Introduction To Restrict Content Pro
Most people that are working with WordPress for some time will be familiar with the plugins of the famous WordPress plugin developer: Pippin Williamson. When talking about the Pippin’s plugins we can only say that this developer goes above and beyond to provide the best possible documentation for his plugins and the best support, there is.
This is also the case with his popular plugin Restrict Content Pro. RCP is a membership plugin for premium content subscriptions allowing you to charge people for viewing premium content, which helps you to build great WordPress membership site. It comes in free and paid version starting from $42/lifetime for a single website.
RCP is allowing you to create unlimited membership levels, manage members, provides discount codes, track payments and many more. One of the greatest advantages of this plugin is that you will get all extensions with just a single payment for your license. Each license comes with 1 year of support and updates which are not some bad thing sipnce you’ll get an excellent documentation for free.
In our unbiased Restrict Content Pro lesson, we will describe you in detail the features of this plugin, and we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to configure the RCP and create a perfect WordPress membership site. In the end, we will point out the pros and cons of this top membership plugin for 2016 in order to decide for yourself if it’s suited for you or not.
Add Unlimited Membership Levels With Restrict Content Pro
We will start with Subscription Levels panel. Adding new types of membership levels here is pretty straight forward. On this step first you need to define the name of the WordPress user level, and then provide a brief description for the level, level of access for your subscription level, subscription duration, and the price. As you can see, creating subscription levels is quite an easy task. It is also a very flexible while creating different packages for your memberships since you can offer to your visitors a free plan, trial offer for a few days or regular monthly/yearly recurring payments.
Creating The Necessary Pages
After you are done creating your membership levels, firstly you will need to create a page for registration form. The downside of Restrict Content Pro plugin is that it doesn’t automatically create the necessary pages with one click as Paid Membership Pro does.
- For creating the registration page, you need to add a new page and enter this shortcode:
The result will be as following:
- Next, you need to create the login page. To create this page, you need to use the following shortcode:
- We will see later in the settings that we need to have a success page also. This page is created easily without any shortcode. Just add a new page and enter your content that will show up when someone successfully subscribed.
So far we created a login page, register page and success page. That is enough for now.
For using other shortcodes on your pages, visit the official RCP shortcode documentation.
Effortlessly Manage Your Subscriptions
In the Members panel of the plugin, you can find all of your existing users. Also, you can assign which user you want to add to which membership level and set the expiration date. Nothing complicated, easy as pie.
When clicking on Edit of the user, there appear a few more options for managing your member. You can set his status to active, expired, canceled, pending or free. Also, there are the standard options for setting his subscription level and expiration date. Furthermore, you can set whether this user will have recurring payments and choose the sign-up method (manually by the administrator or usual user sign-up). In the end, there is a text area where you can write notes about this user if needed.
Sky Rocket Your Earning By Providing Discounts With RCP
Since you are providing digital products, it is important to consider giving discounts at some point. Restrict Content Pro has a great feature when creating new discounts which allow you to create fixed or percentage discounts to any subscription.
In our opinion, it is great to offer some discounts around the holidays (New Year, Christmas, 4th July…) and the procedure for creating a discount is relatively easy.
Enter the name of your discount first such as New Year Discount. Next step is to provide a description for your discount (Ex. Huge discount for this New Year). Enter the code that needs to be used for using the discount. This usually needs to be in UPPERCASE letters and to have some meaning, such as HUGEDISCOUNT. Note: the discount codes are case-sensitive.
The next great option allows you to choose whether you want to provide a percentage or fixed discount. After you enter the amount of this discount code, set the expiration date and enter the number of how many times this discount will be used. Press Add Discount Code and you are done.
The field for entering the discount will automatically appear on the registration form.
Tracking Your Payments
The Payments section is similar to All Posts or All Pages page, but with all the necessary info for your payments. If you are doing everything right, after a while, this will be your favorite section for visiting because it will contain lots of completed payments that are easily scannable.
Configuring The Right RCP Settings
We will now configure the main settings of this plugin. The configuration is easy and can be done within 15 minutes or so. We will start with Settings -> Payment.
- In the General section of the Payment tab, we will set our currency and currency position. Restrict Content Pro only accept payments via PayPal so below there are PayPal setting where you will need to enter your PayPal address and to test the plugin with the PayPal sandbox mode. The other options (Disable CURL and Disable IPN Verification) leave them unchecked.
