Customizing and integrating BBPress into a WordPress theme

Trying to integrate BBPress into your existing WordPress theme? Having trouble finding what files and where you need to make changes to? Keep reading!

Perhaps this will help someone out there just starting with the BBPress plugin for WordPress. I’m in the process of integrating BBPress with a custom WordPress theme. I’ve found that this isn’t as straight forward as it should be, mostly due to the scatered nature of the documentation at the website. I certainly don’t fault anyone for it, as it’s all volunteers, but never the less, it could be better.

Here is a quick and dirty run-down of exactly what you have to do to easily integrate BBPress, along with what files to edit and where to find them.


1) Install BBPress, activate it.

2) In your THEME folder, create a sub-folder called “bbpress“. It should look like /wp-content/themes/theme-name/bbpress.

3) Now, copy all the files from the following folder into your new “bbpress” folder: /wp-content/plugins/bbpress/templates/default/bbpress/

At this point, you’ve made your own copies of the bbpress files that you can safely edit, as editing the plugin files directly would result in all your changes being overwritten upon the next update of the plugin. Additionally, BBPress will see your versions of the file in your bbpress folder and make use of them.

4) “Where’s the page template file?!” – I struggled with this for a short bit until I finally came across this tid bit of information: “By default bbPress will use a page template in your theme root folder .” Usually, this is the page.php file in your theme’s folder. This file will setup the overall page structure. You can see more on this in step #8 on this page:

There is at least one more file to edit within your bbpress folder. The “front page” of your forum get’s it’s forum structure from this file: content-archive-forum.php. And any individual forum will be structured by content-archive-topic.php.


The rest you should be able to figure out by taking a peek into each of the remaining files as needed. But hopefully that should get you moving along in the right direction!