Add toggle to turn off members feature

If I want members, I want them to interact with me, with the article, to express their opinions and Ghost doesn’t have a comment system.

Users have been asking for this for a long time.


I agree, it would be nice to have by default in the portal.js a way to be GPDR compliant, by adding a checkbox and a link to privacy policy. But it’s another question, and I cannot see why someone who doesnt want to use members functionnality would complain about this anyway. Moreover, it is still possible, as you know, to add your own subscribe form, without the use of portal. You can even use a Mailchimp form (with GPDR checkbox activated) and root it to Ghost via Zapier. It’s a workaround, I know.

I was not aware of the SEO penalty you mentioned, but I have no doubt that this would be handled in a next iteration of Ghost.

I think that Ghost has enough real weaknesses (no native search, for instance) to avoid discussing very secondary issues.

Hello @bop ! I may be wrong but I think that even portfolio or corporate blogs owners want to keep their audience informed, occasionnaly or frequently, about the content they published. So I would tend to think that the members functionnality (paid or not) covers a large number of various situations. That’s why, to me, having that by default is a good choice. Because everybody wants a direct link with its audience, paid or not.

BUT you’re right on this point : not everybody wants to have paid members, and that’s why having a dashboard that indicates your revenue can be irrelevant for a lot of people.

Although I think, too, that the Ghost core team has for a long time now clearly shown their intention to be more and more a platform for professionnal publishers, ie.: publishers who want to make money by selling accurate, excellent and unique content to a specific audience.


Hey @Mathieu_Rouault , I just want to add my voice to this convo. I recently spun up a ghost blog purely to use as a portfolio of sorts. I need a central hub where I can link social media accounts/communities together and promote compositions for video game music and show some graphic work. Essentially, it’s a grand central station and shop front for me. I love the blog and toggle-able paid functionality because it gives me the flexibility to go that route and flexibility is soo key for what I am trying to do. I am trying to build a brand.

I’m a spaghetti coder but getting better with CSS and HTML. I use the liebling theme. Upon upgrading to 4.0, I now have this very bright obstructive subscribe button in the middle of my my page… I think I have new unwanted scrolling social icons to address as well … Which, this might sound silly, but it doesn’t match my strategy for building a community. It’s so direct, and while that might be functional and effective for getting return visitors as some percent of viewers click the subscribe button, I feel that this strategy is a detriment to my goal. It doesn’t keep with the whole feeling of the brand I am trying to build which is: join in if you like, but I will never put something in your face even if that means we build more slowly.

I can totally see how these might be welcome QOL updates for some Ghost users but in my situation: my options are 1) Wordpress… which… no way. I want open-source no-fuss functionality, not clunky pre-built black boxy modules; 2) some other proprietary host; 3) a ground-up website; or 4) Ghost Blog.

Now, I must delete some things in the Liebling theme (not a problem, I don’t think?), then I will again update when/if the Liebling theme is updated to address some of the Ghost 4.0 changes, then merge in my personal tweaks again. And I imagine that I may have more fine tuning to do depending on how ghost 4.01 reacts to any official liebling theme updates. It’s like, come on Ghost, give me a clean platform that I can update without too much fuss and extra work; this small thing has made the platform more time consuming and difficult to manage given that don’t want to employ the strategy that it seems ghost is promoting.

At the end of the day, I think Ghost is by far the best option for me. I love it, and it has encouraged me to really start learning html and css. But some of these updates (at my middling experience level with coding) were a little black boxy - can I move the subscribe button around? I don’t understand where it came from since it wasn’t present in 3.x using liebling, maybe I had squashed it earlier?

I don’t mean for any of this to come across as frustrated or angry :slight_smile: , I just want to add my voice and story to the conversation.


…ps. I have been struggling to find the bit of code that controls the dimming filter for the banner/header images (I want to remove it). It’s present in Casper and I would bet it is in the same location in liebling. I created a reddit thread, but haven’t had any luck figuring it out so far. To anyone reading this, I would be grateful for any pointers!


I’ve updated the topic title to better reflect the proposed idea


For completeness here some related topics:


I’m also a great fan of Ghost and I’ve been using Ghost for years by now. I live in a country that Stripe (the only payment method that is available on Ghost) doesn’t support and currently, I do not have the ability to use the most useful feature of Ghost, the membership feature.

