Capacity of Wordpress for building a large membership site

26 replies
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I'm at that critical point of choosing membership site software

I'm considering using Wordpress for SEO and ease of use reasons, having already bought and used optimizepress to build my squeeze and video pages.

I've just seen that Jo Barnes with her Social Networking Academy has had to switch from Wordpress and Digital Access Pass to Membergate (which I can't afford yet as I'm just starting out) due to capacity limitations.

If I'm aiming for a large membership in the future, is Wordpress the way to go? I was considering wishlist member as the membership software.

Any advice greatly appreciated!
#building #capacity #large #membership #site #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    I don't see any reason you can't use WL for your membership. The thing you may want to consider is your hosting service. If you are planning a very large membership, then server resources can be a concern.

    If you get a lot of members logging in at the same time, accessing content, that could eat up allotted resources quick. Worst that would happen if you get to that point, is an upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server. At that point you should be generating enough income to cover the cost.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks,

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author mikelawson
      Thanks for your quick response John.

      I'm using Hostgator but haven't looked into capacity options yet.

      Thanks for the advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
        I agree with John, that Wordpress as the sole concern shouldn't be a concern. It would be more of a server load issue than anything else.

        Wordpress is a great platform for membership sites. Optimize Press is a great theme to use with membership sites. And the latest version of Wishlist is great for larger size memberships (apparently the older version bogged down if there were too many members - as in LOTS of members). Hostgator is a great host for most size memberships.

        Also, hosting any large files and videos on Amazon S3 (or similar) will help alleviate a lot of the server load form you hostgator account to help accompany a larger threshold of member use.
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        Greg Schueler - Wordpress Fanatic... Living The Offline Marketing Dream...

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        • Profile picture of the author Mirnova
          We have several WishList/Worpress sites. After a year using WL as much as I would love it to have worked, we are now looking for other options.

          Wish List just does not have their act together yet. Maybe they will mature as a company and things will change. But right now they aren't there yet. Bugs, bugs, bugs... bugs that have cost us more money then I want to think about.

          It is also seems to be a resource hog. We are getting a few thousand visitors a day, and it requires a mid level VPS just to handle it.

          Wish List does not work with caching plugins either. And it has an insane registration flaw that leads to a good number of incomplete registrations. Which leads to chargebacks, canceled memberships, and piss-off members. We've lost so much money because of this one bug I don't even want to think about it. This problem alone has made it a deal-breaker for us.

          If Wish List worked without bugs it would be worth it. But it has some major bugs that have to be worked out. I would suggest carefully weighing your options. Start out on the right platform...

          Look for seamless integration with your merchant account/shopping cart.

          Look for an elegant registration process, so that you do not loose orders because of incomplete registrations.

          Look for full integration with your shopping cart. Meaning when the user cancels their subscription it automatically cancels their membership as well.

          Hope that helps...
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          • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
            Originally Posted by Mirnova View Post

            We have several WishList/Worpress sites. After a year using WL as much as I would love it to have worked, we are now looking for other options.

            Wish List just does not have their act together yet. Maybe they will mature as a company and things will change. But right now they aren't there yet. Bugs, bugs, bugs... bugs that have cost us more money then I want to think about.

            It is also seems to be a resource hog. We are getting a few thousand visitors a day, and it requires a mid level VPS just to handle it.

            Wish List does not work with caching plugins either. And it has an insane registration flaw that leads to a good number of incomplete registrations. Which leads to chargebacks, canceled memberships, and piss-off members. We've lost so much money because of this one bug I don't even want to think about it. This problem alone has made it a deal-breaker for us.

            If Wish List worked without bugs it would be worth it. But it has some major bugs that have to be worked out. I would suggest carefully weighing your options. Start out on the right platform...

            Look for seamless integration with your merchant account/shopping cart.

            Look for an elegant registration process, so that you do not loose orders because of incomplete registrations.

            Look for full integration with your shopping cart. Meaning when the user cancels their subscription it automatically cancels their membership as well.

            Hope that helps...
            As someone who has his own membership software solution I'm not allowed to say the above but i can thank you for your post hahahahaha
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            • Profile picture of the author kvirani
              Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

              As someone who has his own membership software solution I'm not allowed to say the above but i can thank you for your post hahahahaha
              Haha same
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          • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
            Originally Posted by Mirnova View Post

            We have several WishList/Worpress sites. After a year using WL as much as I would love it to have worked, we are now looking for other options.

            Wish List just does not have their act together yet. Maybe they will mature as a company and things will change. But right now they aren't there yet. Bugs, bugs, bugs... bugs that have cost us more money then I want to think about.

