How to Build a Members-Only Library for Your WordPress Membership Site

If you’re thinking of starting a membership site or already have one, you might consider building a members-only library for it. This makes it easy to share documents, files, and other downloadable resources with your members in an organized way.

In this post, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of building a members-only library for your WordPress membership site.

Why you should build a members-only library for your WordPress membership site

A members-only library is a document library (or resource library) that only members have access to. Typically, it contains downloadable resources, PDFs, files, forms, and other members-only content. It may also contain audio lectures and video courses.

So, should you consider building a members-only library for your WordPress membership site? If you have a public-facing website and a membership site set up in WordPress, a members-only library can help you make exclusive content available to site members only.

It’s also an easy way to provide users different levels of access. For example, you might have multiple membership subscription programs e.g. Bronze Plan, Silver Plan, and Gold Plan. A members-only library allows you to share more content with members subscribed to the Silver Plan than those on the Bronze Plan.

You can set it up so that:

  • Members on the Bronze Plan get the online course only.
  • Members on the Silver Plan get the online course and downloadable resources.
  • Members on the Gold Plan get the online course, downloadable resources, and a 30-minute one-on-one session.

How to build a members-only library for your WordPress membership site using Filr and Passster

Here, we’ll show you how to build a members-only library for your WordPress membership site to control access to your website’s content. For this tutorial, you’ll need WordPress, the Filr plugin, and the Passster plugin.

Step #1: Install and activate the Filr plugin

The Filr plugin for WordPress lets you easily restrict user-access to files and documents on your membership site and make them available to authorized users only.

Filr plugin

You can use it to securely upload files in any format straight to your membership website in order to build a members-only library. This plugin also gives you different protection options and encryption features, so unauthorized users don’t access the exclusive content.

Get the Filr plugin and install it on your WordPress website. Once that’s done, click the Activate button to proceed.

Step #2: Create a list to organize your files

Create a new list that will be used to organize your files and documents for members. This will help you sort your files and documents while keeping the back-end organized.

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Files > Lists. Give a title to your list and enter a brief description. Click the Add New List button to continue.

Members-only content for WordPress membership site

A new list will automatically appear on the right-hand side of the page along with a shortcode.

Shortcode of members-only list

We’ll use this shortcode later in the tutorial to display the members-only library on the front-end of your WordPress website.

Step #3: Upload your files to WordPress

Filr makes it easy to create a document library in WordPress. It lets you:

  • Add one or more files straight to a secure folder on your WordPress membership site.
  • Group files based on lists, helping you easily track and manage documents on the back-end.
  • Set files to expire on a specific date or after a set number of downloads.
  • Use filename encryption to prevent direct access to files and documents.

In addition to this, you can offer files to your site members using one of two methods:

  • Individual files. This option downloads only one file when a user clicks the download button. Use this method if you want members to download a single file or if you want to let them pick and choose which files they’d like to download.
  • Multiple files. This allows users to quickly download multiple files from your site at once. Filr automatically creates a single .zip file and generates a direct download link. You should use this option if you want your site members to save multiple files in one go.

Next, we’ll look at how to upload the files and documents to your WordPress membership site.

Navigate to Files > Add New and enter a title for your files. In the File Upload metabox, upload the files you wish to share with your site’s members.

Upload members only content

The Lists metabox on the right-hand side of the page lets you select the list you created in Step #2.

You can set documents to expire based on a specific date or the number of downloads using the Advanced Options metabox. Similarly, you can activate filename encryption by turning on the Encrypt Filename option. Click the Publish button to continue.

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Step #4: Install and activate the Passster plugin

Passster is a simple file security plugin that allows you to prevent access to your WordPress content. Here, we’ll explain how you can use it to easily secure a members-only library on your WordPress membership site.

From the WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and search for Passster. Install Passster – Password Protection plugin to your WordPress site and activate it.

Install Passster

This plugin comes with a free version which only lets you secure content using a single password. Its premium version lets you create multiple passwords to secure content and offers an unlock via link option and user restriction option which you can use to give site members direct access to protected files.

Step #5: Choose the correct type of password protection

After you’ve activated the plugin, navigate to Settings > Passster from your WordPress dashboard.

If you’ve purchased the premium version, go to the Addons tab to activate either the:

  • Multiple passwords option
  • Unlock via link option
  • User role restriction option

When you’re done, click on the Save Changes button to continue. Let’s take a quick look at what each content protection option has to offer.

Single password

This option comes out of the box in the free version. It allows you to prevent access to files using a single password.

Go to the Shortcodes tab and make the following configurations:

Passster single password shortcode
  • Select Password from the Protection Type dropdown list.
  • In the Passwords textbox, enter a password or click the Generate Password button to automatically create a strong password.

When you’re done, click on the Save Changes button. This will automatically generate a shortcode for you.

Multiple passwords

You should use multiple password protection if you’re launching a marketing campaign for your membership site or you want to enable different groups of members with different passwords to access the same content.

For this, go to the Password Lists tab and click the Add New Password List button.

And make the following configurations:

List of passwords
  • Enter a name for the password list (like Member’s Only)
  • Set the Expire Passwords option to No using the dropdown list.
  • Choose whether you’d like the passwords to expire. If you set it to Yes, one-time passwords will be generated which will be deleted from the password list after a single-use. These are useful for offering course previews, freebies, and downloads.
  • In the Passwords textbox, add a list of passwords.

Click on the Save Changes button to continue.

Next, click on the Shortcodes tab and select Multiple Passwords from the Protection Type dropdown list. Select the password list you just created using the Password List dropdown.

Copy the password list shortcode

Click the Save Changes button to proceed. This will automatically generate a shortcode for you.

Unlock via link option

Passster’s unlock via link option lets you grant members direct access to protected content using an encrypted link. It enables you to automatically shorten links using Bitly.

For this, go to the Link tab and make the following configurations:

Direct, encrypted link to unlock restricted content
  • Enter the desired slug of the page you want to restrict e.g. hidden-content.
  • Create a password. It will be encrypted in the unlock link.
  • Optionally, you can enter your Bitly access token for shortening the encrypted link.

Click on the Save Changes button to continue.

Unlock via link settings in Passster

An encrypted link will automatically be generated for you. This link will give your site members direct access to restricted content.

User role restriction option

This security method is great for membership site users who want to grant access to specific user roles (like Members) or specific users.

Go to the Shortcodes tab and make the following configurations:

User role and users settings in Passster
  • Enter a list of user roles that you’d want to give access to e.g. members, subscribers.
  • You can also enter a list of users that you’d want to give access to e.g. Jane Doe, John Doe.

Click the Save Changes button.

User group shortcode

This will automatically generate a shortcode for you.

Step #6: Restrict access to members-only content

Finally, add the automatically generated shortcode if you want to use the single, multiple, or user option to your members-only library. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll walk you through using the multiple passwords option.

Once you’ve copied the shortcode to your clipboard, go to the page you’d like to add members-only content to. Add the Filr shortcode to a shortcode block i.e. [filr list=”list-name”]. Then, surround the content you’d like to restrict access to with the Passster shortcode that was automatically generated for you in Step #5.

It will look something like this:

Passster and Filr shortcode

If you preview the page on your website’s front-end, it should look something like the screenshot below:

Conclusion

Managing and protecting members-only content is incredibly easy with Filr and Passster. You can use these plugins to build a members-only library for your WordPress membership site and offer exclusive content – including downloadable resources – through it.

Still not sure?

Still not sure?

The free version is also available on wordpress.org.
When you are ready to be a pro – come back!🎩

Grab the free version