This is a detailed post about WordPress community plugin and website in 2024.
In this post we’ll cover
- What is an online community plugin?
- How to choose the best WordPress community plugin
- Best WordPress community plugins
- Features and pricing
- How to make the most out of WordPress community website
- Lots more
So if you’re ready to learn all about the WordPress community plugin.
Let’s dive right in.
What is an online community plugin?
WordPress community plugin can be broken down into the following three words and explained accordingly:
- Community is a group of people with similar interests working together for the advancement of a common interest.
- WordPress can provide the platform for that online community
- Plugin can add features that help the community members interact with each other.
There are hundreds of WordPress community software available in the market so if you’re looking to build a community website, choosing the right plugin will play the foundational role for your website.
We have listed down the top 10 WordPress community plugins in this post.
How to choose the best WordPress community plugin
The most important factor to consider when making any important decisions is to keep your requirements and needs in mind.
Once you are clear on that, following are a few more things to consider that will help making the decision easier for you.
- Features: Look for a plugin that offers multiple community features for instance, join groups, private messages, option to like, comment, follow/unfollow etc.
- Filter functionality: This is also known as the search functionality, it helps the user filter members, pages, and groups by name, keyword, age, category, interest and so on.
- Submission: The plugin should allow the users on your community website to submit posts, articles, and blogs without having to login to the WordPress dashboard.
- Google Maps: A community plugin must come with various integration options like map integration which will allow the user to share and view locations and similarly, find and engage with users based on location.
- Monetization: Monetization option is the most important feature of a community plugin. This will help you to charge the members the membership fee, subscription fee, online course, and so on.
- Integrations: It should also come with integration options such as PayPal and Stripe.
- Other Factors: Some other factors to consider are its ratings, downloads, reviews, active installations, compatibility, updation etc.
10 Best WordPress community plugins
We have listed down the 10 best WordPress community plugins that can be very helpful for your community and coaching websites.
BuddyPress is one of most extensively used community plugins. It is a free, open source plugin that can transform a regular WordPress website into a social networking or community site.
It is a fairly flexible plugin that comes with a number of features. Apart from the features, it has multiple addons that you can install to increase the functionality of your website.
Here are the standout features of BuddyPress plugin:
- Multiple communication methods
- Option to change colour and text schemes
- Allows the users to send direct messages to one another
- Create/join group
- Add/remove friends
- Forum functionality (answer questions or create a thread)
- Activity streaming
- Lots more
However, there are a few themes that may not be compatible with BuddyPress so you need to review that before installing this plugin.
Price range: It is a free, open source plugin that can be used and installed on your WordPress site, however, the premium addons are paid and the price range varies.
Paid Membership Subscriptions plugin is a complete WordPress membership plugin. It allows you to add all membership functionalities to your WordPress site including a WooCommerce site.
Here are the standout features of Paid Membership Subscriptions plugin:
- Compatible with WooCommerce
- Plan variation options (free, one-time payment, recurring payment plans)
- Easy accessibility to upgrade or downgrade the plan
- Content restriction feature based on the subscription
- Addons for premium functionality
Price range: It comes with a free version that can work with basic sites. However, premium versions start at €69.
bbPress is another free, open source plugin that you can install to your WordPress site and transform it into a forum or community site. It is made as lightweight as possible, therefore, it is speed optimised to the best as well.
Following are the standout features of bbPress plugin:
- Compatible with almost every WordPress theme.
- Supports over 12 languages
- Allow private messaging between users
- Option to customise notifications
- Customizable templates
- Spam protection
- RSS feed functionality
Similarly, there are hundreds of addons available that you can install to add more features to your site.
Price range: It is a free plugin that can be used and installed on your WordPress site, however, the addons are paid and there are a number of third party bbPress plugins available that are paid as well.
Youzify is one of the most popular community plugin formerly only available for a premium version, however, it has been recently launched as a basic free version at WordPress.org as well.
It is not a stand alone plugin but a plugin built on BuddyPress that we have already discussed above. It is based on the BuddyPress plugin to make it more user friendly and accessible.
Feature of Youzify plugin:
- Activity stream
- Option to follow/unfollow users
- Members directory
- Direct messages
- Connections and friend requests
- Almost all the functionalities of social media for instance, like, comment, share, etc
- Notification options and customization
- Rating and reviews
- Polls, hashtags, bookmarks, and so on
Youzify helps you take your online community to the next level with it’s advanced and rich social features.
Price range: It is originally available at a premium price of $49. However, a basic version is also available for free.
SureMembers is an excellent WordPress membership plugin, great for creating active online communities and membership websites.
It’s simple and efficient, which is especially useful for course creators and teachers. This plugin provides easy-to-use tools for handling memberships, controlling who can see content, and keeping users engaged.
It works well with different WordPress themes and integrates smoothly with important features, making it a great option for improving the community features of your website.
