Soft Paywall vs Hard Paywall

If you are planning or have set up Monetisation on your community then you may be aware of the different Paywall models that we offer. This guide will take you through the difference between a hard and Soft paywall and highlight when to use them.

What is the difference between a Soft and Hard Paywall?

Although both paywalls are charging your community for a premium community experience they actually create a very different member experience.

Soft Paywall - Free to join the community with paid for content and features. 

Hard Paywall - Subscription required to access the whole community.

What paywall is best for me?

When choosing what Paywall model to use for your community there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Do you have an existing community?
  • Am I charging for a product or for Content?
  • How Much am I planning to charge?

Depending on your answers, this will determine what Paywall model is best for you. 

Hard Paywall

Let’s say you have a large existing community offering access to professional guidance and connection to a wider industry at a price of £25 a month. This is the perfect example of where a Hard Paywall will be best. This is due to the entire community being a premium product offering. Due to this your members will be paying to access services that the community is offering. This means that the Paywall will be displayed once the Member has signed up to your community. They will not be able to access your community unless they pay for the Subscription. 

Soft Paywall

If you have a smaller or new Community, offering Fitness content such as Videos, Guidance and programmes at the price of £8 a month. A Soft Paywall would be best here as this is a community with a smaller following who is offering Premium content on top of the Free product offering. The Soft Paywall allows Members to join the community for free and get a taster of what this community offers. Once the member is invested they can then Pay to access a greater range of content and potentially open up new areas of the community. This means that if a customer selects a piece of Premium content then they will be shown the paywall. From here they will be able to go through the paywall and purchase the subscription. This will gain them access to all the Premium content within the community.

Although it is important to think this through, this is a guide. You can change your paywall Model at any time in the console, so play around and see what paywall works best for you. To find out how to do this you can read through our guide on How to set up Monetisation.

How do I manage my Premium Content?

Hard Paywall

If you have set up a Hard Paywall then you will not need to manage any content within your Community as the entire Community will require payment to access. 

Soft paywall

If you have set up a soft paywall then you will need to choose what Content you want included in your subscription. This can be done through the Console where you have the option to make Folders, Content, Groups, post and Event links Premium. These can be edited at any time in the console, so you can change your subscription offering at any time. To find out how you can manage your soft paywall and create Premium content you can read our guide on How to manage your soft paywall.

Looking to create your own community app? Contact our Community Experts -

Need help with your existing Disciple powered community? Contact our Customer Support team -