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Commons In A Box

A platform for easy and powerful community websites. Powered by BuddyPress.

Commons In A Box dramatically lowers the barrier to building community sites on WordPress. CBOX helps you to install BuddyPress along with a number of carefully selected and vetted BuddyPress plugins, so that you don't have to worry about which plugins are best and which are compatible with each other.

CBOX also comes with a beautiful and flexible BuddyPress theme, designed from the bottom up for fostering community engagement. Powered by the Infinity Theme Engine, the CBOX default theme gets you from zero to a fully-functional community theme in minutes, and also contains extensive tools for customization.

CBOX puts unique community sites within the reach of all users, no matter their technical aptitude. Visit for support, documentation, and a growing user community.

Author CUNY Academic Commons
Contributors cuny-academic-commons, boonebgorges, r-a-y
Tags academic, buddypress, commons, community, cuny, education
  1. commons-in-a-box screenshot 1

    The Commons In A Box Dashboard panel

  2. commons-in-a-box screenshot 2

    The Commons In A Box default theme

  1. Install the Commons In A Box plugin in wp-content/plugins/ and activate at Dashboard > Plugins
  2. Follow the on-screen guide to get your community set up in just minutes


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.7 and BuddyPress 2.7
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.5.12, BuddyPress 2.7.3, BuddyPress Docs 1.9.2, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.7.0, Invite Anyone 1.3.12
  • Theme improvements: Fix bug that prevented secondary profile group tabs from appearing in Edit mode; Fix bug that caused post trackbacks and pingbacks not to appear in some cases; Fix some PHP deprecation and error notices; Fix bug that caused images and other elements not to render properly in theme documentation.


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.6 and BuddyPress 2.6
  • Update plugins: bbPress 2.5.10, BP Groupblog 1.8.13, BuddyPress Docs 1.9.1, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.10, CAC Featured Content 1.0.7, External Group Blogs 1.6.1, Invite Anyone 1.3.11, More Privacy Options 4.6
  • Theme improvements: Improved escaping for some strings; Don't show settings links when Settings component is inactive; Fix some PHP notices; Fix bug that prevented admins from visiting a private group's Manage tab; Fix bug with Manage Folders interface in BuddyPress Docs 1.9+


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.4 and BuddyPress 2.4
  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.6.0, BuddyPress Groupblog 1.8.12, Invite Anyone 1.3.9
  • Fixed bug that could cause errors when installing Commons In A Box on top of an existing BuddyPress installation.
  • Theme improvements: Fixed problems with CSS and JS assets on SSL-optional sites; Fixed PHP notices in Recent Posts widget; Allowed slider settings to be filtered by child theme; Enabled Composer support for theme management


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.3 and BuddyPress 2.3
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.5.8, BuddyPress Docs 1.8.8, CAC Featured Content 1.0.6, Invite Anyone 1.3.8, More Privacy Options 4.1.1
  • Theme improvements: Fixed bug that prevented URL field types from being displayed properly when registering or editing one's profile; Fixed localization on Registration and Activation pages; Fixed JavaScript error that occurred after Joyride tour completion.


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.2 and BuddyPress 2.2
  • Fixed bug that could cause fatal errors in some cases where bbPress is not network-activated
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.5.7, BP Group Announcements 1.0.5, BP Groupblog 1.8.11, BuddyPress, BuddyPress Docs 1.8.6, BuddyPress Docs Wiki add-on 1.0.9, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.5.1, CAC Featured Content 1.0.5, External Group Blogs 1.6.0, Invite Anyone 1.3.7
  • Theme improvements: Added an option to the Recent Blog Posts widget that allows the inclusion of groupblog-related posts; Improved styling for forum topic headers; Fixed bug where theme admin panel JavaScript did not load on some setups; Fixed bug that prevented media uploads in the theme admin on some setups; Updated registration templates to match recent versions of BuddyPress; Added support for the DiRT Directory Client plugin; Improved appearance of CBOX Theme's mobile menu with the WP Admin Bar; Improved appearance of form fields on IE; Improved compatibility with bxSlider; Improved localizability of some strings; Improved appearance of groupblog navigation item.


  • Compatibility with WordPress 4.0 and BuddyPress 2.1
  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 2.1.1, BuddyPress Docs 1.8.5, BuddyPress Docs Wiki add-on 1.0.8, BP Group Announcements 1.0.4, BP Groupblog 1.8.9, BuddyPress Group Email Subcription 3.5, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC3, Invite Anyone 1.3.4
  • Theme improvements: Fixed visibility issues related to activity tour popups generated by Joyride; Fixed bug that caused fatal error when parsing LESS stylesheets; Fixed bug that prevented header logo from showing up in recent versions of Chrome; Support for BuddyPress 2.1 @-mention autosuggest; Improved CSS for overlapping sidebar and header elements


  • Compatibility with WordPress 3.9 and BuddyPress 2.0
  • Updated plugins: BP Groupblog 1.8.6, BuddyPress 2.0.1, bbPress 2.5.4, BuddyPress Docs 1.7.0, BuddyPress Docs Wiki add-on 1.0.7, Invite Anyone 1.2.1, More Privacy Options
  • Theme improvements: Improved menu rendering; Fixed background color and footer background overlays in some instances; Minor styling improvements to bbPress


