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When it comes to building community sites with WordPress, BuddyBoss has long been regarded as a go-to plugin, powering large online communities and membership sites with ease.

While BuddyBoss stands out for its comprehensive feature set and seamless integration with popular WordPress LMS plugins (LearnDash, Tutor LMS, LifterLMS), there are a handful of viable BuddyBoss alternatives I’ll cover in this piece.

I’ll explore free alternatives, discuss the differences between WordPress & SaaS solutions, look at a few mobile app alternatives to the BuddyBoss App, and provide pricing for each alternative solution to the BuddyBoss Platform & Theme.

BuddyBoss is a great option… but it’s not the only option. Let’s dive into the BuddyBoss alternatives you can use with and without WordPress, to build the ultimate online community platform.

Our Top Picks
Here are our suggestions for each type of BuddyBoss alternative:

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Table of Contents

Why Look For a BuddyBoss Alternative?

BuddyBoss is popular for a reason, but it’s not for everyone. While it does provide some of the best community features for WordPress sites, some of you might be looking for alternatives.

Let’s take a quick look at what it does well and where it falls short.

BuddyBoss Pros

Price: I also list this as a con, but it depends on your budget. Personally, I think $299/yr. (+ hosting) is a pretty good deal for everything BuddyBoss provides.

Excellent features: For many community sites, BuddyBoss provides everything you’d need. Having it all included in one plugin means less conflicts with other third-party tools.

Beautiful design: Design is subjective, but almost all the BuddyBoss users I’ve interacted with love how it looks.

Built on WordPress: Technically, this could also be a con, but most of you reading this are familiar with the WordPress space, and already know your way around a WordPress site. Compared to a hosted SaaS solution, there’s far less of a learning curve to get BuddyBoss set up.

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Integrations w/ LearnDash, Tutor LMS, and LifterLMS: BuddyBoss officially supports all three of these popular WordPress LMS plugins. If you’ve already built your site with them, BuddyBoss will fit seamlessly into your tech stack.

Read more about the…

BuddyBoss Cons

Price: $299/yr. might be steep for some, especially when you include hosting. If you don’t need all the features, there might be free or cheaper alternatives. And keep in mind you’ll need decent hosting, as well (see “Performance”).

Performance: You need powerful (and fairly expensive) hosting to support it, which also drives up the price. BuddyBoss requires a lot of server resources to run quickly.

Theme: You might not want to use the BuddyBoss theme for other areas of your site, but you’ll need it for your community section. This could lead to having two WordPress installations, which you might not want to manage. Or you might just not like the design of the theme, but you’re kind of stuck with it if you’re using the BuddyBoss Platform plugin.

Scalability: BuddyBoss is scalable. There are communities running it with tens of thousands of active members. However, your cost increases drastically when you factor in hosting that can handle large communities.

Plus, it still runs on WordPress, which could have other plugins and things holding your site back. Using a hosted SaaS platform specifically designed for large community sites might have better infrastructure to provide a faster, more worry-free experience.

Considerations for a BuddyBoss Replacement

🎨 Features

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself when replacing BuddyBoss with an alternative solution:

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  • Do I need a discussion forum?
  • Do my members need their own profile pages?
  • How important is an activity feed?
    • Likes & reactions?
    • Upload images & videos in comments?
  • Do I need Zoom integration for live online classes?
  • Do I need my solution to integrate with other WordPress features or plugins? If so, how?

💰 Budget

Budget is a consideration for many. I can’t tell you BuddyBoss is cheap or expensive—that’s for you to decide. What I can tell you is that BuddyBoss costs more than just the $299/yr. price tag you see on their site.

Don’t forget about hosting.

Rapyd is a new WordPress host that built their hosting specifically for BuddyBoss sites (as well as elearning & membership sites). You can run BuddyBoss on many different hosts, but let’s use Rapyd as an example.

The lowest plan on Rapyd costs ~$1,200/yr. Add that to the cost of BuddyBoss and you’re already at ~$1,500/yr.

You bring on another couple hundred active members and scale up your hosting, and now you’re paying ~$1,900/yr. for hosting, for a total cost of ~$2,200/yr.

If you use a WordPress plugin as your BuddyBoss alternative, the price will likely be cheaper than a hosted SaaS solution. One of the main reasons for this is because hosted SaaS solutions include hosting in the price. A WordPress solution does not.

What about maintenance & customizations?

One of the benefits of sticking with a WordPress solution is the amazing community of developers available. If you need customizations or want simple tweaks, developers are available, but that’s an extra cost.

BuddyBoss, and WordPress in general, is more customizable than most hosted SaaS solutions, but it does come at a cost. With hosted community platforms, you don’t have as much flexibility, but that usually means you take what you’re given, and don’t pay more than the listed monthly or yearly price.

