20 Essential (& Free!) bbPress Plugins to Enhance your WordPress Forum

Published on May 8th, 2013

Last Updated on July 7th, 2020


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bbPress is a great add-on for WordPress for easily adding a forum to your site while retaining the same membership structure and is easily integrated with your existing theme. However when you compare bbPress to other dedicated forum solutions such as phpBB, vBulletin or IP.Board you will see it comes up short on quite a few features.

Luckily there are a whole host of plugins for bbPress that will bring it up to par – that is the subject of today’s post, so let’s take a look at what extra functionality you can add.

Administration Tools

bbPress Moderation


To help reduce spam in bbPress forums, this plugin will change the status of new topics and replies to ‘pending’. Any pending topics/replies will be shown as ‘Awaiting Moderation’ until the administrator approves publishes them.

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Ultimate WP Filter

Ultimate WP Filter is an advanced WordPress filtering plugin that will censor explicit words words in comments, posts content, posts title, tags, tag clouds and in bbPress automatically by replacing them with asterik(*) characters.

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bbPress – No Admin

This plugin prevents all users except super-admins from creating bbPress content when inside wp-admin.

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Dashboard Forum Activity


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I use the Recent Comments Dashboard widget every single day. It’s the first way I check up on recent activity on my sites. Now that I’ve started using bbPress to power a forum on my site I would like the same bird’s eye view of it too.

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bbPress Admin Bar Addition

This small and lightweight plugin just adds a lot bbPress 2.x related resources to your toolbar / admin bar. Also links to all setting/ tab pages of the plugin are added making life for forum administrators/ moderators a lot easier. So you might just switch from the fontend of your site to your ‘Forums’, ‘Topics’ or ‘Main Settings’ page or even plugin extensions etc.

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Disable bbPress Profile Override

Links to bbPress profiles are overridden (filtered) and pointed to a members BuddyPress profile when using the bbPress plugin with BuddyPress.

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Functionality Plugins

bbP Signature


This plugin adds user signature support to bbPress 2.0. Currently support have been added for BuddyPress installations as well which have site wide forums enabled.

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GD bbPress Attachments


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Attachments for forum topics and replies are handled through WordPress media library. You can control file sizes from the main plugin settings panel, or you can do it individually for each forum you have set.

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bbPress Threaded Replies

bbPress Threaded Replies is based on comment-display functions from WordPress and topic-display functions from bbPress. Settings can be adjusted on the bbPress Forums options page of WordPress.

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bbPress Notify

This plugin integrates into bbPress and sends a notification via e-mail when new topics or replies are posted. It is fully configurable in the bbPress settings.

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bbPress Search Widget

This small and lightweight plugin is pretty much like the regular, packaged bbPress search widget but just offers up to 13 awesome options for you! For example, easily change the search, placeholder and button texts. Also, set visibility options or add optional intro/ outro texts.

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bbPress Enable TinyMCE Visual Tab

Enabling the full default TinyMCE editor mode will display all the buttons, similar to the editor inside the WordPress admin. Depending on your configuration some of these buttons may not be compatible with TinyMCE.


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bbPress Quotes

bbPress Quotes adds the ability to quote bbPress forum topics and replies. Upon activation, a quote button is added to the end of replies so users can easily quote another user. Clicking it sends the contents of the reply into the comment area, wrapped in blockquote tags.

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bbPress WP Tweaks

bbPress WP Tweaks replaces regular sidebar with forum specific sidebar. When forum page loaded then forum specific sidebar will be displayed. If nothing in forum sidebar then regular sidebar will be shown.

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bbPress String Swap

This small and lightweight plugin lets you change the Title of the Forums root view. Plus, I added 3 options for some important (as of my opinion) bbPress Breadcrumb parameters. Additionally, you can change the 4 built-in bbPress Forum User Role names. And finally, I’ve added 5 other important (again, as of my opinion) forum strings used in various Forum, Topic and Reply views

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GD bbPress Tools


Adds various expansions and tools to the bbPress 2.0 plugin implemented forums. Currently included features:

  • BBCode shortcodes support
  • Quote Reply or Topic
  • User signature with BBCode and HTML support
  • Additional custom views
  • Basic topics search results view
  • Toolbar menu integration
  • Limit bbPress admin side access

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Buddy-bbPress Support Topic


A checkbox will be displayed to topic authors in order to let them define their topic as a support one. Once on the topic page, the author, group admin / mod, or super admin will be able to manage the status of the topics (Resolved, Not resolved, not a support topic). If you run bbPress 2.2.4, then the administrator will also be able to manage the support topics from the Topics backend menu.

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GD bbPress Widgets


Collection of widgets for bbPress plugin powered forums. Currently included widgets:

  • Search Topics (requires GD bbPress Tools plugin)
  • Topics Views (selectable list of views to display)

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bbPress – Mark as Read


This add-on plugin for bbPress will add new links to the top of bbPress topics that let the current user mark topics as either read or unread.

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bbPress Topic Thumbnails


This plugin adds support for Topic Thumbnails with bbPress. It works by retrieving the first image from each topic and displaying it alongside the topic title on the index page. Thumbnails are sized according to the default ‘thumbnail’ size in your WordPress media settings. The images will also resize appropriately if you’re using a responsive WordPress theme.

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Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift in 2010.