This blog post is all about starting your own social media website using WordPress.org. This article will be updated if I learn about new hosting services or plugins that I believe would be useful.
I will cover how you can find hosting for your website, theme selection, and which plugins will offer you the functionality of a social media website. This article is broken into three sections:
1. HOSTING YOUR WEBSITE
2.THEMES FOR YOUR WEBSITE
3. BEST PLUGINS
*This blog post includes affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you.)*
1. HOSTING YOUR WEBSITE
I have been using SiteGround for about four years. I originally used it to host a project I did in college. SiteGround has a free drag and drop sitebuilder, Cloudflare CDN to increase website speed, and has a free SSL certificate. They have 24/7 support that has never failed me.
I haven’t used BlueHost personally, but it is commonly used to host WordPress websites. BlueHost offers a free domain name for a year and a free SSL certificate. They also offer 24/7 support.
UPDATE: 9.8.2020 – I now use BlueHost with my clients and I have had a very positive experience
2. THEMES FOR YOUR WEBSITE
There are other great themes that work well with the plugins used to create a social media website, but I have personally tried all of the themes I am suggesting.
This was the theme I used for the longest amount of time. There is a free version of this theme, but I opted to use the paid version. It comes with various presets that make changing the appearance of your website easy.
Tesseract is a 100% free WordPress theme. This theme is responsive.
I have used the free version of this theme. This theme is open source and responsive. It comes with a wide variety of layouts, but there is also a drag and drop page builder.
3. BEST PLUGINS
All of the plugins I used to create my website were the free versions. I wanted this resource list to be as cost effective as possible. You can select from this list of plugins based on what features you want your website to have.
BuddyPress is a free open-source social media package. Adding this plugin will give you some social media functions, but you will need additional plugins (some of which I will list below).
Remove Dashboard Access will hide the WordPress dashboard from your members, but your website will still be accessible using “YOURSITE/wp-admin”.
Buddy Drive will allow members to share files with each other using your website. This can be useful if you are creating a job search platform or something for the workplace.
BuddyPress Notifications Widget allows you to place notification widget. This is useful if you decide to hide the admin bar from non-admins
Akismet Anti-Spam adds an extra layer of protection to your website by blocking posts and comments that appear to be spam. This is a plugin I did not use on my old website, but I am using it on this one.
Hide Admin Bar From Non-Admins will remove the WordPress admin bar from the top of your website.
BuddyPress GroupBlog enables your users to form groups with blogs on your platform.
The plugin, bbPress allows users to create discussion forums.
Using My WordPress Login Logo, you will be able to replace the WordPress.org logo with the logo of your social network.
My Cred gives you the ability to implement a point system. You can also allow them to unlock badges or move up in rank. This plugin includes a leaderboard feature. It is a great way to add a reward system.
Peter’s Login Redirect plugin allows you to set the landing page following member login to any page of your choice.
With the WP Job Manager plugin you can add job listings. You can also have job application forms directly on your website.
The WPS Hide Login plugin changes the login URL so that your admin panel login will no longer be found at YOURSITE/wp-login
Most of the resources mentioned in this post are resources I used to create the website I ran prior to starting this blog. Some of the resources I shared are things I have not used personally, but they are highly recommended.