wpmu, whmcs, pro site, plugin alternatives with a useful payment gateway?

Hi Guys,

I have been looking at how I can best set up a membership systems from the wpmudev plugins list (membership, protected content & Pro sites).

OBJECTIVE:

For this example I use two simple types of accounts or product "Packages" that can be provisioned from whmcs to the WPMU system, FREE & PAID(monthly basis).

I would like WHMCS to handle billing and provisioning, that's just a no brainer, for the most, people are running subscription base WPMU's to provide websites in a nutshell.

WHMCS is good for handling just that, It already has an extensive payment gateway list if that's your thing and its extremely flexible from the code side. I'm kind of surprised its not already incorporated within all your plugins as an option.

could you not take the code from the whmcs integration plugin and add it to your other plugins? eg: like pro sites for example..

I would like to be able to select what is available for each package, In regards to the admin menu and what each package can access, eg: FREE package (would have some limitations certain items removed from the menu's, & perhaps running ads etc) while the PAID package would have access to most of the plugins and themes etc, you get the idea..(most of the current plugins have all these features)

At the moment I cant seem to find a way to dictate either what package or site has access to what is in the admin panel, for an example whmcs integration is in all of them by default ?! maybe I missed something there? while I understand that a PAID customer may like to use that feature (which is cool) but you wouldn't need it in a FREE account since really all your offering is a very basic site.

so anyway ...

"Pro sites" just doesn't have the "WHMCS" option in the billing/payment gateway of the plugin so that's just not even an option, as awesome as the plugin is. Don't get me wrong I can provision a pro site package great from whmcs, but from the front end of the wpmu site, since there is no option to select/upgrade/or even pay for a pro site UNLESS your using one of the three payment gateways that are in the PS plugin, your pretty much wasting your time even installing it.

Sorry, but some of us just don't follow the Pay-Pal cult...

"Membership" & "Protected Content" plugins would be great for the customers who have a new site and would like to do just that, create a membership for their new site and content.

Awesome plugins for your customers, but not really suited for what we are aiming at here. after all we don't want to sell memberships to our primary site, we want the customers to buy websites.

So what are the alternatives?

In my case I'm ok with two simple plans, "Free" and "Paid". The free plan is well .. free(with ads and certain limitations in regards to what they have access to in regards to plugins and themes etc. The Paid plan would be a monthly billing plan, both plans would be handled by whmcs. In theory, simple, but why cant I achieve this with the existing wpmudev plugins?

I would love to hear from others as to how they have approached the same kind of scenario using whmcs and <insert awesome plugin name here that works in the above mentioned situation> that would be best suited.

Cheers.

Cain

  • Tyler Postle

    Hey there Cain,

    Hope you're doing well today and thanks for your detailed post :slight_smile:

    "Pro sites" just doesn't have the "WHMCS" option in the billing/payment gateway of the plugin so that's just not even an option, as awesome as the plugin is. Don't get me wrong I can provision a pro site package great from whmcs, but from the front end of the wpmu site, since there is no option to select/upgrade/or even pay for a pro site UNLESS your using one of the three payment gateways that are in the PS plugin, your pretty much wasting your time even installing it.

    If you're using WHMCS MU Provisioning then you can provision the Pro Site levels to packages inside WHMCS, all billing/upgrading/downgrading/cancelling in this case is handled through WHMCS so you can use any WHMCS supported gateway you like :slight_smile:

    It seems to me that this would be exactly what you're after? That way you can have the Pro Site paid level and make all your restrictions inside Pro Sites while the payment is done through WHMCS.

    If a WHMCS payment is missed, then it will set the WHMCS package to "suspended" and that will trigger the site to deactivate inside your WordPress install.

    Is that what you're after? Hopefully I'm not missing something here! Look forward to hearing back Cain.

    All the best,
    Tyler

  • Sybre Waaijer

    Hi Cain,

    I've been struggling with this exact problem myself half a year ago.

    The main reason I wished to use WHMCS was that it is a one-stop all-inclusive API program. In other words: It connects with everything and centralizes it all without any programming.

    As brilliant as it seems, this comes with quite a few quirks. One of which is that the program isn't in WordPress itself, but used as a side-system.

    This means that every change that's made within WordPress has to be attached through an API call to WHMCS, as you can understand - this is a lot of work. Especially when you're handling encrypted data like passwords.

    If you dream big with a small idea and have lots of time on your hands, this can and will of course work, but the biggest culprit for me was that the user's were the victim of this.

    Simply put: The users have to be maintained in two systems, WordPress and WHMCS - This also means that they have to maintain their account in two system, WordPress and WHMCS. And with encrypted data like passwords - this can't sync all too well. Meaning that they will run into problems; you run into problems.

    What I want to advice you is simply "Keep it simple". WordPress has everything in it you need: it's extensible, easy, well-maintained, safe, well-built, easily manipulated, has a lot of plugins and themes and so much more.

    This all comes down to the following: WHMCS isn't bad, at all. In fact, it's amazing for webhosts - but it will give you a headache when you want to integrate it to another big system, like WordPress.

    I'd like to suggest that you let all your payments go through the systems you want, and ask yourself which system supports that within WordPress. For me it all came down to Gravity Forms. For you it might be different.

    Good luck!

  • Cain

    Hi @Tyler,

    It seems to me that this would be exactly what you're after? That way you can have the Pro Site paid level and make all your restrictions inside Pro Sites while the payment is done through WHMCS.

    yes it is, but could you not take the code from the whmcs integration plugin and add it to pro sites for example then perhaps you could add whmcs as an option similar to the way whmcs integration works with the "preferred payment method", in my case as example, it is set up to use a direct secure credit card, instead of paypal etc..

    so when a selected pro site upgrade in select it takes you to the card payment system of whmcs as an example..

    are your plugin development projects completely separate would sharing code not be workable?

