Apr 19, 2021
12 Best WordPress Forum Plugins For Your Site
Forums are a great place to discuss ideas and share information. They are perfect for creating niche communities where anyone can post questions and answers or simply have a conversation.
Individuals or business owners who want to add a forum page to their website can easily do so using a plugin. However, with such a large variety of options available, finding the best WordPress forum plugin for your business can be challenging.
To make this process easier, we listed the top free and paid WordPress forum plugins. All you have to do is read on and install the plugin that suits your needs best.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Forum Plugin?
The benefits of using a WordPress forum plugin are:
- Audience engagement. Forums are a great way to encourage interaction among visitors. For businesses, it is also a platform to get customer feedback and post announcements.
- Access to support. Users can post questions and get assistance for their concerns without reaching out to customer support.
- Generates more traffic. Most forum plugins are SEO-optimized so that they can help your website rank better on search engines. Moreover, forums attract active visitors, which is organic traffic.
- Community building. Since users can freely express their opinions and help each other with concerns, forums help create a sense of community.
Top 6 Free Forum Plugins
Here are the best WordPress forum plugins that you can download at no cost.
- Downloads: 20,000+
- Rating: 4.9/5
- Notable features: customizable theme, statistics display, ads management
Asgaros Forum is a lightweight WordPress plugin that’s simple to set up and easy-to-use.
- Simple content management. Asgaros Forum provides a robust yet easy-to-understand interface for beginners.
- Statistics display. Shows the number of views, posts, and active users for social proof and user engagement.
- Polls option. Polls are an efficient method of getting people’s opinions by letting them choose among pre-defined answers. This forum plugin allows users to create a survey through polls.
- Customizable and responsive theme. Allows users to edit color schemes and fonts while maintaining a consistent look and functionality across all devices.
This WordPress forum plugin is best for beginners looking for a piece of software with an intuitive design and a simple interface.
- It gives moderators full control over user activities and access
- SEO-friendly plugin
- No built-in CAPTCHA option for spam protection
- Downloads: 300,000+
- Rating: 4/5
- Notable features: feature-rich interface, easy installation, multisite forums
bbPress is a streamlined WordPress forum plugin that packs advanced management options for full customizability.
- Easy installation. bbPress provides a step-by-step guide for plugin installation.
- Powerful interface. Moderate posts, control user access and create sub-groups within the forum section from a single dashboard.
- Multisite forums. Organize topics by creating sub-categories within your forum.
- Compatible with other WordPress plugins. This WordPress forum plugin works well with other third-party plugins such as bbPress Notify or Private Groups to improve site functionality.
bbPress is one of the best WordPress forum plugins for users that need a relatively small yet highly functional forum.
- Offers comprehensive documentation and tutorials
- Allows extensions to improve site functionality
- Technical support is not immediately available
- Limited features for large-scale forums
3. wpForo Forum
- Downloads: 30,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Notable features: multi-layout options, SEO-friendly, responsive design
wpForo Forum is the best WordPress forum plugin for creating highly-interactive and fully-responsive online forums.
- Multi-layout options. There are four forum layout options to choose from – simplified, extended, threaded, and question and answer.
- SEO-friendly. wpForo Forum is SEO-optimized to help increase online traffic and improve search engine ranking.
- Responsive design. Regardless of the device, wpForo Forum retains its appearance and functionality.
- Social network share buttons. Encourage forum users to share topics and invite others to join the conversation.
wpForo is perfect for users who want to build an online community without any coding skills.
- Provides a comprehensive knowledge base.
- Available in multiple languages, such as French, Chinese, and Spanish.
- Compatible with BuddyPress, a social network WordPress plugin.
- wpForo users need to pay for add-ons.
- Multiple settings and options can be overwhelming for beginners.
- Downloads: 200,000+
- Rating: 4.2/5
- Notable features: private messaging, customizable user profiles, micro-communities
BuddyPress is a plugin for WordPress that is ideal for creating a basic social network within your site.
- Private conversations. Lets members send private messages to each other.
- Customizable user profiles. Allows website users to personalize their profiles by adding their name, photo, and location.
- Micro-communities. Enables admins to create sub-groups so users can easily find relevant topics and join discussions.
BuddyPress is suitable for anyone who wants to build a strong sense of community on their website.
- Comes with plenty of helpful features and a user-friendly interface
- Compatible with any type of WordPress plugin
- Its customizable design gives users the ability to enhance site appearance without coding
- Limited support
- It does not provide social share buttons
- Downloads: 10,000+
- Rating: 4.1/5
- Notable features: multi-language support, shortcodes, CAPTCHA system
DW Question and Answer is a WordPress forum plugin that lets you create a question and answer platform, like Quora.
- Multi-language support. Offers translation of the site’s content into different languages, such as Italian, Spanish, and Chinese.
