Themes are one of the essential parts of building a new website. This is even more the case when your website is a forum.
There are not a lot of themes optimized to work as a forum as well and also there are a limited number of plugins available.
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Different from regular websites, a forum is a place on the internet where like minded people can engage and interact with each other through discussions.
In theory, it’s really simple, but actually, there is a lot of management of messages and multimedia that goes on in the background. Essentially, it’s a huge task for the theme to be able to do all this correctly.
And if the forum gets a lot of traffic, the situation can turn hectic really fast. Therefore, pick a nice theme that offers you simplicity when managing messages but also try to find one that looks well.
Here I will show you the best WordPress forum themes, so your forum can attract viewers’ eyes with its presence first and then with its content. Take a look at them and see if any one of these themes is a good fit for your forum.
The Best WordPress Forum Themes
Powered by the bbPress plugin, ForumPress offers many great features that will make your forum stand out from the rest. This theme puts the forum part of your website in the center of attention, but if you want to take another approach on your website, you can change it without a problem.
However, making your forum pop out is one of the best features of ForumPress, so taking that from it might not be the ideal thing. As you’d expect from a bbPress powered theme, you will have everything you’ll ever need to make your forum feel complete, from user profiles to quick live search.
One of the most popular WordPress themes for forums and not without reasons, like ForumPress, Disputo is powered by the bbPress plugin, enabling this theme to unleash its true potential.
One of the best features that this theme has is the ads manager, which will help you monetize your forum and generate profit. You can also integrate Facebook comments, which will help you get more interactions.
Another great feature that will help you increase your user’s database is the social media login. This will allow people to use their existing accounts on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Apart from all these useful tools, you also get the ability to customize your forum. With it, you can turn your forum into whatever you want it to be. Disputo also can be integrated with WooCommerce, which can be useful for particular cases.
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One of the free options on this list, but just because it’s free it doesn’t mean the other ones are better. Zakra comes packed with all sorts of features that will help you make the best forum you can. As usual, it’s powered by bbPress so that in itself, adds much more value to it.
The Zakra theme is very easy to install, and it’s highly customizable, but lightweight so your website will not feel sluggish. The included page builder is great.
It will help you make the best forum and change whatever you think it’s not good with how the developers have made it. Zakra also has WooCommerce integration, so if you need it, you can get it quickly.
Just by looking at this theme’s name, we can guess that its main focus is on social media. Because of it, some features of this theme have been more directed to social media. But just because of that, it doesn’t mean that this theme can’t be used for any other type of forum.
Like the other themes in my list, it’s powered by the bbPress plugin. Socialize’s best features are user profiles, private messages, discussion forums, which can be customized with whatever you like.
The built-in page builder will make that possible and help you do things efficiently. The stylish design will make your forum stand above else. It’ll catch the eyes of casual viewers and maybe turn them into regulars.
This here is a theme that can work with almost every plugin, which will make the whole process easier. BuddyBoss comes with everything you’ll ever need. Some of its best features include the ability to let your users create social groups, private messages, event publishers, and membership support.
The most notable feature BuddyBoss has is developing native apps for the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This can help your users stay on your forum everywhere they are as long as they have a smartphone with them—a tremendous all-around theme with many features.
Olympus is one of the most recent released themes regarding forum themes. It’s a fully compatible theme with the bbPress plugin and comes equipped with a ton of features. The extensive template collection that this theme has can make your website look very modern and stylish.
If you are not happy with how those templates look, you can use the included WPBakery Page Builder plugin to change whatever you like or, in this case, dislike. This theme is not only compatible with the bbPress plugin, but you can use the BuddyPress plugin as well.
Since I’m talking about compatibility, Olympus theme is also compatible with WooCommerce, so you don’t have to worry about any issues in case you need it. This is a well-made and comfortable to use theme.
Astra is a particular case since this theme is not explicitly made for forums. Instead, this is a multi-purpose theme, which also comes with a ton of pre-built templates.
