Commons In A Box (CBOX) 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.
Commons In A Box (CBOX) includes a choice of two packages that can be customized to meet the needs of your community:
CBOX Classic is designed for communities of all kinds. It is used by groups and organizations to create flexible social networks where members can collaborate on projects, publish research, and create repositories of knowledge.
CBOX OpenLab is specifically designed for teaching, learning, and collaboration. It allows faculty members, departments, and entire institutions to create commons spaces for open learning.
Both packages feature:
— Robust out-of-the-box functionality;
— An intuitive setup process that guides site administrators through installation and customization;
— Responsive design for easy use on many devices, including tablets and smartphones;
— Ensured compatibility with a core set of plugins – when it’s time to update, you simply update CBOX and we take care of the rest;
— Compatibility with many additional WordPress and BuddyPress plugins and themes.
Visit commonsinabox.org for support and documentation.
Commons In A Box is developed by a team based at The Graduate Center, CUNY. It was originally made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CBOX OpenLab, a collaboration with New York City College of Technology, was created with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities. CBOX receives continuing support from the City University of New York and The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Before you start, make sure to check out the Technical Guide, which explains the technical requirements for Commons In A Box (CBOX).
When you’re ready, there are two ways to download CBOX :
1. Search for it in the plugins section of your WordPress Dashboard and install it as you would any other WordPress plugin.
1. Download it from the WordPress plugin repository: https://wordpress.org/plugins/commons-in-a-box
Once you’ve downloaded and installed CBOX, you’ll be able to choose which package you wish to use: CBOX Classic or CBOX OpenLab. See our documentation for step-by-step instructions for installing CBOX Classic or CBOX OpenLab.
Where do I get support?
Support forums and robust documentation are available at commonsinabox.org.
Can I use Commons In A Box if I have an existing WordPress site?
It is possible to install Commons In A Box on an existing WordPress site, and it can also be integrated into existing Multisite and BuddyPress setups. However, please read our documentation for more details.
Contributors & Developers
“Commons In A Box” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.Contributors
- Updated plugins (Classic): BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.3
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.3
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused ‘Create’ link to appear in Portfolio directories for non-authenticated users.
- OpenLab: Improvements to localization.
- OpenLab: Improved compatibility with PHP 8+.
- OpenLab: Fixed issue where error message didn’t appear on messages compose page.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BP MPO Activity Filter 1.3.3, BuddyPress 10.4.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.7, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.2, Invite Anyone 1.4.3
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress 10.4.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.7, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.2, Invite Anyone 1.4.3, OpenLab Attributions 2.0.1, PressForward 5.2.9, WP Grade Comments 1.4.5
- Improved compatibility with WordPress core admin styles.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused some settings to be improperly reset when saving group settings.
- OpenLab: Cleaned up Academic Units admin columns.
- OpenLab: Improved the appearance of the toolbar on secondary site themes.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused private site links not to appear on group profiles when WordPress uses a non-standard database prefix.
- OpenLab: Improved appearance of toolbar when many menu items are present.
- OpenLab: Improved behavior of group directories when group have long names.
- OpenLab: Fixed broken pagination for Messages inbox.
- OpenLab: Updated markup for improved accessibility on homepage.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BuddyPress 9.2.0, bbPress 2.6.9
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress 9.2.0, bbPress 2.6.9, Event Organiser 3.10.8
- Fixed order in which localizations are loaded.
- OpenLab: Fixed incorrect Contact Us link URL.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BuddyPress 9.1.1, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.1, Invite Anyone 1.4.2
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress 9.1.1, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.1, Invite Anyone 1.4.2, OpenLab Private Comments 1.1.1, PressForward 5.2.8, WP Grade Comments 1.4.4
- Improved compatibility with PHP 8.0+.
- OpenLab: Improved behavior of oEmbed videos on mobile devices.
- OpenLab: Improved appearance of badge labels in group directories.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that prevented portfolio owner from seeing “Site Dashboard” link in the sidebar of Portfolio home.
- OpenLab: Improved permissions behavior when a network administrator modifies a user\’s portfolio settings.
- OpenLab: Fixed inconsistent email subscription settings in various parts of the settings panels.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC10, BuddyPress 9.0.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.6, BuddyPress Docs Wiki 1.0.11, External Group Blogs 1.6.2
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC10, BuddyPress 9.0.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.6, Event Organiser 3.10.7, PressForward 5.2.6, WP Grade Comments 1.4.0
- Compatibility with WordPress 5.8 and BuddyPress 9.0.0.
- Compatibility with BuddyPress 8.0.0’s selectable signup profile fields.
- Fixed bug that could cause duplicate bbPress forums to be created for a group.
- Fixed bug that prevented Pending forum topics from being viewed on the front end.
