Here’s an interesting piece of WordPress reality … not everything published with WordPress is suitable for audiences of all ages. Even though about 99% of all WordPress sites don’t need any sort of age verification (not that I’ve done any serious research), I’m sure we can all imagine some individual scenarios in which such a thing is a must.
Actually, you don’t even have to be publishing any sort of adult content. Just to give you one family-friendly example: picture the situation where you’re running a contest and only people above 18 are eligible to win… What I’m trying to say is that age verification can be a nice feature for a number of other purposes, not only adult content.
Of course, any sort of age verification will not actually prevent underage visitors from accessing your site … this is just a “tell me your age and I’ll trust you” kind of thing. Still, according to the law, this is all you need.
Anyways. Let’s get to the how-to part.
Enabling age verification
I’m sure this won’t be any kind of surprise to you, but the only sensible way to enable some age verification functionality is through a plugin. The top one in that area is called Age Verify.
After you install and activate it, you can go to the settings section to set everything up.
The options are quite straightforward, yet very functional.
First of all, you can set the required age above which visitors can access your site and the time for which the users should be remembered (setting it to 1440 will force visitors to verify their age every 24 hours).
You can also set the plugin to verify only the age of not logged-in visitors. This means that people with user accounts can access your site anyway. This actually makes perfect sense, otherwise you could even block out admin users.
One more thing, if you’ve opened up your site for public registrations, you can also set the plugin to require age verification from anyone trying to register.
On the front end, you can customize how everything looks and also tweak the standard placeholder messages.
This is actually something you should do right away because the default design of the plugin doesn’t look all that attractive (image below). Anyway, it’s the functionality we’re after here.
Age Verify is not the only plugin that can provide you with such functionality, but it’s the only one that’s still up to date and free.
Generally, I don’t advise you to use anything that doesn’t list your current WordPress version in the “Compatible up to” section on the plugin’s official page in the directory.
Finally, if you’re willing to invest some money into this whole thing, you can get the Adults Only plugin ($13).
This one provides a number of verification methods, as opposed to just one. You can use links, input fields, or drop downs.
It’s also SEO-friendly, which means that search engines won’t get blocked by the plugin, and will be able to index the content of your site uninterrupted.
On top of that, there are three kinds of age verification pages available: the default gate (already good looking, won’t require any modifications), overlay (something like a lightbox), page (blank template which can be customized manually).
There’s not much more I can say about age verification. As it turns out, it’s quite a basic piece of functionality, and the plugins providing it are just simple one-feature plugins.
But feel free to comment. Do you know any other ways of enabling age verification on a WordPress site? Are there any other plugins I’ve overlooked?