User FAQ

How do I set up my domain name?

Start by opening your domain registrar's control panel. You need to create a DNS "CNAME" record that points your chosen domain (eg. forum.yoursite.com) to the address we provided when you signed up. If you're in an organisation, your IT team will probably need to do this for you.

When setting up the CNAME, your registrar will ask for a "host", which is your chosen subdomain (eg. "forum"). They will also ask for a destination URL (sometimes labelled "points to"). This looks like "1mkqbwdgcnkjkl7ar.plushcontent.com" (without the quotes) and was provided in your welcome email.

Some registrars like GoDaddy won't let you add a CNAME to the root domain (eg. yoursite.com). Instead, run your forum on the "www" subdomain (eg. www.yoursite.com), and use your registrar's redirection or forwarding feature to point yoursite.com to www.yoursite.com. Ask your registrar for assistance.

How do I make my site public?

Go to the Dashboard and select "Roles & Permissions", then click "Switch to Public". Guests will now be able to browse your forum.

How do I add Google Analytics to my site?

Choose "Site Features" from the Dashboard, scroll down to the Google Analytics section and paste in your tracking ID. You'll need to create your own Google Analytics account first, though.

How do I delete or move a discussion?

Tap the "More" icon below the post, then hit "Delete". To delete posts in bulk, hit Alt+A to activate your moderation tools, or click Moderation Tools in the bottom-left menu. Checkboxes will appear that allow you to select items for moderation. Options like Delete, Split, Merge or Move will appear in the bottom-left of your screen.

How do I enable or disable email notifications?

Edit your profile and select "Preferences" from the drop-down menu.

Notifications are available for replies, quotes, mentions, accepted answers and new private conversations. You can also choose to receive email updates about your bookmarked discussions and private conversations.

Email reminders for events you're attending are also available. Reminders are sent 24 hours and one hour before the start of a timed event. A single reminder is sent 24-48 hours before an all-day event begins.

How can I enable SSL (HTTPS mode)?

You can do this via the "Security" section of the Dashboard. You'll need to be browsing your forum via your custom domain. SSL can be enabled automatically and at no extra cost.

How do I change my Terms of Service or add a Privacy Policy?

Go to the Dashboard and select "All Pages" from the side menu. From there you can create a new page or edit an existing one, including the Terms of Service.

Can I remove the small PlushForums link?

There's an option in the "Site Features" section. Please consider if you really need to do this. This subtle piece of branding is how we grow our business and continue to operate a first class service.

How do I deal with spam?

Go to the Plugins section of the Dashboard and enable the StopForumSpam and Akismet plugins. This will connect your forum with two of the most widely-respected spam fighting services available. All PlushForums customers get access to Akismet at no extra cost.

Admins and Mods should use the "Spam" option when removing a spam post, as this helps train Akismet's algorithm.

We also recommend Google's excellent reCAPTCHA service, which prevents automated signups. Find this in the "Security" section of your Dashboard.

I don't need a blog or member directory. Can I disable them?

Yes, you can do so via the "Site Features" section of the Dashboard.

Can I add adverts to my forum?

Enable the HTML Pockets plugin and you'll see an example called "Between Comments". This feature allows you to insert ads (like Google AdSense) into your discussions at a chosen frequency.

Wrap your ads in <div> elements, with class names of "ad-panel", "ad-discussions" or "ad-comments" as appropriate.

How do I enable the Image Gallery?

This feature can be enabled via the Plugins section of the Dashboard. Only images uploaded directly to your forum will appear in the gallery.

How do I make someone a Moderator or Administrator?

Visit their profile and select "Edit Account", then check the relevant role and hit "Save". You can also accomplish the same thing via the "Users" section of the Dashboard.

How do I create a Moderator-only Category?

First, go to the "Categories" section of the Dashboard and create or edit a Category. Select "This category has custom permissions" and a list of user roles will appear. Give permissions to the Moderator and Administrator roles only. Then hit "Save". All posts in this category will be hidden from members.

How do I create a hidden or private Category that only certain users can access?

Go to "Roles & Permissions" and select "Add Role". Enter a name and description for the new role, then hit "Save".

Now go to the "Categories" section of the Dashboard and create or edit a Category. Select "This category has custom permissions" and a list of user roles will appear. Give permissions to your new role only, then hit "Save".

Finally, assign this new role to the relevant users. Go to the "Users" section of the Dashboard, check the "Action" box for each user, then select "Add Role to Users" from the dropdown. Select your role, then hit "Add Roles".

Alternatively, you can visit a user's profile and select "Edit Account", then check the relevant role and hit "Save".

Can users report or flag content for moderation?

Yes, members with 20 or more posts have the option of flagging content for moderation.

Can I disable the reputation system?

You can disable Likes, badges and the entire reputation system via the "Site Features" section of the Dashboard.

How can I link back to my main site?

In the "Site Features" section you can link your forum logo to an external URL, or add a new item to the navigation bar.

What other tweaks can I make?

