How to customize the BuddyPress activation email


BuddyPress the social networking plugin for WordPress sends an activation email when a new user registers. This email is very plain so why not add some spice to it by having your custom email. There are many forum threads out there for this topic but 99% of them don’t mention if their method is for single site or multi site. So I spent a lot of time trying customize this activation mailer without any success. Finally I sank into the code of BuddyPress and found the right set of hooks for the each environment – single or multi site.

WordPress Single site

These are the filters that contain the necessary data.

  • bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_subject
  • bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_message

Changing the subject is pretty simple.

add_filter( 'bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_subject', 'custom_buddypress_activation_subject', 10, 2 );

function custom_buddypress_activation_subject( $subject, $user_id ) {
	$user = get_userdata( $user_id );
	return $user->user_login . ' – Activate your ' . get_bloginfo( 'name' ) . ' account';

To change the activation message –

add_filter( 'bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_message', 'custom_buddypress_activation_message', 10, 3 );

function custom_buddypress_activation_message( $message, $user_id, $activate_url ) {
	$user = get_userdata( $user_id );
	return "Hi $user->user_login,
Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account please click the following link:

This is a plaintext email, you can also send a HTML email. To do this the content type of the email has to be changed to “text/html”

function set_bp_message_content_type() {
	return 'text/html';

add_filter( 'bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_message', 'custom_buddypress_activation_message', 10, 3 );

function custom_buddypress_activation_message( $message, $user_id, $activate_url ) {
	add_filter( 'wp_mail_content_type', 'set_bp_message_content_type' );
	$user = get_userdata( $user_id );
	return 'Hi <strong>' . $user->user_login . '</strong>,
Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account please <a href="' . $activate_url . '">click here</a>.

The email’s Content-Type is to be modified only for the BuddyPress activation message, so we act on the wp_mail_content_type hook only inside this function.

You can also use full fledged email templates to give a branded feel.

WordPress Multisite

These are the hooks which contain the activation email and its subject on a Multisite setup.

Registration without blog.

  • bp_core_activation_signup_user_notification_subject
  • bp_core_activation_signup_user_notification_message

Registration with blog.

  • bp_core_activation_signup_blog_notification_subject
  • bp_core_activation_signup_blog_notification_message

The arguments passed by the filters are different here.

add_filter( 'bp_core_activation_signup_user_notification_subject', 'custom_buddypress_activation_subject', 10, 5 );

function custom_buddypress_activation_subject( $subject, $user, $user_email, $key, $meta ) {
	return $user . ' – Activate your ' . get_bloginfo( 'name' ) . ' account';

Just choose the right pair of hooks depending on whether a blog is being created or not when a user registers.

add_filter( 'bp_core_activation_signup_user_notification_message', 'custom_buddypress_activation_message', 10, 5 );

function custom_buddypress_activation_message( $message, $user, $user_email, $key, $meta ) {
	$activate_url = bp_get_activation_page() . "?key=$key";
	$activate_url = esc_url( $activate_url );
	return "Hi $user,
Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account please click the following link:

Adding this code

So where do you add this code? There are three options


This file resides in wp-content/plugins/bp-custom.php, if it not there create it and paste the required code. This is the method I recommend because it works in sync with the BuddyPress plugin and is not affected by change of themes. Also disabling BuddyPress will cause this file NOT to be loaded thus reducing the number of loaded files.

Create a plugin

You can create a file inside wp-content/plugins/ with the following plugin header and place the code after it.

Plugin Name: BuddyPress custom activation email
Plugin URI:
Description: Checks the health of your WordPress install
Author: Jesin A
Author URI:

This gives the advantage of being able to disable this functionality if not needed.

Child Theme’s functions.php file

This is the least recommended location because changing the theme will result in lost of this functionality.


  1. Rich says

    The filter for the message should be:

    add_filter( 'bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_message', 'custom_buddypress_activation_message', 10, 5 );
  2. Rich says

    No its the the change to the 1st argument which made it work.

    You are hooking into:

    It should be:

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      This article explains both the filters, check under the single site and multisite headings. “bp_core_activation_ …” is for Multisite blogs and the one that worked for you is for single site.

