User switching – testing restricted parts of membership sites

When running a membership site, there are certain parts of your site that you’ll want to look different, depending on whether the user is a member or not, and perhaps even what level of membership they have.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of setting things up and thinking that they’re set up right, but you should really test these things. It can be incredibly easy to overlook the simplest of settings when trying to restrict or unrestrict content for certain sets of members.

To do that, you’ll want to set up users at each level so that you can make sure that users at each level can see what they’re supposed to see.

To make life easier, there’s an excellent plugin called User Switching, which allows you, as an admin, to assume the role of any user on your site. So you could either set up test accounts and automatically log in to each one, or use existing user accounts, which may be even better, since they’re real life examples of what your users are seeing.

The implementation of the plugin is really beautiful: it’s as simple as having another option when you roll over the user in the user list.

Users ‹ The WP Butler — WordPress

When you click on “Switch to”, User Switching does some magical behind-the-scenes stuff and before you know it, you’re sitting at the admin dashboard, logged in as the user of choice.


From there, you can navigate to any part of the site (front-end, or back-end) and see the site as that user would (because you are literally logged in as them), which will not only help you test out how your site is set up, but as a benefit, you’re also able to help users diagnose any issues they may be having on your site, or to give step-by-step instructions to a user for how they will walk through a process on your site.

It’s a testament to how well-built the plugin is that its integration is seamless and flawless. It’s an incredibly useful plugin that will help you solve a lot of issues if you run a membership site.

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