How to create a private forum in Xenforo (in 5 easy steps)

Most people run their Xenforo forum open to everyone. What this means is that you pay, register and you get access to the entire forum. But do you know that you could also run a private forum exclusive to only a few members.

Let’s say you’re running a discussion forum on Senior Care which is open to all your registered members. But you now wish to have special private forum for Carers and that can only be accessed by Carers.

Did you know you could do this? And It’s pretty simple to set up.

Let’s look at how we can set this up.

Step 1 – Create a User group

User groups are like roles. By default there are 4 user groups in Xenforo – Administrators, Registered, Moderating and Unregistered / Unconfirmed.  When you need a private forum it’s best to also create a User group. For our example create a user group ‘Carers (Group)’.


Xenforo-Private Forum Usergroup

Create a user group


Xenforo-Private Forum Usergroup

Add the User group and set permissions

Step 2 – Create the new Node

It’s now time to create the new private area to which only the ‘Carers’ user group will have access. Just like creating any other Xenforo forum you start with creating the category node.

Add a New Category node

Start with creating a Category

Add a New Category name

Add the name

Before creating any forums under this category node you must do Step 3.

Step 3 – Make the Category private

It’s important to first make the new category a private category. This should be done before creating any other child nodes under the new category. Doing this first will ensure that all child nodes under the new category will also be private.

Make the category private

Make the category private

Step 4 – Assign the user group permissions to the Node

Now that we’ve made the new category ‘private’, we should ensure that the User group that we created in Step 1 has permissions to view the new category and all child nodes under it.

Set permossions for Usergroup to a category node

User group to category node permissions

Once you have set the permissions and saved it, the user group that has some permissions set on the new category node will be highlighted.

highlighted user group

Highlighted user group has permissions

Step 5 – Assign users to the user group

And finally assign all users to the new user group. In this example assign users to the user group ‘Carers (Group)’. All assigned users will now automatically get the set permissions and will be part of the private forum.

Assign the user group

Assign the user group

Don’t know what is Xenforo?

Xenforo is a forum software that was developed by former vBulletin developers. I have found that version 2.x is pretty easy to use out of the box .

Do you need help with your Forum? At StressLessWeb we take on all types of website development from designing a customized website to plugin development and ad-hoc work. Have a question? Contact StressLessWeb. I look forward to answering your questions.

Announcing new Products & Services from StressLessWeb

We recently started offering website maintenance services to our existing clients. If you are not an existing client but are interested in availing of this service, contact us to see how we can help you.