The Web is full of social networking sites, Facebook being the leading player. Even when there is a plethora of networking site, you might not find the kind you are looking for. What about a social networking site for wannabe DJs or local photography enthusiasts? Do you want a networking site for your company or university or local community?
You can easily start your own Facebook using BuddyPress, a free social networking platform powered by WordPress. It comes with plenty of features including activity stream, friend connections, groups, private messaging, profiles, blogs and discussion forums. Like WordPress, BuddyPress is also extensible using plug-ins.
What do you need? A domain name (not required if installing on a local network such as school or university lab), Web hosting with PHP and MySQL, WordPress and BuddyPress. You should make sure that you buy unlimited Web hosting service. (Should cost not more than $100 for a year.)
You can download both WordPress and BuddyPress for free. There are a few good themes and plugins for BudyPress as well that you can use.
Installing WordPress: Once you have purchased domain name and Web hosting with MySQL database, you will have to install WordPress. Download it from WordPress site and unzip it. Using FTP client such as Filezilla, upload the content of the WordPress folder to the directory where you want to install it. Your hosting company will provide you the FTP address, username and password for your hosting space.
If you want your WordPress to work from your top domain such as www.speckygeek.com, upload the content of the folder (not the folder) to the main Web folder.
Open your Web browser and go to your domain. If the domain is active, you will get the WordPress installation screen. It is very simple and intuitive. Just enter your details and the MySQL database details provided by your hosting company. You will have your WordPress installed within a couple of minutes.
Installing BuddyPress: BuddyPress is a WordPress plug-in. Download BuddyPress and unzip it. Upload the BuddyPress folder (this time the entire folder) to the
plugins directory of your WordPress installation. This folder is located in the
wp-content folder inside the main WordPress folder on the server.
Activate BuddyPress: Log in to your WordPress website and go to the Plugins menu in the dashboard. (You will find it on the left side.) Click on the Activate link for BuddyPress.
Customize Your BuddyPress: Your social networking site is ready now. Activate desired fetures and turn off the ones that you don’t need. Customize it with themes and plugins and give it a unique look before sending invite to friends.
You have your own Facebook-like networking site without having to spend a fortune on getting it developed and designed. Do share the links to your BuddyPress network with us.