membership plugin's shortcode for subscription button not working properly

Okay, I know I'm doing something wrong here, but I can't quite figure out what it is and I need help. So here we go.

I have the membership plugin installed, and I currently want to offer two subscription plans: one free and one paid.

The free subscription should be automatically applied when a user registers

The paid subscription should be an upgrade, and I would like it to be accessible by clicking a button, and then the user is directed to pay. I would like to have the page completely customized, and so I'm using the [subscription button subscription="2"] shortcode, where "2" is the ID of the paid subscription.

In the general tab under options, I have the "default subscription for registered users" set to my free subscription. I also checked the box labelled "assign first subscription level to new users". Having this box checked or unchecked does not seem to matter for my particular issue.

When I try to click the button to subscribe to the paid subscription, it only seems to want to upgrade to a free plan that I have inactive (as if it's ignoring the subscription ID I set).

I tried selecting "none" under "use subscription", under the section "default subscription for registered users", and the "assign first subscription" box checked (and also tried it unchecked) in options > general options. Either way, the issue persists. The only difference is that when I I have the default subscription set to none, newly registered users are able to sign up, but they are not assigned the free subscription, even though I used the shortcode on the custom sign up page I created.

When the default subscription is set to none and the checkbox underneath it is checked, users can register, but the content they're supposed to be able to view is protected. Under all members, it shows (set by default) beside the free subscription name. So it seems to work, except the content is still protected.

The only payment gateway I have active and set up properly (to my knowledge) is the PayPal single payments gateway.

I'm not sure how I can get these shortcodes to work.

Please help! Thanks in advance!

P.S. The regular registration page (for the free subscription) is located at:

and the paid subscription page I'm trying to test out is at:
(the button is at the very bottom of the page. You have to scroll right down).

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Hey there @niniane

    I hope you are well today!

    Looking closer at both buttons, I can see that the subscription ID is not being registered. It shows as "0" (screenshot).

    Would you kindly grant support access from your WPMU DEV Dashboard so we can pop in to take a look at your settings please?

    It would really help if we could see things first hand. Thanks!

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    So, the Id's were set incorrectly. I hovered over the subscription name in the settings, and I could see the status bar (like in your screen shot) that showed Id 1 for the free subscription, and id 3 for the paid subscription. I updated both accordingly, but it still doesn't work. Now I really, really don't know what to do.

    Thanks for your help!

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Hi again @niniane

    I just logged into your site and made only a couple of small adjustments to your setup:

    - Changed the shortcode for the Energetic Super-Hero subscription to:
    [subscriptionbutton subscription="3"] the one you had entered does not exist: [subscriptionbutton upgrade="3"]

    - Also set the access level in your free subscription to Serial rather than Indefinite to reduce the potential for gateway errors when upgrading (sometimes users need to actually cancel their sub before upgrading otherwise).

    I then created a test user (wpmudevtest1) registered on your free subscription, and the member was correctly added with that sub.

    Once logged in as the new user, I could access the e-courses menu in the sidebar, as well as the other protected content (transcript, bonus, etc).

    Although I can't afford $397 to test the upgrade :slight_smile: it appears to work now.

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Thanks @Patrick Cohen!

    Still having issues, though on my end.

    1. A serial subscription will definitely not work for me since I'm promising lifetime access to the intense, 12 week course (hence the heftier price). I cannot charge my clients more than once for this subscription.

    2. When I log in on a test account, and try to register, the problem persists. I need my current users to be able to register for the course without having to create a whole new account. This is where I am having issues. It worked fine if you weren't logged in and didn't have an account, but there will be a lot of people registering that already have an account. It would make no sense (and would be a horrible public relations-type mess) if I forced my already existing users to create a whole new account for this course, and every new course that I end up offering in the future. Can you help me with this? Sorry that I wasn't more clear initially!! In short, I need an "upgrade" button, not a "subscription" button (that's why I desperately tried to make-shift a short code that doesn't exist lol). Hopefully that makes more sense now. Sorry again about the clarity issue!

    3. Also, I haven't mentioned this yet, but I am also having an issue with the buttons, namely, that when I use the shortcodes, the button image I had placed in the settings don't show up. Any thoughts?

    Again, thank you whole-heartedly for your quick, kind, and insightful help! Hope you're having a great day so far/have had a great day!

    Thanks again (and in advance)!

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Do you know if there's a temporary work around for this in the mean time at all? I need this for tomorrow, that's why. Do you have any suggestions?



    It would make no sense (and would be a horrible public relations-type mess) if I forced my already existing users to create a whole new account for this course, and every new course that I end up offering in the future.

    I meant "marketing mess" not "public relations-type mess" in my last post ... that's what I get for staying up for over 32 hours straight!

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Here's an update/clarification of my issues. I realized I completely misunderstood what you typed, and I was not being clear at all with what is happening. I was also misunderstanding the plugin capabilities, as well (sorry). I blame the complete lack of sleep I got yesterday.

