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What to Look for in Private Community Software (+3 Options)

Harnessing the power of private community software can bring your brand to the next level. But which platform is best for you? Let’s find out.

By Phillip Russell

May 19, 2023

7 min read



    Creating a virtual community is an essential step in bringing your members together, whether it’s a mindfulness yoga group or a community for freelancing digital nomads. And that community gains even more value and legitimacy when it’s all under one brand.

    It makes sense then that private community software is blowing up in practically every industry today. Why? Because it allows creators to build an online community of like-minded individuals and the software platform does the hard backend work for you.

    Ahead, we’re unpacking why private community software is a valuable investment for your community.

    But before we jump into the deep-end of why private community software is great, how about we spend some time talking about what it actually is?

    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!


    What is private community software?

    Luckily, the answer to this question isn’t that deep. Think of private community software as a tool creators and business owners utilize to build a private network for your community (whether it’s for internal or external use).

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Incubator

    That means that you’ll gain access to tools that will help you design a virtual space for your community to interact with your content. And more importantly, you’ll get access to features that help your members interact with each other.

    Additionally, private community software significantly cuts down on the development time and costs associated with designing a white label app from scratch. If all of this is sounding good to you, then the next steps would be identifying the key benefits of using this software.

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    The benefits of private community software

    Private online community platforms offer a wide range of benefits for individual creators and large businesses looking to grow to the next level.

    We are living during a time where traditional social media platforms are not only becoming stale but also increasingly entrenched in issues of privacy and security concerns. Part of the problem with these platforms is that most of the power is in the hand of the service provider instead of you. That’s…not great.

    When you utilize private community software, you gain most of the traditional features you and your members are used to on a community platform and more. All of the options you gain from using one of these platforms will help you foster a thriving community. The best private online community platforms will help you do the following:

    • Easily manage your community, from dividing your members into small groups, to offering different kinds of paid memberships and subscriptions.

    • Allow you a range of possibilities for content creation. This means you should have access to create discussion posts, articles, polls, Q&As, and more.

    • Opportunities to grow new areas of your business. The best private community software allows for more than community building. Look out for online course creation and virtual event hosting.

    • Your community should be available everywhere. Choosing a platform with a powerful native mobile app that’s available on iOS and Android is a must.

    So, with these ideas in mind, you might be wondering what private community software platforms are out there. Ahead, we’re highlighting a few to check out.

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    3 Private online community platforms

    1. Mighty Networks

    The all-in-one private community software platform

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Courses and live streaming - Galaxy DAO

    Mighty Networks is a cultural software platform that brings together community, courses, content, and commerce. Mighty also has flexible Spaces that can mix live streaming, live events, courses, forum discussions, messaging, written and video content, and more! On top of that, your community is available everywhere thanks to web, iOS, and Android app support.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Discovery - VC NEws

    These are great options because they give you more control over your community and new ways to monetize your content.

    Let’s dive a bit deeper into Mighty Networks’ offerings.

    Control over your community

    Mighty Networks is a great private community software platform because you’re given a variety of tools to manage your community. You’ll have the option to make your community public, private, or secret; and you can make it free to join and charge for access. Other features include member analytics so you can make more informed decisions and mass-messaging tools to communicate with your community swiftly and easily.

    Advanced Analytics Feature

    Loads of content possibilities

    With a Mighty Network, you have a plethora of ways to create and publish content. And thanks to a robust activity feed, your members will easily be kept up to date on the latest happenings in your community. If you’re interested in creating rich-media articles then you can do that too and even include photos and video.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Body Soul - Page Paired Dark

    Native mobile app

    The best private community software platforms will have spent the time developing a great mobile app experience. All Mighty Networks get a custom-ish white label mobile app that can use your own branding. That means your members can access your community wherever they are.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Achievement Academy SingleEvent Paired Dark

    And if you want to go a step further, there’s a Pro plan level for brands seeking more legitimacy and exposure for their business. You’ll get a completely branded app that shows up right in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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    2. Tribe

    Community integration for an existing website

    Tribe is another player in the private community software sphere and focuses on integrations for online communities. What sets their platform apart from others is that they specialize in integrating online community spaces into a business’s existing website.

    Tribe- screenshot

    In the private community that you build on Tribe, you and your members can create discussion board posts, polls, and Q&As. Additionally, members can create detailed profiles and even be separated into breakout groups.

    Another place that Tribe has spent time developing is its analytics around community interaction and engagement. You’ll have better insight into how your members interact with your content and each other. Plus, similar to a Mighty Network they offer an activity feed so everyone can stay up to date.

    While Tribe does have some solid features you’d want in private community software, they aren’t a great choice if you’re starting from scratch. As we said earlier, they are largely for businesses who want to find a community integration for their existing website.

    On top of that, their services aren’t as scalable as some of the competition. How so? You can’t create online courses, and you’ll be utilizing outside platforms for virtual event planning. Finally, Tribe doesn’t offer a mobile app, so your community is limited in how members can access it.

    3. Vanilla Forums

    The web-only private community software platform

    vanilla forums screenshot

    Vanilla Forums is a private community software platform that has targeted bigger brands looking to increase brand loyalty. Their platform offers some of the same features you’d look for in a community platform, but one ripple in their service is the lack of a mobile app.

    Creators using Vanilla Forums can publish rich content articles with text, images, and videos embedded into the post. Additionally, both creators and members can form public and private groups with dedicated moderators. Users can also post questions and polls.

    The platform offers a solid amount of options for members to connect with each other, but ultimately, it’s a fancy forum space. If you’re looking to create more unique experiences for your members, Vanilla Forums’ private community software isn’t the best option.

    Since Vanilla Forums was mainly built for big brands looking for a customer support space, there isn’t much room to experiment or grow your business. You can’t offer online courses or membership subscriptions. What this ultimately means is that you’ll end up having to look elsewhere to monetize your business.

    And one final thing to note is that Vanilla Forums doesn’t have a mobile app. You can utilize it on a mobile browser, but native mobile apps will future proof your business and give it more legitimacy.

    The best private online community platform is Mighty Networks

    When you research the field of private community platforms it’s pretty apparent that Mighty Networks is doing much more than the rest.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Live streaming

    On a Mighty Network, you’re getting robust customization options for the aesthetic of your community and your community management itself. On top of that, you have a powerful native app available on iOS and Android devices.

    And when you’re ready to expand your business, we’ve got you covered with options for online courses, paid memberships, and hosting virtual events.

    Basically, we do it all and we do it well. So, wanna get started now?

    Mighty Co-Host™ is a new AI-powered community generator. Try typing in any idea you have–or even just a few words–and Mighty Co-Host™ will generate a memorable, shareable, and descriptive community name AND will instantly generate an entire brand identity for you.

    Mighty Co-Host™ makes it RADICALLY EASIER to get you started and attract your community members.

    Give it a try!

    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.

    Ready to start building your community?

    Start Your Own Mighty Network Today!No credit card required.


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