            It is also seems to be a resource hog. We are getting a few thousand visitors a day, and it requires a mid level VPS just to handle it.

            Wish List does not work with caching plugins either. And it has an insane registration flaw that leads to a good number of incomplete registrations. Which leads to chargebacks, canceled memberships, and piss-off members. We've lost so much money because of this one bug I don't even want to think about it. This problem alone has made it a deal-breaker for us.

            If Wish List worked without bugs it would be worth it. But it has some major bugs that have to be worked out. I would suggest carefully weighing your options. Start out on the right platform...

            Look for seamless integration with your merchant account/shopping cart.

            Look for an elegant registration process, so that you do not loose orders because of incomplete registrations.

            Look for full integration with your shopping cart. Meaning when the user cancels their subscription it automatically cancels their membership as well.

            Hope that helps...

            Have these issues with Wishlist member been solved yet? Is there a better solution available out there?
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          • Profile picture of the author Glenn Pegden
            Originally Posted by Mirnova View Post


            Wish List does not work with caching plugins either. And it has an insane registration flaw that leads to a good number of incomplete registrations. Which leads to chargebacks, canceled memberships, and piss-off members. We've lost so much money because of this one bug I don't even want to think about it. This problem alone has made it a deal-breaker for us.
            Ha ha. I bet I know exactly WHY too. Having looked into a similar problem with our plugin and W3TC some time back, I can understand WHY they'd struggle, but it took us a few hours to work out why, a day to offer a work around (i.e. make sure you clear the cache after a certain config option is changed) and 3 days to have re-coded and tested a full solution.

            I do seem to spend my life slagging off WLM, but it does seem that I constantly come across problems in it that shouldn't exist in a mature solution.
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            Does your WordPress membership plugin allow you to protect and sell your content in Facebook too? Your Members does!.

            Glenn. Sales & Marketing guy at CodingFutures, web development agency and developers of Your Members.

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            • Profile picture of the author Glenn Pegden
              Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

              Glenn, have you tried Magic Member membership solution?
              Looking at the Magic Members site it looks like it is just 'plug and play'.

              Has anybody here on WF, who actually runs PAID membership sites (not just read about it) used Magic Members?

              Thanks.
              I know Magic Members very well, it was originally based on Your Members v1.5 (poss v1.4, it was a long time ago now) and they later officially licensed our code. Since then they've put a lot of time and effort into improving the UI (at the time the YM UI was pretty poor, but we revamped it a few revisions ago) and added a few new payment gateways and autoresponders, where as we spent our time adding big stuff like video protection, showing/protecting/selling your content via facebook, adaptive pricing and introducing a new mail manager.

              Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

              • You say you can have custom error pages?...does that mean that supposing I have 3 levels (1,2,3) if a user is on level 1 content and wants to access level 2 content...can I just display an error/upgrade page specifically just for Level 2 upgrade? (rather than a generic multi-level error page that Wishlist currently have).
              That's not an error message as such, but yes, we offer shortcodes so that you can customise any section of any page to personalise it by membership level (commonly used for upsells, especially when combined with "hidden" membership levels that are not shown on any default "choose you subscription" form).

              Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

              • Redirect users. Is this just done at individual membership level or can it actually be done at individual user level?...meaning I have 3 members (Tom, Dick and Harry) they are all on level 1...can I redirect Tom to page A on login and redirect Harry to page B on login?
              No (great idea for a feature though), however you can direct them to one page that contains different content for different users and/or membership levels (using the shortcodes mentioned in the previous answer, but we can do it based on users as well as membership level), which achieves the same thing.

              Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

              • Does it have a built in support ticket desk system?...at the moment I'm using Zendesk for customer support.
              We don't have an inbuilt ticketing system. We ourselves use CapsuleCRM for that kind of thing, but as YM is built on top of the standard WordPress user management system, most WP ticketing systems should work along side it.

              Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

              I'm interested in purchasing your Ultimate package for unlimited installs.

              Thanks.
              Not surprisingly, Ultimate is very popular at the moment (especially with people coming from WF).
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              Does your WordPress membership plugin allow you to protect and sell your content in Facebook too? Your Members does!.

              Glenn. Sales & Marketing guy at CodingFutures, web development agency and developers of Your Members.

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  • Profile picture of the author Rasmus Lindgren
    I would absolute recommend the combo:
    OptimizePress and Wishlist Member.

    Also combined with Amazon S3 for video and large file storage.

    I actually created a free ebook (60+ pages) that shows you how to set this up! I even give you two wordpress plugins one of my developers created.
    1) WP Content Dripping (Wishlist have a really poor content dripping functionality so this plugin helps you with this)
    2) WP Secure S3 (for securing your Amazon S3 files so they cannot be downloaded outside your membership site if someone knows the url).

