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BuddyPress Plugin Review: How to Install This Social Network Plugin on WordPress

Updated on February 9, 2022

9 Min Read
WordPress BuddyPress

Do you want to build your own social network that contains all the modern elements, is user-friendly, and is easy on the eyes? BuddyPress is one of the many solutions that can help you create your social network and decorate it with extra features.

Combining flexibility and ease of use, this social network builder is offered by Automattic, the force behind WordPress and WooCommerce. It allows your site members to create profiles, make friends, post in groups, and a lot more.

Even though BuddyPress is a robust social network builder plugin, users get confused while picking the best plugin for building their social network with the growing number of new competitors.

This in-depth review will cover BuddyPress across different parameters to help you decide if the plugin is suitable for your requirements or not. Keep reading to learn more about this plugin.

What is BuddyPress?

BuddyPress is a social networking plugin that lets the developers include the community features in their sites. Its sturdy theme compatibility allows it to decorate all content pages with the right elements that go well with any theme.

buddypress overview

Don’t fancy the existing WordPress themes? BuddyPress has an impressive collection of themes, basically the adorned versions of WordPress themes with more templates. You can also create your own themes or download the existing ones from third parties or directly from WordPress.org.

Other than that, you also get built-in support for bbPress and Akismet plugins with BuddyPress. You may configure their settings as per your requirements and enjoy using them with BuddyPress.

BuddyPress Review: Features

Features determine the usability of any plugin. While BuddyPress has tons of features, I’ve listed the most prominent ones below and briefly detailed each to help you understand the plugin’s functionality and the factors that make it different.

Activity Streams

The activity stream feature combines all the activities that are done across BuddyPress. You can record any activity, including new friends, blog comments, blog posts, etc.

Moreover, you can also hook the custom components with the activity streams, letting you track and record any data.

Once you activate the Activity Component feature, the pages mentioned below will be rendered on your website’s front end.

  • Member Activity Stream.
  • Sitewide Activity Stream.
  • Group Activity Stream. (If you have activated the Groups Component)

Customizable Emails

BuddyPress has launched this new feature in its version 2.5. You can add new emails, edit, and customize them under the Emails menu.

The older versions also allowed the users to send emails. However, it did not give them any UI for editing the email’s content or any other method to write new emails.

BuddyPress uses the WordPress customizer to edit your emails’ colors and styles. The color is set to Orange by default, but it can be changed accordingly to complement your brand better. To customize an email, you’ll have to click the Customize link from the Email admin menu.

You can also disable the BuddyPress email template system if you wish to use any other HTML email template solution.

Notifications

The notification feature is available in the BuddyPress 1.9 and later versions. It is a modernized form of the previous notification function but has been improvised by making it a separate component. You will find the new notifications on the profile menu in the admin bar.

The community members receive the notifications when any of the following activities occur:

  • Activity
  • Messages
  • Friends
  • Groups
  • Group Forums

Groups

BuddyPress groups are like any other social channel’s groups and serve as a community for multiple members where they can create posts and other content. Any member can create a group on BuddyPress, and the creator ultimately becomes the administrator.

Members can find the status update form and group news in every group, which is updated timely by the admins. The group admins can also approve the members’ requests to join hidden groups, give specific permissions to any members, and even enable the new features.

User Extended Profiles

BuddyPress allows you to create infinite Extended Profiles (xProfile) Fields to accentuate your community members, and even create unlimited Extended Profile Fields’ groups that are specially customized for your social network.

You can create these fields by following the steps below:

  • Go to the administration menu.
  • Click Users > Profile Fields.

BuddyPress vs BuddyBoss vs WP User Manager: An In-Depth Comparison

Features BuddyPress BuddyBoss WP User Manager
Pricing
Different Plans Free 1 Site: $171/Year
5 Sites: $ 216/Year
10 Sites: $291/Year
Starter: $104/Year
Plus: $139/Year
Pro: $209/Year
Agency: $419/Year
Primary Features
Profile creation Yes Yes Yes
Ease of use Yes Yes Yes
Group Creations Yes Yes Yes
Notifications Yes Yes Yes
Account Settings Yes Yes Yes
Multisite support Yes Yes No
REST API Yes Yes No
DM system Yes Yes Yes
Reviews/feedback system Yes No No
Blogs creation Yes Yes No
Forum creations Yes Yes No
3rd party plugins support No Yes Yes
Theme compatibility Yes Yes Yes
iOS and Android support No No No
Customization Yes Yes Yes
Integration
Email integration Yes No Yes
Forums integration Yes Yes No
Support
Documentation support Yes Yes Yes
Ticket support No Yes Yes
Community support Yes Yes Yes

BuddyPress Installation Prerequisites

To achieve the plugin’s smooth working, you must ensure that you follow the plugin’s recommended settings during installation. This section will share the essential requirements that BuddyPress recommends as prerequisites.

The required versions are as follows:

  • BuddyPress 7.0+ supports WordPress 4.9 or greater
  • PHP version 7.0 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater

You can save your site from many incompatibilities if you consider a few points at the time of installation.

  • Apache Module mod_rewrite enabled for “pretty permalinks.”
  • WordPress should be installed manually, i.e., via FTP, Cpanel, etc.
  • BuddyPress does not work on installations where you give WordPress its own directory.
  • The folder name for any subdirectory or subdomain WordPress/BuddyPress installation must be in lowercase.
  • AllowOverride should be set to All in the folder where you have .htaccess.

