Today, for your consideration, we present a few of the best WordPress Q&A themes and plugins available in 2017. If you want to build the next Yahoo Answers, Quora, or Stack Overflow, and you want to do it using WordPress, these themes and plugins will help you to get started.
We began our research for this round-up with only themes in mind, and quickly realized there weren’t enough of them that satisfied our criteria to build a full list. So this time around we’ve split things into two smaller lists. Themes first, plugins second. The solution you choose will likely depend on how much you’ve got to spend, and your skill level. The quick and easy solutions will cost you. If you want to dig in and do it yourself, you can do it for free. It’s the way of the world. (Though there’s one thing you’re probably not going to find for free, no matter how resourceful you are, and that’s hosting. We recommend Bluehost.)
Q&A Themes for WordPress
First, we’ll take a look at the themes we turned up. Here we were looking for great design, and the features necessary for Q&A functionality. There are other themes out there, but their design didn’t do it for us. When it comes to functionality, a successful Q&A theme will, at the very least, allow users to submit questions, answer questions, and vote on the best answers.
The best Q&A theme for WordPress is QAEngine by EngineThemes. In terms of both design and functionality, it’s currently without equal.
The modern, full-screen and responsive design looks as professional as it gets, and EngineThemes pays close attention to the UX (user experience) of every theme they develop. Your visitors and users will find QAEngine simple and intuitive to navigate and use, thanks to front-end modals and forms, which is key in ensuring they return to the site again and again.
The theme additionally features a points and badge system to encourage user loyalty while growing their brand and yours. By taking advantage of the WordPress Heartbeat API, real-time, AJAX notifications alert you when new content is posted. Users can vote on every answer, and question views are counted.
If you’re not sure where to begin with building a question and answers site, and you’re starting from scratch, we’d strongly recommend this theme as your starting point. It’s easy to install and easy to use, and the comprehensive documentation and professional support team will assist you via the EngineThemes forums if you run into difficulties.
It may not be free, but for the price ($49 USD), you can’t go wrong. You’ll save time and and forgo the headaches and fuss involved with unpaid, loosely supported plugins and ill-fitting themes. We know this reads like a sales pitch, but EngineThemes sincerely impresses us over and over.More Info/Download
InfoCenter is a new addition to our Q&A theme roundup, and it comes in at a strong second place. Like QAEngine, this questions and answers theme provides voting functionality to help users identify the most helpful answers, and both the webmaster and question author can choose the best response, adding a “Best Answer” tag to the answer. This is must-have feature for site owners looking duplicate the functionality of popular sites like Stack Overflow and Quora.
Other handy features include a user points system (including a slick user profile page), and reporting system to help manage and discourage site abuse.
Leveraging their efforts, the developers of InfoCenter have also provided a couple of preset demos for help desk and knowledgebase use. Of course, the theme is fully optimized for display across the spectrum of devices–mobile, laptop, desktop–and it’s SEO friendly to help your questions & answers secure top placement in Google and other search engines.
It’s not as feature-rich as QAEngine, and we don’t like the over design/UX quite as much, but what is offered, combined with the lower cost, makes it an excellent value. Recommended.More Info/Download
Second in line is AskMe, found in the ThemeForest marketplace and currently priced a few dollars more at $53. The strength of AskMe is in its lovely, flat design. It’s contemporary and vibrant, with tasteful typographic choices, and boasts a clean, easy to digest layout. AskMe is responsive and retina-ready, so it looks great on any device you view it on.
The question and answers features are easy to understand and use. Visitors to your site will have no problem navigating questions, contributing answers, or even posting their own questions. Questions can be favorited, and the most popular answers are tracked via a built-in points system. Users can even follow their favorite contributors.
There’s plenty of room for customization. Three homepage layouts are included, as well as three header layouts, and 10 predefined color schemes are available out-of-the-box. Further tweaking can be done in the theme options panel, and site admins can choose their own color schemes from an unlimited selection of colors.
As much as we like QAEngine and InfoCenter, AskMe is a fantastic theme too, and it wouldn’t surprise us if many readers preferred its design. You can’t really go wrong with either of these impressive Q&A themes.More Info/Download
Although not explicitly a questions and answers theme, DW Helpdesk does provide a simplified way to build a straightforward questions & answers website. Four premium plug-ins are provided: DW Knowledgebase Pro, DW Glossary, DW FAQ, and for the important Q&A functionality, DW Questions And Answers.
The design is clean and contemporary, drawing focus to the content and eliminated unwanted clutter and distractions. User experience is intuitive and performance is speedy and response. Helpdesk is fully mobile retina ready for display on high-resolution devices. Basic customization options are provided on the backend for branding, and the theme is well supported by its developers.More Info/Download
One of the most recent additions to the Q&A niche of WordPress themes is Sentric. It boats a clean, minimalistic design and provides a fast, responsive, and user-friendly experience for both site users and site admins.
