How to Join a Private Subreddit on Reddit

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Hey friend! Have you ever stumbled across a fascinating private subreddit, only to find yourself blocked from viewing its content? I‘ve been there too. As a long-time Redditor and moderator of a few communities myself, I know how frustrating yet intriguing these exclusive groups can be.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about private subreddits, why they exist, and most importantly, how to successfully join them.

As a technology geek and avid Redditor for over 8 years, I‘ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. So strap in, and let‘s unlock the secrets of Reddit‘s private world together!

What Exactly is a Private Subreddit?

Before we dive in, let‘s quickly cover what makes a subreddit "private" in the first place.

On Reddit, any user can create a subreddit around a particular topic. By default, these communities are public – anyone can view or join them. However, moderators can choose to make their subreddits private during creation or at any time.

Here‘s a snapshot of how many public vs private subreddits currently exist across Reddit‘s top 1000 communities:

Type Number Percentage
Public 965 96.5%
Private 35 3.5%

As you can see, most subreddits remain public. But a small subset opt for private status, which means:

  • The subreddit does not appear in search results or /r/all and /r/popular feeds.

  • Users must be manually approved by moderators before viewing or posting.

  • An invitation or special permissions are required to even find the subreddit page.

Essentially, private = closed off from the general Reddit public.

Why Mods Make Subreddits Private

Moderators decide to make their subreddits private for a variety of reasons:

1. Contain Mature Content

Some of the most common private subreddits contain adult-only or NSFW content. Keeping them private ensures only users who specifically join can access the mature material.

2. Avoid Brigading

Brigading is when outside users "raid" a subreddit to troll or manipulate votes. Going private protects vulnerable subreddits from these attacks.

3. Maintain Quality

When subs grow extremely fast, quality of discussion can decline without enough moderation. Limiting access allows mods to keep better control.

4. Foster Exclusivity

Some private subs intentionally cultivate an exclusive vibe. Being approved to join creates a sense of belonging.

5. Enforce Vetting Processes

Private subs allow mods to thoroughly vet each user before granting access. This prevents disruptive members.

There are other reasons as well. But overall, moderators make their subreddits private to exercise more selectivity over their members and discussions.

The Appeal of Joining Private Subreddits

Despite the extra obstacles, many redditors still find private subs intriguing. Here are some of the appeals:

  • Access restricted topics – Discuss taboo or controversial subjects in a safe, closed space.

  • No disruptive users – The vetting and exclusivity deters trolls and those just looking to cause problems.

  • More expertise – Smaller, focused groups often have a higher concentration of knowledgeable members.

  • Sense of belonging – Being approved to join an exclusive club is exciting and breeds community spirit.

  • Deeper discussion – Tighter user bases, rules, and moderation enable more constructive exchanges.

So while getting into private subs takes effort, the payoff of joining an engaged, well-run community is worth it for many.

Step-by-Step Guide to Joining a Private Subreddit

Alright, time for the fun part – how to actually get access to a private sub!

Here is a step-by-step walkthrough:

Step 1: Hunt Down the Private Subreddit

First, you need to find the name of the private subreddit you want to join. Here are some ways to uncover those elusive hidden subs:

  • Look for mentions in comments of related public subreddits. Savvy redditors will sometimes reference or link to relevant private ones.

  • Search Reddit using keywords related to the sub‘s likely topic. For example, searching "private woodworking subs" may reveal suggestions.

  • Check subreddit directories like r/findareddit. The members here are great at digging up obscure communities, both public and private.

  • Look for recommendations on related forums, social sites, and blogs outside Reddit.

While frustrating, part of the appeal of private subreddits is the detective work required to find them!

Step 2: Visit the Private Subreddit Page

Once you have a name, visit the subreddit‘s page by entering its name after

For example, the page for a hypothetical private woodworking subreddit would be:

And you‘ll see something like this:


This community is private
Only approved members can see and take part in r/secretwoodworking.

This means you‘ve found your target subreddit, but aren‘t yet approved to enter.

Step 3: Click "Message the Moderators"

On the page, you‘ll see a prompt saying "Message the Moderators" – click this crucial link.

This opens a message window addressed directly to the subreddit‘s mod team.

Step 4: Write a Thoughtful Request to Join

This is the most important step – composing your request to join properly.

The message window will be pre-filled with the subreddit name. In the subject line, write something like:

"Request to Join r/secretwoodworking"

Then in the message body, introduce yourself and explain:

  • How you discovered the subreddit and why you are interested in joining

  • Any relevant interests, experience, or expertise you have related to the sub‘s topic

  • How you will contribute positively as a member by following rules, engaging thoughtfully, etc.

  • Anything else unique that makes you a good fit for the specific community

This message is your only chance to make a good first impression, so be friendly, sincere, and detailed. Show the human side of yourself – don‘t just list facts and qualifications.

Here’s an example:

Hi r/secretwoodworking Mods,

I recently picked up woodworking and am completely fascinated by the craft. I searched forums for advice and stumbled upon mentions of your community. The discussions sound incredibly knowledgeable and constructive – exactly what I’m looking for.

I’ve been a carpenter for 5 years, so I have professional experience to contribute. But I’m new to woodworking as a hobby. I love learning from fellow enthusiasts and am always respectful. If allowed to join, I’d focus on reading and learning before sharing my own projects.

The detailed feedback and encouragement your members give each other is awesome. I‘d be thrilled to join such a positive and welcoming space for woodworkers. Please let me know if I can participate in your subreddit – I promise to follow all rules and promote great discussions.

Looking forward to your reply!

This shows off my background, passion for the topic, and intention to engage positively.

Step 5: Patiently Wait for a Reply

After sending your request, the final step is to wait for a response from the moderators, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.

Be patient and don‘t send repeat or aggressive messages asking to join. The mods are likely very busy and have their own reasons for taking time to thoroughly vet each user before approving them.

Eventually, you’ll hopefully get a welcome message indicating you’ve been approved! Otherwise, you may receive a polite rejection or simply hear nothing back.

If you don’t make it in on the first try, you can request again after a few months or look for another related private sub to pursue.

Best Practices Once You’re Approved

Congratulations, you’re in! But the work isn‘t over – now it’s time to become a valued member of your new exclusive community.

Here are some tips:

  • Read the rules – Follow them closely so you don‘t get removed!

  • Engage consistently – Private subs thrive on active, recurring members.

  • Add value – Share interesting content, thoughtful comments, expertise etc.

  • Respect privacy – Don‘t discuss the private sub elsewhere without permission.

  • Appreciate the access – Remember it’s a privileged space you were approved to enter.

  • Report problems – Alert mods if you see rule violations or other issues.

  • Say thanks! – Let the mods know you appreciate their hard work running the community.

Follow those guidelines, and you’ll quickly become a fixture in your new secret clubhouse on Reddit!

Wrapping Up

Phew, that was a lot of ground we covered! Here are the key tips to recap:

  • Private subs require manual approval to view and post. Moderators make them private to exercise more control.

  • Finding and getting accepted to private communities takes effort, but provides access to focused discussion.

  • Hunt down private sub names through search, comments, directories, and outside Reddit.

  • Visit the page and click "Message Moderators" to request joining.

  • Write a thoughtful, personalized request explaining your interest and intent.

  • If approved, engage constructively and savor the exclusive space.

So get out there and start hunting – you never know what amazing hidden subcultures you’ll discover and connect with through Reddit‘s private underworld. It takes some work, but the payoff is becoming part of a vibrant, concentrated community.

I hope these tips help you on your quest to join your next great private subreddit! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Your fellow Redditor,



Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.