Communities are a powerful way to engage an audience and drive meaningful discussions. Whether it forums for sporting communities, hobbies, work, or our personal favorite - visual programming - there’s a hub for every niche.
Reddit has been known as one of the most popular online community platforms. With thousands of subreddits for every niche, the platform is home to some of the most engaged communities in the world. But if you’re a maker who’s interested in building a community, using a third-party platform can often carry some perceived risks. By hosting your community on an existing platform, you’re subject to the rules, policies, and product changes of this provider.
The best solution? Why not build your own community?
With the rise of no-code tools, makers from all backgrounds can start building their own software, all without writing a single line of code. Bubble’s powerful platform has made it easier than to get started on your development journey. Our customers use Bubble to build websites, mobile apps, and of course, communities.
Throughout this post, we’ll uncover the process of using Bubble to build your own white-labeled version of Reddit. We’ll share a step-by-step guide to building the underlying logic for your MVP in just a matter of minutes.
The steps to build a Reddit clone with no code include:
Before you start, you’ll need to first register your free Bubble account. Then you can follow along as we build our product together.
Register your account on Bubble
We recommend completing our introductory lessons, which will guide you through the step-by-step process of the most common Bubble features. This will help you get a running start when building your Reddit clone.
We also recommend understanding how to create and edit user accounts. We’ve previously covered this in more detail in our How To Build Quora guide.
When kickstarting your project, you can choose to start by wireframing your product design, or building the necessary fields within your database.
In this case, we’ll start by using the visual design tool to shape the user-interface of our product. When replicating Reddit, some of the core pages you’ll want to include will be:
- Home page - Displaying a list of posts and all the available subreddits
- Subreddit creation page - A portal used to create new subreddits
- Subreddit page - Displaying a list of the posts within a community
- Individual post page - Showcasing the full content within a post
A major feature within Bubble is the ability to send data to a page. This means that you only need to create one generic version of a page that can reflect information about specific users or things from your database.
In the case of your Reddit clone, you’ll only need to create one page to host your individual subreddits and posts. We can then write the necessary logic to display only the relevant content for each page when it’s required.
Configuring your app
Once you’ve mapped out the display of your product, you can focus on creating the necessary data fields to power your application. We’ll rely on these fields to connect the logic behind your product.
Creating a database in Bubble is a seamless process. Start by listing your top-level data types, then add the necessary fields within each category.
When building Reddit as an MVP, we’ll need to create the following data types & fields:
Content type: User
- Subreddits joined - List of subreddits. Note: Creating a list based on an overall data type will allow you to seamlessly integrate all of its relevant data fields without having to create additional field values.
Content type: Subreddit
- Posts - List of posts
- Users - List of users
Content type: Post
- Post content
- Comments - List of comments
- Upvotes - List of users
- Downvotes - List of users
Content type: Comment
- Comment post
Now that you’ve structured both the design and database for your application, it’s time to start stitching everything together and making your product functional.
In Bubble, the main way to do this is with “workflows”. Each workflow happens when an “event” occurs (e.g. a user clicks on a button), and then runs a series of “actions” in response (e.g. “sign the user up”, “make a change to the database”, etc.)
Once a user has created an account, the first core feature we’ll focus on building is a dedicated page where they can create subreddits.
For the sake of our MVP, we’ll keep the design of this page minimal by adding just a text input element and a button.
When a user clicks the create button, this event will trigger a new workflow.
Within this workflow, we’ll then want to create a new thing.
The thing we’ll want to create, is of course, a subreddit - adding to it the name from the input element and the current user.
Displaying dynamic content on the home page
Once you’ve added content to the platform, you can now display this on your homepage.
The homepage will be used to showcase a list of all the available subreddits on your platform, as well as a list of all the posts from the subreddits that a user has joined.
We’ll start by configuring the repeating group element on the right-hand side of our page that features a list of subreddits.
Repeating groups integrate with your database to display and update a list of dynamic content.
When using a repeating group, you’ll need to first link the element to a data type within your database. In this instance, you’ll classify the type of content as subreddits.
Once you’ve updated the data type, you’ll also need to add a data source - indicating which subreddits you’d like to display.
Four our MVP, we’ll simply display a list of all the available subreddits.
Now you’re ready to start structuring the dynamic content that will be displayed within the grid. Simply map out the top column with the relevant content you’d like to show, then this powerful element will populate the remaining columns based on your existing data.
Within a repeating group, it’s also possible to create events based on each individual row.
This feature will become useful when building navigation events across your platform. If a user wanted to view all the posts within a subreddit, they would click on the community name, then be redirected to the relevant page.
To achieve this event, you’ll need to start by creating a workflow when the subreddit title is clicked from the repeating group.
The workflow event will send a user to a page.
From here, select the destination page type to be the subreddit page.
You’ll then need to send additional data to this page so the Bubble editor knows which specific subreddit to display. The data you’ll need to display is that of the current cells subreddit.
Now that we’ve finished building this repeating group, we’ll need to configure the second repeating group on our home page - displaying a list of posts.
Once again, we’ll start by configuring the data type of this repeating group, this time setting it as a post.
