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Sometimes you want a forum to be restricted to certain users. Maybe you only want your employees to access it, a set of beta testers, or your own customers. We'll walk you through how to set this up.
Make a Forum Private
- Click the icon in the bottom left corner
- Click "General Settings"
- Click "Ideas"
- Click "Forums"
- Click "Edit" for the forum you want to make private
- Check the option to "Make this forum private"
Once private, you will have an option to edit the "Access Denied" message for the forum to show to users who don't have access
Your Options for Granting Access Include:
- Email Domain
- IP Address
- Email Address (you can invite specific email addresses to the account)
Invite Users by Email Address
You can invite individual email addresses to access your private forum. This works well for forums used for beta tests and smaller user groups. It's also an easy way to get started with a private forum.
- Once you make your forum private, click the link to "Manage Authorized Users" → Click the "Invite Users" tab.
- You can enter individual email addresses, or copy and paste a comma separated list.
- You’ll be given the option to create a customized invitation message.
- You can also use a custom "reply-to" address.
Please note: this does not affect the "from" address which will always be "email@example.com". There is not a way to set the "from" address.
- Users will receive your invitation with a link to the forum. They will need to click the link in the email to confirm their email address, and then they will be prompted to sign-in. Users must have a confirmed email address before they will be able to view the private forum.
Q: Can I remove access to the private forum?
A: Yes, if you delete a user's claimed or unclaimed invitation, it will remove their access.
If you have Single Sign-On (SSO) set up, you can grant access to your private forums through SSO. When your SSO users sign in, they will automatically be given access to the forum.
With SSO, you can also grant or deny access to specific forums in the token. This section of our documentation walks through how to do this. We do not have this option available for SSO SAML.
Here are the attributes you can use in the JSON web token to grant or deny forum access:
- allow_forums: Exclusive list (as a JSON array of Forum IDs) a user has access to (doesn’t restrict licensed users).
- deny_forums: Exclusive list (as a JSON array of Forum IDs) a user doesn't have access to (doesn't affect licensed users).
When granting access by email domain, users must have a created user account before they can view the forum.
In the forum settings, enter the email domains you want to grant access to (be sure to enter
Here's how the process works for new users:
- Send them the URL of the Private Forum.
- When they arrive on the page, they will need to create an account via Email Authentication or sign-in via a social auth, such as Google or Slack.
- Once created, the user will be able to access the private forum.
Q: What about existing users?
A: They will see the forum on the home page in the sidebar menu.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of domains that can be added?
A: There isn't a hard limit to the number of domains you can add to a private forum. You can add multiple domains at once by inputting a comma separated string of domains, for example:
Grant Users Access by IP Address
This is especially useful if you’re using your forum for internal purposes. Enter the approved IP addresses, and save your settings. Please note that the IP range must be defined according to this specification.
Users who come from an approved IP address will be able to sign in with just an email address to access the private forum.
Use One or All Access Settings
Many companies use just one privacy setting, but you can use multiple if you want.
- You can allow ANY of the following options, so users can sign in with SSO, from an authorized IP or from an approved email domain.
- You also have the option to require ALL of the authentication options, so users must sign in with SSO, and an approved email domain.
What about inviting users by email address? When you invite a specific email address to a forum, it is always an "OR" option. So the user must meet your other access restrictions OR their email address must have access.