📈 Scalability

As I mentioned in the pros & cons, BuddyBoss is scalable. However, it still runs on WordPress, alongside any number of additional plugins, which may or may not scale along with it.

And as you scale a BuddyBoss site, you don’t pay any extra money to BuddyBoss, but you do pay more for hosting.

BuddyBoss promotes unlimited members, groups, etc., which is technically true, but you will pay more in hosting as your site grows.

When you see limits on some of the SaaS alternatives, don’t immediately write them off. You’re going to pay more as your site grows regardless of whether you choose a WordPress alternative to BuddyBoss or a hosted SaaS product.

WordPress Plugins vs. SaaS Solutions

There are two main categories of BuddyBoss alternatives—other WordPress plugins & hosted SaaS solutions.

WordPress plugins will work in a very similar way to BuddyBoss itself. You’ll install them on your WordPress site, configure their settings, enable the features you need, and manage everything from within your WordPress admin area.

This is the tightest integration you can get with a WordPress site, and most closely mimics the BuddyBoss experience.

Hosted SaaS solutions require you to use a hosted service other than WordPress. You will…

  • pay a separate monthly or yearly fee
  • set up a new domain or subdomain to use with the service
  • be limited in what features that service provides (very little customization)
  • not have a direct integration with your WordPress site

Before choosing a BuddyBoss alternative, this is one of the most important decisions you need to make.

BuddyBoss Free Alternatives

BuddyBoss is a premium solution that offers a lot in terms of both features & design. There aren’t many truly viable, free BuddyBoss alternatives that provide the same value. However, we found two options that come pretty close.

PeepSo & BuddyX both offer free and premium solutions. PeepSo completely replaces BuddyBoss, whereas BuddyX still requires you to use the free BuddyPress or BuddyBoss Platform plugins, and it provides a beautiful design layer on top.

PeepSo

PeepSo web & mobile example screenshots
The PeepSo profile page & activity stream on web & mobile

PeepSo is a super-light, free, social network plugin for WordPress that allows you to quickly and effortlessly add a social network or an online community (similar to Facebook) right inside your WordPress site.

Free Features

✅ Fully responsive, customizable profiles with avatars & cover photos
✅ Custom profile fields with multiple field types
✅ Activity stream with pinned posts, nested comments, reactions, privacy settings, and more
✅ Hashtags, plus hashtag search & filtering
✅ Polls
✅ Word filtering & censoring
✅ VIP users with custom badges & icons
✅ GIPHY integration
✅ On-site and email notifications
✅ Display latest members, online members, quick profile info
✅ White label, GDPR compliance, ban users, and much more

Premium Features – $199/yr.

✅ Groups
✅ Chat
✅ Friends & Connections
✅ Photos, Videos, File Uploads
✅ Social Login

Many of the plugin integrations (below) are only available for premium users.

Integrations

PeepSo integrates with the following WordPress plugins:

Ecommerce Plugins

LMS & Membership Plugins

Gamification

  • myCRED
  • BadgeOS

Ad Plugins

  • Advanced Ads
  • WPAdverts

Mobile App Solutions

Other Integrations

  • WP Job Manager
  • Almighty Support
  • IdeaPush
  • WP Event Manager

🎨 Better Design
If you like Peepso’s features but would like an improved design, check out the Reign Peepso Theme. You can use it with the free or pro versions of Peepso, and it’s priced affordably at $69/yr.

PeepSo Showcase

Enjoy some of the screenshots of the PeepSo interface.

BuddyX

BuddyX is actually a theme and not a plugin. They have taken a slightly different approach than PeepSo & BuddyBoss.

BuddyX requires you to use the free BuddyBoss Platform plugin, but they’ve added in all the CSS and design that the BuddyBoss theme provides. And where BuddyBoss charges $299/yr. for their theme, BuddyX is only $69/yr. There is also a free version of BuddyX you can try before you upgrade to pro.

BuddyX theme activity stream
The BuddyX theme activity stream page

WBCOM Designs, the team behind BuddyX, also sells 27 premium BuddyPress add-ons to give your social learning site even more functionality than BuddyBoss.

Premium Features ($69/yr.)

The free version of BuddyX might be all you need, but upgrading to Pro provides the following additional features:

  • dark mode
  • deeper integration with WooCommerce & LMS plugins
  • activity sharing & comment reactions
  • login page design options
  • additional blog layouts & functionality
  • lots of additional header layout, design, and features
  • popup sign-in & register forms
BuddyX theme member profile
The BuddyX theme member profile page

Integrations

BuddyX has an extensive list of integrations with third-party LMS, ecommerce, membership, event, discussion forum, gamification, and other plugins.

