Tying Membership to forum access

Hi,

I am trying to create 2 levels of membership and not sure how I should set them up correctly.

One level should be basically free and the only requirement to join is email registration. The second level is for paid member of my pro sites. (Don't know how to link the two so I am thinking I can create an invitation for new sign-up users to join this second members' area).

These two member levels will have access to different forums and pages/posts.

I have gone through the different settings and can't seem to find a way to set up what I need. Any help will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

  • Jude

    Hey there @Aramis

    Hoe you're having a great weekend.

    I am trying to create 2 levels of membership and not sure how I should set them up correctly.

    You'll have to create two subscriptions, one FREE one with 0$ charge and the other a PRO one with any fee you want. Replace FREE and PRO with your own names.

    These two member levels will have access to different forums and pages/posts.

    Next go to the access level screen and for each subscription add rules, basically here you can define what FREE members get and what PRO members get access to.

    Finally once you run some tests and are happy with the membership settings you can add and setup the payment options

    Hope that helps,

    Get back if you need further assistance

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    @DavidMHi Jude,

    Thanks so much for explaining that.

    I think I understand, but where can I find more documentation? I try adding rules but I do not know what they mean. Positive to pages means a user cannot add pages, but how do I select which pages that level can read? (Same goes for certain forum threads)
    I don't want to block the public from reading the whole site...just certain pages. Where do I select which pages are for public, which pages for level 1 and which for level 2?

    I'm also confused about setting subscriptions. Let's say I want the first level to be subscribed by submitting a name and email for registration - I do not know where to set that up. (Does public mean everyone can read and comment even without registering?) The second level has to be users from the first level who has bought some products (I'm thinking of using Protected Content), and again, I don't know how to set that up.

    I have set up two users, both with registration and then one is 'selected' to be on the second level. (I think since I do not have a payment gateway yet to process the 'upgrade' ) After selecting certain rules, both can still read everything. I can't seem to find the permutation I need. (I'm wondering if this is because I am still logged in as the membership admin on another firefox tab).

    Unlike other plugins for wordpress, I'm getting frustrated with WPMUDEV's plugins because everything seems to be so secretive...no outside reviews or step by step guides....I hate it that I read and like something, then after activation, it is a trial and error guessing game. Surely someone must have documented how everything can be set up and modified, right? Installation is fine, but with more powerful plugins with many options, each element must be written about somewhere. If we select an option, we should know what it does and what it might affect. As it is, we are paralyzed with worry that we may break the site by 'enabling' something we don't fully understand, and end up doing nothing. (I seleceted the advanced rules and the warning tells me that things may conflict and I dare not use the function.)

    Thanks Jude, if you can explain my questions above on how to set up my pages and subscribers, it will be very much appreciated.

    Cheers.

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hey @Aramis,

    Hope you are doing good :slight_smile:

    I think I understand, but where can I find more documentation?

    You can go to this page and select the usage guide tab. It gives you details on how to use the plugin.

    I try adding rules but I do not know what they mean.

    Positive rule means that the page is available and accessible to this access level. Negative rule is the opposite, you decide on which one to use based on how much content you have. If you have lots of paid content then negative rules may be simpler but if most of your site is open except a few pages/posts then positive rules are easier setup. I recommend advanced where you can have both positive and negative rules setup.

    (Does public mean everyone can read and comment even without registering?)

    Depends on your access rules and WordPress settings, by default public can see but not comment. This can be modified

    Let's say I want the first level to be subscribed by submitting a name and email for registration - I do not know where to set that up.

    You don't need to set this up membership does this as part of the sign up process.

    The second level has to be users from the first level who has bought some products (I'm thinking of using Protected Content), and again, I don't know how to set that up.

    Please don't do that they both have the same features and are not compatible with each other. You can do this with membership itself.

    I'm getting frustrated with WPMUDEV's plugins because everything seems to be so secretive...no outside reviews or step by step guides

    Here are a bunch of videos that help you step by step setup Membership.

    This is the official playlist from WPMUDEV on Membership

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLV1BcivFAIdtF4p7CYVfMbVAJ4JQ1Rpe9

    Hope this helps

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for your help mate.

