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Can't get to square one

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices. Last updated by  Randy King 3 years, 4 months ago.

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Posted: Sunday Aug 18th, 2013 at 9:12 pm #56120

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Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 8:47 am #56156
Randy King
Username: RandyKing

George – LOL! I have been there, just do NOT punch your monitor. The “Hello World” page comes from text inside of the “Sample” page. Open that page and you will see it! And the SLUG may have been changed to hello-world or similar, further confounding you. But that’s the page.

OK, so here’s what I would recommend…

1. De-Activate the s2Member plugin

2. Get your site set up with some pages, posts, etc. – they can all be test pages, that’s great

3. Once you have your site working in this way, now activate s2Member and go through the steps.

What’s really important are the “Members” page and the “Membership Options” page. Read the BOTTOM half of the reply I wrote in this forum post for a feel about this…

Here’s the best thing that will help you: hard as it is READ AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. It’s really well-written, and once you get over the learning curve hump, it will be easy.


Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 1:56 pm #56169

HI Randy:
Thank you for the suggestions.
I did as you suggested – I deactivated S2. The theme is 2013, and there are no plugins running. A bare bones WP.
Then I reactivated S2, and made sure that both the welcome page, and member option page were correctly specified under general options. The pages were created in WP, and listed under S2.
When I then go my root WP URL [not the same as my root site –, and – does this matter?], I get the same sample page. I should be getting the members option page, shouldn’t I?
It appears that even though S2 is “active”, it really isn’t. Absolutely nothing changes whether it is active or not.
As I said above, when I first installed S2, I got a red box saying the plugin will not be functional until I create and use both the member option and welcome pages. After setting those up, the red box went away, but other than that, S2 appears to be DOA [dead on arrival] – nothing changes with it or not.
Is there a master “on switch” somewhere I have to set [other than activating it?]


Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 2:27 pm #56170
Randy King
Username: RandyKing

George –

Nothing really radical happens when s2Member is activated. Here’s the simplified view:

1. The page you specified as your login welcome page is protected; i.e., you have to be a logged-in member in order to see it. If you are not a logged in member, then…

2. The page you specified as your membership options page is displayed to everyone, and is automatically displayed when someone who is NOT a logged-in member attempts to access a protected page such as the login welcome page. This is where you put your paypal stuff, etc.

3. You can write all kinds of other pages and automatically protect them with the page control-panel selection at the top-right of the page as you are editing it.

Here’s something that occurred to me – did you know that when you are logged in as your site administrator that you are the all-seeing, all-knowing god of the site? You CANNOT TEST what non-members will see because you have full access to everything; s2Member grants access to the world to you.

This is why I have installed Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer on my computer. I develop in Firefox, then I open Chrome to access the page as a non-member who is not logged in.

That last bit is IMPORTANT – develop in browser “A” and test in browser “B” – DO NOT USE TWO INSTANCES OF THE SAME BROWSER; e.g., do NOT open two Firefox browsers – they SHARE cookies, cache, etc., and you will still be logged in as administrator in that second browser even though it’s a separate instance.

Is that what’s happening?


Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 3:18 pm #56177

Randy, I was about to take a big gulp of air, then plead mia culpa. But, alas, no, that isn’t what’s happening.
I do have both Firefox and IE9 [hate it] on my computer. I do all development on FF.
I just went to the WP root on IE9, and get essentially the same as on FF. Small differences, but I attribute those to the difference in how the browser interprets html.
It really seems like S2 is turned off even though it is “activated.”
However, your comments would not have occurred to me. I reaqlly thank you for that pointer. Probably will save me a lot of frustration, just not this time.

Maybe it just knows I am html illiterate, and doesn’t want to work for me?

Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 5:56 pm #56183

Randy, I just tried something.
I went into the sample page and edit. Upper right hand quarter was the S2member box for setting membership level requirement. I set it at level 2.
I went to the WP root level in IE9 [never signed in on IE], and got the Hello world page. I clicked the sample page at the top, and immediately got it.

So now it is a certainty – S2 is functioning, giving me all of the setting options, but not controlling anything. There has to be a very fundamental problem that is preventing S2 from working. I just do not know what that is.

Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 6:41 pm #56185
Randy King
Username: RandyKing


I agree with you about IE. Actually, I would recommend that you download Google Chrome and use that as your secondary browser, not IE because it presents a whole other world of problems.

I really don’t know what else to tell you about this. I am controlling four very large membership sites with over 500 members, using all kinds of s2Member features and it’s all working. So I think we can safely say that s2Member works.

Again, here’s some points to check and be very very certain about them…

1. You are logged in as someone whose WP Role is “admininstrator”

2. You have a HOME page on your site with a link to your members page like this:

<a href="members">Go To Members Page</a>

3. You have created a PAGE (not a post) called “Members” and on this page you say “Welcome, Member!” in the text. Be SURE the Permalink ends in “members” so your home page link above works.

4. You have created a PAGE (not a post) called “Membership Options” and on this page, you can put a few fake “paypal” links – just some words for now, doesn’t matter.

5. Inside of the s2Member dashboard General Options, you select your page called “Members” to be the one on the s2Member “Login Welcome Page” tab.

6. Inside of the s2Member dashboard General Options, you select your page called “Membership Options” to be the one on the s2Member “Membership Options Page” tab.

