Best WordPress Forum Themes (Compared)

Best WordPress Forum Themes (Compared)
Best WordPress Forum Themes (Compared)

WordPress is ideal for creating online forums, and with the help of the best forum themes, your website will not only look great, but also be fully functional.

In addition to being used to launch forums, many of the themes in this post can also add popular social sharing features to WordPress sites. By integrating with plugins like BuddyPress, your site can easily enable private messaging, advanced user profiles, event contributions, discussion groups, and more, so these themes can bring more interactivity to your online forums.

When looking for a forum theme, be sure to check out the demo to get an idea of the various design looks. If you find something that doesn't fit, check what customization options the theme includes and how to make adjustments and changes.

Next, we will present some of the best forum themes, all of which offer advanced page editors that will allow you to be uniquely creative.

1. Disputo

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This is a WordPress forum theme built around the popular bbPress plugin in order to allow you to create a feature-rich and stylish forum. In addition to the features included in the core bbPress plugin, Disputo has some built-in forum-centric features, so you can enable other optional features such as

  1. An advertising manager to help you profit from the site.
  2. Facebook comment integration to encourage visitor interaction.
  3. Front-end topic submission, enabling users to upload content to the site.

To make it easier for users to sign up for a forum account, you can also choose to enable social media login functionality, which allows visitors to sign up through existing accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. with just a few clicks of a button. In addition to this, other features you may want to consider enabling include private messaging, a rating system, easy-to-use content reporting, and more.

The theme comes with plenty of customization options and tools, and allows you to easily import presentation content and then personalize it to fit your vision. Whether you want to change the logo and colors, or get hands-on and modify the design further, Disputo can help you do it. Finally, you also get an integrated drag-and-drop page editor for better control over the design look of your website.

2. Olympus

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Since Olympus is a recently released forum theme and is fully compatible with the bbPress plugin, it features an up-to-date and modern design. In addition to including a useful homepage layout, it also offers a full set of stylish templates for other pages that may be needed for online forums. With the help of these preset features, you can make sure that the different parts of your website (e.g. homepage, blog, forum) present a consistent look.

The powerful WPBakery Page Builder plugin is built inside the theme package (at no extra cost), so you can get 100% creative freedom in the appearance of your website, which is not only one of the most popular drag-and-drop page editors for WordPress, but also comes with a large library of powerful elements, such as video player, optional formatting, price list and more, making your website building process easier and more effective.

It's worth emphasizing that Olympus not only works with the bbPress plugin, but is also perfectly compatible with BuddyPress, meaning you can choose to enable the latter and then activate a wide range of social networking features, including user relations and connections, private messaging, user profile and status updates, and more.

Finally, with WooCommerce compatibility, you'll get a quick and easy way to add eCommerce functionality to your website for online payment collection, selling physical/digital products, offering subscription packages, and more.

3. Gwangi

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Focused on dating and matchmaking communities, 6 major demo sites are available, containing a range of flexible options to help you launch a dating-centric community site. The demo sites include the following designs.

  1. Youthful stylized exterior design.
  2. for creating spiritual dating sites.
  3. for creating elite dating sites.
  4. There is also a basic demo that contains only basic features that you can tweak to meet your specific needs.

Regarding customization options, Gwangi won't let you down, not only containing various custom widgets, but also allowing to adjust many display properties of the site in order to provide everything needed to attract your target audience. There is no shortage of features related to communities, forums, and dating, and with the help of member directory integration, you can easily display a list of users (along with their selected profile photos and profiles). In addition, you can create member groups based on common interests, which helps to create effective connections for users in order to boost forum activity.

As you would expect, this theme offers full support for online forums. By integrating with popular bbPress plugins, users can post messages on forums and reply to each other; if you wish to profit from forums or dating sites, WooCommerce can be enabled to charge one-time fees or recurring payments; in addition, you can easily publish price lists to offer different membership plans for premium users.

