Can you make money online? Sure. Is it easy? Not exactly. However, one of the most consistently profitable ways to secure passive income comes in the form of a membership site. And to build a membership site, it’s important to learn about the best WordPress Membership plugins.
With a membership plugin, you’re able to block some, or all, of your content, allowing users access when they pay an upfront or recurring fee. And that’s the key to stable cash flow: recurring revenue. When you sell individual products or services, each customer needs to be convinced that they should buy again, whether this is done through email marketing, abandoned cart messaging, or social media.
Companies that collect automated payments (think Dollar Shave Club, Netflix, or your cable company) don’t have to think as much about sales and marketing. They’re more focused on making current customers happy (maybe not the cable company).
Recurring memberships like these tend to grab some of those customers who never use the service or product, yet they keep paying.
In short, membership websites can mean big money, as long as you find the right niche, focus hard on providing quality products/services, and choose the best WordPress membership plugins to guide you along the way.
What Types of Membership Sites Can You Build?
An idea for a membership site is just that, an idea. It obviously takes much more time, money, and effort to establish a reputable, profitable membership business. Having said that, it’s nice to be able to bounce ideas around and get the creative sparks flying. Here are some ideas of the types of membership sites you can build.
- An online course with one or multiple topics. Courses might include projects, documents (like PDFs) videos, and quizzes.
- A product membership, where digital or physical items are sent to members on a recurring basis or as a one-off situation. “Box of the month” clubs are popular examples of this type of membership.
- A service-based membership program with members paying for a certain amount of services per month or year. An online or over the phone coaching program is a good example of this.
- A fixed-term program where the customer pays for a short membership. For instance, a smoking cessation program might end after three months.
- An online community with forums, live chats, articles, and other resources that aren’t available to the public. Users pay membership fees to have full access to chat with others and learn about topics in the niche.
- The everything-at-once membership, where the members pay fixed or monthly fees to receive everything you offer on the site. This isn’t as common, but you may find that some of your ecommerce customers are willing to pay a high, ongoing fee to basically get everything, or a large portion, of what you sell. We like this the most for smaller online stores.
- The drip-feed model, where content is slowly revealed to members depending on how far they get in a program. It’s also common for new drip content to be released on a monthly basis. Think online courses or premium blogs. Many podcasts are starting to do this as well, with bonus content outside of the episodes.
Are There Certain Features to Look for in WordPress Membership Plugins?
You bet. The good news is that the majority of WordPress membership plugins we highlight today cover most of the required features. It’s still a good idea to go through the following list, mark down the items you consider most important, then make your plugin decision based on your requirements.
- Content drip tools
- Digital download support
- Recurring subscriptions
- User login and profile management
- Multi-level subscriptions
- Social logins
- Coupons and discounts
- Email marketing and communication tools
- Course building tools
- Support for multiple payment gateways
- Templates or themes to design your membership site
- Member management
- Support for areas like forums and live chats
- API access for developers
- Quick shortcodes or buttons to restrict content anywhere on your site
The list above is only a taste of the must-have features, but it’s a good start. Overall, you’re bound to stumble upon some other unique tools from all WordPress membership plugins. With that said, continue on for the full roundup of the best WordPress membership plugins.
24 Best WordPress Membership Plugins in 2021
Although we recommend reading through this entire article, viewing the features, and testing out each WordPress membership plugin, here’s a quick list of the options we’re outlining below.
Now, keep reading to learn all about the pros and cons of our favorite WordPress membership plugins. These are listed in no particular order.
1. Ultimate Membership Pro WordPress Plugin – $29
The Ultimate Membership Pro WordPress Plugin gives you the tools needed to sell subscriptions and memberships, regardless of the type of site you run. It integrates with WooCommerce for semi-automatic billing and subscriptions to regular products. It’s marketed as one of the top-selling WordPress membership plugins on CodeCanyon, and that claim checks out.
The multiple levels of membership help your users choose how much they want to pay, while the free and trial settings give customers a taste of what you have to offer.
The Ultimate Membership Pro dashboard looks sleek and nicely organized, even for a plugin with so many features. Sometimes people forget how important developer support is when it comes to WordPress plugins.
The Ultimate Membership Pro plugin is an example of how a dedicated developer makes an enormous difference for updates, answering user questions, and delivering reliable features that users actually want to see.
In addition, the developer occasionally has discounts on the plugin, so keep an eye out for those. It’s already an affordable membership plugin, and future customer support comes along with it if you want to pay a little extra.
Benefits of Ultimate Membership Pro:
- It lets you restrict pages such as WordPress posts and pages.
- Configure recurring payments on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Let your customers log in with their social accounts.
