WordPress serves as the most popular, flexible, and powerful platform to create and manage your content. You can basically publish posts or set up a business website without being a developer and having in-depth knowledge about programming.
In case you’re looking to create a social network or an online community on your WordPress site, you have to rely on a supportive tool. BuddyPress proves the quickest solution to build a WordPress social network, in the same way that WooCommerce assists you in creating an e-commerce store.
A community website is where members and contributors interact with others online. They can discuss, connect, share ideas, and support each other. As a site owner, you should try multiple ways to get your users involved and give them a chance to learn and contribute.
BuddyPress brings a social community to your standard WordPress site, from registering and editing profiles, delivering private messages, to creating groups, and building connections.
However, BuddyPress features shouldn’t just stop there. To maximize the standard social network functionalities, you need several plugins and add-ons to boost your network performance.
To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I’ve ranked and reviewed the 10 most useful plugins to add extra features to your BuddyPress community.
Instead of listing out random plugins, we group them together based on the areas they support, including plugins about User Profiles, Media, Content, and Other Activities.
Let’s hop in!
BuddyPress Plugins for User Login
Users are able to create and update their own profiles, send private messages, join groups, follow activity streams, and much more by defaults. There are still limitations on how they perform. For example, forcing users to log in to view the community content or letting members sign up with social accounts.
1.Force Login for hiding BuddyPress communities
Force Login allows you to completely shield your WordPress community from the public view. Only logged in users can see what’s happening inside your forum as well as your site.
This plugin works best for intranets of business and organization which want their employees and members to access the internal content like training materials or company policies.
On top of that, Force Login helps redirect users to a specific URL once logging in. You can force them to view a particular page before reaching their desired content in the community. There is another redirect option leading visitors back to the URL they tried to visit before logging in.
2.BuddyPress Member Types plugin for creating multiple user types
If you want to easily create and manage different types of members, BuddyPress Member Types is the plugin for you. Although coming as a premium plugin, it’s worth paying due to great features.
The plugin allows you to generate as many types of members as you would love to, depending on the business you’re running. For instance, you want to have teacher and student types for your educational site. Healthcare companies need to provide doctor, nurse, and patient roles for their members.
On the user’s side, it’s possible for them to select what type of members they are on the signup form or through their profile options. Since each member type requires different roles and information, you can assign them different profile fields too.
3.WordPress Social Login for logging in via social accounts
Trusted by over 40 thousand users, WordPress Social Login permits users to sign in your BuddyPress community via their social accounts such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Amazon, and Salesforce, etc. They can share the content in communities on social channels and leave comments under their social profiles. The social profile picture will be synced with WordPress.
Not all users have the same role, even though they’re logging in using social accounts. That’s why WordPress Social Login automatically assigns WordPress roles to users when they log in with a social login application.
You can upgrade to the plugin’s premium version to access loads of other powerful features. You’re able to display social icons on WooCommerce checkout pages or BuddyPress registration and account pages.
What’s more, both admins and registers will be notified once a user signs up. Since the plugin integrates with MailChimp seamlessly, all of the new social logins will be added to a mailing list in MailChimp as subscribers for easier lead management.
BuddyPress Plugins for Media
Media files play a key role in every WordPress site in general and BuddyPress communities in particular. It involves background post photos, featured images, videos, and so on.
BuddyPress always needs better support for media like image, video, and audio to connect people in social networks. And the following plugins come to your rescue. You’re permitted to protect media folders or upload documents and other media to your BuddyPress site.
4.Prevent Direct Access Gold plugin to protect media files
Not all types of members in your community can access every file. You sometimes want the creator or users in the same roles to access their own file uploads to increase community security or for some confidentiality reasons.
Understanding this demand, Prevent Direct Access Gold is designed to protect your files from unwanted access. Only users with the correct permissions can view your files. Once a user uploads any image, video, or audio to your community, they will be protected automatically.
The plugin also enables you to protect the entire BuddyPress media folder, instead of individual ones. Secure files become invisible to both search engines and the public as well. Nobody is authorized to search for your files even though they have their direct URLs.
The plugin comes in handy in various cases. It keeps your protected media files away from the prying eyes of file criminals and increases their security. You could also encourage users to upgrade their member roles in order to access private files.
5.BuddyPress Default Cover Photo
As the name suggests, BuddyPress Default Cover Photo replaces BuddyPress default cover photo and adds a custom one to make your user’s profiles and groups look more appealing and professional. This helps differentiate your groups and communities from others.
