How to Enable User Registration on Your WordPress Website

How to Enable User Registration on Your WordPress Website

When a user registers on your WordPress website, they will get the permission to do various things depending on their WordPress user role – such as post articles, add comments, manage and modify your content, and so on. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to maintaining control over who can access certain areas of your site and can help you distribute your workload more efficiently. But before you do this, you need to learn how to allow users to register and login to your website. This tutorial will guide you through all the steps required to allow user registration in WordPress.

Why you Should Allow User Registration in WordPress

There are many reasons why you should enable user registration in WordPress. For example, if you have a need for guest blogging, allowing your guest bloggers to register to your website and assigning them a Contributor role can really make things more efficient for you. In this way, when they’re done with their post, they can simply submit it for a review and you get to decide what to do with the post from there.

User registration can also be of excellent use in case you want to create certain areas of your website that only registered users can access, or if you want to provide them with an exclusive offer (like limited deals, for example). Finally, allowing users to register to your site can help you a great deal when it comes to your marketing strategy since, this way, you can easily reach all your registered users via email. In other words, you can effectively inform them about any news related to your brand, if you want to promote a new service or product, and so on.

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Enabling WordPress User Registration in the General Settings

Before you can do anything else, you have to allow user registrations at your website first. This setting is actually turned off by default, which is why you need to go to Settings >> General in your WordPress admin to switch it on. Find the “Anyone can register” box next to the “Membership” option and mark it.

General Settings

Then, you should pick the user role that you wish to set as default. Keep in mind that whichever role you pick, it will be automatically assigned to new users that register on your site. Also, make sure to never assign the Administrator role for registered users.

The default user role for registered users is the Subscriber role, but if you want, you can change it to Author, Editor, Contributor, etc. The role you pick should depend on the duty and authorization level that you wish to assign to the registered users (i.e. if you want someone to write articles, you can assign them the Author role).

Finally, once you assign your default role to users, you should click on Save Changes for the settings to take effect.

Adding Login and Register Links in WordPress

Now that you have enabled user registration, it’s time to add the links to login and registration pages. You can do this by adding the Meta Widget in your Sidebar, or by creating custom login pages with the help of a plugin.

Using the Meta Widget in the WordPress Sidebar

This is most definitely the simplest way to add a login and register link to your website. All you need to do is head to Appearance >> Widgets and then find and add the Meta widget to your sidebar (by either clicking on Meta and selecting Add Widget or by dragging it to the Sidebar widget area). Don’t forget to click Save when you’re done.

Meta Widgets

And this is how the login link will look like on your website once you set your Meta widget in the sidebar.

Meta links example

Creating Custom Login and Register forms With the Help of a Plugin

While using the above-mentioned method is easy and quick, it won’t prevent registered users from accessing your WordPress admin area, which is why we highly recommend creating custom login and register forms with the User Registration plugin. This is a drag-and-drop form registration builder which makes it easy to create custom user forms.

User Registration Plugin

This is a drag-and-drop form registration builder which makes it easy to create custom registration and login forms. Once you create your own custom form, you can easily add it to any page on your website with the help of a shortcode. Here’s how to do it.

Creating a Custom Register Form

The instant you install and activate the User Registration plugin (you can find and install it by going to Plugins >> Add New and typing in “User Registration” in the search bar), the message will appear in your dashboard letting you know you can install user registration pages. The process is quite simple – just click on the Install User Registration Pages button and the plugin will generate the default registration form for you.

After that, you will be able to find the Default form in the User Registration screen.

User Registration Form

You can either click on Edit and modify the default form to your liking, or you can go to User Registration >> Add New to generate your own form from scratch.

Here’s what the default registration form screen looks like:

User Registration Add New

As you can see, the default registration form comes with the generated fields for Username, User Email, User Password and Confirm Password – the standard fields we usually find in registration forms. However, if you wish to delete any of the fields or clone the existing ones, the plugin makes this process quite easy. You just need to hover over the field you wish to modify, and the options for cloning and deletion will appear.

Default Form Clone and Delete

Alternatively, you can add a new custom field by clicking the Add New button.

Default Form Add New Button

Also, here you can select the number of columns you wish to have in a row (one, two or three columns), or you can delete the entire row altogether.

Number of Columns

On the left side of the screen, in the Field tab, you will see various user fields which you can add to any row or column with a simple drag and drop of your mouse – such as Nickname, First Name, Last Name, Website, User Bio, and so on. In addition, the plugin comes with some extra and advanced fields, as well as fields adjusted for those who use WooCommerce.