Browse through each Dashboard menu to see the various options available. The "Site Features" section contains a variety of useful, but non-essential, settings. If it's not in the Dashboard, it's not possible.

How do I create a sub-category?

Drag a category to the right to make it a sub-category of the category above it. If you want to create a sub-sub-Category, go to "Settings" and enable "Three-Layer Category Tree".

How do I merge two categories?

Delete the category you want to remove. You can choose where to move its discussions during the process.

Is it possible to export user data?

You can export member data by selecting "Export List" in the Dashboard.

Can I export my forum content?

Not unless you're leaving us, in which case we'll provide a data export in JSON format. We back up your content every hour, so it is perfectly safe.

What does the "Sink" option do?

This stops a discussion rising to the top after each new comment. It's a good way to diffuse a contentious discussion.

How do I cancel?

Go to the Billing section of the Dashboard, scroll down and click "Manage Subscription", then "Cancel Subscription". Then on the next screen, click "Confirm Cancellation".

How do I upload images or photos to a post?

You can drag and drop images directly into the message area. They will be uploaded and inserted automatically. Alternatively, upload them using the "Upload" icon, then click "Insert".

How do I send newsletters or email digests?

Plush provides an integration with MailChimp for this purpose. Go to the MailChimp section of the Dashboard to configure it. You can send email digests using MailChimp's RSS Campaign feature.

How do I set up MailChimp?

Log in to MailChimp, Generate an API Key and Find Your List ID. Paste this information into the MailChimp section of your Plush Dashboard and hit "Save".

New options should appear. Hit "Export All Contacts" to populate your mailing list for the first time. In future, your contacts will be synced automatically each night.

Once your list is populated, you can set up your digest or newsletter. In MailChimp this is called an "RSS campaign", and their helpful guide will walk you through the process: Create an RSS Campaign.

MailChimp will ask for a link to your forum's RSS feed. All Discussions, the Blog and individual categories each have their own feed. The quickest way to find the feed URL is to view the source of the relevant page in your browser. The RSS tag containing the URL is near the top, usually on the 5th line.

What sites are supported by the media tag?

You can embed audio and video from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, SoundCloud, Vine, Twitch, Giphy, Imgur and Voxer, plus direct links to MP3 and MP4 files.

Can I add widgets to my site?

Take a look at the "HTML Pockets" plugin. It allows you to insert custom HTML in various locations, including the sidebar. There is an example included for reference.

Pockets are a completely unsupported feature. What you do with them is completely down to you.

How do I make a blog post?

Check the "Blog" box when you post or edit a discussion. Only Administrators and Moderators can turn a discussion into a blog post.

How are badges awarded?

Trophies are awarded to the top 10 members in the monthly rankings.

Can I be notified for each new discussion or applicant?

Admins have the option be notified about new applicants. Admins and Mods can receive notifications for each new discussion, as well as every time a post is flagged for moderation.

To email your members about new discussions, you need to use our MailChimp integration. Sign up for a free account at MailChimp.com, then see the MailChimp section of your PlushForums Dashboard to get started.

Can I embed a chat room, shop or other third-party app?

Go to the "Pages" section of the Dashboard and create a new page in HTML mode. This will give you a blank canvas, where you can embed any application you like.

Plush discussions are real-time, so you might consider starting a weekly "chat" thread instead.

What does the "Question" option do?

Question mode lets the original poster (or a moderator) identify the definitive answer to a question. This is ideal for customer service or building a knowledge base.

Can I hide specific content from non-members?

Yes, wrap it in the [members] tag. You can also edit a category's permissions to control who sees its discussions.

Can I set the default image for Facebook sharing?

You can. Go to the "Customization" section and upload an Apple Touch icon. This will be used as the default Facebook image.

What happens to my data if I want to leave?

If you wish to end your PlushForums subscription for any reason, we promise to provide you with a copy of your data on request. Please wait to receive your data before cancelling. Data will be exported in JSON format.

Can I add a thumbnail to embedded MP4 videos?

Yes, like this: [media=http://yoursite.com/image.jpg]http://yoursite.com/video.mp4[/media].

How can I automatically invite users to my forum?

You can use the Bulk Invite feature to invite an entire mailing list in one go.

What is the URL for my forum's RSS feed?

The quickest way to find the feed URL is to view the source of the page. The RSS tag is near the top. All Discussions, the Blog and individual categories each have their own feed.

How do I make a thread sticky?

In Plush, the "Pin" option is used to make a discussion stick to the top of its category. Check the "To All Discussions" box to pin to All Discussions as well.

Can I add social sharing buttons like Facebook or Twitter?

We don't support social sharing buttons, because they're slow to load and clutter the user interface. To share an individual post, click the "Share" option next to the timestamp. Every post has a full suite of OpenGraph tags, for better sharing results on Facebook.

Why are emails not being delivered?

Do you have a yellow warning banner at the top of your Dashboard? Your System Email Address must use the same top-level domain as your forum. Otherwise emails will not be sent for security reasons.

Do you support tags?

