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How to Install and Set Up BuddyPress to Add Social-Network Features to WordPress

How to Install and Set Up BuddyPress to Add Social-Network Features to WordPress

Since social media marketing has become a fashion for promoting a website, adding social-network features to WordPress is great for that purpose. WordPress developers release a large number of methods for social media integration, among which BuddyPress is selected in this guide to make it clear.

A brief introduction of BuddyPress is highlighted in the first section of this post and that is created for users lacking understanding of this powerful tool. And then, an in-depth guide for BuddyPress installation, activation and setup is following closely.

A Brief Introduction of BuddyPress

BuddyPress has been regarded as one of the best social networking plugins for starting any kind of social network and communication tool on website. That is especially suitable for universities site, company internal communication, interest topic development and new product showcase. This plugin has won over 2 million downloads since it was released in 2008.

a brief introduction of buddypress

Extensive plugins enable ever-increasing possibilities for BuddyPress, in terms of mobile, membership, SEO and many other aspects. Users are able to download the add-ons via or Besides, multiple WordPress themes are designed for BuddyPress website to make it elegant and unique. That is a great option for people planning to start a social-friendly site with rich functions.

Install BuddyPress on Your Website

Users are allowed to download BuddyPress via or and then upload the zip file to a website through WP admin > Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugins or to do so via active control panel > File Manager. In addition, having BuddyPress searched and installed via dashboard is also accessible for you and that is selected in the following guide.

Log into your website backend and seek BuddyPress plugin out to get a search result as below. Click “Install Now” and then activate it in real time.

install buddypress plugin

Set Up BuddyPress

Since a “Welcome to BuddyPress” page comes out automatically and an item called “BuddyPress” appears under Settings, you have successfully installed this plugin on your website. A list of features is shown on this page and that helps you have a rough idea about this powerful open source social networking software. After glancing over all details, click “Get started” to access to BuddyPress setting page.

welcome to buddypress

There are three tabs available for BuddyPress customization, including Components, Pages and Settings. Here, we are going to explain those tabs one by one as below to help you have a better understanding about BuddyPress settings.


Components tab includes 10 options that can be shown on the website front-end when selected. You first have to read over the brief introduction for each item and then determine whether to put it into use. Do it according to personal needs. The status is shown clearly above the list of options, in the aspects of Active, Inactive, Must-Use and Retired.

buddypress settings components


Pages tab is further divided into two pages, namely, Directories and Registration. The Directories is where to associate an existing page on your site to a BuddyPress component directory, and it includes “Members” page and “Activity Streams” page. By default, two pages are newly created named as Members and Activity for that purpose. You can leave the default setting or select other pages to be associated with component directory from the drop-down list.

Likewise, the Registration section allows you to associate certain pages to the Register page and Activate page respectively. Select a page from the drop-down list or leave the default one to save trouble. Perhaps, if there is no page satisfying your needs, go to Pages > Add New and create a new page as planned. You can check the page on front-end by clicking “View” button.

buddypress settings page


Various settings are available in the Settings tab and that falls into three major sections, including Main Settings, Profile Settings and Activity Settings. Each section further includes two options for different purposes and that requires you to make a decision to check or uncheck certain options. Read over the details for each item and then click “Save Settings” since you have all changes done.

buddypress settings

Set Up User Profile Fields

There are two items coming under Users once you install BuddyPress on your website, including Manage Signups and Profile Fields. Profile Fields is where to set up a signup field on your site while Manage Signups helps you take full control of all pending accounts. Here requires you to set up user profile fields via Users > Profile Fields at first.

users profile fields

One field group named as “Base (Primary)” is added to profile fields by default, which is shown on the signup page for collection of user’s personal information. BuddyPress allows you to modify a group by clicking “Edit Group” button. In fact, the only field group cannot gather comprehensive information of your members. Thus, you should set about adding more fields under the Base group like email, gender, birthday, first name, last name and so on.

Click “Add New Field” button under Base (Primary) and enter the name of this new field along with a brief field description. Select “Required” from the “Field Requirement” drop-down list and that means users have to fill out this field when signing up an account on your site.

add new field group

Besides, multiple field types are available for that field, which are designed for different purposes. For example, the default setting “Text Box” is great for an email field while “Drop Down Select Box” is designed for the question with fixed answers, like Gender field. For the Birthday filed, the “Date Selector” is just about it. Make the right decision according to actual situation.

After having the Default Visibility and Per-Member Visibility set up, click “Save” button to create this new field. Add as many fields to this group as planned in the same way. As thus, the field group on backend should be like the following example and that allows you to edit or delete certain field if needed.

group fields example

When visitors get started on registration, then the page would be redirected to Profile Details as below.

profile details example

Since the Base group is used to collect some basic information of your visitors, you can add more field groups to further gather profile details from them. Click to “Add New Field Group” setting page and enter the name & description that new group. That is used to collect more information from registers after signing up. Create field group and go back to Users > Profile Fields. Target the newly created group and add as many fields as needed to it.

add new field group

Set Up Groups for Better Interaction

BuddyPress features User Groups that allows users to create and manage groups to share updates with other members in the group. If there is no item called “Groups” on the sidebar, go to Settings > BuddyPress and check the option “Users Groups” under the Components tab. And then, go to Groups interface and click “Add New” button. The page is automatically directed to the Groups page on your website front-end.

You are required to create the first group by finishing three steps, including Details, Settings and Photo. Give the new group a proper name and a brief description. Click “Create Group and Continue” and move to the next step.

add new group details

The Settings mode enables three privacy options for the group founder determines who can join this group. Set the permissions by selecting a proper privacy option from public, private and hidden. That is exactly a great method for privacy protection. Besides, the Group Invitations helps group founder determines which members are allowed to invite other users to join this group. That is further divided into three options. Select one according to personal needs and then go to the last step.

add new group settings

The Photo tab requires group admin to upload an image and set it as a group profile photo. Choose file from computer and upload it to the website. The recommended image size should be larger than 150 x 150 pixels. Finally, click “Finish” button to confirm all changes.

add new group photo

And now, the group admin can get started to post the first update in this newly created group and make a decision which content should be shown in that group by setting the “Show” option. Since the first update has been published, members are allowed to Comment and Favorite this update as needed.

post update in group

Create more groups in the same way and that is great to stimulate interaction between you and your members. Certainly, you are able to Edit, Delete and View any group via the Groups setting page.

If you check the option “Activity Streams” under Settings > BuddyPress > Components, an item called “Activity” appears on the sidebar. This is where to check all activities since users create a group, post an update or leave a comment on your website. That makes it convenient for you to track any activities once happening.

You can check the author, submitted date and action for all activities as well as Reply, Edit, Spam or Delete certain activities if needed. That makes it much easier to prevent comment spam on your website. Besides, a filter helps you search for activities in an effective way according to various criteria, including Members, Profile, Xprofile, Activity and Groups.

buddypress activity stream

And now, you are encouraged to install and activate BuddyPress on your site right now and explore more than just what we have mentioned above.

Who is the Best BuddyPress Hosting?

Instead of installing BuddyPress on website manually, selecting a BuddyPress hosting plan is also accessible for adding social networking features on your WordPress website with this powerful software. There are many options available for that purpose and the top 3 BuddyPress hosting providers are included in the following ranking table for reference.

All recommendations include one free domain in the BuddyPress hosting solutions and enable more possibilities for webmasters who purchase the service through special links.