4. BuddyBoss

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Built around a range of popular WordPress plugins and in-house tools, BuddyBoss provides everything you need to create interactive forums. Since the plugin's template library is constantly growing, you can take advantage of all their features and choose from pre-defined layouts for online forums, social networks, user profiles, and other pages.

You can use pre-defined content and features to connect members to each other, create social groups, use a private messaging system, and also have full control over which features are enabled on the site to create the right type of platform for your project and audience.

In addition to forum-related features, BuddyBoss comes with the functionality and templates needed to add other useful elements for sharing the latest news on the site, informing about public events, placing online ads, posting employment opportunities, and more.

It's a full-featured theme that not only helps you launch online forums, but also does much more than that, such as enabling gamification to boost engagement, an integrated page editor for customizing your website, creating mobile apps that can be published in the Google and Apple app stores - providing target audience with another way to interact with the forum and the rest of the platform.

5. ForumPress

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The default pre-defined template and layout ensures that the forum is the main attraction in the site and places the discussion forum at the center of the WordPress site. Of course, if this approach doesn't quite match your expectations, then you are free to make changes and use the latest content from pages, articles or blogs as the site's homepage. However, ForumPress is ideal for website owners who want to create websites where the main feature is an online forum.

Like its competitors, ForumPress is powered by the popular bbPress plugin, covering site homepage, forum themes, user profiles, search results and many other sections. Live search and quick setup guides help enable users to find the content they want and allow you to keep the site online with minimal effort. In addition, you can add private labeling to your website and personalize your online forum with the theme customization tool.

If you are looking for a theme that focuses on a specific task and does it well, ForumPress should meet your expectations.

6. Lynk

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Includes support for a number of useful plugins -- such as bbPress and BuddyPress, with the help of which and their add-ons you can easily add forum modules to your site. lynk also allows you to add web directories that combine social networking and online communities, where visitors will be able to register accounts and add their own items, including comments, ads, or other content they wish to share. There is also a fully functional event calendar that allows you to post upcoming events in an interactive calendar format.

With good e-commerce support, you can easily profit from the site, for example, you can make the site private and charge membership fees or simply make certain sections a paid option. Since the theme and its supported plugins are very flexible, you can have good control over all aspects of your online forum and community site.

To help you get started and build online communities and forums quickly with WordPress, Lynk comes with a simple and easy-to-use installation wizard that will walk you through the entire process of installing and setting up the theme. There is also a lot of useful documentation, not to mention 6 months of one-on-one professional support from the developers.


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Designed to create an online forum with strong social networking and community features, Kleo has sold over 20,000 units to date and with an average user rating of over 4.7 out of 5, will appeal to those looking for a tried and true theme for the site.

Originally launched in 2014 but still being updated and improved regularly, thanks to this good theme maintenance approach by the development team, when you choose Kleo for your online forum, you will get an up-to-date site design with a rich feature list that can compete with the best multipurpose WordPress themes available today.

In fact, if you have checked out the Kleo demo, you will see that the theme comes with a large number of pre-defined sites, admittedly not all of these templates are suitable for creating online forums, but there are many suitable options in the demo library. On top of that, because the theme is so feature-rich, if you wish to add a forum module to other types of sites (such as news blogs, learning sites or business directories), Kleo does the job brilliantly.

Some of the community features you may be interested in include full support for the bbPress and BuddyPress plugins, a complete set of templates for the site's discussion forums, widgets that make it easy for users to navigate, etc. Other important features include extensive customization options, full e-commerce support for collecting payments and creating subscription packages, and the e-learning capabilities offered by the Sensei plugin .

8. Socialize

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Whether you are looking to add social networking and community features to your forum site or looking for a theme with bbPress support, Socialize is a suitable choice. There is also the option to add more interactive features to your site using the BuddyPress plugin if you have greater needs, or if your needs change in the future.

With the full set of BuddyPress and bbPress templates, you can easily enable front-end user profiles, private messaging, discussion forums, and other rich interactive features. In addition, this theme has a sleek design that will appeal to any webmaster who uses WordPress to create beautiful websites. There are many options for menus and sidebars, plus a wide range of post and page templates that help control the organizational layout of the content and the way the theme is displayed.

