Private online communities are a rising trend, allowing members to communicate more openly on focused topics and shared interests. You can now create a premium, private BuddyBoss membership community on WordPress without any developer experience.

With Paid Memberships Pro, your site can restrict public access and offer paid subscriptions alongside the BuddyBoss Platform. This article outlines the top features for sites using PMPro as their BuddyBoss membership plugin.

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What is the BuddyBoss platform?

The BuddyBoss Platform turns your WordPress site into a robust community, with social networking features including groups, discussions, messaging, friends, and more. Community users can organize themselves into public, private, or hidden social areas with separate activity feeds and directories.

The platform is an evolution of BuddyPress and bbPress, consolidated into a single area of settings. For this reason, you can use the existing PMPro Add Ons for BuddyPress and bbPress to restrict features in BuddyBoss.

Restrict Community Components in BuddyBoss Platform

The BuddyBoss platform supports all the hooks in our BuddyPress Integration. You can use the BuddyPress Add On to restrict your BuddyBoss membership site for multiple user types including visitors, non-members, and members.

  • Groups: Restrict the ability for visitors and members to view, join, and create groups. You can also restrict access to the list of available groups in your community.
  • Messaging: Restrict the ability for visitors and members to send public or private messages.
  • Friends: Restrict the ability for visitors and members to send or accept friend requests.
  • Member Directories: Restrict visitors and members from being included in the member directory.

Read the docs for more information about settings in the BuddyPress Add On you can use with BuddyBoss.

Restrict Forums and Discussions in BuddyBoss Platform

The BuddyBoss platform supports all the hooks in our bbPress Integration. You can use the bbPress Add On to restrict areas of BuddyBoss discussions for multiple user types.

  • Restrict Forum Discussions by Membership Level.
  • Assign a Forum Role by Membership Level.
  • Adjust the error message shown when a user does not have permission to view discussions.
  • Show a member’s level name in line with their discussion replies. This helps other community members see another member’s access level.

Read the docs for more information about settings in the bbPress Add On you can use with BuddyBoss. Some of the settings are accessible under BuddyBoss > Settings > Forums. There are also some settings for Forums on the Membership > Settings > Levels > Edit Level page.

What is the BuddyBoss Theme?

When you’re ready to upgrade your BuddyBoss site design, we recommend checking out the BuddyBoss theme. The BuddyBoss theme has native styling for all PMPro pages, including the levels and checkout pages. Using the BuddyBoss theme creates a seamless experience across all frontend pages of your community.

Learn more about theme options on the BuddyBoss website »

How do users join your BuddyBoss membership community?

Paid Memberships Pro and BuddyBoss both include features to override the default WordPress registration process. Luckily, choosing Paid Memberships Pro as your BuddyBoss membership plugin offers two options for registration outlined below:

  1. Only allow member signup through your Paid Memberships Pro checkout process. In this option, all user registrations are processed through the PMPro default flow: Levels > Checkout > Confirmation.
  2. Allow users to join through the BuddyBoss Platform’s registration page. Sites that are only free or would like to start people at a free level often use this method.
    • No membership fee will be charged through this process.
    • Users do not get assigned a membership level through a default BuddyBoss registration.
    • You can use a custom code recipe to apply a default level to all users in your WordPress site.
    • This is a great method to give a free membership to all users that register on your site and encourage them to upgrade later.

Registration Settings in BuddyBoss and PMPro

BuddyBoss has a section for “Registration Settings” under BuddyBoss > Settings > General. You must check the box to “Allow non-members to register new accounts”.

  • To use BuddyBoss registration: leave the default BuddyBoss Registration setting.
  • To use PMPro’s checkout process: set the “Registration Form” to “Custom URL”. Enter the URL to your Membership Levels page.

PMPro has settings related to registration under Memberships > PMPro BuddyPress. Adjust the setting for “Registration Page” to the appropriate process you’d like for your site.

Set the Registration Page for BuddyPress and Paid Memberships Pro WordPress Plugin

Some people are very concerned about required profile fields as part of the registration process. Luckily, BuddyBoss has a Profile Completeness Widget. For sites that require certain profile fields, our recommended workflow is:

  • Use the PMPro Checkout process for registration
  • Add a link to the membership level’s confirmation message to “Complete Your Profile”.
  • Use the Profile Completeness Widget for BuddyBoss to force members to their manage their profile on login. Users cannot participate in any features of your community until the profile is completed.

What you cannot restrict in BuddyBoss + PMPro:

Below are some features that aren’t currently supported. If you require these features for your membership community, please reach out to a developer for a quote for your project.

  • Limiting the number of groups, friends, messages, etc. Currently, these features are either on or off based on membership level and admin settings. We do not offer a way to limit activity volume. An example of this is “Gold members can join 5 groups, Platinum members can join unlimited groups”.
  • Documents: Media Uploading is a new feature in BuddyBoss. Currently, we do not offer support to restrict access to media uploads by membership level. 

Building a Standalone Integration for BuddyBoss

As BuddyBoss continues to develop new community features, there may come a time that we develop a separate integration plugin for PMPro customers. Please reach out to us via email if there are features of BuddyBoss that you cannot protect for members (media uploads is one such feature). At this time you cannot protect the Media Uploads feature in BuddyBoss by membership level.

Read to Own the Land You Build On?

Are you ready to build and grow an online community that you completely control?

With Paid Memberships Pro, you can sell free and paid subscriptions to your community, benefit from a wide variety of Add Ons and integrations specifically designed for community websites.

We know that a WordPress site has tons of moving parts. Choosing the right plugins, themes, hosting, third party services, design assets, and more can feel overwhelming.

Paid Memberships Pro is the most robust membership plugin to sell access to your online community on WordPress. Learn exactly what you’ll get — the plugins, the support, and the training — when you run your online community with Paid Memberships Pro.

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