BuddyX Theme integrations
  • bbPress
  • LearnDash
  • Tutor LMS
  • LifterLMS
  • LearnPress
  • WooCommerce
  • Easy Digital Downloads
  • MemberPress
  • Paid Memberships Pro
  • The Events Calendar
  • Dokan Multivendor Marketplace
  • WooCommerce Vendors
  • GamiPress
  • BadgeOS
  • Elementor (extra widgets for BuddyPress)
  • All BuddyPress plugins

BuddyPress + bbPress

BuddyPress + bbPress

BuddyBoss is actually a fork of both the BuddyPress & bbPress plugins. This means that BuddyBoss borrowed the code from both plugins, merged it together, improved upon it, and then released it as their own, new plugin.

BuddyBoss has been improving upon their plugin for 5+ years now, whereas the innovation from BuddyPress & bbPress has been stagnant. There’s a lot in BuddyBoss that you won’t find in either of these plugins.

To be frank, there isn’t much upside to using this combo as an alternative to BuddyBoss. The only real benefit is that they’re both completely free. But you’ll miss out on a ton of features, and the design/UI is very outdated.

Add a Mobile App

If you go this route and also want a branded mobile app, I’d recommend you look into using AppPresser. They can turn any WordPress site into a mobile app for ~$700/yr. and officially support BuddyPress sites.

Other Free Alternatives

Some of the SaaS/hosted BuddyBoss alternatives do offer free plans, but they don’t include the same type of features and experience you’d get with BuddyBoss, so we’re not including them in the free category.

WordPress Solutions

These are solutions that integrate directly with WordPress, or make use of a WordPress plugin. Since BuddyBoss is also a WordPress plugin & theme that works directly with WordPress, these alternatives will be easiest to implement, and are more likely to give you the look & feel you’d expect, all from right within your WordPress admin area.

The 4 main WordPress options to use instead of BuddyBoss are:

LifterLMS Social Learning

BuddyBoss does have an official integration for LifterLMS, but if you’re looking for something already built-in to the LMS you’re using, consider the LifterLMS Social Learning add-on. It’s only a viable alternative to BuddyBoss if you’re using the LifterLMS plugin, but it works seamlessly with the LMS components already available in LifterLMS.

LifterLMS social learning plugin screenshots
Member directory & timeline examples in LifterLMS Social Learning add-on
How to use the LifterLMS Social Learning add-on (6:37)

Features

✅ Student profile pages with bios & social media links
✅ Profile photo & cover image
✅ An activity timeline with custom posts & course updates
✅ Student directory that lists all members of your site
✅ Students can add popular social network links to their profile

❌ Discussion forums
❌ Zoom integration

Here’s an example of a LifterLMS Social Learning student profile page:

LifterLMS social learning student profile page

Here you can see some of the settings for the Social Learning add-on:

LifterLMS social learning settings page

Pricing

The LifterLMS Social Learning add-on costs $299/yr. if purchased separately. Lifter also sells bundles, and it is available as part of the Infinity Bundle for $1,499/yr. ($749.50 for the first year).

PeepSo

PeepSo logo

See above in the “free” section for a breakdown of PeepSo features.

BuddyX

See above in the “free” section for a breakdown of BuddyX features.

BuddyPress + bbPress

BuddyPress + bbPress

See above in the “free” section for an explanation of using BuddyPress & bbPress as a viable alternative to BuddyBoss.

SaaS/Hosted BuddyBoss Alternatives

All of these alternatives are different from BuddyBoss in that they are standalone pieces of software hosted outside of WordPress. They won’t integrate with your WordPress site. Instead, you’ll need to link students to another URL to access them.

  • Students will use a different login than what they use for your WordPress LMS
  • The software is proprietary and typically cannot be edited using custom code. The features they offer are all that they offer. Customization is limited.

Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks example screenshot

Mighty Networks is one of the largest players in the community software space. They have massive brands using their platform, and several big name investors backing them.

What sets Mighty Networks apart from a plugin like BuddyBoss is that they are an all-in-one solution. They provide an LMS for hosting courses, a payment gateway for accepting one-time and recurring payments, a fully featured community platform with activity stream, chat, member profiles, and more.

In addition, you can…

  • sell digital downloads
  • run polls

For an additional fee, you can use Mighty Pro, which gives you access to branded mobile apps for iOS & Android. Pricing is not publicly available for the mobile app service; you have to request a call.

Integrations

Mighty Networks has official integrations with Zoom, ConvertKit, ClickFunnels, Instapage, and Unbounce. If you use other tools, their Zapier integration has you covered.

Pricing

Mighty Networks has multiple pricing plans, but unless you already have a thriving community platform bringing in tens of thousands in revenue, you’ll start with the Community or Courses plan.

