Building a Social Website With BuddyPress

by Mustaasam Saleem  February 3, 2016

WordPress started off as a simple content management site and gradually became one of the juggernauts of internet. It is now used by more than twenty five percent of online users. This has been a result of constant innovation service evolvement. From a powerful CMS to a user-friendly ecommerce know as “WooCommerce, WordPress  has everything for someone.

With the social site plugin, BuddyPress, WordPress indeed shows that it has something for everyone. Although, there are a number of different innovative WordPress social plugins, however, we found BuddyPress the most active, fully featured plugin and the closest to famed social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.

Our tutorial will educate readers on how to install BuddyPress, setting it up along with a BuddyPress compatible theme, aiming to build a simple social website.
Social-WebSite-With-BuddyPress

Installing BuddyPress using WordPress

Before we begin installing BuddyPress on WordPress, I assume that you have already installed WordPress on the optimized Cloudways Managed WordPress hosting server. After you have launched your Cloudways Managed WordPress server, you can follow this simple procedure to learn how to install towards setting up BuddyPress.

Step 1: Choosing & Installing your favorite theme

Begin by Logging in to the WordPress admin panel.

We’ll select a simple & basic social theme for our sample websiite. For this tutorial, we will use the modest JShop theme. You can install it by navigating to Appearance > Themes and search for “JShop”, then click the Install Button as shown below.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Once installed, Activate it by clicking the Activate link as demonstrated in the image below.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Step 2: Installing BuddyPress

Now, we are going to proceed to install the BuddyPress plugin on our website.

From your WordPress admin panel

  1. Navigate to the Plugins Tab, then
  2. Click on the Add new Tab
  3. Search for BuddyPress in the Search Box on the top right.
  4. Once you have found the Plugin, click Install and let the wizard do the rest.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Once installation is completed, you will see a message like the one shown below.

Now click on Activate Plugin,

BuddyPress installation wordpress

BuddyPress should be installed and ready to go.

We will now configure BuddyPress plugin to use it with the JShop theme.

Step 3: Configuring BuddyPress.

To proceed configuring BuddyPress, Navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins > Under BuddyPress > Select Settings.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

You will notice three navigation bars.

  • Components: You can configure BuddyPress according to your needs.

Activity streams: This option enables users to see activities of their friends on the social website. Click to Enable this option.

Notifications: This option allows users to receive instant notification of friends’ activities, including friend requests, private messages etc. Click to Enable it.

To configure components according to your needs, read through their descriptions listed below and manage them as per your requirement.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

  • Pages:

This is the most important section for your social site, and you need to pay extra attention when reading it. Although pages are straightforward, most BuddyPress users get confused about it. Let me clear it up in an easy language. In the image below, you can see 3 labels:

  1. Members
  2. Activity streams
  3. User groups

Leave them as they are.

We will have to create Registration and Activation pages.

Register:

In BuddyPress, this is the default Registration form. BuddyPress needs a page to assign its sign up form. That’s why we need to add a new page from our WordPress admin panel. So, that page can be assigned to BuddyPress to display the contents of its default Sign Up form.

Activate:

As I have explained above about registration form, this is also a default account activation process of BuddyPress. For this, we have to create a new page again by going to WordPress admin panel and adding a new page.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Create Registration & Account-Activate Pages:

Create “Registration” page by navigating to Pages > Add New.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Create “Account Activate” page by navigating to Pages > Add New.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Setting Registration and Account Activate pages.

Navigate to Settings > BuddyPress > Pages

BuddyPress installation wordpress

  • Settings:

Set changes according to your needs.

Activity auto-refresh:

The most widely used feature of social networks is the auto-refresh of news feeds, so that users do not have to refresh the page again and again to get new updates. You can set changes according to your needs.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Step 4: Configuring BuddyPress for use with our theme.

From the WordPress admin panel. Go to Appearance > Menus.

Open Screen Options from top right corner.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Make sure you have marked BuddyPress.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Step 5: Create a menu for our nav bar.

P.S: If you already have a menu bar. Delete it.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Follow these steps to add new menu bar.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Remove theme default widgets and configure them according to your need.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Add BuddyPress widgets to sidebar.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Step 6: Enable Registrations on website.

It is preferable that you enable registrations for anyone if you are deciding to go with a public social network. You can disable registrations for a private social network. For registrations setting, navigate to Settings > General > Mark Anyone can register.
BuddyPress installation wordpress

Step 7: Setting the Front Page

Now the last and the most important part is to set a front page of your website. When a user visits your website, that page will be shown. In our example we have set “activity” page as the front page of our website.

Go to Settings > Reading.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Now click on save changes. Your very own social website using BuddyPress plugin is now ready for connecting people.

BuddyPress installation wordpress

Installing BuddyPress on WordPress is a tough job. It’s a long process. If you face any difficulty or want to ask anything about the installation process or meet with any glitch in between the process, then feel free to ask about it via the comments section below. I would be glad to answer and guide you. Happy Connecting!

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About Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at mustaasam.saleem@cloudways.com

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  • Hi, there is Buddypress compatible with Cloudways and mainly with Varnish?
    Thank you.

    • Hi,

      You can definitely run BuddyPress on Cloudways’ servers but as of now Varnish isn’t fully compatible with pages like live feed.

      You can submit your feedback and requests here: http://feedback.cloudways.com/