    Already read the usage part of the docs, but not very detailed. (For instance, I didn't get the impression that I can't use Protected Content with this plugin.) I'll go check out the video (not a fan) Tuts shortly.
    (Wow, sorry mate, I stand corrected. Apologies for my earlier rant. I just clicked on the usage page again and saw a PDF download. I am certain I didn't see that the last time I checked the page out. Great job!)
    You wouldn't have similar PDFs for Pro Sites, Forum, Protected Content and, well, all of them, would you? : P (Would be great if WPMU members can read the PDF, see the difficulty level of setting up before downloading a plugin. I for one, being a total noob, would love to know how tough setting up can be before deciding to use a plugin on my site. I do understand the marketing angle too, but for existing members, who have bought a year long membership, shouldn't make us work so hard to get things done...oh wait...how about using the membership pro plugin on your site... ; ) )

    Anyway mate, I'm still concern that my testing is not working. Can you please confirm that if I use multiple tabs on my browser and have my login dashboard on one of the tabs, then conducting the test on another tab won't work. I leave my login open so that I can change things I see on the webpage tab, but right now, both 'members' can see all the pages and I don't know why. Until I can test this out, I am not sure if some elements are membership-restricted as I designed them to be.

    Thanks again Jude. I will read up and watch the tuts, and will come back with more question. ; P

    Cheers.

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hi there @Aramis

    Can you please confirm that if I use multiple tabs on my browser and have my login dashboard on one of the tabs, then conducting the test on another tab won't work.

    This wont work because WordPress uses cookies, so as far as your site is concerned if you log in once you are the admin on any tab on the browser.

    Two ways around:
    1) Use a different browser or a browser like Chrome which supports Incognito mode or FireFox which supports Private Browsing.
    2) Membership has an option on the top right corner of the admin screen to preview the site as a visitor/subscriber at different levels. See my screenshot

    You wouldn't have similar PDFs for Pro Sites, Forum, Protected Content and, well, all of them, would you?

    We actually are working on better docs, they will soon be available if not already. Once again the most used plugins like the ones you mentioned are likely to get them sooner than later.

    Thanks again Jude. I will read up and watch the tuts, and will come back with more question. ; P

    We'd be more than happy to help you, although I have a feeling you'll get more answers than questions from our videos. We have a great team behind those :slight_smile:

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks so much mate. I suspected that my testing wasn't working due to something like that. I didn't even notice the menu on the top right. I'll test it both ways now; another browser as well as using the level menu.

    One other concern I have is the log in. My first free level is by registration only but when I tried it on another computer earlier, the URL returns a 'the site is for members only' (or words to such effect) but there is no prompt to sign up. Must I activate something? I don't want to be pushing people away when all I want is for them to sign up.

    Maybe this is mentioned in the tuts, but I haven't had time to sit down for that yet (you know how it is...spedning my days and nights tweaking my themes and other plugins...)...please help quickly if you have an answer to this.

    Thanks mate, you are a life saver.

    Cheers.

    Aramis

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    I just read the manual and figured out what I did wrong with my registration. Sorry for asking before reading.

    I do have a new question though. Can I set Membership to work with my Pro Sites? What I mean is...I would like to create similar levels of membership to the way I set up my Pro SItes, and depending on which level Pro Site they purchased, they get that level of access to some of the content. (Their own level's forum as well.)

    For instance, if a user signs up for level 4 Pro Sites, then the user can get access up to level 4 type of content with drip content to level 5 after a few months. That way, each level's Pro Sites users can see what their level has and below, and use their Pro SItes sign in information to log in. (No need to register again.) Free users can see some content and told that they need to sign up to Pro Sites to gain access to higher up stuff.

    Either I have to align the two plugins or somehow get one to 'read' the other. Or, perhaps you have another suggestion.

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks in advance mate.

  • Jude

    Hey there @Aramis,

    I was going to respond to your earlier thread in a bit, but I see you got that fixed.

    Can I set Membership to work with my Pro Sites

    I mean they are compatible with each other. The basic purpose of Membership is to allow for access levels and subscriptions within a site. Pro sites on the other hand allows for users to create and run their own sites.

