BuddyPress vs Ultimate Member: What Should I Choose?

BuddyPress vs Ultimate Member

There are numerous WordPress users wishing to build a membership site where users can register and can possess some splendid features and functionality as a social networking site.

But how many of them truly desire to build a full-blown social network site?

It’s clear that the numbers are lesser in this case. We certainly wish to possess a few exclusive features of social networking sites for our users and us but not all things.

However, in the course of creating such a site, you’ll discover a popular plugin called BuddyPress.

It’s certainly a cool WordPress plugin if you’re attempting to design a social network site but, do you truly want that?

Perhaps, No!,

Now here comes the saving factor.

There is an alternative of the BuddyPress plugin and now it’s present to use for free with the name “Ultimate Member”.

So let’s compare the two plugins and find out which one precisely do you need.

As soon as you decide to install a plugin, you view the number of active installations of the plugin for different reasons. So why not begin it there.

# 1 Plugin Stats At WordPress Repository

Ultimate Member:
  • First Official Release: January 2015
  • Update Frequency: Days or, Week
  • Downloads: 2,083,484 and counting
  • Active Installations: 100,000 plus
  • Ratings: 4.5 (of 680 reviews)
  • First Official Release: April 2009
  • Update frequency: Months
  • Downloads: 7,423,601 amd counting
  • Active Installations: 200,000+
  • Ratings: 4.0 (of 319 reviews)

You can determine your winner by seeing the above stats. The numbers of installations are greater for BuddyPress still they lack in some respects like ratings & reviews, update frequency, etc. So remain cautious if you’re picking a winner here.

# 2 Setup & Installation

BuddyPress, as well as Ultimate Member, are present for free to be downloaded from the WordPress plugin repository.

The procedure for installing the plugins is the same.

Nevertheless, on activation, the menu option for Ultimate Member is highlighted in the WordPress Admin Dashboard while BuddyPress is buried within the Settings menu of WordPress like a sub-item.

It may not appear as a bigger issue still it counts. Ease of using is one aspect you must consider.

The Ultimate Member plugin affords you plenty of options to customize it, which makes it more compliant with your needs while BuddyPress offers you very restricted options to customize making it harder to customize according to your needs.

So, in this round, Ultimate Member will definitely win for its customizability.

# 3 Features You Obtain

Each of them presents a separate set of core features. The core features of BuddyPress comprise user profiles, notifications, activity streams, groups, private messaging, besides many more. It also presents users to edit their profiles at the frontend.

Now let’s view the core features of the Ultimate Member. This plugin allows you to include lovely user profiles to your site and it is an ideal choice for building advanced online communities.

It has a lengthy list of its core features like custom form fields, drag, and drop form builder, conditional logic for form fields, user account page, member directories, custom user roles, content restriction, custom e-mail templates, developer-friendly with plenty of filters and actions, etc.

Nevertheless, the Ultimate Member does not possess the Groups and Private Messaging features in the free edition. Still, you can obtain these features in the form of paid extensions for some additional bucks.

The winner of this round completely depends on you. If you don’t wish to spend any amount then you should pick BuddyPress but if you are comfortable with spending a few bucks for a superb feature-filled plugin with a splendid design, then you must opt for the Ultimate Member plugin.

# 4 Available Extensions

BuddyPress has raced forward compared to the Ultimate Member plugin with regard to extension. With a super big community, BuddyPress performs well in such a situation and contains an excess of 500+ extensions for use. A greater number of them are totally free to use.

In contrast, the Ultimate Member plugin has limited paid extensions of its own along with some awesome but restricted amount of 3rd-party extensions. Its free extensions offer very little and appear the slightest.

Rather, the features, as well as the user experience of the Ultimate Member, can be improved if you spend money on the extensions, rest you have to remain satisfied with what has been already offered.

Here also BuddyPress is a winner. But if you are one who prefers designs, then you can try the Ultimate Member by expending some money on the required features.

# 5 Compatibility With Available Themes

The two plugins are theme-independent. That implies it can function on any of your available sites with any theme installed on it.

