March 2, 2020

Allow WordPress users to chat together with this plugin

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CometChat Go is a beautiful white-label WordPress user chat plugin that's easy to install and configure. Your users will love it because it allows them to chat one-on-one or in a group, either through text, voice, or video chat.

Features

CometChat has been optimized not only for reliability but also to  provide an engaging experience for your users such that they stay on your website longer and keep coming back. Here's a quick overview:

  • 💬 One-on-one chat Your WordPress users can chat with each other in private & one-on-one conversations.
  • 👩‍👩‍👦‍👦 Group chat WordPress users can be gathered into a single place using group chats, Create password protected and invitation only group chats.
  • 📞 Video calling High quality video conversations with peer to peer technology. No server bandwidth used and works on shared servers.
  • 🈯️ Real-time translation Translate all incoming conversations into the language of your choice in real-time.
  • 🚨 Moderation You can assign moderators with specific roles and powers to manage Groups, ban or kick user(s) from group. Users can report conversation and you can filter certain words from the conversation.
  • ⌨︎ Typing indicators Your WordPress users receive a notification when someone is typing in a conversation.
  • Read indicators Get informed when your message is sent, seen and read with read receipts.
  • Last seen indicators Get to know when a WordPress user was last active using the last seen notification feature.
  • Stickers Have fun conversations with classic emojis or CometChat's unique and vibrant stickers.
  • 📂 File sharing Share files within chats using a single click with the file sharing feature.
  • 🤖 Bots You can use bots to show weather, stocks, accept paypal payments or conduct polls, surveys and more.
  • 🖥 White-label web, mobile & desktop apps Re-brand the web, mobile and desktop app to reflect your brand by customizing colors and using White-label Mobile & Desktop App. CometChat Go fits the look and feel of virtually any website theme.

How to implement CometChat with WordPress

Before you continue, I assume you already have a working WordPress website and you know how to install plugins. Please keep in mind that the WordPress site I mentioned means a self hosted WordPress site, using wordpress.org. If you’re using the cloud hosted WordPress version, which is wordpress.com, you won’t be able to install custom plugins.

If you don’t have a wordpress.org website, then you can install one in less than 5 minutes by following this tutorial.

Once you have a running self hosted WordPress site, let’s sign up for a CometChat account to get the plugin.

First, You need to go to CometChat website and register for a free 7 day trial here.

You can sign up for the Lite plan and enter your payment details. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged before the 7 days free trial is up. You’ll even receive an email notification one day before the end of the trial to make sure you don’t forget that it’s almost over.

After you’ve completed the registration, you will receive an email containing your username and password. Use them to login into your account here.

Don’t forget to change your password later

Once you login, you need to insert your domain address and your website technology. Because we’re adding CometChat to WordPress, you can look for it from the dropdown menu.

Selecting WordPress integration

After the setup is finished, click on “Manage” and you’ll be taken into CometChat admin panel.

Click on Manage button

From this page, go to Settings > Install CometChat > Install CometChat on your website. You’ll find WordPress plugin by scrolling down a bit:

CometChat on WordPress menu

Click on the WordPress tab and download the plugin. By the way, don’t forget to take note of your License Key, API Key and Auth Key from the Api Key menu. You will be required to enter them into your CometChat plugin.

Get your keys from the Api Keys menu

Once the download is finished, head into your WordPress website and login as admin. Upload the plugin through WordPress plugins menu:

Once installed, activate the plugin and go into its menu. It will ask you for your license key. Once verified, you’ll need to put your API Key and Auth Key:

CometChat keys here

In order to make the chat room appear on your website, you have to make use of WordPress shortcode feature. A shortcode is a simple set of code written inside two square brackets [] that can be used to add features to your website that otherwise would require real computer code and technical knowledge.

For example, you can use the YouTube shortcode to insert a video from YouTube into your web page:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVbQ-oro7FQ]

A WordPress plugin can take advantage of this feature and use it to create its own specific shortcodes. To see it in action, let’s use CometChat Go’s shortcode to insert a chat room into your page.

To create a new page in your website, click on the menu Pages > Add New. For this tutorial, we’ll name it “Chat page”. You need to write a shortcode for the chat room into the page as follows:

[cometchat layout='embedded' width='900' height='600']

The shortcode above will insert a CometChat chat room into your WordPress page using the embedded mode (we’ll discuss this later) in the size of 900px X 600px

You’re free to customize the width and height, but if you don’t specify them, the default chat room size will be 400px X 420px.

Here is a screenshot of my page:

Creating a WordPress page with chat room feature

Now you’re page is ready, so click on “Publish” button at the top right panel and go to view the page. You should have the chat room running on the Chat page.

An embedded CometChat interface

You can test the chat functionalities by opening your website from another browser. With two users, you can try to chat, send files and even do a video call. You can test out a demo of CometChat here.

CometChat Go Mode: embedded and docked

CometChat Go can run in two different layouts: embedded and docked.

As you have seen through the example above, embedded mode will make the chat room appear tied into your web page. You can still customize its width and height, although it will look better if you leave it in full screen.

By contrast, the chat interface in docked mode will appear as a small window docked into the left or right side of your website. You can customize its width and height, but in general it will appear on top of your website in every page. It can also be minimized to hide it from view.

Now the question is, which one would you use? The answer is the one most suitable for your website.

For example, if you have an e-commerce website where users can chat with a customer representative, it might be better to use docked mode on all your web pages.

If you have a forum website, you might want to run both mode. You create a single embedded chat where users can chat with other users, and then run a docked chat window in the forums thread pages. This way, users can still receive notification of incoming message while browsing through the threads.

By the way, CometChat Go is compatible with user management plugins like BuddyPress and UltimateMembership, which you might need to install once you’re website reached a tipping point and needs to scale.  For integrating CometChat Go with BuddyPress flavored WordPress, you can read the tutorial here < INTERNAL LINK

Making chat a premium feature

Congratulations! Now you know how to integrate CometChat Go into a WordPress website. You also know how to run a chat feature in two different modes: embedded and docked.

I’m not sure if it’s for you, but just in case you’re interested in making chat a premium feature of your site, you can visit my other tutorial here. It will help you to create a paid membership only chat feature for your WordPress site.