Community plugins are great tools for fostering online communities on your WordPress website. They are great for those that want to include membership management, social networking, forums, and other features to enhance user interaction on their website.
In this post, we’ll look at the best community plugins for WordPress, so you can quickly build a community on your next website!
What are Community Plugins for WordPress?
Community plugins are WordPress plugins that add functionality to your site, allowing users to communicate and interact with you or each other in various ways. For example, you could use a community plugin to add a forum to you where users can upvote comments and earn points. Or you can have a localized social networking experience for users with their own profile pages and more.
There are many types of plugins that one could use to build communities, including:
With the right plugin(s), you can build an online community on your website in pretty much any way you want. You can even make your community more exclusive by offering paid memberships to access premium content.
WordPress can already post comments on pages or posts, which is a good start. But if you want a community website, you’ll need additional features from community plugins.
The Best Community Plugins for WordPress
Let’s explore the best community plugins for WordPress that can help you build and manage online communities.
MemberPress is a powerful membership plugin with built-in features for building an online community for your site. It integrates seamlessly with bbPress and allows you to add premium community forums to your site. You can even offer VIP community access for an extra cost.
With access to analytics and reports, you can use the data you receive from user engagement as a great marketing tool to grow your business.
Key Features for MemberPress:
Simple membership setup wizard
Content dripping and access control
Affiliate program integration
Content Restriction for members only access
Built-in reporting and analytics
Seamless integration with Divi
You can add a members-only area to your site that allows you to share restricted content with community members. This is a great place to add any exclusive (or paid) content you only want the community to have access to. You could even make your community forum exclusive as well.
MemberPress is best for businesses and websites that want to create and manage memberships and subscriptions for monetization.
Pricing: MemberPress pricing starts at $179.50 per year for the Basic plan
2. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Membership Pro is a flexible membership plugin for WordPress with community-building features. Users can create their own profiles and profile pages. And you can create members-only directories so users can find and interact with other members. It integrates with plugins like bbPress and BuddyPress to create a social community within your membership site.
Key Features for Paid Memberships Pro:
Unlimited membership levels and pricing options
Front-end user profile creation
User profile pages and member directory
Content dripping and restricted content options
Integrations with BuddyPress, BuddyBoss, and bbPress
Built-in payment gateways
Recurring payments and subscriptions
Admin reports and analytics for sales, visits, signups, and more
Paid Memberships Pro is best for those wanting a freemium membership plugin that can scale with your needs, especially if you’re interested in creating multiple membership tiers. Its customization options make it an excellent fit for those who want more hands-on customization options.
Pricing: Free. The pro version starts at $247/yr.
ProfileGrid is a powerful all-in-one community plugin for WordPress packed with features. Users can create fantastic profile pages using templates, customize each section, and include custom profile tabs. The profile pages resemble the layout and functionality of Facebook so that visitors can view a user’s about area, friends, photos, and more. Premium add-ons introduce group functionality WooCommerce integration, menu restrictions, and more.
Key Features for ProfileGrid:
Create custom user profiles
Build online communities
Customize profile fields and data
Follow users and create new friends
Users can add recent blog posts and Wall Posts
Users receive notifications of friend and group activity
Built-in user control for privacy and content restriction
Use block editor for content restriction elements
One of the unique features of the plugin is user groups. You can create groups for users to join, and users can chat with each other using a private messaging system.
Profile Grid is best for those who want to build a robust member director or community website with social network-type features, including the unique ability to create and join groups. It is excellent for beginners because it has many features in a free version.
Pricing: Free, with premium licenses starting at $79.00/yr.
bbPress is one of the most popular forum plugins for WordPress. Adding a powerful discussion board to your site makes it easy to grow your community. Built by the creators of WordPress, this plugin is well-supported and often integrated with other themes and plugins for more advanced forum functionality.
It integrates with membership plugins like MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro to easily add a forum to your membership site. It also integrates with Lifter LMS to create a community forum for your online course.
