Reviewed by M. K. Safi
Digital Access Pass (DAP) is a WordPress membership solution that is backed by a strong community, developers who are passionate about their product, extensive documentation, and a rich set of features. Its powers and flexibility make it an ideal choice for all types of websites. It includes a robust email module, affiliates management module, and content dripping capabilities.
But keep in mind that, even though DAP can be operated from within WordPress dashboard, it is not a true WordPress plugin and it does not install like one. This makes DAP unusual in some ways and difficult to extend by WordPress developers.
Luckily, there’s a lot of built-in flexibility in DAP. If you want a well-rounded WordPress membership solution that will give you plenty of options when it comes to registration flow and that has the best in class content dripping features, then DAP is definitely the right choice.
This review goes into more details about each aspect of DAP to help you verify whether this solution is the right one for you.
DAP works with or without WordPress. So, in essence, it is not a WordPress plugin, but a standalone membership script. Being a standalone script rather than a plugin has its downsides, still.
Take a look at this video to see how DAP is installed and activated. Basically, you upload DAP to your root directory like standalone script and then install a WordPress-DAP integration plugin. Then activate the script using your license key. Then schedule cron jobs from your hosting control panel.
This is clearly not the streamlined installation process that WordPress users are accustomed to, so the DAP team provides a free installation service with every purchase.
As for the admin UI, when you’re interacting with DAP in WordPress admin dashboard, you’re doing it through an iframe to root.com/dap/admin/. So, DAP admin UI is nothing like WordPress native UI and it’s definitely not an improvement. To get a feel of what I’m talking about, take a look at the screenshots below.
Some developers or site flippers may care about having an easy to use UI for their clients, but many people couldn’t care less about a pretty UI—all they want is something that works and DAP does work!
The documentation of DAP is outstanding. It more than makes up for DAP’s complex UI. It covers all aspects of operation. It includes videos, how-to instructions, comparisons, implementations of various use cases, and more.
As for support, you can get it for free for one year. If you happen to need technical support after that year, you’ll have to renew your support agreement for a fee. As long as you’re within the support period, you can submit a ticket or ask questions in the forum.
Take a look at the public forums to see if you like the community.
DAP’s members and WordPress users are two separate collections of data—one doesn’t see the other. However, DAP has a feature to synchronize the two.
DAP offers robust members management capabilities, such as bulk import and export, not to mention the basic members management features that one would expect, such as the ability to edit users profiles, browse and search users, and more.
In DAP, each member is assigned to product(s). Each product is a collection of protected content, so you can think of a ‘product’ as a ‘membership level’: platinum, gold, silver, bronze, etc…
By using DAP, you’re not limiting the number of fields you can collect on registrations. DAP allows you to add custom fields to your registration form and user profiles.
Speaking of user profiles. In DAP, they are customizable and can be blended in with your existing WordPress theme, as explained in this documentation page.
Screenshot: DAP members management page
When it comes to customizing the registration process on your membership site, DAP is very flexible. And it supports all types of registration flow scenarios. Take a look below (each ‘→’ represents a redirect):
- Register → Login & access free content → Pay
- Register → Pay → Login
- Pay on PayPal first → Register → Login
- Pay and register account on one page on your site → Login
- Register for a free trial by submitting payment info → Login → Automatic payment after trial
DAP even has a feature called “Login Xpress”, which enables buyers to be immediately logged in upon completion of the purchase. For example, when the buyer is transferred back to your site after completing the payment on PayPal, they won’t have to login because they’ll already be logged in!
The “Login Xpress” feature is not supported on all payment processors.
DAP integrates directly with 1ShoppingCart, PayPal (Standard & Website Payments Pro), E-junkie, Authorize.Net, WorldPay, and ClickBank. And since it integrates with 1ShoppingCart, that means you can use it with any of the many payment processors with which 1ShoppingCart is compatible.
It is possible to offer upsells through DAP if you’re using PayPal or Authorize.Net as your payment processor (more details).
DAP supports coupon codes. The coupon can be applied to the initial payment and/or the recurring payment. There are other settings that you can configure as you can see in the screenshot below—and here’s a video demonstrating the use of coupons in DAP.
Screenshot: DAP coupon creation screen
Processing of Cancellations and Refunds
DAP doesn’t provide automatic handling of cancellations and refunds—except for when a user payment doesn’t come through. And there’s no way to provide a “Cancel your subscription” link in user profile with DAP.
When a payment doesn’t arrive, depending on your settings, DAP can automatically block access to all content or if you’re gradually dripping content, you can set it to restrict access to future content while continuing to grant access to content that has been “paid for”.