- Add an admin email notification when a forum post is marked as Pending.
- Improved behavior when restoring a forum topic from trash/spam.
- Classic: Add highlighting to unread group forum threads.
- Classic: Improve bbPress redirect behavior after CBOX installation.
- Classic: Improved labels in theme options panel.
- Classic: Compatibility with BP bulk notifications management.
- OpenLab: Introduce the ‘Creators’ feature, allowing greater customization over the way a group’s Acknowledgements are displayed and inherited by clones.
- OpenLab: Introduce the ‘OpenLab Private Comments’ site plugin, which allows users to post comments that are visible only to the site owner.
- OpenLab: Introduce the ‘OpenLab Attributions’ site plugins, a powerful tool for generating and displaying inline attributions into post content.
- OpenLab: Introduce a clone “counter”, which shows a tally of a group’s descendants.
- OpenLab: Introduce the Creative Commons widget.
- OpenLab: Improvements for group search, including respect for quoted phrases.
- OpenLab: Introduce a toggle that allows site admins to disable the OpenLab toolbar for logged-out users visiting their sites.
- OpenLab: Introduce Delete buttons to Message panels.
- OpenLab: Improvements to the way fields are pre-filled and validated when cloning an existing group.
- OpenLab: Accessibility and contrast improvements to the Messages panel.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BuddyPress 6.4.0
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress 6.4.0
- Compatibility with WordPress 5.6+.
- Compatibility with latest versions of jQuery, as included in WordPress 5.6+.
- OpenLab: Fixed the logic of the default ‘Term’ value when creating a Course.
- OpenLab: Improvements to the behavior of nav menus on medium-width screens.
- OpenLab: Improved behavior when populating the “Clone Existing” dropdown during group creation.
- OpenLab: Better flushing of permalinks on newly created sites.
- OpenLab: Fixed “Sent between” text that appears on private message threads.
- OpenLab: Better consistency when generating group navigation for group Moderators.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that made it impossible to save an empty value for “Term” in a Course
- Updated plugins (Classic): bbPress 2.6.6, BuddyPress 6.3.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.5, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC9
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): bbPress 2.6.6, BuddyPress 6.3.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.5, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC9, Event Organiser 3.10.2
- Improved markup on Welcome page for better cross-browser appearance.
- OpenLab: Improvements to Dashboard menu positioning when scrolling.
- OpenLab: Improved appearance for Help page templates.
- OpenLab: Provide some configurable labels missing in 1.2.2 release.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that may cause certain group types not to appear in admin UI in some cases.
- OpenLab: Fixed missing icon on ‘Clone’ button.
- OpenLab: Removed irrelevant filter dropdowns from certain content directories.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused ‘type’ sorting not to work in member directories.
- OpenLab: Improved data cleanup after a site is manually deleted via the Network Admin.
- OpenLab: Improvements to 404 template.
- OpenLab: Improved backward compatibility for the display of group contacts.
- Classic: Improvements to registration page markup for better plugin compatibility.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused Search Results page not to be installed properly on upgrade from 1.1.x.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that caused some footer widget text to be uneditable.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that may cause fatal errors during 1.2.0 plugin upgrade routine.
- Classic: Improved compatibility with WordPress 5.5
- Classic: Improved confirmation before installing or activating cbox-theme.
- Classic: Localization improvements.
- Classic: Password strength meters for settings and registration pages.
- OpenLab: New Badges tool for groups.
- OpenLab: New import and export tools for Portfolios.
- OpenLab: New search results landing page for groups, with improved sidebar filters.
- OpenLab: Added directory filters for “Open” and “Cloneable” groups.
- OpenLab: New group cloning features, including “shared cloning”, a Credits section for groups and sites, and cloning for all group types.
- OpenLab: Added fine-grained control over how group roles map to site roles.
- OpenLab: Improvements to “Additional Faculty” and “Group Contact” tools.
- OpenLab: Group-level toggles for Docs, Files, Discussions, and Files features.
- OpenLab: Improved validation of URLs during the group creation process.
- OpenLab: Allow users without a member type to select their own member type on their Settings panel, for better compatibility with auto-provisioned user accounts.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that could cause an invalid default theme to be installed on group-type template sites.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug in the way that network toolbar loads on subdomain installations.
- OpenLab: Accessibility improvements for Dashboard admin panels.
- OpenLab: Added CLI tools for performing data migrations after CBOX upgrade.
- OpenLab: Fixed text visibility bug when editing a group event.
- OpenLab: Performance improvements related to user-defined strings.
- OpenLab: Improved compatibility between network toolbar and latest versions of Block Editor.
- OpenLab: Localization improvements.
- OpenLab: Increased the number of group members shown on the group Settings panels.
- OpenLab: Simplification of some template parts.
