How to Create a Membership Site aMember Installation and Setup – Part 2

by Suresh Karuppaiya

This is the second part of the membership site setup series post. The first part covers the pre requirements and installation of aMember and WordPress for membership site setup.  Also we have described our goal to build a membership in part one of the series.

The complete membership site setup covers the configuration of various components and how they will work together to provide us a good product model, where some of our content is freely available for subscribers and some of it have accessed only by the paid members. We also setup a couple of posts in WordPress  to test the membership site security in first part.

In this article, Part 2 of the series, we will discuss about installation aMember on our server, adding the necessary plugins in WordPress, and add protection to the membership content and much more. It has 9 steps from installation to testing the setup.

1. Upload aMember software in our Hosting Server

In membership site setup Part 1, we have described about how to determine which version of the aMember trial software we should download if we want to check the software functionality before we purchasing the aMember software. Follow the part one to download the trail software of aMember.

Once you have downloaded the aMember software now we are ready to upload it into the root server of the domain. So first unzip the downloaded file. Then you will have a folder named aMember. Open the ftp software to connect our server and the PC.

aMember Pro Membership Software

Once we have connected the FTP software now upload the entire aMember folder to the root of the domain server, it has the URL like: http://yoursite.com/aMember

It is not necessary to use aMember as folder name in your server. You we can use any name for simple identity I used aMember name for the installation. If you have used the new name ensure that we need to use the same name for the entire article. That’s all now we have installed aMember software in the domain.

 2. Install 3 WordPress Plugins needed for aMember

We have WordPress site in the main domain as per the part one of the membership site setup series. Now we are going to install some necessary plugins which are helpful in aMember software usages We have three WordPress plugins that we will need for our new site.

  • Role manager
  • Role scoper
  • AMember integration plugin for WordPress

The three wordpress plugin details

  • Role Manager: This plugin is used to create new user roles inside of our membership site in WordPress. We can download this plugin in sourceforge.net and upload the zip file in the plugin install section of WordPress admin and activate the plugin.
  • Role Scoper: This is the improtant plugin used to manage access to particular content for every member within our membership site. It is free plugin available in the WordPress plugin directory.
  • aMember Integration Plugin for WordPress: This plugin is used to give aMember the permission for accessing new user creation, authentication with Role Scoper plugin. This plugin wecan download in aMember site.

Role Scoper plugin is only available for download through the WordPress admin form the plugin directory. We must download the other two separately from corresponding sites and then upload them to the domain via FTP or WordPress admin plugin upload path.

We can also use other important plugins based on our membership content nature and the website design. Once you have uploaded the three new plugins, make sure you activate each of them. Now we will ready to configure the user roles.

Also, note that our aMember upload may not have completed yet, so we may have to come back to this step before you can complete installation in step 5.

3. Create New User Role in WordPress

Now we have installed Role Manager installed and activated in your WordPress site, we need to create new Member roles that we will need to protect and grant access to the corresponding members. To do this, go to the WordPress admin dashboard. Find ‘Users’ tab in the left side of the navigation menu you will have the link called ‘Roles’ just click on the link.

This is the Role Manager page shown because of the role manager plugin. Here we can manage the settings and permissions for each role in membership site and also we can create new roles.  We should remember that default WordPress site have five user roles with some permissions.

The existing five user roles in WordPress: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. We’re not going to be making any changes to these default roles. Instead, we want to create a new role called Member. We can use any name for the user roles.

Role Manager Plugin

To create a new role, scroll to the bottom of the page now we have option that  “Create a New Role” section. In the Role Name field, add the new user role we need to create example type Member, and then select the Read checkbox.

Because every member should have the read access for the content we should not provide edit access to them. In this page we have multiple options to assign access level for the role. We can check whatever we need.

Consider in our Membership site setup, we don’t want the user to be able to do anything else to the content except reading. However, if you’re setting up a site that gives members the ability to edit content as well as read it, we will need to set those permissions in this section. We can change the permission at any time.

4.  Protect membership site Content with aMember

We created a post that we wanted to protect content in Part one of this series post. We didn’t specify what is name this post—only that we needed to create a category called Members and add this post to it. Here we need to use the post for our membership site setup. We can also protect membership content using wishlist member plugin.

Consider we want all the content that gets added to this category to be protected from the landing page visitors and non members. Here we will discuss about how to protect individual posts within the category called members.

We can protect some of the posts inside the category or all posts within the Members category. So that we can have both public and private posts in the same category. Once we have protected the posts in the members category new we are ready to give access for the members and the protected content.

