The whole point of integrating your WordPress site with a forum plugin is to make the transition as smooth as possible. For some popular forum scripts this simply isn’t possible. On the other hand, there are others which are tailor-made for this purpose. While there are very few quality plugins that can achieve this, the ones that do exist are great at what they do. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular options for you to choose from.
It is impossible to find a list of forums plugins without Simple Press on it – and for good reason. This is considered by many to be the best solution available without question. It has several years of development under its belt. During this time, it has built a very active and supportive community as well. It not only integrates user profiles and logins, but also all let’s you use BuddyPress as well. It also has the essential features of a quality forum script including: private messaging, subscription management, and simple integration with other WordPress plugins.
If there is a plugin that will give Simple Press some competition, it is bbPress. A few years ago, bbPress was the de facto best solution for turning your WordPress site into a forum, however the lack of support can create a problem. However, for a while it’s future seems a little unfocused and it has fallen behind. Fortunately, the development community seems to have jumped back on board and bbPress could easily compete with Simple Press after it’s next release.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a really easy way to integrate WordPress and phpBB, although there are a few plugins that can help. WP-United was looking to be a good solution, however the project has froze and is now very outdated. Two current options are WP2BB and phpbb_Recent_Comments. With the first plugin, it simple creates a new forum post every time that you post a new article. This allows everyone in your forum to see all of your recent blog posts. The second plugin will pull the recent topics from your forum and display them on your WordPress site. While these are far from perfect solutions, it does give you a way to tie WordPress and phpBB together.
Other Options Include:
ccForum – Integrates myBB bulletin board and WordPress
Tal.ki Embeddable Forums – Adds a very simple forum to your site
WordPress Forum Server – Another simple (but effective) forum plugin
Mingle Forum – lightweight, secure, and easy to use. Plus a growing number of skins.