Key features of SureMembers plugin:
- Tailor content access for different user groups
- Control who can view specific content on your site
- Easily manage and automate member subscriptions
- Supports major payment methods for user convenience
- Users can personalize their profiles and settings
- Gain insights into membership engagement and trends
- Automated communication for members and admins
- Foster engagement and interaction among members
Price range: It is a premium plugin starting at $69/year.
Ultimate Member plugin is a community plugin with most active installations. It is compatible with every WordPress site. And it has the functionality to build any type of membership or community platform.
Key features of Ultimate Member plugin:
- Multiple social activity features
- WooCommerce integration
- Fast, lightweight, and scalable
- Direct/private messaging
- Classified content accessible only for members
- Custom forms and user roles
- Member directories
- Numerous extensions to add more functionality
Price range: This plugin is free to download and install to your WordPress site. It also has a paid version where you get 23 premium functions and 1 theme as an addition starting from $249/year.
7. wpForo Forum
wpForo Forum is the leading forum plugin for WordPress websites. You can build a professional forum or community using this. It has responsive layouts and styles which allows you to run an efficient, professional, and powerful community.
Following are the standout features of wpForo Forum plugin:
- Translation ready and supporting over 16 languages
- Drag and drop easy management
- Badging and rating system
- It is also GDPR compliant
- Easy migration from other forums
- SEO friendly
- Built in anti-spam and cache integration
- Comes with social networking sharing buttons
Moreover, it comes with various integrations including BuddyPress integration.
Price range: It is free to download and install to your WordPress site from the WordPress plugin directory. Furthermore, it offers various paid addons. Currently, there are three payment plans available starting from $20.
ProfileGrid is a community plugin with functionalities including membership, directory, and interactive user profiles. It is a comparatively more flexible community compared to the rest.
Key features of ProfileGrid plugin:
ProfileGrid comes with many features. A few of them are:
- All social networking features like private notification, messaging etc
- Option for the users to create their own blogs within the community
- Separate workflow and settings for individual groups
- Membership limits, privacy levels, manual approval of new members
- Public members list
- Content restriction and limitation
- Email notifications as per the activity
- Security features like reCAPTCHA, Whitelist, and Backlists IPs to avoid unauthorised logins.
- Stripe integration
Price range: It is a 100% free plugin that you can download and install from the WordPress plugin directory. Additionally, you can check out the addons for advanced functionality. Two plans are available starting from $79.
If you’re looking for a social networking community within your WordPress website, Community by PeepSo is the plugin for you. It is lightweight, fast and super easy to install and use. It is considered similar to Facebook but more productive and professional.
Key features of Community by Peepso plugin:
- Activity and filter stream
- Follow, save, schedule posts
- Hashtag widget for easy search and visibility
- Community overview dashboard
- Option for polls and poll questions
- Live chat feature among users
- Almost all kinds of media supported plugin
- Real time onsite notifications
- Ability to share on other social platforms
Price range: This is a completely free WordPress plugin that can either be downloaded from the plugin directly or directory from your dashboard on WordPress site.
MemberPress is the all in one of the best WordPress membership plugin for websites. Along with membership features, it allows you to build a professional community and monetize your site.
Following are the standout features of MemberPress plugin:
- Allows the member to chat, interact, and submit posts
- VIP-based forum restriction
- Compatible with forum plugins like bbPress and so on
- Create a password-protected community
- Coupons to run campaigns and promotions
- Subscription based billing feature
- Members only dashboard
- Hundreds of third-party integrations
- Compatible with all WordPress themes
- Regular updated features
Price range: MemberPress is a premium plugin and does not offer a free trial of version. It is available in three pricing plans depending on your needs. The basic plan starts at $279/year.
How to make the most out of WordPress Community Website
Community websites are generally niche specific and not for everyone to join. For example, there are members, directories, and communities available for different professions such as:
To make the most out of your community based website you should keep the following in mind:
- Having a clear goal/purpose:
A community based website needs to be different from Facebook or other social media platforms and should be serving a specific purpose. As mentioned above, it can be for specific professions, niches, programs, genders, so on and so forth.
- Decide if it should be a free or paid community:
It is better if you are clear whether you are creating a free or paid platform in the beginning. It will help you in the longer run, if you convert it into a paid membership later, the chances of losing members is higher.
- Community guidelines:
As a website and community owner, it is your responsibility to introduce appropriate community rules and guidelines. And also to ensure that they are regularly being followed and not being violated by any member. It will also provide protection against offensive and inappropriate content.
- Interact with members:
Interacting with your community members is very important. You get a chance to know them, obtain criticism as well as feedback to improve your community.
- Community management:
Creating a community is one thing and managing it is another. Once you have a community established, it is your primary responsibility to manage the following:
- Moderate new users
- Warn and ban rules violating users
- Approve comments
- Keep a check on content being published
- Keep an eye on the reviews and feedback
Identifying your requirements and needs before creating a community based website will give you a solid foundation start and also help to choose the right plugin for this purpose.
You can choose from the list above, the best-suited community plugin for your coaching website.
What is your favourite community plugin from the list above?
Share in the comments below.