Paid Groups

Hi :wave:t3: I’m strongly considering using Discourse. I want to have a few free categories, but over time add “paid” categories that people will have to pay to access. The paid categories will effectively be courses with a community aspect.

  1. I assume using Groups w Subscriptions is the best way to limit access.

  2. Can I customize what an unpaid member sees in the paid category? Maybe a small container for custom HTML/CSS on top with a screenshot of the topics below. I could link to my Woocommerce website to use as a salespage/checkout, but that wouldn’t create a Discourse User (Zapier doesn’t seem to support creating Discord Users / Groups).

  3. What’s the nicest way to post something like a course, maybe with lots of content, on Discourse? Can we have something like HTML pages? Or maybe put Course Content under a Topic or Tag? Generally I’d want to foster community/conversation and have room for people to post their own creations which could be equally valuable.


You clearly are pretty smart :wink: !

Yes - that is integrated tightly / managed brilliantly by the subscriptions plugin.

While you have a lot of control of how much folk can interact with each category, I’m afraid that visibility is somewhat binary by design: either they see everything or they see nothing (not even that it exists).

However, this can be built upon via these customisations:

  1. using subcategories

    • put visible stuff in main category (or a less restricted sub-category)

    • put hidded stuff in a more restricted sub-category

  2. making use of Category Previews

    • this theme-component reveals the existance of a private category and allows you to display a bespoke page instead to those locked out
  3. Advertise activity in a private category (discourse-category-lockdown)

    • this plugin reveals just the Titles of topics in the category and allows the content to be searchable

Thank you @nathank for getting me up-to-speed on these plugins.

I was imagining Category Previews, and Advertise activity in a private category (discourse-category-lockdown) seems very cool too — especially the Google SEO aspect. I just see people having issues with Category Previews based on certain settings they’re using that I don’t understand yet, which is making it all confusing and stopping me from creating my self-hosted installation.

Honestly there’s a massive market for paywalling content, I’m surprised Discourse doesn’t make this possible with their Subscription plugin:

Show private paid Categories to all > when unpaid users click, present a description/preview of the paid content > give them an option to buy.

Or am I missing something?

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No need to @mention me, Discourse is smart enough to notify me of a direct reply!

It is more that use-case hasn’t been specifically addressed with a single solution. You can cobble it together from the above stuff without too much trouble though.

A guide to doing so might be helpful though. Perhaps you could put it together and share it here as you learn through the process!

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Yeah, I guess I just feel that when it comes to eCommerce, this isn’t a particular use-case — more how the entire Internet works!

If I have to cobble this together, I can’t imagine what other roadblocks I’ll hit down the line. Maybe Discourse just can’t do what I need out-of-the-box. Better for free communities :slight_smile:

Shame because I love the experience of using Discourse and wanted that for my community members.

You can use subscription with this plugin and adjust to your convenience:

Or use a landing page and show it like banner, header icon, sidebar:

Last plugin needs maintenance and/or support.