- In the Messages tab, we will customize the messages that will be displayed to both free and premium members. You can also use shortcodes here like [login_form] or [registration_form]
- In Signup Forms section there are truly only a few options that you need to configure. The first two options there is no need to check them unless you want live jQuery form validation (not recommended because the jQuery Validation method will not indicate whether a Discount Code is valid) or disable the included form styling. Next, you will need to select the Success Page and Registration Page that we’ve created previously.
Also, there is an option to include Captcha below your registration form, and this step requires registering your Captcha account first. You will get Public and Private Key that need to be entered here at this step. The last options include forcing an SSL protocol on your page and Disabling Auto Renew if you don’t want to allow recurring subscriptions.
- In the Email section, you need to configure the automatic email messages that will be sending to your subscribers after some specific action. So you need to configure:
- Active Subscription Email
- Canceled Subscription Email
- Expired Subscription Email
- Free Subscription Email
- Trial Subscription Email
You can use the provided shortcodes on the right side where it is most appropriate for personalizing your emails. Make sure to be honest and kind with your subscribers, treat them with respect and you will see how your profits will increase because people in first place buy because of your personality and not because of the greatness of your product. And here’s an example of how your mail can be customized:
We would like to thank you for signing up for a %subscription_name% membership at %blogname%! We successfully received your payment of %amount%, and your subscription is currently set to expire on %expiration%.
Please don’t hesitate to reply to this email and tell us about your reason for signing to this membership and what are your expectations from us. We will personally ensure you to get a tremendous value for your money and provide any kind of support to get the most out of %blogname% :).
At the end of this section, there is an option for disabling new user notifications. Check this option if you don’t like to be bothered with emails when a new user signs up on your membership site.
- Now we move to the Misc Here you will make a few configurations starting with Hiding Premium Posts option. It is useful this field to be checked if you want to hide all premium posts from queries when the user is not logged in. Redirect Page is the page where non-subscribed users are redirected to when attempting to access a premium post or page. You can choose the login page here. Redirect Default Login URL and Login Page are also used for login and at the end, you need to check the last option you’d like to prevent multiple users from logging into the same account simultaneously.
- And the last section is Logging which is really not so important to consider it at this point because the option that you need to check is used only if you have some problems with integrating with PayPal
Easily Export Members And Payments With Restrict Content Pro
In the Export panel of the plugin, you will be able to use the built-in functions for exporting your members and payments. It is a genuinely nice feature because you can choose what to export. In the Members Export area you can export all of your members, members from the specific membership level (in our case: trial, basic, gold) and members from specific status (active, pending, expired, canceled, free). By clicking on Download Member CSV, you will get an Excel file in CSV format which you can easily convert to neat XLS file (there are many free CSV to XLS converters online), or you can view it with the free software CSV Viewer.
Note: If you want to import users from third party plugin you need to use the free extension CSV User Import.
In the Payments Export area, you can export all of your payments in just one click. The exported file is also in CSV format, and you can use this file for your own record keeping or tracking.
Extensive Restrict Content Pro Documentation
Pippin’s plugins are well known for their extensive documentation. This is also a case with RCP plugin where every option is well documented, and you can access that documentation regarding on which step you are on, by clicking on the Help Tab that is placed in the top right corner of the screen.
Also, there also are many videos in the Help panel that will guide you step by step on any unclear matter concerning Restrict Content Pro configuration.
Bellow the videos you will find the explanation of every shortcode and also some programming codes for manual customization if you feel savvy enough.
Manually Restrict Your Content With Restrict Content Pro
RCP allows you to restrict only part of the content on your post or page, instead of automatically restricting the entire content of that post or page. You can achieve that by using the [restrict] shortcode. This method is great because it allows your non-subscribed users to get a sneak-peak of your awesome content, to raise curiosity and to leave them wanting to buy one of your membership levels to see the rest of the content.
For example, to restrict some content from non-logged-in users only you can do this:
[restrict]The awesome text is restricted here[/restrict]
Also, you can use more advanced parameters with this shortcode such as:
[restrict paid=true]This is for paid subscribers[/restrict]
– Restricting content to paid subscribers only
[restrict paid=true message="Here you put your custom message"]This is the restricted text with custom message[/restrict]
– Restricting content with adding custom message to it
[restrict userlevel="author"]This is the restricted text[/restrict]
– Restricting content from all users except those with role “Author” or greater
[restrict subscription=3]This is restricted to Gold subscribers[/restrict]
– Restricting content to only Gold subscribers (you need to see what is the ID of the membership level before using it here)
[restrict level=4]This content is restricted to subscribers who have access level of 4 or higher[/restrict]
You can restrict content to users who only subscribed to a subscription level that provides a certain access level or higher
Note: As shown in the image, the options that are provided bellow your post/page serve only if you want to restrict whole post/page. If you want to restrict specific content, you need to add manually the shortcodes that we’ve described.
