Creating you own Social Network with Buddypress on WordPress

Wen Duan


    I get  pretty ecstatic when I find a open source program that is versatile and user friendly.  So I while exploring options for creating a membership based site I’ve come across BuddyPress. After playing with it for a few days and toying around with other options (Dolphin, Elgg, etc.. ), I have determined that BuddyPress is the best fit for me.

    What is BuddyPress?

    BuddyPress is:  

    •  a free, open source  Wordpress plugin,
    •  for creating a social network using through Worpdress,
    • written mainly in PHP and MySQL,

    Features of the BuddyPress Plugin

    The following are just the basic features BuddyPress, all of which can be disabled and modified.

    • User Profiles
      • Activity Streams
      • Personal Sections
      • Avatar Uploads
    • Group Creation
      • Forums
      • Group Page
    • Friend System
      • Adding
      • Messaging
    • Theme
    • WordPress Blog Per User

    Undisputedly Facebook has become the standard for a social network. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot create your own unique social network online. I mean besides modifying BuddyPress to look like a much earlier version of Facebook you can also add plugins or modify this plugin for a variety of other things:

      1. Shopping site,
      2. Online Course,
      3. Information gathering,
      4. Small Business,
      5. Sporting Competitions,
      6. Recipe site,
      7. paid memberships,
      8. Educational (for safe online student interaction),

    So basically any community driven site…

    You can make such sites without programming or prior experience with BuddyPress. How?  The other great thing about an open source projects (a good open source project) is that there are always talented and generous people who make plugins to help you modify your WordPress experience. Not only is other WordPress plugins compatible with BuddyPress, but there is also 700+ plugins that are BuddyPress specific. A lot of them help you manage your groups, make your social network private, multi user account creation, mass email to your users, create levels of memberships, create an hiearchy of private or public groups, assign tasks and control over groups and forum, event planning, database collection etc… And if you honestly, cannot find what you are looking for there is a Buddypress plugin that is a skeleton to writing your own Buddypress plugin.


    Why should you use BuddyPress?

    Still not convinced? Well, to start off with,  Wordpress is a solid foundation to build your site on, the user interface is direct and flexible to the point where non-programmers can use the site without resorting to a face-to-desk meltdown.  Buddypress is the nice house with solid framework built upon the solid foundation of WordPress. Buddypress, itself, has the very basic foundations of a good social network (activity stream, user profile, groups, private messaging, forums). Unless you intend on building the next “it” social network, then Buddypress is a good starting point for you to grow your business, community, or friends.


    Showcase of sites using Buddypress: BPinspire

    Plugins for BuddyPress:

    Stay tuned for an upcoming article on a list of useful and powerful plugins for Buddypress! 


    1. Vernon Fowler says

      I’m about to give an introduction to BuddyPress at the next meetup of #wpmelb … I enjoyed reading about your perspectives, particularly about building niche communities.

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