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A subscription based site is a site that offers member content at a dollar value. These members are able to access parts of the site regular users cannot.

You might be surprised to know that DotNetNuke has the capability to do this, and I was able to set it up on my site with no core changes, and in a very short time frame.

Payment Gateway

The first step is to select a payment gateway for your site. This is the processor that will collect the money on your behalf.

I think the only one that works by default within DotNetNuke is PayPal (, so let’s use this one.

To configure PayPal as your selected processor:-

  1. Login as an administrator of your site.
  2. Navigate to Admin -> Site Settings
  3. Expand Advanced Settings.
  4. Expand Payment Settings.
  5. Select your currency (I’ve only ever used USD)
  6. Select payment processor (PayPal)
  7. Enter process user id and password. (this is the login you use to get into PayPal and the account money will go into)
  8. Click the “Update” button at the bottom of Site Settings.

Subscription Roles

To block certain sections off your site, you will need to create role(s) that will you apply to sections of your site for view access. (This would be the membership section.)

On my site, I have created a Gold, Silver and Host role.

To create new roles:-

  1. Login as an administrator of your site.
  2. Navigate to Admin -> Security Roles
  3. Click the “Add New Role” button.
  4. Enter role name and description. (e.g. Gold Membership, 1 Year Membership Access)
  5. Check the “Public Role” checkbox, this will allow people to subscribe to your role.
  6. Expand “Advance Settings”
  7. Enter the “Service Fee”, e.g. my site is $35 for 1 year access. So my service fee is 35
  8. Enter “Billing Period”, e.g. 1 year ($35 every year)
  9. Click the “Update” button.

Securing Content

Okay, now we’ve setup the payment process, and setup our subscription roles. It’s time to secure our content. Create a few pages on your site, and secure them to your newly created role.

Allowing your Users to Subscribe

You currently have done enough to allow your users to subscribe, but currently it’s not that intuitive, for them to subscribe, they actually need to edit there account profile, expand membership services, and “subscribe” to the appropriate role.

This will take them through the PayPal process, paying into your account and then DotNetNuke will automatically add them into your chosen role.

Note: if they pay via eCheque which takes a few days to clear, they are not automatically added to the role, and you will have to do it manually once it clears.

To make this section a bit easier, I offer an explanation page, and an f.a.q.


So you’ve now enabled your site for membership services, and hopefully you are collecting payments. You’ve made no core changes to DotNetNuke (although the sign up process could be better).

The only part that isn’t completely implemented yet is the Management side of things. These are modules like:-

  • Notify the user that there subscription is expiring.
  • Visual notification of there subscription status. (e.g. welcome gold member)
  • Update the role when a subscription has been renewed (haven’t tested this yet)

I’m sure there are plenty of other screens as well. I am planning on implementing some of this functionality as custom modules, something that will be offered to subscribers of my site.


So hopefully, you have seen how easy it is to create a subscription based website in DotNetNuke. Definitely a powerful platform indeed!

Posted in: DotNetNuke

Post Rating


Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 1:40 AM
you always bring up something useful man, cheers
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:38 AM
Nice article.

I am looking forward to your modules for better subscription management.

Something that has been pestering me is the support for only PayPal as a payment provider, yet the option to select any one of many payment providers IMPLIES support. We REALLY NEED to be able to accept payments through PayFlow Pro.
Scott McCulloch
# Scott McCulloch
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:29 AM
It would be nice to accept payments from *multiple* processors, (user chooses!)
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Thursday, April 21, 2005 12:19 AM
Hey scott have you got any thoughts on a credit card payment module? (ie. not just through paypal etc) because I find what happens is people don't like paying due to fees etc charged by these payment methods.
Scott McCulloch
# Scott McCulloch
Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:25 AM
The fees are paid by the seller not the buyer, but I see your point.

The problem with the current setup, like you said is that it's only single payment (which is paypal), you should be able to add multiple payment processors rather then just one.

This would include a credit card payment like you stated, and would have to be a custom module.
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Thursday, April 21, 2005 3:03 PM
This article is very helpful.
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Friday, April 22, 2005 9:05 AM
How can i create a new portal automaticly when some one subcribes
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Friday, April 22, 2005 3:16 PM
I'll write an article about selling portals as well
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Friday, April 29, 2005 9:06 PM
Great Article!
Rodney Joyce
# Rodney Joyce
Tuesday, May 3, 2005 8:55 AM
Hi Scott
As a core member who can hopefully influence the direction of the product, do you think that the sign-up process will be made more intuitive in a future version at some point?
Daniel Williams
# Daniel Williams
Friday, May 6, 2005 10:31 AM
Very usefull article.

I have the latest version 3.0.13. When working with the security roles, be sure the "Auto Assignment" is turned off. Otherwise, every new user will get the role automatically when they register.

I did have one problem when I followed the information. I was able to subscribe to the role and make a payment. However, the role was not updated once my payment was complete. There must be some script not working which paypal wasn't able to call to make the update. Any idea what that might be?
Jaydeep Bhatt
# Jaydeep Bhatt
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 3:55 AM
This was a great article. However, I am curious to know, why one should give Password of the processor at their own site ? At one's own site, onc RECIEVES money and does not PAY, and for recieving the money, you only need to give ProcessorID and not the password.

putting up password at site, has its own security problems :(
Jaydeep Bhatt
# Jaydeep Bhatt
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 4:19 AM
Hey, I noticed one more curious thing,

When I try to un-subscribe, that time also it goes to PayPal :O
Anonymous User
# Anonymous User
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:13 PM
For those wanting easy credit card support PayPal is offering merchant account services. It looks to be easy to use, etc. It appears you can use PayPal w/o having the re-direct to their site. Should be interesting. Here's the URL:
# lionel
Sunday, March 26, 2006 10:19 PM
Hey, I noticed one more curious thing,

When I try to un-subscribe, that time also it goes to PayPal :O

Why is that?
# blueday
Sunday, September 3, 2006 11:22 PM
you appear to be missing the 'explanation page' and 'f.a.q' site. all I get is the become a member or register pages.
Jamie Edwards
# Jamie Edwards
Wednesday, March 7, 2007 3:39 PM
How do you get your registered users to jump to being a subscriber? I cant figure that part out.

Thanks! :)
Patrick Lismore
Sunday, September 2, 2007 6:36 PM
Thankyou so much for this, I had no idea it was so easy for me to link up to paypal like this. You may have just opened a wealth of possibilites for me, I'll put and ad on my site to yours

Thankyou , thankyou
Chris Tesene
# Chris Tesene
Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:01 PM
Can you create a link to the place where users can try to subscribe to a role? I can't figure it out, I want to put links on my site.. please help
# ashutosh
Monday, February 4, 2008 9:34 PM
how can i enable member services in my DNN site
# Ravinder
Saturday, August 30, 2008 8:27 AM
Do we just need to assign user to subscription role? How do they know to make payment? How does admin check paid/ unpaid subscriptions?
# kamalpanda
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 12:26 AM
How can i change the currency settings of paypal ? Now i have made setting on my product that it is showing "Yen"currency . But when i move the sandbox integration (for testing) there the same product price is showing in "Dollar" rather than "Yen". I want that in sandbox integration also the product must be shown in "Yen". Please suggest me ....

Thanks in advance..

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