Restrict Content Pro integrate with many add-ons both free and premium.
Now we will provide the full list of free add-ons with short description
- Download Monitor (Awesome plugin for managing all file downloads on your site. With the Download Monitor extension, you can restrict files to be downloadable by users who have a paid subscription)
- WP Job Manager (This simple extension allows you to restrict jobs posting to members who have paid subscriptions)
- MailChimp (This add-on provides MailChimp integration for RCP that will allow you to store your subscribers to your MailChimp email list. It works for both new registrations and upgrades)
- Braintree Payment Gateway (This add-on plugin allows you to accept credit cards through your Braintree.com account during the user registration process)
- Campaign Monitor (This add-on will allow users to add themselves to your Campaign Monitor email list when they register or upgrade)
- Wysija Add-On (This is an add-on plugin that provides the option to display a “join my newsletter” option on the RCP registration form that integrates with Wysija Newsletters)
- bbPress (This plugin will add support for limiting bbPress forums and topics to paid subscribers and subscribers with specific access rights)
- CSV User Import (This is a free add-on that allows you to import member accounts from a CSV file)
- Enforce Strong Passwords (This simple extension for Restrict Content Pro enforce strong passwords during registration)
- iDevAffiliate (Great plugin for running an affiliate program on your membership site)
- Taxamo integration (Taxamo is a service that helps make your site compliant by handling tax calculations and report generation. This free add-on plugin for Restrict Content Pro will connect Restrict Content Pro to Taxamo)
- GetResponse (Let members subscribe to your GetResponse mailing list)
- Terms and Conditions (Use this addon to add a Terms and Conditions checkbox to your registration form)
- Easy Digital Downloads Discounts (The add-on is designed to give your subscribers some discounts on products in Easy Digital Downloads)
And now for the premium add-ons:
- AffiliateWP – $49 (Advanced affiliate marketing plugin for Restrict Content Pro)
- Math Verification – $4 (This add-on adds a math verification field to the checkout form, helping in prevention of spam registrations while also not frustrating your users with difficult to read reCaptchas)
- EDD Member Discounts – $15 (This extension serves you to create automated discounts that give your premium subscribers a special discount on all Easy Digital Downloads purchases)
- ConvertKit – $29 (This extension lets you subscribe members to forms and courses when they buy a subscription on your site)
- MailChimp Pro – $29 (This plugin provides advanced MailChimp integration for Restrict Content Pro.)
- BuddyPress – $18 (This add-on creates a continuous connection with your BuddyPress This add-on allows you to assign BuddyPress Member Types to individual subscription levels)
Restrict Content Pro Review: Pros & Cons
|Unlimited membership levels with auto-renewing feature
|Auto-renewals don’t have option for automatically inform the customer that they’ll be renewed
|Can provide free and trial membership
|No option for canceling or upgrading auto-renewing memberships
|Ability to use discount codes
|Case sensitive discount codes
|Can restrict custom content with shortcode
|No automatically creating necessary pages
|Very easy to extend with add-ons and developer friendly codes
|No content dripping.
Summary & Review
And now, we finally came to the end of the story of Restrict Content Pro. We’ve put a lot of time and effort to deeply elaborate this plugin, so hope you’ll like our lesson and find it useful. For conclusion, we can say that Pippin has done a very neat job with this plugin putting everything that is useful as a built-in function and made it possible for easily integrating everything else. The plugin is user-friendly for anyone without specific technical knowledge and developer-friendly for everyone who feel tech savvy to extend it.
We especially like the unique feature where you can restrict specific content based on user role and user subscription. We don’t like the fact that the plugin has no option (neither free nor paid) for content dripping. However, if you plan to build a simple and effective membership site, then Restrict Content Pro is serving everything on a plate, and you don’t need to have any more excuses for starting with your membership site today. It’s a wonderful, affordable and powerful solution for anyone looking to sell premium content through their WordPress website, so we definitely recommend it.