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Lesson 4 – Part 1 – Create a WordPress User Role for Paid Members

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Good morning everybody. Welcome to the 4th week in our 12 week live session on How To Create A Membership Website. I’d like to draw your attention to the main page here: Create A Membership Website, and if you scroll you will find Lesson 4 Resources and you can download the Lecture Notes here to follow along with us. You can also download the Cheat Sheet for the WP eMember shortcodes which we will be working on today.

Last week we did a cheat sheet for WP eStore. This will be for WP eMembers and then you’re also going to download the lecture slides. Each week an hour or two before the session, I’ll have the week’s resources up on this page. You can get those and look them over if it’s of any interest to you.

Today we are going to talk about creating the member settings and setting up the memberships so in order to follow along with today, you’ll need to have WP eMember installed on your site. However, before we dive into that, we are going to talk about WordPress User Roles and in fact, we are going to create a custom WordPress User Role.

Create a Membership Website – WordPress User Roles

WordPress controls access to its functions through the User Roles. And the User Role is a name and a capability. So for example, Subscriber would be the name and the capability would be some part of a predefined list of capabilities that WordPress has.

The types of capabilities that WordPress has are, for example, to create, edit, publish or delete pages, or posts, or users, categories, links and tags. The second kind of group of capabilities has to do with installing, activating, editing and deleting plugins and themes as well as files and a few other things like that. And those are the main capabilities that WordPress uses.

Now WordPress comes with six default predefined user roles, that is: Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, Admin and then if you’re doing a network version or a multi-site version of WordPress, it also has the Super Admin. And you’re most familiar probably with the Admin User which all of you are on your own sites. You may also be familiar with the Subscriber User which generally most people are, and most people on my site are Subscriber Users.

The Subscriber User has only the Readaccess. They can read anything on the site but they can’t edit anything else.

A Contributor can read everything on the site plus they can create their own posts. They can edit their own posts if the post hasn’t been already published, and they can delete their own post if it hasn’t been published. So that’s the most restrictive level of access to the site or User Role that actually has editing capability.

The next level up is the Author. The Author has all the capabilities of the Contributor plus they can create their own posts; they can edit their own posts even after they’ve been published; and they can delete their own posts regardless whether or not they have been published. So they have complete control over their own posts.

An Editor is the next step up. An Editor has all the capabilities of an Author plus the Editor can edit other folks’ posts regardless whether or not they have been published. They can delete other authors’ posts again regardless of publishing. They can create and edit pages. You notice I’ve said posts up until this point. This is the first point at which a user can edit a page. They can also create and manage categories, links and tags and they can moderate comments. So an Editor is somebody who can do just about anything on this site short of changing the site’s configuration. So they can add or edit a post, do the same thing with pages, categories, links, tags and comments, but they can’t for example, install plugins or set up plugin options or that kind of thing.

Perry asks, “So the contributor is the Classic Forum User?” Actually no, that’s not right. On our forum, a user can delete their own posts, I believe. That would be the difference. The user can certainly edit their own posts after they have posted and I believe they can delete their own posts after they have created them. So that would make them more of an author than a contributor.

And since we’re having that conversation, why don’t we just look at it and see what we actually have on this site, because we’ll be doing this ourselves in a few weeks anyway with exactly the same software as I’m using right now.

So we’re going to the dashboard of my site, and we’re going to look at my forum settings – and forums – and permission sets. I think everybody has Full Accessand Full Access means they can view admin post; start new topics; reply to topics; can edit their own topics; they can edit their own posts until reply; they can view other members’ profiles; they can report posts; they can rate posts; upload images. So that is the Full Access. You know, you might be right about that Perry. Standard Access might actually not allow them to . . . well they can create a new topic, and reply to topics, but they can’t delete topics, they can’t edit their own posts forever.

I guess you’re right. The Classic Contributor may be similar to the Standard Access and what I provide is Full Access to Members.

And so finally we have the Admin Role. And the Admin Role can, of course, finally do everything. They can edit anything, they can delete anything, they can manage anything and the only exception to that is if there is a Super Admin.

The Super Admin can remove Admin roles when they want to, but that circumstance only exists in multi-site installations of WordPress.

Now we are going to talk about why we are creating another role. We are going to create another role because we want to hide parts of the forum for people who haven’t paid access to the forum. So we are going to have a forum that is open to all members but we are going also to have a forum only open to paid members. And the way Simple Forum does that is by using a customized user role, a WordPress user role, and so rather than using any of the existing user roles we’re just going to create our own customized user role to allow for that right now. Because we want WP eMembers to actually manage what WordPress user role people get when they sign up.

So the first thing we are going to do is go over to our site. So here we are on Week 4. This is the site I created for the purpose of demonstrating this stuff in this lesson; it’s www.week4.thesiseMember.com. Remember that thesisemember.com is the site we are developing, but when we are finished with this course, that site is going to be finished.

Create a Membership Website – Install User Role Editor Plugin

I’m going to the dashboard and we’re going to install a plugin called the User Role Editor Plug-in. So we are going down to the plugins and add new and then we are going to search for user role editor. And this is the one we are going to install, version 3.1 by Vladimir. We’re going ahead and install now.

If you want to download this rather than installing it that way, you can go back over to the lesson site and I have a download link here that says Download The User Role Editor Plugin. It simply takes you to the WordPress.org site of that plugin where you can download it. If you want to go to the week4.thesisemember.com, you can also just use this link on Week 4.

So we have installed the plugin. Now we are going to activate that plugin. Now that the plugin is activated we will come down here to Users and select User Role Editor.

User Role Editor is really interesting because it shows you the full range of capabilities that users are granted in WordPress. You also can use it to create your own custom capabilities. Ultimately, that requires you to do some programming and we are not going to talk about that here. You can in fact create your own name for your user and then your own definition for a role and then before something happens on your program, you can ask “if user can such and such” and then if they can, based on your custom user role, you can allow them to do that custom thing. In any case, the user role shows you the various roles.

In particular right now, for subscriber, you can see that the only capability that is only shown here is read. It also shows an antiquated/deprecated version of what WordPress used to do for User Roles. It used to have level 0 through 9 and those all meant something specific. WordPress stopped using those although evidently still supports them for those people who still use it and is instead is substituted for all these other roles or capabilities for those 0 through 9.

I’m going to check show capabilities in human readable form. You see that all a Subscriber can do is read. If you look at the Contributor, all the Contributors can do is read, delete posts and edit posts. The Author can publish post, read, edit published posts, delete posts, delete published posts, edit posts and so on and so forth. So here is how this form works.

What we are going to do is we are going to create a new role and we are going to call this role Member. We are going to create it from a Subscriber’s stand point so let’s move it there and we are going to create the role member and we are going to say add.

And now, a Member we want to have only the same capabilities of a Subscriber. We are going to select read and go ahead and let level 0 be selected as well. We are not going to give the Member any capabilities. We just want to be able to distinguish a paid member and a subscriber which is going to be a free member.

So what we have done now is we have created a new user level that is called Member. It has exactly the same permissions as a Subscriber. The only difference between a Member and a Subscriber is its name and you’ll see how we use that once we get a little further into this. But that’s how you understand Word Press User Roles and that’s how you create a New User Role.

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