I am very new at all this and not a programmer. I want to know how to create member login section on the site allowing users to see data that is not visible to the public. I am not sure how to go about doing this, is there a widget that one may suggest that does not take a brain surgeon to make it work. I am using the Unite theme and the site I am trying to put together is at tmpfire.com. I would appreciate all the help I can get. Thank you
User Roll Editor (Wordpress Plugin) lets you assign permissions to users via an easy toggle box interface. "Read Posts" is an option there, so you should be able to assign that permission to only people logged in under a certain roll. You can set the default log in roll to contributor, for instance, and manage that rolls permissions so they can't post but can read content.
As for front page login forms, in my opinion the best one out there is Simple Modal Login (Wordpress Plugin), it's very attractive.
I am getting ready to do create a member login system myself.
One way I've seen it done is to have a search box where the user input their email address. The resulting page is a login page which is dedicated to that user. They would login using their username and password for the content you control from that login page.
Let us know how it goes
If you want your site for logged-in users only you can use Private WordPress (Wordpress Plugin).
It sounds like you need something like this - Role Scoper (Wordpress Plugin)
Never used it myself so can't rate it but it looks like it'll be able to do what you require.
WordPress ‘theme my login’ plugin themes the WordPress login, registration and forgot password pages according to your current theme. It creates a page to use in place of
wp-login.php, using a page template from your theme. It also includes a widget for sidebar login.For more detail please see my article.