How to Create a Membership Site with WordPress for Free?

So many bloggers are running their membership site with wordPress. Few days ago, Abid Omar also converted his blog(abcdblogging) into a Membership site.Creating a membership site is always considered difficult and complicated. First of all you need to set right roles and permission for different users, then you need to allow different users to interact with different pages of your website. In case of paid membership option, you need to setup payment gateways and other things like orders, receipts etc. Overall, it looks like a lot of work. Wouldn’t it be great if a plugin can do this for you? In this article, I will show you how to create a Membership site with WordPress for free.

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What is the meaning of “Membership Site”?
Before starting the tutorial, it is necessary to clear the doubt about a Membership Site. Actually Membership site gives you the benefit of keeping important stuffs only for your members and not for the whole world. Have a look at below given image. It shows some tabs which are visible only to Members of the blog.
How to create a Membership Site with WordPress for free?
                                                                                     Coursty of Abid Omar(abidomar.xyz/)
 Still confused? let’s consider below given example –
Suppose ,you have created a digital product and sold it to some customers. Now you are afraid that people who bought it will share the download link and others would be able to download it without paying anything. The solution of such problems is “Membership Site“. Just create a Membership site and put that download link in Members Area. That members area will be accessible  only to paid members. Isn’t that easy solution?
Instead of selling your product by contact every single customer, it’s much easier to put the download link in Members Area.
How to Create a Membership Site with WordPress for Free?
Please note that this tutorial only works for Self Hosted WordPress Blogs and not WordPress.com blogs which are free in nature.
  • Log into the admin Panel of your WordPress blog by entering your username and password at http://yourblog.com/wp-admin
  • In dashboard, Click on Plugins>>Add New . The screenshot is shown below:

Add new plugin WordPress

  • Now you will see a new screen. Just type “s2Member”  in the search box and click on “Search Plugins” Button. The screenshot is shown below:

S2Member Plugin WordPress

  • You will see the result page. Just focus on first result and click on “Install Now” link. See below given screenshot.

Installing Plugins in WordPress

  • It will take few seconds. After installing the plugin, You need to activate it as well. To activate it, Click on “Activate Plugin” link. See below given screenshot:

Activate Plugins in WordPress

  • Before you start using this plugin, I will recommend you to read its “Quick Start Guide”. In order to do that, click on “Read the Quick Start Guide”  link.

Membership Site with wordpress for free

  • Now, you will have to create various pages before proceeding further.  For a basic Membership site, you should make at least two Pages i.e- (1) Membership Sign Up Page and (2) Members Area Page.
  • For creating These two Pages, Go to Pages>>Add New in your wordPress Dashboard. The screenshot is shown below:

Add new page in WordPress

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1. Designing a Member Signup Page

This page will act as a Signup Page for your members so name it as “Member Signup”. Please not that it’s will be a Page not a Post. Make this page a bit attractive. It’s look should be like a good landing page. At the end, add a stylish Paypal Button so that users can Pay you for Membership. s2Member plugin comes with a PayPal Button Generator which allows you to generate PayPal buttons, for each membership Level that you plan to offer. After paying, redirect your users to the Signup Page. There is no need to create any signup page yourself. S2Member automatically creates a signUp page which are customizable as well. Normally, Signup Page can be accessed at http://www.yourblog.com/wp-login.php?action=register and login page at http://www.yourblog.com/wp-login.php.

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If any normal user will try to access the pages of your Member’s area by typing the url, they will be automatically redirected to this member Sign up page by s2Member plugin. After completing the design of this page, you will have to set this page in Membership Option Page. I will show you this.

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2. Designing a Member Welcome or Member’s Area Page

You will have to create this page in WordPress as well and again note that it will not be a Post. You must create a Page. This page will be visible to members after logging into your site. Normally, people title it as “Member’s Area”.

In this page, add the premium stuffs which you would like to give it to your paid members. After designing this page, Publish it.

  • After designing and publishing these two Pages, go to your dashboard. Click on s2Member>>General Options. See below given screenshot.



  • Click on “Membership Options Page” and choose the page which you have designed. Once done, click on “Save all Changes” option. In my case, I have titled it “Members signup Page”.

Member signup page

  • Now click on “Login Welcome Page” option. As i informed you earlier, this page will be accessible only to your users after logging into their profile. Choose the page which you have designed for this purpose. You can also use any other page for this purpose. In my case, I have named it “Member’s Area” . See below given screenshot:

Member's Area

  • Once done, Click on “Save all Changes” option and you are almost done. Have a look on other security options and set it according to your needs. That’s it.

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How your Membership site will Work- An explanation
  1. First of all, internet users will go to your Member Signup Page(Which you have configured in s2Member>>General Options>>Membership Options Page).On this page, they will pay the subscription amount via Paypal Subscription Buttons which are generated by s2Member Plugin.
  2. After clicking on Paypal Subscription button, the will be transferred to Paypal in order to agree to your Membership terms and Pricing. The options checkout Page, Pricing, Payment Period can easily be customized.
  3. Once a user completes the Signup process by paying the Fee at Paypal, they will automatically be activated by s2Member instantly and will be redirected to the Registration Page where they will have to enter their username,password etc for getting the membership. s2Member also send the User an email with instructions on how to register their Username and password, just in case they missed the instructions after checkout.
  4. Once a user has completed the registration process, they will be allowed to log in. After logging in, they will see the Login Welcome page(You will have to set this page in s2Member>>General Option>>Login Welcome Page option).

That’s it. The plugin is completely free so there  is no need to pay anything to anyone. If you still have any doubt, feel free to ask me via comments.

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Some Paid Plugins for Creating Membership Sites with WordPress
If you are ready to pay, you can also try some other paid plugins which are listed below:
  1. Magic Members($97)
  2. WishList Member($97)
  3. WP Member
Ravi Kumar

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