Other features you may want to take advantage of if you choose this theme include a built-in online calendar, an integrated page editor, and more, so you can post and advertise upcoming events to your readers or enable members to add their own notes to the calendar. If you want to tweak your website without writing any code, the drag-and-drop WPBakery Page Builder tool will come in handy.

9. Besocial

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With a powerful set of theme options, you can customize the various display properties of your websites and forums through an intuitive visual interface, as well as use the integrated SiteOrigin Page Builder tool (and its add-ons) to adjust the pre-defined templates and content that make up the Besocial theme package.

When it comes to social networking and forum features, Besocial has a lot to offer, for example, you can use featured widgets to highlight the most active users and also share specific statistics using the stats widget. With bbPress and BuddyPress compatibility, it is also easy to promote the latest events and popular content on the site. The powerful search tool helps users find more content and connect with other members who meet their search criteria.

The theme comes with a large number of pre-defined templates and designs covering all aspects of website forums and social networks, as well as sections for homepage, blog, portfolio and more. You can also enable the optional WooCommerce plugin and then sell physical or digital products directly through the built-in templates. Another useful plugin is the event calendar tool, giving you and members the opportunity to advertise upcoming events to the online community.

10. Buddy

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Despite having been out for a while, Buddy looks like it will never go out of style, and regular updates ensure that it still has plenty of WordPress users today. Built around the leading interactive BuddyPress and bbPress plugins, you can effortlessly set up an online forum, whether or not you want to use the social features extension is entirely up to you, but if the answer is yes, this theme will come with all the content and templates you could possibly need.

Getting started is made easier with the one-click installer, which ensures that your site goes live quickly and is ready to go, with all necessary plugins activated. If wanting to publish a multilingual site, you should be happy to know that Buddy is translation ready and also compatible with the best multilingual plugins (e.g. WPML).

Other standout features include shortcode libraries, integrated contact forms, clean code routines, and more, and like other best forum themes, Buddy works with all the well-known third-party plugins so that you can add almost any feature to your forum site, such as page editors, slideshow tools, e-commerce extensions.

Since its initial release, Buddy has built a great reputation and continues to receive positive feedback from users.

11. Cinematix

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Cinematix offers many different color schemes to change the mood and style of your online forum or community site with just a few clicks of the mouse. However, it's not just limited to pre-defined templates and designs; instead, you can create custom color palettes to match your brand, engage your target audience, or make your site stand out from the crowd.

In addition to the color options, this theme is built on the popular WPBakery Page Builder plugin, enabling you to customize almost all elements of your website or create unique page designs from scratch. Since all this creative work is done through an easy-to-use interface, everyone is able to personalize their website to some extent.

Cinematix certainly doesn't skimp on important forum and community features, with private messaging, member profiles, event contributions, and friendships/connections all included as standard. You can also enable users to enable email and browser notifications so they never miss an update, and also let them create discussion groups in which they can discuss shared interests.

Both the bbPress plugin and its add-ons provide forum functionality, thus ensuring that you have everything you need to start a discussion board. For those who want to see how Cinematix works in real life, an online demo can be a good demonstration of this feasibility.

12. CommunityJunction

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Depending on how you build your communities and forums, using CommunityJunction you can display the site's features on the home page, as well as login and registration forms, so you can encourage new visitors to sign up and join the community. In addition to this, you can add a series of widgets that can be used to display member profiles, popular content, and the busiest groups in the community. However, since this is a very flexible theme, you have full control over the functionality and appearance of the site.

With the integrated page editor tool, you'll get a drag-and-drop interface to move existing page elements, add new content, and then populate the layout with a range of components including video players, contact forms, slideshows, and more.

Despite the richness of the features, the tests posted on the product page show that your site loads quickly, no matter how you configure the online community and forums. In addition, thanks to the modern and adaptive design, the theme looks great on devices with smaller screens, such as smartphones and tablets.

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The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.