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Getting Started with bbPress

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Install and Activate

To begin, install and activate bbPress using the following steps:

  1. Visit the WordPress Administration Screen and navigate to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Search for bbPress
  3. Locate the bbPress plugin and click install
  4. Activate the plugin

You can also install bbPress manually using an FTP client. To learn about installing plugins manually, check out the Manual Plugin Installation guide on the WordPress Codex.

Getting to Know bbPress

Upon activation, bbPress will make additions to three areas of the WordPress Administration Screens:

  1. bbPress creates three custom post types and adds them to the navigation menu: Forums, Topics, and Replies. Use these menu items to create and manage your forums.
  2. A sub-menu found at Settings > Forum. Customize these settings for greater control over bbPress.
  3. A Dashboard widget – Right Now in Forums – which shows recent bbPress-related activity. Use the widget to quickly monitor your forums. If you are unable to see this widget, visit your WordPress Dashboard, click on the Screen Options tab at the top right of the Dashboard and make sure that “Right Now in Forums” is checked.

Creating your First Forum

Once you have bbPress installed, you will no doubt want to create a Forum. There are three new menu items on your WordPress navigation menu. These are:

To create a Forum follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Forums > New Forum
  2. Give your Forum a name
  3. Add text to the text editor to give your forum a description on the back end.
    The body text appearing on the Forums admin screen
  4. Adjust your Forum attributes. These are:
    • Types: choose whether you are creating a Forum or category.
      1. Forum – can contain topics and be the parent of other forums.
      2. Category – can only contain forums (no topics). Use for organizing your forums.

      You may, for example, have a Category “Open Source Software” with the Forums “bbPress” and “WordPress”.

    • Status: choose whether the forum is open or closed.
    • Visibility: decide whether your forum is public, private or hidden.
      1. Public – Anyone can see these forums
      2. Private – Only logged in registered users can see these forums
      3. Hidden: Only Moderators/Admins can see these forums
    • Parent: Forums can have a hierarchical structure. If your forum is a sub-forum of another Forum or is the child of a category, add the Parent here.
    • Order: this determines the order in which the forums appear.

When you are happy, click Publish.

By default, your forum will be located at

To adjust the default slugs, visit Forums > Settings

Adding a Topic

With your Forum created you can start adding Topics. Topics are the issues that are being discussed on your Forum. You can add a Topic from the front end or from the WordPress Administration Screens.

Adding a Topic from the Front End

Navigate to your Forum on the front end. If you’ve just set up your Forum it will have no Topics yet.

an image of a forum without any topics

Give your topic a name and add some content to it.

the bbPress topic field on the front end with content added. The topic heading, the post type and the subscription button are highligted

You can add tags for organizing your Topics, and you can make the post Sticky or Super Sticky.

You can also select to subscribe to replies via email.

Once you post the Topic it will appear on your Forum.

the topic added to the front end

Adding a Topic from the WordPress Administration Screens

To add a Topic from the WordPress Administration Screens navigate to Topics > New Topic.

The screen is similar to the post editing screen. Give your topic a title and content.

the topic edit screen on the WordPress administration screens

There are a number of different options you can set:

When you have created your Topic click Publish.

Adding a Reply

As with Topics, Replies can be added from either the front end of your website or from the WordPress Administration Screens.

Adding a Reply from the Front End

To reply from the front end, navigate to your Forum and click on the Topic you wish to reply to.

Add your reply. You can also choose to be notified of follow-up replies via email.

the reply box on the front end

When the reply is added, you’ll see that it’s been added to the WordPress Admin Screens at Replies > All Replies

Adding a Reply from the WordPress Administration Screens

To add a Reply from the WordPress Admin Screens, navigate to Replies > New Replies.

Add your reply. Use the reply attributes to attach the Reply to a Forum and a Topic.

the reply attributes in the WordPress administration screens

Your reply will appear on the WordPress front end.

You’ve now got everything you need to get started with creating Forums with bbPress!

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