[PAID] Configure Hosted Discourse for Private Members-Only Community

(Chris Crabtree) #1

What would you like done?
I need an expert to help me best configure Discourse for my private members-only website.

The website itself is WordPress running MemberPress for membership management. The (brand new and empty) Discourse site is hosted on Discourse.com, on the Standard plan.

I wish to configure SSO via the Discourse WordPress plugin so that members of the site can seamlessly participate in the Discourse forums. Additionally, I want to configure Discourse so that its content remains private to the community. Only paying members of the WordPress site should have access to the forums, in other words.

For now, I really just want to use the WordPress plugin for SSO purposes onto the forums. I’m not inclined to do a lot of the deeper integrations the plugin makes possible for bringing content across the WordPress/Discourse border, etc. At least for now, I think it’s cleaner and easier to understand for the users if the forums are just the forums and not woven into the entire website.

No search engine access, obviously. No AdSense, no DFP, no Amazon either.

I do want e-mail delivery of forum activity to the users, as well as the ability for users to post replies via email and to originate new topics via email too. I already use SendGrid for site transactional email delivery, if that matters or helps. From what I’ve read, I would probably set up plain old POP3/IMAP mailboxes for the incoming email.

I do want 100% SSL on the forums, just to be consistent with the WordPress site.

I may want to configure the Customize / Embedding feature, but need your help understanding what that means for the end user.

Because of the access being limited to legitimate paying users, I feel like a lot of the new user and spam protection level stuff will need to be tweaked quite a bit for the best user experience.

So the bottom line is I would like someone expert with Discourse and how it can integrate with WordPress. Someone who will work through all the configuration settings and make decisions that will result in the best experience for my non-technical audience of about 120 users that will shortly be 500 and probably 1000 by this time next year.

I want you to think about my scenario, have an opinion, and be able to execute on that opinion, basically. Then I want you to walk me through your decision points, briefly explaining why you chose what you did. I am a long-time software developer, but brand new to Discourse, so this will be my education. :slight_smile:

When do you need it done?
This month (September 2016). Sooner is better, but I am not in a panic or anything like that.

What is your budget, in $ USD that you can offer for this task?

(Matt Palmer) #2

Hi Chris,

If you’re a hosted Discourse customer, a lot of this stuff comes already setup – like incoming/outgoing e-mail – and other stuff is a button-click away (like SSL).

To make your site members-only, you can turn on “login required”, and optionally either “must approve users” or “invite only” to prevent people from registering for an account and getting straight in.

(Chris Crabtree) #3

Thanks, I didn’t realize email was included, so that’s great.

On the other topics, I still would like some expert help. For example, searching for SSL in the settings panel came up with zero results…I’m sure it’s in there somewhere, and probably easy to lookup and find, but still that’s time for me to do it.

More importantly, all the SSO options need to play well together and play well with the other affected settings like uploading avatars, login required (if I’m doing SSO, do I need to allow Invited Users?), and so on. Feels like every settings brings up a thread of questions for me.

I am sure I can research and learn all this, but would really appreciate an expert to guide me through it to save my time and frustration and make a great user experience instead of potentially confusing or frustrating them and me having to go back and forth twiddling settings until we get it right, you know?


(Jay Pfaffman) #4

Hi, @chris.crabtree. It can be tricky to figure out where things are. Just when you learn that you can search through the settings and think you’re good to go, it turns out that configuring SSL is done at the container level and is done in the configuration file (usually app.yml), which in your case, someone else handles the nuts and bolts for you.

Like @mpalmer said, a goodly portion of what you are asking for they’ll do for you. It’s what you’re paying them for, and the way things are set up, only they can do it. If you need a guide to help figure out the rest, a safe place to be able to ask “stupid” questions, I’ll be happy to help out.

(Kim McKenney) #5

Hi Chris,

I was amazed to see your post asking exactly what I wanted to know at almost the exact time I wanted to know it. I also have a WP site protected with Memberpress and a Discourse forum. I haven’t puzzled out the answer yet, but I did get this reply from Memberpress…

We don’t currently support any 3rd party forums, however if it’s installed in a sub-directory (http://mysite.com/forums/ for example) of your site, then you may be able to protect it with a regular expression Custom URI Rule like ^/forums.*$

I’m sot sure if that’s any use to you or not. I’d l’ve to hear if you figure anything out.

Have a great day!

(Jay Pfaffman) #6

I imagine that memberpress should work just fine with the Wordpress SSO plugin, so having Discourse authenticate against Memberpress should be straightforward. You’d just need to install the WP Discourse plugin on your Wordpress.

(Matt Palmer) #7

To get SSL enabled on a hosted site, go to /admin and click the “Enable SSL” button.

(Chris Crabtree) #8

Thanks @KimM!

While I haven’t done exactly what MemberPress suggested to you, I have hosted a private members-only WordPress forum based on a plugin inside a public-facing blog site before. That experience is what led me to seek out a better architecture this time round. :slight_smile: (If you’re interested, the caching issues it created tanked performance for everyone using the site).

Which is why I’m happy to pay Discourse their monthly fee to host the forum for me on their servers, and Pantheon to host the WordPress site on theirs. Let each do what they do best, and I’ll figure out how to integrate the experience for the end users.

Good luck–would be interested to know what you end up doing and how it works out!

(Chris Crabtree) #9

@mpalmer thanks! I knew I’d seen it someplace!

(Chris Crabtree) #10

Thanks @pfaffman–that is my next step in this adventure.

Appreciate the guidance!

(Simon Cossar) #11

Combining Discourse with a site using something like the MemberPress plugin should work well with the WP Discourse plugin. There may be an issue if you have different levels of users on your WordPress site and you only want to allow some of them to have access to the Discourse forum. We can get around this by adding an action hook to wp-discourse that occurs before the SSO login. This will be able to be used by a plugin or a theme to check a user’s credential before logging them into Discourse.

Edit: the people who make MemberPress have given me a copy of their plugin so that I can work on integrating it with the wp-discourse plugin. I’ll try to do some work with it over the next week.

(Chris Crabtree) #12

Makes sense. I was able to get SSO working last night!

Now just need to go through all the other Discourse settings to make it a great experience for my users.


(system) #13

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