Members is a plugin that extends your control over your blog. It’s a user, role, and capability management plugin that was created to make WordPress a more powerful CMS.

It puts you in control over permissions on your site by providing a user interface (UI) for WordPress’ powerful role and cap system, which is traditionally only available to developers who know how to code this by hand.

The relationship of users, roles, and capabilities

This is the most important thing to understand with this plugin. It’s so important that we highly recommend reading this tutorial: Users, roles, and capabilities in WordPress. If you don’t understand this concept, you won’t understand what this plugin does. This is not a concept created by the plugin. This is how it’s done in WordPress.

We highly recommend reading that blog post, but here’s the short version:

  • Users are people that have registered on your site. I’m sure you already knew that. In WordPress, users are assigned a specific role. This role defines what the user can/can’t do.
  • Roles are a way of grouping users. Each user on your site will have a specific role. Roles are a set of capabilities. It is important to note that roles are not hierarchical. For example, “Administrator” is not higher than “Subscriber” in WordPress. You could literally give the Subscriber role more capabilities than the Administrator role. It’s very important that you grasp this concept.
  • Capabilities give meaning to roles. It’s a permissions system. They’re a way of saying a role can do something or a role can’t do something (e.g., Role A can edit_posts, Role B can’t activate_plugins, etc.).

How to use the plugin

This plugin is set up to have a components-based system. The reason for this is that we don’t want to stick everyone with a bunch of features they don’t need. There’s no point in using the Role Manager feature if all you need is just a login widget and some shortcodes. So, it’s a use-only-what-you-want system.

To activate certain features, look for the “Members” link under your “Settings” menu while in your WordPress admin. When on the new page, you’ll be able to select the features you want to use.

We recommend at least activating Role Manager feature. It is at the heart of this plugin, and many other features will likely require its use in some form.

Plugin Features

  • Role Manager: Allows you to edit, create, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles.
  • Multiple User Roles: Give one, two, or even more roles to any user.
  • Explicitly Deny Capabilities: Deny specific caps to specific user roles.
  • Clone Roles: Build a new role by cloning an existing role.
  • Content Permissions: Gives you control over which users (by role) have access to post content.
  • Shortcodes: Shortcodes to control who has access to content.
  • Widgets: A login form widget and users widget to show in your theme’s sidebars.
  • Private Site: You can make your site and its feed completely private if you want.

If you are developer, you can also check the page with a bunch of snippets.