“These themes are hand-picked for their outstanding design quality, features, and customer reviews.”
Get the discussion started.
Your site can be a hub for conversation and engagement. All you need are the tools to create a forum and design to cultivate that participation.
In this list, you’ll find the best forum WordPress themes, and every single one of them includes full support for bbPress, which, in case you didn’t know, is the premier plugin for creating a forum with WordPress.
Keep reading now to find the top themes for discussion forums.
WordPress Forum Themes
Each of these themes runs well with the latest WordPress version and is completely responsive (mobile-friendly). Use them for discussion forums or social networks in any niche.
Here are my top picks for best forum WordPress themes for 2021.
1. Sway by Key Design (Themeforest)
The Sway theme has a forum design that is clear and easy to read. Visitors will have no trouble finding discussions on topics of interest and signing up to join the conversation.
What makes Sway different from some other themes in this list is its use as a multipurpose WordPress theme. You see, Sway can be used to create dozens of websites, not just one. It accomplishes this with its page builder integration and more than 50+ pre-designed content elements. This means that with Sway, you can create a forum and later add a blog, eCommerce shop, or any other web functionality you need.
Sway is a new theme from one of Themeforest’s top designers, and it’s on sale for a limited time now. Click the link below to give it a look.
2. ForumPress by HeroThemes
ForumPress is a minimalist and professional forum theme. With a complete bbPress integration, you can use it to create a forum in any niche you want.
You won’t find any clutter or distractions in this template. ForumPress does an excellent job of putting your members and their posts at the forefront of the design. You can even publish multiple forums on your homepage to cover a variety of topics in your industry. Since the developer, HeroThemes, usually makes customer support products, ForumPress would run well alongside a knowledgebase theme for a complete support solution.
ForumPress also includes various advanced features like the Live Search tool, which recommends forum threads to visitors as they type their search query. Members get detailed profiles, including their recent activity on their site. As for branding, you’ll find a variety of practical styling tools in the Live Customizer. Changing aspects of the site like the color and logo take seconds each.
Overall, ForumPress is a beautifully constructed template, and as a responsive WordPress theme, it looks great on all devices.
3. Disputo by Egemenerd (Themeforest)
Disputo is an awesome WordPress theme for creating a discussion forum website. What I like most about this theme is its modern and clean style.
If you visit the homepage demo, you’ll see how focused it is on promoting forum memberships and top threads. The minimalist approach makes it easy to navigate the top threads. The large fonts are also readable and more user-friendly than many other forum themes.
Of course, you can’t host and manage the website entirely for free. To monetize your website, you can add an eCommerce store with WooCommerce and use the built-in ads manager to display advertisements.
You’ll also appreciate Disputo’s customization options, which are all thoughtfully included in the Live Customizer, where you can watch your updates take place as you make them. Change the colors, fonts, and more with ease.
4. Forum by Dannci (Themeforest)
While there are many premium WordPress themes with bbPress support, most of them don’t put their forums at the forefront of the design.
What I love about Forum is that it is clearly designed for a site built around its forums. The layouts are clean and easy to browse, and the overall aesthetic is pretty slick and professional. The design is straightforward and emphasizes the forum and user threads and replies. There is a sidebar on each page where you can place widgets for any tangential content you’d like to promote: feature hot threads, freebies, giveaways, or advertisements.
Forum comes with unlimited color schemes so you can match it precisely to your brand. Without any additional fluff or details, setting up a new website with this theme is elementary. If you’re transitioning from another WP template, all of your content in bbPress will be reused automatically in this theme without any data loss.
5. Ekko - bbPress by Key Design (Themeforest)
If you want a clean and well-designed forum theme, choose Ekko. This theme is excellent for creating a focused web forum without additional distractions and elements.
The Ekko theme integrates beautifully with bbPress and many other plugins. Plus, it comes with a page builder plugin you can use to create any page design you can imagine. In fact, there are more than 25+ pre-made page templates to choose from.
Ekko loads quickly despite the massive number of features included and is search engine friendly too. All text you see is customizable or fully translatable, and Ekko is also compatible with the WPML plugin for running multilingual websites.
6. Beehive by Egemenerd (Themeforest)
Beehive is an awesome theme with one key difference from many others listed here: it is designed for a full social network, rather than only a discussion forum. Beehive can include this functionality through its integration with the BuddyPress plugin. Both bbPress and BuddyPress can be used alongside each other to add forums and social network features to a WordPress website.
In the Beehive demo site, you’ll see forums where members can post, and there are also profile pages and private messaging. Other social network features include member activity feeds, groups, live notifications, and friending. To make things even better, Beehive integrates with the Elementor page builder so you can create a completely custom layout for all of your important network pages.
If you want to create an active community where people can customize their profiles, make new connections, and discuss things they care about, Beehive might be a perfect choice.
7. BeSocial by Egenemerd (Themeforest)
BeSocial is a theme for professional social networks and forums. With an added BuddyPress integration, users can add friends, follow each other, create groups, and get live notifications while on the site. If you want to create a forum with an extra emphasis on the community members, BeSocial will be fantastic. The BuddyPress support makes the perfect choice as a WordPress theme for messaging.
The design and simple and clean, and each feature is nicely integrated. The community emphasis means you’ll work more on promoting discussion and engagement between members than publishing a lot of your own content. Like some other themes listed here, BeSocial is WooCommerce compatible so that you can add an eCommerce store too. It’s also compatible with the Events Calendar plugin, which lets you publish a calendar of upcoming events.
BeSocial also includes a beautiful blog with full post format support. That means you can publish images, galleries, and videos just as easily as regular posts. The built-in Facebook comments can replace the default WordPress comment system leading to more discussion on your blog. BeSocial also includes right-to-left language support making it an excellent choice for non-English websites. Plus, the demo content importer lets you prepare your site with content in just one click.
