bbPress deep integration advantages & disadvantages

As we know that bbPress integrates with WordPress quite well but there seems to be some confusion regarding the type of integration people tend to go with. I am writing this post with the aim of clearing the difference between the two and how to pick with what suits you the most.

There are two types of integration technique :

  • Simple Integration
  • Deep integration

In simple integration, we share user tables and have login synchronization between both WordPress and bbPress. And in deep integration, we first simple integrate the setup of bbPress and WordPress and then tell either bbPress to load WordPress along with it or WordPress to load bbPress along with it. More common use is to load WordPress inside bbPress so as to call WordPress functions directly.

Make sure you have read the advantages of integrating bbPress with WordPress.


The biggest advantage of deep integration of bbPress with WordPress is that we can use all the WordPress functions inside bbPress now. The possibilities are endless.

  • Having a matching WordPress theme for bbPress
     We will call the functions used to construct the theme layout of WordPress in bbPress and then display content of bbPress on that page. I have a tutorial lined up for this. Make sure you stick around because I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss it.
  • Sidebar capabilities
     We can have multiple widgetized dynamic sidebars as that in WordPress too.
  • WordPress plugins can be used for bbPress
     Many of the abundant available plugins can be made to use under deep integration.


The biggest disadvantage of deep integration is that its a serious overhead in terms of performance which people don’t even want to understand. Let me break it down.

Lets say the WordPress resources consumption puts an average load W and bbPress resources consumption puts an average load B which means that opening of every WordPress page, the load is W and on every bbPress page, the load is B. Now when the bbPress is deeply integrated with WordPress, each page puts a load W+B on the server.

Now when a site is serving 1000 hits, the total load becomes 1000(W+B) as compared to 1000B without deep integration (or with standalone setup or even with simple integration). Considering this, it should be avoided for heavy traffic sites/blog.

Another disadvantage is that some plugins might conflict with each other. Not the respective plugins but WordPress plugin with bbPress plugin or vice versa. At times, some plugin or the other will miss their intended function which needs thorough look to sort out the problem.

Final Verdict

Personally speaking I don’t like deep integration much because of its overhead but due to the requirements of my clients, I do it at times. On my personal projects, I like to replicate or mimic the functionality needed. For example to show bbPress content inside WordPress, I would write a code to fetch it from the database itself rather than deep integrating my setup. 

And in order to have a matching theme I would code a custom theme but not everyone is a web designer. So, if you need to deep integrate your setup, then you can make the move now with the performance cap in mind. When your project has eventually grown out, then switch it off and do things without deep integration. It will lower your computing power requirement of your server & save you money in the long run.

Left with any questions about deep integration or want to consult about your next project, then feel free to leave a comment and we will get the discussion started.


8 responses to “bbPress deep integration advantages & disadvantages”

  1. Bro,

    Thank you for posting this.

    IMHO, WordPress itself heavy with overhead, more overhead if use plugins.

    1. Yes! You are right. Its already heavy.

  2. Hi,
    I’m still a little confused on the subject of simple / deep integration.

    I want to have a simple integration so that users logins will be sync’d between WP + bbpress possibly with a single login area via WP – trying to create a closed / private environment.

    If you install bbpress in a sub folder of WordPress is this effectively deep integration?
    sorry if it sounds a stupid question but I just want to understand where best to have the bbpress install running from so it can sync login (ie if you log in/out of WP it also logs you in/out of BBpress ) and not have excessive overhead placed on the sever.

    Not fussed about themes as I can do all the css and design for these and make them look the same.

    Any help would be really appreciated.



    1. In that case you don’t need deep integration. What you want is called Simple integration. This will do the job –
      Also you will need the WordPress plugin for bbPress integration for admin cookies on bbPress side.

  3. To be honest,

    the equation that, or rather assumption that, W + B = WB for a deeply integrated WordPress + BB is not correct.

    It would far more likely be W + B = W+B/5 and, of course, only when the BB was actually being used by the viewer.

    Why? Essentially, all you are talking about is a theming issue.

    The users and contents are all the same, the database is the same, it is just how they are laid out on the page that is different. Its negligible … especially if you are sticking to BBpress anaemic formats.

    Then there are the benefits it would add to weigh up.

    W + B = WB is actually W + B = (WB – numerous features) … like being able to search across a whole site of blogs posts and discussion etc

    W + B = W + B + numerous beneficial features.

    … But, it is never going to happen. BBpress is Matt of Auttomatics poor, malnourished, neglected lovechild. It is going no where as a project and it almost dead. And God knows what Buddypress is all about. A new lovechild indulgence out in an orbit of its own.

    There is a huge whole in the market for a good, open source, combined blog/discussion board/social networking platform and it is depressing that all the individual communities do not talk and work together to integrate one.

    If anyone knows one or can recommend, please do.

    WP + phpBB would be my choice of featuresets. I think developing phpBB to do what WP does is a far more feasible option. The Auttomatic/WP community seems to think it is in opposition to the idea of discussion in favor of one way broadcasting outwards.

    1. Incorrect! I never mention anything such as WB. It can never be equivalent to what you have mentioned (W+B = W+B/5). Moreover the W+B are only indicative (they are not absolute values. Now are they?)

      bbPress has seen less resources from Auttomatic but now they are coming out with a bbPress plugin branch which will work as a plugin for WordPress instead of a standalone script.

      That said, bbPress is a lot better than any other forum script when it comes to performance and ease in customization.

  4. What about just running bbPress without any kind of cross-database integration? Is it possible to simply run bbPress independently from the wordpress install?

    1. Absolutely! Just install it 🙂