When adding a data source, we’ll also include an additional constraint, ensuring that the user only sees a list of posts that have been published in the subreddits they have joined.
When you begin mapping out the preview content for each post row, you can include:
- The name of the current cells subreddit that it has been posted in
- The currents cells posts, title
- The current cells posts, creators, name
One of the key features of Reddit that you’ll want to replicate is the infamous upvote and downvote function.
Using the icons element, you can seamlessly add both of these features and create a workflow when they’re clicked.
Thankfully the workflow to create this function is straight forward. Within the workflow editor, you’ll start by making changes to a thing.
The thing you’ll want to change is the current cells post. The data field you’ll change is the posts upvotes, adding to it the current user.
When building a downvote feature, you can replicate this workflow - making changes to the downvote data field instead.
Note: You can practice the upvoting principle with in one of our interactive introductory lessons on Saving and Modifying Data.
Searching for subreddits
Back on our home page, there’s one last key feature we’ll need to add - a function for a user to freely search and discover new subreddits they may be interested in. We can easily build this feature using our search box element.
By configuring the search list of this element to be subreddits, we can index the search field as the names of subreddits.
This will now index all the available subreddit entries by their names and even offer search suggestions as they’re typed.
To then send a user to the relevant subreddit page, navigate to your workflow editor, then create a new event that is triggered when the value of an input is changed.
You’ll then create a navigation event when the search box’s value is changed, setting the destination page as your subreddit page, and sending with it the data source of the search box’s current value.
Displaying dynamic content on pages
Once a user is directed to a subreddit, we’ll need to configure the subreddit page to display the relevant content for this specific community.
Start by updating the type of page content to a subreddit.
Once updated, you can map out the remaining dynamic elements on your page.
Joining a subreddit
Building support for users to join subreddits can easily be done in a straightforward workflow. Start by triggering a workflow when the join button is clicked.
Next, you’ll opt to make changes to a thing.
Finally, you’ll want to make changes to the current pages subreddit by adding the current user.
Creating a post
Now that users can join subreddits, our next core feature will be a function to publish posts within the community. We’ll trigger this workflow when the create post button is clicked.
Instead of redirecting a user to a new page, we’ll use a popup element to create our next post. Popups are a useful way to display information or create events without directing the user away from the current page.
To display a popup in your workflow, start by selecting from the element actions tab, then opt to show a thing.
The element we’ll need to show, is of course, the popup.
The remaining workflow for creating a post will follow the same structure as creating a new subreddit, only this time we’ll include additional input fields for the posts title and body.
We’ll also ensure that the new post is linked to the current pages subreddit.
Once the post has been created, we’ll add an additional step in our workflow to then hide the popup.
The repeating group on your subreddit page will automatically update in real-time when a new post is created.
Displaying & viewing posts
When displaying posts on our subreddit page, you can duplicate the existing repeating group we previously created on the homepage.
When adding this repeating group, you’ll need to update the data source, displaying posts that have been published in the current pages subreddit.
This will ensure that only the posts from this community are displayed. As per our home page, you can also replicate the same workflows when building your upvote and downvote features for each post.
Note: As each post stores its own unique data, it will constantly sync the total upvote count, regardless of where it’s displayed.
As the posts within our repeating group only displays a preview of the full content - including the post title, creator and description - we’ll need to host the full content on a separate page once a user clicks-through.
To build this event, create a workflow that directs a user to the post page, sending with it the data from the current cells post.
Commenting on posts
After sending a user to the post page, we’ll need to first configure the page type to display the relevant post content.
Once again, you’ll then start mapping out the elements on the page that you’d like to display from each post.
Finally, we’ll also add a new repeating group on this page, displaying the comments from the current pages post.
Below the list of comments, we’ll also add a multiline text element and a comment button. When the comment button is clicked, we’ll trigger a new workflow to create a new thing - a comment.
Within this workflow, we’ll need to match the on-page input field with the content of a comment, and also add this new comment to the current pages post.
Once the new comment has been created, the repeating group on the post page will update with this new content.
Once you’re familiar with creating custom data fields and displaying dynamic content, you can start getting creative with the experiences you build.
Privacy & Security: Now that you have the basics of your app, don't forget to start setting some privacy rules and conditionals to keep your data secure - starting with roles in the 'Privacy' section of your Data tab. You can also check if you're unintentionally exposing any data with an API checker.
Additionally you can:
- Created threaded comments
- Build a function to send messages between users
- Create public user profiles, displaying a list of each users activity
- Add karma points for each action across the platform
Hiring a developer or dev team to build this app would cost thousands, if not tens-of-thousands of dollars. As you launch and grow in users, our paid plans allow you to host the app on your own custom domain for as little as $25 per month. Some templates and plugins may cost more, but you can build all the functionality of a marketplace without any additional costs.
If you don’t want to build your Reddit clone from scratch, you can purchase one of the templates made by our community members. Some similar templates include:
- Redditly - Like Reddit by Rapid Dev
- Modern Community Forum by Thimo
- Hackerly - Communities by Rapid Dev
Bubble can help you build a Reddit clone or any other product you choose! It’s never been easier to build something incredible without having to code.
To get started for free, sign up here.
You can also connect with other passionate makers building with Bubble on our community forum.