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I can see a private board even though I'm not even logged in, is this normal?




1 answer

0 votes
Iain Dooley Community Leader Apr 21, 2019

@LSpark that's what you see when you have been invited to join that board specifically

Stef Community Leader Apr 22, 2019

I'm not sure if this is how private boards are supposed to behave. I grabbed a link to one of my private boards, opened a private browser in Safari and pasted the link in. After entering the URL it takes me to the "Board Not Found" page. 🤔 

Garrett Atlassian Team Apr 22, 2019

@Stef A board not found message would be expected when accessing that board from a private window, because you're not logged into an account that's permitted to view it.

As @Iain Dooley mentioned, if a member invites you to their private board, you'll be permitted to see its content from the invite link.

@LSpark Since you're concerned that this board is visible while being private, would you mind reaching out to us at with a link to that board so we can take a closer look?

Stef Community Leader Apr 22, 2019

@Garrett Hi Garrett, thanks for confirming. Just so I understand the situation,  a user can see a private board, even without logging in to their account, if they receive an invite, say, via email?

Garrett Atlassian Team Apr 23, 2019

Hey @Stef 

I tested this with a team member to verify and the behavior works one of two ways:

  • When a user invites you to their private board and you already have an existing Trello account, accessing that board link from the invite will show a board not found error, unless you're logged into that account.
  • When a user invites you to their private board and you don't have an existing Trello account, accessing that board link will show a preview of the board like in @LSpark 's screenshot above. You won't be able to edit the board until you register an account by clicking the join board button on the top banner.

Let me know if that helps clarify!

Stef Community Leader Apr 23, 2019

Thanks for looking into this further, @Garrett ! Since I've always had a Trello account I've never encountered this behavior where I could see a private board even while logged out. Do you know the reasoning behind hiding the private board if you have an existing account vs. displaying a preview if you're new to Trello? I'm curious why it's designed this way. 

Of course Stephanie,

When you invite an existing Trello user to a private board, Trello is able to add a level of verification to the invite link being sent, because there is a Trello account available to verify. You can actually see this in the board URL provided in the email invite, which will require a confirmation token from the invited member's ID, or in other words, they need to be logged in.

When an invite is sent to a user with no existing Trello account, there isn't a way to verify that by being logged in. Instead, a virtual account is created as a placeholder and the invitee can preview that board. If they do plan to collaborate on that board, they can register a new account which replaces the virtual one.

While I'm not 100% sure why the preview exists, my thinking is it would be to allow new users to at least verify the board they're being invited to, before registering a new account. If an already existing user is invited to a board accidentally, they can simply leave the board. If a user without an account is invited to a board, they may be hesitant to register an account if they don't know what the board is for.

Allowing a read only preview can let the new user verify the board they are invited to is one they want to work on then register an account.

Sorry for the wall of text, but let me know if you feel that makes sense!

Stef Community Leader Apr 25, 2019

No worries at all! I enjoy learning more about what's going on "behind-the-scenes" so this has been a great conversation.

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