Elgg or Buddypress to build a social network?
Social networks, communities, groups – whatever you want to call them, can be awesome and can generate quite a handsome supplementary income. I’ve spoken about Buddypress and Elgg throughout my posts on Netshock, and while I will continue to write guides for each, I wanted to give some sort of a conclusion as to which is best.
The best way to think of Elgg is as a framework – it is by no means ready to go out of the box and will take a lot of tweaking, polishing, swearing and shouting to get it right. Even once you have the look and feel you want, you’ll find managing it quite clunky and I would be reluctant to run a social network using Elgg if I did not have a test server for every change that I made. That said, the platform does seem to be quite versatile and there are a lot of plugins freely available to you – again, not very well integrated into the Elgg system as each needs to be FTP uploaded to your server.
Contrast Elgg with Buddypress and it’s like comparing Mcdonalds to a Michelin Star restaurant – there really is no comparison and there is only one that you’re going to feel comfortable working with. Buddypress makes the build and management process stress-free & it virtually ready to show your users as soon as it’s installed. The plugins (unlike Elgg) are integrated into WordPress – in the sense that you can search and install plugins without using your FTP connection, which is just a little bit less of a headache!
My opinion is that either of these platforms would be okay to build your own social network, but, WordPress would keep your blood pressure lower and would give your users are more aesthetically pleasing experience. Of course, there are other methods to build your own social network – Drupal and Joomla both have the ability to complete the task, but, as I mentioned in my review of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, I really do think that you’d have to be nuts to ignore WordPress.
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