How to Create a Pay Access Website

Updated July 20, 2017

Pay access websites require visitors to pay before seeing some or all of the content. To create a pay access website, you'll need to create content, protect the content with an access control system and test the payment processing. Pay access websites can be used for content such as documents, video and audio.

Decide how you will create and manage your website content. Hand-coding involves composing the HTML code for your Web pages in a text editor (such as Notepad). Content management systems, such as WordPress, provide a graphical interface for creating and publishing pages.

Add pay access control features. Configure your website hosting service to provide them. For a hand-coded site, you'll need to install pay access control software. With a content management system site, you'll need to install a pay access module. For example, Wishlist Member is a pay access add-on module (or plug-in) that transforms a WordPress site into a pay access (or membership) site.

Produce content. Create your documents, video or audio for your site. Compelling content will attract visitors and encourage them to pay for access to your website. Format your content using industry standard formats to reduce user frustration. Preview your content to ensure it is viewable and has the desired appearance.

Create pages to hold your content. You'll need a Web page to hold your content. For a hand-coded site, create a new page file and edit it using a text editor. For a content management system site, simply add a new page and place your content on the newly created page. Adding content to pages is quick and easy with content management systems, such as WordPress. These systems have controls that allow you to select and upload your content with having to manually add HTML code to the Web page.

Protect your content pages. Once created, your content pages will need to be protected from free access. Add the appropriate code to each page so your pay access control system recognises these pages as pay access only.

Upload your content pages to your website hosting service. For a hand-coded site you'll need to transfer your page files to your website hosting service using FTP. With a content management system, the uploading process is usually automatic as the pages are stored in the content management system database as they are created and edited.

Verify that the pay access controls are working. Visit your pay access website as a new user would and test the pay access features. Attempt to access your content without paying. Then, proceed through the payment process and make sure that you can collect money from visitors and that the pay access content is accessible once you've paid.


Attract paying visitors by giving a free sample of your content. Reach a wider audience by providing your content in multiple formats.

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About the Author

Steve Aycock has a background in engineering and law. Writing since 2002, Aycock has been published in "IPLaw360" and BNA's "Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal." Aycock earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of South Florida and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University.