Wanting to start a closed community... should I Require Approval or Invite-only?

Hi, I’m brand new to Discourse, but very interested in bringing my community into this platform so that only those – who’ve bought my online course – can get to know and collaborate with each other.

Just curious which feature is most recommended in this case? “Must approve new users” or “make community invite-only”?

If I do “must approve new users”… I would assume I can see their emails and make sure they are the same emails as the people who signed up for the course?

Or, maybe it’s just easier for me to “invite” them when they sign up for the course. But, then, couldn’t this invite button/link just be shared or forwarded to other non-paying customers?

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Lets see. If I were to do this, I would have ‘approve new users’, and combine that with putting the category behind a group as added security. So you would compare their email address and name before approving, and then also let them into the group to see your sensitive content.


Definitely do the approval option. And instead of locking down each individual category, you can just disallow anonymous access to your site so they have to login.

Alternatively…you could use one of the subscription plugins on Discourse to handle your billing unless you’re doing all that through your online course service. Or, if you want to get really in-the-weeds, you could potentially do authentication directly through your other system with SSO if it supports it.


As @sdpiowa suggests, you’re asking the wrong question.

What you want is for Discourse to authenticate against whatever knows who your customers are so that only those people can log in. Then all you have to do is make login_required.

If it’s WordPress, then WP Discourse plugin installation and setup is where to start. If it’s something else, then you’ll have to do something else.