I’ve been on the lookout for the best way to add another layer to a Wordpress blog beyond the free content – a premium content area, also known as a membership site. I’ve searched Google and Sitepoint; there are a couple plugins out there that claim to do this, but they mostly appear to be non-serious attempts or unprofessional implementations. Free or paid, it doesn’t seem to matter!
Or am I wrong?
No one has made a serious attempt to collect all the information on this topic in one place. Let’s create a resource thread for people trying to take their Wordpress sites to the next level with premium content and membership sites.
Tell us about your experiences with various plugins or systems (built on Wordpress) below so we can create a list of what’s out there.
The minimum features of a membership/premium content site might be:
- complete integration with existing Wordpress user system
- supporting user registration (preferably with extensible form fields)
- theme-friendly account management area for users
- user password recovery
- multiple permission groups
- ability to require authentication + authorization on select posts/pages with theme-friendly error messages
- administrator page to manage user permissions
Ideal higher level features:
- payment gateway integration (paypal, google, others)
Add your thoughts below.
I have tried in vain to use Suma. It looks like a decent product with an impressive feature list, but getting it to work was just too damn difficult.
Essentially there is no user-community around the product, and documentation is thin on the ground - particularly for working examples.
Therefore, the only way to get help is to contact the developer (Brenton Camac) directly. Clearly he is a one-man band and cannot cope, so requests simply go unanswered.
I tried for many months to get the product to work (issues with our PHP installation) and even persevered with customisation, but to no avail. I finally gave up bashing my head against a brick wall and I am in the process of evaluating WishList Member…
WP-Member - plugin ($27) that looks pretty scammy. Has anyone tried it? http://wp-member.com/
Your Members - plugin ($50) that actually looks fairly comprehensive and professional. Has anyone tried it? http://www.newmedias.co.uk/wordpress-membership/
Role Manager - plugin (free) which restricts users based on roles when logged in. Maybe this could be combined with other stuff? http://www.im-web-gefunden.de/wordpress-plugins/role-manager/
WP User Manager - plugin (free) that adds custom fields to user registration. Could maybe be combined with other stuff? http://www.dealsway.net/2007/11/05/wp-user-manager/
Amember - plugin ($179.95) that supports multiple CMS’s including Wordpress. The price point suggests it would be best in class, but it looks like overkill. Anyone have experience with it? http://www.amember.com/. Just found a site running amember and Wordpress as a demo and it looks pretty functional … http://www.wordpressamember.com/ - I think this might be the front-runner for now.
EasyPayPal - plugin (free) but I’m not sure exactly how it works. Looks like it lets you restrict certain parts of posts and charge directly post-by-post through paypal. http://www.codeplex.com/easypaypal
Suma - plugin http://www.sumaplugin.com/
On my local machine I was able to integrate Amember, BBPress, WordPress and the Role Manager plugin and got them working together quite well. I posted a few posts on the Amember forums on how I did a few of those things, not sure if those posts are still there or not.
Amember is a nice piece of software but it doesn’t seem like the people that develop it really upgrade it much, if ever. Recently they’ve had a few small releases but overall the software still looks like it’s 10 years old.
More recently I’ve been awaiting the release of Memberzilla, which boasts super simple integration with WordPress but it was supposed to be released in march of 08 initially. It now looks like it may actually be released in the next few months but only time will tell. http://memberzilla.com
Hope that helps, I like to play with software to see it’s limitations and see what actually works best because most people on forums just say “use joomla” or “use wp” because it’s their favorite software, not because it’s actually the best software for the job.
There is a reason why everyone leaves the Suma plugin till last on their list of membership plugins and that’s because it is junk. Don’t waste your money.