How to Create a Members Only Website
By Louise Balle
Updated September 28, 2017
Items you will need
Web host and domain
Website membership services provider
If you plan to charge web visitors for access to your website, or you just want to build a large member site similar to Facebook, MySpace or a dating site, you need to integrate certain scripts and tools onto your site. These secure tools work with your website to make decisions on whether to grant or deny access to a web visitor based on the information he provides. As the webmaster, you have complete control over who stays and who goes.
Go to Authpro.com, Bravenet.com or another membership services provider that offers login and password protection tools for websites. The cost can be as little as $50 per year up into the hundreds, depending on how large your member site will be.
Sign up for an account—you can choose between protection on a month-to-month basis or pay years in advance.
Decide if you want new members to pay to gain access or register for free. With a paid account you will need to enter information about your online payment account so that it will integrate with the membership service (such as Paypal or a standard merchant account).
Designate the URLs that each user will be sent to when they register, log in (or have a failed log in) and when they log out of your website.
Customize your membership login page. You can add a logo, change the background and text colors and add a message to your users.
Choose options and fields for your registration form. A standard registration form will ask the visitor to enter a username, a password, name, location information and email address. Add and delete fields as you see fit.
Retrieve your members only login URL, which will be emailed or displayed to you by the membership services provider. This is the link that you will send all users to when they try to log in to protected areas of your website.
You can customize your account to allow a user to update his own personal online profile with your site as well.
Include a "password reminder" link on your login page to allow a user to retrieve her password if she forgets. This is included with most members only website services.
You can set your homepage to the login screen by pointing your standard homepage address to the login URL (also called a redirection). See Resources for details on how to do this. If you choose to do a page redirection on the homepage of your site, log back in to your membership services account (Authpro or similar). Choose "display my own website address" under your account setup options so that people will see your website name instead of that of your membership services provider.
Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.