How to Install and Set Up BuddyPress on Your WordPress Website

Before installing BuddyPress on your site, ensure that you have installed the latest WordPress version.

If you’re a Cloudways user, you don’t need to install WordPress manually because Cloudways Managed WordPress hosting comes with a 1-click WordPress installation.

There are two ways to install BuddyPress on your WordPress website; automatic, and manual. I will demonstrate both methods in the sections below.

How to Install BuddyPress on WordPress [Automatic Method]

Let’s get started with the automated installation.

  • Install WordPress on your site.
  • Log in with your admin credentials.
  • Go to WordPress Dashboard.
  • Click Plugin > Add New from the left-side navigation bar.
  • Search BuddyPress on the right-hand search bar.
  • Click on the install button.
  • Activate the BuddyPress plugin.

A welcome screen will appear after the activation.

install buddypress

activate buddypress

Note: Always use SEO-friendly permalinks on your WordPress website.

buddypress settings

How to Install BuddyPress on WordPress [Manual Method]

Like BuddyPress’ automated installation, its manual installation is also quite easy. Follow the steps below to install BuddyPress manually on your WordPress website.

  • First, download the BuddyPress plugin.
  • Upload the plugin to the wp-content/plugins folder using any FTP program.
  • Or go to WordPress Dashboard.
  • Click Plugin > Add New.
  • Click on the upload plugin button.
  • Click on the choose file option, and you will see a browser window.
  • Select the downloaded version of BuddyPress and click on the install now button.

install buddypress manually

  • Click on the activate button once the plugin has been installed.

activate buddypress

If you’re not familiar with the FTP server, you can use a plugin to access your website files. If you want to know how the WordPress File Manager plugin works, you can read the Cloudways article on accessing server files from the WordPress dashboard via File Manager Plugin.

How to Activate the BuddyPress Components

BuddyPress comes with ten built-in optional components. Users can activate/deactivate the components as per their needs. The components are as follows:

  • Extended Profiles
  • Account Settings
  • Friend Connections
  • Private Messaging
  • Activity Streams
  • Notifications
  • User Groups
  • Site Tracking
  • BuddyPress Core
  • Community Members

Don’t activate all components; just activate those that you will require for your work.

Activate the Buddypress components by following the easy steps below:

  • Go to WordPress Settings > BuddyPress.
  • Click on the component tab.
  • You’ll see all the components there. Click on the checkmark option to activate/deactivate the components.
  • After selecting the components, click on the Save Settings button.

activate buddypress components

How to Attach Pages to the BuddyPress Components

The next step is to configure the pages, but before moving on to the Pages tab, create pages for the registration and activation.

Follow the steps below to create pages on WordPress.

  • Go to Pages.
  • Click Add new and create the two pages; one is for the registration, and the other is for the activation.

You can see all the pages from your main Pages listing screen, as shown in the image.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see that BuddyPress will add two more pages named Activity and Members.

buddypress attach pages

BuddyPress allows you to attach your website pages with the components. For this:

  • Go to WordPress Settings > BuddyPress.
  • Click on the Pages tab.
  • Select the pages for each function.
  • Save the settings.

buddypress pages settings

How to Configure the BuddyPress Plugin

After understanding the components and pages setting, it’s time to move to the BuddyPress configuration settings.

  • Go to WordPress Settings > BuddyPress.
  • Click on the Options tab to access the configuration settings.

buddypress options settings

You’ll see multiple features with enable/disable options under the Options tab screen. Select the options that are relevant to your project and click on the Save Settings button.

  • Main Settings: It has an option to allow the user to delete the account and a toolbar enable/disable option for the logged-in user.
  • Member Settings: Gives the option to allow the registered members to upload the avatar and cover images.
  • Profile Settings: Used for the BuddyPress to WordPress profile syncing.
  • Activity Settings: It handles the post comments and activity auto-refresh.

BuddyPress Review: Pricing and Plans

BuddyPress is a free and open-source social networking software WordPress plugin owned by Automattic. Its Core module and extra features are also free. Users love BuddyPress as it allows them to build communities, groups, and profiles without any charge.

buddypress pricing

BuddyPress Review: Pros and Cons

The quickest manner to judge any plugin’s functionality is to weigh its pros and cons. I have listed the strengths and weaknesses of BuddyPress below to help you make an informed selection.

Pros

  • Open Source.
  • Multiple free add-ons and plugins.
  • Excellent support.
  • Third-party integrations.
  • User-friendliness.

Cons

  • No built-in media uploading.
  • No built-in chat.
  • Basic solutions.

Final Thoughts

All in all, BuddyPress is a great solution for people seeking easy ways to create social networking websites with WordPress. Since the plugin is available for free, any user can safely try this out without fearing any monetary loss. Users looking for more comprehensive solutions can get its free and paid extensions to make the most of its functionalities.

How many users can BuddyPress handle?

BuddyPress can handle millions of users by adding the rows in the database, and that database can scale quite well.

Which is better? BuddyPress or bbPress?

BuddyPress is a social network plugin on WordPress. You can create your network on BuddyPress and use it as a website like Facebook. In contrast, bbPress is a forum where you can allow your users to interact via comments.

How do I use BuddyPress to build a social network?

Follow the steps below to use BuddyPress to build a social network.

  • Install and activate the BuddyPress plugin.
  • Set the components, pages, and configuration settings.
  • Create a user profile and start creating a network on BuddyPress.

Read this detailed article for a comprehensive understanding of this plugin.

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Danish Naseer

Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]

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