Users can add hashtags to posts, which work just like Twitter.

Can I recover a deleted post?

Yes, you can restore deleted discussions and comments from the Change Log in the Dashboard.

How do I centre an image?

You can center an image by adding a "c" option to your image tag: [img=c]yourimage.jpg[/img].

I'm getting a "Too Many Requests" error. Help!

To protect your site from malicious users, the number of page requests per second from the same IP address is limited. This can pose a problem if you're in an organisation and share an IP with many of your members. Please email us the IP address and we will whitelist it.

Can I generate an sitemap to submit to Google?

We don't generate an XML sitemap, but Google Webmaster Tools also accepts RSS feeds. RSS feeds are available for your blog, each forum category and All Discussions. View the source of the page and the RSS link will be near the top.

We do not use robots.txt to block any crawlers. If you want to kick-start the crawling process, create some original content, get people to link to you and submit your RSS feed to Webmaster Tools.

Can I embed a Plush forum on my site?

We don't support embedding. Plush is designed to run on its own domain or subdomain. You can link your forum to your main site via the banner logo or a custom menu item.

Is it possible to host my forum is a subdirectory?

We don't support hosting in a subfolder. We support domain/subdomain mapping via CNAME record.

Enabling CloudFlare causes a redirect loop. Help!

CloudFlare's Flexible SSL mode isn't compatible with our built-in version. Switch CloudFlare's SSL feature to "Full" mode and it will work.

How do I change the credit card used for my subscription?

You can do so via the Billing section of your Dashboard.

How do I add my address and VAT number to my invoices?

Go to the Billing section of your Dashboard and add your details there.

Do you offer refunds?

We don't. You have the freedom to cancel any time with a couple of clicks. We send reminders when a trial is expiring, and clearly show your payment schedule in the Billing section of the dashboard.

Can I create hidden or private profile fields that only staff can view?

Yes. When creating your profile field, add an "_" (underscore) character to the start of your field name. Only Admins, Mods and the user in question will be able to see the answer.

How do I add the Google AdSense validation code to my site?

You can use the HTML Pockets plugin to add the validation code to your site's Head section.

How do I resolve a "Failed domain validation" error?

Access your site from the plushcontent.com URL. Remove what you’ve entered under “Make site available on this domain only” in the Site Features section, then hit "Save". There’s no need to use this option for most users.

My RSS feed is empty. How do I fix it?

When MailChimp reads your RSS feed, it is acting as a Guest user of your forum. Make sure your discussions are in categories visible to the Guest role.

Do you support anonymous posting?

We don't.

How do I change my username?

To change your user name, open your Profile and select "Edit Profile", then "Edit Account". Only an Admin can change a user name.

How do I make my site private?

Go to the Dashboard and select "Roles & Permissions", then click "Switch to Private". Guests will no longer be able to browse your forum.

Why are discussion titles dull, faded or grey?

This signifies you have read all comments in the discussion.

Can I give you a call?

We don't do phone support, but we're happy to help via email.

Can members delete their own posts?

No, but you can control how long they can edit their posts in the "Settings" section of the Dashboard. If you enable comment pre-moderation, comment editing will be disabled.

What are Staff accounts?

"Staff" refers to users in the Administrator or Moderator roles.

Can I upload files larger than 25MB?

You can't exceed the 25MB file size limit. Consider hosting your bigger files on a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Alternatively, you could embed media from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, SoundCloud, Twitch, Giphy or Imgur.

Can I attach files to private messages?

On private sites, anyone can attach files to private conversations. On public sites, only Administrators or Moderators may do so. This is to protect us and you.

How do I enable the Document Repository?

The File Repository feature can be enabled via the Plugins section of the Dashboard.

Can I add custom fields to the registration form?

Yes, you can add fields to the Sign Up form in the "Member Profiles" section. Switch the "Profile" option for a given field to "Registration" or "Required".

How do I enable Single Sign On (SSO)?

See our SSO page for details.

Where is your data stored? Are you compliant with the GDPR?

Yes, we're compliant. Our data is stored in the USA and Canada. Location, in itself, is not relevant for GDPR compliance.

Your forum collects no more than the bare minimum of data required for a user to participate. If you've added Google Analytics or other tracking software, you need to notify your users and ask for consent (the typical "cookie" message). Plush lets you do this.

Under the GDPR, your users also have the right to know what personal data you store. Plush provides you the ability to export your member data to CSV, so you can provide the user with the relevant information.

The GDPR requires us and you to take all necessary steps to keep user data secure. We've put in years of work to develop a secure software platform, and we continually update our operating systems with all relevant security patches. We only use reputable, secure datacenters to host your information. Moreover, we provide a free SSL option, that you should enable to ensure user privacy and security.

Finally, your users have a right to be forgotten. In practical terms, this means either wiping their forum content or anonymizing it. Plush offers you the ability to do both.

Why do I get a "You are already registered" error?

This happens when you try to register a new account while already logged in. Try logging out first.

Have a question or need more information?