The first step is to specify what level of access the Member role has in the Members category content. To do this, navigate to the Roles section of the admin menu on the left, and click Categories.

Select “Assign for selected categories” from the drop-down as Members, and then check the box that reads “[WP Member]” under “eligible groups.” Note that if we are having different name for the user role other than member we need to use that group.

Assign User Role Group

Then, scroll down the page until you see the Members category section under “Select Roles to Assign/Remove,” check the box next to Post Reader, and click the Update button at the top right of the page.

What it means that, we just specified that WordPress to assign the Member role have the ability to be a Post Reader of the Members category posts. Now, we need to restrict the content under the Members category to only those roles that have the Post Reader authorization. To do that, click Categories under the Restrictions menu on the left hand menu.

This will take you to another setup page that will allow you to set permissions for various categories not just the Members category, so be careful while setting up things.

On this page ensure that the Select Restriction Mode section looks like the following image it should default option.

Select Restriction Mode

Now scroll down to the Members section under the title “Select Roles to Modify.” Under this section, make tick on the checkbox next to Post Reader, and then click the Update button at the top right of the page.

Here we’ve just specify that WordPress to permit only the roles that have been granted Post Reader capabilities to view content under the member category.

If we want to test whether this worked, open a separate browser or log out of WordPress dashboard and load the membership website’s home page. We should see the “Hello World” post that we left unprotected, but we should not be able to see the protected post.

Now, login as the WordPress administrator and create a new post with any title. To automatically add protection to it, just add this post to ‘Members’ category.

However, when we want to create a new category that has both protected and unprotected content then Create the new category as usual and add the post to that category. Now scroll down the settings restrict for post section in the post editor page.

Check the box next to “Restrict for Post” and then check the box next to the membership group in our example, “WP Member”. Click Publish (or Update) to save our changes. Now you’ve restricted a single post within a category. To test it, create another post in the newly created category without the protection and then log out.

To check the results in the new browser we should see the unprotected post but not the protected post. Now we have finished the content protection using user roles. We will continue with the aMember installation in the step2.

5. Install aMember Membership Software and Settings

In step 1 we have uploaded aMember folder in the domain root using the FTP client. Now hope all the files are uploaded completely in the path http://yoursite.com/aMember  . Next, we need to install and configure aMember so that we can create new users within the membership site.

Before the installation first, make sure that we have activated the aMember Integration Plugin for WordPress. Now, install the aMember widget by navigating to the Widgets section under the Appearance menu in the WordPress admin section, as shown below.

Next, find the aMember widget in the list and drag it to your theme’s sidebar section to add it to the membership site’s sidebar. We can use OptimizePress wordpress theme for best membership site templates.

Now we have enabled our members to login and users can login to their member area using this widget and manage their accounts. This widget also adds a “signup” link and “lost password” functionality. With this, we’ll be able to fully test our aMember installation and integration.

It’s time to install aMember. Open a browser tab or window and navigate to http://yoursite.com/aMember/setup.php. to install aMember. Now we will see a screen like the one shown below for the aMember configuration.

We can leave everything pretty much as the default except for the email for the admin of the site, the username, and the password. I recommend using the same username and password as we have used in the WordPress installation.

Because WordPress and aMember are integrated, logging in to one will automatically log you in to the other. It’s a nice, time-saving feature if you want it. As always, consider our situation and need for the membership site setup. We have four steps to finish the installation. Make sure that the domain name shown in the aMember settings is same as WordPress including www.

If you have a license key, enter it in the appropriate section and click next. If you’re working with the trial version, you probably won’t see that next box.

The next step is the database configuration screen, where we will need to enter the information for our MySQL database details used for WordPress site. In Part 1 of this series, while installing WordPress we have noted the database information. Now we know why! Enter the information and keep the MySQL Table Prefix as the default “amember_“. Then click the Next button.

WP Database in formation for aMember

If you forgot to not the MySQL information just view the wp-config file of the WordPress installed in the domain it has all the MySQL information for the configuration. Fill the  necessary information displayed in the below image and the last with the MySql table prefix as aMember_

Once we have configured our database correctly, we will see a screen asking that if you wish to continue the installation. Click Next. It may take a few seconds for the installation to complete. At this point, you should see a page with a bunch of instructions and four links near the top. Click the link that reads “Admin page (aMember Control Panel),” and let’s get this system configured.

6. Configure aMember Membership software

Now the installation is complete, we should be directed to the main admin page of the aMember system. Otherwise login to the aMember admin area with the usernme and password used in the aMember setup page.