    I would like to create similar levels of membership to the way I set up my Pro SItes, and depending on which level Pro Site they purchased, they get that level of access to some of the content.

    This is possible but would require some custom code to smoothly integrate. You need to write a few AJAX handlers and use the ping feature of Membership to trigger the sync. If you don't have coding experience then the Job Board is a nice place to look into.

    Either I have to align the two plugins or somehow get one to 'read' the other. Or, perhaps you have another suggestion.

    I did take a look a few times at your site and personally I think just Pro Sites should be able to do what you are looking at.

    Im not sure where you are planning to use Membership, you could setup the private sections using a user access manager plugin, but membership works just as well. I would focus on getting the Pro Sites working if I were you

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for your reply.

    What I have in mind is not really a big deal. I just thought that since I have people signing up for Pro Sites, and have different levels of privileges, I would create documents to explain how they can best utilised their purchased levels; as well as have one forum for their level. (My hope is that anyone else on that level or higher can help with discussions and answering queires.). Obviously, some of the content will be trying to get them to upgrade by advertising features on the next higher level.

    Originally, I though I would just create different posts/pages to explain each level and allow everyone who has signed up to read them regardless of their levels...but then I thought I might create a bit more prestige for higher levels if some access is not granted to all. It might entice people to upgrade in order to get a bit more support and more in-depth discussions.

    If it is too hard, then I might go back to my original idea and allow everyone to take part in everything for Pro Sites subscribers.

    Yes mate...I agree about setting Pro Sites up properly...how I wish Pro Sites have PDF documentation like Membership...so that I have some idea how to maximise all the power within.

    If you think of something that might help my quest, please let me know.

    Thanks again mate...

    Aramis

  • Aramis

    Hey Jude,

    I was going through the document and can't find this. Is there a way I can add members as the admin? That might solve my problem actually, but I would need to be able to set up multiple free levels. Now, is that possible?

    In playing with the access levels and subscription plans, I managed to save my settings (All levels for free), but the many pink warnings (cannot have levels after indefinite or serial) are making me worried. Please explain what the warnings mean?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Cheers.

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hi there @Aramis,

    I was stuck with debugging a weird issue which took most of my time yesterday. So could not respond as fast as I'd have liked to.

    Originally, I though I would just create different posts/pages to explain each level and allow everyone who has signed up to read them regardless of their levels

    Just an outsiders perspective, this makes sense as you are showing a member things which they don't currently have and potentially exposing them to info that draws them towards making a purchase ( much better imho)

    but then I thought I might create a bit more prestige for higher levels if some access is not granted to all.

    I don't fully get the thinking behind this, but like I said earlier this can be done with some custom code.

    Yes mate...I agree about setting Pro Sites up properly...how I wish Pro Sites have PDF documentation like Membership

    Here is a bunch of videos, I know you're not a fan :slight_frown: but we don't have the full blown pdf yet.

    Is there a way I can add members as the admin? That might solve my problem actually,

    You mean as site admins ? Pro Sites automatically makes each site owner a site admin.

    If you mean Network Admin or Super Admin thats super risky and can potentially be the start of most of your problems. Also if you mean admin access to the main site where people sign up and view info then that's highly risky again.

    I would need to be able to set up multiple free levels. Now, is that possible?

    Yeah this is possible just set the cost of the level to 0$ and it should work.

    I managed to save my settings (All levels for free), but the many pink warnings (cannot have levels after indefinite or serial) are making me worried.

    These warnings are likely a result of not having set up the subscriptions correctly. Please check the time period of the subscription. Try setting it to finite ?

    If that does not work, then maybe you could open a new thread with screenshots and the exact error message. We can take a closer look.

    Please explain what the warnings mean?

    I cant tell you exactly unless I see the settings and the warning message, but generally its because of misconfiguration. Yours looks like the duration is not set correctly. Like I said earlier, its better to keep that in a separate thread, for the benefit of anyone reading and a much quicker response.

    Cheers,
    Jude

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for coming back. No worries mate. I understand all about fixing weird problems... :stuck_out_tongue:

    Alrighty, let me rephrase. I don't mean adding pro sites members as admin. I meant as the super admin, I have all user names and emails of my prosite members, and since I am the membership admin as well, is there a way for me to manually add the users to a membership level that they have bought? (I have a few pro sites members set up but cannot find a 'add member' function in membership. (I have edit members but not add.)

