With WordPress powering nearly 25% of the web, it’s safe to say that its popularity coupled with ease-of-use and vast plugin support make it a primary contender and choice of many website owners. For many years other software such and Bulletin Board software reigned supreme more so in the years prior to social media sites such as Facebook were heavily utilized. Those using phpBB, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, and others such as Xenforo had long used WordPress as the home page with the forums being installed into a sub-folder… then adding in a Single Sign On or “bridge” to link the two systems – this could be done easily by developers and avid WordPress enthusiasts however it left simple site owners in the dark!
BBPress (and/or BuddyPress) creates a forum within your WordPress and for those who had previously utilized WordPress as a home page yet depended on other forum software to render your forums to your member base it does a simple and quite elegant job! Below is the process of installing BBPress into WordPress and then importing forum data into it, thereby seemingly transferring your WordPress site into a forum as well!
- Backup your site, both database and files before beginning.
Automatic Plugin Installation
- Open your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New.
- Under Search, type in bbPress into the search form and click the Search Plugins button to the right, bbPress should be the first result in the returned list.
- Click Details for to confirm the author is listed as ‘The bbPress Community‘ and links back to http://bbpress.org
- Click Install Now to install the bbPress Plugin.
- A popup window will ask you to confirm your wish to install the Plugin.
- Click Proceed to continue with the installation. The resulting installation screen will list the installation as successful or note any problems during the install.
- If successful, click Activate Plugin to activate bbPress.
Manual Plugin Installation
- Download the current version .zip of bbPress and extract the contents to a folder on your PC.
- With your FTP program upload the extracted ‘bbpress‘ folder to your ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ folder.
- From your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins and Activate the bbPress Plugin.
After you’ve successfully installed and activated BBPress, the next step is to import from your alternate forum software.
How to Import
- Visit WordPress Admin Dashboard > Click on Tools > Click on Forums > Click on the Import Tab
You will see the following screen when doing so:
As you can see in the screenshot, some additional information is required, this being database details for the alternate forum software, in nearly all cases this can be found in a config.php file from the other software OR listed in the administrator control panel of said alternate software. *Also please note, there is another “Import” link in the menus, the look of this page will greatly differ from the screenshot above and is the wrong location, do not use the import function if it does not resemble the page in the screenshot above as it would be the wrong location and import respectively.
Once you’ve provided all information required from the other software, you can begin your import. Once finished simply follow any additional on-screen prompts and then check your site to see if everything imported properly.
- www.example.com/index.php <– WordPress.
- www.example.com/forum/index.php <– Old Forum Software
- www.example.com/index.php/forums/ <– Is now your new BBPress Forum within WordPress
There are now other things you can do, such as changing URL Hierarchy (how links work and look) to make them more SEO friendly, what plugins do you wish to use? Now is the time to check the plugin directory for WordPress and also the BBPress plugins directory and see what you can use to your benefit!
Now with all changes in place, your new WordPress forum is ready to rock and roll! We do suggest you backup and archive your old forum software for reference purposes.