Some of you will be surprised that why exactly is the post not about the linux web server setup for WordPress blogs. The reason is that one of my very good friend Shridhar Pare, owner of Xisto Network gave me a visit. As you can imagine we had long discussions about web, web hosting and forums where the knowledge lives. This is one of the reason that why I’m writing about Forums and not writing about hosting.

In my earlier post, I’ve discussed that how bbPress should be a plugin for WordPress. While going through my Google Reader, I came across a post by Dougal Campbell where he asks the question that if users like the idea of using WordPress itself as forum! Even Justin Tadlock has dwelled upon this idea before and has created a mockup about his idea [via Patrick Daly]-

I’d thought about this before and I completely believe that it would be fantastic to use WordPress as the forum. It is easily possible to create a theme for WordPress that looks like a forum, P2 Theme is a great example where the full editor is made available directly in the theme, which is one of the major features of forums. Lets see that how WordPress can provide the major features and where it lacks -

Forum Features that WordPress can provide

  1. Forums post can be made through WordPress posts.
  2. Categories can be the Forum sections.
  3. Comments can be the forum replies.
  4. Member profiles is part of WordPress by default.
  5. Fantastic editor that lets users easily share photos and embed videos [remember: WordPress 2.9.2 has oEmbed support]

Of course, there are other features that you can have with the help of plugins that are available for WordPress and here are some of them that will always be useful in case you decide to use WordPress as forum -

  1. Akismet can help protect you from Spam posts.
  2. W3 Total Cache can ensure that there will be less burden on server.
  3. Gravatar can be used in place of Avatars.
  4. All in one seo pack can take care of the SEO of the forums.
  5. Then there are plethora of plugins related to social media that can help you in building forums.

Forum features where WordPress lacks

  1. There aren’t possibilities of creating private forums.
  2. Membership level management is not as powerful as one would like
  3. Private messaging systems

Well these are some of those features that aren’t in WordPress and the trouble of all this will only be experienced by those forum administrators who have larger forums otherwise major features are already covered by WordPress. There are plugins like SimplePress and BuddyPress that can give you more advanced forum features, in fact SimplePress is a plugin that converts WordPress into a good forum system. I haven’t played around with it so I wouldn’t be in a position to comment on the performance of it however, with the long list of features, I was certainly impressed.

What do you think about using WordPress as forums? Will you prefer your favorite CMS for running forums or will you prefer to use commercial solutions like Invision Power Board, vbulletin etc or will you be interested in using an open source solution for the forums?

1 Comment

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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. I’ve used Simple Forum for about 3 years now and can say that it’s a great solution for a forum within a WordPress blog. In fact I would say with some of it’s recent updates, it’s as robust as phpbb and vbulletin and easier to set up and upgrade.

    Also the customer support over at Dev site is great!

    I would highly recommend it as it will let you have a forum within your wordpress site simply as a page within your site, and it’s super easy to set up!