Are you looking to build a community around your site? Do you want to add a discussion platform on your website?
Forums are the best way of making it possible. In this post, I have included the five best WordPress forum plugins and also their key features, pros, and cons, pricing, etc.
I will also suggest you which plugin will be best suitable for you in the end.
I have not included the two official forum plugins of WordPress.org: bbPress and BuddyPress. I am pretty sure that you would have come across these two plugins on every article written on forum plugins.
So, I have decided not to provide you with the same content but to expose you to some other best WordPress forum plugins. Just to let you know, there are some excellent forum plugins apart from bbPress and BuddyPress;)
Also See: Best WordPress Community Themes
5 Best WordPress Forum plugins
WPForo is the best free WordPress forum plugin which also has some premium add-ons.
It is a full-fledged forum solution designed for both small and extensive forums/communities.
Key Features of WPForo Forum:
- Layouts: They have four different layouts: Extended forum layout, Simplified forum layout, Question and answer forum layout, and the latest one – Threaded forum layout.
- Integrations: The plugin is fully integrated with Membership plugins such as BuddyPress and Ultimate members plugin.
- SEO: It has built-in forum SEO functions and cache system, which will help your forum to reach the correct people on Google.
- Add-ons: They have nine different add-ons such as Blog cross Posting, User custom fields, Ads manager, and much more. They also have a Pro plugin called Forums Censure Pro which basically, filters uncensored posts before showing them to end-users.
- They have an active install of more than 20000+ active installs which shows that the users are much satisfied with the product instead to look for an alternative.
- They have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. 174 people out of 194 have rated five stars which are mindblowing. They have such a reputation among the users.
- They are regularly updated (As of Sep 2019).
- They have been the fastest-growing plugin among other forum plugins.
- Honestly, I don’t find anything negative. By far, this plugin has been the best.
- I don’t find any considerable negative review also in their WordPress.org page except some people not happy about the paid add-ons. Personally, I don’t feel anything wrong about that, considering the extensive list of features they have provided in the free.
- Add-Ons might feel a bit costly for some.
- Add-ons and Pro version vary $25 to $125
If you are looking for a lightweight and straightforward forum plugin, Asgaros forum is the best one to go with.
Key Features of Asgaros Forum:
- User groups: You can use user groups section if you want to create private forums for specific user groups alone.
- Reports: If posts got reported, forum administration would get notified about new Reports in the overview. Clicking on the notification administrators can see all activity that has been reported by forum members.
- Forums with only comments: If you want to create a forum where only announcements, news, alerts, etc., are needed that will allow users to comment but not create a post, you have an option for it (Option: Close the forum). This will prevent users from creating new topics, but still, allow them to make comments on topics as long as the topic is not closed.
- Statistics: You can display the statistics on the number of posts, topics, views, number of users, etc..
- They have an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars, which is the highest in this list. 121 people out of 131 have given 5 stars which is impressive.
- Have you come across a plugin which has no 1 star? Well, so rarely we could see such a plugin. And, this plugin is one of that. Out of 131 users, not even one has given a 1-star rating. I don’t think you need any other validation to know how awesome is this plugin.
- This is completely free.
- They could consider including any extensions to add more functionalities.
Some users may find it frustrating to find a forum plugin and then to go for a forum theme which will be suitable for their site.
That’s where the ForumEngine will be the best choice for you.
ForumEngine is a full-fledged WordPress forum theme. It has all the features you need to create a forum, so you won’t need to install any plugin to create a forum in WordPress.
Key Features of ForumEngine:
- Style customizer: They have a beautiful Style customizer. It will allow you to customize the style and appearance right on your homepage.
- Responsiveness: Your site will always appear beautifully both on desktops and mobiles.
- Advertisements: They also allow you to display ads which could be an excellent way for an extra income. There are different positions for you to view the advertisements.
- Ajax Live search: They have a powerful ajax live search to quickly find the answers you are looking for.
- User Badges: You can have separate badges to differentiate users like customers, administrators, moderators, etc.. This will be helpful for people who are reading to trust the source of a particular answer.
- It is simple, clean, and perfectly responsive.
- You don’t need to buy a separate theme for your forum. Everything comes in a single package.
- They have an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 based on 157 user ratings. This stat is impressive.
- They do not have a free version. Only the pro version is available.
- They don’t much regularly update. Their updates take a very long time.
- $49 – Unlimited websites.
Also See: Best WordPress Forum Themes
If you are looking to create something like the Stack Overflow website, CM Answers would be the best choice for you.
CM Answers is basically a Questions and Answer plugin for WordPress that will enable your users to add questions and answers in a stack overflow style.
Key Features of CM Answers:
- Built-in Style of Stack overflow: The CM Answers is built in the style of Stack Overflow – a very popular forum where people come to find answers, usually technical questions.
- Moderation: Admins can choose to moderate the questions and answers received by the users instead of directly publishing it. Admins and users can also receive notifications.
- User Access control (Pro): You can control which users can view questions, who can post questions and similarly on who can view and post answers and comments. You can manage these by their user roles.
- User Voting: You can let the users vote the answers they liked the most, and you can sort the answers displayed by highest rating or the newest answers. Users can also dislike the answer they don’t like. They can also mark the answers they consider to be the best one.
- It integrates well with all WordPress themes.
- They have received the most 5-star rating for their customer support. Users are pretty happy with the support response.
- The WordPress Comments integration feature which replaces the WP comments system with a Q&A widget on each page or post is imposing.
- Most of the essential features are available only in the premium version.
- They have an average rating of only 3.9 out of 5 stars. I believe that CM minds will continuously work hard to improve these.
- Answers Pro
$39 for 1 site
$69 for 5 sites
- Answers Pro Anonymous l
$59 for 1 site
$119 for 5 sites
- Answers Pro Ultimate + 6 Addons
$99 for 2 sites
$199 for 5 sites
DW Question and Answer:
If you are looking to create a Question and Answer system for your WordPress site, like Quora or Stack Overflow, DW Question and Answer will be the best choice for you.
Key Features of DW Question & Answer
- Questions: They have an excellent editor to ask questions. It also has the option to set status, category, and the tag to which the question belongs to. In the front-end, you can filter the questions by their status. You can also mark the questions as resolved once it is done.
- User voting: Users can vote and pick the best answer provided by the community for your questions. It helps you to have the best answer come to the top and the less meaningful answers to the bottom.
- Leaderboard (Pro): They have a leaderboard extension which allows you to list who makes great contributions as well as provides friendly competitions to your community.
- Captcha (Pro): They have a captcha plugin as an extension which allows you to block Spam Questions and Comments with only one click.
- They have an active install of 10,000+ users. This number of users won’t be actively using this plugin if it isn’t worth it.
- They have an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. 71 users out of 102 have given 5-star reviews.
- They have been updated as of Sep 2019.
- Their updates are slow.
- They ignore some essential options in the free version like member lists and member profiles, top users, etc..
- Their extensions vary from $69 to $249.
Hope this article helps you in finding the best WordPress forum plugins.
If you are looking for a simple and a free forum plugin, you can go with Asgaros Forum and WPForo Forum.
If you do not want to purchase plugin and theme separately and want everything in a single package, ForumEngine will be the best option for you.
If you are looking for some solid pro features, check out CM Answers and DW Question and Answer.
Feel free to let us know in the comments the forum plugin you are using and the reason you like it the most.