How do I stop a visitor from double dipping into my free trial?


I’ve got my site set up to a 60 day free trial. After 60 days of during the 60 days, a member can upgrade to my paid subscription.

When the visitor views their subscriptions, they get the option again to “upgrade” and move to the free trial. Two questions:

1. What is there to stop them from “upgrading” and signing up for the free trial again when the paid subscription expires?

2. What is there to stop them from using several gmail or other email addresses in order to remain on the free trial forever?

Is there an IP address log somewhere that stops them from doing this?



  • faydra_deon
    • WordPress Warrior


    I’m not sure if either of the following plugins can help combat this, but I wanted to mention them, just in case they may help you out.

    I use Register IP to capture IP addresses, so I can sort them and see if the same IP is showing up several times.

    I also use New User Approve, which doesn’t puts the user in a holding pattern until I can go in, check their IP address and make sure they’re not spammers and/or registering several accounts with different usernames/emails but coming from the same IP.

    Here are the links, in case you want to check these outs:

    Register IP: [it’s old, but it still works; I’m using it on most of my 45 sites]

    New User Approve:


  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay


    as said in the threads mentioned by yourself & @faydra_deon

    there really isn’t much you can do to prevent a determined user from doing it.

    Sure you can block an IP address, but that in itself is pretty useless & easy to get round by using proxy servers, and not least because most users IP addresses are dynamically assigned by their ISP, so when they disconnect from the internet & reconnect again, they will have a new IP address issued to them. so that will get round the IP block.

    hope this helps

  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Thanks Vaughan, I understand that. Although our target market will be 50+ I’m not sure how many of them even know what a proxy server is or would want to go through the trouble of disconnecting from the internet and reconnecting again.

    I am a member of and they have regular 7 day trial periods and there is a block on trying to sign up again with the same email address (logical) but also trying to pay with the same PayPal email address. This 7 day trial automatically becomes a paid subscription upon expiration, so credit card or paypal address is required on signup.

    Where I think that a user might be tempted to create a new email address and disconnecting from the internet, it is another thing to be creating a new PayPal account each time to get the freebie. Maybe something that Membership plugin could add in future?

    I guess installing Register IP doesn’t do any harm. Manually checking IP addresses is not something I’m looking forward to, but I guess it stops the worst offenders.

    Thanks Vaughan and Faydra for your responses.


  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Yes – I have two subscription plans, free trial and paid.

    In my free trial subscription I have it set up so that they automatically move into the paid subscription after 60 days.

    Is this what is the problem? Will the lower level always be available to them again? Should I just move the paid subs out of the free trial and leave the two separate?


  • Eugene Manuilov
    • Syntax Hero

    The difference between your subscriptions is only in existence of free trial level (free subscription has it, paid doesn’t).

    Maybe it would be better to remove paid subscription plan and leave just subscription with trial period? In this case users won’t be able to upgrade to another subscription and wouldn’t be able to restart current subscription. In the same time you will provide the same level of access to them and charge the same price as you do it right now using two subscriptions.

    Does it make sense?

  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    OK – I think I get it, so you’re saying remove the Paid Subscription plan and use the Free Trial plan with the upgrade to the next membership level which is paid?

    This way they won’t be able to go back down to a free trial again?

    We had wanted people to be able to sign up for a Premium Membership straight away and skip the free trial, but I guess no-one in their right mind would do that anyway…

    So, is this what I do, get rid of the plan that only has the one paid membership level in it?


  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    OK – still have problems with this and it seems I’m not the only one but I haven’t been able to find any solution to this as yet.

    Two issues:

    1) I want people to be able to upgrade to a paid subscription during their free trial.

    2) I don’t want them double-dipping and downgrading back to a free trial whilst on a paid subscription.

    Access levels on both subscription plans are the same – full access to the whole site.

    I had initially set it up so that I have one subscription plan with two access levels – free trial for five days and then upgrade to paid subscription and presumably the subscriber gets prompted for payment.

    However, the whole point of the free trial is to entice people to become a full member, so if the free trial period (set to 5 days now, but maybe more) has not yet expired and a member is keen to upgrade and start a paid subscription, they cannot do so on option No. 1. This has got to be the most sought-after request by all Membership plugin users.

    In order to do this, I need to create TWO subscription plans, one with two access levels, so that if people start on a Free Trial they get upgraded and one for a paid subscription immediately.

    HOWEVER, this gets me to issue No. 2) where it allows people to double-dip into the free trial again, whilst on a paid subscription.

    Is there any way I can edit one of the core files so that the [renew-form] shortcode does NOT display a subscription plan if it is a Free Trial (finite set to $0).

    This is a major issue for me and I would appreciate your recommedations on how to solve this.



  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    OK – decided to change back to a single subscription plan with access levels of 5 days free trial (finite $0) and then a paid subscription of $1/year (for testing).

    I’ve set my renewal period limit to 5 days so that at all times during the free trial, the upgrade button appears.

    This enables a subscriber to the free trial to upgrade DURING the free trial. But…. still have problems with the taxonomy. When a subscriber upgrades from the free trial access level to a paid subscription, the PayPal (single payment) screen says that the payment is a “Free 5 Day Trial” (the name of my subscription plan). Also, once paid when clicking on the current membership is also listed as “Free 5 Day Trial”, even though they have paid for the paid subscription access level.

    Other than renaming my subscription plan, how can I show here that they are actually on the paid subscription access level?

    It’s almost doing my head in – every time I think I have found a solution, something else comes up to negate it…

    Your recommendations please…



  • louise_cuschieri
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    OK – we must be in different time zones, so I’ll just continue to hammer away.

    I have now renamed my Subscription Plan to something not indicating that it is the free trial and instead have put the free trial information in the description.

    Unless you can come up with something better?



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