WP-Members is arguably the first membership plugin that was available for WordPress. It started as a simple project so I could publish my own membership sites on the WordPress platform. 15 years later, it has grown into a much larger plugin than originally conceived and provides a framework for building membership sites and generating revenue.
Here are 5 reasons that I use it for building membership sites.
1. Simple initial install and set up
The plugin is simple to install through the WordPress plugin admin panel. Because it is in the wordpress.org plugin repository, you can load it directly through the Plugins > Add New dialog – no uploading required. Search for keyword “WP-Members” and it should be the first choice that shows up.
Set up is equally simple. The plugin installs with some basic defaults enabled, specifically blocking posts by default. Default fields can be deleted, new fields added, and field order rearranged via a simple drag-and-drop interface. Email content and the plugin’s error/success messages can be configured in other tabs.
In all, you can have the plugin running with a basic setup in less than a few minutes.
2. Customizable registration fields
WordPress is great, but for collecting user data, it does not provide a large variety of user fields. WP-Members allows you to create the custom registration fields you need.
As mentioned earlier, the plugin installs with some basic fields to get you started. These are the standard address, city, state, phone, etc.
Create the fields you need, and delete fields you don’t.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but with the plugin’s framework of action and filter hooks, you are not limited to adding fields using the interface. Fields of any type are possible with a filter function and you can validate any data you need to with action hooks built into the registration process.
3. Extensible API
This is where the plugin is most powerful. Through filter and action hooks, the plugin has an architecture designed for customizing.
With action hooks in the registration process that pass the user’s registration data, you can also collect data for outside processes that may need to be stored outside the WordPress database. An example would be syncing user data with things like MailChimp or Salesforce.
The plugin has a library of API functions as well. These can be used in customizing via filter and action functions, or used directly.
For non-developers, there is a library of plugin extensions to expand the plugin’s basic functionality. The concept is a modular format – use what you need without loading things you don’t want or will never use. There is also an extensive catalog of code snippets and tutorials that can be copy/pasted for customizing your application.
4. Fits a wide variety of project needs
The plugin does not pigeon-hole you into a specific process. Many membership frameworks offer lots of options, but all of the flow and the process is based on what the developer has decided will be the user flow. That can make other membership plugins complicated to set up and rigid in their application.
WP-Members, with its extensible framework of WP compliant hooks allows you to bend and shape the process to what you envision.
5. Follows WordPress standards
If you are already a WordPress developer, the code follows WP’s coding standards. This includes documentation in-line in the code. For anyone who is already familiar with how WP’s filters and actions work, WP-Members is no different. Following inline documentation, it is simple to customize the plugin’s functionality and output to suit your specific application.
WP-Members is a plugin designed for fast deployment of membership sites with an architecture that is built to WordPress standards. It is designed to be simple for the novice to use and deploy while remaining flexible and powerful for the professional developer.
With a user base of more than 70,000 active installations and a nearly 12 year track record of active development, WP-Members is a robust tool for your next membership site.