Our first step is to activate the WordPress plugin within aMember. For this on the left hand menu within aMember, click Setup/Configuration under Configuration tab of the aMember admin dashboard.

aMember setup and Configuration

In the setup/ configuration page click the Plugins link at the top of the page. We will notice two sections within the plugins page: Payment Plugins and Protect Plugins. Right now, we’re working only with the Protect Plugins; we’ll deal with the Payment Plugins in the next article. Depending on which version of the aMember software we downloaded in the trial or purchased the list of protected plugins may look different than the screen shot below.

However, the WordPress plugin we want to activate is called wp, not WordPress. If you don’t have a WordPress plugin listed, don’t worry about it.

Click Save at the bottom of the page. You should see a link at the top of the Plugins page (Under setup/Configuration) that reads WordPress Plugin. We need to add Integration Security Key in the setup and configuration steps itself.

Now goto the WordPress admin click on settings tab under the aMember in the left hand menu. This step will complete the integration between WordPress and aMember. Your screen should look like the following.

Amember settings in WordPress admin

If you followed my installation instructions, enter http://yoursite.com/aMember into the field called “aMember URL.”

Leave the rest blank for now we can change it later when we prefer. When we click Save, we should see a message at the top of the screen that reads Connection Successful. aMember will now have access to create and modify users within the WordPress database.

Now, return to the aMember admin screen (http://yoursite.com/aMember/admin), and let’s setup our first product!

Get aMember membership Software Now

7. Create a Product with aMember

aMember calls everything  we are selling is as “product” even if we selling a subscription to a website. So here we need to setup a product (subscription based) in aMember. On the aMember admin screen, find Manage Products on the left side of the page and click it.

Once this page opens we will see the settings like the below image. Click the Add New Product link. There’s truly very little information we need to add here at this stage. At the top of the page, add a title and a description about the product.

We mentioned in the membership site first part that we wanted to charge $20 per month for our service. So, in the Price field, enter 20.00 and set the duration to 1 Month. We will notice that there’s no recurring billing built in yet. We’ll add that in Part 3 of the series when we setup the Payment system integration.

Finally, we will see a field called Product URL. Enter http://yoursite.com into this field, leave everything else as the default, and click Save.

Add a product in aMember

How to integrate user roles with the aMember product?

The last thing we need to do is link our product to our new Member role so that when someone is active in our program, he’ll receive the associated Member designation in WordPress (we have discussed in step 3 and 4) and can see our protected content.

So now login to WordPress admin and navigate down to the aMember menu section, and click User Roles. We should see a screen that shows the product you just created in aMember with a drop-down box next to it called “Role in WordPress.”

Select the role we created for members in the role seeetings in step 3(in our example, Member) and click save. Now, when a user signs up in aMember, he will be assigned the corresponding User role in WordPress.

8. Add a User to our Membership area

Now we’ll add a user in our program manually through the aMember admin page to see if everything works correctly. On the left hand navigation menu, click Add User under Browse Users in the aMember admin page.

Enter in a username, password, email address, and real name, and then leave the rest set at the default and click Save. A admin confirmation message will pop up to confirm our input. At this point, we can wait to be redirected to the User Payments/Subscriptions page, or we can click the link at the top of the page.

Now we will see the page here lets we can manually add a user to a product without having to have the payment system hooked up yet. Feel free to leave everything at the default settings, and click the Add button on the right side of the screen. When you save, we will see the product listed with a status of Active. That’s all we have added new user manfully in the product. Now we can test the functionality.

Get aMember membership Software Now

9. Test the membership functionality in aMember

Now it’s time to test our membership content protection setup with aMember and WordPress. Open a new browser window, or log out of WordPress and aMember. Navigate to your website as an anonymous user. If everything is working properly, you should not see any of your protected content. Next, use the login-form widget on your site’s sidebar to login with the aMember user you created in step 8.

At this point, now we should have access to the protected content, and the login form should be replaced by some user management links. We have successfully protected our content and created our product. Next part will come up with to setup aMember to accept payments through payment gateway system.

Conclusions

Part one of the membership site setup with aMembers and WordPress covers the WordPress installation and requirements of the aMember installation for setting up a membership site.

Now the second part covers the Upload aMember software in the root directory of the domain and installation of aMember with configuration steps. The member roles creation and provide access to the protected content using role manager WordPress plugin.

It also covers the membership content protection by post with in the category or whole category using aMember, the integration between aMember and WordPress user roles, adding new user to membership site via aMember software to test the functionality of the content protection by aMember. Share your experience in Comments section.

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