How do you make a membership site in Joomla? Making a membership site in Joomla is all about choosing the right extension, and there are plenty of extensions to select from in Joomla 1.5.
Build you site
Build your Joomla site. Make sure you have the latest patches installed. Write all your articles. For the time being, if you're concerned about people seeing pages you want them to pay for, just don't publish those pages. At this step, however, make sure your site is up and populated.
Design your subscription plans
The next step is to design your subscription plan. You need to design your plans before your choose an installation so you know what requirements you have in the extension. Consider the following.
Do you want memberships to automatically renew? (Some people like automatic memberships, particularly the people receiving the money. Some people particularly hate automatic renewals and won't join a site that has automatic renewals.)
Are all memberships fixed to one length or time, or can you buy a month membership, six months, and a year?
Do different levels of membership offer access to different content? (For instance, a silver membership gives you access to "How to Make $100" where as a Platinum membership lets you access "How to Make $1,000.")
Is it okay for your members to pay through PayPal?
How much are you willing to pay for the extension? (Most membership site extensions are purchased with a subscription plan. As a rule of thumb, the length of time your purchase is for is how long you have access to new revisions and patches to download. Sometimes it is how long you can ask the extension company for support.
Write out your requirements and your design plan.
Browse through the available extensions
Go to the Joomla site.
Search for the term
Paid Membership and Subscriptions
or navigate through the categories until you get to the correct spot.
Home -> e-Commerce -> Paid Membership and Subscriptions
Select an extension, install it, and configure it
Look through the extensions and pick the one that best meets your criteria. Make sure the extension works with the version of Joomla you are using. I have used Joompolitan's IPN Sub, but my version was called Subscription Manager. It was easy to configure and works well. I have used Amember and I got it to work. However, I do not recommend amember. Amember is not really a Joomla extension and it is difficult to configure and get everything to work. I didn't have much luck with the support people either. Amember is a standalone product that can work with content management systems other than Joomla, and I think that's what makes it more difficult. If you want to have one product that works on multiple platforms, however, you should definitely look into it.
Installing the extension, as long as it is not amember, is just a matter of selecting Install/Uninstall under the Extensions menu. Once it is installed, look for it under Components and look for a configure option. Each of these extensions is different, so if something isn't obvious, read the documentation.
At the moment I'm particular fond of AEC for membership sites, since it seems to be the first membership extension that works with Joomla 1.6.