Why use BuddyPress

BuddyPress - How to create your own community with WordPress

Last updated on October 23, 2020

Would you like to network with your customers, business partners or users on one platform, but remain master of your data? No problem - with so-called membership or community plugins you can turn your WordPress site into a social network in no time at all! Johannes Mairhofer introduces you to the BuddyPress plugin and shows you step by step how to set it up correctly.

What is BuddyPress?

With BuddyPress you expand your "normal" WordPress site with many community features. Similar to the way that the “Jetpack” tool adds many possibilities to your system, BuddyPress is, in my opinion, more than “just” a plugin, even if the installation is almost as easy.

BuddyPress offers so many options that a few steps are necessary as preparation BEFORE the installation and as a configuration AFTER the installation. I would also like to recommend that you give yourself some thought beforehand, because although a change is almost always possible afterwards, it is not recommended for several reasons.

In the following I will show you some of the basics of BuddyPress, go into the possibilities, but would also like to point out the legal risks and limitations of BuddyPress. After these step-by-step instructions, you should be able to turn your WordPress system into a simple community and, for example, network with your friends, a sports club or other smaller communities.

WordPress installation and preparations

In order to be able to set up BuddyPress, you first need a "normal" WordPress. With the BuddyPress attachment in particular, there are many options and settings that can be made. In order to be able to test these functions in peace, I recommend that you first secure the newly installed website against external access.

To extensively test the plugin, you have various options:

  1. If you set up a completely new WordPress site and do not want it to be accessed by third parties during the development phase, you can protect it with a password. With RAIDBOXES this is possible with one click.
  2. Another possibility is to put your entire website in maintenance mode, for example with a plug-in such as "Maintenance".
  3. If you want your live site to be accessible during the test, I recommend testing in staging. With RAIDBOXES you activate a staging environment with one click and can test new plugins there risk-free. If you are satisfied with the result, you can switch the changes live with one click.

Enable registration of new users

In order for users to be able to log in to your community later, you must next adjust the “Anyone can log in” setting in the WordPress basic settings. You do this under "Settings" → "General" - the checkmark here is usually deactivated. Please allow the login and set the role of the user to "Subscriber"

Select theme

Normally you have a number of themes to choose from with WordPress, which you can use and partially adapt as you wish. Unfortunately, only very few themes are suitable for the BuddyPress function. I've tried a few for my project and therefore recommend Customify. This gives you several options and a good addition to the functions of BuddyPress.

Install BuddyPress

Next you install the actual and required plugin “BuddyPress”. You can do this simply via the normal way "Plugins" → "Install".

After installing this plugin, your WordPress is ready for community functions and can be adapted and configured on many levels.

BuddyPress settings

Let’s take a moment to look at the settings. BuddyPress places itself in several areas of the WordPress configuration, for example in the settings, in the tools and as separate main menu items in the dashboard.

We start in the "Settings" area, here you will see a new area: "BuddyPress". Please click on it, we will now take a detailed look at the individual points below.

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