I thought this would be the very simple membership plugin I needed. I've used S2 Member on previous sites, which works great, but was a bit more than I needed for this project. Unfortunately, Membership 2 is not going to work for me: It hasn't been updated for 7 months, the most recent update of WordPress appears to have broken it, and support is slow. I had been considering the WPMUDEV premium option, as it looked like a good deal for all those plugins, tools, plus support. But unlikely now. Switching to Simple WP Membership.
OK we (my client and I separately) have paid for a WPMU DEV membership and use several of their plugins. Many of them have major issues that - if it were my company - would prompt me to fire the entire design team. I've had to write extensive CSS modifications to get these plugins to work and look acceptable on our production site floridanewsflash.com. But let's just focus on the problems with Membership.
For one thing, you would expect a Membership plugin that is designed to control access to to protected content to actually prevent users from bypassing the plugin to register for the site. You can't control this with the plugin at all. If you turn off self-registering in WP settings, then the plugin doesn't work either and users can't register. With it turned on, users can just blow right past the /register/ page and go straight to the default wordpress registration page. When you ask for help from WPMU DEV support, they'll give you different semi-workable solutions with very little detailed documentation on how to implement them, with different support people giving entirely different solutions. REGISTRATION CONTROL SHOULD BE PART OF ANY MEMBERSHIP PLUGIN! NO EXCUSES!.
We were getting 50 signups a day by spammers and hackers through the default WP registration. Finally I was able to get a solution but I didn't get it from WPMU DEV support, I got it from a google search on how to override the default wp registration url. It was so easy, I can't believe it wasn't integrated in this plugin in it's pre-beta stages. We ended up removing 600 users that bypassed membership registration.
NEXT ISSUE: Backend Control implementation is amateurish and rudimentary, barely usable. What it does is make menu items appear and disappear based on how you set up the membership assignments. But if you already have a URL to one of the backend management pages, the plugin does nothing. We have a plugin that allows Vendors to create Deals and post them onto a Deals store. We wanted to prevent non-premium members from getting to the back-end to add and edit their deals, but if we put any links on the site to those back-end pages the plugin does nothing to hide those pages behind the protected content page.
NEXT ISSUE: The MailChimp integration should be a MAJOR EMBARRASSMENT to WPMU DEV. You have multiple memberships capability in both hierarchical and vertical configurations. Memberships can be either dependent on other memberships (You must be a member of group 1 to be allowed to join group 2) or independent memberships (you can join more than one membership). So how do you implement MailChimp? One Single Mailing List for Members!!! How is that supposed to work?
How can you expect a website with five different independent memberships to use one single mailing list? The fact that it's a Membership site with multiple memberships dictates a design pattern that requires you to have multiple lists. Why? Because website operators that use Membership plugins would like to use their mailing lists to market Premium memberships to Free Memberships, or push members of a "lite" membership into a "pro" membership with email campaigns.
If you ask Support why this is, you will get you the unacceptable response that you could hire somebody to custom code that capability. Are you kidding me? It should have been one of the PRIMARY design features of integration with a mailing list API, not an afterthought.
And watch out if you DO choose a mailing list for "memberships". If you have multiple memberships in a hierarchical structure (free joins group 1, group 1 joins group 2, group 2 cancels and drops back to group 1, etc.) the plugin will remove the email address from the mailing list and re-add it back to the same list. I suspect the workaround is to allow users to be able to join multiple memberships at the same time, but I haven't tested this because it doesn't fit with the visitor/free/premium hierarchical structure of our website.
No doubt, any response from WPMU DEV to this review will suggest that it's not their fault because "it wasn't designed that way". Well, I hate to tell you guys over there at WPMU DEV. Your design team is out to lunch. After doing software development for nearly 2 decades, I can assure you that you need to hire somebody who's actually worked developing software for clients to keep your development efforts aligned with reality. Otherwise you're allowing programmers to design software. That's about as good an idea as letting programmers test their own code.
You need to think about the UX more than you think about the UI. Having some missing or kludgy implementation and rationalizing that "the user can program it out themselves" is unacceptable. Your Subscription price for this software is around $500 per year. That's not cheap, and your users will pay this to get "out of the box" functionality they can use on a client website without having to charge hundreds of hours to custom program that functionality.
And finally, UPDATE YOUR VIDEOS. All of the videos for Membership show screens that don't even exist anymore, making it nearly impossible to learn how to use it.
Other than these major issues, Membership does some things well, if you can figure out how to use it.
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