If you are running a membership site, you will be fully aware that there is much more than content and design to worry about.

Whether it’s secure payments, tiered access or hacking that keeps you awake at night, security is a major concern.

Your business reputation is at risk, alongside the potential for financial penalties for mishandling of user data.

So, how can you ensure your membership site is secure for everyone involved? How can you protect yourself from the financial and information security risks?

This guide will walk you through the top priorities, with helpful advice on what you need to do to ensure you’re safe and secure.

Integrate membership functionality within your site


Are you comfortable in selling access to your content, without owning the access arrangements for that content?

To be truly in control of your own site security, you will need to integrate plugins within your site. These will handle payments and allow for user interactivity without having to visit a third-party site. You can build these into your site as your membership and needs expand.

You will need to address the following security issues through your site set-up:

Protecting content

Lock Content
Lock Content

From intellectual property to user data, you need to make sure that your content is safe.

Along with all the considerations of GDPR, you’ll also need to ensure your users are safe from attempts to hack their personal details.

Tip: Ensure your content is secured at server-side, meaning your security can’t be bypassed with front-end JavaScript hacks. Because WordPress is not a JavaScript solution, hackers cannot disable JavaScript in their web browser settings and view your content. WordPress, with integrated plugins, is the safest way to secure your membership site.

Handling payments securely

OTP for Secure Payment
OTP for Secure Payment

Any membership site will need to handle financial transactions. You will need to protect your subscribers’ personal and billing information, including credit card details.

Tip: Add an SSL certificate to encrypt the data sent between your website server and your subscriber. SSL also ensures that hackers cannot insert malicious code to capture user information or bypass your paywall.

Defining and protecting user roles

Your membership site needs to be able to support user authentication, with the ability to differentiate between different user activities. If you want to be able to offer tiered membership, distinct user roles will be important.

Tip: Install a membership plugin so that you can identify different user groups. Categorise these groups with read-only, contribute or edit access as appropriate. This will support different membership tiers, if you choose a membership model with multiple levels of access.

Restricting access

Your membership site will likely have areas that are free to view, and members-only areas.

Members should not be directed to the public areas once they have subscribed, and non-members must not be able to view subscription content.

Tip: This will require a different plugin to create easy sign-up and login forms (WPForms or Profile Builder are good examples). Once login is complete, the “register” page can be replaced by a profile page.

Securing video content

Video Content
Video Content

It’s your responsibility to ensure that “member-only” content is not freely available elsewhere.

Video content is a great way to drive engagement, but it is also at risk of being downloaded, stored and shared outside of the subscription barriers – shared for free or claimed as someone’s own.

Bandwidth usage and hosting costs could be impacted by unsecured video being shared via “hotlinking”.

Tip: Use a video-protection plugin like MemberPress AWS. These tools allow you to implement domain-level security, which ensures your video or audio content can only be displayed on a website hosted on a specific domain. You can also add link-sharing protection to prevent the URL or location of your videos being shared outside of your membership area.

If you are looking to protect your membership site, you will find there is a multitude of options – companies offering you endless plugins.

We have the expertise to navigate the path to securing your membership platform – so get in touch with us to find out how we can support your community.

Without the right security, you have nothing to offer your members except risk and wasted money.

How are you going to commit to securing your membership site today?

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