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bbPress vs. Simple:Press, WP-Forum, other forum plugins

  • thezachperson31


    I’m looking for a good forum plugin for WordPress, and bbPress seems like a good choice. The main thing I like about bbPress is its simplicity. Dead-simple to use, with no confusing toolbars to intimidate users. However, aside from installing numerous plugins, it lacks many of the basic features of a forum. In my view, if I’m spending more effort to get something to work as well as another solution, I’ll go with the alternative.

    The forum will only be used for basic discussion, so advanced functionality is not needed, but its helpful and attractive to include a few anyway. Keeping it easy and intuitive yet functional for first-time forum users is key.

    Right now I’m leaning towards bbPress, but do you have any additional suggestions?

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • bbPress is not a forum plugin for WordPress; it’s its own separate program.

    What are the basic features of a forum you’d like to see? Let us know, and we can help steer you in the right direction! :-)

    bbPress because it’s the only forum software I know that can be easily customized . In phpbb, VB, IPB etc… you have to browse lines of code juste to change the HTML structure, you even have to hardcode something in the core files, which is not the case with bbPress because you have powerful things like hooks, templates etc…

    But of course, you need some knowledge in HTML and Php ( at least some basics ) in order to make your bbPress really unique .

    All in all, I think that bbPress is the best forum software for web developpers looking to customize ENTIRELY a forum and make it really unique . Just take a look at the lame phpBB2 boards out there, they are all identical, except the headers, nothing unique, the same structure etc…



    Good Post Olympus,

    I actually have installed and used bbpress, BuddyPress and SimplePress.

    My recommendation is SimplePress is the best out of the box Forum for someones website. It comes canned with many features and you do not have to be an expert to use forums plus it has the social features.

    Since forums are designed for people to interact. SimplePress is superior to get you going asap.

    bbpress shortcoming include its too much focus on “developers” and not users. While Buddypress goes a step further then bbpress with regard to forums types and of course social media you still have to TWEAK a lot of it to work in your theme.

    SimplePress has essential all the positives aspects of the other two plus a lot of built in features. It is truly an out of the box plugin it is so far “Simple” to use yet it is feature ‘RICH”. It is probably the most impressive Plugin I have used to date – I only installed it a yesterday and closed down my BBpress and BuddyPress.

    So if you wont “forums” to really work out of the box fully featured then SimplePress is by far the smart choice. If you are a “developer” and want to customize to the ‘n’ degree then bbpress or BuddyPress. But with one important caveat. Customizing forums is analogous to gardening – you can make it different – but the real true measure of its value is not that it looks unique but the content of the forums and what is being discussed.

    David Decker



    I don’t agree here. SimplePress has do many features for a lot of users/use cases. Yes, it works, it’s active developed and maintained. I tested the new 5.0 beta two weeks ago and it’s still feature overload and a totally different user interface different from “normal” WP… And regarding translation they don’t go with WP standards here and so until they fix some things I could not get it into German. Old 4.x branch is no option because I need optimized code for a new project and also future-proof with WP 3.3+

    bbPress — I only mean the plugin version 2.x — on the other hand is really simple but has all I need. It works with almost any theme/framework and I could easily tweak it via CSS. This is a big advantage. Performance-wise it’s really leightweight and future-proof with WP because of custom post types for forum contents.

    YES, I know it has not so many features – a few could be added via plugin add-ons – and I assume a lot more will come in the next weeks or month.

    IMHO bbPress 2.x is best for small to middle-range communities, best for simple support forums and such. If I need a full packed forum solution with ALL the many and big features I almost always will use a third-party solution like Vanilla, IPB or new XenForo. These have clean style and great UI in frontend AND backend. And with some work of integrating could be work together with WordPress too. — Just look at the newly launched support forum by – they use IPB Forums and it’s great for such a big community.

    However, there are some great new bbPress forums out there, see at,,, etc. So the bbPress plugin has already proven to manage such communities and they’re doing great.

    I vote for bbPress and at the same time have much respect for the work of the Simple:Press devs but just would not use their system!

    -Dave :)




    I don’t think its a vote issue, just an opinion. I too would like to have bbpress as a forum, but seriously out of the box it is weak, very weak. It is geared towards ‘developers’ and “cake makers”

    As for the other “big” forums software you suggest, well I am sure they are great but why on earth would you want to do WP integration work. Thats like creating more work instead of the original folks doing the work.

    The simplicity of SimplePress is it is already a WP plugin! It comes out of the box with FULL features in less than 5 minutes.

    I would challenge anyone out there to do an install of bbpress and SimplePress and compare.

    John James Jacoby


    I don’t know why it’s a challenge.

    They are two different pieces of software with two totally different purposes. bbPress isn’t “fully featured” forum software, just like WordPress isn’t a fully featured CMS. If you want bells and whistles, there are plugins for that.




    The point is a simple one that is being avoided in my thread. Firstly I and thousands very much appreciate the work of bbpress team.

    1) SimplePress is a WP plugin that is “fully featured” out of the box for Forums.

    2) bbpress is a WP plugin that requires other plugins to allow it to be featured to your hearts content.

    With 1) you get what the developers of the plugin regard as Forums features and capabilities. What you get is fully integrated features by the plugin and ‘dedicated’ plugin developers.

    2) provides you basic features. You then depend upon yourself or other plugin developers to ‘enhance’ to get to a featured Forum solution.

    A simple analogy is with 1) you get a “showroom” car that works with a set of features. As for 2) you get a “car” which you then customize along with the development community.

    My “challenge” was try both out and then compare.

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