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WordPress plugin: bbPress WP Tweaks

3.000+ active installs, 53K total downloads, 4.5/5 stars

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WordPress plugin adds bbPress forum specific sidebar, wrapper, widgets, user columns, login links and other tweaks.

bbPress WP Tweaks replaces regular sidebar with forum specific “bbPress sidebar” to your WordPress. To setup forum specific sidebar you should first select correct forum wrapper file which has sidebar. Then select what action perform with existing sidebar: replace, prepend or append. Then select which sidebar to target with this action. You can also choose “none” option for target sidebar, in that case no bbPress sidebar will not be added to WordPress.
If nothing in forum sidebar then regular sidebar will be shown.
You can choose which forum wrapper template to use in plugin settings page or specify other custom wrapper file that exists in your theme.

Plugin Features

bbPress wrapper

bbPRess uses wrapper file in your theme in this order: ‘bbpress.php’, ‘forum.php’, ‘page.php’, ‘single.php’, ‘index.php’. First existing template file, generally it is page.php, will be used. You can choose which template file to check first by making it default wrapper for forum pages. Forum wrapper depends on your current theme, as there are thousands themes all of them works different. To see which wrapper best works with your theme you have too try each of them in “Settings” -> “bbPress WP Tweaks” page.  Lets see which wrapper works with your WordPress theme:

  • page.php  – is default wrapper in most cases and works for most themes. But some themes don’t have sidebar in ‘page.php’ file. If your theme don’t have sidebar on single pages and you choose page.php as wrapper then no sidebar will be shown in forum. Also this might be desired behavior if you do not want a sidebar in forums.
  • single.php – similar to page.php but in most cases will add links to “Previous” and “Next” post, which is not desired. So try it yourself.
  • index.php – on most themes always has sidebar. If you cannot see forum sidebar then try index.php. Use it with caution because some themes automatically convert content shown on index.php file to excerpt which will display four forum as plain text which will look like broken. In that case DO NOT PANIC and switch back to page.php wrapper.
  • Custom wrapper – If your theme has extra template files like “page-fullwidth.php” for example then you can use it by selecting “custom” option and writing page-fullwidth.php in text input field. If that file exists then it will be used as forum wrapper.

As I said before forum wrapper is closely related to your theme files and may behave different for each theme. Here is the list to check when trying different wrappers.

  1. Is sidebar shown or not and do you want to show it?
  2. Is forum converted to plain text and copped to certain length then your theme is converting forum content to excerpt. In that case do not panic and switch to other wrapper.
  3. Is non related links like “Previous” and “Next” links shown under forum content and not working properly, then switch to other wrapper.

bbPress login widget

If you want to display login and register widget with buttons instead of login form in your sidebar then use this widget. By default bbPress will not show login links to visitors if they want to post in forum. Use this login widget instead of login form in your bbPress sidebar.

bbPress users widget

This widget will display list of top users with a link to their profile pages ordered by:

  • most topics with count
  • most replies with count
  • recently active with time
  • online users with time
  • new users with registration time
  • old users with registration time

Show forum description

By default forum description is shown only on where forums are listed, not in forum page. With this options enabled you will show forum description on Forum page, on sub forums, on topics, on replies. So user will know what this forum about. If it is a product forum then you can add product image, links or buttons to product page, pricing/purchase page etc. This will make navigation between product and forum a lot easier.

Forum related columns for users view in admin area

This is must have feature to have for any forum administrator. With this option enabled you will have forum related sortable columns “number of topics”, “number of replies”, “registration date”, “last active date” in “Users” admin page. Topic and reply counts are linked to user profile pages. You can sort by those columns and see latest registered users or users with most topics. Each column separately can be switched off using “Screen Options” inside users page.

Disable not used features of plugin

You can disable sidebar by selecting “none” as target sidebar. Disable widgets by unchecking related checkboxes in plugin options page. All other features also can be individually enabled or disabled in plugin options page.

bbPress WP Tweaks Screenshots

Back story of bbPress WP Tweaks plugin

I started a WordPress blog and was using bbPress, version 1.0  and smaller versions, which was great as forum but separate from WordPress. Then they released version 2.0 of bbPress as a WordPress plugin which is great but it is missing some integration features to my WordPress theme. I redesigned my WordPress theme to match rest of my site using Teventy Eleven theme provided by WordPress. With some tweaks forum integrated correctly to it. Main disadvantage was sidebar which is shared with blog. You do not want to have exact same sidebar in forum and blog. You can if you want but in forum you need more forum centric sidebar with necessary widgets to login.

I was running my forum without login not even knowing it. It was displaying ‘You must be logged in to reply to this topic.‘ message without login or register links. Which is must have links in every forum. So instead of adding them to my theme files I decided to create a plugin that will add those features in any WordPress theme.

