Protecting WordPress Pages and Customising Login

We were recently asked to help out a design agency client with customisation of a WordPress installation.

The brief was that selected pages within the site needed to be accessible only to logged-in users. On visiting the page, users should be shown a login page in the style of the website, with a link to a registration page, where they could subscribe with an activation code they had previously been sent. There also needed to be niceties such as password reminders plus login/logout and register links on the menu.

The nice thing is that this is all very do-able using free WordPress plugins.

The first piece in the puzzle was the Member Access plugin, which allows an administrator to define whether a user has to be logged in to view individual pages and posts. It’s very simple to use and just adds a new area to the usual edit screen.

The second piece was the Theme My Login plugin. This is a really useful addition to the WordPress developer’s toolkit. It not only replaces the standard WordPress login forms with ones that match your theme, but it also offers a number of extra options such as the ability to theme registration and password reminder emails, define where users will be redirected to, additional security options etc. We tweaked the HTML slightly, but otherwise ran it out of the box with just the settings changed.

The third piece was the BAW Login/Logout Menu plugin. This is a neat little plugin that does exactly what it says on the tin. It adds a new section to the standard WordPress menu administration page enabling you to add login options to your menu.

And finally, we used the BAW Easy Activation Codes plugin. This lets you specify one or more codes that users must enter in order to be able to register for the site.

We wondered whether we should show step-by-step instructions but to be honest it’s so easy I don’t think you need them. Not only are the plugins rock-solid, but the configuration they required was minimal and with a little documentation, the client was able to complete the customisation and deliver the site.  We’d love to show you the finished site, but unfortunately the client is a little publicity shy, take a look at what our own login page now looks like though at http://the-digital-department.co.uk/login/.