Can Discourse limit topics to single users? Can these topics be created automatically upon new user registration?

I have a simple need for a forum/discussion platform for the features listed below. So far, I’ve found Wordpress + BBPress + MemberMouse to be adequate, but I really like some of Discourse’s functionality.

Therefore, is it possible to create a Discourse forum with the following:

  1. Private forum for paid members (managed by Membermouse with custom dev, or Memberful)
  2. Private Thread automatically created for each new User between the User and Administrator (Admin will be able to see dozens of these Threads, but each User will only see their private Thread between themselves and the Admin)
  3. Members-only Forum/Threads - This content will be available to all logged-in members and use the great features of Discourse
  4. A simple mobile app - Discourse Hub (both iOS and Android) seems to solve this, although I don’t love that the Session can be closed by hitting “Done”. I would prefer a dedicated mobile app and would pay a reasonable fee for its development or white labeling.
  5. Handle hundreds of users - As the site grows, I anticipate less than 1,500 total lifetime users. My understanding is that Discourse can scale to thousands of users without issue, so this is likely non sequitur.

I lean towards Membermouse as the membership management plugin in order to provide 1-click upsell functionality. Memberful offers a native Discourse integration, but lacks this important feature.

Lastly, I’m not sold I need Wordpress for this community. I have experience with Wordpress and the rest of my sites run on WP. That said, Wordpress + Discourse + Membermouse might be overkill. In the end, I simply want a forum I can design attractively and handle the features.

Thank you for any feedback or insights you can share!

– Waffleslop

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Welcome to Meta, @waffleslop!

I think everything you listed is 100% possible with Discourse and some sort of membership plugin.

You may not need that whole dependency stack there. I run a personal productivity community using Wordpress, Paid Memberships Pro, and Discourse. I’m finding I’m slowly drifting toward wanting to use Discourse for more and more things and the WP/PMP side less and less. That’s probably partly because I do Discourse development, but also because Discourse is just a fantastic piece of software.

Have you looked at ProCourse Memberships? It’s possible this could fit your needs. You could restrict all categories to a members-only group that way. The only downside is at this time users can purchase a level via ProCourse Memberships after they have an account (vs. before, which is what it sounds like you’re after).

Discourse will be able to handle 1500 users easily. If you host somewhere like Digital Ocean, scaling it is very straightforward – just upgrade your droplet size.

For most of your requests, you may want to hit up #marketplace to chat with developers to help you with any custom projects you have.


This is great, @justin. I installed Discourse on a new Droplet at DO and am playing with it. Thank you for the confirmation and the link to PCM (which is new to me), and #marketplace.

Would you be open to sharing what you think Discourse does REALLY well? Why do you find yourself spending more time with Discourse? What makes it superior to Wordpress for your community?

Also, what’s the best way to limit a Topic to a single user? I’ll move to hire a dev to setup a long-term solution, but I need to figure out the right way to limit a single User (likely a Group consisting of 1 User + Admin) to view a Topic.

I found I was able to create a Group (User + Admin) and set “Reply/See” permissions at the Category level, but I want it at the Topic level.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

If it’s a single topic then the best way to achieve this would be a private message.


Oh, funky. Thanks @Stephen. That makes sense.

I think Discourse makes online interactions a whole lot easier, and the platform is very stable. I’ve had more issues with my WordPress installation in the last six months than Discourse. I’m getting frustrated with WordPress because key features I find I need (like scheduling posts to go public at a predefined time) work inconsistently at best, if at all.

I’m a little biased toward Discourse, too, because I do custom development with ProCourse (and thus I’m biased toward ProCourse Memberships because it’s one of our plugins), but with the way Discourse is built, just about anything is possible with it.

I still use Paid Memberships Pro for my site because it seemed like the best option I had at the time, but as time goes on, I’d like WordPress to be a smaller and smaller dependency. Might be slightly challenging since I’m using SSO on WordPress, but we’ll see. Essentially, my WP site is the brochure and all the action takes place on Discourse.

The other thing that keeps me drawn to Discourse is it’s what started the community. I assumed ownership of it after the owner started it solely on Discourse and made the change to having WordPress involved. Long term I’m realizing all the traffic is still going to Discourse (vs. the WordPress site), so that’s where I optimize my engagement strategy.

For a new community, there’s nothing wrong with having a WP front-end, but it is possible to drive it almost entirely from Discourse if you want to, depending on your needs.


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