I hope that this plugin will save lots of your time. bbPress WP Tweaks took me 3 days to understand WordPress, bbPress and plugin building process. I am open to suggestions and bug fixes. Feel free to report bugs here.

If you like this plugin and like the way I coded it then feel free to check my classifieds script. You can also learn how software developers earn passive income.

Demo of bbPress WP Tweaks plugin

Check out my forum that uses bbPress plugin.

Download plugin

Download latest version from repository. bbPress WP Tweaks


Sidebar  is not showing in forum pages, how to fix it? [via]

There are couple thing that you should check to use bbPress sidebar. To easily check if sidebar will be replaced do steps 2,3,4. And then switch wrapper and view your forums page in front end.

  1. Make sure that forum wrapper has sidebar that you want to replace. Try switching to other wrappers, in most cases index.php wrapper will have sidebar.
  2. Select “Replace” as sidebar action.
  3. Select existing sidebar in your wrapper for sidebar target option. This fields shows all sidebars in your theme, it will not detect which sidebar your selected wrapper has. Usually sidebar target with name “Sidebar” has in most index.php wrappers.
  4. Make sure that you added some widgets to “bbpress sidebar” in wordpress widgets page.

Can I display different sidebar for each forum, topic or reply in my forums?

Unfortunately not. “bbPress wp Tweaks” plugin will display same sidebar for all your forum related pages including forum, topic, reply, user profile pages.

Suggested bbPress related plugins & widgets

  • bbPress New Topic Notifications – get notified when new topic posted, instead of checking your forum periodically for new posts and questions get notification directly to your email address. Good for admins and moderators to know when new post added and respond timely on forum.
  • Native Share Button – add native social share button that can be used on all WordPress pages including bbPress forum, topics, replies, user profiles etc.
  • Delete Spam Users – when your forum starts to grow spammers will start creating profiles with no topics, no reply but with spam links in user profile page. You have to clean up those spam users from time to time. Use this plugin to find users without topics and replies and delete them manually. Also you will get ghost users after deleting some old forum posts. This plugin will help to delete those ghost profiles as well. Additionally to prevent spam profiles you can disallow user profiles in robots.txt or use Rank Math SEO plugin to automatically add noindex meta tag to bbPress user profile pages.
  • bbp Style Pack – has feature to hide forum user profile pages behind bbpress login or disable completely. This will discourage spammers from creating forum profiles just for adding spam links in bbpress. There is no control or moderation for forum profile links so disabling public profiles is best solution for preventing spam. To hide user profiles navigate to “Settings” -> “bbp Style Pack” page and click “Profile” tab and select “Show Profiles only to logged in users” option or turn off completely. This will also save crawl budget for your website by removing, useless in terms of SEO, profile links.
  • HTTP Requests Manager – general WordPress plugin to check if remote WP_Http requests slows down your website. See what servers are requested apart from regular website. Speed up your pages by preventing HTTP requests on slow pages automatically.

bbPress WP Tweaks Change log

Version 1.4.4 (release date: 13.01.2020)

  • Checks if current post variable exists before using its ID.
  • Plugin compatible with php8.

Version 1.4.3 (release date: 06.12.2018)

  • Removed merging empty array.

Version 1.4.2 (release date: 09.10.2018)

  • Removed deprecated create_function directive.

Version 1.4.1 (release date: 14.12.2017)

  • Removed setting default value to forum wrapper. It was breaking forum for some themes that was generating excerpts when called index.php file.
  • Fixed error related to some php versions used in users widget
  • Translated plugin to Russian and Turkish.

Version 1.4 (release date: 12.12.2017)

  • Changed sidebar auto detection to selecting in admin area.
  • Added more forum wrappers and admin definable custom wrapper.
  • Added Forum users widget.
  • Added login links to places where login required for adding new topic and reply. Added option formatting those links.
  • Added option to show forum description.
  • Added forum related columns to users table in admin area.
  • Added last activity time usermeta value.
  • Added option to disable not used widgets offered by this plugin.
  • Added option to redirect 404 page for authors to related forum profile page.
  • Fixed login links widget.
  • Changed minimum required version WP 4.7, bbPress 2.5.
  • Made plugin php7 ready.

Version 1.3.1

  • Minor bug fixes.

Version 1.3

  • Added compatibility to WordPress version 3.5 and greater.

Version 1.2

  • Added compatibility to bbPress version 2.1 and greater.
  • Displaying existing forum wrappers in bold in plugin settings.

Version 1.1

  • Changed how main sidebar is detected. This adds compatibility to more themes.

Version 1.0 (12.01.2012)

  • Initial release of my edition of the plugin.

Looking for more projects by me? Check them here.

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