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WP-Member Installation & Setup Guide

This guide will help you with installation and setup of WP-Member v4.x

Download WP-Member

You can always download the latest version of WP-Member from our client area. Simply login and you should see download links on the welcome page.

You will also need your license key, which should have been emailed to you. If you ever lose the email, you can get your license key from the client area as well, simply login and go to "Products & Downloads -> My Products" and there you will see a list of your purchased licenses and their keys.

Install and Activate WP-Member

Login to your WordPress admin area and click on the "Plugins" link in the left sidebar, click "Add New" and then "Upload". Select the WP-Member plugin zip file and upload it. Next, click "Activate" to activate the plugin.

Enter Your License Key

When you activate WP-Member, an alert message will pop up asking you to enter your license key in the Settings page. You can follow this link, or if you don't see it you can go to "Memberships -> Settings" from the main sidebar menu.

Enter your license key and click "Save Changes".

Once you have saved your license key, a new set of menu items will appear on the menu in the left sidebar under "Memberships" that looks like this:

WP-Member Menu

General Settings

On the same settings page where you entered your license key, you can set some other options for WP-Member. Most of these options come preset with defaults that you can leave as-is, or you can customize them as needed.

The general settings page includes currency, global redirect options, return and cancel URL's for payment gateways, email settings, protection for menu items, and general access settings.

Once you have reviewed and customized your general settings as needed, the next thing you will want to do is set up payment gateway(s).

Payment Gateway Settings

To set up your payment gateway(s), login to your WordPress admin and navigate to "Memberships -> Settings -> Gateways" - here you will find a sub-tab for each Payment Gateway that is installed such as PayPal or Google Checkout, and a tab for "Offline Payments".

Each payment gateway has a "live switch" that can be used to set the gateway to a testing (sandbox) mode, a live mode for payment processing, or disabled setting that should be used if you do not want to use the gateway.

If you will only be offering free memberships and do not need any payment gateways, you can set all payment gateways to "Disabled" and skip on to the next steps in this guide.

If you are going to sell any paid membership subscriptions, you will need to set up at least one payment gateway. PayPal Standard is the easiest and recommended gateway, but you can also use one of the other payment gateways such as Google Checkout or PayPal Express Checkout.

For PayPal Standard, all you need to do is enter your PayPal email address. It is also recommended to obtain and enter your PayPal API credentials so that WP-Member can process cancellations and/or refunds for your members. You can skip entering PayPal API credentials, but WP-Member will be unable to process refunds or cancel subscription payments, your customers will need to take care of canceling any subscriptions in their respective PayPal accounts if they decide to cancel a membership with a recurring payment.

For PayPal Express Checkout, API credentials are required. Generally we recommend using PayPal Standard instead, unless you have a specific use case where Express Checkout is required.

For instructions on obtaining PayPal API credentials, please check our guide.

For Google Checkout, please click on the Google Checkout tab and follow the instructions there.

For Offline Payments such as check, money order, bank wire, or any other manually confirmed payment method, you can navigate to the "Offline Payment" tab and turn the switch to "Live", then enter instructions that will be shown to your customers. When a user checks out after selecting "Offline Payment" there will be a notification for you in the "Memberships -> Gateway Log" menu, where you can confirm receipt of the payment. The membership will not be activated until you confirm the payment.

Membership Levels

To manage your membership levels, log in to your WordPress admin and navigate to "Memberships -> Membership Levels" from the main sidebar menu.

A membership level is like a set of access permissions that can be used to protect specific content on your site. Users can belong to one or more membership levels, granting them access to protected content designated for their membership level(s). You can set membership level based access permission for any WordPress content and any digital downloads you plan to offer your members.

WP-Member comes with some preset membership levels to get you started. You can use these preset levels or delete them and create you own.

Please note that the "Guest" membership level can not be deleted or renamed, it is used to set the permissions for users who are not logged in, or unregistered users on your site.

To create a new membership level simply click "Add New" All that is needed to create a new membership level is to give it a name and save it, pricing, duration and other options are handled by Subscription Packages.

Subscription Packages

To manage your subscription packages, log in to your WordPress admin and navigate to "Memberships -> Subscription Packages" from the main sidebar menu.

A subscription package is used to grant access to membership levels. Subscription packages may be free or paid and may have a set expiration date or be indefinite. Your users will be able to choose a subscription package when they register on your site, and if it is a paid package they will be directed to make the appropriate payment before they are granted access to protected content.

