While some communities are open to everyone to join and participate, sometimes you may choose to create a community that is private or exclusive. At Vanilla Forums, we offer you different ways to handle privacy or exclusivity. Below are different ways to ensure the level of privacy you want:
Custom Category Permissions
If you have an open community, sometimes you may want a private chat area which is only viewable to some members. For example, you can create a category in your community that is only accessible to moderators. To make a private category, create a new category, and add a custom permission where only moderators have view permissions. Another novel way to use this feature is to create all rooms private for members and a public room for pre-sale questions. This allows your paying customers to have full access to the support forum and keep out non-paying customers.
Registration By Approval Only
You can create a community where users can see all or part of the content and change registration that only allows approved members to add or reply to content. This can give your forum a bit of an exclusive feel. You can set this up, by changing registration method to "Approval".
Some community owners may choose this when they want people to have the information, but not necessarily add their questions or comments, without being pre-screened. This could be used by a professional site that might want a search engine to crawl the information. This allows like-minded professionals to find it, but it won't let just anyone participate. You must also make sure all social media logins are turned off as well.
Completely Private Forum Or Community
This is a solution for users that want to hide content to non-members. With a completely private community, all visitors will encounter a login screen before they can see any content. To gain access, users will need to either login with login credentials or register to view the community. Some customers combine a private community with the approval registration option (covered above) to ensure that only approved users can access their community.
To make your community private, you will want to go to plugins and enable "Private Community"
Once enabled you will need to go to settings
The settings are found in the manage roles and permissions. You need to set your community to private:
With the plugin enabled and set to private, only members can see inside your community. This plugin is also helpful as you build your community. You can use it to allow your beta testers or early adopters to sneak a peek inside your community before you launch.
Now it's you turn. Do you have a private forum or community? Why did you decide to restrict membership?
Vanilla Forums offers a cloud based solution that allows you to create an open, semi-private or completely private community as your needs require.Try Vanilla Forums Cloud Solution free for 30-days.