I am involved with several WordPress support websites including this one (recently). I seem to get the question "Can WordPress be used as a CMS/Membership Website?". I haven't needed to set one up, so I always refer them to suggestion from other forums. I've decided that it's only a matter of time until I will be required to implement this type of a WP website so I've decided to be Pro-Active and set up a development version.

I've been looking at Magic Members specifically, but I don't know anyone that has used it. My question has two parts:

1) Does anyone have first hand experience using Magic Members. If so is it worth the $197.

2) Do you have any recommendations an an alternative?

NOTE: I've tried out many of the plug-ins from the repository, but for a business I haven't found one that fits all the requirements.

Here is a list of the features that are most likely needed:

  1. Membership access control on various levels
  2. Public and Private content
  3. Simplified User Interface (this isn't as important since I know a few tricks including ones I've discovered here.
  4. Document sharing
  5. Content Available to Author created content that can only be changed/updated by them and the Administrator.

I know this is a pretty in depth questions, but any pointers or personal experience will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Jeremy Jared

4 Answers 4


You could use a combination of the Members plugin to manage user roles (ie employee types or levels) along with the Custom Post Type UI plugin to manage various post types.

With the Custom Post Type UI you could create posts types. Then you could allow or deny rights for various operations on each type of post separately (edit, publish, edit after publish, delete, submit for publish by an admin, view, edit other's posts) for each employee type role. You could create posts that an employee of type 1 could publish and be viewable only by other type 1 employees. Along side those, there could be some other post that employee type 1's could read but not publish too. And still another post type that could be viewable by the public. Etc, etc, etc...

The combo of these two plugins would give you very granular control over what different types of employees would be able to do. Check out this simple example of restricting rights on one custom post type.

  • Thanks Dave this sounds promising. I've known about the Custom Post Types so maybe I can do that w/o a plugin. I will take a look at you example of restricting rights on one custom post type. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow, by schedule has been overwhelmingly busy (15-20 hrs a day). This has turned into a project to help a fellow expert on experts exchange as a favor. I know I'll need the knowledge for myself, so I'm testing the waters now. I appreciate your input and will return when I've had time to check it out. Regards, Jeremy Jared. Jul 12, 2011 at 8:34
  • Thank you very much. This helps solve 80% of what I'm looking for. I awarded the points to you for a few reasons. One, the plugin you suggested is simple and from Justin Tadlock (someone I admire). Two, the link you provided to the members "how-to" page was very useful. I'll probably decide to skip on the Custom PT plugin and do that part myself (I try to use a plugin as the last resort). ***** THANKS TO EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATED, ALL WERE USEFUL IN 1 WAY OR ANOTHER ******* Jul 13, 2011 at 9:03
  • Glad it was helpful. Good luck on your project. Jul 13, 2011 at 16:01

I've had great success with WP-Members as well as Wishlist Members. Granted the sites that used them were using it for paid subscription to their site. Both were easy to setup, configure and implement.

  • Thanks for the suggestions, I've read about those in my search for a solutions. I guess I should have put more emphasis on the fact that the majority of the plugin's functions would be for membership control as in (employee membership). I don't really need the pricing part which seems to be the main use of the plugins listed above. Jul 8, 2011 at 1:27
  • I've used Wishlist on a membership site where membership was free. You simply skip the shopping cart integration phase and link directly to the subscription sign-up pages. It was pretty straightforward. Jul 8, 2011 at 19:20

I'm about to finish a project were i needed about the same requirements as you listed and i've got some answers for you

1) Does anyone have first hand experience using Magic Members. If so is it worth the $197. Do you have any recommendations an an alternative?

I can't say that i have used it or heard bad things about it and if it does what they say then it sounds great. I have used s2Member which is simple and very intuitive (it also has a large video tutorials library).

it gives you the ability to have a Membership access control on various levels , Public and Private content (which i would also recommend my plugin for that).

as for :

Content Available to Author created content that can only be changed/updated by them and the Administrator

that is the default behavior of an Author role in WordPress.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. "as for : Content Available to Author created content that can only be changed/updated by them and the Administrator " I understand this, but I was looking for a way to restrict the content to only the author, and the Admin. Please note that this isn't for me, I know people can come up with crazy conditions and request WP to do "Anything and Everything". I'm just trying to help out a friend with an unusual request (and learn a few things about WP and memberships along the way). Your plugin would have worked and seemed well written (JT Won though). Thanks, JJ Jul 13, 2011 at 9:09

I will go ahead and recommend several premium (but cheap) plugins.

The first is a membership plugin by JigoWatt that allows you to setup restricted access areas. You can offer free and premium memberships (paid through paypal), and it works really, really well.

The second is plugin that allows you to create unlimited custom post types, taxonomies, and meta boxes. It is one of my plugins (sorry for the plug), but it is one of the best out there. It's called Easy Custom Content Types. Custom post types are extremely useful when setting up a CMS site because they allow you to separate content into meaningful sections.

  • Thanks for the links Pippin, but like I replied to Chip the need is more for an employee based membership CMS. The majority of discussions that I get involved in suggest that WordPress can't handle such a website. I would just like to set one up so I could prove otherwise and help others in the future... or maybe I'll find that they are correct? Sorry if I wasted your time. If no other solutions are suggested I'll accept the answers since they are probably correct given the info I provided. Jul 8, 2011 at 1:30

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