Unlike most plugins, BuddyPress doesn't have an option to activate it for the main site only; you must activate it for the entire network.

You can install BuddyPress using the normal plugin installer. Once the plugin is activated for the network, you'll also need to activate the default BuddyPress theme (included) or find a child theme at


Once you have installed BuddyPress, you'll find a new set of options under BuddyPress in your navigation menu. I'll go through each screen.

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Figure 13-22. General BuddyPress options

On the general settings screen, shown in Figure 13-22, you can change the built-in profile fields and a few user-related settings.

The Base profile group name refers to the group containing the single built-in profile field (the user's name) and any fields you add to that group in the profile settings screen. Here you can also change the title of the name field. I'll talk more about profile fields in the section on the profile settings screen.

By default, BuddyPress syncs basic user profiles to WordPress user profiles. If you would prefer to keep them separate, choose "yes" here to disable the synchronization function.

BuddyPress includes its own avatar feature. If you would prefer to use Gravatars, you can choose "yes" to disable the feature that allows users to upload new avatars specific to their BuddyPress profiles.

Users are generally allowed to delete their own BuddyPress accounts. If you would prefer that they not delete their own accounts, choose "yes" to disable the deletion feature.

Each BuddyPress group will have its own forum topics. By default, users who click the "Forum" tab will first see a listing of all the forum topics. If you would prefer they see only their own groups, you can disable the global directory by choosing "yes."

The next option allows you to choose whether the activity stream includes blog comments and forum posts. If you disable these items, the activity stream will show only blog posts, profile updates, friendship status updates, and posts to the wire.

While BuddyPress allows users to upload their own avatars to their profiles, it uses Gravatars unless they are replaced with other images. The last setting on the general page allows you to choose the avatar that is shown if the user has no Gravatar and has not uploaded another avatar. This setting looks just like the default avatar option in WordPress under Settings ^ Discussion.


In this screen, you can turn off any portions of BuddyPress you don't intend to use, as shown in Figure 13-23. By default, all components are enabled.

Figure 13-23. BuddyPress component settings


BuddyPress includes bbPress, the forum part of the WordPress family. You can install bbPress in one click from the BuddyPress Forums option screen, as shown in Figure 13-24.

Figure 13-24. Installing bbPress


You might recall from Chapter 6 that we had to use a little bit of code to extend the basic WordPress user profile. In BuddyPress, extended profiles are built right in, and all you have to do is specify the details of each field as shown in Figure 13-25: the title, the description, whether the field should be required, and what sort of form field it should display. You can rearrange the fields by dragging them around on the Profile options screen.

Figure 13-25. Adding a profile field

You can also create whole new groups of profile fields. These will be displayed to the user as tabs or buttons, depending on your theme, as shown in Figure 13-26.

Figure 13-26. Profile field groups as they appear to the user

Note that any fields you added to your main WordPress installation using the contact method filters will not appear in your BuddyPress profiles; the two methods of creating new fields are (at least for now) incompatible.

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