- Built-in shortcodes. Enables website owners to execute functions without coding.
- Email notifications. Provides email updates on new topics, comments, questions and answers.
- CAPTCHA system. Uses Google reCAPTCHA to protect your WordPress website from spam.
This free plugin is perfect for anyone who wants to create a support forum that encourages interaction between visitors.
- Compatible with other WordPress plugins
- Detailed guides and documentation are available
- Needs the Pro version to ensure regular updates
- It does not support the latest version of WordPress
6. CM Answers
- Downloads: 1,000+
- Rating: 3.9/5
- Notable features: private messaging, full admin control, and automatic post sorting
CM Answers is the best forum plugin for creating a multi-purpose online discussion board on your WordPress site.
- Personal messaging. Allows users to send private messages to each other.
- Full admin control. Admins can assign user roles, limit accessibility, and create forum categories.
- Automatic post sorting. Site visitors can filter questions and answers based on relevance, rating, or date posted.
- Multiple file uploads. Ideal for adding images or files to user posts. This feature adds a visual component to your forum site.
CM Answers is best for advanced users who want a Stack Overflow-type discussion forum, where people can post questions and answers, give ratings, and post comments.
- Incredible customer support
- Lets website users vote for the best answer given by the user
- Users need to pay for additional features that are included for free in other plugins
- Language translation is limited to six languages only
Top 6 Premium Forum Plugins
For those who don’t mind paying for enhanced features, here are some premium forum plugin options.
- Downloads: 100,000+
- Rating: 5/5
- Notable features: fully responsive, lightweight, user-friendly
- Price: from $99/year to $249/year
Forum WP is one of the best WordPress forum plugins for building a strong community on your WordPress website.
- Mobile responsive. Automatically adjusts the layout of your WordPress site for mobile browsers.
- Easy moderation. Manage the topics of your discussion forum on the front-end. No coding skills required.
- Lightweight and fast. Forum WP is optimized for an excellent user experience.
- Topics statistics. Users can get real-time updates on the number of views, likes, and comments on their posts.
This forum plugin offers a Basic plan starting at $99/year, which is suitable for a single website. If you need this plugin for more sites, the Pro plan lets you add 10 websites for $249/year.
Forum WP is ideal for businesses that need scalable software for managing a growing community.
- Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Provides robust features at an affordable price
- Live chat support is not available
- Limited tutorials
- Downloads: 2,000+
- Notable features: responsive, SEO-friendly, and sub-forums
- Price: from $49/year to $199/year
WP Discussion Board is perfect for beginners interested in creating support forums.
- SEO-friendly. Optimized to help your content rank better on search engines.
- Responsive design. Ensures that the forum fully functions on any device.
- One click-installation. Lets you add a forum to your WordPress site without coding knowledge.
- Sub-forums. Organize topics by creating sub-forums within your WordPress site so people can easily find relevant content.
WP Discussion Board starts at $49/year, including image uploads for newly created topics, email notifications, and plugin updates. There is also a Pro plan at $98/year and an Ultimate plan for $199/year.
- A free version is also available for download
- WP Discussion Board is compatible with any WordPress theme
- There is no free trial for the premium version
- No live chat support
- Downloads: 3,000+
- Rating: 4.4/5
- Notable features: auto-filter option, responsive design, profile dashboard
- Price: $24 for a Regular License and $120 for an Extended License
Sabai Discuss is a WordPress forum plugin perfect for creating a Q&A page on their website.
- Responsive design. Ensures that the layout and functionality of your WordPress website remain consistent regardless of the device.
- Auto-filter option. Sort questions and answers according to the number of views, topics, or number of votes.
- Profile dashboard. Lets users add their name, display favorite posts, and keep track of the questions and answers they posted on the forum.
- Auto-suggest. Offers commonly searched keywords when searching for answers or typing a question.
For this WordPress forum plugin, the Regular License costs $24, including regular updates and technical support. If you’re planning to charge for creating a membership for your forum, you’ll need to get the Extended License for $120 instead.
- Provides a beginner-friendly interface with powerful features
- This WordPress forum plugin is lightweight and quick to load
- Limited documentation and tutorials
- Tech support included with the paid plan is limited to six months. However, it can be extended to 12 months for an additional $7.13
- Downloads: 600+
- Rating: 4/5
- Notable features: revenue generation, private conversations, SEO-friendly
- Price: from $199/year to $644/year
Simple:Press is a plugin for WordPress that is ideal for creating a support forum for large communities. It is an excellent plugin for organizations and enterprises that need ample of helpful and robust features.
- Revenue generation. Monetize your WordPress website by charging for a membership subscription.
- Private conversations. Offers an option to send private messages for one-on-one interactions among users.
