Recently, I was hired by a regular client to construct a large membership website to start sharing his plethora of informative wealth (he’s a tech consultant). Decades of knowledge and experience in, many formats, were to be included, such as: audio, video, PDFs, Excel sheets and many more.

For me, this would propose a challenge. I’ve built large ecommerce websites over the years, but nothing close to a membership site, especially with so much content, mostly exclusive to members only.

We decided to go with MemberPress as our choice for handling our memberships and content rules regarding who could access what. In the very early stages of adding member content, we encountered a huge problem!! We, the admins of the website, could not access the member content on the front end, even while logged in with full permissions.

Here’s how I went about solving this problem, including some of the wrong moves.

1. Our two WordPress admin accounts are listed as users in the Memberpress Members section, but have zero Memberships listed in that row (fig .1). How can I make the user accounts Members with access to member content?

2. May be connected to #1: Is this why I am sent to a 404 page when trying to view member content? If not, then why is it all I can view after creating new Member Content and Rules for that content?

I had to create a Transaction to add a Membership to an existing member (WP user) who had no Membership affiliation, then create Rules to allow that Membership to access the content I wanted to unlock for that member level.

A colleague suggested I was wrong about why I was getting 404 errors:

“Admins do not need memberships as they are never blocked by Rules. Admins can always see everything, so the 404’s must be caused by a mis-configuration in your permalinks setting in WordPress, or a plugin conflicting with WordPress’ permalinks”

In fact, I could not find this to be true at all. I checked all my bases, but in the end it turned out the WP Admin Users DID in fact have Memberships, but with no transaction record (MemberPress’s way of knowing if someone paid for membership or not) the user could not be a full fledged Member and have access the Ruled out content.

To give any member access to a membership, you can just manually add a Transaction for that user from the MemberPress> Transactions>Add New page. The transaction must have a status of “complete” and a future (or lifetime) expires at date.