Plugins are cool and all, but I prefer to do things without them whenever I get the chance so long as it’s not at the expense of end user experience. One thing that a lot of people like to use plugins for is to create custom login screens for users when they are doing stuff like membership areas or maybe bbPress forums. Typically the end result is some semi styled wp-admin screen that still pretty much looks like WordPress. Leaving you with an extra plugin to maintain and a pretty much /wp-admin/ looking screen.
So if someone mentions that they want a custom login screen for members typically what I suggest doing is a quick little template that creates a login screen that matches your WordPress theme perfectly by creating a page template. The end result looks a little something like this.
To do this the first thing you’ll want to do is create a php file in your theme directory. Just call it login-page.php or whatever you prefer. Since we are just creating a custom page template there is no specific naming hierarchy to follow like you see with front-page.php, home.php, category.php, and etc.
After you create the PHP file in your theme directory the first thing you’ll want to do is drop this at the top:
This basically tells WordPress that you are creating a new page template and gives it the name Login Page in the backend so we can easily identify it.
Now below it you’ll want to add the code that actually displays the login form, here’s what everything should look like in total. Keep in mind I tailored this to work with my current site, so, I left out the div for a sidebar to display. If you are using a sidebar you’ll probably have to play with that a bit.
Once you’ve got your login-page.php file that matches the above save it and load up your WordPress Dashboard.
Once in your WordPress Dashboard create a new page like normal, once you are in the Add New Page screen feel free to name it anything you want. After providing a title look to the right sidebar of the edit page and locate the Page Attributes section. Under that you’ll find Template. In the template area select Login Page as shown below:
After you’ve done that simply publish the page and you’ll find a WordPress login screen that matches your current WordPress template perfectly. No need to maintain a plugin just to achieve a slightly modified login screen, using a quick page template you can have a professional looking tailored login with the custom url and page title you’d like your members to see–how nice for them! 😀