7. You use your ALTERNATE browser to come to the site, and then click on your “Go To Members Page” link. This should cause you to be re-directed to the “Membership Options” page because you are not a logged in member.

8. As administrator, create a user called “Fred” and set Fred’s role to “s2Member Level 1”

9. In your alternate browser, go to: ((your URL))/wp-login.php and log in fred to the site. You should now immediately go to your “Members” page.

10. Go to the home page of the site as “fred” and click the “Go To Members Page” link. You’ll go right back to the Members page again, whereas when you’re not logged in, you’ll go to the Membership Options page.

Doing all that should give you an understanding of what’s going on and how it all works. And you really need to use two independent browsers to make this all work for your testing.


Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 7:23 pm #56186

Randy, thank you very much for your efforts. I do appreciate it.
I will work through your comments, then if that doesn’t work, I will remove S2, and reinstall it one more time. If setting up a fresh install by the book does not work for me, then I will move on to something else.
It is very frustrating, especially given that it clearly works. I must be doing some little thing wrong.


Posted: Monday Aug 19th, 2013 at 10:59 pm #56191

Randy, may I ask one question?
I think I see the problem.
When I go to, instead of taking me to a page, I get the posts. I made “hello world” a private post, so now instead of getting member options, I get nothing found [I have no postings that are public now.]

I created several pages, some unrestricted, and some with a 4 membership level. If I click on a “4”, I get the member option page [that is right]. If I click on a 0 level page, I get that page [also right].

So my only problem now is getting the root folder of WP to show a page [the member option page] instead of posts. Actually, the way I will be doing this, all posts will be pages [the “posts” will actually be class lectures, there will not be any posts, especially from users]. I would like to eliminate the “posting” section completely, or at least make it unavailable to users, logged in or not.

I didn’t understand what I was looking at when this kept coming up “Hello World.” I kept think of that as a page, not post.

Thank you, Randy, you are most kind,

Posted: Thursday Aug 22nd, 2013 at 5:39 pm #56466
Randy King
Username: RandyKing

George, yes – I think you’re starting to see it.

Use your “pages” as the anchor of the membership protection, then allow posts associated with those pages.

Now, to further complicate things, you have two dimensions to protection with s2Member – not only can you protect on membership LEVEL, you can also protect on something called CAPABILITIES.

For example, if you have a dozen users on LEVEL 1, you can further delineate what they have access to by assigning what s2Member calls “Custom Capabilities”.

Let’s say 6 of those people can have access to videos. You would assign a capability of “vids” to those 6, and then use either shortcodes, PHP, or the built-in s2Member page/post protection to allow only people that hold the capability of “vids” to see those pages.

YOU get to chose what to call your capabilities, and you can create as many or as few as you want. You create them simply by assigning a custom capability to users in the “edit user” page. In other words, there’s no place to specifically declare what your custom capabilities are called inside of s2Member.

The key, as you say, is in getting those pages assigned properly. I ALWAYS have a completely unrestricted home page so that people know where they are, then I restrict the “Members” page according to the way s2Member suggests it to be done.

Keep playing with it, you’ll get it!


Posted: Thursday Aug 22nd, 2013 at 5:54 pm #56472

Hi Randy:
Great to hear from you.
I sort of have page control now, hasn’t been easy.
But now I face a different issue. The select and pay setup is clumsy at best. I want 3 levels of membership, and 3 different time increments [1 month, 3 and 12 months]. So there are 9 possible selections to make. Putting 9 Paypal buttons on a page is just plain terrible looking.
I started looking for a shopping cart that I can add to s2, but that isn’t quite as simple as I hoped [what is?]
When there is, in effect 3 products[levels], and 3 variations on each [time], short of a full blown shopping cart [which does not appear very simple to coordinate with s2], are there any other ways to go?

Sorry for all of the questions – I am a systems electronic engineer, and this puts me very far out of my realm. Give me a tough control system to design, and I will work wonders, but this stuff????? Babe in the woods.

Posted: Friday Aug 23rd, 2013 at 7:38 am #56536
Randy King
Username: RandyKing

LOL, no problem. Got my degree in EE as well. After burning out too many chips in lab, figured it was easier to edit code when I did that wrong.

I have coded up 5 buttons to a page, and they were all for different products or bundles.

I have not done extensive research into how I would offer multiple tiers inside of multiple levels, but my sense is that it’s really in how you present it more than anything else, as you said.

For example, I might start by having the user select from 1 of 3 different products, perhaps using an image as the thing they select. Clicking that image or text link would take them to a new PAGE for that product specifically. Here you can talk about what that product is in a paragraph, then offer 3 time windows.

The time windows would each be a different PayPal button for purchase, each generated by the s2Member PayPal button generator.

YES, you are generating 9 different buttons, but at least it doesn’t look so clunky because now there’s only 3 buttons on 3 different pages – and it helps emphasize exactly which product is being purchased – the buttons only specify the EOT (end of term). All done through the s2Member button generator.

Can you find something easier? Perhaps – I work with different shopping carts, including using PayPal directly on some sites, even in combination with the s2Member PayPal buttons for membership. It’s all a trade-off. s2Member gives you essentially unlimited flexibility in your site design, others limit you or look awful and cannot be tweaked.

Like anything, it’s a learning curve. You’ll get it, and you’re first implementation won’t be stellar. As you work with it, you’ll get the nuances and get better. I would just stay focused here and make a go of it!


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