bowers

    Hey Clifford.

    I already covered in another thread, but you asked me to pop in here as well.

    My preference is for BuddyPress. Its a well established project, it is rather mature and well developed. In my opinion though support for plugins is limited, in the sense that there could be more plugins. The choice is limited.

    But thats not a reason to hold back, it is a fantastic plugin. And there are some quirks, but there always is with these sorts of things, none of us are perfect. They work hard to fix issues as well. :slight_smile:

    One of its limitations which is by design I believe is that it can only be installed on the main blog. It can function on a sub site, you can even make a subsite the main site. But it shares its data so its not unique like to each site like you would expect.

    In order to only display specific groups on a sub site it would require some custom work. Unless someone else has seen another option there?

    I'm not sure I fully understand your last part about payments and integration. So please for give me if you have already considered something like our Membership plugin or Pro Sites?

    Take care.

  • Clifford P

    I really appreciate your feedback and look forward to comments from others...

    Without doing custom stuff...
    One alternative is to setup a site (non-MultiSite) for each client and install BuddyPress and all the plugins and such. Then they could have a public-facing site of their own and also a set of groups for things like Board Members (invitation only or by approval only), Owners, Renters, Realtors, etc.

    This would require each client site to have its own domain and there would be no reason for Domain Mapping. Also, then I'd have to manage multiple different sites (instead of MultiSite). But then each client could have their own public facing site with their own single or multiple groups.

    If this is what I choose, is there a good way to keep any parts in sync in any way?

    Of course I think the ideal is if all this was within MultiSite + BP.

  • Timothy Bowers

    The advantage to Multisite here is one codebase to maintain, one to update. It would make your admin time much easier.

    If you have one or two sites thats easy, but if you had hundreds which you are responsible for then it gets time consuming. One thing to to keep in mind is that you should always try to stay up to date. Not doing so could have performance issues or security issues.

    For example, you may remember the issue with Timthumb last year. Many themes and even plugins used that which meant many sites had exploits in them unless they updated promptly. Well with a couple of sites its easy to maintain....

    You might like to vote and stick some feedback on the following request:

    This is a plugin request which could allow you to manage multiple single site and multisite installations. :slight_smile:

    Ultimately you know whats best for your business model and what will work for you.

    Take care.

  • Saunt Valerian

    It is possible to have an individual install of BuddyPress on each subsite of a multisite network. I've read about it, but never tried it. I know one way of handling this would be to use a multi-network plugin. This essentially creates multiple networks using one WordPress codebase.

    Here are some starting points if you want to begin to research the possibilities of working in that direction:

    WP Multinetwork Plugin

    Blog post: Create an Unlimited Network of WordPress Sites With Multiple Super Admins and a Central User Base

    Multiple BuddyPress Social Networks

    handling payments and tracking them is an entirely different animal altogether and there are numerous solutions available, but you would have to be more specific about what you intend to be selling and what people will be paying your for.

    Reading your post, it seems like there is a lot of theoretical things that need to be laid out before you make decision about how you want to approach your project. It feels like there is a lot to understand on the technical side of things about what you want your project to achieve, planning ahead and working through once in a testing environment is going to be crucial as you learn all the things you need to know to make it work.

    I'm running multisite/buddypress/bbpress right now and host about 100 subsites and it really doesn't feel like a small affair. Plan ahead.

  • Clifford P

    Thanks for all the assistance.

    I read about this before and again, and apparently that's the answer (I haven't ever tried it), but I did hear that stuff breaks more often. Is this something WPMU DEV knows anything about or knows if their plugins work with it? Or, in general, what's a common reason for plugins to break in Multi-Network mode?

    Is MultiNetwork plugin ( ) required IN ADDITION to BuddyPress MultiNetwork plugin ( ) - or is it one or the other? Based the BP MultiNetwork plugin description, I'd guess both plugins are needed to work together, not one or the other. Any info for sure?

    Any info on SSL certs for subdirectories (not subdomains) if using Domain Mapping or MulitSite/MultiNetwork? There's a similar question on that blog post ( ) too.


  • Jordan

    One of the issues with running a Multi-Network is the lack of support in different instances of installation. During a recent attempt at this I caused a HUGE error in my network and was forced to revert to (Lucky) a older DB backup I had done that morning.

    One of the main reasons to use something like the "Communities" plugin is to allow for multiple communities within a single network without having to break your network up into sub groups. This means you can still run a central hub with the subdomian or subdirectory sites running as the spokes.

    Because Buddypress is shared across an entire network you can't simply have multiple activity walls and groups specific to only one site (Unless I'm aware of another way of doing it).

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