When you think of social networks, the three giants will jump into your eyes, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Social networks provide the same level of things that traditional websites cannot provide: Community. On all these sites, there is constant communication between its members and the public, which may be what you want to take advantage of.

However, you may hesitate whether to use one of the Big Three for your own purposes. They may change the functionality of the service so that it no longer fully meets your requirements. You may be just talking about confidential information, and no matter what guarantee you get, you are not willing to put this information on a third-party server.

If this sounds familiar, then the answer to your question may be BuddyPress.This is a WordPress plugin, according to its creator Automattic, it is “Social Network in a Box”In this article, I will explain what BuddyPress is, why you might need it, and show you how to install and extend it.

Why you should use BuddyPress

15+ best BuddyPress plugins you must have

Although current social networks are very useful in building large communities, they may not be ideal if you just want to create a small social network for your company, niche interests, sports team, or anything else.

You may have a company and you don’t like to create groups or areas on external websites, or these websites do not fully meet your requirements. You want your employees to socially communicate with each other online, but you want complete control over all the content of the website they use.

BuddyPress provides you with these options, and it’s very easy and quick to set up on your own server. Using BuddyPress can provide you with a more private and intimate social network. It can be a social network where you can control all aspects and use only the functions you think are necessary.

Let’s take a look at how to install BuddyPress.

How to install BuddyPress

How to install BuddyPress

If you decide to try BuddyPress, installation is simple.All you need to do is WordPress plugin directory (When you log in to WordPress, it is located under Plugins> Add New Item) and click “Install Now”, then click the “Activate” button.

Friends news settings

After the installation is complete, you will see a new BuddyPress option under the “Settings” tab. Here you can choose your BuddyPress functions, pages, etc. through 3 main sections.

BuddyPress component

The first part is for Element. I recommend keeping the components of “Extended Profile” and “Account Settings” active, and then select some other components that you think will be used. For example, you may want to enable “notifications” or “private messages” for your users to encourage users to get to know each other one-on-one.

Friends news option

Next is the highlight Options Section where you can enable or disable various member functions. This is also where you can choose between traditional or trendy BuddyPress designs.

Friends news page

Then if you click page In the section, you will find options to set up (you guessed it) the main BuddyPress page. Depending on the components you enable, you will have different “Catalog” page options.

In addition, if you enable the “Membership: Anyone can register” option on the main WordPress settings page, then you can also choose to register new members on the registration and event pages of social networking sites.

notes: If you have not yet created or set up a page for one of these components, you will see a notification similar to the screenshot above. Simply click on the “Repair” link to automatically create and assign pages for your components to quickly solve the problem.

BuddyPress menu items

After completing the basic settings of BuddyPress, you may see some new tabs in the WordPress dashboard. These may include events, groups, and emails.

Activity It is a dynamic feed of everything that happened on your BuddyPress website. This is only available to administrators, and it allows you to filter activities by type, such as “Create Group” or “New Member Registration”.

this group The tab allows you to create and manage user groups on the site. These components are of three types:

  • Public: These groups are open to every member of the website. You can view and search all communications within these groups.
  • Private: These groups are open to every member of the website. You can view and search all communications within these groups.
  • Hidden: These groups are completely hidden from everyone and can only be accessed by the invitation of the group manager. They will never appear in the group directory or through any search on the website. The content can only be seen by group members.

this e-mail The tab includes all the default emails used by BuddyPress. This includes email address verification for newly registered users, account activation, notification emails for members replying to other members’ posts, group invitations, etc. Depending on the components you activate, you will see more or fewer email templates.You can customize the text and design of the email using the built-in options-here is a good guide on how to Customize BuddyPress email templates.

BuddyPress widget

BuddyPress widget

You can also choose to use the new sidebar widget. they are:

  • (BuddyPress) Group
  • (BuddyPress) member
  • (BuddyPress) Recent active members
  • (BuddyPress) Who is online

In addition to these widgets, a login widget will be created in your sidebar for members to log in or register for an account with your permission.

Main features of BuddyPress

We briefly mentioned some of them above, but let’s dive into the main features of the BuddyPress social plugin.

