If you’ve ever worked with BuddyPress and have found it to not match your needs and are looking for an alternative then Ultimate Member may just be the plugin for you.
A little background
I first stumbled into WordPress whilst attempting to create a professional jobs site for graduates.
When it came to building the site the main things I was looking for was the ability for graduates to create a profile and upload a resume and for employers to be able to search for graduates and privately message graduates they were interested in talking to.
So after setting up hosting and selecting a theme I then started looking for plugins that would enable me to create my site.
This is when I came across BuddyPress and all of the BuddyPress related plugins which added functionality to BuddyPress.
Great I thought! I would be able to use BuddyPress, a few other BuddyPress plugins and WP Job Manager and my site would have all the functionality it needed.
How wrong I was!
The reality quickly turned out to be quite a bit different and as a typical WordPress user I found working with BuddyPress for my site to be more than a little bit challenging.
I’m not bashing BuddyPress or saying it is a bad plugin but rather it was simply not the right plugin to use in the first place.
That’s because I wasn’t trying to create a social network site. I only wanted to use certain aspects of the plugin.
Ultimately I felt like I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and gave up with BuddyPress and began looking for an alternative plugin to BuddyPress.
I tried out a few other free and premium plugins but my experiences with them was not particularly great either which is part of the reason the idea for Ultimate Member was born.
When we started out with Ultimate Member the vision was to create a plugin that would be a cross between BuddyPress and more traditional membership plugins.
Or put differently a membership plugin which focuses heavily on the front-end experience for end users whilst at the same time making it extremely easy for WordPress users to use.
The plugin is perfect for anyone who has tried to use BuddyPress but has found it to be more than they need.
Because in all honesty how many people are really trying to create a full-blown social network?
Rather I believe that people are trying their best to work with BuddyPress due to a lack of a viable alternative.
Well I hope that this is no longer the case with the approach we’ve taken with Ultimate Member.
We’ve created a core plugin packed full of flexibility which will enable you to create a wide variety of sites where users sign up from the front-end but kept it lean and not overloaded with features that not everyone needs.
This is where our extensions come into play. With our extensions people can purchase only the features and functionality they need allowing them to create their site just the way they want.
For example our latest extension: followers allows users to follow one another. However, many people do not need this functionality on their site so by having it as an extension only the people who want this functionality on their site can have it.
At the moment Ultimate Member is not a direct alternative to BuddyPress. Ultimate Member does not currently offer every feature found in BuddyPress.
This is mostly to do with the fact our plugin was only launched at the end of January and we have not yet built all of our extensions.
So whilst we may not be a direct alternative to BuddyPress at the moment, in the future you will see this change and you will be able do most of what you can do with BuddyPress by using Ultimate Member and our extensions.