With the new bbPress Membership Add-on for Exchange, you can now enable members only forums for the bbPress plugin, the free forum software that allows you to set up discussion forums inside your WordPress site.
With this new Exchange add-on, you can restrict bbPress forums, topics and replies to require certain membership levels sold from your Exchange-powered WordPress membership site. Once you set up these restrictions, a user will have to be a current customer of a certain membership product to be able to have access to the forum, topic or reply.
Why Add Members Only Forums?
Creating protected membership forums can be helpful if you run a membership site and want to allow your members to participate in topic-driven discussions outside of the built-in WordPress comments functionality for posts and pages.
For example, if you’re a health coach and run a membership site, you could create discussion forums that allow members to share their progress and success. Or, if you run an educational or curriculum-driven site with drip (or delayed) content, you could set up membership forums with corresponding delayed access for each lesson or course as members progress through the material.
The Exchange bbPress Membership Add-on works together with the Exchange Membership Add-on. With the Exchange Membership Add-on, you can sell membership access to your WordPress site with members only posts, pages and digital downloads.
The bbPress Membership Add-on adds a Membership Access box to the Forum creator/editor screen where you can assign the details of your membership protection to the forum. Once you’ve created a membership product for your store, you’ll see it available from the drop-down as well as an option to delay access to this forum for the selected membership level.
Step 1: Install Plugins
To get started creating members only forums, you’ll need install 4 plugins:
- Exchange 1.7.12 (or higher)
- bbPress 2.5.2 (or higher)
- Exchange Membership Add-on 1.0.18 (or higher)
- Exchange bbPress Membership Add-on
Step 2: Create a Membership Product
After uploading and activating the plugins above (Exchange, bbPress, Exchange Membership Add-on and Exchange bbPress Membership Add-on), you’ll see the Add Membership option in your Exchange menu from the WordPress dashboard.
From the Add New Membership page, fill out your membership product details. For more information on setting up an Exchange membership product, check out this post: How to Start a WordPress Membership Site with Exchange.
Click Publish once you’re ready to make this membership available for purchase from your store.
Step 3: Create a bbPress Forum (and Topic)
Next up, you’ll want to get started creating a bbPress forum that will have access limits based on a user’s membership level. From the WordPress dashboard, visit Forums > New Forums. For more information on setting up a new bbPress forum, visit this Step by Step Guide to Setting Up a bbPress Forum.
Before you finalize and publish your new forum, visit the Membership Access box to add your forum membership access rules. From here, you can select your new membership product from the drop-down and, if you want, add the number of days, weeks, months or years to delay forum access for that membership level (this can be helpful if you’re already providing corresponding drip content that relates to this discussion forum).
bbPress Topics can also be protected by membership level, so add a new topic to your new forum. Click to expand the Topics menu and click New Topic.
For this topic, I selected the Members Only Forum in the Topic Attributes, so this topic will be added to my new members only forum. Again, in the Membership Access box, select the membership product and the delay access time frame.
Member/Non-Member View of Protected Forum & Topics
Now, on the front end of the site, non-members will see the restricted content message.
This message can be customized by clicking the settings gear next to the Membership Add-on in add-ons list of the Exchange > Add-ons page. You can edit this message to add sales copy or a login link for members.
Member’s Forum View
Members will have full access to your forums, topics and replies (based on your membership access settings).
Member’s Topic View
Download and Purchase Info
The bbPress Membership Add-on is available for purchase as part of the Exchange Membership Add-on, the Exchange Pro Pack, the Plugin Developer Suite and the Toolkit.
Get the Membership Add-on for Exchange