Activity flow

BuddyPress activity stream

The basic function of BuddyPress is activity flow. Each member can post updates from their profile to their own activity stream.

Any member can follow each stream using RSS or email notifications. Using the @ sign followed by the member username allows you to mention that user in the stream in a very similar way to what Twitter currently uses.

You can comment on the stream and mark it as a member’s favorite to strengthen the discussion. Each group also has its own activity flow, which is controlled by group visibility.

user group

BuddyPress User Group

We have touched on one of the main functions of BuddyPress: user groups. Creating multiple groups allows you to subdivide the communication that occurs between site members and allow them to focus on discussions within each group.

If you need to do this, they also allow you to keep the conversation confidential to selected people. An example of ideal group use is a company that wants to separate discussions by department or location.

Members and friends

BuddyPress extends to the core WordPress user system. Users are now “members” and can do something more in line with the expectations of social media users. Members can become friends with other members, thereby establishing more concentrated social connections. They can follow other members’ activity synopses, and they can also participate in various group discussions and communicate directly with other members.

Extended user profile

BuddyPress extended user profile

The basic user profile in WordPress does not provide a lot of customization. BuddyPress changed this by adding new options and features. When users log in to their profile, they will see new options for their activities, notifications, messages, friends, and groups (also depending on the components you enable).

BuddyPress edit user profile

When users click their profile> edit options, they will be able to edit personal information, such as their username, profile picture, cover picture, and any other custom fields you add.

BuddyPress custom profile fields

Speaking of custom fields-BuddyPress does include an option where you can add brand new fields to the user registration. You can set these fields as registration requirements, or just a way for members to share more information about themselves in their profiles.

Extend your BuddyPress installation

Like WordPress, BuddyPress can be extended by using a large number of plugins created specifically for it. Here are some plugins to consider.

Friend boss

Friend boss

When creating an online community, you may need more than BuddyPress can provide. Maybe you want to add customizable member profiles, the ability to create social groups, member photo albums, event support (via Events Calendar Pro), provide courses (ala LearnDash, and even sell memberships. This is where BuddyBoss comes in. This powerful plugin adds these community features and more so that you can create the best BuddyPress site.

Learn more about BuddyBoss

BuddyPress Group Blog

BuddyPress Group Blog

Although there is a blog associated with your site, this plugin allows you to expand the group options to add a blog to each group created. From there, group administrators can assign user roles to blogs.

Learn more about Groupblog

BuddyPress Activity Plus

BuddyPress Activity Plus free WordPress plugin

This convenient plugin allows users to easily promote each other’s posts using the familiar Facebook-style share buttons. The plug-in also allows members to embed images, videos or links into your activity stream, making it easy to share media on your website.

Learn more about Activity Plus

Youze Premium User Information

Youze Premium User Information

Youzer is a premium plugin (different from the other free add-ons we mentioned), but if you really want to build your own social network with BuddyPress, it is absolutely essential. This plugin adds options for badges, emojis, social logins, comments, mentions and more (check our full Youzer review to see what else this plugin can do).

Learn more about Youze

BuddyPress documentation

BuddyPress documentation

This plugin adds collaborative documents to your BuddyPress community. In this way, members and groups can work together on projects, events, gatherings, etc.

Learn more about the documentation

BuddyPress and bbPress’s rtMedia Gallery

BuddyPress and bbPress's rtMedia Gallery

rtMedia adds a new media tab for BuddyPress user profiles and groups. In this way, members can connect and share images, videos and even slideshows of their own or group activities.

Learn more about rtMedia

The choice of plug-ins is far more than these (here is our selection of the best BuddyPress plug-ins), the full list can be found in BuddyPress.org website.

The best private social network?

BuddyPress is a simple and highly customizable solution for creating small social networks. If you need to take advantage of social communities while retaining the privacy and control of your website, this may be exactly what you are looking for. The best way to find out is to download a copy, install it on your server and give it a try.

Are you a BuddyPress user? What do you think of this WordPress social network, and what suggestions do you have for expanding its functionality? Have you tried BuddyPress and are sure it is not for you?

Please tell us your answers to these questions in the comments section. If you have any other questions or comments about BuddyPress, we are also happy to listen to them.