bbPress is a free plugin for WordPress that allows you to either add a discussion forum to your existing WordPress website, or build an entire discussion forum based website without too much trouble at all.
We’ve already published a list of the options available for adding a discussion forum to WordPress. That post included an overview of bbPress and how to get started so if you need a refresher, be sure to check it out.
However, in today’s post we will be taking a look at some of the best add-ons available for the bbPress plugin. This will give you a better idea of just what you can do with this plugin, and some of the great ways it can be extended, just like WordPress itself.
Top Extensions for the bbPress WordPress Plugin
If you are new to WordPress and plugins then you might find it strange that a plugin would have its own plugins.
However, in the world of WordPress this is fairly common and some of the best plugins for the platform have been expanded by their original creators and third party developers, with sometimes vast libraries of free and premium add-ons.
So to help you see exactly what you can do with bbPress and how it can be tweaked and extended to meet your particular needs, here are some of the most useful bbPress plugins for anyone adding a discussion forum to their WordPress website.
GD bbPress Attachments
This free plugin allows you and your readers to upload files into topics and replies, using the WordPress media library.
The control panel of the plugin gives you lots options for how this feature can be used. This includes setting a maximum file size, limiting the number of files a user can add per topic and more.
When a user adds files to their topics or replies, they get the option of displaying a list of those files, publishing them as thumbnails, or inserting them into the message.
This is a popular free plugin with over 50,000 downloads and a positive rating that adds a very useful set of features to any bbPress-powered discussion board.
bbPress Topics for Posts
This handy free plugin can automatically create a new topic on your discussion forum for each new post you publish on your blog. It’s entirely optional as to whether you do create that new topic when publishing a post, but if you do, the new topic will be displayed under the post.
This makes it just as easy for your blog visitors to join the discussion as it does your forum users, all with the extra power of bbPress to help aid the discussion.
With this free bbPress extension, you also get the option of displaying an existing forum topic at the end of a post. This is handy if there is a relevant discussion already taking place on your forum.
If you want to enhance the comments and discussion area on your posts, while also having the ability to draw more of your visitors into your forum, this is a great way to do so.
GD bbPress Toolbox
This is a collection of premium tools for bbPress site administrators that includes features for making life easier when it comes to managing a bbPress website. This toolbox also adds some more useful functionality for your users to help improve the discussions.
The GD bbPress Toolbox includes support for bbCodes for formatting topic and reply content, user signature controls, advanced options for how topic and reply quotes are handled, and other options covering email notifications, user stats, and locking topics and replies.
If you don’t mind paying to improve your bbPress installation, this toolbox contains some useful features that come with one year of updates and support from the developers.
There is also a free version of plugin available if you want to take some of the features for a test drive.
If you thought your regular WordPress blog was getting inundated with comment spam, just wait until you install bbPress! Thankfully though, there is a solution out there and that comes in the form of this free plugin.
The plugin can add a captcha field to the new topic and topic reply forms to fend off spam bots. It might also annoy your readers and users to make sure you only deploy it when you have to.
Another way to handle forum spam that is less annoying for your visitors, is to install the free bbPress Moderation plugin.
With this plugin activated, new topics and replies will be set to pending by default, instead of being published automatically. They are then added to the moderation queue, in preparation for the site administrator to approve or deny them.
There’s a good set of features and options with this plugin that can help you use it without disrupting the flow of discussion on your website too much.
bbPress Search Widget
This free plugin upgrades the standard bbPress search widget to make it even easier for your visitors to find more of your great discussion forum content.
Once activated on your site, you can simply drag the search box to any widget area on your website, giving your visitors a quick and effective way to find what they are looking for. Furthermore you can use the plugin shortcode to display the search box wherever you want on your site, increasing the chances of your visitors performing a search to find more of your topics.
This useful free plugin will make it even easier and much less frustrating for your visitors to find the information they need on your website.
bbPress WP Tweaks
This is another free plugin that adds a useful feature to your website. Whenever a visitor is viewing a discussion topic, a new sidebar will be shown alongside that content, instead of your website’s regular sidebar.
This new sidebar can contain any widgets of your choice, but a good use would be to add forum specific widgets to it, such as topics and replies, user activity, and the above search widget.
If you want to begin using dynamic sidebars on your discussion forum, this plugin is a great way to get started.
Thanks for bbPress
This plugin allows you and your members to hide content on your forum topics until the reader has clicked the thanks button.
When creating a new topic, content can be entered in the newly added field that will only be displayed when the reader clicks the thanks button. A list of usernames of those who have thanked the post author is displayed too.
This add-on comes with lots of settings and options to ensure you get this feature working in just the way you want it to. The developer of this add-on has created some other useful plugins for WordPress so be sure to check them out.
With 196 add-ons for bbPress listed on the plugin’s website, we have hopefully saved you some time and made it easy for you to quickly view some of the most popular and helpful extensions already in circulation.
It’s still highly recommended that you browse the bbPress plugin repository to seek out any extensions that can add those other features you need for your site. If you can’t find the right plugin, there are plenty of bbPress developers out there for hire to turn to.
And if you are building a website with bbPress, don’t forget to check out our recent list of awesome BuddyPress and bbPress WordPress themes to give your website the look it deserves.
If you’ve got any tips for working with bbPress, or any add-ons to recommend, please share them in the comment below.