This might sound strange coming from me, considering that I make my online living taking full advantage of the capabilities offered by WordPress and yet, here is my statement:
You Should NEVER Use WordPress For Membership Management!
On last webinar for Expert WordPress members I have shared this opinion and received quite a feedback, which is greatly appreciated. I know that my statement goes against what many other people are currently teaching but I have very good reasons!
Reasons I will share in this blog post and let you decide if my opinion makes sense or not, it is YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS after all!
First allow me to repeat the obvious…
I love WordPress and I think as Content Management System it simply has no equals when it comes to functionality, simplicity, extendability and customization options!
WordPress, thanks to its modular design and huge support by community, developers and designers has a solution that can be applied to pretty much any kind of need to present content!
WordPress is constantly developing and enhanced in functionality, new plugins to extend its ability are introduced, mostly free and some are with a price tag and this is one of the reasons I will recommend to anyone reading this post
Do Not Use WordPress For Paid Memberships
Anytime we use paid membership, we build business. Business that we rely on to provide us with a steady flow of income we can depend on and build upon. But as part of running a membership business model we commit to our customers to provide them with secure access to our site and to ensure their private information stored within our membership system doesn’t get into hands of hackers!
We Are Obligated To Do All In Our Power To Protect Our Customers!
And here is why I think WordPress is a bad fit for this model…
Membership Management functionality currently provided to WordPress via several plugins. Some are commercial and some are free but it doesn’t matter which one you will choose to use as they all share one big flaw – their dependency on the core of WordPress!
- By themselves they will not function and same goes the WordPress core – without one of these plugins you can’t have paid membership! This is fact #1!
- WordPress is constantly evolving and new versions are released that sometimes make plugins incompatible with latest version and you either have to wait upgrading to latest WordPress core version until plugin is updated to be fully operational with it or you have to look for new plugin to replace functionality, especially true with free plugins. This is fact #2.
- WordPress is Open Source and its code is constantly under scrutiny not only by the good guys but also by people who are looking for a way to compromise your site. If you have been blogging for a while I’m sure you have seen those WordPress security releases that simply HAVE TO BE done ASAP in order to avoid being hacked, as exploit is in the wild and actively used by bad guys. This is fact #3
Now imagine this scenario:
You have a WordPress blog used to manage membership system. You have several hundred customers paying on monthly bases (or whatever schedule you use). As any WordPress blog you have several plugins to add functionality for SEO at the very least and obviously at least one plugin that is responsible for turning your blog into membership system.
Now imagine that WordPress core team just released a security upgrade that have to be applied ASAP or your blog can be compromised and hacker can take control over every aspect of it, including FULL ACCESS to your customers information.
You quickly contact support of the developer who created the plugin you use for Membership Management before jumping into upgrade, as you have to ensure that it will continue to work with new version only to learn that he is taking romantic vacation on secluded island somewhere in Fiji and will not be back for next couple weeks…
What Do You Do?
Do you upgrade the WordPress core, as you should, to protect your blog and your customer data and risk that your membership management portion stops working and no support for it will be available for a while?
Or do you continue using insecure version of the blog praying that it doesn’t become a target for attack until plugin is compatible with it, as you simply can’t afford loosing income?
What if you actually did what you should and have upgraded and your membership plugin is now broken, your customer support swamped with complains from customers and you know that you will not be able to fix the problem for next 2 weeks, while developer enjoying the vacation?
Which scenario fits you better?
I know those are some extreme scenarios but not uncommon! I know there are always solution to any problem and you can actually outsource fixing the plugin in scenario above but I personally prefer that my membership script is separate and with dedicated support!
If you are planning to start membership site I highly recommend you avoid doing it with WordPress! There are plenty of scripts that will provide you with all the functionality you need – securely and safely!
I personally recommend Easy Member Pro. It’s extremely easy to use and full of powerful features. The price is just $197 for unlimited licenses, but if you click the banner below you can get it for $157 – a steal with 20% Off!