READ ME FIRST: Getting Started

Thanks for signing up for a Discourse hosting plan!

Getting Started

If you haven’t already, launch the setup wizard and go through the steps to configure your site. You can run the wizard as many times as you want, it’s completely safe!

Admin Dashboard

Exercise your admin superpowers any time via the admin dashboard at


You can also access it via the “hamburger” menu in the upper right: Admin functions are generally marked with the wrench :wrench: icon, so look for that.


Staff members are official representatives of this community. There are two kinds of Staff:

  1. Admins, who can do anything and configure anything on this site.
  2. Moderators, who can edit all posts and users, but cannot add categories or change any site settings.

To add additional staff members:

Social Logins

Users can log in with traditional local username and password accounts. You may want to add:

You can also set up single-sign on, or even build your own login method.


You have three default categories:

  1. Site Feedback – general discussion about the site itself. It’s important!
  2. Lounge – a perk for users at trust level 3 and higher
  3. Staff – visible only to staff (admins and moderators)

Don’t create too many initial categories, as you can overwhelm your audience. You can always add more categories, and easily bulk recategorize topics later. It’s better to figure out the organization as you go rather than assuming you’ll get it all right from the beginning.

To add a category, visit the categories page, then click Create Category at the upper right. You can set security per-category so only certain groups of users can see topics in that category.

Every category has an initial “About this category” topic. This topic will be pinned to the top of the category, and the description you enter will be used in a bunch of places. Be sure to give your new category a good, clear description, so people understand what belongs there!

Email Notifications and Email Replies

All outgoing email is pre-configured correctly for you, as is reply via email, through the domain. See our blog post for details.

Pinned Topics and Banners

Note that pinning topics works a little differently in Discourse:

  • Once someone reads to the bottom of a pinned topic, it is automatically unpinned for them specifically. They can change this via the personal pin controls at the bottom of the topic.
  • When staff pins a topic, they can pin it globally to all topic lists, or just within its category.

If a pin isn’t visible enough, you can also turn one single topic into a banner. The banner topic floats on top of all topics and all primary pages. Users can permanently dismiss this floating banner by clicking the × in the upper right corner.

To make (or remove) a pin or a banner, use the admin wrench at the top right or bottom of the topic.

New User Sandbox and the Trust System

If your discussion area is be open to the public, new visitors will arrive that are initially strangers to the community. Discourse has a trust system where users can, over time, earn the trust of the community and gain abilities to assist in governing their community.

Discourse is designed to offer safe defaults for public communities, even with no active moderation.

0 (new) → 1 (basic) → 2 (member) → 3 (regular) → 4 (leader)

All new users start out in a sandbox with restrictions for everyone’s safety. Trust level 0 (new) users cannot

  • post more than 2 hyperlinks
  • post any images or file attachments
  • send private messages
  • flag posts or topics
  • have actual links in the “about me” field of their profile
  • @name mention more than 2 users in a post

Virtually every action a user can take is rate limited for safety, and especially so for new users. But don’t worry, new users can transition to trust level 1 in about 15 minutes.

These defaults are safe, but note that while in “bootstrap mode” after you set up your site, all new users will be granted trust level 1 until you reach 50 users.

Building Your Community

Be patient; building communities is hard. Before launching, be sure to:

  1. Define your community’s purpose in a pinned or banner topic.
  2. Seed the discussion with interesting topics.
  3. Commit to visiting and participating regularly.
  4. Link your community everywhere and promote it so people can find it.

There’s more advice at Building a Discourse Community.

Sending Invitations

One way to get people to visit your site is to invite them via email. You can do this via:

  • The Invite button at the bottom of the topic.
  • The Invite area on your profile page.

The invite area on your profile page also includes advanced Staff methods of sending bulk invites, and inviting users into groups.


Since you’re hosted on the official Discourse servers, we’ll handle all maintenance, upgrades, and backups. Relax! If you’d like to take a manual backup right from your web browser any time, just visit /admin/backups.


Here are some other features that you might want to use:

Need More Help?

Have suggestions to improve this guide? Please let us know!

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