  • Community Plan: $49/mo. or $492/yr.
  • Courses Plan: $119/mo. or $1,188/yr.
  • Business Plan: $219/mo. or $2,148/yr.
  • Path-to-Pro Plan: $4,320/yr. (no monthly option)

Circle

Circle.so example screenshot

Circle is the other big player in addition to Mighty Networks. Their feature set is very similar, but their pricing is a little more affordable.

They also have a separate service to create a branded mobile app, and pricing for that service starts at $2,500/mo.

Pricing

  • Basic: $49/mo. (no annual option)
  • Professional: $99/mo. or $1,068/yr.
  • Business: $219/mo. or $2,388/yr.
  • Enterprise: $399/mo. or $4,320/yr.

Kajabi Communities

Kajabi Communities short overview

Kajabi Communities hasn’t been around as long as Mighty Networks & Circle.so. It’s a newer part of the Kajabi platform, which was probably first known for being a full-service CRM & email marketing platform.

While the community features aren’t quite as robust as some of the other hosted BuddyBoss alternatives, you do get some unique features with Kajabi that you won’t find with community-first platforms.

  • email marketing
  • funnels & landing pages
  • affiliate program
  • CRM

Kajabi does allow for a mobile app experience, but it appears to be a unified Kajabi app and not a fully-branded mobile app.

Pricing

  • Start with a 14-day free trial
  • Basic: $149/mo. or $1,428/yr.
  • Growth: $199/mo. or $1,908/yr.
  • Pro: $399/mo. or $3,828/yr.

Other SaaS/Hosted BuddyBoss Alternatives

The final 4 alternatives are similar to the ones we’ve already mentioned. I recommend you check out each website to see if they’d be a better fit for your project.

  • Disco: Starts at $99/mo. or $948/yr. 14-day free trial.
  • Bettermode: Free plan limited to 10 members & a bettermode.io domain. Pricing starts at $24/mo. or $228/yr.
  • Hivebrite: Pricing not listed. Must book a demo.
  • Disciple Media: Much more mobile app focused. No monthly plans. Starts at $7,596/yr. for 500 members.

BuddyBoss App Alternatives

If you’re looking primarily for a native app experience, but you’re not sold on the BuddyBoss App, you should consider these app-based community platforms.

AppPresser (WordPress)

AppPresser logo

AppPresser is the only other WordPress-based native app solution I’d recommend besides BuddyBoss.

And it actually works with the BuddyBoss Platform & Theme. You can use the free BuddyBoss Platform plugin to set up your community site, and then use AppPresser to give your community a branded, native mobile app for less than the cost of the BuddyBoss App.

How to Build WordPress Mobile Apps with AppPresser (1:55)

AppPresser works with:

It will likely work with many of the thousands of other WordPress plugins, but these are the big ones they officially support.

AppPresser mobile app screens example
Some of AppPresser’s mobile app screens

Features

✅ Fully branded, native iOS & Android apps
✅ Push notifications
✅ Offline downloading of content, audio, and video
✅ Customize app design from within WordPress
✅ Use camera for image uploads
✅ Include Admob ads

See the AppPresser pricing page for exactly which features are included with which plan.

Pricing

  • Standard Plan (good for most people): $708/yr. or $79/mo.
  • Pro Plan: $948/yr. or $99/mo.
  • Advanced Plan: $1,548/yr. or $149/mo.

For comparison, the BuddyBoss App costs a minimum of $2,148/yr. or $219/mo. If you want additional design & setup services, you can order the VIP treatment for a one-time fee of $2,000.

Passion.io

Passion.io screenshot example

With Passion.io, you can combine interactive content, communities, and features to create your own mobile app, unlock engagement, and cash in on recurring revenue.

Pricing

  • Pro Plan: $119/mo. or $1,164/yr.
  • Ultimate Plan: $297/mo. or $2,869/yr.
  • Passion Plus Plan: Application only

MobiLoud

MobiLoud client mobile app examples

Use MobiLoud to turn your online community into a mobile app in under 2 weeks. Create an engaging, modern social experience and unlock superior retention with the power of push notifications, native features and beyond.

Supported Platforms

MobiLoud can turn your site into a mobile app if you’re using any of the following platforms/plugins:

  • WordPress
  • WooCommerce
  • BuddyPress
  • PeepSo
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Adobe Commerce
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Pricing

  • Professional: $199/mo. or $2,040/yr. + $850 fee
  • Growth: $549/mo. or $5,604/yr. + $1,500 fee
  • Corporate: $999/mo. or $10,200/yr. + custom fees

I hope you found these options helpful in your search for a BuddyBoss alternative, whether it be another WordPress plugin or a hosted solution to move your entire community off of WordPress.

If you need any help deciding on a platform, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments.