WordPress Membership Sites Using s2Member
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WordPress Membership Sites Using s2Member

Learn to configure the FREE s2Member Framework plugin along with other zero cost apps to make a secure & powerful site.
4.7 (48 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
927 students enrolled
Created by Steve Dougherty
Last updated 5/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $35 Discount: 71% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Use The FREE s2Member Plugin To Create A WordPress Membership Site
  • Create A Drip Fed, Fixed Term Multi-Level Membership Site With S2Member
  • Configure S2Member With Amazon S3 & CloudFront
  • How To Setup A Secure & Responsive Video Player Within S2Member
  • How To Use Custom Capabilities (Copy & Paste Codes Included)
  • Customize The Access Denied Page With Dynamic Content
  • Customize The WordPress Login and Registration Form
  • How To Use (& When To Use) Shortcode Conditionals
  • Bonus: How To Setup & Use The PayPal Sandbox For Testing Payments
  • Bonus: How To Install, Setup, Cleanup & Backup WordPress
View Curriculum
  • Domain Name + Hosting Account (eg: Liquid Web, Blue Host...)
  • Self-Hosted WordPress Site (The Bonus videos will show you how to install & setup your WordPress site)
  • PayPal Business Account (It is the Free one. If you only have a Personal Account you can convert it for Free)
  • Amazon AWS Account (Optional)
  • JVZoo Account (Optional)

Discover how to put the FREE s2Member plugin to work for you with my video course on creating a WordPress Membership Site Using s2Member & other no-cost plugins.

Enjoy the benefits of knowing you have a secure, powerful & scalable WP Membership site after you have completed this course.

  • You will discover frustration-free code setup for the S2Member plugin. I show you step-by-step PLUS give you copy & paste code snippets.
    Watch me -> Copy -> Paste -> Done!
  • You'll learn how to create custom fixed-term PayPal buttons.
  • How to prepare your WordPress site for the S2Member plugin.
  • How to connect your s2Member site with Amazon S3 & CloudFront for added speed & security.
  • and much more.

You want to create a WordPress membership site...

But you are not sure how to properly set things up.

You want a powerful and secure membership script that works with WordPress...

But you are not made of money so it cannot cost a fortune.

s2Member is a WordPress plugin – It is FREE – It's Powerful & Secure...

But is is so feature rich that all those bells & whistles are too difficult to setup.

This course on making WordPress Membership sites using the FREE s2Member Framework plugin and other FREE WordPress plugins is your answer.

→ No more reading the sleep-inducing blog posts that claim to have all the answers.

→ No more wading through ancient YouTube videos trying to figure things out.

These s2Member Training videos are brand new (2015) and you can get a feel for the audio and video quality by checking out the Free Preview on Lecture 1.

I’ve been using s2Member in a few of my WordPress sites since late 2011 but only the basics of s2Member.

I just never found the time to dive in and learn how to get more out of s2Member than just the basic settings.

One of my long-time Customers kept asking me about doing a set of training videos on creating a WordPress Membership site & several months ago I finally had the time.

So over the last 4 to 5 months I’ve been learning how to squeeze more out of an s2Member site than just putting up secured post and pages & PayPal buttons.

I knew s2Member had a lot to offer but my goodness, I was like a kid in a candy store with everything I was learning about s2Member.


Not only is it FREE but you also get the source code to the plugin, meaning if you are a programmer or you know one, you can customize the code to make it do whatever your imagination can come up with.

You might be surprised to learn some people have done just that and charge upwards of $300 for what they created from the s2Member Framework source code.

Now I’m NOT A PROGRAMER so these s2Member training videos are GEEK-SPEAK-FREE Video Guides.

These videos are over the shoulder style videos that allow you to see me doing the actions – not just talk about them. That along with the included exclusive copy & paste templates and code snippets your task of building an S2Member powered WordPress site just got a lot easier.

One of my pet-peeves with some of the other training videos, is they assume you already know this or that about the topic and a gaping hole is left in your training if you ARE NOT 'in the know'.

When I make my training videos I assume you are brand new to the topic so I focus on leaving no technical stone unturned.

If you are brand new to WordPress & s2Member then you will be able to follow along easily and just do as I do.

If you are NOT NEW to WordPress and / or S2Member but simply want to learn more, then some of this will already be familiar & you will move along even quicker to creating your own Powerful & Secure S2Member Membership site.

The first lecture is an introduction video to the series. It lays out a brief description of each video.

If you have not yet installed and setup your WordPress site then I suggest you start at the bottom of the Lectures where my Bonus Lectures are.

I have included some basic WordPress install & setup videos in the Bonus section at the bottom of the page.

Start there then come on back to lecture 2 and move on from there.

You may be tempted to jump around the different lectures but they are put together in progression so I suggest you stick to the numbers & go in order.

But hey, you have lifetime access so you can always come back and re-watch them however many times you need.

There is no time like the present to create your own powerful & secure S2Member powered WordPress site and this course will get you there – GUARANTEED!

Who is the target audience?
  • This course demonstrates the FREE S2Member Framework plugin NOT the Pro version of S2Member
  • This S2Member Powered WordPress Membership Site course is meant for businesses and individuals that want to learn how to create a feature rich WordPress Membership site using only FREE plugins.
Compare to Other WordPress Courses
Curriculum For This Course
46 Lectures
Introduction To S2Member Course
1 Lecture 04:28

This video gives a brief description of the different videos in this series.

Preview 04:28
Membership Site Preparation
3 Lectures 20:50

Video 02 details the different steps I take in setting up a newly installed WordPress site.

Things like which WP Theme I’m using, adjusting the permalinks and what to watch out for when doing this & much more.

Site Preparation - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

In Lecture 03 I install & configure the plugins that we will be using in this setup. You will see how I install multiple plugins instantly.., or you can install them one at a time, I show you both ways & include a text document with all the plugins for easy referent.

Much of the configuration of the S2Member plugin takes place in the other videos in this series.

Plugins-Install & Configuration - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Video 04 covers the minimum required pages as well as the additional pages I’ll be using in this set of videos like the Legal pages, Contact page Customized Login page & more.

I also show you a cool & very fast way to create these pages.

Preview 05:12
S2Member Framework Configuration
12 Lectures 01:20:47

In Video 05 we cover the S2Member General Options page and you follow along as I make the different adjustments to the various settings & why I make them. There are a couple of important suggestions that you should highly consider as well.

S2Member General Options - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

I almost broke Video 06 into two different videos because it covers both customizing the Login Form (up to the 7 minute mark) AND the Registration Form.

But since both forms are so closely related, I decided to keep it as a single video.

Custom Registration & Login Form - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Video 7 will show you how to setup your PayPal options using the PayPal Sandbox which is used to test your payment process without using your own money.

(In the Bonus Section at the end of this course are 3 videos on setting up the PayPal Sandbox feature within your PayPal account)

I demo using the PayPal Sandbox in one of the other videos. So not only are you seeing how to set things up, you are seeing how they work as well.

PayPal Options

S2Member is all about restricting access to files & content on your site.

Videos 08, 09, 10 & 11 will detail some of the different ways S2Member protects your files & content from unauthorized access.

In video 08 I give a solid overview of the different possible Restrictions and how to put some of them to use.

Restriction Options Part 1

S2Member is all about restricting access to files and content. This quiz will help you understand more about some of the basics of the S2Member Restriction Options Page

Lecture 8 Restriction Options Part 1
8 questions

In Video 09 you will see what the Alternative View Restriction is and I explain that in some cases you will want this & in others you will not.

Restriction Options Part 2 Alternative View Restrictions

Lecture 9 Restriction Options Part 2 (Alternative View Restrictions)
4 questions

Video 10 shows you how to put the URI Restriction feature to use on your S2Member protected site.

This allow you to restrict access to entire sections of your site.

This works great if you want to make a forum on your site available to only certain paid (or even FREE) levels of your S2Member site.

You can even make certain sections of that Forum available to different S2Member levels – powerful stuff.

Restriction Options Part 3 URI Restriction

Lecture 10 Restriction Options Part 3 URI Restriction
3 questions

In Video 11 you will see my favorite restriction option, the Shortcode Conditional.
The S2Member Shortcode Conditional has a ton of uses & you see me put several of them to the test throughout these videos.

Restriction Options Part 4

Lecture 11 Restriction Options Part 4 (Simple Shortcode Conditional)
2 questions

Like I said earlier, S2Member is all about protecting your site files and content form unauthorized access.

In the previous videos 08 – 11, you learned about restricting access to your sites content (post, pages, categories, tags…).

In videos 12 through 16 you will discover how to protect your sites files.

Video 12 will go through the setup process required to protect the files on your S2Member site.

File Download Options-Basic Setup - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Video 13 shows you how to use (and be careful of..) the Advanced Download Restriction feature of S2Member.

This feature has a good & a bad side. The good is it produces time expiring URLs that are also locked to the IP address of the person that clicked on the URL.

This prevents that URL from being passed around and it will expire in 24 hours.

But like I said, it also has a bad side.

File Download Options-Advanced

Lecture 13 File Download Options (Advanced)
4 questions

In Video 14 you’re going to learn how to restrict access to a file based on a particular S2Member Level. Not by having that files URL on a Post or Page that is restricted.., but by restricting the URL of the file itself.

This allows you to put that files URL anywhere on your site, and when someone clicks on that URL, they will have to be logged into that files ‘Level’ or they cannot access it.

And some other pretty cool stuff also.

File Download Options-Level Access

Lecture 14 File Download Options (Level Access)
1 question

Video 15 explains what an Inline File is and how to make the proper adjustments based on your particular wants & needs.

For example, if you have PDFs for your members, when they click on the PDF URLs, do you want that PDF to begin downloading or do you want it to open in their browser?

Video 15 shows you how.

File Download Options-Inline - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Lecture 15 File Download Options (Inline)
2 questions

Video 16 shows you a feature I’ve not seen on ANY other membership script.

This is called ‘Remote Header Authorization’ & it allows you to send out restricted file URLs to anyone and when they click on the URL a login box pops up asking them to enter their membership username & password.

In the video I demo this by pasting the restricted file URL in an email I send to myself and I show you that when I click on that URL within that email, a login box pops up asking for my username & password to the membership site that file originated from.

It is features like this that makes it very difficult for me to believe that S2Member is a FREE WordPress plugin.

File Download Options-Remote
S2Member + Amazon S3 & CloudFront
4 Lectures 25:24

Video 17 shows you how to add the speed and power of Amazon S3 to your S2Member site – & why you might need it.

I’ve been using Amazon S3 for many years so I also pass on to you a few tips & tricks to save you time in your setup process.


S2Member makes it super simple to connect your S2Member powered site to Amazons CloudFront service.

CloudFront is a CDN (Content Delivery Network) that when configured with a website, it basically turbocharges the speed at which the site loads in peoples browser.

Without S2Member, this configuration process is a pain in the backside & time consuming.

With S2Member, this configuration process is literally a few clicks of your mouse and it is done!

I take you through the setup steps and I show you how to find your key pairs as well as how to create new ones.


In video 19 I talk about what RTMP protocol is and why I suggest against using it.

I also point out where you can learn more about using it if you decide to go ahead with it anyway.

You also learn how to disable & re-activate Amazon CloudFront if you find the need to do so.

Amazon-RTMP & Disable CloudFront

Since I am not using the RTMP for video playing, in Video 20, you will discover a FREE video player that works with Amazon S3, CloudFront AND maintains all the S2Member security features we’ve put into place. It also works in all major web browsers.

You are going to watch me install, activate and configure this FREE WordPress plugin then demo the player just to make sure everything is working.

Amazon-Video Player
Advanced S2Member Configuration
9 Lectures 47:07

In video 21 we will cover how S2Member takes the WordPress capabilities up a notch. S2Members Custom Capabilities allows you to restrict access to both Content (posts, pages…) & Files in so many ways.

Video 21 shows you how you to use Custom Capabilities with the Content or ‘Packages’.

By default, S2Member Framework has a maximum of 5 Levels – 1 Free Level & 4 Paid Levels.

In video 21 I show you how you can create an unlimited number of Levels by using Custom Capabilities.

Custom Capabilities-Packages

Lecture 21 - Custom Capabilities (Packages)
4 questions

Similar to video 21, this video will cover Custom Capabilities only in this video we go into restricting access to Files instead of Content, using Custom Capabilities.

I demo using this feature on files I have in both the S2Member secure sub-directory (as we covered in Lecture 14) & in the Amazon S3 buckets.

Custom Capabilities-Files - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Video 23 goes through the different PayPal button options.

You will learn how to create a buy now button, a subscription button, an auto upgrade or modification button & even an auto downgrade or cancellation button.

Plus you’ll see how they are created for the different Levels and Custom Capabilities.

PayPal Buttons

Video 24, 25 & 26 will cover a few different ways you can setup the required Login Welcome Page.

In videos 04 & 05 we talked about the Login Welcome Page and that it is the ‘landing’ page for your members when they log into your S2Member powered site.

In Video 24 I show you just one of the several ways you can set this important page up AND give you some additional suggestions on other options.

Preview 03:06

I mentioned earlier that the S2Member Shortcodes are a powerful tool and in Video 25 you will see how you can use them in customizing your S2Member Login Welcome Page even further.

You will see that using Shortcodes allows you to add every possible products access URL to the Login Welcome Page BUT when someone logs in, they will ONLY see the product URLs that they’ve purchased.

Because of the S2Member Shortcodes, the other URLs are invisible.

I demo the entire process PLUS provide you with a ‘copy & paste’ template of the codes I use in the demo.

You simply copy the template I supply & paste it on your Login Welcome Page and you have exactly what is shown in the video.

Login Welcome Page-Shortcodes - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

In videos 24 & 25 you learned a couple ways to customize the Login Welcome Page and what is shown to the Member when they get there.

In Video 26 you will see how to customize the Login Welcome Page so that a DIFFERENT page shows up depending on who is logging in.

This feature allows for a more customized & personal feel for your Members.

Login Welcome Page-Redirect - Check Resources (Top Right Corner)

Video 27 walks you through the process of creating what is called a Modification Button.

As the title says, this allows the Member to ‘automatically’ upgrade (or downgrade) themselves from one Level to another.

There are Pro’s & Con’s to this feature & I cover them for you, so you’ll know if you want to use this feature or stay away from it.

Automatic Level Upgrades

Lecture 27 Modification or Automatic Upgrade PayPal Buttons
3 questions

In Video 28 I show you what Incremental Level Access is and how you can disable it if you want / need to.

There are both Pro’s & Con’s to having the default Incremental Level Access in place as well as disabling it & we detail each in video 28.

Disable Incremental Level Access

Lecture 28 Disable Incremental Level Access
1 question

MOP Vars stands for Member Options Page Variables. This cool feature allows you to customize the experience the person has when they try unsuccessfully to access protected content.

In Video 29 you will learn how this works and how to set things up so not only will the people know why they were denied access, but what is required to gain access.

This will likely generate additional sales - KA-CHING!

Custom Denied Level Access Notice – MOP Vars - Check Resources (Top Right)

Lecture 29 Customized Denied Access Code
2 questions
Configure 12 Month Fixed Term, Drip Fed Multi-Level Membership
7 Lectures 40:49

In videos 30 through 36 we are taking much of what was taught in the previous videos along with a few more tricks & techniques and put together a specific Membership Scenario.

Video 30 will detail how to setup a drip feed system within your S2Member site.

This can look complicated but all you have to do is follow along with the video & use the INCLUDED COPY & PASTE TEMPLATE and it will be a breeze.

In case you are not familiar with what a drip fed system can do.., basically it allows you to automatically give content to a Member on a timed basis.

For example, in this demo I have 12 products and they are loaded into the drip feed system so product 1 is auto delivered immediately after the first monthly payment.

Product 2 is auto delivered only after the Member has been subscribed for 30 days then product 3 at 60 days, product 4 at 90 days and so on.

If at any time the Member stops making payments or cancels the membership then everything stops.

This is a powerful & hands-free feature that is only found in the best of Membership Scripts.

Membership Setup 1-Drip Fed

One of the other items in this ‘Membership Scenario’ is that I set it up as a 12 month fixed-term membership.

This means that the Member only makes 12 payments and they are no longer billed to gain access to the purchased product / Level.

This is not a ‘default’ option in the S2Member PayPal button creation process so I walk you through how to create this custom payment button - It’s Easy Once You Know How

Membership Setup 2-Fixed Term PayPal Buttons

In this Lecture you will learn how to configure the Login Welcome Page very similar to what we did in video 25 only this time we’re adding a little something extra.coll smiley

Membership Setup 3-Welcome Page

There are several ways to setup the payment page on your S2Member site.

In the next few videos I’ll show you how to put together a static sales page, connect it to a 3rd party affiliate service & then do a test purchase to make sure everything works flawlessly.

Video 33 is where you will learn how to setup the static sales page.

You still need to have your Member Options Page but this method gives you more possibilities for generating free traffic and more sales by way of the affiliates from JVZoo.

Membership Setup 4-JVZoo Part 1

Video 34 goes into detail to show you how to configure the JVZoo settings & connect it to your S2Member site.

All with step-by-step simplicity.

We are also creating a JVZoo payment button & placing it on our static sales page.

Membership Setup 4-JVZoo Part 2

In Video 35 we will put our settings to the test by clicking on the JVZoo payment button and going through the entire payment process.

If everything works as it is supposed to, we will have a password auto-generated for us & we will receive all the proper emails containing our S2Member sites login credentials. (spoiler alert… It Works Perfectly)

Membership Setup 4-JVZoo Part 3

Video 36 shows you another method of generating sales.

This method involves NOT using a static sales page but setting things up so your traffic is sent to your Members Option Page where your PayPal buttons are located.

This is just one of many ways you can set things up so your sales are generated from your Members Option Page. Hopefully this video will help you come up with even more ideas.

Membership Setup-5-Members Option Page
Bonus: WordPress Install & Backups
4 Lectures 26:41

This video walks you through the detailed steps of manually installing WordPress. I also cover several security measures along the way.

Bonus: Manually Install WordPress

There are two different ways to install the self-hosted WordPress.

This Bonus video covers the instant install method.

This method is the fastest way to install WordPress. Most hosting companies offer this application but in case yours does not, you can always use the manual installation method.

Bonus: Instant Installation Of WordPress

This video details how to do a manual backup of both your site files AND your site database.

When doing a backup you should always do a complete backup of BOTH your site files and database files.

Bonus: Manual Backup Of Your WordPress Site

This video shows you how to setup your WordPress sites backups of both your database AND site files AUTOMATICALLY.

Set it & forget it... Kinda

Bonus: Automatic Backup Of Your WordPress Site
Bonus: PayPal Sandbox Setup
4 Lectures 15:45
Bonus: Introduction To PayPal Sandbox

Bonus: Creating The PayPal Sandbox Account

Bonus: Testing The PayPal Sandbox & Workarounds (if needed)

Course Conclusion Summary
Section 9: Bonus: UPDATES
2 Lectures 15:35

By June 30 2017 PayPal will require all URLs used in the IPN settings to have SSL or HTTPS and not just http. This update covers a few options both paid and free, for you to consider if you need SSL for your domain(s).

Lecture 7 Update - PayPals IPN now requires SSL

This Bonus Lecture will walk you through the setup steps for connecting your WordPress Membership site to the FREE Cloudflare program.

This has many benefits than just the ability to use their free SSL feature for your domain.

I cover some of those added benefits as well as a couple of possible drawbacks AND how to work around those drawbacks with what are called Page Rules on Cloudflare.

With the free Cloudflare program (they have premium packages as well), you can generate a free httpS URL for your PayPal IPN settings AND Cloudflare makes your site way more secure and a lot faster - ALL GOOD THINGS!!

Lecture 7 Update - Setting Up Cloudflare (FREE) For SSL and MORE
About the Instructor
Steve Dougherty
4.6 Average rating
187 Reviews
3,030 Students
3 Courses
Teacher, Online Marketer & WordPress Enthusiast

In order for me to help you, I need to first tell you a little something about me - so here goes...

Video Training Course Creator

I have been creating & selling video courses online since 2007. In 2008 I taught myself how to create a WordPress site and fell in love with WP on the spot.

My video courses are over-the-shoulder style screen capture videos so you can see me doing the tasks versus someone talking over a PowerPoint slide deck.

You simply watch what I do on the videos then do them yourself. Makes learning Fast & Easy!

Since 2008 I've created 100's of videos.

Many of what I've sold over the years were what are called Private Label videos. Businesses (and individuals) would purchase them and put their name on them as the creator. So while my name may not be known by many, my voice & teaching style is.

I love helping people.

My training videos are detailed to the point where I assume the student knows zero about the topic so the videos tend to answer all potential questions. If however, there are questions, I reply to those questions personally and within hours - NOT DAYS.

I pride myself on quality - quality videos as well as quality Customer Service.

So if you ever have a question, suggestion or comment, please let me know.