5 Of The Best WordPress Forum Plugins

Last Updated on 29th November 2021
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Want an easy way for your website visitors to be more engaged in your website? Or maybe you’re looking to create a sense of community within your brand?

Well, WordPress forum plugins can help you do this, and more. Forums are a connection building tool that can be great for keeping, and extending, customer interest around your business. And they come with the added bonus of being amazing for your SEO.

In this article we’ve provided an honest review of the 5 best WordPress forum plugins, to save you the hard work. We’ve evaluated them based on their functionality, ease of use, and speed.

What is a WordPress forum plugin?

A WordPress forum plugin is a plugin that allows you to turn part, or all (think Reddit), of your website into a forum.

A forum is a place where users of your website can meet to discuss things.

There are many types of forum. Your forum could be a Q&A (question and answer) platform (like Quora), discussion board (like Reddit), knowledge sharing space, social media (like Facebook) or a problem solving support zone, or perhaps a mixture of all of these.

Forums can let your website users post questions, share solutions, discuss new ideas or spread knowledge.

This is perfect for community building and connecting your website users.

The benefits of having a WordPress forum plugin:

When your users engage in discussion they are more likely to come back, buy whatever you’re selling, and recommend your business to their friends and family.

Basically, more interaction and engagement equals more traffic on your website.

By getting users to log in and create accounts to use your forum, you’re also generating leads.

Just like WordPress chatbots, which are another handy tool for generating leads and engagement, forums serve as a form of 24/7 support. They can help provide easily indexable answers to repetitive, questions, so that you don’t have to waste any valuable time answering them over and over again.

And if your users have a new question, that hasn’t yet been answered, then a support forum provides a place for users to help one another, until you can get back to them.

Any forums are also going to be amazing for your SEO. Forums are essentially free user-generated content and SEO exposure (search engines love them!)

 All of this can skyrocket your sales, and help grow your business exponentially.

What are the 5 best WordPress forum plugins?

1. bbPress

WordPress forum plugins

bbPress is made by the creators of WordPress, therefore uses the same WordPress core and follows the same coding standards. So you can be confident in its easy integration with your website.

WordPress forum plugins

When using bbPress it’s simple to setup a forum on your website. The ‘add new forum’ page is pretty much the same layout and design as an ‘add new page’ or ‘add new post’ WordPress page, so it should be simple to get to grips with.

WordPress forum plugins


The front end of the plugin is equally clean and simple, for managing your forum.

bbPress is completely free and open-source, meaning that it’s maintained by the community and is constantly being improved. It’s also made incredibly lightweight so that it doesn’t affect your site’s performance.

WordPress forum plugin

bbPress works by embedding shortcodes at various places on your website, to make use of its functionality. There are also plenty of extensions allowing you to extend and customise how your forum works.

Some of these extensions include:

  • Rafflepass – create viral giveaways and contests in WordPress.
  • Monster Analytics – Google analytics to see which forums and discussions are most popular by tracking your website traffic)
  • Memberpress – make money from your forum by adding subscription layers to your online community.

Rhis is just a fraction of the ever expanding list of extensions (there’s already 203 to choose from so far).

wordpress forum plugins

There are also many themes you can use with bbPress, to customise it, with over 106 available at the time of writing.

forum plugin for WordPress

There are advanced controls for your forum with 5 different settings (Keymaster, Moderator, Participant, Spectator and Blocked) which give different access (or stops access, in the case of Blocked uses) to different forum users.

This is a great free forum builder. It’s fully customisable and has a build-it-yourself forum experience. For some people, this build-it-yourself experience is a good thing, as it gives you full flexibility to mould the plugin to your website. But, this could also be confusing for some. 

This plugin could be a little clunky and complicated for someone without development experience. You manage your forum from many different sections of your website, and you have to use a lot of shortcodes. So although you don’t need coding experience to use this plugin, there’s a learning curve.

It’s still a great forum plugin, though, and there’s a reason it’s the most popular one. It’s fully integrated with WordPress, is fully customisable, and is constantly being expanded and improved. So if you want a basic WordPress forum plugin, and don’t mind the slight confusion when getting used to its settings, then you don’t need to look any further than bbPress.


