buddyboss alternative

Circle As A BuddyBoss Alternative: The Best Online Community Solution

Building a community around your brand, community or organization allows you to build meaningful connections among your customers, employees, members and followers, resulting in increased engagement and growth. 

In today’s age, online interactions play a major role in community building for most businesses, which have a wide variety of community building solutions at their disposal. 

If you are looking to integrate community building features into your website, keep reading to find out more about BuddyBoss and a BuddyBoss alternative, Circle.so. In this post, we’ll be introducing you to the essential features of online communities and these two popular community solutions you can implement to your WordPress site.  We’ll then compare them in terms of features, user-friendliness and cost to help you select the best tool for your needs.

What To Look For In A BuddyBoss Alternative: Essential Features For Your Online Community

An online community should be built around the main purpose of building genuine connections among members. Communities built around a business or brand should also focus on delivering a better customer experience by allowing members to collaborate, problem solve and share experiences with each other.

If you are considering using BuddyBoss or a BuddyBoss alternative, here are some community features to look out for include:

  • Member profiles
  • Messaging or chat
  • Forums or group discussions
  • Exclusive content
  • Live streaming or private sessions
  • Activity streams


The BuddyBoss theme is the ideal solution for those looking to easily integrate an online community to their WordPress site. The theme delivers clean, good looking design while providing you with a wide range of additional features to help you build an online community such as:

  • Individual member profiles for users with accounts on your site
  • Forums where your users can hold discussions 
  • Private messaging allowing members to directly interact with each other
  • Groups that allow you to build networks among your members surrounding common interests, purchases, and more.
  • A mobile app integration so that your members can engage with the community on the go

Additionally, BuddyBoss has the advantage of being developer friendly. This way you can customize its base features and design to best adapt to your brand and your needs.


Unlike BuddyBoss, Circle isn’t a WordPress specific platform, however it can be easily integrated with your WordPress site with WP SSO. No matter what you do, Circle provides you with all the tools to engage your audience by building a wide variety of communities around your products, podcasts, online courses or membership sites.

Like BuddyBoss, Circle gives you access to a wide range of features including member profiles, direct messaging, private spaces, discussions, and groups. The platform also has a simple and clean design, which can be customized using your own brand colors. Circle.so also provides you with monetization options allowing you to charge users for access to your community and gate access to premium spaces and other content.

A BuddyBoss Alternative: Circle.so


BuddyBoss, running directly on WordPress, is available for $228 dollars a year. On the other hand, Circle works as a third-party platform and charges you $79/month (with the plan that supports the SSO feature).  BuddyBoss will work not only as a community solution but as a theme. If you are using Circle as a complement for your WordPress site, then you’ll also have to consider the cost of your site’s theme separately. This makes BuddyBoss the definite winner in the pricing category as you can pay for BuddyBoss for a whole year for the price of less than 3 months of Circle. If one is investing in customizing BuddyBoss, the price can quickly increase though.


In terms of user-friendliness, both platforms are intuitive and easy to use. Due to BuddyBoss’s widespread use, access to documentation and tutorials is extensive. At the same time, Circle.so has a growing community and well developed knowledge base. For total beginners Circle.so can be more appealing since it is used out-of-the-box, with a wide set of features. If preferred it can run completely independently from your site. While BuddyBoss allows you to enhance and tailor your site to your needs, customizing the platform will require more time and WordPress savviness.


Design is one of the categories where BuddyBoss clearly stands out over Circle. Circle.so’s design is clean and professional, however it is not unique. With Circle, the look of your online community will fit their generic mold, with all “circles” looking more or less the same. On the other hand, BuddyBoss sites can be tailored to fully fit your brand’s look with plenty of room for customization. 


BuddyBoss is fully integrated with WordPress and runs smoothly with a wide variety of ecommerce, elearning and membership plugins. It is also developer friendly and can be extensively customized to fit your needs. While Circle.So does integrate with several third-party services, BuddyBoss delivers more extensive customization possibilities, making it the winner in this category.

Circle As A BuddyBoss Alternative: Which is Best for Online Communities?

Overall, both BuddyBoss and Circle.so deliver a full-suite of features allowing you to build an active online community and promote user interaction. The best platform will depend on your personal preference, budget and customization needs. If you are looking for a BuddyBoss alternative that is easy to launch and can stand on its own and is ready out of the box, Circle.so can be better for your needs. On the other hand if you are looking for an online community that is easy to scale, can be customized to your needs and is designed according to your branding, BuddyBoss is the better pick.

Need help getting started? Reach out to our BuddyBoss experts! We’ll help you get your online community off the ground in no time. Don’t take our word for it! Just take a look at some of the BuddyBoss communities we’ve worked on.