- Hide part of your navigational menu until the user pays for a membership.
- Drip your content and send out email notifications.
- Use custom fields to make your registration forms more suitable for your site.
- The plugin lets you integrate with nine popular email marketing services.
- You can restrict members from sharing their accounts.
- Integrate with BuddyPress for a full online community.
- The Ultimate Membership Pro plugin has reasonable pricing for an incredible list of features.
- The developer has been known to show dedication to adding features and responding to user comments.
- The partial content restriction means that all you have to do is copy and paste in a shortcode to block a little bit of your content. This works well for showing teaser content.
- A long list of payment gateways is available, such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and Mollie. Ultimate Membership Pro is one of the few WordPress membership plugins with so many payment options.
- You can play around with conditional logic, special fields, and custom redirects for a completely customized membership site.
- Gutenberg modules are available for instantly adding blocks for things like drip content.
Downsides of Ultimate Membership Pro:
- Although the plugin is well organized, it’s still packed with tons of features. This might intimidate some people who only need the most basic of membership plugins.
- The system can be translated into any language, but you’re not able to run a multilingual membership website.
- The support team is responsive, but there aren’t many tutorials for such a large feature-set. Many users have also reported bad attitudes coming from the support team. This is all opinion-based, but I’ve noticed similar comments enough times to mention it as a downside.
- The registration and login forms aren’t all that customizable. You can swap out a header photo, but that’s the primary edit available. This shouldn’t be a problem for developers, but beginners are stuck with what’s given.
2. Membership by Supsystic – Free (With Paid Extensions)
Membership by Supsystic is a free WordPress membership plugin with some additional premium extensions. For example, the Restrict Content extension goes for $39 for a single site license.
Some of the other extensions include:
- Restrict Content by User Roles
- Social Network Integration
- Social Login
As for the primary features, we enjoy the fact that you can configure custom forms, a member directory, and real-time notifications without having to pay for premium extensions.
It’s also useful that the plugin provides private messaging and a complete friend and following system right out of the box.
Benefits of Membership by Supsystic:
- You receive a completely free membership plugin. The features are plentiful so there’s a chance you don’t need to pay for extensions. If extensions are needed, you simply go to the website and purchase one or two, or however many you need.
- The additional extensions are all separate, so there’s no need to pay for features you don’t use. This provides an impressive amount of flexibility.
- Users can register and login from the frontend, and the admin has tools for customizing the login forms.
- Members can manage their profiles and make friends with other people. We like the idea of having private profiles for your members to feel like they own a little “room” in your community. They can upload images, update their biography, and monitor who is reaching out to them.
- Drip content support is provided with the free version. Build your drip content strategy from day one and you should only have to make small modifications into the future. The plugin makes most of the process automated.
- Organize groups to build your community and give your members the power to moderate those groups.
- Send private messages to users through a quick chat function.
- Import data from BuddyPress and integrate with the popular community plugin to amplify the effectiveness of your member management.
- Use the role restriction to give some members more content than others.
Downsides of Membership by Supsystic:
- Some competitors offer features like subscriptions and social logins in the regular plugin. Yet, for Membership by Supsystic, each extra premium feature requires a payment of around $39.
- The marketing tools (like email marketing) are limited.
- The customer support is limited, if not non-existent when you’re utilizing the free version of the plugin. Unfortunately, the “only pay for addons” business model gives the developer less incentive to monitor customer problems, since most users aren’t paying fees on a regular basis.
- The backend lacks the clarity and streamlined user-interface of the frontend.
3. ARMember – Free and $29 for the Premium Version
ARMember has a beautiful free demo section for testing out items like the registration form, login form, membership setup form, and the profile templates.
The premium pricing is a one-time fee and the ARMember dashboard is about as clean as they come. The user sees their profile, password settings, membership info, and transactions.
The free version is a newer offering from the developers, but it does the trick for establishing a complete membership site with multiple plans, subscriptions, payment options, and more.
There are about 12 add-ons to the regular plugin including the following:
- PayPal Pro Payment Gateway
- Affiliate Pro Integration
- Cornerstone Integration
- Mollie Payment Gateway
- Zapier Integration
- Active Campaign Integration
Benefits of ARMember:
- Some of the add-ons are free, while you have to pay for others. The upside is that the true membership features are all packed into the actual plugin. These add-ons are used in unique situations.
- Every offering from this development team is affordable. You can opt to download the free plugin, try out the premium version, and choose the add-ons you need, all for low prices.
- Specify which content you’d like to restrict and change the message that users see when they haven’t paid.
- The plugin comes with a powerful form builder to customize everything from fields to colors.
- You have complete freedom over how and when you want to drip your content.
