Reader signups

If your knowledge base is set up so that some or all readers must login to see content, you can allow your readers to sign up for access. This can help reduce administrative time and oversight so that readers can request access without you having to manually create accounts for them.

With signups enabled, your login page will show a link for those without an account to sign up for access:

Screenshot of a sample login page with the signup link highlightedSample login page with a sign up link

You have several options when adding signups:

  • You can have readers automatically granted a reader account as soon as they sign up OR require an admin to approve their access
  • You can choose to send email notifications when a new reader has signed up
  • You can include up to five custom fields to gather additional information about readers when they sign up
  • You can auto-assign new reader signups to reader groups based on their email address domain

Using reader signups

To enable reader signups:

  1. Go to Your Account > Readers.
  2. When the Readers page opens, click the Settings tab.
  3. Make sure that Password Management is set to "Allow readers to administer their own passwords". See Set up self-administered reader options for more information. If "Passwords can only be managed by KnowledgeOwl admins" is selected, you cannot enable reader signups.
    Signups can be used when "Allow readers to administer their own passwords" is selected
  4. Scroll down to the Self-Administered Reader Options section.
  5. Look for the Reader Signups section.
  6.  To turn on reader signups, check the box next to Allow people to sign up to become a reader.
  7. If you'd like readers to automatically be given an account as soon as they sign up, leave the box next to Require a KnowledgeOwl admin to approve new reader access unchecked. If you'd like to require admin approval, check this box.
    • If you leave this box unchecked, new reader signups will receive a welcome email with a temporary password immediately after they sign up. This allows new readers to sign up and gain access to your site without any approval process. 
    • If you check this box, a welcome email and password will not be sent until an administrator approves the signup request. New readers won't have any access until an admin has approved them. When a new reader signs up, they will be added to Your Account > Readers in pending approval. You will see an alert on top of the Readers list if you have new readers awaiting approval, and you can filter the readers list to only view those pending approval by searching for "pending". See Approve Reader Signups for more information.
  8. If you'd like to be alerted when new readers sign up, check the box next to Send a notification email when a new reader signs up. Notifications are especially helpful if you want to manually add the reader to groups to give them access to restricted content or you require approval before the new reader can access the site.
  9. If you checked the box next to Send notification email when a new reader signs up, be sure to add at least one email address to the Signup Notification Recipients list. These are the email addresses that will receive the signup notifications. To add multiple email addresses, use a comma-separated list.
  10. Click Save.

Add custom fields to the reader signup form

By default, the reader signup form requires an email, first name, and last name. You can choose to include up to 5 additional fields that will be mapped to reader custom fields 1-5.  These fields will be included in the signup and in your notification emails (if you're using notification emails).

Reader custom fields

To add custom fields to the signup form:

  1. Go to Your Account > Readers.
  2. Click on the Settings tab.
  3. Scroll down to Reader Signup Custom Fields section.
  4. Add labels for each field.
  5. If you want the field to be displayed in your reader signup form, check the Enabled box.
  6. If you want to require the reader to complete this field before they can submit the signup form, check the Required box.
  7. Click Save.

For example, in the screenshot above, both the Company Name and Postcode fields will be included, but only the Company Name field will be required.

The custom fields will be added to your signup and will also be included in your notification emails:

Reader signup form with custom fields

Approve new reader signups

When a new reader signs up and you require approval, they will see a message like this:

They will be added to Your Account > Readers  pending approval.

If you have signup notifications enabled, the email you receive will have a link in it to approve the reader:

Sample signup notification email with approval link

That will take you directly to step 7 below.

If you aren't using notifications, or if you'd like to complete this step while already logged in to KnowledgeOwl:

  1. Go to Your Account > Readers.
  2. You will see an alert on top of the Readers list if you have new readers awaiting approval:
  3. Click the filter dropdown to select the Pending Approval filter:
  4. This will display a list of all readers pending approval:
  5. Click on the reader's login, name, or anywhere else in that row.
  6. This will open the reader's details in a new tab.
  7. Click on the link that says approve or deny them here:
  8. Here you can choose to Deny or Approve their access. If you approve them, their reader account will be given access and we will send them the reader welcome email with a temporary password.
  9. Once you have approved the reader, you can assign them to reader groups in the Reader Groups section.
  10. If you do make changes to the reader's details, be sure to Save once you complete those changes.

Auto-assign new readers to groups upon signup

If you have reader sign-ups enabled, by default, new reader signups aren't assigned any reader groups. You can create rules to automatically assign readers to groups based on their email domain.

A common use case is to assign all readers with internal email addresses to an internal reader group. For example, Linus likes having a rule that will assign all readers with a email address to the Support reader group, which gives them access to all content restricted to our Support group.

If you're using reader signup, this can help guarantee that new readers get access to the content they need without a KnowledgeOwl admin having to manually review and assign them to the appropriate groups.

These rules currently apply to readers who have signed up for access to your knowledge base only. They do not apply to:
  • Reader accounts that you or another KO admin manually creates in Your Account > Readers (singly or in bulk)
  • Readers who come through remote authentication or any of our SSO integrations

To set up Email Rules:

  1. Go to Your Account > Readers.
  2. Click on the Groups tab.
  3. Click on the + Add Rule button.
    Click the + Add Rule button
  4. This will open the Auto-Assign Groups By Email Rule pop-up. To set up your rule, include:
    The Auto-Assign Groups by Email Rule pop-up
    1. A Rule Name. This name will appear in the Auto-Assign Groups by Email Rules in Readers > Groups, so it should help describe the rule.
    2. The Email Domain the rule applies to: all readers with this email domain will have this rule applied. It must be an entire domain (such as,,, etc.).
    3. Use the Assign to Groups checkboxes to select the Reader Group(s) that people with that email domain should be assigned to. This list depends on the Reader Groups you've set up in your knowledge base.
  5. Click Save Rule to save your changes.
    Sample rule which will assign all readers with an email address to the Support group
  6. Your rule will now appear in the Auto-Assign Groups by Email Rules section of Readers > Groups and will be applied to all reader signups from here on out. You can edit it (gear icon) or delete it (trashcan icon) using the icons to the right of the rule.
    Sample rule added to Auto-Assign Groups By Email Rules

By default, rules will only be applied when a new reader first signs up.

To run the rules on subsequent logins and allow rules to affect existing readers, choose "Override reader groups based on rule logic on each login" under Your Account > Readers  > Settings. (Note that changing this setting, though, will override any manually-assigned reader groups for readers in the rule domains, though. We don't recommend using this setting if you're using auto-assigned rules in conjunction with manually-assigned groups!)