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How to Add Content Locking in WordPress (2 Methods)

Do you want to add content locking to your WordPress site?

Many websites use content locking to boost their lead generation, increase sales, or build their email list.

In this article, we will show you how to add content locking in WordPress without annoying users.

Adding content locking in WordPress

What is Content Locking?

Content locking is a technique used by site owners to encourage their users to take action.

That action might be anything from signing up for an email newsletter to paying for premium content.

Content lock example

Content locking works similarly to content upgrades. When you offer valuable content on your WordPress websites, such as a course or ebook download, you give your visitors a reason to take the initiative and sign up for a membership.

Doing this effectively can help you generate leads, build an email list, and grow your business. But if you don’t set up content locking in the best way, then visitors to your site may find it annoying.

That being said, let’s see how you can easily add content locking in WordPress the right way. Method 1 is best for exclusive free content, and Method 2 is for premium paid content.

Method 1: Add Content Locking with OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the best lead generation plugin for WordPress on the market. It’s the best choice when you want to use exclusive content to grow your email list.

You will need a Plus or higher plan for content locking. WPBeginner users can get a 10% discount by using this OptinMonster coupon.

First, you’ll need to visit the OptinMonster website and click the ‘Get OptinMonster Now’ button to signup for a plan.


Next, you need to install and activate the OptinMonster plugin. For more details, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you’ll need to connect your site to your OptinMonster account. You can do that by going to OptinMonster » Dashboard menu item in your WordPress admin bar and then clicking the ‘Connect Your Site’ button.

Connect Your Site to OptinMonster

Once you’ve done that, you’ll then need to log into your OptinMonster account or create a new one.

After you are successfully connected, you should navigate to the OptinMonster » Campaigns page in your WordPress dashboard. Since you haven’t yet created a campaign, you’ll be asked to create a new one.

Navigate to the OptinMonster Campaigns Page

When you click the ‘Create Your First Campaign’ button, you’ll be taken to the OptinMonster website and asked to select a campaign type.

To add content locking, you’ll need to select the Inline option.

Select the Inline Option

You’ll then need to scroll down and choose a template. OptinMonster offers multiple templates, and they all work great across any device.

You can view each template by clicking on the Preview button. When you find one that matches your needs, you’ll need to click the Use Template button.

We’ll go with the Action template because it points our readers’ attention to a single call to action.

Choose a Template as a Starting Point

You’ll then be asked to provide a title for your campaign.

Once you’ve typed it in, simply click the Start Building button.

Add a Title for Your Campaign

This will open the OptinMonster editor. Here you can spend time perfecting the content and appearance of the popup.

You can click on any section to change the wording, edit fonts, add images, change colors, and more. You can also customize the Success message that’s displayed to your users after they sign up.

The OptinMonster Editor

Once you’re happy with the way your popup looks, we need to activate content locking.

To do that, you need to click on the Inline Settings tab. You can then turn on content locking by clicking on the ‘Lock Content Below Campaign’ on/off switch.

OptinMonster Inline Settings

While you’re there, you should choose whether your locked content will be blurred or just not displayed. You can make your selection from the Content Locking Style dropdown menu.

The next step is to connect your email marketing service. The good news is that OptinMonster supports many popular providers.

You’ll need to go to the ‘Integration’ tab at the top and then click on the ‘Add New Integration’ button. You should find your email service in the drop-down menu.

Click Add New Integration

After that, you need to make the campaign active. Simply click on the Published tab at the top of the screen and then click on the Publish button.

Then you can save your campaign by clicking the ‘Save’ button at the top right.

Toggle the Post Status to Publish

We’ll finish setting up OptinMonster back at your WordPress dashboard. Once there, you need to navigate to OptinMonster » Campaigns.

This will take you to your list of campaigns.

Navigate to the OptinMonster Campaigns Page

When you hover your mouse over the current campaign, some links will appear. To customize how your content locking will work, click on the Output Settings link.

The Automatic option is the simplest to set up. It will lock content automatically after a specified number of words or paragraphs. For example, you could lock all content after the first three paragraphs of each post.

Lock Content Automatically

The Manual setting requires a little more work, but it lets you choose exactly which content will be locked.

You can do this by adding a shortcode to each post that you wish to lock.

You Need to Add Shortcode to Each Locked Post

Start by copying the shortcode.

To add it to your content, you’ll need to edit the post or page where you want to enable content locking.

When you’re in the WordPress content editor, add a shortcode block and simply paste the shortcode just before the content you wish to lock.

Paste the Shortcode Before the Locked Content

Now, you can save and publish your post or page.

