What happens to my current users after configuring SSO?

Hello! So let’s say I have a forum that’s hosted by Discourse, and I have about 100 active members on that forum. I don’t have SSO set up yet, so all these users signed up with Discourse accounts.

Now, let’s say I have my devs set up SSO on the forum, what happens to those 100 accounts that existed on the forum prior to SSO?

How will those users log in and still retain their account and post history? I don’t want them to have to abandon their accounts once SSO is configured with my site.

To make matters more complicated, most of those 100 members already have accounts on my site. Some under the same email they used to sign up for the Forum, others under a different email.

So once SSO is set up, will it know to merge the accounts that are under the same email? What about the accounts that are under different emails? How will users be able to merge their forum Discourse account, with their account on my site?

On a slightly unrelated note, is it true that your (awesome) invite feature won’t work if I have SSO set up? How then can I invite users to the forum and automatically add them to various groups?


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All the users must exist on the SSO provider with the same email as the one in discourse. Once SSO is enabled, their SSO accounts get associated to the existing discourse account via email address.

Invites have to be managed via SSO Provider since discourse isn’t handing the user registration anymore once SSO is enabled.


So the next time they go to the forum I assume they’ll be automatically logged off? And when they try to log in instead of seeing the Discourse log in, they’ll be taken to my site’s log in?

Is there a way to automatically add anyone who joins the forum during a period of time to a specific group on Discourse? Like, if I wanted to automatically put anyone who joins during April 2021 into a group called “beta testers” is that possible?

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I’m not aware of any ready to use example for this but it should be fairly simple to do so.


Your SSO can pass a group membership parameter via the DiscourseConnect response in the SSO flow. That way your SSO Provider can give this (and others) groups memberships.

It’s documented at DiscourseConnect - Official Single-Sign-On for Discourse (sso)


Awesome, you all are very helpful! Last question:

What if one of my current forum users only had a Discourse log in, but never created an account on my site. Once I configure SSO, what will happen to their account? Is it just lost forever and unable to be reclaimed?

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The user will need to create an account on your site with the same email. After that this new user will be able to login and reclaim the forum account.

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Gotcha. Thanks. That doesn’t seem as scary as I thought.