Creating an online community with varying membership/access levels

Hi everyone,

I’m in the planning stages of an online community and need to have varying levels of access for three different audiences. Some will be open access and others will require login.

I wondered if anyone had experience doing something similar as keen to make this as simple as possible and learn from others who’ve done it before!

Thanks so much

Hi Alice,

We built our community with 3 access levels.
One is an open access - certain pages are visible without login (primarily works for discoverability and SEO).

Then we have the logged in community where the rest of the content is visible to ‘members’ who are affiliated with our brand. But these members cannot participate in the community just yet.

The top level are the members who we’ve given access to participate in the community. We provide moderated access to the community so that we can steer the direction of the community in its early days.

Hope this helps.


Hi Alice,

We have a community with multiple levels. There is public content, content behind a member login, and content that is internal for employees only - all on a single community instance. Also, there are now groups that can have any content type where both users and admins can control access - separately from the access levels for the entire community.

Happy to help explain more - or you can check it out for yourself at


Hi Jacob

Thanks so much for sharing. Out of interest, what platform is your community build on and would you recommend it?



With Discourse (you’re using it now!) you can control access to categories (collections of topics) using groups (collections of users). If you’re using only Discourse, there are a few ways to charge for access, including Patreon, memberful, and another Discourse plugin that directly charges (I think) Braintree or Stripe.

The other common way to handle such permissions (if you are using WordPress already) is to use some WordPress member management tool and have it update groups in Discourse.

Hi Alice,

We use our own! Check it out