Best Free Themes and Plugins for a bbpress Forum (2016)

This isn’t one of those “Top X” list posts, because I hate those, but thought I’d share something the web is sorely missing: A list of free, responsive, bbpress-compatible WordPress themes.  I tend to favor the clean look, so if you’re looking for something with a bunch of frills, none of these is probably for you.  With that:

Top Free Themes:

  1. StanleyWP: Clean, simple, fully responsive.  While this theme offers no frills (no sidebar/widget areas), it is one of the only themes I’ve ever seen that works flawlessly in every browers, resolution, and in mobile.
  2. Everal: Full featured, but clean theme.  Some issues with avatar size/location on forum posts in mobile, but otherwise a great option.  They offer a pro version, but if you can edit colors in CSS, there’s no need to upgrade.
  3. MH Purity Lite
  4. Patus
  5. Cannyon


Top Free Plugins:

  • bbpress enhancers:
    1. bbp style pack: I use this plugin for one purpose, and one purpose alone: the forum template. bbpress, in my opinion, is unusable as a traditional forum because of it’s horrible layouts.
    2. bbP private groups: Very effictively handles custom groups for permissioning purposes.
    3. bbp Style Pack offers a simple click-to-select option to make your site look a regular forum!
    4. bbP topic count: Pretty basic counter for posts/replies. Options for individual or combined totals.
    5. GD bbPress Attachments: Adds a simple button to allow users to attach files. You can limit file size.
    6. bbPress Enable TinyMCE Visual Tab
  • Shoutbox (Guest Book):
    1. Simple Ajax Shoutbox: Cleanest look as a widget, with easy configuration, including noise notifications.  A few cosmetic things may need adjusting.
    2. Schreikasten: Probably the best-functioning option right now, but not pretty.  If you’re up for writing some CSS, this could be your best option.
    3. Simple Ajax Chat: Still pretty new, but shows promise as another good free option
  • More to come…

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