    True, I agree that it is good that members should read about higher level stuff to entice them to upgrade. However, what I am trying to block is the forum where I do not want the lower level members to read all the bitching and moaning about problems higher up (if any...and since an idiot is the super admin, I fully expect quite a lot of it will surface...). I am kind of hoping that the higher level folks will pull resources with me to help each other out and together we can shape and guide the lower level users. (Obviously, the higher level people will have more themes and plugins and stuff like that, so we would have played around with more and figured out how most things work.)

    I think I get what you mean about not setting the finite date correctly...I will go back and try it again.

    Just one thing mate...I can't get my head around this...might be good if you can try to explain it to me in as simple terms as possible...I am wrestling with access level and subscription plan...I think I am creating too many subscription plans. For whatever reason, I am trying to match one access level with one subscription plan...hence if I have 10 member levels, I have 10 subscription plans. I know it is too much but I cannot separate the two in my mind. Can you give me like an example of how the two can be linked without being of equal numbers? My concern is that if the plan and level don't match, I might miss something and that content is not protected. (It's weird typing this because I know I am wrong, but somehow, I cannot figure out why I think this is true.)

    Anyways, I am also trying to work out some other plugins and themes. Just one more question...it doesn't matter which comes first right? I am worried that if I set up all the other stuff before working membership out, those things that are set up before will not be part of the protection.

    Sorry to ramble on mate...thanks for your help.

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hi again @Aramis,

    (I have a few pro sites members set up but cannot find a 'add member' function in membership. (I have edit members but not add.)

    See my screenshot on where to do this, open your Membership dashboard and go to the All Members screen where you can see all the members listed. Here hover your mouse near the subscription area, you'll see Add coming up, you can add both subscriptions and access levels from here

    am trying to block is the forum where I do not want the lower level members to read

    It makes sense to setup access control.

    Can you give me like an example of how the two can be linked without being of equal numbers?

    Lets take an online magazine for example. They have a free trial, a monthly subscription and an annual subscription. Each one bills at different amounts at different intervals. This is the purpose behind subscriptions.

    All the above subscriptions however can access the same content. They all get access to a newsletter. This is controlled by access level. So here we have 3 subscriptions but only one access level.

    Similarly lets say we have a community moderated forum. Membership itself is free but people who have been around longer and who contributed are rewarded with points. These points then unlock new sections of the site you can access.

    Here you have only one free subscription (membership) but multiple access levels.

    Hope that helps

    Tips for you

    Keep it to one access level per subscription, and keep the total number of plans/subscriptions to a minimum. It can easily confuse new users.

    I am worried that if I set up all the other stuff before working membership out, those things that are set up before will not be part of the protection.

    This should not be a concern, you can experiment to your hearts content. Just make sure you have a beta server with version control setup. For a project this size you'll be thanking me a long way into the future for this tip :slight_smile:

    Hope this helps

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    HI Jude,

    Thanks for the tips...I get it and will comply as far as I can.

    As to the add members, I think we are talking about different things. I see your screenshot and I think you are changing a member's plan. On my members screen, all I see is my own name, and no other users'. I have at least 6 other users on my pro sites but I cannot add their names to my membership.

    Is there something I need to activate so that I can see their names?

    Cheers mate.

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hi again @Aramis,

    Is there something I need to activate so that I can see their names?

    This is where as I explained, you need some custom code done. Pro Site essentially adds users to your Network. The Membership plugin lists users only on that one specific site. To have your 6 users display here, you need to go to their User Profile on the Network Admin and add them manually to your main site.

    Cheers
    Jude

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    I get it now. So I have to add users to my site individually so that they will show up, then I add them to a membership level.

    Very cool. Don't know why I assumed that they will show up just by being a user of pro sites. Duh...sorry mate, I feel so blonde...

    Thanks again Jude...I'll keep plugging away until I hit another problem...you've been a great help.

    Cheers.
    Aramis

  • Aramis

    Hi Jude,

    I'm back mate...I need my guru again.

