How to Build a Paid Video Chat Membership Website with phpFox, AVChat 3 and PayPal
In this tutorial I will show you how to build a paid membership website using AVChat 3, phpFox 3.x and PayPal as a payment system.
Our website will have 3 different user groups and one of them will be paid. Here are the features we’ve chosen for each of them. We’ve chosen them to encourage guests to register and registered members to subscribe and become Gold.
- Guests (Public)
- are not allowed to access the website content or the video chat
- Registered users (non paying members) will be able to access the content and chat but:
- are able to create their own private rooms and send private messages in AVChat
- they can only broadcast using low quality video and can’t make their stream private
- can’t have custom profile styles in site
- Gold users (paying members)
- they can create private rooms and send PM messages in AVChat
- can broadcast in high quality public and private video in AVChat
- can have custom profile styles (a good way for the users to actually see the difference between Gold and free users)
In order to become a Gold user and benefit from all the above features and premium content, you will have to pay $10 at registration and a recurring monthly fee of $10 using PayPal. At the same time guests will be required to register to view any content or access the video chat.
This tutorial will show you exactly how to build the above website.
Step 1: What You Need
phpFox is a social networking script. Its main advantage includes the fact that – out of the box – it has an excellent user management system including customisable user groups. phpFox also has a built in billing and subscription system. This billing system includes, by default, 2 popular payment services: PayPal and 2Checkout. In this tutorial we will use PayPal. You can buy it from this page.
AVChat 3 is a powerful video chat software that includes lots of options like video and audio broadcasting, admin features like kicking, banning or user options like reporting, private messages, sending files, create rooms and other great features. It also has a mobile version that runs automatically when you access it from a mobile device.
The AVChat 3 Module for phpFox allows AVChat to fully integrate with phpFox. The username, gender, profile picture, profile link and other data from your phpFox database will be automatically used by AVChat. At the same time your phpFox admins will have access to the AVChat admin area from where they can kick, ban, silence. The kit also allows you to enable different features for different user groups. This will help us a lot in generating more subscription revenues.
AVChat starts at $130 and the AVChat 3 Video Chat Module for phpFox is available for $49. Both can be purchased from here.
Step 2: Installing Everything
First you have installing phpFox 3.x and then the AVChat 3 Module for phpFox 3.x (together with AVChat 3). Here are direct links to the install instructions:
If you have problems installing phpFox 3.x you can go to their website and submit a ticket (don’t forget to select Install / Update Request from the Departments list).
If you have problems installing the AVChat 3 Module for phpFox 3.x and/or AVChat itself you can sign in to your nusofthq.com account and open a support ticket.
Step 3: Create a New Gold User Group
After the installation is complete we will need to create a new user group that will contain the Gold (paying) users. Here’s how to create the new Gold user group:
- First you will need to login as Administrator your phpFox AdminCP
- Go to Users -> Manage User Groups
- On the Manage User Groups page you will find two list of groups, Default User Groups and Custom User Groups. By default phpFox has 5 user groups: Administrator, Registered User (this group will contain the majority of the registered users), Guest (unregistered users), Staff and Banned
- Go to Users -> Create User Group
- You will be redirected to a page (Create New User Group) that contains a form for creating a new user group
- Give the new user group a name. We will name it Gold User
- Select the user group (Registered User) that it is inheriting the basic settings from (I suggest that you have already edited the Registered User group settings before creating the new user group. When you create a new group the initial permissions & settings are copied from the Registered user group. You can do this from Manage User Groups page by clicking the arrow next to the user group name and select Manage User Settings. You will be redirected to a page where you can select each module from your site and define the permissions you want for that group. See Step 4 below for more details)
- Press Add User Group
Step 4: Configure the User Groups
This step focuses on how to manage your site’s user group settings and permissions.
All the modules from phpFox can be configured for each user group.
Here’s how you can manage user group settings:
- In your AdminCP, select Users -> Manage User Groups
- In order to edit settings for a user group, you will need to click the arrow to the left of the user group name that you want to edit and select Manage User Settings
- The Manage Settings page has a list of modules on the left. Each module has its own settings that you can configure for each user group. When you click on a module on the left side, a list of settings that you can configure for that user group will show up on the right side. For example we’ve chosen the AVChat3 module and for the Gold User we have selected the option Allow users to make their stream private to Yes and for Registered User group to No, so users in Gold User group will be able to make their stream private and the users from Registered User group will not be able. After you have configured your settings, all you need to do is hit the Save button.
You can really customise your user’s experience and what they can do depending on what user group they are in, by familiarizing yourself with all the user group module settings. When installing new modules, always make sure that you return to these screens in order to manage settings for those modules as well.
Step 5: Setting up the Payment Gateways
In order to accept PayPal payments on your website you will need a Business or Premier PayPal account. You can follow this link to sign up for a PayPal Business Account.
To accept payments on your phpFox website you will need to activate and configure one or more payment gateways. Follow the next steps to accomplish this:
- Go to, in your AdminCP, Settings -> Payment Gateway
- On the following page, Payment Gateways, you will find 2 merchants: PayPal and 2Checkout. Click on the arrow next to PayPal and select Edit Gateway Settings
- Now, in the next page, you must enter your PayPal E-mail that represent your PayPal Business Account and set the payment gateway to Active. After you complete the form press Update
Step 6: Create a Membership Subscription
Now that we’ve created an upgraded user group and we’ve set up a payment gateway, it is time to create the Subscription.
- Go to, in your AdminCP, Modules -> Subscribe -> Create New Package
- On the following page, you must complete the required fields: Title, Description, User Group on Success, and User Group on Failure. You will also want to decide if you want your users to be able to choose the upgraded membership on the registration page, how much will cost, as well as the duration. User Group on Success means that they will be moved to this user group when they make their payment. User Group on Failure means they will me moved to this user group if their payment fails, when their subscription expires or they do not pay to renew it. We’ve set the User Group on Success to Gold User and the User Group On Failure to Registered User.
- After you have filled out the above fields, select Submit.
Step 7: Enable the Subscription
By default, the Subscribe module is not enabled. Now is time to enable it.
- Go to, your AdminCP, Settings -> Manage Setting
- To edit settings for the Subscribe module, click on the link Subscribe
- To enable subscriptions, select True for the Enable Subscription Packages setting
- Press Submit!
These are the necessary steps to build a paid video chat membership website with AVChat and phpFox. In this tutorial we’ve presented a fast and easy way to increase users engagement and your membership revenue. There are many features that can be customized so that only premium/gold users can benefit, attracting new members. Advertising these features by showing the advantages of being a Gold User may also improve the subscription rate.