How to Integrate WordPress with Forums: IPB, SMF, vBulletin, phpBB & Vanilla —

How to Integrate WordPress with Forums: IPB, SMF, vBulletin, phpBB & Vanilla

Invision and WordPress

Invision has decreased in popularity in recent years, but is still one of the big contendors. Meshing it with WordPress is pretty simple and the best option I could find was InvisionBridge WordPress-IPB Bridge ( which combines the login system for each and also offers some extra options in the paid version (which is $30), including posting topics and comments on WP as threads and replies in IPB and vice versa, avatars and PM integration and a few others.

Integrate SMF and WordPress

SMF is fast growing in popularity and is a personal favorite of mine. It’s fast, reliable and does everything that phpBB does but better. It also lends itself to other software very well and so hooking it up with WordPress is a sinch.

All you need to do is download the WordPress SMF Bridge plugin (available from It installs like any other plugin and means that when users sign into your forums they’ll also sign into WordPress and vice versa. You can also set it to post treads on SMF as topics on WordPress, display your SMF stats and a few other things.

Alternatively you can try the original upon which the above version was based at

Integrate vBulletin and WordPress

vBulletin is one of the more professional forum software packages and while phpBB is usually seen on sites which get 5 visitors per day, 4 of which are the web-masters friends and family, vBulletin is seen more on serious sites where SEO and design matter.

Since vBulletin costs money to buy and use, it has an excellent team behind it and support and great functionality. To bridge vBulletin with WordPress is an extremely simple process and can be done by downloading this vBulletin plugin (Complete WordPress/Vbulletin Bridge – Share Users And Postings – and following the instructions.

Integrate WordPress with phpBB

phpBB is the big daddy, the long standing heavyweight of the forum packages. This is mainly due to the fact that it was the first major open source forum solution and was free from the get go. phpBB has more plugins, mods and extensions than just about any other piece of software, and so integrating it with WordPress is again, pretty straight forward.

The best options I could find are WP-PHPBB WordPress plugin ( which installs just like any other WordPress plugin and works well. The only requirement is that your WordPress and phpBB installations are using the same database, though if you’re handly with PHP you could probably get around this.

Alternatively there’s the more up to date WP-United ( which has a bigger ranger of options and attributes including login integration, giving blogs to your forum members, easy setup, theme integration and more. For all the forums, this is the best package I’ve seen out there and both the forum system and plugin are absolutely free.

While some of these options may take a little playing around with before they’re functional, most work out of the box. One problem though is that when you update WordPress to a new version, you may be left with forums that don’t work or don’t integrate. If this is a problem for you I recommend checking out The Top 4 WordPress Forums Plugins

You can discuss this article and see what others are saying about it in the WordPress Discussion Forum
Did you find this article useful? Why not buy Sean a coffee?


#1 Automan on 03.30.09 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for this helpful article. I want to integrate phpBB forum with my blog But I haven’t any idea how to do so.

#2 TonyB on 04.01.09 at 11:26 pm

Hi Everyone,
I have a carpet cleaning business in Houston,TX that was doing pretty good until the economy went bad, and with it my clientele. I have a website for the business but I dont
know what I have to do the get it to show up in a search. Right now it’s somewhere in the yahoo/google netherworld (LOL).

Is there someone on here that can give me some insight or know of anyone that coud give me insight on how I can get my local website on the front
page of a Yahoo or Google search to increase my business without it costing me 5 or 10k $$$? If so please share with me.

I thank you and my hungry over-eating children thank you.


#3 sw2009 on 04.02.09 at 7:00 am

Thanks for the helpful article. May i know does vBulletin can integrate with WPMU? Thanks and appreciate if you can answer it.

#4 Arbimitrupt on 04.03.09 at 2:43 am

Hello :)
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#5 dak on 04.04.09 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for the article. Unfortunately, isn’t loading right now.

But I have a question: do you know of any way to show, for example, the 3 latest posts from the smf forum on your wordpress page?

#6 iBlogCity on 04.04.09 at 10:23 pm

I know cross-posting is taboo, but I was hoping to get some feedback regarding compatibility issues between WPMU and one of your plugins. Myself and several users have commented on another post but it doesn’t seem that you’ve been active on that post for a while now. Any help you could give would be appreciated.

#7 Gravity on 07.18.09 at 11:52 pm

You mention Vanilla in the title but don’t in the content of post; did I miss something? I was looking for tips on integrating Vanilla forums into wordpress.

#8 MichaellaS on 07.20.09 at 5:02 pm

tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

#10 Pacific on 06.19.10 at 7:13 am

There are some issues with the WordPress Link Directory that are mentioned above. Sean is not answering comments, his Contact page is defunct, and HIS OWN LINKS PAGE IS DEFUNCT!
I am sorry I installed this Plugin. There was some good work done in getting it up and accepted by the WP people; to which I am grateful, Sean. But as a warning to others, don’t waste your time if you want to fine-tune this Link Directory. Sure, it works fine as is (WP 2.9.2).
Now I’m going to push Submit and hope this works too!!

#11 Gravity on 08.16.10 at 9:58 am

I wrote a long article on forum integration with wordpress, specifically including wp-united in detail, phpbb and other options.


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