I’ve recently launched a private forum on WordPress, and here’s a rundown of the plugins and add-ons I’ve used to secure the site, manage members, etc. (this isn’t a comprehensive list, just a list of the plug-ins that make locking down and managing a blog simpler):
- Absolute Privacy – I played around with a LOT of user moderation tools before settling on this one, with a few modifications, which I’ll talk about in a separate post. Absolute Privacy gives you the ability to ask for a first and last name during registration, set a password upfront (no emailing passwords), review and approve new users, force redirects for unregistered users (nicer than password-restricting the site using .htaccess), manage access to RSS feeds, and most importantly, edit all the confirmation emails new users get, something sorely missing in WordPress by default, and not handled well by other access management plugins. Simply put: spectacular!
- BM Custom Login – This is what I used to redesign the look of the registration window, which keeps getting longer and longer as I add more fields! It’s nicely extensible, and plays well with all my plugins.
- Cimy User Extra Fields – While this is definitely one of the more complicated and difficult-to-use plugins I’ve worked with, it’s also one of the most extensible, so for that reason I hold onto it. I use this plugin to add extra fields that allow the administrators and editors to make a call as to whether to allow the user to join the community or not. I haven’t gotten around to editing the Absolute Privacy’s Moderate Users screen to display the extra info (note to self), but if the moderator clicks on the profile link, they’ll see all the fields and can then go back and approve or deny the addition.
- Members – I use this to give me more capability to manage roles and, well, capabilities.
- Members List – This allows me to create a public, searchable listing of members. I can easily edit how the list appears, and what it links to.
- Register Plus – It’s a crying shame that the developer has stopped making updates to this plug-in, as it looks like it could handle so much of what I want inside one plugin, but alas, most of it is broken. I still use it to display and manage the Terms of Service and other Disclaimers for the site, as well as to permit the use of multiple logins with the same email address (mostly for testing purposes). There are a TON of other features, but many of them don’t seem to work any longer.
I’ll share some other plugins that I’m using to encourage user activity, but this is a great combination that provides me with some peace-of-mind.