WordPress Social Networking : Create a social network with WordPress

In its very ethos and nature WordPress is in no doubt the best semantic publishing platform in the world right now. E-Commerce websites, blogs, publishing platforms, blog networks and much more can be accomplished through WordPress. In it’s very open source nature it represents freedom. WordPress can also be used to create very powerful social networks. Though very less people know it. But it can be made into a social platform with the right mix of plugins and systems. WordPress can also be used to create very powerful social networks. As is evident from WordPress.com’s own network WordPress if used carefully can lead to very good results. So today we will carry out our own WordPress Social networking guide to teach you to how to create a social network with WordPress.

WordPress Social Networking : Create a social network with WordPress. Plugins to use to socialize WordPress.

1.) Buddy press : The best and most extensive plugin to create a social network with WordPress is BuddyPress. BuddyPress has support for many features found in social networking sites.

buddypress create a social network with wordpress
BuddyPress : Create a social network with WordPress.

The following are the salient features of BuddyPress :

  • Extended Profiles : The profile fields can be customized according to the user needs. Users can set to show what they like. And you can edit what options to show to the user who signs up.
  • Private messaging feature : Through this feature the users can have direct and private communication with another users. And the messages can also be sent to multiple recipients at once just like other social networks.
  • Personal Blogs : Each user can be allowed to have a full WordPress blog. New posts and comments can be managed by you.
  • Friends : The users can be allowed to make connections and filter out users whose activity they want to track.
  • Activity Streams : Global level, personal level and group level activity streams with support for threaded commenting, ability to favorite posts ( similar to like functionality ), ability to use @ mention tags like Twitter and much more.
  • Forums and groups : Groups can be made with privacy settings set to Public, private or hidden. The groups can also be extended with custom features using group extension API. Forums built into groups allow for a deeper level of conversation.
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Working demo for BuddyPress here. Download BuddyPress plugin for WordPress here.

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 2.) WP Symposium :

wp symposium create a social network with wordpress
Use WP symposium to create a social network with WordPress.

It is one of the strongest competitors to the BuddyPress plugin to use to create a social network with WordPress.
BuddyPress requires custom themes, or sometimes users complain that their existing themes don’t work well with it. Symposium scores well on this front because unlike BuddyPress, Symposium fits into any WordPress website as an extension of the current theme. The plugin development is ongoing and it’s expected that in future it’s UI would be so easy to use that users won’t have to manually configure things at manual directory level. The features of WP Symposium are :

  • Extended Forum.
  • Activity showing wall.
  • Notifications bar.
  • Private email.
  • Member Directory.
  • RSS activity feeds, plus support for Facebook connect, mobile support and support for other independent plugins like Events, Gallery, groups etc.
  • Chat room and support for chat windows.

If you are someone who yearns for good support, super quick releases and a good community then WP symposium is the best option for you.

Download WP-Symposium plugin for WordPress here.

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3.) WP Mingle :

wp mingle create a social network with wordpress
Use WP-Mingle to create a social network with WordPress.

WP mingle is also a free plugin which in a single click adds more features to your WordPress site to allow you to create a social network with WordPress. The added benefit of this plugin is that it provides an experience like the early design of Facebook and user does not have to see the WordPress log in screen.

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The features of WP mingle are :

  • Personal profile pages and fields which can be set by you.
  • Ability to upload custom profile pictures, and Gravatar support too.
  • Pretty URLs for user profiles to allow them to remember easily. It’s also beneficial from SEO view point as it allows easy indexing of the profiles.
  • Tag other users using @ tags. Email notification systems. Private messaging feature.
  • Other extra features same as other plugins listed above.

WP mingle scores in some extra fronts too as it allows to integrate a premium membership account feature with the mingle community.

Download WP-Mingle plugin for WordPress here.

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4.) WordPress Facebook Plugin :

ultimate facebook plugin create a social network with wordpress
Use Ultimate Facebook Plugin by Premium WPMU Dev to create a scoial network with WordPress.

Though not a standalone social networking enabling plugin but still it packs enough social features to include it in this list. It allows you to add Facebook comments, like buttons and registration etc. You can’t create a social network with WordPress using this plugin alone but it’s developed by WPMU. And this plugin by them is developed with free as well as premium features.

Download WordPress Facebook Plugin here.

NOTE : To run any kind of social network you must have a hosting powerful enough. Shared hosting won’t make the cut. A VPS or dedicated hosting is a must for handling the load you generate.

DISCLAIMER : If you run your site into the ground after this tutorial then it’s your fault. User discretion is advised before following this guide.

What you need to build your own social network on WordPress may differ from user to user. It may depend on the scenarios you are building your network in, the level of user interactivity you need. And several other factors decide which plugin you would use. It depends on what kind of social network you have in mind. Each plugin has it’s own unique features and UI.

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So, if you have any doubts or queries regarding our WordPress Social Networking : Create a social network with WordPress post then do comment below and let us now.
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 Tags : Blogging, WordPress, social networking, social media.

Aditya Nath Jha is an Engineer from New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Gadgets, WordPress, speed optimization & latest technology. When he is not busy blogging he loves to write poetry, compose his own songs and has a taste for music! Find him on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Instagram. And watch his videos on YouTube.

WordPress Social Networking : Create a social network with WordPress

19 thoughts on “WordPress Social Networking : Create a social network with WordPress”

  1. Personally I prefer BuddyPress than the rest, mainly because of the community and extensions available. There are many talented WP developers are also contributing to the development of BuddyPress, plus many plugins (extensions) are available to add more functionality to you BuddyPress site.

  2. i never thought that we can create Social network by WordPress. I always think we can build social network with Joomla.

    Thanks for share. I’ll try it in my site too 🙂

  3. Buddypress is definitely the best solution, the only issue is with such heavy plugin Buddypress+ Other Buddypress plugins the site becomes really slow, home somebody comes up with some super fast Buddypress theme.

  4. I love your disclaimer at the conclusion of the article! I had to chuckle because I can see some people doing it and then coming back on here and ranting because they went and crashed their site.

  5. Came to know about another quality of WordPress. Blog, Website Development, E commerce website and now social sites , we can do almost everything with WordPress, proud to be a WordPress user.

  6. Thanks for the information. You’ve thought of those plugins to create a different kind of site. Hope that will be awesome addition to any blog.

    However, what concerns me is whether the site will be reliable? I mean will it stay stable? We’ve seen lots of compatibility issues when different plugins are used.

    • These plugins are not intended to be used in any way on existing installs just to check or even for fun. I would advise caution. But if you are playing with a new project, or setting up something entirely different, then my guide can come in handy. As to stability of a site, any WordPress site will remain stable for as long as the user installs plugins from trusted developers. All the errors that arise, if they arise, are due to either conflict with cache plugins or with security plugins. No other issues can crop up.
      Issues in such a setup can be of the following types :
      1.) .htaccess issues : These can occur because the rewrite rules setup by Cache plugins or security plugins are interfering with the rewrite rules setup by other plugins. Or maybe the .htaccess is rendered unwritable by plugins used for caching or security purposes.
      2.) Memory/Bandwidth issues : Running a social networking site is an expense on the server. Because most of the content has to be dynamic and non-cacheable.
      I hope I clarified your doubt bro! 😀


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