    The ebook shows you how to set all this up.

    I am of course using all this in order to get more subscribers and the ebook does feature affiliate links, but in your situation I do think it would be really helpful.

    You can download the ebook through the link in my footer.
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    Kick Ass and Follow Your Passion - Free ebook on, well... it's in the title... :)
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  • Profile picture of the author ColleenHale
    I would post a "link" for this but my post count isn't high enough yet.
    If you like Wordpress you should check out the Membership plugin. There are two version, lite and pro. Sounds as though you'd be looking for the options included in the pro version.

    Membership Pro includes:

    Unlimited membership levels!
    Unlimited subscription levels!
    BuddyPress rules - limit and protect access to groups, group creation, pages, blogs, private messageing
    Administration area rules - control blog creation (limit number per level), dashboard widgets, menus and sub-menus, available plugins.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn Pegden
    We have users with 25,000+ members that are still working fine. But the problem with bigger sites is that WordPress needs a little care and attention to keep running optimally. The good news is that as your site grows and gets more profitable, it becomes a no-brainier that you spend money on letting pros (not just somebody that can set up WP and install W3TC, yet calls them self an expert) tune it for you.

    The biggest problem for busy WP sites is poorly coded and entirely unnecessary plugins. PHP is a great language for people putting together working projects without huge amounts of experience and knowledge and using WordPress as a framework makes it even easier. The downside to this is there are a lot of plugins out there that "work", but don't scale and put unnecessary load on the site. What's more, people seem to want to uses plugins for EVERYTHING when in a lot of cases they are unnecessary as you can do these things without plugins (i'm looking at you google analytics plugins, forms plugins, simple SEO plugins, redirect plugins etc).

    It should be stressed, this isn't the fault of WordPress, it can scale brilliantly, it's because it's so easy to throw together sites quickly and easily develop plugins that people who don't understand enterprise level development assume they can do it.

    The development agency side of our company does a lot of work tuning large WordPress sites and the first thing we do it look at all the things they are trying to achieve with plugins, remove the unnecessary ones and replace or recode the resource hog ones. Then it's case of provisioning suitable hosting (ignoring the security aspects of shared hosting, it's often quite common their db servers can't keep up) and actually configuring it to cope under serious load.
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    Does your WordPress membership plugin allow you to protect and sell your content in Facebook too? Your Members does!.

    Glenn. Sales & Marketing guy at CodingFutures, web development agency and developers of Your Members.

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    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by Glenn Pegden View Post

      The biggest problem for busy WP sites is poorly coded and entirely unnecessary plugins. PHP is a great language for people putting together working projects without huge amounts of experience and knowledge and using WordPress as a framework makes it even easier. The downside to this is there are a lot of plugins out there that "work", but don't scale and put unnecessary load on the site. What's more, people seem to want to uses plugins for EVERYTHING when in a lot of cases they are unnecessary as you can do these things without plugins (i'm looking at you google analytics plugins, forms plugins, simple SEO plugins, redirect plugins etc).

      It should be stressed, this isn't the fault of WordPress, it can scale brilliantly, it's because it's so easy to throw together sites quickly and easily develop plugins that people who don't understand enterprise level development assume they can do it.
      - the plugin-maniacs will hate you... as they hate me when telling them exactly the same thing.

      I am so glad a developer is saying the same thing what I was preaching based on my "super user" experience for years.
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      • Profile picture of the author Glenn Pegden
        Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

        - the plugin-maniacs will hate you... as they hate me when telling them exactly the same thing.

        I am so glad a developer is saying the same thing what I was preaching based on my "super user" experience for years.
        It does go against one of the great things about WordPress, the ability for none-technical people to grab a few building blocks and stack them together to make something useful.

        A good analogy is a sports car. Buy a "sporty model" and you'll get an upgraded audio, a huge rear wing, leather trim, on screen HUD and TVs in seat backs, but see an actual track version of the same car and you have no carpet, no in-car entertainment, no rear seats, plain dials and a roll cage. WordPress is full of people who will walk around the showroom adding every upgrade to make their car better, but in truth, if they care about it going fast, then less is more.
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        Does your WordPress membership plugin allow you to protect and sell your content in Facebook too? Your Members does!.

        Glenn. Sales & Marketing guy at CodingFutures, web development agency and developers of Your Members.

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  • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
    Originally Posted by mikelawson View Post

    I'm at that critical point of choosing membership site software

    I'm considering using Wordpress for SEO and ease of use reasons, having already bought and used optimizepress to build my squeeze and video pages.

