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I want to change the fields/functionality of the WordPress registration.
In the following ways:

  1. User specify their e-mail and desired password (no username).
  2. I want the user to have to confirm their e-mail before their account is activated.
  3. I want a few more fields (I am going to offer a paid and a free membership).

Is there a good way that I can utilize the existing WordPress register form? Or should I create one from scratch?

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You can't really eliminate usernames, they are an essential part of Wordpress core. The best you could do was create a custom form and then save the data to the DB using the built-in fields.

For example, you could set the email they enter to equal both the email and the username field so both are the same.

I would suggest creating your own form and then saving the the database yourself instead of trying to fork the existing login form, which would most likely be a headache considering what you're trying to do.

Or, unless you're completely opposed to plugins, a combinations of Advanced Custom Fields and Theme My Login could probably take care of everything for you.

  • If I make it so that a user can change their username - will that have any big negative ramifications? – William Jun 18 '13 at 22:05
  • WordPress is designed for users with static usernames, so yes. – Chris Jun 23 '13 at 5:07

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