    Here are a few things I'm struggling with...and I can't find them explained in the manual:

    1) I don't understand the public and private settings. Shouldn't I set all my subscriptions to public?

    2) The positive and negative rules. If I leave a tab out (not drop it in to the rules), what is the default? Positive or negative?
    Also. If I set, say, 'posts' to positive. I have to manually select each post that I want that level of user to see, right? If my aim is to let members of that level to see all my posts, wouldn't it be easier to just put 'posts' under negative and not select any of the check boxes? Otherwise, every time I add a new post, I must come there to set that one post to be positive. Am I correct?

    3) I am still stuck with forums. Whatever I set, as long as I activate membership, even as the admin, I cannot see any of my forums. So far, the only way I can make my forums visible is to deactivate the membership plugin...surely I am missing something.

    4) I am baffled by the options. Under options -> general...there is a check box asking me to asign 'default subscription for registered users'...I have a Visitor subscription which was made for this purpose, but the dropdown list does not include this plan. The lowest plan is a member plan and I do not want the 'default' registered users to access a member's plan/content...why can't I select the lowest level which is Visitor?

    5) I don't understand what is 'more tag'. Should I select Yes to make 'more tag' visible or No?

    Lastly mate, one point that has nothing to do with membership...this site...WPMUDEV...I tried to access it on my iPad and it crashes every time (on all the possible browsers that I have)...even on my laptop, the second I open this site on a tab, everything slows down. Typing this is a mess as the scroll of my mouse lags so much, I'm clicking on things I didn't mean to click on or type before a cursor is set in place. I once clicked on post...and 5 hours later realised my question was not posted. Forget about reviewing what I typed because I cannot get my mouse scroll to get back to the writing pad....What's the deal with that?

    Anyway, mate...hope you can help me as laways.

    Thanks in advance mate...

    Aramis

  • Jude

    Hi @Aramis,

    Im sorry I did not respond earlier, was sick for most part of the week once I got back I had this huge stack of mails to respond to.

    Just in case you might still be interested...I have given up on Membership. I cannot make sense of what it does or not do.

    Of course I'm interested, I would not spend so much time on those answers otherwise. Its somewhat sad that you gave up on the plugin. I do however know that if Membership or any other plugin is too complex and takes away your focus and time from the core business then its not best for you.

    I am happy that you found something you liked, I've never used PMP but will give it a try.

    Anyway, mate...hope you can help me as laways.

    I would love to help you my friend, but I work primarily on SLS tickets which are complex and time consuming for the most part. Its possible that sometimes I may not be around in these forums for 2-3 days because of my work.

    Here is a tip on the best way to get fast support here, its best if you open a new ticket for a separate issue and that way someone always follows up, even if it is 10 small separate questions your responses will be very fast.

    I am marking this as resolved, please open another ticket for any new issues you face and we'd be happy to help

    Cheers
    Jude

    PS Here are answers to @Aramis questions to anybody reading

    1) I don't understand the public and private settings. Shouldn't I set all my subscriptions to public?

    Yes Ideally you should, sometimes you may want some special Membership types that the public cant sign up for, but you as an admin can give them access. Private is for those situations

    2) The positive and negative rules. If I leave a tab out (not drop it in to the rules), what is the default? Positive or negative?

    Otherwise, every time I add a new post, I must come there to set that one post to be positive. Am I correct?

    Yes the default is positive, also you can choose which ever makes most sense and involves less effort. So in this case if you have a lot of public content with one or two private the negative rules is the way to go

    So far, the only way I can make my forums visible is to deactivate the membership plugin...surely I am missing something.

    This looks like a configuration issue, we'll need to take a closer look to diagnose.

    The lowest plan is a member plan and I do not want the 'default' registered users to access a member's plan/content...why can't I select the lowest level which is Visitor?

    This happens by default. What the option refers to is the Membership tier for anybody who signs up with an account on your site.

    I once clicked on post...and 5 hours later realised my question was not posted. Forget about reviewing what I typed because I cannot get my mouse scroll to get back to the writing pad....What's the deal with that?

    Really strange, I don't have an iPad but will get someone to test this out. Likely caused because of massive changes we are doing to our site.

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