How to send, configure, and accept Discourse invitation emails

Discourse allows Trust Level 2 and above users to invite new users to a forum. Users can be invited to join the forum, or to join the forum and be directed to a specific topic. Invites sent by site admins and group owners can be configured to automatically add the invited user to a group when they accept the invite.

Inviting a new user to the forum

Trust Level two and above users can invite new users to join the forum from their Invites page. To get to the Invites page, go to your profile and click the Invites link.

On the Invites page, click Send an Invite.

For non-admin users who are not the owners of a group, the invite modal will accept an email address.


For admin users and group owners, the invite modal will also accept a list of group names.


An optional custom message can be added to the invitation email by clicking the custom message link.

Complete the form and click the Send Invite button to send the invite email. Click the Copy Invite Link button to copy the invite link to your clipboard. This link can then be pasted into an email that you send the user.

Inviting a new user to a topic

New users can be invited to a topic by clicking the Share button from a topic’s footer buttons.

A modal window will open that gives you the option of either sharing a link to the topic, or sending an Invite to the topic.


Select the Send and Invite button and add the email address to the form to trigger an invite. When an invitation to a topic is accepted, a new account is created on Discourse in the same way as when a regular invite is sent. The difference between an invitation to a topic, and a regular invite is that when invited to a topic, the user will be redirected to the topic after accepting the invite.

Inviting a new user to a topic in a protected category

For topics in protected categories, new users can only be invited to the topic by site admins. When sending the invite, the admin must add the user to a group that will give them access to the topic.


Accepting an invite

New users accept an invite by clicking the invite link in the email they are sent. The link will take them to a page where they can enter a password and any user fields that are required by the forum.

After submitting the form, the new user will be redirected to the forum’s homepage for regular invites, or to a specific topic if they were invited to a topic. The user will be automatically granted membership in any groups that were included in the invite. The user will be granted the Trust Level that is configured in the default invitee trust level site setting. This setting defaults to Trust Level 1.

Setting your site to Invite Only

To only allow users to signup for your site by accepting an invite, enable the invite only site setting.

Only allowing staff to send invites

The easiest way to limit sending invites to staff members is to enable the must approve users site setting. When enabled, this setting prevents regular users from sending invites, but allows staff users to send invites. Users invited by staff are automatically approved.

If enabling must approve users is not an option for your site, invites can be limited to staff members by setting the max invites per day site setting to 0. This setting doesn’t apply to staff members, so they will be able to send an unlimited number of invites.

Adjusting the default invite settings

To see all the invite settings, go your Site Settings page and enter ‘invite’ into the search box.

  • invite only: Disables public registration for a site. New users can only be added to the site through invite emails. Disabled by default.
  • invite expiry days: Sets the number of days that an invite link is valid for. Defaults to 30 days.
  • default invitee trust level: sets the default trust level that is granted to invited users. If the invitation includes access to a Discourse group that automatically grants a trust level, that group’s trust level will be granted to the user instead of the default invitee trust level. Defaults to Trust Level 1.
  • max invites per day: Sets the maximum number of invites that regular users can send per day. This setting is not applied to Staff users. Defaults to 10.

Site Settings that disable invites

Invites to new Discourse users cannot be sent when the enable sso setting is checked. Invites can also not be sent when the enable local logins site setting is disabled.

Related topics


Thanks for the excellent documentation, Simon. Overall, the invite system in Discourse works well for us. I am just wondering about inviting new users to topics in protected categories, since we have run into issues with this particular process.

Since categories are typically protected by group access, and admins are not necessarily involved with every group or category, it would be good if a group owner could invite new users to a protected topic in a group-accessible category. I assume this would mean simultaneously adding them to the group that has access to that category.

Otherwise a site admin’s involvement is required every time a group owner wants to invite a user to a topic in the category that was set up for that group.

Without admin involvement, currently (if I understand correctly), it takes multiple steps: 1) the group owner invites user to the forum and group; 2) when the user accepts, the group owner manually invites them to the topic.

Perhaps this could be condensed into one step? I also assume this ability could be limited (if desired) to group owners with the permission to create topics (not merely read or reply) in the given category.

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Yes, this is the way it is currently works for a non-admin group owner to invite a user to a topic in a protected category. There are security implications around inviting users to protected topics, so it needs to ba approached carefully.