Members only website


#1

I have been reading and reading and searching the KBase and forum, but it has been fruitless for what I’m looking for. (I’ve learned a lot along the way, though)

Can anyone tell me if it is possible for me to set up a members only website where members can register, give gen’l info about themselves, and set their own personal password? I would need this information to go directly to a database to manage the information. I thought I would need MySQL (not really sure what that is), but I don’t want to go to the trouble of learning it unless it is what I need to accomplish my goal.

If it is possible, can someone please tell me where to go to learn to do it? I’ve even tried copying the code from other sites, but there are so many tables and so much that is Greek to me. I’m too green to know what I am looking at.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Eileen


#2

wow, you’ve really picked a hugh project.

I’d look around for a CMS that’s allreayd been written. A Content Management System - CMS will provide the password protection stuff you’re looking for so only members can access the site and subscribe to your mailing list.

What you’ll need to a system that will somehow work off of your existing database before allowing a user to register. So you’ll probably eventually need to convert your database into mysql - but there’s programs to do that.

So basically you’re going to have to do a lot of searching, research, and testing to find a CMS to provide user validation, as well as managing the content in a manner that works for you. I’d also be prepaired for a couple months worth of part time work on this - it’s not going to be quick and easy.

Hope this is helpful.

-Matttail


#3

Almost all cms, let you do the members only access, phpnuke, postnuke, joomla + smf, are good options but be aware, that you had to maintain uptodate, to avoid problems…


#4

You are already on the right track. MySQL is just the name of the database management system used here, so you would need to create a MySQL database in the Control Panel and then create a table to hold usernames and passwords. But that is the easy part.

You would need to build several PHP pages to handle the user registration process. A user could fill in a form (including specifying their own password), and then the data could be sent to the database. A user then “logs in” by entering the username and password they chose, and the two pieces of information are stored in either (a) session variables or (b) a cookie. Each page of your “members only” section must then check to see if the username and password match up to those in the database.

To let users edit their information, you could give them access to a page with a pre-populated form where they can change various values. The form could then be submitted and the data update.

Obviously, some form of error checking is needed during most steps of the process. Usernames don’t really need to be unique, but the username/password combo must be. You will need to hold user information in a session when creating or editing records so that they don’t have to type everything in again if they pick a username/password combination that is already in use.

If you are new to PHP and MySQL, this may all seem rather daunting; however, there really isn’t much to it - especially if you treat the registration process as a separate project to the logging-in process. If it still seems like a big deal, some WYSIWYG software, such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, have built-in scripts that can handle all this stuff for you.


Simon Jessey
Keystone Websites | si-blog