1. SMF 2.x comes with a Paid Subscriptions feature. It uses PayPal for transactions, which is relatively universal and familiar to most people. Everything is automatic, such as signups and renewals, but when a subscription is canceled either you or the member also needs to mark it cancelled within PayPal. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, it is easy to create one.
Here are full details on that feature:
2. You can create a simple paypal button (you can create a free paypal account if you don’t already have one and associate it with your email address). We can help customers add the button to their forum. Then when a member pays you through Paypal, you can approve their membership in the forum, or you can register them yourself and send them the login. In the Admin -> News and Newsletters section you can describe how people can become members.
3. Another idea is to allow regular members and guests to view the regular boards but create special boards that are for paid members only.
To create a new Membergroup for paying members, go to Admin -> Members -> Membergroups -> Add Membergroup. Give the group a name, a Group Type and select permissions (which you’ll edit later as descibed below) and Visible Boards they are allowed to access.
Then edit the “Permissions” for the new Membergroup in Admin -> Members -> Permissions -> General Permissions -> and click “Modify” next to the new Membergroup to verify the permissions are what you want.
Then verify and edit which boards Membergroups can see in Admin -> Boards and over on the right click “modify” next to each Board and then click or unclick the appropriate groups under “Allowed Groups.”
Then after someone pays via PayPal, you can change a member’s membergroup by going to the Members area, and clicking on the member’s name which takes you to their profile, and under “Modify Profile” you click “Account Settings” and you can select their Primary Membergroup there.
When done be sure to test registering a test user and modify their membergroup to verify they are doing what you want (note you have to use an alternate email address for each test user).