The forum is a great platform for your readers to communicate with each other. Via this public area, people have the chances to share their unique thoughts and ideas, analyze and discuss your displayed items and contents, collaborate with others to better contribute to your site and many more. In the simple words, the forum section just gives people a sense that they are participating in a group, helping them better engage with you.
Now, if you are running a WordPress site and want to set up a forum for your visitors, this post is exactly what you are looking for. In the following, we have listed the detailed steps about how to create WordPress forum with the help of bbPress – a powerful forum tool that is developed based on the WordPress way. If you want some alternatives, you can refer to this page.
Step 1 – Install bbPress and Set Up the General Configurations
Firstly, you need to install bbPress via your WordPress administrative panel and do not forget to activate it. After that, you can go to the Settings tab, from which you can find the settings section for this plugin. Just click it. Here, you can decide a lot of aspects for the running of your forum.
Forum User Settings
This part decides some time limits, user roles and posting capabilities. Check the details as below.
- Generally, the posts or threads can be edited even if they are published online. Here, you need to set up a time limit based on minutes. Once the limit has been reached, these posts can no longer be edited by your forum participants. However, the site owner and users who have the Moderator role can override this restriction.
- To prevent spam and malicious attempts to affect the normal flow of your forum, you need to decide the minimum seconds for posting each new reply.
- You can allow your readers to post the topics and replies anonymously, without the need to logging in the account of your site. They simply need to enter the emails and names for posting the words.
- You can decide the default role of your forum members among the options of Moderator, Keymaster, Spectator, Blocked and Participant. Among them, the last option is the recommended one, with which users can edit and create their own posts and replies.
You can toggle on and toggle off the following forum features.
- Turn on the Revision feature so that whenever a draft is saved or a published post is edited, WordPress will save the revision.
- Enable your readers to mark any topic as their favorites.
- Allow your forum members to subscribe to their postings. In this case, each time there is a new reply of their subscribed topics or replies, they can be informed.
- Allow all the topics to have some tags and enable people to search for the specific replies and threads based on some keywords.
- Enable the post formatting with toolbar and allow the embedding of media into all the posts.
Topics and Replies for Each Page and for Each RSS Page
Here, you can decide the exact number of topics and replies that can be showcased in each page and RSS page. Personally, the default settings are just moderate.
Now, you can determine the slug for the root forum, single forum and user. If there are no special requirements, you can leave this part unchanged.
Step 2 – Create the Forum
After configuring all the general settings, now, you can create your forum by navigating to the Forum tab and clicking the Add Forum button.
Here, you just need to give the forum a proper name in the title section. If you want, you can also come out some descriptive words in the body section to better introduce this special community.
Before clicking the Publish button, you also need to make some configurations in the Forum Attribute box.
- Type – You can choose between Forum and Category. The former one means a forum that contains countless threads while the latter means a group that contains multiple forums. For instance, you can have a “Cosmetic” category that contains the “Powder” and “BB Cream” forums. Here, if you only want to create a single community, just choose the type of Forum.
- Status – You need to choose the Open option, so that people can create the threads and replies freely. If you choose the status of Closed, this forum is not open for posting new replies and topics.
- Visibility – This section includes three options. Public means anyone can check your forum; Private means only logged users can see the forum; Hidden means only webmasters and users with the Moderate role can check the forum.
- Parent and Order – The former one decides the hierarchy structure if you have multiple forums while the latter one decides the order on how can each forum appears.
Now, you can publish this forum and add it to your navigation bar so that readers can find this section easily. To do this, simply go to the Menus tab, choose your forum name and click Add to Menu.
Step 3 – Set Up for Forum Registration
Personally speaking, you can have your forum visible for all the people. However, if people want to communicate on this area, you’d better require them to register an account. This practice can prevent some spamming activities, and can better manage your community.
To do this, you firstly need to enable the registration function by going to the General Setting of your WordPress admin and check the box behind Membership.
As your site now is open for registration, you should create a special Registration Page for your forum. For this, you simply need to create a new webpage, give it a title like “Registration”, and then add the shortcode just like the following screenshot displays.
Also, it is possible that your forum members may forget the passwords for their accounts. In this case, you’d better create an additional webpage for password recovery. Here, you can use the below shortcode.
Now, you need to make these two pages and the login area visible for your readers. For this, you can leverage the default bbPress widgets. In fact, this plugin comes with multiple useful widgets for the display of search box, recent replies, recent topics and many more.
This time, you only need to use the bbPress Login Widget. After moving it to your wanted location, you can give this form a title like the below example, and enter the URLs for the registration page and the password page you have created previously.
Now, readers can log in and register for your forum, as well as finding the lost password easily from the front-end of your website.
Step 4 – Publish the First Forum Topic
In fact, you now have your forum created successfully. However, you still need to do the last thing to complete the process thoroughly – publish the first thread for your forum rule.
You can do this via the website front-end directly by entering the topic title, content and tag. Then, choose the Topic Type among Normal, Sticky and Super Sticky. If you choose the last two options, your first topic will be a sticky one that is displayed on the top of you forum.
Also, you need to choose the Post Status among Closed, Open, Trashed, Spam, Pending. As the forum owner, you can set it to Open, so this topic can be replied by all the forum members all the time. Now, you just need to click the Submit button to make this topic public online.
Here, we have to mention that if the topic is submitted by some participants, they have no right to choose the Post Status and Post Type. However, you can modify these two aspects on behalf of them via your website admin. You just need to click the Topics tab and hit All Topics button. Then, open your target topic for editing, and modify the Type and Status via the Topic Attributes box.
That’s it! You have set up the WordPress forum successfully. Now, your readers can share something and communicate with each other easily.
Note that as bbPress is compatible with all the well-coded WordPress templates, so the forum displays based on your current theme. If you want to do the customization, you can check this page.