When it comes to building a community or adding social networking functionality on a WordPress website, people mostly think of BuddyPress, but there is a solid alternative in the market today, giving BuddyPress a head-on.
Say hello to PeepSo. A feature-rich and powerful social networking plugin for WordPress. PeepSo enables you to add a social network functionality like Facebook on your WordPress website.
We reviewed PeepSo back in 2015, but many new feature additions and enhancements call for a new review. So, let’s dive in!
PeepSo Review: What All Can You Do With It?
PeepSo comes with a free foundation version which you can find on the WordPress repository. On top of it, you can get premium add-ons and a theme bundle that adds more feature sets to the base plugin.
The free foundation plugin allows you to create a basic and well-functioning social networking community with features like:
- Managing user profiles with avatars and cover images
- New user registrations
- Community activity stream
- Publicly posting and a members page.
- Analytical backend dashboard for community management.
- Blog post integration with comments and reactions.
- And many other features that are essential for growing an online community.
While these features are enough to start an online community, if you want to grow and add more functionality, PeepSo offers premium add-ons. These add-ons are bundled together usability-wise (more on this later). Also, in every bundle, you get the Gecko theme which is specifically designed to work seamlessly with PeepSo.
Giving PeepSo a Test Spin
Now let’s take a look at PeepSo first hand and check out the features and functionality it offers. I have to say the plugin is LOADED with features, and I don’t want this to be a 10k word article, so I will discuss the most prominent and valuable features here.
Let’s start with the Installation and Backend.
Installation & Backend
Installing PeepSo was easy as any other plugin. You can find the foundation plugin on the WordPress repository, and for the addon plugins, you can download and install them from PeepSo’s customer dashboard.
PeepSo comes with a dashboard that gives a comprehensive report of everything happening in your community. You can see the user engagement and recent content like posts, comments, members in a separate tab. Further, you also get a pie chart showing gender demographics towards the bottom of the dashboard. You can manage reported items and pending approvals here.
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The number of configuration options you get with PeepSo is what makes it stand apart. For every add-on you install, you get a new tab in the configuration menu with dedicated settings for that add-on.
For example, here is the configuration tab with just the foundation plugin active:
And here is one with all add-ons active:
Although there are so many options, you don’t have to worry about getting confused as they are put together in groups for easy management.
For example, the blog posts tab has five option groups: Author profiles, activity stream, text, two-column layout, and featured images. This makes the customization way easy. Moreover, every option is assisted with a helpful microcopy that makes it clear what each option does.
You get another two options in the backend: Manage and Queues. Manage tab lets you moderate the community like reported items, reactions, and groups, which is crucial for an admin as you have a central point from where you can take all the pending actions. Queues have all the requests submitted by the users for the admins to manage.
Overall, the backend is pretty simplified and makes the monitoring and customization easy for the admins.
User-friendliness is one of those crucial features that makes PeepSo a unique plugin. I checked out the demo site they have on the website and tried to recreate it in a local environment, and I was able to do it in like an hour.
I believe this is important because most products create exceptional demo websites that are almost impossible to recreate but fortunately, this is not the case with PeepSo. Although I was able to recreate the design in an hour, someone else might find it difficult or easier, depending on their experience setting up complex WordPress plugins.
If we look at the homepage, it is more or less follows a standard social profile or community homepage design. This makes it easier for new members as it is more familiar and widely used.
Some notable features:
- You get every option regarding the user profile and community towards the left.
- Direct messaging is also available with popup chat boxes like Facebook.
- The activity section in the header allows the members to keep a tab on everything and receive notifications in a single place.
- An eCommerce tab/section in the header for easy monetization.
- Sponsored posts are not too intrusive, which values the healthy community aspect of the product.
Overall, the design is pretty solid. While it may be possible to create a similar design using other plugins in the market, PeepSo makes it super easy comparatively.
Every PeepSo bundle comes with access to the Gecko theme. While you can create a community website using any other theme, the team recommends using this theme, and after giving it a test run, I was able to see why.
I tried running PeepSo on one of the popular WordPress themes (Twenty Twenty-One) on the WordPress repository, and the final result was not that great. I switched over to the Gecko theme, and voila, everything looked pretty again.
Regarding customizations, Gecko uses its own customizer rather than the native customizer. You get support for popular page builders and Gutenberg support as well with custom blocks.
Plugins and Add-ons
PeepSo comes with more than 20 premium plugins. You need to get access to the premium bundles to use the plugins, and they are categorized based on usability.
- Foundation: This is the base plugin that is required to add community functionality.
- Core: Core plugins adds basic functionality like groups, chat, polls, friends, and media support like photos, video, and audio.
- Extras: These plugins help additional features like custom user badges, granular control over user interactions, automatic connections and networking, word filtering to restrict any foul language, and an email newsletter system.
- Integrations: These plugins/add-ons help integrating with other popular products and services such as social login, giphy, BadgeOS, and MyCred.
- Monetization: To build a thriving community, monetization is an important aspect. For that, PeepSo comes with six different plugins for easy monetization.
- If you want to sell courses, you can go with LearnDash integration.
- If you want to sell physical products related to the community, you can use the WooCommerce or Dokan integration, and for selling digital products, you can use Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
- Moreover, if you want to start making money with ads, the Advanced Ads integration allows you to show ads in facebook style, and WPAdverts integration makes running classified ads pretty easy.
- If you want to monetize memberships, you can use the Paid Memberships Pro plugin integration to allow people to sign up for membership plans when registering to join the community.
How Much Does PeepSo Cost?
The foundation plugin is 100% free and is available on the WordPress.org repository.
For the add-on bundles, the price starts at $99/year for the basic bundle. You get six essential premium plugins along with the Gecko theme.
If you want to build an advanced community with more plugins, you can get the starter bundle. The price starts at $199/year for a single site. You get access to 12 premium plugins + Gecko theme.
If you are serious and want to leverage every feature of PeepSo, you can go for the Ultimate bundle. The price starts at $299 for a single site license, and you get access to every PeepSo add-on (21 add-ons) and the Gecko theme. Moreover, you get free updates and support for one year and if in case you don’t find PeepSo a good fit, you can simply ask for a refund as you get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Final Thoughts: Is PeepSo Worth It?
I gave PeepSo and its add-ons a good spin, and I have to say, PeepSo is a pretty solid alternative to BuddyPress for creating a community or a social network website with WordPress. It is able to perform almost all actions required to build a thriving community and on top of that, comes with advanced features like monetization and integration with popular plugins.
Another critical factor that makes PeepSo a better option is that the team genuinely believes in the product (as they offer a solid 30-day money-back guarantee) and goes a step further to help people build online communities. For instance, they released an eBook on building online communities and regularly release new add-ons to improve the product even further.
If you already have a community built using any other plugin, PeepSo has migration add-ons for popular plugins that make the transition much easier.
The premium version does come with a price tag, but if you are looking for a reliable solution to create a scalable social network with WordPress, I’d recommend you check out PeepSo.
Go ahead and give PeepSo a try: PeepSo Demo
Let me know what you think of PeepSo in the Comments section below!