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What is BuddyPress Hosting?
Social networks offer easy communication, and a way for a group with common interests to stay in touch. With BuddyPress, you can build your own social network on your WordPress site. Want to turn your website into a robust social network? Sure, you could simply rely on templated setups such as Ning. But why do that when you can build your own, and customize it specifically to your group? You can do that with BuddyPress.
BuddyPress is a WordPress Plugin that adds full-featured Social Networking capabilities to a self-hosted WordPress site.
Who needs a custom Social Network?
With so many people already using Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you might think there isn't any need for another social network.
Actually, niche social networks are very popular. Small social networking sites help specific communities of people network, keep in touch, and share their passion for a topic or area of interest. Whether it's dog breeders or church musicians, stamp collectors or Star Trek fans, people enjoy spending time online with other people who share their interests.
Existing "real world" organizations, like churches and social clubs, can also use custom social networking sites to keep their members in touch between meetings or services.
Buddy Press Development Philosophy
- Clean and transparent coding
- The WordPress team believes that "Code is Poetry," and this philosophy extends to their development of BuddyPress. The code is elegant, easy to read, and well documented.
- Modular design
- Each component of BuddyPress is built to be used independently. Use only those features you need.
BuddyPress isn't one giant program. It is a series of small modules that each provide one aspect of a social networking experience. This means that you can pick and choose which features to enable. You can use BuddyPress to create a full social networking site with all the bells and whistles, or you can use it to just add one small piece of social interaction to your existing blog or website.
In addition to the BuddyPress Core (which just provides features needed by all the other components), BuddyPress modules include:
- The Members module adds account and notification settings into the existing WordPress User profile.
- Extended Profiles
- With this module, the BuddyPress site admin can add an unlimited number of data fields to the user profile. Data fields can be one of several input types (multiple choice, check box, drop-down, free text, etc.).
- This can be used to add community-specific biographical information to the user profile. For example, if you are running a social network for Model Train enthusiasts, you might want to ask them which type of trains they use.
- Friend Connections
- This module adds the ability for members to be linked as friends. Features include sending and responding to friend requests and displaying lists of friends on user profiles. Also used in conjunction with other modules like Activity Streams and Messaging.
- Internal Messaging
- Allows users to send and receive private messages. Users have access to an Inbox, Sentbox, and Drafts folder, and can turn on email notification.
- Works in conjunction with other modules to let users know about messages and activity. Notifications appear in the user's tool bar and can also be sent via email.
- Activity Streams
- Lets members stay up-to-date with commenting, favoriting, sharing, and other activity via RSS.
- User Groups
- Allows users to organize themselves into Public and Private Groups.
- WordPress Blogs
- Members of your BuddyPress site can run individual blogs. Posts, comments, and other blog activity will then appear in activity streams and notifications.
- Discussion Forums
- Discussion Board functionality is provided by the bbPress project, also from the makers of WordPress.
BuddyPress is designed to work with a website's existing theme and style sheets, so any well-crafted WordPress theme will already support BuddyPress and its expanded functionality. (Though, of course, not all WordPress themes are "well-crafted.")
BuddyPress is all about building community. The software was built by a community of Open Source developers, and their project website uses BuddyPress in order to promote a high level of social interaction.
Along with that commitment to community are regular gatherings of BuddyPress developers and users, called BuddyCamps. BuddyCamps are a part of the WordCamp movement, and are a great place to learn more about the software and engage with the larger user community.
- PHP 5.2.4 or better
- MySQL 5.0 or better
- Apache Module mod_rewrite enabled for "pretty permalinks"
BuddyPress requires that you have WordPress installed first. Do NOT use a one-click install script (Simple Scripts, Softaculous, Fantastico, etc.) to install WordPress if you are going to run BuddyPress.
The BuddyPress teams strongly recommends that you install WordPress manually. (This is not difficult. Instructions are available at WordPress.org.)
Recommended by BuddyPress
The development team strongly recommended against using shared and discount hosting for BuddyPress. They suggest, at a minimum, using a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for hosting a BuddyPress site.