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Best 9+ Community Plugins for WordPress (2022)

By James LePage
 on August 5, 2022

Best 9+ Community Plugins for WordPress (2022)

By James LePage
 on August 5, 2022

Creating an online community is a great way to branch out online, expand your reach, and maximize your visibility among your target audience. With an online community of your own, promote and establish a brand, spread the word about a cause or an organization, and cultivate a sense of community among your own customers and online followers.

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Looking for a good WordPress Community Plugin? In this list, we'll take a look at the best solutions to implement a community feature on a website built with WordPress.

BuddyPress

BuddyPress is a free WordPress plugin that has been developed to help users create and launch their very own online social media platform with the use of WordPress itself.

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BuddyPress is a foundational building block plugin that is used to create social networks even with the use of additional plugins. BuddyPress is one of the most popular community plugins available for WordPress today, for both individual users as well as commercial businesses and entities alike.

Features

While BuddyPress is often thought of as a basic foundationan plugin for WordPress communities, it includes a wide range of features that should not be discounted, such as:

  • Core user profile and membership creation ability
  • Users have the ability to make friends with a friendship function
  • Private messaging is enabled between users
  • Users have the ability to create or join site-created groups to chat and easily communicate with other site members
  • Following users is also possible once you are registered using BuddyPress
  • Forum discussions are available with classic message boards
  • Registered members are able to create and publish their very own blogs once their memberships have been activated and/or verified

Pricing

BuddyPress is completely free and can be used for personal use or for commercial purposes. BuddyPress is a leading community builder for WordPress due to its no-cost availability and easy accessibility for all.

BuddyBoss

If you are familiar with BuddyPress or if you are interested in building an online social network with extensive features that acts similarly to BuddyPress, you may want to take a peek at BuddyBoss. BuddyBoss is a well-known and reputable social networking WordPress plugin designed to help build beautiful and functional social networks. While there is a BuddyBoss WordPress template available, the BuddyBoss WordPress plugin contains the theme and so much more.

Features

When you choose BuddyBoss as your preferred WordPress community-building plugin, you are in for a treat. Not only does BuddyBoss come with the traditional elements included with BuddyPress, such as membership and friendship functions, but it also includes the following features:

  • The BuddyBoss theme and plugin are available in one file, making it easy to install and manage
  • Whitelabel branding is available with BuddyBoss
  • Users have the ability to create accounts and their own individual profiles
  • Users can customize their profiles
  • BuddyPress plugins are compatible with BuddyBoss for even more versatility
  • Live notification features are available for all users
  • A live activity is presented to all users
  • Multisite support is available
  • Zoom integration supported
  • Social groups can be created in the community by other members and administrators
  • Private messaging between all registered members
  • Messaging restrictions available (optional)
  • Advanced push notifications are also available
  • Monetization is also possible with in-app purchases
  • Profile restrictions available (optional)
  • 24/7 available directly from BuddyBoss upon request
  • Create quizzes
  • Drip feed content on demand
  • Develop and launch an online learning site

Pricing

Unfortunately, if you are interested in BuddyBoss, there are currently no free plans available. However, BuddyBoss does currently offer three plans to choose from to fit your needs, including:

  • 1 Site: $228 billed annually - Includes a license for 1 site, 1 year priority support, 1 year of updates
  • 5 Sites: $288 annually - Includes a license for 5 sites, 1 year priority support, 1 year of updates
  • 10 Sites: $388 billed annually - Includes a license for 10 sites, 1 year priority support, 1 year of updates

Whether you are thinking of building a private community online or if you are in the process of developing a membership site, you can do everything and more with BuddyBoss.

BBPress

For those who are planning to launch an online forum or classic message board, your best bet may very well be bbPress, one of the most popular form plugins available for WordPress today.

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It is a leading forum plugin for WordPress that can be used for personal use as well as for commercial purposes without requiring additional licensing fees. The use of bbPress is optimal for small discussion forums as well as international message boards.

