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I have a complicated Wordpress/Xenforo ecosystem, I want to know if this is a good fit

ethan

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Hi there,

So I run a pretty complicated Wordpress/Xenforo ecosystem.

I started selling Woocommerce eBooks a while back with the watermark plugin Waterwoo. I configured this set-up so that no user accounts were ever created through wordpress or woocommerce. One page checkout. Simple. My eBook came with a lifetime warranty, so whenever I updated the eBook, I used various plugins to mass-create 100% off coupons of the user's email address, and then the user would simply use their email address as the "coupon code" to re-download the new eBook. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I was a younger, more inexperienced man when this started (2016). This is the only way I could think of to get existing customers a newer copy of the eBook that was stilll watermarked to them. We're now on our 9th version of the eBook.

People who purchased the eBook were invited to join my completely private Xenforo discussion boards. This is where we discussed the eBook and all other things. I set forum registrations to manual approval, so I would manually check Woocommerce for each email that was registered on XenForo... I did this about 5,000 times or so.

I then enabled an affiliate plugin, AffiliateWP, on my website so people can promote the eBook and make money. Some of these users don't have access to the Xenforo boards because they never bought the eBook in the first place, they just want to make money.

I then began selling unrelated Memberships through my Wordpress site using Memberpress. I heard bad things about WooCommerce Subscriptions/WooCommerce Memberships, so I avoided that. I currently have around 100 active subscriptions and 400 or so expired subscriptions on my site. Some of these users don't have access to the Xenforo boards because they never bought the eBook in the first place, they just wanted the membership.

I am trying my hardest to gracefully integrate all these members and plugins in the same portal. Currently, I use a customized YITH WooCommerce My Account page to manage everything. I have various rules protecting certain content in there for Memberpress members. I have my affiliate area in there for affiliates. Since it's Woocommerce based, I also have the default available downloads function in there if any of the users on my site has ever made an eBook purchase.

As you can see, this system is complicated for a number of reasons:


1. 95% of my Woocommerce members are not registered on the wordpress, but they are registered on Xenforo. If they can "login" and link their Xenforo account with their Woocommerce data, that would be HUGE because then they only need one password. Is that possible with this plugin? Can users essentially "login" with their xenforo account to my Wordpress site and will WooCommerce associate their email they used for Ordering with this new account?

2. Am I able to restrict current Wordpress members from being able to join Xenforo? As mentioned, there are several members and affiliates who I don't want access to the private discussion board since they never purchased the eBook.

3. Is there a way for automatic Xenforo registration approval if their email is detected in Woocommerce? I am figuring that's not possible, but I figured I'd ask.

4. Since my entire forum is private, is it possible to display comments on Wordpress blog posts? I love the idea of having my private community participating on blog posts. Would I need to make a forum section public in order to do this?

5. Does anybody have any general feedback on how to improve my system? This system is stressful as is. It works, but it's stressful. I don't like using so many plugins, but it's necessary for me to do the things I need to do. Does anybody have any advice on how to improve the flow of things?

I appreciate any feedback and answers. Looks like a promising plugin!
 

Alex

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Hi @ethan, thanks for sharing your setup. These kinds of details help us figure out what we need to do to make the new user syncing capabilities be as expansive as possible.

I did this about 5,000 times or so.
Heh, good for you. I topped out around 2,000 before I realized I had to make this plugin. 🙈

I've read over your post a few times and definitely think there is solid potential for your setup to work with XFtoWP. To sum up my understanding, it looks like you have a few different entry points to your forum:
  1. WooCommerce, to purchase eBooks
  2. MemberPress, to purchase various memberships
  3. AffiliateWP, for affiliates only
Each entry offers different access points in the forums, and I assume you are applying secondary user groups to the user accounts? If so, that is already compatible with XFtoWP's approach as it adds/removes secondary groups based on certain WordPress actions. So far so good.

Can users essentially "login" with their xenforo account to my Wordpress site and will WooCommerce associate their email they used for Ordering with this new account?
Since XFtoWP lives on the WP side most actions are taken under the premise that WordPress is the main user database. However, once version 1.2 with the first set of user syncing tools is released, the next focus will be on a bulk processor tool that will come with a capability to import XF users into the WP database.