    Here's what I'm trying to achieve:

    on the sales page (, a user clicks the custom "register now" button I made and they are redirected to PayPal, or whatever the membership plugin does next to upgrade their subscription, and they end up "upgrading".

    What I mean by upgrading, is that a subscription is added to their already existing (free) subscription, but, as you pointed out, this plugin doesn't allow users to hold two subscriptions at the same time (right?). The user would have to unsubscribe from their current subscription in order to subscribe/upgrade to another. That's why you set the free membership option to serial. That way there would be no issues in upgrading. Smart.

    Here are my issues:

    1. What I noticed, is that the default button is being shown, rather than the custom button I set in the settings.

    And more importantly,

    2. When you click the button that you fixed to upgrade, you're made to select a button that says "free" and little else is written in the pop up. In other words, the shortcode isn't working. It's not letting you pay for the subscription that the shortcode is supposed to be set to. That's at least what is happening to me when I test it out (from this page:

    Can you test it out and see if you're getting this issue as well?

    When I tested it out, and just clicked to free button to see what happens, it seems to work, but when I check the members list, either no new subscription is added, or sometimes, a subscription I set to private is added, and not the intended subscription.

    I hope that makes more sense now.


  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Fixed it!

    What I did:

    1. Change the shortcode back to the original, like you said.
    2. Set the default subscription to "none" under membership > options > general

    I was reluctant to do the second step because in the past it didn't work, but now it's working fine, so I guess that's that.

    The only thing I don't like is that if someone creates an account, then decides to bail half way through, they are not allotted a subscription (even the free one I have set up). So that sucks, and I wish you could set a default subscription without having any issues when you want to offer paid subscriptions. So if there's any way the plugin creator(s) can do this, I would be eternally grateful!

    Thanks for all your help @Patrick Cohen!

  • Michael Bissett
    • Recruit

    Hey @niniane, glad you were able to get this working so far. :slight_smile:

    You should just be able to set the default subscription to the free one you have, or, in lieu of that, a "Visitor Subscription" (one that has the Visitor access level).

    I could do some additional testing, and see if there's a way to do this with your setup, not sure if you're wanting that now though, since things are working properly now.

    Would you like more assistance with this, or would you rather leave it lie for now?

    Please advise,

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Hey @Michael Bissett

    Thanks! It would be very helpful if you could do some testing because I noticed if someone tries to purchase a subscription, they sign up, but then bail before they pay, they have no access to the content I would want them to automatically have access to after signing up. I then have to add the free subscription manually, if I even remember to check (which is not likely).

    I do need a visitor/stranger access level for people that just browse the basic parts of the website, but I also need a free subscription that users are automatically signed up for when they register.

    BUT! I also need to be able to allow for paid subscriptions. Everything is fine until a user bails on paying the subscription, and then they're in my website's -- sort of -- limbo, and can't access the free subscription, as they are not signed up for one at that point.

    It would be great if there was a solution to this. I think I remember hearing somewhere that if a user has no subscriptions, there's a way you can default them to see certain content anyway ... although, I might be totally remembering wrong, so this is where I would need help for sure!

    Thanks again!

  • Ash
    • WordPress Hacker

    Hi @niniane

    Just a quick question, do you have level and subscription plan set in Membership > Options > General for visitor level and default subscription level?

    Also, I am sending a note to @Michael Bissett about the update of his testing.


  • Michael Bissett
    • Recruit

    Hey @niniane,

    The testing would have to be done inside your site, could you enable Support Access again please? :slight_smile:

    The solution I provided earlier should work, but perhaps your setup happens to be different enough in comparison to the ones I've used this trick for in the past.


  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Thank you @Ashok and @Michael Bissett

    Support access is ACTIVE until June 17, 2014 5:23 PM PST.

    I could just not be fully understanding what you mean, but if you wouldn't mind looking into it, I would really appreciate it. I can't seem to do exactly what I would like, but it could be just that I'm missing something.

    Thanks so much!!

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Hi again @niniane

    I hope you're having a great weekend!

    To get the free subscription assigned automatically to users who bail out at the payment step, all you need to do is select that subscription and check the box to assign it to new users (1st screenshot).

    Membership > Options > General > Default subscription for registered users

    I just set it up on your site, assigning the free "Exclusive Bonuses" subscription as the default. Then went through the signup process as a new user for your "Energetic Super-Hero" subscription, but bailed out before making payment.

    As you can see on the Members page in your Membership plugin settings, the new user "johndoe" has been correctly assigned your free subscription by default, and has access to the content (2nd screenshot)

  • Jenni McKinnon
    • Recruit

    Thanks @Patrick Cohen

    I tried setting it up like that before, but then users were not allowed to sign up for a paid subscription. It went wonky and users were "signed up" for an invisible, free subscription ... although, now it seems to work just fine.

    I don't know what I was doing wrong at all now, but nonetheless you fixed it and all is well. I guess you have the Midas touch.

    Thanks so much!!

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