- Unlimited forums. Organize a large community by creating sub-forums and categorizing content into different topics.
- SEO-friendly. Ideal for getting more traffic and ranking better for SERPs.
Paid plans start at $199/year, including access to priority technical support and premium themes for one website. If you need this plugin for more sites, you can choose the 5 Sites plan for $358/year or the Unlimited Sites plan for $644/year.
- A free version of Simple:Press is available for anyone who wants to try the features before purchasing
- Comprehensive documentation on plugin updates, tutorials, and articles is available
- Plans are more expensive compared to other plugins
- Simple:Press is ideal only for advanced users
- Rating: 4.4/5
- Notable features: customizable, adaptive design, translation-ready
- Price: $49 the ForumEngine theme and $109 for the Community Package
ForumEngine is perfect for advanced users who need a streamlined plugin for adding a social platform on their WordPress website.
- Customizable design. Change the color scheme, layout, and font size without any coding.
- User badges system. Assign user roles and decide which users can post as admins.
- Translation support. ForumEngine has a built-in translator to help you provide a personalized user experience.
- Adaptive design. Adjusts the website appearance to keep a consistent look and feel, regardless of the device.
Plans start at $49 for the ForumEngine theme, which can be used for an unlimited number of websites and comes with free updates and technical support for 12 months. You can also choose to go for the ForumEngine and QAEngine package, which comes at $109.
- Offers powerful features with an user-friendly interface
- Provides a detailed and helpful knowledge base for users
- It does not offer a 30-day money-back guarantee
- No built-in CAPTCHA system for spam protection
- Downloads: 200+
- Rating: 4/5
- Notable features: front-end posting, sticky topics, unlimited forums
- Price: $29 for a Regular License and $199 for an Extended License
Groups Forums is one of the best WordPress forum plugins for beginners looking for an affordable software solution.
- Front-end posting. Allows users to post questions, answers, and comments without coding.
- Sticky topics. Ensures consistent visibility since topics are pinned on top of the page even if users scroll down.
- Unlimited forums. Create sub-groups to organize content and encourage more interaction among users.
- Topic subscription. Get notifications on questions, answers, and comments.
Groups Forums plugin costs $29 for a Regular License, which includes updates and technical support. However, if you plan to charge for membership subscriptions, you’ll need the Extended License for a $199 one-time fee.
- This lightweight WordPress plugin is easy to navigate
- Detailed documentation is available
- Includes only six months of technical support. Users need to pay an additional $9 to get a one-year customer service support
- No CAPTCHA system for spam detection
What to Look for in a WordPress Forum Plugin?
As you see, there are plenty of great WordPress plugins on the market. When deciding which one to choose, make sure to pay extra attention to these features:
- Value for money. Pick a forum plugin for WordPress that provides effective services at an affordable price. It’s a good idea to try the free version of the plugin if it’s available before committing to making a payment.
- Responsive design. Make sure your forum site loads seamlessly on mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. A responsive design ensures an excellent user experience and a fast loading time.
- Relevant to your website. Determine the kind of forum you want to create and look for a plugin that offers the functions you need. Moreover, find a plugin that allows you to pay only for the services you require instead of purchasing a plan you don’t need.
- SEO-friendly. Choose a plugin that is optimized for search engine visibility. This is very important for organic traffic and building brand trust.
Useful Tips for Running an Online Community Forum
When managing an online forum, remember to do the following:
- Engage with the visitors. Doing so will help you understand how people behave, why they participate in your community, and how you can improve the forum.
- Use a simple platform. A forum that is easy to navigate will keep users coming back. Provide a quick sign-up process and a well-organized design.
- Create relevant content. Educate your audience on how to use the platform with video tutorials and blog posts.
- Moderate your forum. Organize topics, monitor questions, answers, and comments to maintain the quality of your forum. Establish guidelines and rules for posting – no swearing or rudeness, for example.
To summarize, here are our best WordPress forum plugin recommendations and who they’re most suited for.
If you want a free WordPress forum plugin:
- Asgaros Forum. An intuitive and easy-to-use plugin for beginners.
- bbPress. Offers a user-friendly interface.
- wpForo Forum. Best for creating an online message board.
- BuddyPress. A social network plugin.
- DW Question & Answer. Ideal for creating support forums.
- CM Answers. Best for building a discussion forum.
If you wish to pick up a premium WordPress forum plugin:
- Forum WP. For managing a large community.
- WP Discussion Board. An SEO-optimized forum plugin.
- Sabai Discuss. For creating a support forum similar to Quora or Stack Overflow.
- Simple:Press. Ideal for managing large forums.
- ForumEngine. A social network plugin with a built-in translator.
- Groups Forum. An affordable plugin for creating multiple forums.
We hope you find this list helpful. Good luck!