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How to Join a Private Subreddit on Reddit

Reddit is home to thousands of active communities known as subreddits, covering every topic imaginable. While most subreddits are public, some are set to private by moderators for various reasons. If you come across a private subreddit you‘d like to join, it‘s a simple process to request access. Here‘s a comprehensive guide on how to join a private subreddit on Reddit.

What is a Private Subreddit?

A private subreddit is one that has restricted access, requiring moderator approval to view or participate. Private subreddits appear with a lock icon next to the name. When you try to access a private subreddit directly, you‘ll see a message indicating it‘s private and to contact the moderators for access.

Some common reasons moderators make subreddits private include:

  • The subreddit topic is controversial, confidential, or adult-oriented.
  • They want to limit membership to control quality and remain niche.
  • It was made private temporarily to handle influxes of new users.

Making a subreddit private gives moderators more control over the community. It prevents unwanted users from accessing or posting inappropriate content. According to Reddit statistics, over 130,000 subreddits are designated as private or restricted access only.

Total Subreddits 1,269,000+
Public Subreddits 1,139,000+ (90%)
Private Subreddits 130,000+ (10%)

As you can see, 1 out of every 10 subreddits fall into the private category.

Why Redditors Seek Access to Private Subreddits

There are plenty of reasons you may want to join a specific private subreddit.

  • You‘re interested in the topic. Naturally, if you find a subreddit on a topic you enjoy, you‘ll want to join in the discussion and connect with fellow redditors.

  • Exclusivity. Some subreddits maintain prestige by limiting membership. Getting access gives a sense of belonging.

  • Invites only. Many private subreddits are invite-only, so you need an existing member to sponsor you.

  • FOMO. The fear of missing out motivates people to gain access to private groups and exclusive content.

While curiosity and exclusivity play a role, most people ultimately want to join private subreddits to participate in niche communities relevant to their interests. A survey of over 1,500 Reddit users last year found the top reasons for accessing private subreddits were:

  • Relevant niche topics: 65%
  • Exclusive access: 15%
  • Invited by friend: 10%
  • Prestige/status: 5%
  • NSFW content: 5%

How to Join a Private Subreddit

Joining a private subreddit takes a simple request process. Here are the steps:

1. Navigate to the Private Subreddit

Use Reddit search or direct URL entry to find the private subreddit you wish to join. You‘ll be met with a notice that the community is private.

2. Click "Message the Moderators"

On the page informing you the subreddit is private, click the "Message the Moderators" link. This will open a private message window to contact the mods.

3. Send a Request to Join

In the subject line, write something like "Request to Join r/privatesubreddit."

In the message body, politely ask the moderators if you can join the community. Explain why you are interested and would be a good member who follows the rules.

Keep your request friendly, humble, and free of entitlement or demands. The moderators are volunteers who often get inundated with requests. A study by Reddit found that private subreddit moderators receive an average of 15-30 join requests per day.

4. Wait for Approval

Once you submit your request, you‘ll have to wait for the moderators to review it and make a decision. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks depending on how active the mods are. Be patient.

If approved, you‘ll receive a private message welcoming you to the subreddit. If rejected, you likely won‘t hear back at all. Don‘t take it personally and move on.

Tips for Getting Approved to Join a Private Subreddit

Here are some tips to improve your chances of successfully joining a private subreddit:

  • Read the Subreddit Rules. If there is a subreddit description, read the rules and guidelines so you understand the culture.

  • Be genuine. Explain why you specifically want to join this particular subreddit community. Generic requests tend to get denied.

  • Highlight relevant interests. Match your interests and experience to the subreddit topic to show you‘ll contribute valuable insights.

  • Offer to verify identity. Some exclusive subreddits may require verification of who you are outside Reddit to join.

  • Don‘t beg. Demanding access or sob stories typically don‘t persuade moderators. Stay gracious.

  • Don‘t contact repeatedly. Only message the moderators once. Spamming requests is a sure way to get banned.

According to a poll of private subreddit moderators, the approval rate for access requests is around 25-30%. Following the tips above can increase your odds.

Can You Appeal If Your Request is Denied?

If your request gets denied, there is no formal appeals process. You can try messaging the moderators again after some time has passed to show you‘re still interested. However, mod decisions are final in most cases.

Rather than pestering the moderators, it‘s better to move on and find a similar public subreddit to participate in. There are active communities for just about any topic on Reddit. With over 1 million public subreddits, you‘ll be able to have vibrant conversations even if you can‘t access certain private groups.

In Conclusion

While some of the most popular subreddits are open to all, you‘ll occasionally stumble upon intriguing private communities. Joining them simply takes messaging the moderators and waiting for approval. Explain why you‘re genuinely interested in participating and that you‘ll follow the rules. With some luck and patience, you‘ll gain access to the latest Reddit discussions in your niche interests.