As for refunds, they are handled in a completely manual way. When you receive a refund request, you process it by going to the website of your payment processor, and then you come back to DAP to mark the user as “refunded”.
DAP can protect WordPress posts and pages by either post URL or category URL. If a post belongs to a category whose URL you’ve protected, restriction policies will apply.
Because DAP only protects URLs, if you change your posts permalink structure or change the slug of your category or its base, your protection policies will no longer apply. DAP cannot protect posts by their IDs or by the IDs of their categories.
Other than that, content protection in DAP works pretty well.
Gradual Content Delivery
When it comes to gradual content delivery, DAP is the best. For every URL that you protect in DAP, you can set a ‘Drip on Day’ field.
DAP’s UI even provides a way where you can select multiple posts, specify the number of days by which to separate the posts, and then click ‘Protect Selected Pages/Posts’. If you do that, DAP will protect the posts by dripping them to paid members at the interval of days you specify. See the screenshot:
Screenshot: DAP Posts and Pages protection
DAP can easily protect any type of digital file located at wp-content/uploads. You can also protect files hosted with Amazon S3 by using the S3MediaVault plugin (developed by the DAP team).
If you wish to expose some of your premium content as to tease potential buyers, you have two options in DAP. You can utilize WordPress’ <!–more–> tag and enabling the Sneak Peak feature or utilize DAP shortcodes.
Members-Only Discussion Forum
The forum with the best integration with DAP is vBulletin. With vBulletin you can provide different privileges and access to forums based on the level that the member has purchased. DAP can also be integrated with WordPress-based forums, such as bbPress—but this type of integration is more basic. It only distinguishes between logged in paid members and non-logged in members.
Protecting RSS Feeds
DAP can generate a special RSS feed link for every member in your site. This way the script knows how many times a certain user accessed her feed and from which IPs. You can set DAP to restrict access if the number of IPs exceeds a given amount.
Protecting an Entire Site
DAP can’t protect an entire site without you editing your PHP files—and it doesn’t do this in a clean way. The process is described here.
It’s a good thing that DAP has so much built-in flexibility because it isn’t easily extensible by 3rd party WordPress plugins. Its code is unlike what a WordPress developer might be used to. It has its own “plugin framework”, which is very basic and is only capable of triggering PHP classes upon activation and deactivation of user accounts (more details).
When it comes to sending emails to subscribers, DAP provides you with almost unlimited flexibility. It can be readily integrated with AWeber, MailChimp, or GetResponse.
With AWeber, you can automatically add mailing list subscribers as free DAP subscribers, which is very effective for building a follow-up list of potential buyers.
But that’s not all, DAP also has a built-in autoresponder module that can use your hosting server to send emails. Obviously, this is less powerful than using a service such as AWeber, but it has its own advantages.
Despite the power of DAP’s email module, it doesn’t provide an easy way to remove members from a list when they move from one membership level to another (e.g. free member → paid member).
If you use DAP with a shopping cart or a payment processor that has affiliates management capabilities, such as ClickBank or 1ShoppingCart, then you’re all set. But even if you don’t, DAP has its own fully fledged affiliates management module. Its features rival and are even better than the features of some standalone affiliates management plugins.
Many small and medium sized websites use DAP for its flexibility and power. DAP is especially popular among internet marketers on the Warrior Forum.
Here are some websites that are actively using DAP right now: OnlineBusinessNetworker.net, ThePleasureNutritionist.com, Google Red Carpet, SpaceVidCast.com, Focused 2 Win, Take Action! Revise Later, Traffic Zombie, PageTent, Kawaii Japanese, Hoop Clinics, My Forward Steps, Congressional Classroom, and VA Insider Club.
DAP prices start at $167 for a 1-site license. An unlimited license is available for $297, which you can use on websites that you own only. The unlimited license includes the S3MediaVault WordPress plugin as a bonus.
If you wish to install DAP on clients’ sites, you can buy the Developer 5-Pack license, which allows you to install the script on five client websites, for $497.
All of these licenses come with free installation of DAP.
If you need more help than simple installation, you can buy the Membership Site-In-A-Box service, which comes with the unlimited license and either 3 hours of personalized customizations ($497) or 6 hours of personalized customizations ($997).
These licenses never expire. However, upgrades and support are only offered for one year. If you need upgrades and support after that, you can renew for $30.
For the normal licenses, DAP is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. For the Membership Site-In-A-Box, you can request a refund at any time before your scheduled session with the DAP team.