Key Features for bbPress:
The option to create forums for multiple sites
The ability to customize forum templates
Built-in spam protection for forums using Akismet
Fast and lightweight, following WordPress standards
Compatibility with various free third-party plugins to extend the functionality
Users can subscribe to topics and specific forums for notifications
With bbPress, you can create public or private forums and place them anywhere on your site. And you can easily create unlimited forums and topics and manage replies on the backend.
bbPress is best for beginners looking to add high-quality forum functionality to their site for free. It won’t have more advanced features or styling options, but it will do the job.
BuddyPress is a popular community plugin for WordPress that allows you to create a social network on your website. Like bbPress, it is created by the WordPress team and can be extended with many third-party themes and plugins.
The design is basic, but the functionality and features are hard to beat for a free plugin. You can create user profiles with built-in functionality for friends, groups, messaging, and more.
Key Features for BuddyPress:
Customizable user profiles with profile fields
Activity streams for tracking user interactions
Personal and group messaging
Admins can create custom profile fields
Users can control profile visibility
One of the most significant benefits of BuddyPress is its flexibility. It can work with any WordPress theme to transform your website into a social network.
BuddyPress is an excellent choice for sites that want to provide a platform for their users to interact and engage with each other.
6. Ultimate Member
Ultimate Member is a freemium community plugin for WordPress that offers all the features you would need to add membership directories, user profiles, and more on your site. The free version comes with limited core features that would work for beginners. However, you’ll need to upgrade to premium to access 30+ add-ons to get functionality for followers, friends, private messages, and more.
Plus, it integrates with other plugins, such as WooCommerce, to create a WooCommerce membership site.
Key Features for Ultimate Member:
Drag-and-drop form builder with conditional logic
Private messaging system
Customizable user registration and login forms
Front-end user profiles and account management
Membership and subscription management
The drag-and-drop form builder is a standout feature. This makes creating unique login and registration forms for your website easy.
Ultimate Member is great for those who want to create a membership directory site or add user profiles to their existing website for community building. It’s also great for those seeking more control over user registration forms.
Pricing: Free. The pro version starts at $249 per year.
wpForo is a WordPress forum plugin that allows you to add custom discussion (or bulletin) boards to your website. The core plugin is free, but you must purchase add-ons for unique features, including private messaging, GIPHY images, and many more.
Key Features for wpForo:
Responsive design that works on all devices
SEO-friendly URLs for better search engine rankings
Advanced user profile system
Customizable forum layouts and designs
Private messaging system
Integration with popular WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, Yoast SEO, and Akismet
wpForo stands out among other forum plugins due to its contemporary appearance, which is why numerous users favor it. Site admins can choose from four main layout styles, and individual users can select from six styles or skins to personalize their experience, including a dark mode.
wpForo is excellent for those wanting a modern-looking forum to build their community engagement and don’t mind paying for add-ons for more functionality.
UserPro is a community plugin on the Envato Market with some impressive features for building a social network community. You can create member directories and display online members. Users can create and customize their user profile pages that other members can view and follow, similar to popular social network profile pages. You can also allow users to create blog posts that can be shared and viewed publicly and within their profile. Community members can also earn badges that will be displayed on their profile cards.
Key Features for UserPro:
Customizable registration and login forms
User profiles with custom fields and profile photos
Front-end user directory with search filters and sorting options
Integration with popular social networks
Built-in user roles and permissions management
Content restriction for members only
Private messaging system
The plugin’s built-in follow system allows users to follow each other and receive notifications when someone they follow posts an update. This is great for boosting engagement within the online community.
UserPro is ideal for building a fun and engaging community website with custom member directories and profiles that feel like a social network.
What is the Best Community Plugin For WordPress?
Choosing the best community plugin depends on your specific needs. For those looking for the most powerful community solutions, MemberPress and Paid Membership Pro are great options. Their integration with bbPress (or BuddyPress) gives you all the powerful features of a membership site and a community site in one. To top it off, they integrate with Divi so you can design your community site with powerful no-code design options.
Regardless of your chosen solution, engaging with your audience is always a step in the right direction.
Need more plugins? Check out our different articles featuring the best WordPress plugins.
Featured Image via Aygun Ali / shutterstock.com
The post 8 Best WordPress Community Plugins in 2023 (Compared) appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.