Get the discussion started.
Your site can be a hub for conversation and engagement. All you need are the tools to build a forum and design to cultivate that participation.
In this list, you’ll find the best WordPress themes for creating a forum. They integrate with robust forum plugins that let members register, share on the forums, message each other directly, and much more.
Keep reading now to find the top themes for starting a forum with WordPress.
WordPress Forum Themes
Each of these themes runs well with the latest version of WordPress and are completely responsive (mobile-friendly). Use them for discussion forums or social networks in any niche.
1. Buddy by GhostPool (Themeforest)
Buddy is a forum and community theme with a beautiful and simple aesthetic. The friendly design makes it easy to see the latest activity on the site, browse the forums, and signup to join the conversation.
The Buddy theme integrates with bbPress for forum creation and BuddyPress for additional community features. These features include private messaging, activity feeds, and robust user profile pages.
Although a lot of themes integrate with bbPress for forums, they tend to get the design wrong. What I love about Buddy is how well it balances all the content. The forums are nice and wide with plenty of space for posts, but with a sidebar available where you can advertise and post site news. User profile pages have a lot of content, but it’s managed well and easy to navigate.
The Buddy theme was first launched in 2012 (!) and was last update three days before writing this. A theme that’s been consistently updated for that many years is often much more reliable and less buggy than your average theme.
2. Kleo by Seventh Queen (Themeforest)
Kleo is a ridiculously customizable and feature-filled theme for communities and forums.
If you want a simple theme to setup a forum, Buddy is a great choice. If you want to add a forum and community elements as one part of your site, Kleo might be right for you. You can use the Kleo theme to run an active blog, sell products, or even offer training courses all while hosting popular forums. You’ll need to check out the live demos to see how diverse the uses for this forum theme are.
The demo importer makes Kleo much easier to setup. You can pick a demo site that looks most like the site you want to create, and then import a single xml file to recreate it. Kleo comes with tons of color and layout options, plus the Visual Composer plugin for drag-and-drop page building.
3. Klein by Dunhakdis (Themeforest)
Klein is a forum theme with a “flat” design and plenty of functionality.
First things first, the integration with bbPress for the forums is solid. The threads are easy to browse and replies are very readable. The member profiles are also quite nice with all the native BuddyPress features included.
Klein has a great feature set with drag-and-drop page building, eight color schemes, layout options, and integration with quite a few plugins including WooCommerce for selling products.
4. Vilan by OK! Themes (Themeforest)
Vilan is a modern and stylish WordPress theme for forums. Complete with bbPress compatibility, custom colors, and multiple layout modes, Vilan is a theme you can customize extensively.
The Vilan forum theme features a fullscreen slider with the use of Slider Revolution and comes with Visual Composer for building unique page templates. If that’s not enough, you can also integrate a store with the use of WooCommerce.
5. CommunityJunction by Diabolique (Themeforest)
The CommunityJunction WordPress forum theme integrates with bbPress and BuddyPress. Let users communicate over the message board, send private messages, and share their activity.
Integration with WooCommerce means you can sell digital or physical goods from your site too. This theme is excellent for getting members engaged in groups around niches and specific discussion topics.
6. OneCommunity by Diabolique (Themeforest)
OneCommunity has both BuddyPress and bbPress integration, so members can post on the forum and share their activity on the site. It’s well-designed for creating discussion and engagement.
OneCommunity also comes with Advanced Ajax Search. This means members can get instant results as they search the forums. Publish a blog and create member groups to keep the engagement going beyond the forums.
7. Thrive by Dunhakdis (Themeforest)
Thrive is a feature-rich community WordPress theme. With bbPress integration, Thrive makes it easy to create beautiful and responsive forums.
This theme also has BuddyPress integration allowing members to message each other, publish activity feeds, and receive live notifications. Thrive is bundled with Slider Revolution and Visual Composer for building responsive sliders and custom page layouts.
8. Socialize by GhostPool (Themeforest)
Socialize is not just a forum theme but a full-featured community theme. It emphasizes posts and published content on the homepage, while still hosting forums and discussion groups.
Members have robust profiles thanks to the BuddyPress integration. The classic forum design is easy to use and will be familiar to any regular forum posters.
9. ForumEngine by EngineThemes
If you want a forum theme your visitors will love, you can’t beat ForumEngine. With a customizable and fully responsive design, this theme looks great on laptops and mobile devices.
Beyond threads and replies, ForumEngine also includes a badge system and live notifications. As users scroll through topics, new topics autoload to keep the conversation flowing.
10. QAEngine by EngineThemes
QAEngine is a highly robust theme for creating a Q&A site. This beautifully designed theme lets users ask and answers questions, vote on replies, and collect badges for participation.
As a community theme, QAEngine excels by making it easy and intuitive to find and answer questions. Give expert users special privileges, such as question editing and voting to further encourage engagement.
If you’re looking for an easy way to monetize your site, QAEngine lets you charge users to push their question to the top of the list and integrates with major payment processors like PayPal and Stripe.
11. Answers by Templatic
While Answers is not a typical forum theme, it’s an excellent choice for sparking discussion on your site. The question-and-answer format is ideal for helping your community learn about various topics.
Since Answers is search engine optimized, you can grow your traffic with user-generated content on autopilot. As in Yahoo Answers and Stack Overflow, users can vote on replies, and the “asker” can select the best answer.
12. PlusOne by Templatic
PlusOne takes a different approach to the community site. Rather than a classic forum design, this WP theme recreates a reddit-like interface for browsing and voting on links.
Users can publish images or articles and discuss each in detail. PlusOne also comes with 30 shortcodes for adding advanced content into posts, pages, and user submissions.
Which forum theme is right for you?
You probably noticed that bbPress is the king of forum plugins. And for a good reason, it’s been in development for over a decade.
While there are other excellent forum plugins, full integration with a theme is less likely. That could mean certain elements not displaying or simply not fitting in with the site’s aesthetic.
These themes are complete packages for creating and managing forums on WordPress.
Have any questions about these themes or setting up a WordPress site? Leave a comment below.