BuddyPress Default Cover Photo proves extremely easy to use. All you need to do includes installing the plugin, going to the settings page, and choosing an image to set the cover photo for profiles or groups.
6.rtMedia for WordPress, BuddyPress and bbPress
Over 20 thousand active installations make rtMedia one of the most popular and comprehensive plugins for BuddyPress and bbPress media.
Your members could attach an image, audio, or video to their status updates in the exact same way as what they do on Facebook.
rtMedia takes media file privacy into account by controlling who can access files, albums, as well as BuddyPress activities. The plugin takes care of your WordPress Uploader and Gallery with a few shortcodes. You can show drag and drop uploaders in any WordPress post, page, and custom post type.
BuddyPress Plugins for Community Content
Besides user logins and media files, you ought to pay extra attention to the content in your BuddyPress community. Even though it’s a private or public forum, you’re required to differentiate your member’s accessibility from others.
It’d be great if your users can contact the content author for questions or feedback right on the post in the BuddyPress community. You’re allowed to monetize your BuddyPress network with content locking features too.
7.BuddyForms Contact the Author plugin
Provided by ThemeKraft, BuddyForms Contact the Author turns out to be a perfect solution for members to get in touch with authors of a post, product, or service.
The plugin eliminates the registration process by letting users leave their email addresses and a message for the writer only.
There are numerous use cases for this feature. Members can ask a question, give feedback, or get support on a certain subject without leaving a public comment.
From the admin point of view, BuddyForms Contact the Author gives you a helping hand to add the Contact the Author button anywhere you would love to, before or after the post content.
Please notice that this add-on requires the BuddyForms Profesional plugin to work properly.
8.Password Protect WordPress Pro for content protection
Password Protect WordPress Pro (PPWP Pro) gives you the ability to lock the content that your users are accessing based on passwords or user roles. Once secured, your pages, posts, and custom post types will be covered with a password form. Only those who have the correct password are allowed to open it.
If you’re trying to make money from your valuable content, PPWP Pro is your way to go. The plugin assists you in selling access to pages and posts via WooCommerce.
In other words, once a user purchases your blog and checkout, they will receive a custom link leading to the private content. Unpaid members are forced to enter passwords when attempting to open your blog.
In case you have multiple user roles in your BuddyPress networks and would like a specific role to view certain pages, just set roles to your passwords. As a result, logged-in users of a particular role can use the password and unlock the content. Others will receive an error message even though they try the correct password.
BuddyPress Plugins for Other Activities
Last but not least, there may be times you intend to expand your BuddyPress community with even more features, not just only about profiles, forms, media, and content.
You might have heard about selling courses and digital products in your BuddyPress networks for many times. Or some users want to find a specific post discussing a topic published a long time ago but they don’t want to take time to scroll down to the endless list. These difficulties inspire developers to create supportive plugins to boost your network power.
9.WooCommerce BuddyPress Integration
WooCommerce BuddyPress Integration connects your WooCommerce store and BuddyPress community flawlessly. By syncing customer data, you can show purchase history, product downloads, and other information in member profiles.
It’s possible for your users to add pages from other WooCommerce extensions into their profiles or groups. This helps create engagement and interaction on your site and improve the customer experience at the same time.
The plugin offers a free trial available on the WordPress repository so you can test how it works before paying for Pro versions.
10.BuddyPress Global Search
You might not notice but your users often get tired of looking for an old post that they might be missing previously. BuddyPress Global Search permits your members to search through every BuddyPress component, from posts, members, forums, activities, to messages, etc.
The plugin works with any theme of your WordPress website. However, depending on your theme, you’re sometimes required to adjust the style to match the search results and the theme perfectly.
Although BuddyPress Global Search doesn’t have a lot of active installations at the moment, it’s receiving love from loyal users and the 4.6-star rating just proves that.
Make Your BuddyPress Community Even Better
BuddyPress is the quickest and easiest solution to build your own social networks and connect your members together. Coming as an open-source platform, you don’t have to pay anything to get started creating a basic community.
There are diverse plugins with loads of features you can add to form a complete BuddyPress social network and maximize the user experience. The top 10 plugins recommended above helps add extra power to your site in many ways. While some plugins assist in user profile effectiveness, others support BuddyPress media files and content.
Now over to you to decide which plugins work best with your BuddyPress website. Feel free to share your choices with us in the comment section below.
Suzies calls herself a WordPressaholic who loves writing for WordPress users. Before shifting to a content writer, she was a content researcher with SEO knowledge. Suzie is now a content writing machine about WordPress plugins and tutorials that still believes she’s going to be an astronaut one day.