Long before the internet was a public resource, people connected their computers together in ad hoc networks in order to access bulletin board systems (BBS). Today, a website hosting similar content would be known as a forum.
bbPress (the name is a portmanteau of bulletin board + WordPress) is a piece of open source free software that can be used to add a forum to a WordPress website. Perhaps the best way to think of a forum is that it is entirely made of comments rather than posts (articles) written by one author (or a small number of authors) that then generate comments. In a forum, the content is entirely provided by visitors and administrators leaving comments.
bbPress is a plugin, making it very easy to install and administer. bbPress also allows you to customize the template and comes built-in with spam prevention tools. bbPress can also be connected to multiple websites.
bbPress was created in 2004 to replace an older, similar piece of software called miniBB. bbPress is a great addition for any WordPress website that has an active community and wants to encourage further discussion. Once activated and installed, the easiest way to alert users that you now have a bbPress-powered forum is by including a link to it in your main menu.
bbPress is designed to be very user-friendly and easy to use. bbPress is an official WordPress product, so it works in a very similar way and is completely compatible with WordPress. bbPress can also be tailored in order to match your WordPress website’s theme.
Note: As you might expect with a piece of software to host forums, bbPress has its own forum, a great resource for any concerns or problems that you might have with bbPress.