  • Create a classic forum page
  • Made by creators of WordPress, so fully integrated
  • Open-source
  • Themes / templates (106 specifically for bbPress)
  • Shortcodes
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Customisable
  • Highly extendible (can add additional extensions to it)
  • Full Akismet support / anti-spam software
  • SEO exposure
  • Fully responsive via specific themes
  • And more

Price: Free.

2. BuddyPress

BuddyPress is another plugin made by the WordPress creators, and is often used alongside bbPress.

This plugin turns your WordPress website into a social media platform. So instead of just a simple forum, like bbPress, BuddyPress allows users to have member profiles, add friends, sign up for courses, join groups, purchase products, have activity streams, notifications, and more, similar to Facebook.

It can also be used alongside bbPress, if you wanted to.

It doesn’t rely on shortcodes like bbPress, and mostly uses widget blocks, which could be easier to use for some. But it still has the same advantages and disadvantages as bbPress. 

These are that, on the one hand, it’s incredibly lightweight and simple, so won’t affect your site’s performance. It’s also open-source, so the development is free and ongoing.

But on the other hand, to make your website into a fully fledged social media / community website, you’re probably going to have to download additional plugins. The initial base plugin is basic and a bit clunky.

The inbuilt widgets are enough to set up a basic social site, but you will probably want 3rd party plugins for things like adding registration options, integrating with LearnDash for elearning, adding ecommerce, and more. There are many of these to choose from, however, with 18 of the best BuddyPress plugins conveniently listed here by Hubspot so you don’t have to hunt them down yourself.


BuddyPress also integrates with Elementor, and it is the forum plugin that Elementor recommends to use when creating a forum on their software. There is a specific Elementor BuddyBuilder plugin that you can download ($39 per year) to make the integration slightly easier.

You don’t need coding or development experience to use BuddyPress (like bbPress), but it would things easier if you knew a bit of code. And you’ll get the most out of these plugins if you have some basic technical knowledge.

There are also additional paid social media extensions available to you, like BuddyBoss, but these are expensive and are not worth the slight extra ease of use. For the price of BuddyBoss, for example, you could sign up for our standard unlimited WordPress support plan and we could set up a BuddyPress site, maintain it and more for you.


  • Create a social media site
  • Open-source
  • Themes / templates
  • Widget blocks
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Customisable
  • Highly extendible (can add additional plugins to it)
  • Full Akismet support / anti-spam software
  • SEO exposure
  • Fully responsive via specific themes
  • Integrates with bbPress
  • And more

Price: Free (with the odd plugin, like BuddyBuilder for Elementor, costing extra).

3. WPForo Forum

WPForo Forum is an incredibly user friendly WordPress forum plugin, and it is definitely the most modern looking one.

The drag and drop layout is clean and simple and you get 4 clear different layout options to choose from when setting up your forum: Threaded, Q&A, Simplified and Extended. All of this means that it is almost impossible to get confused when setting up your forum.

All of the colours are also completely customisable.

And the forum dashboard is really straightforward and easy to find.

You also get member profiles in WPForo Forum, which makes your site, like BuddyPress, into a social media / community site. This is great for extra engagement. Member profiles also have cool features like displaying their forum posts, topics, questions, likes, 0/10 star rating, and more.

Overall this is the easiest WordPress forum plugin to set up and use (there’s a reason it’s voted 5/5 on WordPress). You won’t need any development experience and you won’t need to learn as much as bbPress or BuddyPress. However, the disadvantage to this is that, although it is initially free, you will need to spend money to get additional features or add ons. And it is less customisable overall (but the clean, simple and modern interface will probably make up for this).


  • Classic forum with member profiles
  • Super easy to use
  • Modern / clean design
  • Organised into 4 layouts
  • SEO exposure
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Customisable
  • Extendible (3rd party integrations)
  • And more

Price: Free. But additional add-ons cost extra.

4. DW Question & Answer

DW Question & Answer is a perfect plugin if you want a simple question & answer forum plugin (like StackOverflow, Quora or Yahoo Answers). It also replicates the Reddit ‘upvote / down vote’ system in your forum, which means that the best, and most useful, content gets pushed to the top of your users feeds.

Questions are really easy to set up, on both the front end and back end of your website. Like bbPress, on the backend, the ‘create question page’ looks exactly like the ‘add post’ or ‘add page’ layout you are used to.

You can also manage questions and answers on the front end of your website, which makes things easy.