    I've just seen that Jo Barnes with her Social Networking Academy has had to switch from Wordpress and Digital Access Pass to Membergate (which I can't afford yet as I'm just starting out) due to capacity limitations.

    If I'm aiming for a large membership in the future, is Wordpress the way to go? I was considering wishlist member as the membership software.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!
    Wishlist is awesome software and I use it for my membership site that is ran via Wordpress.

    However bear in mind you will NOT be able to add one click upsells with Wishlist if you are using Clickbank - not sure about other platforms.

    I found this out the hard way.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Howe
    Anyone have any thoughts about the MemberSpring plugin for WP? I have it and am looking to develop a membership site with this plugin.
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  • Profile picture of the author gananathan
    If you are looking for a forum, a good one will be vbulletin, which powers many high profile forums of the world, including the warrior forum if i am not mistaken.

    I am surprised no one has mentioned drupal yet. It is one of the best sites for social websites which you want your membership site to be. A membership site is much more than a forum and a bunch of pages strewn together.

    I have nothing against wordpress. It is one of the best platforms out there that revolutionized web page creation. But from a software engineer perspective, drupal has a much better architecture and is way more flexible than WP. Now I am not saying WP is bad, but for very high traffic and high profile websites, my suggestion would be to use drupal. The downside is that it is not as simple as WP, but the upside is it can scale way better than WP.

    Drupal has its own share of problems, but when it comes to handling a lot of pages, you should look no further than drupal. Of course if you have enough moolah, get a custom one developed using a compiled language like java instead of using scripting one php. There are numerous advantages to using even python over php when it comes to performance, but that is for a different day.

    Anyway, check out drupal and see if it satisfies your needs.
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    • Profile picture of the author JennySweets
      Just reading through this, have been considering building a membership site. I might be biting off more than I can chew though. i was looking at ProfitsTheme for building it, but I haven't seen that mentioned once. Also, why would someone use OptimizePress & Wishlist together - looking at the Wishlist site (just to understand what the software is, I read loud and clear the warning about the bugs lol just had no clue what it was) it seems like it wouldn't be necessary to run both? Forgive me, I'm still learning the ropes and sometimes the conversation goes just a little bit over my head *laugh*
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  • We used Amember with our WordPress and VBulletin install.

    I haven't used YourMembers but knowing some of the folks who work with them, I'd bet they've got an awesome solution and wouldn't be surprised if it's best-in-class. The only reason I didn't go with them is because they don't have a VBulletin bridge.
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    • Originally Posted by Glenn Pegden View Post

      Thanks Tim did mention some incident at an SEO/IM event involving some late night drinking.
      That was a pretty awesome conference.

      Originally Posted by Glenn Pegden View Post

      Personally as somebody who runs a 10000+ member forum we've had our fingers burnt by VBulletin one too many times and moved to Invision's IP.Board years ago and have never looked back. It's not cheap, but it's very very good, rock solid, scalable and secure (all things I found VBulletin wasn't).
      The main issue for me choosing VBulletin, and believe me I hear your criticisms of it, is that I'm familiar with it, and that brings it's own cost savings. I'm an admin on a vbb forum where we have 466,000+ users (and the underlying code is forked a long way from where it started). In fact I'd be very surprised if WF is not the same - it doesn't scale very well out of the box.
      Originally Posted by Glenn Pegden View Post

      We've done phpBB and IP.Board bridges as custom work for clients, if there is demand for a VBulletin bridge, we'll certainly consider it.
      I think there is demand - survey some of your clients and check out the Amember forums particularly the sites "built with Amember" to see what they're doing.

      I like Amember but I think it is incredibly clunky - the new v4 looks a lot sweeter, but they're a long way from release.
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      • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
        Any updates on Wishlist Member from actual users? Have they worked out all the bugs yet?

        Seems like they have been doing more releases lately, but still no direct Authorize.net payment solution (they tell you to use 1shoppingcart with authorize.net).

        I am about to launch my membership site and am nervous about reading these horror stories about bugs.
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        • Profile picture of the author nadulak
          We are using Magic Members with eWay payment gateway for 3 months. Magic Members failing to update some members and their credit card charged by eWay. When they can not login they try to renew the account and Magic Members billing them for the second time. Magic Members tech support pretending to be trying to resolve this. But after three months we still have customers calling in and their accounts Magic Members failed to update their accounts while eWay billed their credit cards. I do not recommend Magic Members for paid services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dietriffic
    I went for a WP + DAP + vBulletin solution.

    There should be no problems scaling up with this. If there are then

    a) You're running poorly coded plugins (as has been stated)
    b) Your server is insufficient.
    c) You're not caching.

    If you're running a membership site with a forum, do not skimp on hosting.
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