Starting your first forum
The following steps will get your first forum up and running in short order using the bbPress plugin.
1. To start your first bbPress forum, you need to log into your WordPress instance with an administrator account.
2. Once in the dashboard, you need to find the forums tab section located in the left sidebar as shown below, and then click on the link to New Forum.
3. This takes you to the Create New Forum page where you will enter the foundation for your new forum including a forum name and content; then set your forum attributes for type, status, and visibility.
4. Enter your forum content and then press the Publish button.
5. The new forum is now created and you are taken to the Edit Forum page as shown below; notice the last edited on date confirms that the forum is now live:
6. Next we need to create a new page and associate it with the newly created forum using short code. So, from the left sidebar we will go to Pages and then Add New.
7. Next we will edit the new page, adding in a title, and then we will add the short code [bbp-forum-index] as shown below:
8. Click the Publish button and your new page is now created. Browsing out to the page we can see the groundwork of the forum is now set:
9. Next we need to turn off commenting and trackbacks on this page. For that task, we need to go to the Pages, and then select the Quick Edit link just under the Community Forums page in the pages list as shown below:
10. From the Quick Edit menu we will uncheck the Allow Comments checkbox and click the Updated Button as shown below:
11. Next, we need to add the new Community Forums page to our navigation following one of the two steps below.
- If your WordPress installation and theme natively supports menus, then you can do this by going to the left sidebar from Appearance | Menus and checking the box next to Community Forums and then clicking the Add to Menu button. If your WordPress implementation or theme does not natively support menus then skip to step below.
- If the theme you are using does not natively support menus, then you can manually add the forum menu to the header file header.php in the navigation section, as shown in the example code snippet below:
<ul id="nav"> . . . <li><a <?php if (is_page('community-forums')) echo('class="current" '); ?>href="<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>//community-forums">Community Forums</a></li> </ul>12. The Community Forums page with the new menu item are displayed below:
Allowing users to participate
At this point you will probably want to get users to register with your website before they can start creating discussions or adding to existing discussions.
1. First, make sure that anyone can register on your WordPress website by going to the Settings | General and check the box for "Anyone can register." Click on the Save Changes button:
2. Next, you need to create a forum registration page, and this is where short codes come in handy again. First you need to create a new page like we did in steps 6 through 8 above, but this time we will title it "Forum Registration" and in the body of the page you will add the short code [bbp-register]. Once the page is published you need to go back to the pages list, select Quick Edit, uncheck the box next to Allow comments, and click the button to update.
3. New users will need to create a unique username and enter their email address from the Forum Registration page, which is shown below. Once registered on the website, users will receive an email with a password which allows them to log in. Of course you can add any styling to the registration page; this is the basic format.
4. Next, we need to create a lost password recovery page, and again we create a new page as we did in steps 6 through 8, and name it something like "Lost Password Recovery" with the following short code added to the body content: [bbp-lost-pass]. Go to the Pages list, click Quick Edit, uncheck the Allow comments box and click the button to update. The page is displayed below. Again the basic page is displayed, any styling can be added.
5. You can add the forum registration, login, and lost password to your WordPress sidebar if you wish by adding the bbPress Login Widget. From the dashboard on the left sidebar click Appearance | Widgets and find the (bbPress) Login Widget as shown below:
6. Click and drag the widget to one of the sidebars and edit the appropriate Title, Register UI, and Lost Password URI. Click the Save button as shown in the example below:
7. The new sidebar Forum Login will display on your WordPress pages as shown below:
Once users are logged in their names will display as below:
bbPress forum settings
Many of the bbPress features can be configured from the bbPress settings page which is accessed from Settings | Forums.
The first setting, "Disallow editing after," is set to a default of 5 minutes. This setting allows forum users to edit their posts for 5 minutes after publication, and once the time limit is reached they can no longer make edits to posts. However, this setting can be overruled by forum Keymaster or Moderator users.
The second setting, "Throttle posting every," is set to a default of 10 seconds and is a minimum time between posting new replies in the bbPress forums to prevent spam and other attempts at stopping the normal flow of the forum.
For more information on the other settings, you can review the Codex Home Forum Settings provided by bbPress.org.
bbPress user roles
The built-in user roles for bbPress give you the ability to shape user access rights based on actions and activities that they are able to perform within the forum. The five user roles and their given access are listed below:
- Keymaster - the top level user role can create, edit and delete other users' forums, topics and replies. Can manage Tags, and moderate a forum with the moderation tools.
- Moderator - can create and edit forums, create, edit and delete other users' topics and replies, and can manage Tags, and moderate a forum with the moderation tools.
- Participant - can create and edit topics and replies that they have published.
- Spectator – can only view and read topics and replies.
- Blocked – cannot perform any functions within the forum.
More information on the bbPress User Roles and Capabilities also provides a detailed breakdown of the rules and their forum, topic, reply, topic tag, and miscellaneous capabilities.If you are looking to add a forum to your WordPress blog or if you want to start a new forum using WordPress as your engine, then bbPress is the plugin tool for you. It is easy to install, configuration is a breeze, and you can have your forum up and running within a few short hours.
Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal government.