    Cain

  • Sybre Waaijer

    Hi @Cain

    If you wish to continue using Gravity Forms and connect it to Pro Sites, there's a little plugin for that here:
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/new-unofficial-plugin-gravity-forms-integration-with-wpmudev-pro-sites

    It will need some little .php edits to get set up though.
    It does require a developers license from GForms, and of course WPMUDev's Pro Sites.

    Have a great day!

  • Cain

    @ Tyler & Sybre

    Do you guys have any suggestions how to remove or edit elements that are within sub sites, if I cant use pro sites because of the payment gateway thing (meaning, right now) then I could work around it, if I can manage the admin menu in some way to enable or disable what appears within sub sites.

    Any suggestion?

    @Sybre

    Gravity forms looks good, but again it lacks any remote Australian based gateway, most of our clients are Australian based, if we use pay-pal or any of the other gateways, we are charged international fee's on top of a subscription or fee's expected for the middle man gateway service, for a service that is locally provided, it makes no sense..

    Its a shame really, I'm sure there would be more Aussies involved in the wpmudev community hopefully one of them has a suggestion?

    Cain

  • Sybre Waaijer

    Hi @Cain

    Pro-Sites has a lot of features which allow you to remove certain elements from the user's page. Browse through the settings and you'll find a lot of things you'll like!

    Also, the plugin I linked you too has some short-codes that redirect the user from the default Pro-Sites page to the forms. All this is covered in the "extend/upgrade/downgrade" plugin.

    For Gravity Forms payment gateways, simply put out a Google search form and you'll find many interesting plugins that cover your needs. Gravity Forms is so immensely popular that I think it has everything already what you need :slight_smile:

    For example:
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/gravityforms-eway/

    I'm not sure which payment systems you'd like integrated but I think the link below covers them all. Although expensive, so I'd Google some more :slight_smile:
    http://www.sydneyecommerce.com.au/cat/payment-gateway-plugins/cms-cart-plugins/wordpress-gravity-forms/

    WPMUdev is an Australian-based company so I think the love for your country is great here :slight_smile: You can always leave plugin suggestions here.

  • Cain

    Oh HOLD UP .... lol

    I'm not sure which payment systems you'd like integrated but I think the link below covers them all. Although expensive, so I'd Google some more :slight_smile:
    http://www.sydneyecommerce.com.au/cat/payment-gateway-plugins/cms-cart-plugins/wordpress-gravity-forms/

    OK I see what I need on this site .. let me go back and re-read through this information some more..

    re: Aussie company, yeah I know it just surprises me that there isn't more push around Aussie related systems (re bank gateways etc) but anyhow.

    ill go read through the links you just provided, i spotted a direct bank plugin that has my attention .. :slight_smile:

    brb

    Cain

  • Cain

    @Sybre

    Just a quick question while I continue to look into this gravity forms solution,

    Would using gravity forms allow me to handle any billing for any plugin (mostly the ones from WPMUDev list)?

    For an example, the plugin Events+ could I use it with that? or perhaps Course Press Pro? or is it just Pro Site?

    If using gravity forms in a wpmu network,(when it is all correctly set up and working) can my customers use it as well, as in, does my set up extend to allow them to use it as well? on the one install so to speak, or do they need to set up their own licenses etc?

    From what I understand so far, you have written a bridge plugin, more or less between gravity forms and wpmudev pro sites to handle the billing or payment gateway..

    would it be hard if it isn't already done, to include this bridged functionality to the other plugins as mentioned above, or am I miss understanding the reach of your plugin?

    either way, you have helped again in finding a solution, I will be reading more over the next few days I think, so that I can get to know this option in more detail ..

    interesting,

    Cain

  • Sybre Waaijer

    Hi @Cain

    Gravity Forms' fields can be stripped out through PHP and be sent to anything you wish. That being SQL queries, plugin calls, etc.

    This means that yes, GForms allows integration with any plugin.
    As you can see the Pro Sites registration plugin is only 16 lines of effective code where it just simply says: "This form input = this variable", "this variable = put here into database" where "the site ID = the one just created"

    The upgrade/downgrade/extend plugin I've written took pricing, currency, time and existing user and site content into calculation making it much more bloated (about 260 effective lines of PHP).
    All of which could easily be sent into and from the form itself.

    About your question on the plugin for your subdomain users - Yes! Every website is allowed to have its own copy which fully works without interfering with other sites. It just misses a few features (e.g. Create Sites), this has been done for security reasons.

    The plugin can be made available to for example only higher Pro Site levels within the Pro Sites network settings.

    By adding the following line into wp-config.php your users won't be bothered with their license too (your Developers license covers the multisite).
    define("GF_LICENSE_KEY", "yourkey");

    You are absolutely correct about the bridge (my plugin), you're not missing any points here. As described above, this can be done for any plugin which requires user textual, payment or even file inputs.

    As an example, WPMUdev's New Blog Templates works with Gravity Forms out of the box. https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/new-blog-template/#usage - This has been done not so long ago.

    Whatever you do, you'll find out that learning basic PHP will be the key to your website and all its features.

    It took me 2 months of plugin searching when I got started on my project - until I couldn't find one that covered my needs. So I made one myself - with a lot of errors of course. 4 months later I'm writing anything I envision - I'm even building my own themes now! It's fun :smiley:
    And this can be achieved by anyone with the right attitude :slight_smile: Especially with some experience on other languages (e.g. your skills with WHMCS). Best of luck!

    P.S. if you have problems with your PHP just tag me into your post and I'll try to help whenever I can :slight_smile:

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