What is the best WordPress forum plugin?

Forums are very important in helping bloggers build a community around their blogs or websites. They help bloggers reach out to more online users, answer and clarify on any issue which their blogs might not address and get useful feedback on several discussions.
With numerous WordPress plugins for forums available on the WordPress community, some bloggers may get confused and find it difficult to select the most suitable forum plugin. This blog post takes a look at the best forum WordPress plugins which are easy to use by bloggers with limited technical knowledge

bbPress

bbPress is the most common forum plugin and is regarded as the de-facto WordPress forum plugin. It is worth noting that it has more than a million downloads. It is not only fast, but also easy to use and navigate while allowing bloggers to import forum posts from twenty other forum engines.

wordpress forum plugin bbpress

wordpress forum plugin bbpress

Pros

    • The bbPress plugin give the blogger ability to control all aspects of the forum.

It comes with widgets including the login widget.It integrates well with the existing web templateWorks perfectly with buddy press.

Cons

    • It is very common thus not unique.

This plugin cannot be customized

Recommendations
The plugin is highly recommended for bloggers setting up their first blogs. Having come from the makers or WordPress itself, it is considered stable

Talki Embeddable Forum

With more than fifty thousand downloads, the Talki Embeddable plugin is the easiest and simple way to host your discussion board, message board and forum on your blog.

wordpress forum plugin Talki

wordpress forum plugin Talki

Pros

    • Members have the ability to start their own topics and conversations.

Talki Embeddable Forum plugin works well with WordPressMembers are also able to share topic discussions with other members and make forum announcements at the top of the page.Allows for global login for members with twitter, Facebook and Google.Members can be promoted to moderators and forum admins.

Cons

    • Lack of control on forum posting

Not recommended for authority or information based websites as members may post offensive materialsMay result to spamming as members are free to post and share on the forum

Recommendation
The plugin is recommended to bloggers who want to have independent forums

Vanilla forums

Vanilla forum plugin is the best for bloggers who want to customize their forums. Because it is an open source plugin, Vanilla has over 500 add-ons which enables bloggers to create a unique community.

wordpress forum plugin Vanilla forums

wordpress forum plugin Vanilla forums

Pros

    • Easy to install

Bloggers using different forum plugins like bbPress and Vbulletin can easily migrate to vanilla forum pluginThe plugin can be managed from WordPressYou can embed the forum in the blog

Cons

  • You have to customize before using

Recommendation
This plugin is suitable for blogs where the blogger wants the community to build itself with minimal interference from them

Simple: Press

Simple: Press is one of the best plugins for both small and large communities due to its flexibility and seamless integration with WordPress websites and blogs.

wordpress forum plugin simple press

wordpress forum plugin simple press

Pros

    • Simple: Press comes with forum badges and ranks.

It integrates custom smileys which includes uploads, image thumbnails and enlargements.It is easy to customize your forum.

Cons

  • They have a poor pricing model whereby the plugin is free but members have to pay for membership to get support.

Recommendation
Good for social forums because it has a variety of graphic and custom smileys

Bubbla Embeddable forums

This is one of WordPress plugins for forums i best for real time conversations on your blog. It combines forums and comments to build a unique discussion community

wordpress forum plugin bubla

wordpress forum plugin bubla

Pros

    • It comes with features such as unique forum interface, pictures, texts, videos and preview of links.

Search engine friendlyMembers are allowed to login with their social media sites.Blogs and websites with Bubbla forum plugins do not need to worry about WordPress plugins updates as comments and forums are hosted by them.

Cons

  • It does not support Internet explorer 6, 7 and 8.

Recommendation
It is highly recommended for blogs with real time discussions and those who want to automatically share their posts with social sites

What Other People think?

Top Upvotes:

    1. Simple:Press – http://simple-press.com/
      bbPress – http://bbpress.org/
      BuddyPress http://buddypress.org/

I am the lead developer for WordPress Forum Plugin, a fully featured forum plugin for WordPress blogs: http://www.wordpressforumplugin.comI was frustrated with the forum plugins available to WordPress administrators and decided to work on a solution myself. My plugin utilizes MyBB as the base forum package but integrates seamlessly with WordPress. The goal is to provide users with a rich forum experience while keeping administration and upgrades simple for the blog owner.
We aren”t quite release-ready but we are looking for a few more beta testers. More information can be found at our site. We should hopefully be launching in the next few months.

 

bbPress is best if you are looking for a quick solution which just works. It integrates well and can share wordpress database out of box. Moreover there are many Buddypress/bbPress plugins available.
Vanilla Forum is something you can use & make it to work with WordPress Datbase (Not an easy thing to do though, this guide may help: How to integrate Vanilla WordPress plugins and widgets)
Simple:Press: Works well with WordPress database. Good if you are looking for simple solution. Doesn”t have too many (extension) plugins though.

 

Please, tell us: what is your best WordPress forum plugin?