  • Compatibility with WordPress 3.8 and BuddyPress 1.9
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.5.3, BuddyPress 1.9.2, BuddyPress Docs 1.5.6, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.6, Invite Anyone 1.0.26
  • Fixed bug in Plugin Dependencies library that caused errors on some setups
  • Fixed miscellaneous PHP notices
  • Theme improvements: Improved compatibility with the new Notifications component in BuddyPress 1.9; Support for the WP 3.8 responsive admin bar; Visual and text improvements to the Featured Slider tool; Fixed some jQuery UI conflicts on the theme admin panel


  • Compatibility with WordPress 3.7
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.4.1, BP Group Announcements 1.0.3, BP Groupblog 1.8.5, BuddyPress 1.8.1, BuddyPress Docs 1.5.5, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.5, Invite Anyone 1.0.25, More Privacy Options 3.7.1
  • Added a Paste From Word button to the visual editor in bbPress forums
  • Theme improvements: A brand new slider that is easier to use and performs better in various environments; Improved appearance of Docs attachment lists; Fixed some debug notices

  • Compatibility with WordPress 3.6.1


  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 1.8, BuddyPress Docs 1.4.5, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.4, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.4, BP Groupblog 1.8.4, BuddyPress Reply By Email 1.0-RC2, Invite Anyone 1.0.23, External Group Blogs 1.5.2
  • New CBOX option: For BuddyPress group pages, set the default tab to "Forum" instead of "Activity".
  • For bbPress, reinstates the TinyMCE editor that was disabled since v2.3.
  • Fixed bug in Custom Profile Filters for BuddyPress that caused some social networking fields to render incorrectly
  • Theme improvements: Fix visibility of second-level dropdown menus; on multisite installs, allow admins to set a different front page on sub-sites and also allow usage of the homepage slider on sub-sites; fixed bug that prevented the Comments section from appearing on BuddyPress Docs pages; improved compatibility with BP Docs Wiki; fix 'New Topic' button for group forums; various compatibility fixes for IE8; fix some debug notices; improve the appearance of comments on Docs; improve localizability; improve WP 3.6 compatibility; allow some HTML in slider excerpt; fix styling when slider is disabled; ensure that slider can display more than 8 items; improve documentation on how to get set up with the slider


  • Updated plugin: BuddyPress 1.7.2
  • Removed Bebop from Optional plugin list, due to uncertainty about future upgrades
  • Theme improvements: Fixed bug introduced in 1.0.3 that caused some widget areas not to appear; improved CSS handling on nav menus and on the registration page; fixed bug in the appearance of the slider widget


  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 1.7.1, BuddyPress Docs 1.3.4, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.3.2, Invite Anyone 1.0.21, bbPress 2.3.2, More Privacy Options 3.5, BP Groupblog 1.8.2, Bebop 1.3.2
  • Properly activate the CBOX Theme when installing BuddyPress on a secondary site
  • Workaround a bbPress 2.2.x role permissions bug when a user creates a new site in BuddyPress
  • Theme improvements: Support for BuddyPress 1.7.x; removes the Site Features slider limit


  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 1.6.4, BuddyPress Docs 1.2.10, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.3, BP Group Announcements 1.0.2
  • Fixes inconsistent Updates count in toolbar
  • Theme improvements: Better appearance on mobile devices; fixes bug in Superfish menu; better compatibility with Markdown plugin;more intelligent activity tour display for members with no groups/friends/favorites


  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 1.6.3, BuddyPress Docs 1.2.9, Bebop 1.2.2
  • Fixed bug that prevented bbPress from posting activity items when site is set to private
  • Forces "All Email" default for group email subscription
  • Improved responsive performance for theme


  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.3.1, BuddyPress Docs 1.2.8
  • Better support for child themes of cbox-theme
  • Fixed fatal error that sometimes occurred when activating Commons In A Box
  • Better PHP 5.4 support
  • Theme improvements: Better support for third-party plugin navigation, improved styling on the Messages panel


  • Requires WordPress 3.5
  • Fixed bug when attempting to upgrade WordPress from the admin dashboard
  • Add localization support
  • Updated plugins: BuddyPress 1.6.2, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.3, bbPress 2.2.3


  • Fixes bug when running PHP < 5.3


  • Feature: New settings page
  • Plugins added - BP Reply By Email, BP Group Announcements
  • Updated plugins: bbPress 2.2.2, BuddyPress Docs 1.2.6, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.2, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.2.3, CAC Featured Content 1.0.3, External Group Blogs 1.5
  • Theme improvements: Improvements to theme option performance, fixed slider bugs, improved performance on IIS, better responsive styling, improved navigation styling, improved bbPress 2.2.x forum styling


  • Initial release

Where do I get support?

Support forums and robust documentation are available at

Can I use Commons In A Box if I'm already using BuddyPress?

Yes! CBOX will take over the management of BuddyPress and some of your other BuddyPress-specific plugins, so that future upgrades can be accomplished with a single click.

Translation credits

  • Spanish: Andrew Kurtis


Commons In A Box is a generalized, distributable version of the platform powering the CUNY Academic Commons.

Commons In A Box is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Version 1.0.14

Requires WordPress version: 3.5 or higher

Compatible up to: 4.7.2

Last Updated 19 Dec 2016

Date Added: 19 Nov 2012

Plugin Homepage


5 stars
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