Access Controls within Gradual

You have a number of different ways to control who and what members can access inside your Gradual community. We’re going to break access control down into three categories:

Global Community Access

Content and Event-specific Access

Individual Member Access Levels

Global Community Access:

Your community can be public or private. A public community means that by default community content pages and events (unless changed) will be publicly accessible and indexed by search engines. This does not mean that anyone can sign-up for the community, just that the community and it's content can be discovered.

Private community means that all of the content and event pages can only be viewed by logged in members. Membership is still managed separately.

This setting can be controlled within the Gradual Dashboard in the Settings —> System Settings and enabling the “Set Community Private” setting.

Content and event-specific access

Web Access


Setting visibility within the community can also be controlled per piece of content or event. For Public communities, all content and events by default are created as Public. This means they will be indexed by search engines and appear in results. Non-logged-in visitors can access the page content.


For content, you can set the content to have an enforced or skippable content gate. This means that the user will only be able to consume a portion of the content before being asked to log in.

An enforced gate means that the gate cannot be bypassed and the visitor must log in in order to access the remainder of the content. In the below graphic, the small X would NOT appear, and the visitor must log in to continue viewing when it is set to Enforced.

A skippable gate means that the visitor can close the login prompt and continue consuming the content. In the below graphic, the small X can close the login prompt when it is set to Skippable.

This is what the user will see when they have reached the gate.

Note: Content that is restricted by a gate is still indexed and once a user is logged in, they will be able to see the content in full. 

Member Access

For events and content, you can also restrict access to that item to just members or certain groups of members. If you select All Members from the access menu in the event or content editor in the Gradual Dashboard, that means only logged-in members will be able to see the content piece or event on the homepage and detail pages after they have logged in.

If a visitor attempts to access the page without being logged in, they will be redirected to the community login page or an 'access denied' page.


You can further restrict content, events and Forum access to only certain groups of logged-in members by using Spaces. Spaces are configurable access groups that allow you to assign certain members to a group and then also assign content, events and teh Forum feature to those same groups.

An example would be if I have a community steering committee that meets monthly and I host that meeting on Gradual. I only want members of the committee to be able to find and join that event. I would create a Space entitled “Steering Committee” and then assign the community members to that space. Then I would create my event and also assign it to the “Steering Committee” space. Then only those members who belong to that group would see and be able to register for and join that event.

You can assign people, content, and events to multiple spaces. Content set to All Members as well as space-restricted content is not indexed and not visible except by logged in members and/or members assigned to the space.

Learn more about Spaces and how to manage them here.

Space-restricted Roundtables have been recently released, allowing users in a Space to access and engage in a Community-level roundtable. This roundtable will appear on the homepage of just those in the space, and they will have access to a persistent chat with just those who've attended or are actively engaging in the roundtable.

Member sign-up and access

Limiting content and event visibility is one thing, but how do I limit who can join my community in the first place? You can do this with some global settings and with some customized functionality the Gradual team can help you configure.

Learn more about sign-up settings here.

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