This article helps understand how to integrate a forum with wordpress. Over the next week I’m going to write a few posts about geeky technical things. First up is wp-united, and my views on forum integration with wordpress blogs, technically mostly, and a tour of the various forum software which can be integrated with wordpress.
Update December 2012: latest version has been updated to fix the problems I had outlined below.
Situation: I had a wordpress site which was getting so many comments on it (pwnwear, this one), notably including conversations between commenters, as opposed to just conversation between me and the readers, I wanted to add forums. I had some design constraints which I set myself to do this properly, and a context in which I was making the decision.
Key challenge: is selecting forum software which satisfied my key requirements: - to look good and integrate with wordpress.
I knew I was making a long-term decision too, because, and this is key, it can be very complicated to exit from one forum system and import into a new one. In many cases there are no automated importer tools, which can leave you stranded on the system you’ve got or required to script your own full-on extraction/normalising code.
Forum software to integrate with wordpress
These were the candidates at the time that I remember considering. Unless I state otherwise I have installed it and tested it.
When reading this, bear in mind whether you want these features or not:
- user integration, for single-sign-on, so forums members can post on wordpress comments (most likely, this is why you want integration)
- cross-posting from wordpress blog into forums, and then the handling of comments against that blog post as if it’s a single entity, so that you get a single conversation of comments and forum replies, and not two conversations; one on the blog side, one in forums.
- theme integration, so the forum is automatically (or easily coded) to visually fit within the graphics and style of your wordpress forum.
Read the full article here for a commentary on all the forum contenders I considered, including phpbb, vbulletin, ip board, wp-united, drupal, joomla, bbpress.