For our custom registration form, we’ve created one extra row and separated it into two columns.

Registration Columns

Then, we added the First Name user field into one row, and Last Name in the other. Here’s the result:

First and Last Name

Once you’re happy with how your form turned out, you can click on Update Form and you’re all done.

Update Form Button

In this Add New/Custom Form editor, there’s also a Form Setting tab that contains a few general settings related to your form. This includes the User login option which allows you to set the way the users will log in after registration. You can choose Manual login after registration, Email confirmation to login (which requires users to confirm their registration via their email), Auto login after registration, or Admin approval after registration.

User Login Option

Here, you can also set a few other options, such as choose the default User role, mark the “Enable Strong Password” checkbox, set the redirect URL, enable captcha support, etc.

General Settings

Creating a Custom Login Form

The process for creating a custom login form is the same as for the registration form– just go to User Registration >> Add New, and add all the fields you want.

User Registration Add New

Once you’re done, change the name of the form, click on Create Form and you’re all set.

Create Form Button

Creating a Login/Registration Page

If you didn’t make any changes to the default registration form, you will find the generated page of your form in Pages >> All Pages. But, in case you created an entirely new form, you need to create a new page for it as well.

First, you will need to copy the shortcode of your custom form. You will be able to find it in the custom form editor itself, or by going to the User Registration screen.

Form ID

Once you copied the shortcode of your form, go to Pages >> Add New (or click on Edit if you wish to add your form to the existing page) and simply paste the shortcode into the editor. Hit the Update/Publish button once you’re done, and that’s it – you’ve created a custom login/registration form page.

Registration Code

You can go and preview your custom form page on your website once you’re done.

Preview Custom Form Page

User Registration Settings

1. General – the first tab you’ll see when you access User Registration >> Settings is the General tab. It contains three sections: General Options, Login Options and Frontend Messages.

  • In the General Options section of the tab, you will (once again) find the option that allows you to pick the way the users will login after their registration. You will also be able to select the user roles you don’t want to have access to your dashboard, and you can enable the hide/show password and uninstall options (if enabled, the latter will remove all user registration data upon the deletion of the plugin).
General Options Tab

My account Section has options for selecting the page that will contain your login form, choosing the layout of the “my account” tab, and entering endpoints. These endpoints are attached to your page URLs to handle specific actions on the account pages, such as Edit Profile, Lost Password, Change Password, and so on).

My Account Section
  • The Login Options screen comes with settings that allow you to choose the login form template, enable or disable “remember me”, lost password and Google reCaptcha support. In addition, here you can specify the registration page URL in the login form and the Registration URL label, as well as disable the WordPress default login or registration page.
Login Options Tab
  • The Frontend Messages section is particularly useful. It comes with options to add different success messages, such as the message that the user will see after successful registration, but also the error messages that show up if they don’t enter a valid email address, if the password and confirm password fields don’t match, and so on.
Frontend Messages

2. Integration – this tab contains a few Google reCaptcha Integration options, allowing you to select reCaptcha v2 (the “I’m not a robot” checkbox that requires the user to click on it to confirm they’re human) or v3 (the newest API that helps you detect abusive traffic without user interaction that returns the score after checking for any suspicious activities), and enter the site key (used to render the reCaptcha on your website) and secret key (which authorizes communication between your backend and the reCAPTCHA server in order to verify the user’s response). You can get both keys from Google Recaptcha page.

Integration Tab

3. Emails – these are all the options related to your email. Here, you can disable all emails sent after the registration and configure email notifications sent from user registration in full detail. For example, if you choose to configure an Email Confirmation setting, you can customize the message (email subject and email content) that the user will receive after they register to the website. In a similar fashion, you can customize options such as Reset Password Email, Awaiting Admin Approval, Registration Pending Email, Successfully Registered Email, etc.

Emails Tab

4. Import/Export – finally, this tab allows you to export users (and their additional information) as a CSV file, and to import/export forms and their settings as a JSON file.

Import Export Tab

Wrapping Up

That concludes our guide on how to allow user registration in WordPress by placing the Meta widget in your sidebar, as well by creating custom login and registration forms with the help of a plugin. No matter which method you decide to use, we’re sure you’ll have an easy time as we included only the most efficient and user-friendly methods.

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