If you plan on hosting in-person meetups and other get-togethers, this will work great for your community.
8. 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 site’s latest activity, browse the forums, and sign up 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 (!) but is still updated regularly. A theme that’s been consistently updated for that many years is often much more reliable and less buggy than your average theme.
9. 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 set up 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 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 set up. 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.
10. 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 using Slider Revolution and comes with Visual Composer for building unique page templates. There are 30 custom modules provided for Visual Composer, which you’ll drag-and-drop into place to build your website. There are also dozens of global customization options available in the Live Customizer. And if that’s not enough, you can also integrate a store with the use of WooCommerce.
11. Sentric by Imaginem (Themeforest)
Sentric bills itself as a support forum theme, but there’s nothing about its designs or features that make it inappropriate for any other niche. Use it to create a public or private forum about gaming, arts & crafts, fashion, personal finance, or anything else you can imagine.
This bbPress compatible theme has a clean and focused design. User replies fill the entire width of the layout, leaving few distractions from their content. Feature the search bar at the top of every page allowing visitors to find whatever they may be looking for with ease. As a theme with bbPress support, you can create as many beautiful forums on your site as you want with Sentric.
If you are looking for a support forum solution, then Sentric will work well. It has some cool “forum monitoring” tools that help you find unanswered and unresolved questions. You can even assign threads to different moderators and filter posts by their status.
For customizing the theme, Sentric comes with plenty of options in the admin panel. You can change the fonts and icons, switch the colors, and add shortcodes anywhere on the site for interactive content.
12. 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. Use it to create a site like Quora with a professional audience.
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.
13. Thrive by Dunhakdis (Themeforest)
Thrive is a feature-rich community WordPress theme with bbPress integration and works well for discussion boards and company intranets. Thrive also has BuddyPress integration allowing members to message each other, publish activity feeds, and receive live notifications. This theme makes it easy to create beautiful and responsive social forums thanks to these integrations.
Thrive is bundled with Slider Revolution and Visual Composer, which saves you more than $50 in purchases. Slider Revolution is insanely customizable and lets you create any image slider design you can imagine. Visual Composer is a drag-and-drop page builder used to create pages like the one you see in the screenshot above.
The Thrive theme now includes a site importer tool, allowing you to recreate the live demo site on your own domain quickly.
14. 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 since you can create unlimited forums, and members can create their own groups. Since it has BuddyPress support, members will stay engaged by friending each other and sending private messages. These features are great for getting members to come back to the site and spending more time on it.
15. 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. It even has social login support from popular networks like Facebook and Twitter, which can greatly improve your website’s signup rate.
While Klein is a decent theme and comes with a low price tag, the developers announced they are no longer providing customer support for this template, so you won’t get help if you run into any bugs.
16. 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, and it includes more than 40+ pre-made templates for important pages on the site.
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. You’ll even find advanced features, such as the GamiPress Reward System, which awards members points for participation. There are even leaderboards encouraging members to compete with each other.
17. 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. Use Socialize for a gaming site or discussion forum on any topic.
The classic forum design is easy to use and will be familiar to any regular forum posters. Members have robust profiles thanks to the BuddyPress integration, and they can customize their profile with a custom avatar and header image.
As an older theme, the developers have set a very high price for this theme, encouraging people to purchase one of their newer themes instead. You’ll still get a great product and customer support should you choose to purchase Socialize.
18. PlusOne by Templatic
PlusOne takes a different approach to the community site. This WP theme recreates a Reddit-like interface for browsing and voting on links rather than a classic forum design. Users can publish images or articles and discuss each in detail. You could use this community link-sharing theme to make your own site like Reddit.
PlusOne also comes with 30 shortcodes for adding advanced content into posts, pages, and user submissions. The shortcode system is a bit outdated since it doesn’t let you preview the content like Gutenberg blocks do, but it works well enough for adding dynamic content throughout the site.
19. Cinematix by Diabolique (Themeforest)
Cinematix has a creative and colorful style for a community website. It comes with BuddyPress integration to easily include social elements to this site like live notifications, direct messaging, and user groups.
Despite the name, this movie community theme can build a community around any topic of interest. The secondary navigation menu in the top right features some well-executed iconography and contains all of the social pages a user might want to visit. Social pages include member groups, profiles, and forums.
The forum design itself in this theme is fine, albeit a little spacious. It would be nice to fit more forums, and user replies on the screen at once. That said, the modular design lends itself well to page building, which is possible thanks to the drag-and-drag page builder plugin, Visual Composer, which comes bundled with this bbPress WordPress theme.
There are tons of pre-made templates, plus you can create your own from scratch with the page builder. And don’t worry if you’re not a big fan of the orange; you can use any color scheme you’d like. Cinematix is also translation-ready, which means you can adapt it for any language or region you want.
20. 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.
21. QAEngine by EngineThemes
QAEngine is a highly robust theme for creating a Q&A site like Yahoo Answers. 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.
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Which forum theme is right for you?
Sway gets the top recommendation because of its extremely flexible design and full bbPress integration.
ForumPress also earned a high place on this list because of its clean design and excellent tools for customer support forums.
Disputo is another top theme to consider because it’s focused 100% on discussion forums. Every theme here includes bbPress support, but it feels tacked on for some, while Disputo is totally centered around forums.
There are many other great themes in this collection, but I want to highlight just one more.
Beehive is the best theme for your site if you want a forum and social community features too. Since it integrates with BuddyPress, you can add live chat, friending, and many other options to your site.
Thanks for reviewing this collection of the best WordPress themes for forums, and please consider sharing it with someone else before you go.