To create a new subscription package, enter a name for the package, a description that will be shown to customers when they register on your site, select the membership levels that this subscription package will grant access to, and set the duration and pricing options; then click "Add New Subscription Package".

The "Package Price" will be billed every time the "Package Duration" expires. For example if you set the Package Price to $100 and Package Duration to 1 Month, then your members who subscribe to this package will be billed $100 per month.

If you check "Auto-Renew Subscription" option then an automatic payment profile will be created for the user and the payments will be automatic until canceled. If you do not check the Auto Renew option, then users will need to renew their membership and pay again manually each time the duration expires. Please note that Auto-Renew is not supported by Google Checkout.

If a members subscription package expires and remains unpaid, they will lose access to protected content and will be notified that a payment is due to renew their subscription.

When using an auto-renewing subscription, there is an option to offer a Trial Period for your subscription. The trial amount will be billed immediately (or can be set to 0 for a free trial) and when the trial duration expires the regular Package Price will be billed automatically, unless the user cancels their trial subscription first.

The trial option can also be used to charge a first time fee that is different from the recurring fee, such as $50 for the first month, then $100 each month thereafter.

Protecting Member-Only Content

There are a number of ways you can protect content so that it is accessible only to members of a certain Membership Level, these include:

  • Private Content Shortcodes
  • Post, Page, Category, Tag, or Taxonomy protection settings
  • Protected Digital Downloads
  • Drip Feeding Content

The recommended method is to use shortcodes in your pages or posts that will designate certain parts of the content as private for members only. This is useful because it allows you to show guests or non-logged in users some "teaser content". We have created a Private Content Shortcode Generator which is accessible on the visual editor of any WordPress post or page. Look for the lock icon on the toolbar that looks like this:

Private Content Shortcode

When using the shortcode generator you can select the membership level(s) which will be allowed to see the content inside, or you can simply use [private]protected_content_here[/private] shortcodes without specifying membership level in order to protect the content from guests and allow all logged in users to see it regardless of their membership level. Protected content should be placed inside the shortcode tags. You can use these shortcodes anywhere on your site including inside text widgets in your sidebar or footer.

The other method for protecting content is to protect entire pages, posts, categories, tags, or even custom taxonomies based on membership levels. This can be done by editing the page, post or category and setting the Membership Level permissions in the WP-Member box on the right side:

Protect Entire Posts or Pages

Multiple posts or pages may be protected at once by using the the bulk editor. To use the bulk editor, navigate to "Posts" or "Pages" from the main WordPress admin sidebar menu and then select the checkboxes for multiple posts or pages and then select "Edit" from the bulk editor drop down:

Bulk Editor

After clicking "Edit" the bulk editor will appear where you can set permissions for all the selected posts or pages at once.

WP-Member Login Widget

It is recommended to use the WP-Member login widget in your sidebar or other widget area. This specially designed widget will give your users a place to login and will also provide links to the registration form for new users or a link to the profiles of logged in users.

To use the WP-Member login widget, log in to your WordPress admin area and navigate to "Appearance -> Widgets" from the main sidebar menu. Drag out the WP-Member Login Widget to the widget area where you wish to display it, and optionally customize the text.

Login and Registration Form Shortcodes

You can embed a login form or registration form into any WordPress post or page by using the shortcode generator buttons on the visual editor.

The login form shortcode is:

The registration form shortcode is:

Customizing the Registration Form

To customize the appearance and functionality of the registration form, log in to your WordPress admin area and navigate to "Memberships -> Settings -> Registration".

You can add new fields or customize the existing fields on the Registration Form. When you add custom fields here, users will be able to fill them in when they register, the data collected by these fields will be shown on each members profile page. Custom fields may be required or optional, and may be later updated by users when visiting their profile page.

You can customize the look of the registration form and add your own logo or background here as well.

Turn on User Registration

Finally, the last step is to make sure that new users are able to register on your site. This option is set in the General Settings of WordPress, so log in to WordPress admin and navigate to "Settings -> General" from the main sidebar menu. Ensure that the check box for "Anyone can register" is ticked. If this is not ticked, then new users will not be able to sign up on your site. If you ever want to turn off new users sign ups, just come to this page and uncheck this option.

Congratulations, your membership site is now set up and you are ready to start accepting members.

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