Features

If you are just getting started with your first forum, it is highly recommended to familiarize yourself with various features that come with message board plugins available for WordPress, including bbPress itself. Some of the most notable and classic features that come with bbPress for WordPress include:

  • Search: All forums created with the use of bbPress will have an extensive search feature built in directly to the boards themselves.
  • Favorites: Users who have registered as members on your message board will have the ability to favorite posts and topics once they have verified their account(s) and logged in.
  • Auto-embed links: Users who share links on your message board will have their links automatically converted into smart links for easy accessibility.
  • Revisions: If a member who has recently made a post on your forums wants to revise or edit what they have said, they can do so with the basic foundational bbPress plugin.
  • Topic tags: The use of topic tags makes it easier to manage and organize the popular and trending topics on your message boards while also making it easier for users to find what they are looking for whenever they search your forums.
  • Subscriptions: It is also possible to offer your users a range of subscription solutions based on the type of message board you are building and the community you intend to run.
  • Formatting: Allow your users to properly format their posts using images, basic HTML, and in some cases, even media and their own external links.
  • bbPress is also compatible with WordPress plugins, including both Askimet as well as BuddyPress, which can work in conjunction with bbPress for a more robust and expanded online social network or community.

Pricing

Currently, bbPress is free to download for both personal uses as well as for commercial purposes.

Those who are looking for a way to create a free and simple forum with the use of their current WordPress installation can do so easily with bbPress. Using bbPress is ideal for anyone, whether you are a veteran WordPress developer or if you are new to using WordPress and are launching your message board for the first time.

WPForo

If you are thinking of building a message board but want to offer your users the ability to browse in different languages and with various layouts and designs of their choosing, WPForo is one of the leading WordPress community plugins that delivers on both accounts.

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WPForo may appear simplistic with its base design, but includes an array of features and functions that help this community-building plugin to stand out.

Features

  • Multi-Board: If you are interested in creating more than one forum on your WordPress site, you can do so easily with WPForo.
  • Multiple layout options: With WPForo, there are currently four available layout formats to choose from for both guests and registered users.
  • Forum colors and styles: Choose between six sets of color themes and schemes for your forum's layout and design.
  • Subscriptions: Allow users to subscribe to various packages that your message board offers
  • Built-in caching system: If caching is important to you, WPForo comes with a built-in cache system that runs automatically
  • Easy migration: With the use of the Go2wpForo tool, it is now easier than ever to migrate an existing WordPress website to WPForo
  • Live notifications: Registered users can enjoy live notifications on-site once their account is activated
  • Scalable: Whether you have plans to build a small tight-knit community or if you want to grow a large community, you can do it all with WPForo without a hassle.
  • Built-in usergroup: Built-in usergroup systems make connections and communication much easier.
  • GDPR compliance: Tools and resources are included if GDPR compliance is a top priority for your community.
  • Integrations: It is also possible to integrate BuddyPress with the latest versions of WPForo
  • Responsive: WPForo is an extremely responsive WordPress plugin, making it accessible on most all devices and/or web browsers
  • Drag and drop forum management: Managing the topics, headers, and navigation on your forums is easier than ever with WPForo's own built-in drag-and-drop forum management tools.
  • Tags and topics widgets: Manage topic tags and post tags from one central dashboard location when you are using WPForo.
  • Built-in anti-spam: Built-in Askimet and Antispam integration are already included with WPForo.

Pricing

Currently, the base WPForo WordPress plugin is available for free. If you enjoy using WPForo and are interested in additional features and plugins, you can purchase premium WPForo add-ons from the official GVectors website. Some of the premium feature add-ons available from WPForo include:

  • WooCommerce Membership Integrations: Starting at $49.00
  • Tenor GIFs Integration: Starting at $20.00
  • GIPHY Integration: Starting at $20.00
  • Topic Prefix & Tag Manager: Starting at $25.00
  • Syntax Highlighter: Starting at $25.00
  • Topic Custom Fields: Starting at $35.00
  • Emoticons: Starting at $20.00
  • myCRED Integration: Starting at $25.00
  • Ads Manager: Starting at $20.00
  • User Custom Fields: Starting at $35.00
  • Polls: Starting at $25.00
  • Blog Cross-Posting: Starting at $25.00
  • Private Messages: Starting at $35.00
  • Advanced Attachments: Starting at $25.00
  • Embeds: Starting at $11.00

Using WPForo can help to save time when you are creating multiple message boards simultaneously for various user groups and target audiences. With WPForo, build and launch an online community your way by having more control over the additional plugins and add-ons you choose to use.