If you’d like to see content locking in action, then simply visit the post or page in a new browser window.

Preview Content Locking in Action

The locked content is blurred or hidden.

Once they enter an email address, the locked content will be displayed.

The Rest of the Content Will Be Displayed

Method 2: Add Content Locking with MemberPress

MemberPress is the best membership plugin for WordPress, and it can effectively lock your WordPress content. It’s the best choice when you want to make money by charging for premium content.


You will need at least a Basic plan for content locking. WPBeginner users can save up to $479 off their first year of MemberPress payment using this MemberPress coupon.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more details, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

On activation, you’ll have to enter your MemberPress license key. To do that, navigate to MemberPress » Activate and paste your key into the text box. You then need to click the Activate License Key button.

Enter MemberPress license

When you first set up your membership site, you’ll have to select a payment method, decide on pricing, create a signup page, and more.

Check out our ultimate guide on how to create a WordPress membership site for all the details.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use MemberPress to create a premium subscription and then determine which content can only be accessed after paying for a membership.

Let’s start by setting up a new membership plan for your subscribers. To create a membership level, you need to go to the MemberPress » Memberships page and click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.

Go to the MemberPress Memberships Page

You’ll need to give the plan a name and decide on the cost of the content and the billing type.

We’ll create a one-time lifetime payment, but you could choose one of the regular subscription options.

Give the Plan a Name

After that, you need to scroll down to the membership options meta box below the post editor.

This is where you can customize permissions and membership options for this particular plan.

Scroll Down to Membership Options

If you need more than one membership plan, then go ahead and repeat this process.

When you’re finished, you can click on the Publish button on the left of the screen to make it available.

Publish the new membership when you're ready

The next step is to select which content is available to each membership plan on your website. MemberPress makes it easy to control access using ‘Rules’.

You can set up your rules by visiting the MemberPress » Rules page and clicking on the Add New button at the top.

Visit the MemberPress Rules Page

The rule edit page allows you to select different conditions and associate them with a membership plan.

For example, we’ll protect all content with the ‘premium’ tag so that it’s available only to members of the Premium plan.

Add a New Rule

Below the rules editor, you’ll see the content drip and expiration options. These let you release content gradually and make it unavailable after a period of time.

If you’d like all the content to be available as soon as they sign up, and remain available without expiring, then you should leave them unchecked.

See the Content Drip and Expiration Options

Repeat the process to create more rules as needed for your membership site.

Once you are satisfied, go ahead and click on the ‘Save Rule’ button on the left to save your rule settings.

Click the Save Rule Button

Now, all we need to do is to add our locked content.

In our example, we’ll need to add the ‘premium’ tag to the posts we want only Premium members to be able to access.

Add the Premium Tag to Locked Posts

Next, scroll down to the ‘MemberPress Unauthorized Access’ meta box below the post editor.

Here you can select what logged-out users (non-members) will see when they reach this content.

MemberPress Unauthorized Access

You can see the content lock-in action by visiting your WordPress site.

This is what someone who is not a premium member will see when navigating to a locked page on our demo site.

Preview the Locked Page

Premium members will be able to see the content when they log in to your WordPress site.

We hope this article helped you add content locking in WordPress. You may also want to learn the right way to create an email newsletter or check out our list of must-have WordPress plugins to grow your site.

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15 CommentsLeave a Reply

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  2. Hello, Just bought OptinMonster and it seems it doesn’t have this function anymore? I can only put an inline post at the bottom of the article? I really need this function for my client’s website and I don’t know what to do now. Help, anyone?

    • The function is still available. If you reach out to OptinMonster’s support they can assist you in setting it up.


  3. Hi is it possible to create folders in WordPress pages ?

    Instead of posts displaying directly on the screen, I need a folder in which the posts can be added.

  4. This Plugin starts from $49/year for the basic version. Not exactly aimed at beginners, is it?

    Do you ever review Plugins that DON’T pay you a commission?

  5. This is awesome. But I have two points for your thoughts.

    1. Optin Monster is great but it costs something. If I am not using Optin Monster ( or any other paid service), is there any way to do this with a free option?

    2. You said ” If it’s done correctly” Can you please make a separate post ( or a content upgrade on this one) about what ways can it go wrong. I am sure your readers will be really curious to do this correctly.

  6. How can I add this to a site that is not using wordpress but some other custom cms? And can it be added to collect leads before allowing viewers to download specific pdfs only from the website?

  7. Great idea, but what about Restrict Content Pro? I used it for many clients and i really believe it’s great solution.

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