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Create a Mobile App For Your WordPress Membership Site

If you use a WordPress membership plugin like Memberpress, Restrict Content, Paid Memberships Pro, WooCommerce Memberships, and almost any other, you can build a mobile app for iOS and Android using AppPresser. (Updated for AppPresser 4)

AppPresser has a more robust and customizable WordPress membership app builder than any other platform. Here are some things you can do:

  • Allow members to login to the app with the same user/pass they use on your site
  • Update content in the app through WordPress
  • Protect content based on membership level (with user roles)
  • Allow free registrations, or sell memberships through the app with in app purchases
  • Everything is synced with your WordPress site: users, payments, expiration dates, and protected content

Requirements:

  • A paid account at apppresser.com
  • A membership plugin activated on your site
  • The AppPresser plugin and theme installed
  • Any other required AppPresser plugins based on your particular app

A membership plugin restricts access to website content based on membership level, and your app can do the same. If you have a membership site, you can create a mobile app that shows content based on what each member has access to.

The end result is that members only content will be hidden from your app users unless they login, and have the appropriate membership level.

FYI: This same stuff works with LMS plugins such as LearnDash, and social plugins like BuddyPress as well.

How it works

The membership functionality in your app will work just like it does on your website. For example, if you have some protected pages, your app users will not be able to access those unless they have the appropriate membership level. They will be required to login through the app before they can see any protected content.

All payments, registration, content protection, and other features of your membership plugin will continue working as usual. AppPresser only handles the display of your membership pages, it does not change how it works, or handle any back-end processes.

Video

Here’s a demo video, continue reading the article below for more details.

Create Your Login and Registration Pages

To build your app, first you need an AppPresser app with login and (optionally) registration enabled. You can do this in the app setup wizard.

Make sure you have setup the AppPresser plugin and JWT authentication as described in our documentation.

This will add a login/registration page to your app. It is native to the app, it does not automatically add custom registration fields from your site.

Registration is not technically necessary, but allowing users to at least sign up for a free level is a great way to generate more leads for your premium membership. Allowing free users to register through your app is a great way to widen your audience. AppPresser has a built-in API based registration form that has email validation.

Setup Your Membership Plugin

Next, you will need your membership plugin installed and configured. Here are instructions for a few plugins we support.

You will need to setup your plugin and membership levels before continuing.

Setup the pages you want to be protected with your plugin. Protecting content in the app will work differently than on your site, but you need to have content protected with the plugin first.

For example, in RCP (Restrict Content Pro), there are options at the bottom of the page edit screen that allow you to restrict based on certain conditions. I am going to require at least the “Silver” membership to view a protected video.

Restrict Content Pro options

Other plugins have similar options to protect content.

Free content is not required, but it’s nice to give people something to see before they commit to registering. Keep in mind that if you sell memberships, you will need to use in app purchases in the app, which we’ll cover later in this article.

Protect Content in The App

Protecting content in the app works differently from your website, but there is some overlap.

You have a few different ways to protect content, we’ll cover those here.

Embed Your Site Page

The simplest way to protect content is to embed each page you want in the app using an iframe. This allows your membership plugin to handle all of the authentication, and it works out of the box.

The downside of this method is that iframes can be a bit clunky and slow inside an app. We recommend using API based content whenever possible, which we’ll cover below.

To add this type of page to your app, create a new custom page and choose iframe page. Add your page url, then save and add it to your app menu. See our documentation for help.

Protect API Based Content

AppPresser apps use the WP-API for WordPress posts and pages whenever possible. It’s faster and more native, the downside is that custom plugin content and interactivity (like forms) do not work.

If you only have text, images, and/or media that you need to display, we recommend this method.

Note: not all membership plugins work this way, so you may need to test to determine the best way for you.

To use this method, add a new custom page in your app customizer. You can choose the Custom Layout option and select one of the templates that has WordPress posts in it, and customize as necessary. You can also choose the WordPress posts custom page, either way you are using API based posts. View our documentation for help.

If your membership plugin supports API based content protection, it should automatically protect your posts.

Hide/Show Content for Logged In Users

If you have a simple membership that only requires a user login to view content, you can just hide the page in the app until someone logs in.

To do that, visit the AppPresser app customizer, go to your menu, and add a class of loggedin to the menu item you want to protect.

This method works for any type of page.

Protecting Content By Membership Level with User Roles

A more granular way to protect content in the app is by user role. Many membership plugins use subscription levels, you can do the same thing in the app by assigning a user role to a certain subscription level.

For example, if a member is on the Gold level, use the User Role Editor plugin to assign them a gold-level user role. Then in the app, you can use the gold-level role to hide and show menu items and page content.

In this example, watch how menu items appear and disappear based on the new-member user role assigned to this member.

To do this in AppPresser, you just have to make sure the user has the proper role using the User Role Editor plugin.

Next, add the user role restriction to the menu item or page content you want.

Now the member can’t see that page in the app unless they have the role of “New Member.”

Protect Non-WordPress Content

With AppPresser, you can create custom pages that do not connect to WordPress. For example, you can embed text, images, and media in the app that can work offline.