PeerBoard

Whether you want to build an online store, sell an online course, or even offer membership to your online visitors, you can do so with Peerboard. Peerboard is a community builder designed for publications, blogs, service marketplaces, eCommerce stores, online courses, membership communities and so much more.

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Features

For those who might be tired of the same old forum designs, Peerboard offers a sleek and modern forum solution that is available with complete white-label options. Additional features included with Peerboard are:

  • Built-in WYSIWYG editor: Easily format and publish new posts with Peerboard's built-in WYSIWYG editor.
  • Custom groups: Create custom groups to provide your users with additional privacy throughout your community.
  • Rich privacy controls: Peerboard's rich privacy controls make it easier than ever to ensure the quality and security of your entire online message board.
  • Profiles: User profiles and rich media uploads are also permitted for all members of a Peerboard forum

Pricing

If you are looking for a free WordPress community plugin to help you get started with the process of building an online message board, course, forum, or gathering space, you are in luck. There is a free version of PeerBoard available for those who want to begin learning how to build and manage online communities. Premium versions of PeerBoard are also available as follows:

  • Starter: $29 per month - Includes 3 private spaces, additional customization, built-in search, API access
  • Professional: $79 per month - Includes up to 30 private spaces, embedded code, moderator roles, content pre-moderation
  • Growth: $299 per month - Includes up to 100 private spaces, Webhooks, Batch API, mobile app (WIP)

MemberPress

Creating a learning management system or a subscription-based community can be challenging if you are not sure of where to begin. With MemberPress, the process of creating paywalls and paid memberships or subscription plans has never been more simple.

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Features

  • Easily build and sell online courses
  • Develop your own learning management system for students in real-time
  • Implement a paywall for premium web content
  • Offer paid memberships and ongoing subscriptions for your students and/or your online visitors
  • Implement monetization plugins for WordPress to help generate additional revenue

Pricing

MemberPress is not currently available for free. For the premium version of MemberPress, the following packages are available:

  • Basic: $179 annually -- Includes 1 site
  • Plus: $299 annually - Includes up to 2 sites
  • Pro: $399 annually - Includes up to 5 sites

Simple Ajax Chat Pro

Simple Ajax Chat Pro, also commonly referred to as SAC Pro, makes it easy for all of your online users to communicate with one another while simultaneously browsing your site. SAC Pro is ideal for those who are searching for an AJAX-powered chat solution that can be implemented and embedded onto any website, including a WordPress site.

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Features

  • AJAX-based chat (which can be implemented on any page or post)
  • Export chat messages into a CSV formatted file with just one click
  • Chat management plugin settings for complete control over chat setup
  • Unlimited number of unique chat forms are permitted with SAC Pro
  • Self-hosted, removing any third-party issues when launching and executing SAC Pro online

Pricing

SAC Pro offers both a free and Pro version. The free version of SAC Pro includes 1 chat form as well as chat customization and the ability to host the plugin on your own server. The Pro version of SAC Pro offers unlimited chat forms as well as additional features including custom styles for $60 for a personal account, $120 annually for a business account, $240 for an advanced account, and $580 annually for a developer account.

PeepSo

Another highly customizable solution for creating a WordPress community is PeepSo. From providing your users with avatars and live activity feeds to including privacy and reporting settings, PeepSo has everything you need to get started with your very own online community, especially if you enjoy customizing your online projects.

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Features

  • Technical support
  • Future plugin access
  • Download, upgrades and updates
  • Access to guides for better community-building
  • Avatars and cover images
  • Profile settings
  • Customizable profiles
  • Profile likes
  • Responsive design for various devices
  • Privacy settings
  • Customized default field settings
  • Custom profile field types
  • Live activity stream
  • Active hashtags
  • Nested comments
  • Hover cards
  • Pinned posts
  • Active reporting available
  • Filtering
  • Sharing blog posts
  • Rich formatting
  • Polls
  • Live chat
  • GIPHY integration, and so much more.

