#120: Choosing a Membership Plugin for WordPress

(Updated on )

In this screencast we start talking about how we are going to build the membership area of CSS-Tricks. Part of the Kickstarter that made this whole thing possible was the promise that Kickstarter backers would get access to a private members-only area where they would watch videos like the one on this very page.

It’s kind of a funny moment really, because you’re watching a video in the private access area that, in the video, has barely been conceived yet.

We’re using WordPress, and WordPress has a lot of the functionality that need already: user authentication, user access levels, conditional logic for displaying content based on access levels, CMS-ness, etc. So obviously, let’s build this private access area as part of WordPress.

What WordPress doesn’t have is a way to accept payments and manage a set of arbitrary access levels. For this site we’ll need at least two since I promised two different levels of access. WordPress has stuff like “subscriber” and “editor” and whatnot – but that has too much meaning in WordPress core. I just want to define access levels arbitrarily.

Fortunately we don’t have to write all this code ourselves. WordPress is a huge community and an extensible code base. So there are loads of plugins to provide this functionality. But which one is best? That takes some research. I did this research through creating a spreadsheet to compare all the features (file downloadable below). In this screencast we look through that spreadsheet. We even talk about intangible things like features that we wish they had and the people behind the plugins.

In the end, we decide on Restrict Content Pro.