Image of a Reddit moderator

If you’re wondering how to use Reddit, this is the guide for you. Reddit is something you might have heard about, visited a time or two, or read about online. It’s a massive site that can seem daunting at first, especially for new users. Someone unfamiliar with the website may find themselves asking how to use Reddit. This guide aims to give beginners the information they need to get started. It includes the basics for creating an account, participating, and answers common questions about the website.  

What is Reddit?

Reddit.com is a website that is part internet forum, part social media, part aggregator, part web 2.0, and part content rating. It combines all of those things into a website with seemingly endless communities based on topics ranging from extremely broad (such as news) to extremely niche (such as beekeeping).

It describes itself as the “front page of the internet” and it’s a place for users to post interesting things and then discuss. It’s one of the most popular sites on the internet with millions of people visiting every day. 

Reddit accounts 101

Do I need to create an account?

The answer to this question depends on how you want to use Reddit. If you only want to browse Reddit, then the answer is no, you do not need to create an account. However, if you wish to participate, you’ll need to create one. Participation means posting, joining communities, commenting, and upvoting or downvoting other posts. 

How to create a Reddit account

Creating a Reddit account is free and anonymous. No personal information or email is required; however, if you want to verify your Reddit account, you’ll need to provide an email.

To create a Reddit account, click on the “Sign Up” button in the upper right hand corner (on desktop).

Image of the sign up button on Reddit

It’s in a similar place on mobile. Click on the “Log in / Register” link to get started. From there click the “Sign Up” button to create an account.

Main menu screen on Reddit mobile

Note that both the mobile and desktop sign up pages will prompt you to enter an email. This isn’t required to create an account, only to verify one. You can still post, comment, upvote, etc. without a verified account. 

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Can I have multiple accounts?

Yes, you can multiple Reddit accounts. However, you’re not allowed to use your alternate accounts to upvote (or downvote) your posts, interact with your other accounts, or engage in vote manipulation. Learn more on vote manipulation below. 

What can people see on my account profile?

There are many things someone can see on an account’s profile page. To look at any profile, enter reddit.com/u/[insertusername]. So for example, here is the link to one of my profiles: https://www.reddit.com/user/watermelongiveaway 

When you click on it, you can see an overview of my posts and comments. At the top of the page, you can sort by Overview, Posts, or Comments. This sorts the view by those types of activities. 

Image of options on a Reddit user's profile

On the right hand side, you can see some additional information about the account, including total karma and cake day.

One frequently asked question is, “What is a Cake Day?” Each Reddit account has a cake day and simple put, the cake day is the day the account was created. So for example, /u/watermelongiveaway’s cake day is July 10 because that’s the day I created it. Whatever posts or comments the account makes that day will have a little cake icon next to it. Redditors are quick to spot it and often you’ll get more upvotes when posting on your cake day.

Finally, your user profile has a Trophy Case where badges and achievements you have earned are displayed. These can be things like a verified email, an account over one year, and many others. 

Posting, commenting, and subreddits

How to post on Reddit

This is a common question when figuring out how to use Reddit. These are the steps to create a post.

  1. First, create an account or log in to yours
  2. Once logged in, select which type of post you want to create
    1. Submit a new link – This option lets you post a link, photo, a video.
    2. Submit a new text post – This option lets you create a text-only post
    3. Note – Certain subreddits will only allow certain types of posts

How to comment on Reddit

To comment on Reddit, you need to be logged in to an account. Note that posts over six months old are considered archived and cannot be commented on. 

How to comment on desktop

Select the comment section of the post you wish to comment on. From there either:

  • Enter your reply into the comment box and click save. This will create a new comment thread on the post. 
  • Click reply to another user’s comment, enter your comment into the box, and click save. This will nest your comment under the other user’s. 

How to comment on mobile

Go into the comment section of the post you’d like to comment on. Once there, either:

  • Tap the “Leave a comment” bar, enter your comment, and tap “ADD COMMENT”. That will leave a new comment thread on the post.
  • Under the comment you want to reply to, select the comment you want to reply to and tap the comment icon.

Commenting on Reddit

What is a subreddit and how does it work?

Subreddits are one of the core functions of Reddit. A subreddit is a community focused on a topic. Each subreddit can be found with a similar convention to user names but uses an r instead of a u. For example, reddit.com/r/pics or reddit.com/r/nfl. 

The topics the subreddits focus on range from very broad, such as /r/funny to very specific, such as /r/collegebasketball. Reddit is made up of millions of subreddits and there is a community for just about everyone. 

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Karma, upvotes, and downvotes

What is Reddit karma?

Karma is Reddit’s scoring system. Upvotes give an account karma points and downvotes deduct them. Your account’s total karma score can be seen on your username page. Likewise, you can find any other account’s total karma score on their page.

There are two types of karma: post karma and comment karma. You can find your totals for each when you’re logged in.

Example of Reddit karma totals

Karma has a few practical uses. Some subreddits will only allow posts or comments once a certain karma threshold has been met. This requirement isn’t for all subreddits and usually can be found in their rules section.

Otherwise, karma doesn’t have many other uses from a true functionality standpoint. However, a person with a lot of karma is generally considered more trustworthy, or at least is less likely to be a “shill”, a fake individual, or someone pushing an agenda.

What do upvotes and downvotes do?

Upvotes and downvotes serve several purposes:

  1. Upvotes add and downvotes deduct points from from a post or comment. A post or comment with high point totals will show up higher on the subreddit’s page (for a post) or within the comment section (for comments). This typically means that they will have more exposure and be seen by more people as they will be displayed first.
  2. Upvotes and downvotes also add and deduct from a user’s overall karma score.
  3. If a comment receives too many downvotes, it will typically be hidden and a user will have to click to display it. 

What is vote manipulation?