- OpenLab: Improved filterability of “lost password” length in homepage login box.
- OpenLab: Improved “current page” highlighting on main nav menu.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug that prevented group action buttons (“Join Group”, etc) from being shown to network administrators.
- Updated plugins (Classic): bbPress 2.6.5, BP Groupblog 1.9.2, BP MPO Activity Filter 1.3.2, BuddyPress 6.1.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.4, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.0, Invite Anyone 1.4.1
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): bbPress 2.6.5, BuddyPress 6.1.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.4, BuddyPress Event Organiser 1.2.0, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 4.0.0, Event Organiser 3.10.0, Invite Anyone 1.4.1, PressForward 5.2.3, WP Grade Comments 1.3.2
- Classic: Improved compatibility with BP Customizer settings when using the Nouveau template pack.
- Classic: Fixed a bug with tab navigation in CBOX THeme options.
- Classic: Fixed an issues with making searches on BuddyPress directory pages.
- OpenLab: Hide “Group Home” link from site navs when the group is inaccessible to current user.
- OpenLab: Fixed bug with BuddyPress Docs edit mode.
- OpenLab: Improved appearance of single page/post content.
- OpenLab: Fixed incorrect “Recent Docs” and “Recent Discussions” subheaders when WordPress is installed in a subdirectory.
- OpenLab: Improved language regarding “Professor(s)” in group headers.
- OpenLab: Fix bug that could prevent site admins from accessing Dashboard > Plugins in some cases.
- Improvements to the behavior of network-activated CBOX plugins.
- Fixed bug in WP-CLI tools that caused theme update to unzip to wrong location in some cases.
- Improved compatibility with Multi-Network setups.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BuddyPress 4.4.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.3, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.9.4, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC8
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): BuddyPress 4.4.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.3, BuddyPress Docs In Group 1.0.2, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.9.4, BP Group Documents 1.12.3, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC8, PressForward 5.2.2, WP Grade Comments 1.3.1
- OpenLab: Fixed problem with image and other upload paths after site cloning.
- OpenLab: Fixed Google Maps API key integration in Event Organiser.
- OpenLab: Fixed problems with category fetching when creating new events.
- Improved compatibility with older version of PHP.
- Improved compatibility with WordPress 5.0+.
- Improved compatibility with non-standard multisite and multinetwork configuration.
- Improvements to CLI update tools.
- Improved compatibility with BuddyPress 4.0+ privacy and data export tools.
- Localization improvements.
- Updated plugins (Classic): BP Group Announcements 1.0.6, BP MPO Activity Filter 1.3.1, BP Groupblog 1.9.1, BuddyPress 4.2.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.2, Invite Anyone 1.4.0
- Updated plugins (OpenLab): Anthologize 0.8.0, Braille 0.0.6, BuddyPress 4.2.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.2, Event Organiser 3.7.4, Invite Anyone 1.4.0
- Added “package” functionality
- Introducing the OpenLab package. See http://commonsinabox.org/cbox-openlab-overview/ for more details.
- Updated plugins: BuddyPress 3.2.0, BuddyPress Docs 2.1.1, BuddyPress Reply By Email 1.0-RC7
- Classic improvements: Improved accessibility for theme; improved compatibility with updated versions of WP and BP; improved PHP 7.2 compatibility
- Update plugins: BuddyPress 2.9.4, BuddyPress Docs 2.0.1, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.8.2, BuddyPress Groupblog 1.9.0, BP MPO Activity Filter 1.2.1, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC6, CAC Featured Content 1.0.9, Invite Anyone 1.3.20
- Introduce new technique for setting plugin defaults at the time of CBOX setup.
- Fix bug that caused BuddyPress Notifications component not to be activated at CBOX setup.
- Fix bug that causes bbPress topic replies not to go through in certain cases.
- Theme improvements: Add search form to Members directory and to Manage > Members page in groups.
- Compatibility with WordPress 4.8 and BuddyPress 2.9
- Update plugins: BuddyPress 2.9.1, bbPress 2.5.14, BuddyPress Docs 1.9.4, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.7.2, BP Reply By Email 1.0-RC5, Invite Anyone 1.3.19
- Security hardening against certain upload vulnerabilities
- Compatibility with BuddyPress 2.8
- Updated plugins: BuddyPress 2.8.2, BuddyPress Docs 1.9.3, BuddyPress Group Email Subscription 3.7.1, Invite Anyone 1.3.16
- Theme improvements: Fix positioning of search interface on forum tag page; Fix positioning bug with certain widget titles; Improve compatibility with BuddyPress 2.8+; Improve compatibility with PHP 7.1+.; Fix some PHP notices.
- 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
- 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 188.8.131.52, 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
- 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 184.108.40.206
- 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