To protect this type of content, you can hide/show based on login status as described above, or use custom tags in the HTML content of the page.

Taking Payments In Your App

Taking payments for premium memberships is possible using in app purchases.

If you take payments through your app, you are required to use In App Purchases, which gives the app stores a 15-30% commission. This is an app store requirement, your app will be rejected if you sell memberships on your site, but you do not offer an in app purchase option.

Your customers can still purchase on your website and get access to the app. The app stores require that an in app purchase capability is available, but that doesn’t mean all customers need to use it.

How In App Purchases Work

You must create in app purchases in the app stores, then set them up in the app.

When someone purchases through the app, the payment goes through the app store, not through your website. AppPresser has extra functionality that will create a user on your WordPress site, record the purchase, and log them in.

Depending on your situation, you can choose to add the user to a membership level, give them access to a course, or just create them as a normal subscriber on your site using our custom plugin integrations. Some custom coding may be required.

When a user cancels their subscription, AppPresser will remove their access.

In app purchases are not available on all plans, and require extra setup, please see our documentation for instructions. Only one subscription is supported out of the box, multiple subscriptions require custom development.

Summary and Next Steps

AppPresser can help you create a mobile app for iOS and Android that your members can use to login and view their protected membership content.

With a variety of ways to protect your content and integrate with your site, you can create the app just how you want it. Integrate almost any membership plugin, allow for free registration, paid access, include in app purchases, and more.

To get started, choose a plan on our pricing page, and start creating your membership mobile app today.

19 Comments

  1. Neil on December 22, 2015 at 4:17 am

    I am a publisher and am looking for a solution such as this but would like to check something. One of the main reasons people want an app from us is because when using our website on iPhones they have to log in very often due to browser settings they can’t be bothered to change. With your solution, will they remain logged in after they log in once (as long as their membership doesn’t end)?

    • Scott Bolinger on December 22, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Hi Neil, the app login works the same way as normal WordPress login. WordPress uses a cookie that expires after 30 days, you can customize this with the auth_cookie_expiration filter.

      That way people can stay logged in to your app.

      • Neil on December 23, 2015 at 11:03 am

        Thanks, Scott. That’s helpful. I will give it all a try.



  2. Betty on January 16, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Hi Scott,
    So in a way, will the app serve as a sort of a “wrapper” to the wp site, and not be a true native app? (I mean I am thinking that’s it because of course a native app will cost a helluva lot $$$)…

    Let me know,
    Thanks,
    Betty

    • Scott Bolinger on January 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Yes, AppPresser wraps your site, which allows your plugins to function in the app. That would not be possible in a fully native app 🙂

  3. Janelle on March 30, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Do you have any knowledge of someone using this app with OptimizeMember or DAP? OptimizeMember does not always play well with others and I am trying to figure out the best tools for our membership site.

  4. Robin on May 30, 2016 at 5:24 am

    My requirement is that I’ve some groups. Each group has few users. Content to be displayed to the users will be based on the groups an user belong to.

    So, I’ll need login and then based on the username/email provided I’ll check user’s group and then content will be filtered based on that group.

    Can you please confirm whether it is achievable using apppresser?

    Thanks,
    Robin.

  5. rishi on July 5, 2016 at 7:02 am

    HI we are new to apppresser, we build the app and are successful in deploying it in Play Store, but we dont have any knowledge about iOS and how to make the app live on it.

    Can you please share any video or guidelines so we can make the app live in iOS.

    Thanks
    Rishi

  6. Gianluca on September 23, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Hi Scott, in this article you said “Taking payments for premium memberships is possible, but not recommended.” Is there a plugin or a tutorial on Apppresser about In-App Purchase (in general or for membership) or it is a totally custom not supported implementation? It’s a key feature for many business model especially for ones who need App Store submission. It would be a great feature for your project, also because no one else actually offer it in a WordPress managed app.
    Thanks!

    • Scott Bolinger on September 23, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Hi Gianluca, we don’t have a tutorial or integration for in app purchases unfortunately. It all takes place through Apple’s API, so you’d just need to follow their documentation. We’ll consider writing something up about this in the future.

      • Gianluca on September 23, 2016 at 11:30 pm

        Thanks! I’ll keep following!



  7. Gun on November 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Can I confirm this would work with either Wishlist Member plugin or Zaxaa Member plugin? If yes to either we will probably move ahead.
    Second question, would we be able to make the video member content watchable offline, but still require a login or too complicated?

    • Scott Bolinger on November 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Hi, we have not tested with those specific plugins, but technically it should work. Most membership plugins just control user access on the back-end, they don’t do much with the display. That means it will work just fine in our apps, but you may need to customize it if necessary.

  8. Kevin on March 16, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Hello,

    We use Ontrport which has its own membership pluggin called Pilotpress.

    Does Pilotpress play will with appresser3 ?? thank you

  9. Trevor on June 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Does your plugin support MemberPress plugin?

  10. David on November 24, 2018 at 9:35 am

    If our restricted content is an audiobook of 29 mp3s, could members stream those tracks via the app? I don’t want them to need to download them.

    • Scott Bolinger on November 26, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hi David, yes your users can stream audio without downloading.

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Scott Bolinger