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Need some planning advice

Thread began 3/20/2013 11:36 pm by Christopher West | Last modified 3/21/2013 4:19 pm by Jason Byrnes | 987 views | 11 replies |

Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Need some planning advice

Hi guys. Im planning a new project for a client. and they need the following requirements:
1. a website thats members only - a monthly paid subscription is required.
2. one section of website sell merchandise on the website (physically shipped)
3. 4 sections spit as categories selling photos (digital download)

Note. The monthly subscription may be based on different pricing plans (so may consist of a price per month, or every 6 months or yearly price plan) - Im thinking for this using a seperate payment system with a selection of different paypal subscription buttons.

Then I need to work out an idea for above points 2 and 3 so that would consist of a cart system. perhaps somehow have 2 seperate cart systems or have 1 cart system but perhaps detects if an item is a physically shipped item in which case prompts user for additional payment options (delivery option and address details).

What advice I am looking for on here, is a logical approach. I think it would be logical to seperate the website membership payment system from the payment system used for selling digital downloads/physical goods....im just wondering the best method for the later...since if a user is purchasing digital downloadable photos they wouldnt need the checkout process where it would ask for a shipping address as the digital download would be stored in their membership account...also if they did order physical goods then the order summary would be stored in their membership account.

any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated at this point :)

Chris

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Jason ByrnesWebAssist

no need to complicate matters by having separate carts for the membership, physical and digital goods.

Remember:
K.I.S.S

since you will be offering digital goods and subscriptions, you will need to force registration before checkout.

you will need to implement User Level authentication to handle the initial registration, then the different subscription levels.

for the user level, set the default value to 0 so that when a new registration is submitted they get the very basic access level.

your users table will also need to have a registration date column.

When an order is placed, you can update the UserLevel column based on the level that they purchased. in this thread:
showthread.php?t=29909

i give an example of how to create a 14 day trial membership access rule, the same principle can be used for longer periods to create 30 day access rules or 6 month - 1 year access rules.


for the digital goods, see the tutorials on the eCart support page for creating a download center.

with mixed products like physical and digital goods in the same cart, the important thing is to have a productType column to mark whether a product is is digital or physical, this can be used when creating the download center and for the creating the shipping rules.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Hi Jason thanks for that, before reading those other threads. The main question that comes to mind from what you said at the beginning is if i were to use one ecart system thats all fine and I can use a ProductType to identify from digital and physical goods etc. I was thinking though in terms of membership registration..I would need to keep this seperate away from the cart system...so for the membership registration process..would i just include regular paypal subscription buttons.?

Also my intention is to use framework builder so that the website will display "non-login" content to display benefits of registering..then when a user registers and pays the content for all these pages is switched to "logged-in content"

so for my framework builder behaviour i would use a dynamic plugin and for the Trigger use a session if exists then display this.php file and then for the default.php fle i would just not set any Variable Value for that trigger? Can the existence of a session in the Trigger for dynamic plugin?

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Jason ByrnesWebAssist

you can use the same eCart payment system for the membership as the other products. think of membership as another type of digital good.

on transaction success, you would update the User level to the level that they purchased.


you could then store the user level in a session and use that as a trigger for the dynamic plugin.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

but I was assuming ecart doesnt support subscription type ?

also with regard to storing the digital downloads away from the site root...how is this possible...as I always use 1and1 hosting...when I setup an FTP it only allows me to setup from the site root..(this is shared hosting NOT dedicated hosting).

Chris

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Jason ByrnesWebAssist

eCart doesn't support recurring payments. When the membership period runs out, they will need to re purchase a new membership.



it is not possible with shared hosting. in order to store the digital goods away from the root, you need a dedicated account.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

ok whats the alternative to securing downloadable content? I was thinking a sub-folder somewhere and saving the photo without the file extension and naming the file with a series of random numbers. Or do you have any better suggestions using a shared-hosting?

Since ecart doesnt support reoccuring payments, would the best approach to use ecart for the digital downloads/physical products then use seperately paypal subscription buttons on the registration page?

Chris

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Jason ByrnesWebAssist

there isn't another alternative for protecting downloadable files except for storing them outside the site root

if it is above the site root, and someone where to guess the location and file name, they could access it without paying.

I would still use eCart for the memberships, just when the membership period is over, they need to re purchase.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Yes I understand that. but lets say for the time being dedicated hosting is out of the price range of my client..so I need to at least thing of a way of attempting to secure these files...

for example if the create a folder structure thats quite deep and never show the folder structure in the URL using .HTACCESS that could be one way of to prevent anyone from guessing the location right?

or perhaps storing them on a seperate domain account?

any advice on protecting these files without dedicated hosting would be appriciated :)

Chris

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Jason ByrnesWebAssist

there is not another way to protect the files.

any other strategy is not protection, it is just hiding them.

sure, you could create a complex directory structure and have the files 10, 15 levels deep, but that is not 100% protection. it will certainly make it difficult to guess the directory structure, but it wont be impossible. you are really just hiding the needle in a hay stack. The Myth Busters proved that the needle can still be found.

I'm not saying that you cant do it that way, I'm just making the distinction between hiding the files and truly protecting them.

hiding them like you are suggesting is certainly viable, but don't make the mistake of thinking that they are truly protected form unauthorized download.

the only way to truly protect the files from unauthorized download is to store them outside the site root.

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