Why do we buy a WordPress theme? Because we don’t want our site to look like any other WordPress site out there. We want ours to be unique. If that’s the case with themes, then why not with the login page?
Using a custom login page is one of the primary ways of providing a unique user experience. It uplifts brand identity, which is crucial for any business to succeed.
For blogs or membership sites that require visitors to log in to access content, WordPress’ default login page is the starting point. Before someone can access the subscriber-only material you offer, they need to first login to your site.
Think about it. When you’re about login to the “members-only” area of a newly purchased membership site, and you see the same old login screen that you’ve seen in every other WordPress site – including yours, how does that make you feel?
The effect is slightly dampened, if not significantly.
That’s why your business needs a customized version of the WordPress login page that’s tailored to the look and feel of your business. If you’re building a membership site, a custom login page is absolutely necessary.
Okay, that’s settled.
What about plain old blogs? Don’t you need a custom login page for that? Well, that depends. If you’re planning to build a membership site in the future, then it’s a probably a good idea.
If you’re building a custom solution for your clients, then it’s a good idea to whitelabel the WordPress login page (and preferably admin area as well).
Whitelabeling your client’s WordPress site uplifts brand identity and works as marketing agent for inbound traffic.
How do we customize the WordPress login page?
Well, the easiest way would be to directly edit the wp-login.php file, which is definitely not a good idea. Why? For starters, it’s considered as a poor software development practice. Secondly, whenever you update a core revision of WordPress, chances are that the file is replaced with a newer version; as a result of which you’ll lose all the customization.
Second way is to build yourself a nice plugin with all the customization baked in it. You can add nifty features like links, buttons, animations, etc. and pack them in the plugin. Once you activate the plugin, the changes are immediately incorporated.
This is essentially the correct (and safe) way to execute the same process described earlier. Since it is a plugin we’re talking about, you won’t lose the customization while updating WordPress.
Here are a few tutorials to help you achieve this. Please keep in mind that implementing these tutorials takes significant time and effort and you might end up becoming a developer… Aaahh!
The third and the final method to customize your login page is the easiest one by far. You’ve guessed the solution and are probably right, the answer is – WordPress plugins! The remainder of this post enlists some of the best plugins to customize your WordPress login page. We’ve decided to go ahead and categorize the plugins under free, freemium and premium – which will help speed-up your plugin hunt. Hope we’ve been able to save some of your precious time!
Completely Free Plugins: Whilst researching plugins for a specific topic, I occasionally find a few outdated ones. Today’s article was no exception.
Keeping in mind of the growing list of attacks and vulnerabilities discovered every day, I’ve decided to list only those plugins that have been updated in the last six months. Although this may shorten the list, rest assured they are from active developers.
Plugin’s demo login screen
This plugin lets you customize the WordPress login page by changing the background and text color, font type, size, etc.
You can also hide the forgot password or registration link (this is useful if you want to disable registration). The plugin also supports Google Analytics and SSL enabled WordPress sites.
Apart from the usual features like CSS customization, adding images and customizing the background, the unique feature of this plugin is the templates feature.
The developer created a Flickr group where the plugin users share their customized version of the login page. You can Create a new design using PSD file provided on image template folder of plugin and then upload the new template to the plugin’s resource folder located at /wp-content/plugins/bm-custom-login/images/
This plugin sports a ton of features including heavy customization options, ranging from background, font, animations, colours, opacity, gradients and other awesome CSS capabilities. It can also change the footer text in the admin dashboard which is great of you’re building a custom solution for your client.
Demo login screen
A major feature of this plugin is the settings import/export feature. This just makes things so much easier when you’re managing multiple websites.
This plugin has an awesome set of features such as a login shortcode that lets you dynamically generate the login page anywhere in your WordPress site and a redirection module that takes your user to a desired (landing) page as soon as they login.
The plugin doesn’t support custom CSS at the moment (this has been planned for a future release however), so you’ll have to make-do with the current set of customization features.
Sample login screen generated by the plugin
Yet another awesome multilingual plugin to easily customize your WordPress login page. It’s responsive in design and supports a ton of customization features, along with a live preview within the settings screen.
Sample plugin login screen
A unique feature of this plugin is the animated background – set a couple of images and watch the plugin generate an awesome animated slideshow. You can also add your social media accounts with one click and all the options are fully customizable.
Demo login screen generated by the plugin
Developed by TeslaThemes, this plugin supports a ton of amazing features including a fully responsive design and Google reCAPTCHA integration.
Plugin demo output
This is a dead drop simple plugin intended for a very specific purpose – adding a header and footer to the WordPress login page. You can also include custom CSS in a file called custom-login.css located in your current theme’s directory.
This plugin has essentially the same same features as the previous one. Only benefit is that it has a textbox to include the custom CSS.
Freemium Plugins: These plugins are ones that offer basic functionalities for free and charge for the advanced ones. Normally, these plugins have a lot of active users and are mostly updated since they have higher number of active users.
Demo output of a premium design pack
This is one of the most popular freemium plugins with over 80,000 active installations. The free version includes tons of design features along with custom CSS and JS code snippets. Extensions such as stealth login, custom redirects and others are housed under the premium tag.
All the customization features are available in the free version. The premium version provides a reCAPTCHA verification module as a security addon.
Plugin demo login screen
This plugin has over 9000 active installation, but unfortunately it hides a lot of its advanced CSS features under the premium tag. If CSS isn’t your strong suite, but you’re looking to style your login page anyhow, this plugin might be just for you. On a developer’s side note this plugin is also compatible with any other plugin that hooks in the login form, including BuddyPress, bbPress and Limit Login Attempts.
Premium plugins are ones that have extended functionality and come with a basic level of developer support. Following are a few ones I found over at CodeCanyon. (I’m not going to go over the details since the plugin pages have all the features enlisted)
Simply put, this plugin is a complete solution for white labeling your WordPress site. This plugin has over 4,600+ sales and has a rating of 4.66 out of 5.
Another great plugin with a ton of features. It has 1000+ sales and rated 3.87 out of 5.
Developed by iThemes, this plugin comes as part of the iThemes Plugin Developer Suite, which is priced at $247.
What technique do you prefer to customize your WordPress login page? Would you prefer to build a plugin yourself or use an existing one? If the answer is option one, we’d love to check out your work. If it’s option 2, what’s your preferred plugin?