The upvote / downvote system ensures that the highest rated, and most relevant, answer will appear at the top of the users page for each question.

Like WPForo Forum, you get styles to choose from: Default, Flat and Helpdesk, which all have their own colour themes. This isn’t as organised as on WPForo Forum, as it is more hidden away, but it’s still a useful tool.

DW Question & Answer also has advanced control features. You can create private questions and answers for just admin, or change different user roles in discussions (like having different permissions for questions, answers and comments). There’s also spam control.

Forum plugin for WordPress

This plugin isn’t very customisable, but works with any WordPress theme. You also don’t need coding experience, but this would be useful if you want to change any other customisation settings. You also get a shortcode in case you want to create a separate questions and answers page, such as via Elementor.

So you still need to use some shortcodes with DW Question & Answer, but it’s less than bbPress (which relies on them).

Some other cool features are that you can create categories and use integrated WordPress widgets. You can also create email notification templates, so that your users get an email if their question is answered. 

There’s also a useful search tool that allows users to search for previous questions and answers, using Ajax search.

And this plugin is also fast and well optimised, which is an important consideration now.


  • Create a classic forum page
  • Easy to use
  • Email notification templates
  • Ajax search tool
  • Social sharing links
  • Themes and styles
  • Customisable
  • Lightweight and fast (optimised with JavaScript)
  • Made by the creators of WordPress, so fully integrated
  • Extendible (integrates with 3rd party plugins)
  • Anti-spam software
  • SEO exposure
  • Mobile friendly
  • File management
  • And more

Price: $39 per year for 1 site (additional add-ons cost extra).

5. Asgaros Forum

Asgaros Forum is another great free WordPress forum plugin. Similar to bbPress, you have to use a shortcode to display your forum page on your website. However, it’s a bit more sleek and modern looking than bbPress. The shortcode is also simply [forum], so you’re not going to get confused when adding it.

The plugin’s developer ethos is to provide a fast and easy WordPress forum plugin. They pride themselves on their ease of use, speed and functionality, and they succeed in all of these areas.

The plugin is easy to set up, looks professional, and is fully customisable.

And the settings are clean and simple.

You don’t need coding experience to use this plugin, but there is an optional CSS input tool in case you want to customise your forum via CSS.

It’s rated 5 stars across WordPress and Codecanyon, with a lot of users saying it stays lightweight no matter how many forums you add (one reviewer said they have over 10,000 forums on their site, with absolutely no effect on their site’s performance).

WordPress forum plugins

People using the forum can also create member accounts, with rankings (to reward / promote your most active users).

Unlike bbPress or BuddyPress, you can’t add extra extensions to it. But, you honestly don’t need to. Asgaros comes feature rich with features such as:

  • Approval, banning and reporting
  • Notifications and feeds
  • Permissions and groups
  • Reactions
  • Uploads
  • Search
  • Polls
  • Statistics and widgets
  • Ads management
  • Guest posting

All for free! (with the option of donating to them if you like their product). So you can be confident in knowing that they put the importance on providing a great service over any profit.

WordPress forum plugin


  • Classic forum with member profiles
  • Super easy to use
  • Modern / clean design
  • Customisable
  • SEO exposure
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Statistics & Widgets
  • Advanced features such as reporting, reactions, uploads, polls, and more
  • And more

Price: Free (with the option to donate to the developers, if you like their plugin).

Which is the best WordPress forum plugin?

This decision is harder than most WordPress plugin reviews we’ve done, as all of these WordPress forum plugins have unique features.

Overall we would say that Asgaros is the best WordPress forum plugin, for creating a classic forum with member profiles. It’s lightweight, easy to use and uber fast. It looks clean and professional and comes feature rich (with many features like polls, uploads, statistics for free, which would usually cost money with other plugins).

We also love their ethos of providing a simple and fast plugin for free. By providing this amazing service for free, with the option to donate, you can be assured that the developers care about the performance and usability of their plugin, over any profit.

If ease of use and modern design is important to you, then you can also consider WForo Forum (although this one costs money for additional add ons).

If you’re a developer, or have hired a developer, then we would recommend bbPress and BuddyPress for your website. They’re harder to use, but they’re also the most customisable and extendable. Being made by the creators as WordPress, the possibilities are endless when creating your WordPress forum via these two plugins.