  3. says

    Hey Jesin,

    Ty for the post, it is very enlightening.
    I was wondering if you could help me with something else. I would like the BP activation email to also send the new user his/hers username and password. Is that possible?

    Ty very much.

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      Hi Allécto,

      This post already uses the username in the example code snippets, $user->user_login prints the username.

      I can’t find a way for sending the password without editing the core files which I don’t recommend.

      • Allécto says

        Hello, Jesin,

        Thanks a bunch for your reply. Now the emails send the username, which was actually more important that the password.


  4. says

    Hi Jesin,

    Thanks very much for this article! I was trying to find out how to do this, ran across some very messed up articles, then found this one by simply Googling the text that BuddyPress sends out for an activation email! lol

    Awesome, you have made my life much better. I can’t stand plain and jane. :) This is perfect for my remodel of WinkPress.


  5. says

    hi, great post.

    It was VERY helpful post, for me.

    function set_bp_message_content_type() {return 'text/html';}
        add_filter( 'wp_mail_content_type', 'set_bp_message_content_type' );

    Thank You.


  6. says

    How to sync buddypress activation with Aweber activation (opt-in email) ?
    I would like to send information enter since buddypress registration form to my contacts aweber when a user account is activated
    What are the functions that allows to have the email, username, and the profile information for buddupress? and where is that I can put a function that sending this information?


  7. says

    My website does send that email when somebody creates a new site :

    “Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account and blog, please click the following link:…”

    but I can’t find the file bp-custom.php.

    I just want to locate and modify that email.
    When can i find it?

    Thanks for helping.

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      Editing the file is not the right way to do it, updating BuddyPress will overwrite the changes. Use the bp_core_activation_signup_blog_notification filter as shown in this article to modify the mail text.

  8. Paddy says

    Yes but I just want to edit the file for now. I think it is easy for me now.
    Which file i have to edit?

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      Inside wp-content/plugins, create a file “bp-custom.php” with the following contents:

      add_filter( 'bp_core_activation_signup_blog_notification_message', 'custom_buddypress_activation_message', 10, 8 );
      function custom_buddypress_activation_message( $message, $domain, $path, $title, $user, $user_email, $key, $meta ) {
          $activate_url = bp_get_activation_page() . "?key=$key";
          $activate_url = esc_url( $activate_url );
          return "Hi $user,
      Thanks for registering! To complete the activation of your account and blog, please click the following link:
      After you activate, you can visit your blog here:
      " . esc_url( "http://{$domain}{$path}" );
  9. Mel says

    Great article. Thanks for this.

    What about customising the title?
    The default is [] Activate Your Account

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      Hi Mel,

      Use the bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_subject filter on single sites and bp_core_activation_signup_user_notification_subject or bp_core_activation_signup_blog_notification_subject on multisites. The article above covers these filters too.

  10. Mel says

    Thanks Jesin.
    This is unfortunately beyond my current skills.
    Would you have a snippet that works out of the box?
    Greatly appreciated!

    • Jesin AAuthor says

      The snippet too is available in this article. This is for single site:

      add_filter( 'bp_core_signup_send_validation_email_subject', 'custom_buddypress_activation_subject', 10, 2 );
      function custom_buddypress_activation_subject( $subject, $user_id ) {
          return 'Your own subject line';
  11. Daniel says

    Hi Jesin

    Thanks for this. I’m getting a weird issue though.

    I created a plugin using the code. Locally it works fine. I can see in my mailoutput in XAMPP that the email has been created.

    I am also testing a version of this on a subdomain on the live server, but here the reigstration email doesn’t sent. If I switch off the plugin the default activation email gets correctly sent. For some reason the exact same code isn’t working on the subdomain. Do you have any idea why?


    • Jesin AAuthor says

      Hi Daniel,

      It could be that the customized email is being marked as spam, did you check the junk folder of the recipient?

      • Daniel says

        Hey! Yeah I did check the junk folder. When I switched off the plugin, the default Buddypress activation emails were coming through. Not sure why it isn’t working as it’s fine locally. I’m wondering if it is to do with it being on a subdomain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>