Upgrade from Free Subscriptions to PayPal Express - with Subscriptions

I have a site setup allowing free subscriptions. The users should be able to upgrade from a free subscription - preferably to the "PayPal Express - with Subscriptions" gateway.

Is this possible? When I visit the upgrade page, I see "Upgrades not available" in place of the button.


  • DavidM

    Hi Chris,

    From what you mentioned in the other thread it sounds like your gateways are setup properly. To verify they are, do you see both free and for pay subscription options during registration?

    For subscriptions to go forever as you mentioned, you'd want to set the subscription to 'indefinite'.

    Regarding the upgrades, you wouldn't be able to test the upgrades until at least a day after the initial signup, though you should see those at least the following day. Can you see the upgrade options at this point?

    Also, screenshots of your setup are more than welcomed if you'd like to post them here.

  • DavidM

    Hi Denise,

    Sorry for the delay, our developers are really pushing to get the next update out which should cover this whole upgrade issue. The upgrade capabilities and account page in general are very new to this plugin so abilities like moving from one gateway subscription to another are likewise new issues that have only now come up with these new capabilities.

    Thank you for all your patience with this. The developers are working hard at getting these things taken care of quickly though and we'll get this matter resolved as soon as possible.


  • bmk0220

    I still can't find the answer to this. I've tried this for months. I even changed the entire structure of a previous site to an all paid site because of this "Free...Upgrade to Paid" issue. I now am working on a new site that I can't change to all paid and I see this is still a problem even after the upgrades.

    Same as Denise above...I am using the 'Free Subscriptions' gateway for free membership. I am using the 'PayPal Express - with Subscription's gateway for paid membership.

    I don't even get an Upgrade button at all.

    Don't know if it matters or not, but the "edit" link does not work either. It's not as big of a deal to me as the Upgrade, but just letting you know.

    Please see the screenshot.


  • bmk0220

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.

    I really wanted this to work the other way, with the subscriptions, but I tried what you said anyway figuring I would just have to live with manual renewals. The Upgrade button did show up, but it doesn't work properly.

    I currently have 2 subsrip. 1 is set to 0.00 (free) and the other is paid. The paid one seems to work fine. But the free one...

    First of all, each new member that I sign up under the Free one doesn't get the paypalsolo gateway, they get admin. So I have to manually change each one to paypalsolo. Then the yellow area with the Upgrade button appears. So I click on the Upgrade button, but instead of being taken to paypal to pay and upgrade, it simply refreshes and the yellow area and Upgrade button is gone. I then look at that member in the Members area and they are in fact Upgraded, they just didn't have to pay first.

  • bmk0220

    I figured out the problem with the new signup not getting assigned paypalsolo gateway. I made the Free subscription Inactive before, but in the "options" area, the subscription that was assigned to the free subscrip. was not changed back to None. I changed it back to None, now the new signups get assigned to the paypalsolo gateway.

    However, I still have the problem with the Upgrade process not going to paypal. It still just accepts the Upgrade directly, requiring no payment.

  • bmk0220

    Anything? Anybody? I've been a member for a long time now and very actively use these plugins on several sites. I'm very familiar with them. I have to say Membership is (and always has been) very unpredictable and never seems to have any final answers/solutions related to it. Most of the time people just end up trying all of these work arounds and settling for something they don't really want or other solutions entirely. I even use your Blogs MU theme, only because I wanted to eliminate the possibility of a 3rd party theme messing something up. Every plugin is current as well.

    I like you guys a lot, but this is one area I can't seem to get sorted out and it's one of the most important, as most of my sites are membership sites.

    Don't know what to do here, because every way I structure this doesn't seem to work "entirely", there's always one or two critical elements that don't work. I spend hours trying different combinations and structures. Very frustrating.

  • toddkh

    Hey Bmk,

    I ended up figuring out the following:

    - currently there is no way to go from a free membership to a paid membership in the way you want to do it. I set the site I was working on up the same way as you and found the same problem: subscriptions could be "upgraded" for free

    - there is a thread marked "resolved" where this exact is discussed with the result being that Barry, who programmed many of the gateways, will be making that work sometime in the future with the paypal gateway. Basically, a upgrade w force pay

    I did find you can make it work with this workaround that I implemented in a frenzy to deal with a live site that was upgrading users for free:

    - make your "free" membership private
    - in the membership options, make the stranger level your "free" level, and tick the "enable incomplete signup accounts" box under the user registration section, save those settings
    - for existing members (if there are any yet) drop their subscriptions (for those on free subscriptions)
    - install the "BP Disable Activation" plugin to prevent users from having to "activate" their accounts post sign up, that allows them to leave the "subscription" page after registering with their account created and active, without having to hit a "subscribe" button

    now when users visit your site:
    - they will be governed by the "free" level settings so your premium content stays protected
    - I configured my site so they can either click a "log into my account" button I added to the subscription.form.php (in the membership plugin/includes folder) or they can choose to purchase the premium subscription
    - I also used the conditional is_user_logged_in() in my themes header.php so that logged in users see a button advertising the premium subscription, but logged out users see a "join" button

    So, what I've got in place is working, users can create an account for free, or they can purchase the premium subscription. When the membership plugin is completed (I can't call it complete yet, a free membership to paid membership is an absolute must for a membership plugin) and I can do what I want, I will revert to the other method.

    Hope you get it worked out.

    - next install the

  • bmk0220

    Well, I'm once again down to a barely functional version of Membership. It's little more than a link to paypal. I've tried so many things my head won't stop spinning now :slight_smile:. It's just not working the way it needs to so it's back to the basics. The only thing I can do effectively is have 1 membership level and make it paid.

    Sure, I could explain every detail but there's no point. The bottom line is all I wanted was a Free or at least Trial membership that could be upgraded to a Paid membership at anytime.

    - Can't have a Free level, because of too many issues with not upgrading properly, as we've mentioned before.
    - Can't have a cheap one that would upgrade to the next level because of Paypal's limitations (no higher than 20% increase to next membership level), although at least the Upgrade button shows when you go from one paid to another paid subscription. It's just pointless because our memberships would be well over a 20% increase.

    That's just a little bit of the details...Oh well, back to the drawing board, as they say.

  • bmk0220


    You guys close the new post I created at https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/membership-is-not-taking-over-enough-processes ?

    I created that one because no one had replied to this one in 6 days AND because I have moved on to an entirely different setup now with different issues and didn't have time for someone, if they ever did, to come back to this thread and work on issues for something I have already changed now.

    If you bothered to read both threads you would see that the problems are different because I was forced to change the structure of my site. And I don't need a speech, Phil, about how "It's really not helpful to have two threads as it just confuses the situation". The confusing part is why it's so difficult to get support around here now.

  • DavidM

    Hi bmk0220,

    Sorry that I missed your further responses. Just to clarify then, as from what I gather this is the issue fundamentally, when you have the Free gateway active, the proper gateway doesn't get added to the member. Instead, they get the 'admin' gateway added to them.

    Is that correct?

    And that is when using the PayPal Express with Subscriptions gateway alongside the Free gateway, right?

    It'll definitely help narrow down the issues you're experiencing if so.


  • Philip John


    As we haven't heard back from you we're going to assume the problem was sorted out and mark this thread as resolved.

    If it wasn't resolved, or you have any more questions related to this thread please feel free to post them below and tick the 'Mark as Not Resolved (re-open)' box below the post area (or else we'll miss it!)

    Otherwise, thanks for using the forums, and, as always, for being a member of WPMU DEV, it's a pleasure to help you out and we look forward to being of assistance in the future.


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