Among other great features, there are the bbPress compatibility, great SEO, WooCommerce compatibility. In general, Astra is a very lightweight theme, but that doesn’t stop this theme from being extremely customizable.
If I had to find a problem with Astra, I’d say you need to take a good look at which license you are buying since different templates are for different licenses.
Buddy theme is compatible with the BuddyPress plugin, which makes them buddies. It’s also compatible with bbPress, but that joke doesn’t go well with it. This theme has been out for a long time, but the consistent updates have kept this theme at the top.
Buddy comes packed with a ton of pre-built templates for you to choose from. The theme has a straightforward one-click installer, so the hassle of installing will be to a minimum. Another great feature Buddy has multi-language support, which can be useful for forums.
It’s very easy to use and compatible with almost anything on the market so that you won’t have any problems with it.
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Another theme that is compatible with both bbPress and BuddyPress, this made Cinematix very versatile. One of the main design focuses on this theme are colors. You can create your color palettes, which will differentiate your forum from the rest. Colors are not the only thing you can change on this theme.
Using the powerful plugin WPBakery Page Builder you can change every aspect of it. Among other important features, you get private messages, user profiles, the ability to allow users to become friends, email and browser notifications, and many more. With its ease of use, Cinematix is the perfect theme for everyone.
Just like most of the other themes on this list, HelpDesk is compatible with bbPress. You can import the pre-made demos with a simple one-click. HelpDesk comes with many useful features, like the ability to rearrange everything on your forum by drag and drop.
With this theme, you also get live chat and private messages. This is an excellent theme for beginners, but more experienced WordPress users can still take full advantage of it.
Knowledge Base comes with a multitude of pre-made templates that will make your choice process simpler since all of them are great. This theme has some other great features that will turn out very useful for a forum in the future.
One being the very powerful Live Search, which will help your users find exactly what they are looking for. RSS Feed is also supported, and this will help users who want to keep track of the content that’s on your forum. SEO is another one; this theme is built with good SEO in mind, so your forum can rank higher on search results.
As you can see from the name, this theme is built with a community in mind. Because of that, it has excellent social media integration. Some other useful features that will come in handy are the live chat support and the Event Manager.
WooCommerce is also compatible with this theme, so you don’t have to worry about anything if you need to use it. The pre-built pages that this theme has are great and will make your forum seem complete.
ForumEngine is a theme that has been designed with forums in mind and nothing else. It’s well-optimized for load speed and also SEO, so that’s always a huge plus in a new theme. It has many great features, and you can easily customize the appearance of this forum.
This way, you can have it as close to the design you had imagined as possible. For new visitors, this theme is going to look really intuitive and easy to navigate around since it has practically no lag issues at all.
This theme is responsive, so matter the screen size it’s going to look good. Even if you are a beginner to forums, you will have a great experience visiting a forum that uses this theme.
Lynk is a forum theme that is a little bit more modern looking than others and features some new styles of design. It uses some forms that are really simple to use, and this is what is going to make you stand out from the competition.
This theme features a well optimized and fast search engine built on AJAX and this will help users find the right thread faster. You can easily modify the design of the theme since it uses a drag and drop feature to work on the modules. If you are a beginner, this theme also offers a really simple installation wizard, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Vilan is one of the best WordPress forum themes that you can find out there. It has a great looking design and a lot of important features that will make your forum feel complete. It has support for the Visual Composer plugin, and that makes it easier to modify and edit certain aspects of the theme.
This theme has support for many widgets and has different templates from which you can choose from. It loads really fast and is SEO optimized, so this will help a lot with Google ranking.
These are the best WordPress forum themes that you can find. Most of these themes are either powered by bbPress or by BuddyPress, and others are from both. Some of these themes are made with a specific use case in mind, so be on the lookout for that.
If you plan on using e-commerce on your forum, you better get a compatible theme, so you won’t have to deal with that later. Apart from these issues, these are all great themes, and every one of them will do the job just fine.