The straight-forward, intuitive implementation of its Q&A feature, built with a custom post type, is one of its best features. Knowledgebase and support forums are included as well. The forums are powered by WordPress’s most popular forum solution, the third-party bbPress plugin.
Sentric is SEO friendly and includes support for the WPML plugin (translation-ready).More Info/Download
We had to dig into the past for our next pick . AskIt was developed by the famous ElegantThemes, and though it’s a bit older now, we’ve opted to include it because the overall design has held up very well. It’s a true testament to the talent behind ElegantThemes, that their older themes so often have a way of looking better than brand new themes by competing developers.
AskIt isn’t as feature rich as the others, but it provides you with the must-have basics. Contributors can post questions, and other contributors and users can vote for the best ones. Standard ElegantThemes features are included, like a useful theme options ePanel for backend customization, a selection of shortcodes, and page templates.
If you sign up at ElegantThemes, you get access to all 87 ET themes. It’s a $69 one time fee. And because we’re affiliates for ElegantThemes, if you sign-up using our link, we get a sweet, sweet kickback.More Info/Download
Q&A Plugins for WordPress
Unsurprisingly, there’s more question and answer plugins for WordPress than there are question and answer themes. We narrowed our favorites down to four. Here we were looking for the strongest feature lists, UX, styling, and some indication that the plugins are still being actively developed and supported.
Note that there’s a few plugins kicking around that haven’t been updated in years. We’d advise staying away from those, or you risk spending money down the road when they clash with future versions of WordPress.
We considered putting WPAnswers on the theme list, because it’s a plugin that includes a theme, and therefore aims to be total solution for building a Q&A website. In fact, it’s promoted by the developer as being the “ultimate question and answer system for WordPress”. That’s probably not too far off, and we think the design of the included theme is quite nice, too. It’s very clean, minimalistic and modern, and it’s reminiscent of the sites it’s based on.
In lieu of QAEngine, WPAnswers probably is your best option for building a sophisticated question and answers website. But it is more expensive at $89. Beyond the basic question & answer capabilities, the plugin will also automate content from Yahoo Answers, so you can start your site off with content until you build your own user base. That’s a feature to really think about, because it’s pretty hard to get users to interact with an empty site.
There’s social integration, and users can sign-up or login by using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, which also has the potential to greatly increase visitor engagement.
The Q&A system itself is about what you’d expect, in that visitors can vote answers up and down, and authors are rewarded for their participation with points.
The plugin includes 1 year of support and 1 year of updates, which seems fair to us.More Info/Download
SabaiDiscuss is the best-selling premium WordPress Q&A plugin on CodeCanyon. (If you’re tired of paid themes and plugins, and have your heart set on free, feel free to skip ahead to the final two selections.)
SabaiDiscuss has a 4.5 star rating, meaning the support team and usability of the plugin is top class. This is the primary reason to purchase a premium plugin, instead of relying on a free one. You have a developer to help you out if something goes wrong. Things going wrong can often cost you more in the long run than the cost of a $22 plugin.
Though minimally styled, SabaiDiscuss is responsive, so you won’t have any difficulty on mobile devices. It has all of the must-have functionality, so users can post questions, post answers, and vote on the best. A reputation system is baked in, and the plugin supports custom fields, making it a bit more extensible than the solutions that the premium themes offer.More Info/Download
DW Question & Answer
DW Question & Answer by DesignWall is our favorite free Q&A plugin. A lot of this has to do with the built-in styling, which is up to par with the high standard they’ve set with their premium themes.
You can build a fully-featured Q&A site using this plugin. Other than the usual submit/answer/vote functionality, DesignWall provides you with the ability to order questions by categories and tags, manage questions by status, or even sticky questions. Users can follow questions in order to receive e-mail notifications whenever answers are posted, and Google’s reCAPTCHA is supported to prevent spamming.
Remarkably, 15 languages are also supported out of the box. If you want to avoid premium solutions, and want the most stress free experience possible, this is the way to go.More Info/Download
AnsPress is another popular free option for Q&A, and touts itself as ‘the best question and answer plugin for WordPress’.
The strength of this plugin, beyond its long list of features, lies in how customizable it is. It’s aimed at developers, and if you intend to build the most robust, extensible WP questions & answers site possible, this might be the way to go. Particularly if you like getting your hands dirty, or if you’re paying someone else to do the work.
In terms of functionality, AnsPress ought to do everything you need it to do. Users can submit questions, answer questions, vote for their favorite answers and be rewarded for their participation with the included reputation system. Everything you’d expect.
Additionally, the AJAX form submission and real-time loading of questions and answers are a nice touch, and make for an enjoyable user experience. The included styling is high quality, and it’s responsive, so you won’t have any problems with viewing and using the plugin on mobile devices. There’s even extras like badges, user ranking, user profiles and e-mail notifications.More Info/Download
And that’s a wrap for our collection of the best WordPress Q&A themes and plugins. (For now!) Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into what’s out there, and maybe even helped you to make a decision. Feel free to leave suggestions and comments below!