Since I could not use my publication to generate any revenue, I did not want to send free newsletters (since Mailgun being the only option for newsletters; I understand we can integrate it with other services like MailChimp but again with Zapier which is a paid service), I have been using Ghost without the membership function so far.

I work as a freelancer for Ghost-related services and as per my experience with the projects I’ve gone through, about 80% of my clients don’t use the membership feature (not even free newsletters).

Before upgrading my live site to the latest version of Ghost, I tested it locally and realized that I cannot turn off the membership function from the site (Yes, I’m aware that I can remove it from the theme, but still the scripts and everything is loaded with every page load) The reason why I love Ghost is, (me being a developer), Ghost has been built with care, the best practices are there. It feels so awesome to go through the code of Ghost.

With that being said, I DO NOT want to hide membership instead of disabling the function and it’s not the right way to do it.

I know the Ghost team is very active even in the forum and, please consider adding a toggle to turn off the membership feature. Otherwise, try to make it more available to people around the world by adding the ability to add other payment methods and newsletter integrations.

Thank you!


I agree with the idea, I like the new updates but there should be a way to disable the members / subscription capabilities without having to resort to hacks: removing the template blocks is a start but the scripts are still included in the HTML document.


I also wish to turn off the subscribe buttons. The toggle under “Look & Feel” turns off the floating one, so why not the ones in the header and footer too?

I am perfectly happy with the default Casper theme and have no wish to change theme simply to get rid of these buttons that were not there previously.

Thanks for listening.



I think it’s too opinionated to enforce the membership feature.

It will be awesome, when we have a toggle for that again.

Best Leif


These are giant assumptions that ignore arguments presented in OP.

Personally, although I want readers for my blog, I can’t imagine wanting to spam them with email, or charge for any of my articles. I don’t see membership as something that will connect me to my audience – I see it as something my audience will view as annoying.

The important thing to note is that, even if it doesn’t make sense to you why somebody would want to turn the feature off, it makes sense to very many of us. There is no upside to depriving us of this choice.


I personally want to use the members feature on my blogs but with the freedom to choose this option rather than it being enforced. However, I do have a friend (whose blog I migrated from WordPress to Ghost a couple of years ago) for whom this feature is not of interest for his blog and he always asked me to disable it. When I updated to 4.0 I hoped that it could still be toggled on/off as before, which is not the case now (but I hope this option will be provided in the near future).


I can’t believe this was just turned on by default and can’t be turned off…

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How does it make even any logical sense? What about all the integrations with newsletter providers? What are they for if you are forced to use the membership feature?


I agree it should be optional to turn on or off completely. Also to edit look and feel of the portal when it is turned on.


I would really appreciate it, if you could update us on your thoughts on this feature, so that we know if it’s worth the wait or if we need to move on :thinking:


Maybe I’m naive, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Based on the volume of feedback, and how regularly this still gets asked on the forums and elsewhere, it’s a common problem and a reasonable request.


Who forces anyone to use the membership feature?

You can deactivate the portal button and use a theme that does not refer to “login” and “subscribe”. The underlying Portal is still “active” but is not easily accessible. It’s even less of a problem if you don’t enter a Mailgun API key in the settings!

That being said, I agree that it would be easier if it would possible to properly deactivate memberships, but I don’t see how anybody is forcing anyone to use it.

Well, to be fair, the user would have to opt-in using a theme that does not have this feature which in return might compromise the overall design of the site and what not. The only other option is to manually create a custom version of the theme you want to use and then maintain that theme yourself.

I use the membership feature / function, so for me it’s all good. That said, I fully understand the, in my opinion, fully reasonable request for a “on / off” toggle.


I don’t always want members or I’m not ready to enable that feature and the ability to enable/disable a feature should core to any software product.

It seems so odd to me that not wanting a forced behavior is a surprise. Many people use ghost as a blogging platform. It doesn’t mean i want to distribute a newsletter or signups or any of that till I’m ready to enable that feature.

Having the simile way of enable/disable that feature lets me control the messaging I’m sending out. Free or otherwise turning off signs up should be incorporated so it’s as simple as a checkbox IMO.

Definitely want that feature personally.