How to Build a Website with User Accounts (Step by Step Tutorial)

Alex Denning
Last Updated: 04/10/23

Searching for the best solution for how to build a website with user accounts?

There are a lot of reasons you might want to allow user registration. You could be creating a membership site, building a user base of subscribers, creating a user directory, or many other scenarios.

No matter why you want to have user accounts on your website, the basic process is the same, which is the focus of this post.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to build a website with user accounts powered by WordPress and Profile Builder Pro. You’ll be able to…

  • Create one or more custom registration forms that people can use to join your site. You’ll be able to control exactly which fields display, including adding custom fields;
  • Set up after-registration behavior, like redirecting users to a welcome page or requiring admin approval;
  • Create a front-end edit profile form so that users can easily manage their accounts;
  • Display a front-end directory listing of some or all of your users;
  • Restrict access to some or all of your content so that only logged-in users can see it. Or, you can even restrict content to only specific types of users;
  • Charge for access to some or all of your restricted content.

Ready to get started? Let’s dig in!

What You Need to Build a Website with User Accounts

To create a website with user accounts, you can use the Profile Builder Pro plugin.

Profile Builder Pro is an all-in-one user registration and management plugin for WordPress, that makes it easy to create a website with user accounts and all of the other useful features that we discussed above.

You can integrate it with other plugins, add-ons, and tools to add advanced features to your site. For example, you might consider creating a member directory or user listing. This way, members can connect with one another and set up their own public profiles. Users can easily create their own accounts.

To get started, make sure to purchase a copy of Profile Builder Pro and install/activate it on your site. Once you’ve done that, you can follow our step-by-step guide to set up all the different features.

Profile Builder Pro

Profile Builder Pro is the best plugin to build a website with user accounts.

Get Profile Builder

How to Build a Website with User Accounts Using the Profile Builder Pro Plugin

Here, we’ll dive into how to build a website with user accounts using this user-friendly plugin, without having to mess around with any code. You’ll be able to create beautiful front-end registration and profile forms, allowing users to register and create their own profile on your website. We’ll go through ways of eliminating user registration spam, customizing user emails as well as setting up a member directory of user profiles.

Once you’ve grown your community, Profile Builder gives you options for monetizing your community. You can set up content restrictions for registered users only, as well as ask users to pay for an account at registration.

Let’s dive in…

Step #1: Set up Login, Register, and Edit Profile Pages

Once you install and activate the Profile Builder Pro plugin on your WordPress site, you can use the start wizard to set up a user login page, register page, and edit profile page. To launch the wizard, go to Profile Builder from the admin panel and click the Create Form Pages button.

Profile Builder will automatically create three pages on your website: Login, Register, and Edit Profile as shown in the screenshot below:

Profile Builder Pro pages in WordPress for how to build a website with user accounts

Your site’s visitors can use these pages to create and manage their user accounts. Each page displays a different form i.e., login form, registration form, and edit profile form using shortcodes. You can also add the login form to a widget on your website, or use social login to speed things up. However, for some websites, a login page is more intuitive than a login form in a widget.

Step #2: Build Multiple Registration Forms with Custom Fields

The next step is to build multiple registration forms for the different types of users that can create a user account on your website.

This is useful for collecting different information from different types of users. For example, if you’d like to create a listing of Vendors and Dropshippers, you’d need two registration forms, and each one would have a different set of questions.

Creating Multiple Registration Forms

Profile Builder Pro’s Multiple Registration Forms add-on lets you do this in just a few simple steps. Here’s what you need to do:

Go to Profile Builder → Add-Ons from the WordPress website admin panel and activate the Multiple Registration Forms add-on.

How to enable multiple registration form addon

Next, head over to Profile Builder → Registration Forms to create as many custom registration forms as you’d like. Click the Add New button to get started.

You can choose what user role the registrant will be assigned after they complete their registration. Additionally, you can decide whether users are automatically logged in after registration and, if so, which web page to redirect them to (such as the homepage).

Once that’s done, use the Add New Field to the List meta box to create the registration form.

Vendor registration form settings in Profile Builder Pro

You can add or remove any of the supported user fields from the main registration form. You can manage these in the Form Fields tab (Profile Builder → Form Fields), which is also where you can configure repeater fields and conditional logic (and much more!) for the different form fields.

Registration form shortcode

Once you’ve created your form, click the Publish button to proceed. A shortcode will appear under the Form Shortcode meta box. You can add this to any page on your website to display the registration form on the front-end.

Preview of the vendor registration form

Alternatively, you can also use the Register block in the block editor.

Profile Builder Register block

Just remember to choose the right registration form from the sidebar to the right.

Choosing between multiple registration forms

Repeat these steps to create as many registration forms as you’d like. User registration data is automatically saved to your database, so you can easily collect relevant user information.

Step #3: Configure email confirmation, reCAPTCHA, and admin approval

One of the neat features on offer with the Profile Builder Pro plugin is that it comes with built-in functionality to help you fight off registration spam. This is especially important for website owners who are looking for ways on how to build a website with user accounts while keeping it secure.

To get started, head over to Profile Builder Settings General Settings and make sure both the “Email Confirmation” Activated and “Admin Approval” Activated options are set to Yes.

Profile Builder Pro settings screen

You can also select the “Email Confirmation” Landing Page and select which user roles to activate admin approval on using the “Admin Approval” on User Role option.