Nevertheless, if you are intending to employ BuddyPress with the mix of bbPress, then you should certainly regard a theme that is compliant with the bbPress. Otherwise, you’ll end up obtaining an awful-looking broken site.

On the contrary, the Ultimate Member works excellently with its forum extension on any themes.

Design-wise the Ultimate Member plugin also surpasses the BuddyPress. It looks lovely on any theme or website.

This round certainly belongs to the Ultimate Member for its compliance with the entire theme while maintaining the design so clear and graceful.

# 6 Documentation

The two plugins have complete documentation present on their respective sites. Nevertheless, the user interface and distinct design of the Ultimate Member website renders it simpler to surf the documentation and read them.

On the contrary, the BuddyPress website has an old design that is outdated enough to get overlooked. In the matter of reading on the web, a nice and obvious design performs a major role. It may have been overlooked if it was 2015 or somewhere previously but in 2019, design counts more than the content.

Despite being the documentation of the Ultimate Member superb in user experience, it is probably a tie here, as not everyone looks for the design yet. However, personally, the Ultimate Member wins here also.

# 7 Support

You can obtain support for the two plugins from their respective forums. Still, the support system is improved for the Ultimate Member. The sole problem is that they only answer you after solving the issues of their paid client.

While BuddyPress has no such subjects on its support system. They have a bigger community which truly makes it simpler to get replies and your problems solved.

In the matter of support, BuddyPress is certainly the winner here.

# 8 Pricing

The price shouldn’t be a total consideration but free is always more persuasive. So BuddyPress is the clear choice of users with regard to money.

To develop a social networking WordPress site utilizing the Ultimate Member plugin you require to purchase their Core Extensions Bundle costing $249 (each year) to use the elementary functionalities and features like groups and private messaging.


If you are someone who doesn’t want to spend any bucks and is satisfied to possess a bulky and antiquated design then you should go for BuddyPress.

This is not biased. The BuddyPress plugin is truly superb, the sole issue is that it is too bulky and astonishing. It is deficient in modern design and the majority of us don’t require its entire features, still, you can’t customize them.

On the contrary, if you are ready to spend some money for a splendidly designed and more customizable plugin then you should certainly think about the Ultimate Member plugin.

Money is not a factor when your goal or aim is higher. The majority of us will happily opt to pay over getting the design and functionalities of the site compromised.

Now you can decide what you are and select the proper plugin for you.

Interesting Reads:

7 Best WordPress Themes For Lawyers and Law Firms in 2020

7 Best WordPress Membership Plugins 2020



Get tips, product updates, and discounts straight to your inbox.


This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

One thought on “BuddyPress vs Ultimate Member: What Should I Choose?

  1. Well shoot, I purchased Ultimate Member, partly based on this review but it’s missing one of the most crucial functions. Even with the full pass and all extensions, it doesn’t have the ability for people to just choose the basic privacy options of activity posts. They have to do an all-or-nothing setting from the back-end making it almost useless for simple social networking.. People have to be able to choose the privacy of posts, everyone/public, logged-in members, friends/connections-only or private/self-only. Those are the basic options necessary for posts and they’re missing. Due to the Ukrainian issue their support has also been struggling to respond I think but I see clarification wording that’s new or I missed that I now understand to mean they have to go to choose an all-or-nothing approach privacy setting to their activity wall and can’t control privacy individual posts. The rest of the options are still very cool, but unless I am making a mistake it’s missing one of the most basic, fundamental features so it can’t really be used for good social networking. The feature/option may be just going over my head and I’ve been waiting to hear back from support for over a week since the purchase so I could be doing something wrong and hopefully we’ll find out. On their support page it says things may be delayed due to the Ukrainian conflict and I know they’re busy but I’m sure it’s past any time to request a refund based on their terms so you might want to be aware of the delay unless my email’s broken. It’s not like you can log into a support page to check the status, or I haven’t gotten that. I got an email response from the submission form but it’s been over a week since that and I opened another ticket. It may be a good choice for a completely-public or all-private network but without privacy options on the social activity posts it can’t really be used for social networking. Nobody wants to make their entire page open to everyone or restricted blindly. If they can choose friends and connections they want to be able to use that to set things like privacy options.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.