Why is bbPress the best forum software out there. For our forums we wanted a message board which was free, reliable, lightweight and easy to customize. There are many forum softwares available online – some free, some paid, but here are the reasons I chose bbPress…
Install bbPress Forums
1. Simple, Light, and Blends – The first thing that strikes you when you get a bbPress forum is its simple clean crisp look, fast loading speed and the ease with which it can blend with your site structure. There is no unnecessary flab to increase the server load and its easy to customize to match your web design.
2. Pretty permalinks urls – the permalink slug gets all the title keywords into the url, which is great for search engine optimization and will give you that extra edge for higher search engine rankings.
E.g. Most forums will give you urls like
But bbpress will give you
3. Just Like WordPress – If you run a wordpress blog, then you will feel the same experience when installing, and upgrading bbPress. The dashboard has a similar feel to wordpress (not as sleek as WP2.5 and much is left desired). In fact a major bonus is you can integrate it with wordpress easily.
4. Its Free, Open Source – Hey! its free, it costs nothing to check it out. Any tool developed by community effort will get better with time and open source is the way to go.
5. Free Themes and plugins – There is an amazing array of plugins to expand the functionality of your forums, and one click themes will change the forum design in seconds. There are plugins for most features missing in the core bbpress installation.
6. Lots of Feeds – Regular readers like feeds for everything – be it the front page topics, individual topic discussions or new comments in general. bbPress has so many feeds for every possible need, that you many need to think which feeds to downplay.
7. Akismet Spam Control – Its difficult to control spam on message boards and many forums close down because more time is spend moderating spammers than posting content. But Akismet is a powerful antispam solution which is well integrated into bbPress and helps to keep spammers away. In fact, it can automatically mark spammers as Bozos, whose posts will be visible only to themselves.
8. Integrated Gravatars – We all like avatars on forums. But if hosting avatars and moderating them is bothering you, relax – the amazing integrated Gravatars takes care of all avatar management for you, without any extra hosting needs while adding to better profiles.
9. Tag Navigation – Tags is the new way to navigate any site and bbPress gives you tag navigtion wherever you want it. Add tags to each topic and define a new way for readers to browse your forums, while search engines find new ways to index your topics.
10. Brand Automattic – WordPress is powered by the Automattic brand, and the same guys created bbPress, so you can expect a quality product which will promise to get better with each version.
Get bbPress Forums
The future of bbPress is bright with fresh funding coming in. Its not the greatest forum product out there, with the admin interface needing improvements, my wish for features to be more automated and ajax-y and there are many desirable essential features still pending. Its not right to compare the functionality with wordpress, which is far more advanced. But bbPress is getting better with each new version, and the latest release has added some great new features.
If you are a wordpress blogger looking to expand you network for more interaction with your readers and develop user generated content, it is easy to start with and customize with the same wordpress feel, and its a great forum tool (I just told you 10 reasons why!) and we use it too. Remember it needs PHP version 4.3 or greater and MySQL version 4.0 or greater. Get bbPress.
If you are looking for a some other free forum solutions, some big message boards and bulletin boards use vBulletin, phpBB or Simple Machine Forum.
Update: Now download bbPress WordPress plugin and integrate bbPress with WordPress in one click.