Profile Builder Pro also lets you fight spam by adding a reCAPTCHA field to your registration forms. You can configure this under the Form Fields tab. For step-by-step instructions, check out our tutorial on how to add reCAPTCHA to your forms.

Step #4: Create profile forms and pages

The next step in how to build a website with user accounts is to give registered users the option to edit their profiles. For this, you’ll need to create a profile form and add it to an edit profile page.

Profile Builder Pro comes with a variety of default fields and advanced custom fields that you can use to build your profile forms. You can easily manage the form fields that appear in your form by going to Profile Builder → Form Fields.

One of the standout features on offer with Profile Builder Pro is that your registration form and profile forms don’t necessarily have to be identical. For example, you can give users the option to upload an avatar after they’ve registered. Or, you might want to prevent users from updating their email address in which case you could remove the Email form field from the profile form.

If you want to set up custom edit profile forms, here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Profile Builder → Add-Ons and activate the Multiple Edit Profile Forms add-ons;
  2. Go to Profile Builder → Edit-profile Forms to configure your custom edit profile form.

Check out our tutorial on how to create your WordPress custom profile page for more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step #5: Create a Member Directory with User Profiles

If you want to create a directory of your users, Profile Builder Pro’s User Listing add-on lets you create a front-end member directory with user profiles.

To use it, first go to Profile Builder → Add-Ons from the WordPress admin panel and make sure the User Listing add-on is activated.

How to enable user listing add-on

Next, go to Profile Builder → User Listing and click the Add New button. From the User Listing Settings meta box, select the Roles to Display by ticking the checkboxes. For example, if you want to display a list of vendors only, you’d tick the checkbox next to Vendor.

User listings in Profile Builder Pro

You can also configure advanced options from the same screen. For example, you can decide how many users to list per page, the sorting criteria, and more.

One especially useful feature here is the ability to use pre-designed templates for displaying the list of users on your site.

User listing themes

Click the Publish button to continue. Copy-paste the shortcode on the page you’d like to display the user listing on.

Shortcode for displaying user listings

For a more detailed look at this, check out our full tutorial on how to create a WordPress member directory.

Step #6: Restrict user access to content

When you’re looking for ways on how to build a website with user accounts, you might also consider restricting user access to content. The Profile Builder Pro plugin comes with built-in options to help you restrict content based on the logged-in status or user role.

Head over to Profile Builder → Settings → Content Restriction to get started. Set the Enable Content Restriction option to Yes using the dropdown. Once that’s done, you can choose the type of content restriction you’d like to apply and customize the content restriction messages using WYSIWYG text editors. If you select the Redirect option, you can also choose to redirect users to a specific URL such as your homepage.

Content restriction settings

Click the Save Changes button to proceed.

The next step is to set up content restriction rules. Go to the page or post you’d like to restrict access to. Scroll down till you reach the Profile Builder Content Restriction meta box. From here, you can choose to restrict content to logged-in users only or selected user roles.

Profile Builder Pro content restriction rules

Step #7: Create Paid Accounts Using Paid Member Subscriptions

So far, we’ve focused on allowing users to create free user accounts on your site. But what if you want to charge some or all of your users for creating their user accounts?

To set this up, you can pair Profile Builder Pro with the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin. Paid Member Subscriptions is a full WordPress membership plugin that lets you:

  • Create unlimited membership levels, including both free and paid options.
  • Charge one-time or recurring payments in exchange for joining a membership level.
  • Offer free trials or one-time sign-up fees.
  • Use different payment processors including PayPal and Stripe.
  • Access more advanced content restriction options, such as bulk restricting access to all of the content in a certain category.

To begin, you’ll want to set up your membership levels using Paid Member Subscriptions. You can check out the official documentation here or follow our guide on how to build a membership site. You can set up as many plans as you need, including both free and paid plans.

From there, the Profile Builder Pro plugin integrates seamlessly with Paid Member Subscriptions. You’ll get a new Subscription Plans form field that you can add to your registration forms, which will let people choose from one of your free or paid membership levels when they register:

Subscription plans extra field type

When you configure the form field, you’ll be able to choose which subscription plans you want to make available on that registration form.

how to build a website with user accounts and subscription plans

The payment for the subscription plan will be initiated after the user confirms their email address. After they do that, they’ll be redirected to the payment processor.

Registration form with subscription plans

It’s also worth noting that the Subscriptions Plan field supports conditional logic. This means you can display the correct subscription plans based on, for example, user roles.

Build your own website with user accounts

The Profile Builder Pro plugin takes the guesswork out of how to build a website with user accounts in WordPress.

You can create different pages to allow users to create and manage their user accounts and configure security options to fight off registration spam. And, to take things to the next level, the plugin lets you create a member directory, restrict content, set up redirects as well as customize the emails you send your users.

Profile Builder Pro

Profile Builder Pro is the best plugin to build a website with user accounts.

Get Profile Builder

Profile Builder Pro’s integration with the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin also makes it possible for you to enable e-commerce functionality by selling memberships (i.e., paid accounts) complete with subscription plans.

It’s an all-around WordPress user management plugin for anyone looking for ways on how to build a website with user accounts in WordPress.

Do you still have any questions about how to build a website with user accounts? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to help out!

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