Pricing

Anyone who is interested in starting their own online community with PeepSo can do so with one site for just $180 per year. For those who are invested in the long-term, a PeepSo Ultimate Bundle package is available for 1 site for a discounted price of $599.

Circle.so

If you are searching high and low to find a community plugin for WordPress that is not only modern and sleek in design, but one that is robust and comprehensive in features and in ongoing support, Circle.so may be the perfect fit for you.

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Circle.so provides users with an all-in-one community tool solution for both brands and individual creators alike. If you have dreams of launching a social network of your own or if you want to maintain control over the voice and message your brand conveys, Circle.so delivers just that.

Features

Using Circle.so is easy and accessible, even for those with little to no web or programming experience. With Circle.so's inclusive management dashboard, access features, and build the community of your dreams by getting started in just a few minutes. A few of the most notable features that are included with a Circle.so subscription include:

  • Create organized forums and discussion areas for guests and registered members
  • Provide private spaces for registered users
  • Rich formatting options
  • Group chats, as well as group content, can be created
  • Enjoy an in-depth member directory
  • Generate weekly digests for stats and analytics
  • Live streams
  • Host unlimited events
  • Offer private messaging to members
  • Host event spaces
  • Use white labeling for your own brand's sake

If you are interested in monetizing your online community, you can do so with Circle.so by taking advantage of the following features:

  • Gate access and permissions
  • Offering paid memberships to users
  • Providing recurring paid subscriptions to members in exchange of premium content
  • Offer free trials to users
  • Deliver exclusive coupons and discounts to your subscribers or your most loyal members
  • Offer upsells if you are providing products or services

When managing your online community with the use of Circle.so, you can also enjoy the following management features:

  • Advanced in-depth analytics
  • SSO (Single Sign-On) solutions
  • Thousands of integrations are available with Circle.so
  • Invite teammates to help with managing your online community
  • Set roles and permissions
  • Integrate Circle.so into an existing WordPress website

Pricing

Circle.so is available for users starting at $39 per month. However, all new users of Circle.so are welcome to a 14-day free trial to determine if Circle.so is the right community-building WordPress plugin for you. The current premium plans available from Circle.so include:

  • Basic: $39 per month -- Member profiles, unlimited events, moderation, iOS compatibility, private messaging, group chats, accept payments (with paywalls active), custom domain, access to Circle.so's exclusive customer support community, training, and available workshops.
  • Professional: $99 per month -- Live streams & video, advanced in-depth analytics, white label branding (remove's Circle.so branding), API access, CSS customization options, custom single sign-on solutions available
  • Enterprise: $399 per month -- Dedicated success manager, API access, email white-label solutions, customized SSO, or single sign-on solutions, priority email support, launch strategy and onboarding concierge services provided, sandbox environment available, dedicated monetization specialist, full payments data migration, early access to future development and all released beta features

Please write a paragraph about circle.so - "You should also consider a dedicated community solution, like Circle.so".

Which is the Best Community Plugin for WordPress?

Choosing the best community plugin for WordPress will highly depend on the type of community you are interested in, your own experience with programming and coding, as well as the users and audience you intend to reach.

If you want to get started with building an online community and you are doing so for the very first time, diving in with BuddyPress is highly recommended. BuddyPress provides a free solution to help with providing you with guidance on building a social network and online community from the ground up with the use of WordPress.

WPForo is the perfect WordPress community plugin for those who are interested in creating multiple forums on one WordPress site as well as those who prefer to purchase additional plugins for their online community ala carte.

For those who are interested in a dedicated solution when it comes to creating, managing, and launching a brand new online community, Circle.so is an all-in-one solution that may be just what you need. Circle.so provides a comprehensive platform to build, manage, and launch the social network of your dreams.

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Article By
James LePage
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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!
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