The only caveat to that tool will be passwords will probably not carry over for security reasons, so I strongly suspect mass password resets will be required. The benefit of course will be that all accounts will be linked from that point forward, so it is definitely a worthy step towards getting a reign on your site.

That being said, your site can still benefit immediately from XFtoWP 1.2 as a major focus has been put on manual verification and automated workflows with the User actions feature.

You can check out the sneak peak threads in this forum and the blog, but existing WordPress users can be given options from their account area to link their XF usernames in a similar manner as we all do to get official support on XenForo.com. This at least takes some burden off of you and starts getting your users verified.

Finally, with official WooCommerce and MemberPress integrations any new customers can be auto-linked upon purchase. I haven't heard of a request for AffiliateWP yet, but it makes perfect sense to also include (I use the plugin for my main software business).

2. Am I able to restrict current Wordpress members from being able to join Xenforo? As mentioned, there are several members and affiliates who I don't want access to the private discussion board since they never purchased the eBook.
There won't be any function to restrict registration as I am leaving that option open to the forum administrator, but you can achieve what you are thinking here with the secondary user group promotions and demotions.

3. Is there a way for automatic Xenforo registration approval if their email is detected in Woocommerce? I am figuring that's not possible, but I figured I'd ask.
If this is something outside the scope of linking a WP user account to an XF account ID, then it would probably require custom development. It will be possible to pass custom user fields across sites, so that may be a solution too.

4. Since my entire forum is private, is it possible to display comments on Wordpress blog posts? I love the idea of having my private community participating on blog posts. Would I need to make a forum section public in order to do this?
Here's what's so cool about this integration—anything the API user you create can see is what can be transferred across sites. That means even if a forum is completely hidden from guests or non-verified users, as long as your API user can access it you can show a limited number of replies from that thread as blog comments. No changes to your forum structure needed!

5. Does anybody have any general feedback on how to improve my system? This system is stressful as is. It works, but it's stressful. I don't like using so many plugins, but it's necessary for me to do the things I need to do. Does anybody have any advice on how to improve the flow of things?
I'm not sure I have much to add apart from the obvious "pick one membership" line that you are more than aware of. It sounds like you are just established enough on both plugins, but it may be worth revisiting the migration tools available. Going from MB --> Woo is probably going to be the smoother route with more migration options available.

I do wonder if the WaterWoo plugin can be replaced with something independent like this, or if you can add watermarking to your PDF editing process before ever uploading it to WordPress, just to remove that depnendency. I'd be curious to see your site if you don't mind private messaging it to me.

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I hope all of that is helpful! Hearing your use cases definitely has me motivated to stay strong on developing XFtoWP as I think there are a countless amount of businesses that can greatly, greatly benefit from the kinds of automations we are trying to achieve with the plugin. Look forward to your reponse and happy to help with further questions.
 
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Alex

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No problem. If it's alright by you I'd prefer we keep all discussions in one place and reserve DMs for private info only. To respond to a point you did bring up:

If there was a way to allow users to login from xenforo to the wordpress site, that would be awesome. I am not a fan of doing password resets for XF to WP users, because at that point then the user might as well just create a new account, am I wrong?

I don't like the password reset idea either but due to how encryption works it just may not be possible to sync the accounts up initially without one. When I am actually developing the feature I will have a better idea but that is my strong suspicion right now.

It's definitely not as bad as creating an entirely new account since they only have to enter one piece of information instead of providing an email, username, and password, and could also be a good opportunity to make sure people are using strong(ish) passwords. I do think it will be worth it if that means both accounts can now be synced. Just trying to think of extra benefits if this is the course of action that will need to be taken!
 
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ethan

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No problem. If it's alright by you I'd prefer we keep all discussions in one place and reserve DMs for private info only. To respond to a point you did bring up:



I don't like the password reset idea either but due to how encryption works it just may not be possible to sync the accounts up initially without one. When I am actually developing the feature I will have a better idea but that is my strong suspicion right now.

It's definitely not as bad as creating an entirely new account since they only have to enter one piece of information instead of providing an email, username, and password, and could also be a good opportunity to make sure people are using strong(ish) passwords. I do think it will be worth it if that means both accounts can now be synced. Just trying to think of extra benefits if this is the course of action that will need to be taken!

Sent you a PM.
 
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