Vote manipulation is a term for trying to influence the score of a comment or post and it is a bannable offense. Because posts and comments with high scores are displayed at the top of the page, they have more exposure and therefore more people will view or read them.

Some people will use multiple accounts, bots, or even buy upvotes to increase their post/comment’s score. Additionally, people will use the same tactic to downvote other user’s posts or comments to push them lower on the page in attempts to hide them or make their own posts/comments stand out more. This is against Reddit’s rules. 

Rules to follow

Reddit has sitewide rules and guidelines called Redditquette. These include things such as:

Additionally, each subreddit has a set of rules. They can be found on the right hand side of the page while on desktop and by tapping on “About This Community” and “View this community’s rules” on mobile. It’s up to the subreddit moderators on how strictly they wish to enforce their subreddit’s rules.

Mobile view of Reddit and how to see About this community

Mobile view of Reddit and how to view a subreddit rules

Some of these rules on how to use Reddit might include guidelines for can be posted (or not posted) or restrictions on certain words, phrases, or links to specific subreddits. Typically, most subreddits have rules to encourage good behavior as well as rules for types of content that is allowed.

Reddit moderators and what they do

A Reddit moderator is a user who has administrative power over a subreddit. Their powers are similar to forum or webmasters. They can ban users, remove posts or comments, lock posts/threads, sticky comments or posts to the top of the subreddit, and approve content that may have been caught in an automatic filter. 

The vast majority of subreddit moderators are not employees of Reddit. The moderators are typically listed in the About section of the subreddit and their names are marked with a green [M] or shield when they post or comment. 

Reddit admins and what they do

On the other hand, Reddit administrators are employed by Reddit. They have many similar powers as moderators but their powers are sitewide. Their posts and comments are marked with a red [A].

Administrators also have the power to blacklist certain domains from Reddit. If a domain is blacklisted, any links from that domain will not appear to users. 

Example of a Reddit administrator

Can my account get suspended or banned?

Yes, your account can both be suspended or banned for breaking rules. A moderator or administrator has the power to ban you, either from their subreddit or from the site completely. Common reasons for being banned can include: vote manipulation, spamming, harassment, brigading, and calls for violence. If your account is banned or suspended, you can still browse Reddit but you will not be allowed to participate (upvotes or downvotes, comments, and posts). 

Can I appeal a ban or suspension?

Yes, you can appeal a ban or suspension through the online forms. You’ll be given a chance to explain in a brief message. However, even if you appeal, it is not guaranteed that your suspension or ban will be overturned.

What is a shadowban?

A shadowban on Reddit is a type of ban that moderators and administrators can apply to accounts. Unlike a subreddit or sitewide ban, shadowbans are more subtle and harder for the user to detect. If a Reddit account has been shadowbanned, they can still comment or post but their actions are automatically put in the spam filter, hiding them from other users.

To check and see if your account is shadowbanned, open an incognito browser window and go to your account’s profile page (while not logged in). If the page says that the user does not exist, that means the account has been shadowbanned. 

Flair on Reddit

Flair on Reddit is an identifying badge on specific subreddits that is displayed next to your username when you post or comment. It’s common in subreddits focused on sports or entertainment, such as a specific television show. On a sports subreddit, a user without a flair may be asked to “flair up” by others, meaning to set their flair and declare their allegiance to a team.

The about section of a subreddit will typically have guidelines on how to set your flair.

Example of flair on Reddit

What is Reddit Premium?

Reddit Premium, previously known as Reddit Gold, is a monthly subscription that lets users browse ad-free, gives access to the exclusive /r/lounge subreddit, and gives 1000 worth of coins just for joining. After that, you’ll get 700 a month in coins. The fee is part of Reddit’s revenue stream.

The 1000 in coins can be awarded to posts and/or comments that you deem worthy. Previously users could only award Reddit Gold, but now they can award silver, gold, and platinum. Each one costs a different amount of coins and displays differently next to a comment or post.

Example of Reddit coins being given to a user on a post

Is there a Reddit app?

Yes, Reddit has an app for both iOS and Android.

Is there a night theme for Reddit?

Yes, there is a night theme or night mode for both desktop and mobile Reddit. It can be turned on by selecting the option in the upper right hand corner.

Image of where the night theme button is on Reddit

Terms you should know

Below is a list of terms commonly used on Reddit that we haven’t covered yet:

  • OC – OC stands for original content. That means that whoever posted the image/video/text is the creator of it, as opposed to finding it somewhere from someone else and posting it.
  • Repost – A repost is a post that someone makes that has already been done. Sometimes this is accidental and sometimes this is intentional. How users view reposts vary as well.
  • AMA – This stands for ‘Ask Me Anything’ and there is an entire subreddit dedicated to it. Other users will ask questions and the original poster (OP) will respond.
  • TL;DR – This means ‘too long; didn’t read’ and is usually included at the bottom of long text posts or comments as a way of signifying a shortened version of the events. Users will use this abbreviation and give a summary of their post.
  • ELI5 – This term stands for ‘explain like I’m five.’ There’s a whole subreddit for it, but users will sometimes use this to ask for a simplified explanation of a comment or post. Often the simplified version does not actually mean for a five-year-old’s level but instead just easier to understand.

Reddit is a vast website full of millions of people and communities for just about every interest. The more you use Reddit, the more you’ll feel comfortable both browsing and participating. This guide is a way for you to get started on Reddit and answer many questions you may have.

David Cusick

David Cusick is the executive editor for Overheard on Conference Calls. He comes from a strong news background and currently works in digital marketing in Raleigh, NC. His work has won multiple awards, including Interactive Content Marketing's award for Best Use of Content Marketing and the US Search Award for Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign. Additionally, his work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, CNN, ABC, Business Insider, and more.