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How to Moderate New User Registrations in WordPress

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Do you want to moderate new user registrations in WordPress?

When you run a WordPress membership site, or allow users to register on your site, unfortunately it can often lead to spam user registrations.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily moderate new user registrations in WordPress, so you can manually approve and deny new users.

Moderate user registrations in WordPress

Why Moderate New User Registrations in WordPress

WordPress allows you to open your website for new user registration. This allows users to create an account on your website.

Open user registration in WordPress

Often website owners require user registration to see premium content, download files, purchase product from your online store, and more.

By default, you can choose a user role to assign for all new user registrations such as the Subscriber role. This gives them certain permissions and capabilities on your website.

To have more granular control over what users can see and do on your website, you will need the MemberPress plugin. It is the best WordPress membership plugin that allows you to easily sell memberships and subscriptions on your website.

MemberPress Website

You can use MemberPress to sell courses, create a paid newsletter, and other premium content memberships.

If you’re looking to sell digital downloads like eBooks, music, software, and more, then you can use the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

Alternatively, if you’re selling physical products on your site, then you would also want to require user registration as part of your WooCommerce online store, so you can store their shipping details.

Now the problem with opening your website for new user registrations is spam sign-ups.

Similar to spam comments, there are automated bots that just look around for registration forms and fill them up.

You can use ReCaptcha and other methods to block spam user registrations, but they also affect user experience.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent spam user registration through user moderation queue.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily moderate new user registrations in WordPress and simply approve or deny sign-ups on your website.

Method 1. Moderate User Registrations in WordPress with Custom Registration Form

Most website owners like to use a custom user registration form in WordPress. This allows them to customize the styling to match their brand needs, automatically add users to their email newsletter, and more.

WPForms is the best drag & drop WordPress form builder used by over 5 million websites, and it comes with a powerful User Registration addon.

Note: We use WPForms on our sites and recommend it to all users.


The user registration addon allows you to create completely custom WordPress user registration form as well as a custom WordPress login forms.

It also lets you turn on Admin approval for new user registration.

Enable Admin Approval for User Registration in WPForms

Since WPForms integrates with all the popular email marketing services, you can use it to automatically add all users to your email list.

Their free Uncanny Automator integration also enables further no-code workflow automation to help you save time.

If you’re not using WPForms custom user registration form, then don’t worry. Our next method will cover how to moderate user registration for WooCommerce, MemberPress, and basically every other plugin.

Method 2. Moderating User Registrations in WordPress with New User Approve

First, you need to install and activate the free New User Approve plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, this plugin enables moderation for all WordPress user registrations, and it is compatible with WooCommerce, MemberPress, LearnDash, BuddyPress, Easy Digital Downloads, and all other user registration plugins.

If you are using the default WordPress user registration, then users will see the following message on the registration form.

New user registration form

After they fill out the user registration form and submit it, they will be informed that their account is pending review.

Awaiting moderation

You will also receive an email notification on your admin email address to approve or deny this user registration.

Users will also get an email on their account informing them that their registration is awaiting approval.

Tip: If you or the users on your site don’t receive email notifications, then you need to set up WP Mail SMTP. For more details, please follow the instructions in our guide on how to fix the WordPress not sending email issue.

Approve or Deny User Registration in WordPress

The New User Approve plugin makes it super easy to manage the moderation queue for user registrations.

Simply login to your WordPress admin area, and click on the New User Approve menu item in the admin sidebar.

Moderate user registration

You’ll see the list of user registrations awaiting moderation. You can then go ahead and Approve or Deny the user registration.

Users will then receive an email informing them whether their registration was approved or denied.

They can then go ahead and log in to their account on your WordPress website.

Allow Specific Users to Bypass User Regisration Moderation

New User Approve allows you to create invitation codes that users can use to register on your website and bypass the moderation queue.

Simply go to the New User Approve » Invitation Code page and enter a code in the Add codes box.

Create invitation codes to bypass new user moderation

You can also set a usage limit for the invitation code and choose an expiry date.

Don’t forget to save your changes.

Next, you need to switch to the Settings tab and turn on the toggle to allow user registration using the invitation link without moderation.

Enable invites

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

You can now give these invitation codes to users that you trust. They will be able to bypass the moderation queue and instantly register on your website.

Register with invitation code

Using User Moderation with Other Plugins

The New User Approve plugin works with popular WordPress plugins used for user registration and memberships.

However, it will not show the custom notices on the user registration form. You’ll have to do that manually in your plugin settings.

For instance, if you are using WPForms, then you’ll need to edit your user registration form. Inside the form builder, switch to the Confirmations tab.

Edit user registration form confirmation message

Here, you can write a custom message informing users that their account is pending review and they will receive an email when it is approved.

Similarly, if you are using MemberPress, then you can go to Memberships page and edit one of your memberships.

Edit membership

Next, scroll down to the Membership Options section and check the box next to the  ‘Enable custom thank you page message’.

Add a custom thank you message for MemberPress

From here, you can add your own custom message informing users that their account is pending approval.

You may need to repeat the process for other membership plans if needed.

We hope this article helped you learn how to moderate new user registrations in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to which website marketing data you must track or see our tutorial on how to show personalized content to users in WordPress.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

15 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Claude says

    Hi. This looks like a potentially useful plugin, but from your description, it’s not clear that it allows an admin to receive the apoplicant info on which to base an acceptance decision. For example, it would be useful to be able to ask a potential new user to reply to one or more qualifying questions; the admin could then base an acceptance decision on how the registrant replied. Is this possible with your plugin?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you create a custom registration form then you can add custom questions and the information from the form would be sent to you for consideration.


  3. Douglas Karr says

    That plugin hasn’t been updated in quite a while and has several ratings that it no longer works.

  4. Stephanie Denleuy says


    I am after a little bit of advice…

    We currently have set that all customers must be approved to be able to shop on my site and see prices on the site
    We are now not wanting this and are wanting customers to be able to see the prices of all products and be able to shop without being approved.

    As we have deactivated this plugin, it is still showing that they need to be approved to be able to shop on the site…

    How do I rectify this??


  5. Adriaan says

    Once a user has registered, they are automatically signed in and can view content. Meanwhile in the users dashboard, the account has not been approved yet. How do I change this so that the user won’t have access to content before approved?

  6. Abdallah says

    Hi , the plugin new user approve don’t update the user statut in the database when approving user nor send email when approving user

    • Abdallah says

      Hi , it’s me again , i was wrong about the plugin it works , when we update a user statut the plugin update the column user_activation_key of the users table , so if you have the same issue as me , you need to just check the emptiness of this column :
      !empty($user->user_activation_key) { do stuff }

      Now the new problem is how to read the value of this column .

  7. Unamed says

    Hello, I am using the New User Approve but the registration confirmation does not arrive in the mail users who use hotmail outlook and you know why?

  8. Chris Dumper says

    Once a user is approved can I grant him permission to see portions of a menu (and the pages referenced thre) dnied to an unregistered user. Thanks … Chris

  9. James Durkan says

    I HAVE used this in the past and it did work very well. However, now that I’m running WordPress 4.4.2, the plugin page does warn it hasn’t been tested with that version and, I’m sorry to report, it does crash. Specifically, it spews out the source code when it comes to granting approval.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We have re-tested the plugin on our demo sites. It works fine at our end on WordPress 4.4.2. Try deactivating all your WordPress plugins except New User Approve. If it works fine then probably one of the plugins on your site is causing the conflict. Try activating each plugin and then retest new user approval. Repeat for all plugins until you find one that’s causing the conflict. Report the conflict to both plugin authors.


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