Most webmasters know that an online forum running on WordPress is incomplete without a fully functional social networking functionality. But if you’re new to the world of social plugins for WordPress, the difference between BuddyPress and bbPress can be quite confusing.
Even worse, if you don’t know the clear difference between the two, it can be tough to decide which one to use for your next project. To provide you a clear overview of two of the most popular social networking plugins for WordPress, we have compiled a list of their features along with the much required head-to-head comparison between the two. So, look no further and read on!
What is bbPress?
bbPress is a lightweight plugin for WordPress that’s free to use and has been developed by Automattic to let its users easily create online discussion boards. Not just that, it lets you extend your website’s functionality with the help of an integrated interface that looks and feels the same as your website.
bbPress also comes with add-ons that aim to improve its functionality. Some of the most popular examples of add-ons include bbPress New Theme, Better bbPress Signature, and more.
Here are some of the salient features of bbPress:
- Fast and lightweight plugin, can be deployed with a minimum requirement for maintainance
- You can create a single site or multisite forums, depending on your requirements
- Highly customizable templates, make the required changes based on your preferences
- Tons of add-ons to help improve the basic functionality
- WP user accounts can be merged with bbPress user accounts
What is BuddyPress?
BuddyPress is another popular social plugin released by Automattic, the rockstar WordPress platform team. This plugin ensures seamless integration into the whole WordPress ecosystem.
In fact, BuddyPress is one of the best systems for creating social networks from scratch using WordPress platform. There are countless add-ons and plugins that make communities created using BuddyPress even more functional and impressive for the users.
There are also plenty of great themes to work with, to create a social network-like site for your community such as this list here on Collective Ray website.
Here are some of the key features of this plugin:
- Facebook like abilities to create multiple groups and social networks
- Easy to set up activity streams just like Facebook
- Ability to use Profile Extension and modify User Account Settings
- End users can use its built-in public and private messaging system
- Quite popular among developers, which makes it easy to find an add-on for it
BuddyPress vs bbPress: What are the Key Differences?
Even though these are two different plugins coming from the same developer, they have been developed keeping different purposes and objectives in mind.
Here are some of the key differences between them:
- If you want to create a community or forum based on WordPress with minimal functionality – bbPress is what you should try first. However, if you’re looking to add more features like private messaging and group creation, go for the BuddyPress plugin.
- BuddyPress is more popular among developers, which is why you can find more add-ons or supportive plugins for it as compared to the number of add-ons available for bbPress.
- bbPress offers a simple, fast, and lightweight solution for those looking to building a community, which also makes it easier to maintain by webmasters. BuddyPress, on the other hand, is developed for those who want a full-fledged forum with countless add-ons to support its growth.
BuddyPress vs bbPress: the choice largely depends on your requirements. If you want an online forum that caters to a small-to-medium sized audience, then bbPress is the right plugin for you. There are several addon plugins if you want to add some more functionality to your online forum, but there’s a limit to what you can achieve with them.
However, if you are expecting a large audience visiting your website and want to cater to all of their requirements in the future, BuddyPress is for you. Not only does it offer you better control over various functionalities of your online forum, but it also provides a larger group of features along with countless add-ons to help you with upgrading the functionality of your online forum.
Having said this, both plugins are free to try. So, what are you waiting for?