- Use custom redirects to send users elsewhere depending on their plan.
- Restrict your content using shortcodes. This means you have the flexibility to block elements all over your website. All you have to do is copy and paste the shortcode into the area you’d like to restrict.
- There’s support for free and paid trial offerings.
- Several payment gateways are supported such as PayPal, Authorize.net, and 2Checkout.
- Quite a few third-party plugins and add-ons integrate with the ARMember plugin. Some of these include BuddyPress, WooCommerce, Mailchimp, and Visual Composer.
Downsides of ARMember:
- The automated messages could use some improvements as there are a few grammar issues and vague language.
- Due to the fact that this is sold on CodeCanyon, if you need support for 12 months, it brings the price up. You also may find that premium add-ons start getting expensive if you use a bunch of them. It’s still relatively cheap compared to the alternative plugins.
- You need to activate multisite on every individual site, as opposed to the usual network activation.
4. LearnDash – Starting at $159
LearnDash is a learning management system (LMS), meaning it has a focus on helping you create courses for your users. It’s still a WordPress membership plugin, but you’re more likely to choose LearnDash if you have video courses or something similar.
The company recommends it for higher education, professional training, and WordPress projects. The membership tools include options for creating bundles and subscriptions.
You can set up any pricing model that suits your school and send out renewal reminders. The refund protection is a unique feature that only schedules content throughout a timeframe that reduces the chances of refunds.
Benefits of LearnDash:
- Quickly launch and sell your online courses with beautiful templates.
- Link the most popular payment gateways to your site, ranging from PayPal to 2Checkout, with over 300 other payment gateways included as integrations.
- Reward your learners as they progress through the course with certificates and prizes.
- Use engagement triggers to interact with members whenever they complete an action in your course.
- Utilize drip content based on a schedule.
- Create multi-tier courses to break up classes into lessons and quizzes.
- Use quizzes to see how well your students are doing.
- The refund protection locks your content into a schedule so that people don’t sign up for your course, binge through it, then cancel the next day. It’s a feature designed to prevent gaming the system, so it should increase your revenue.
- The course builder is one of the most comprehensive on the market, with drag and drop elements, outlines, and reusable content for copying elsewhere on your site.
- The plugin also has a dynamic forum section for users to chat with each other.
Downsides of LearnDash:
- The plugin documentation could be better.
- Although LearnDash formats and organizes everything for your courses, the website design is completely up to you. Some people with less WordPress experience might have trouble here (here’s how to customize your WordPress theme and a curated list of the best themes).
- The competition has stronger reporting.
- It’s more expensive than a regular membership plugin.
- Several membership features are packaged in with LearnDash, but there are some elements missing. Therefore, LearnDash created integrations with more membership-focused plugins like PaidMembershipsPro and MemberPress. It’s nice the integration is there, but it’ll cost you more money.
5. MemberPress – Starting at $149 per year
MemberPress provides a full membership suite with unlimited member support, digital products, drip content, and coupons. The price tag is far more than the average WordPress membership plugin, but you typically don’t get as many unique features with those.
We like MemberPress for those with courses or communities ready to be uploaded or launched. The $149 price point is discounted from the normal $249 per year rate. Discounts are common for MemberPress, so it’s worth signing up for the newsletter to see when the coupons are released.
The plans are one-time payments, but upgrades and support renew every year. The pricing increases if you need the plugin on an additional website or if you’d like to add unique payment gateways or sell corporate accounts.
Benefits of MemberPress:
- The basic plan provides the Affiliate Royal Merchant Edition, which usually retails at $85.
- Integrate with some of the most popular email marketing tools like Mailchimp and AWeber.
- There’s a member’s only area for discussion and sharing ideas.
- Use coupons and reminders to keep members active.
- Set access rules and configure membership groups.
- The pricing is a one-time payment unless you want continued support or updates. It’s actually a nicely priced software for how many features you get.
- There’s a 14-day money-back guarantee that gives you a little time to test the software and decide if you like it.
- The MemberPress plugin delivers a beautifully designed pricing page for you to customize for your own brand and present it to your customers. There’s no need to have any coding knowledge to use it.
- Extendability is a strong point with MemberPress, seeing as how it connects with a wide range of useful services and products like Zapier, AffiliateWP, and Amazon Web Services.
Downsides of MemberPress:
- You have to pay for the Plus Edition ($249 per year) to receive things like the Authorize.net and BuddyPress integrations.
- The pricing might be too high for some who want something simpler and cheaper.
- Extendability isn’t for everyone. The idea of adding two or three or ten add-ons to make a membership site doesn’t sound appealing, especially when you have to pay for some of them.
- MemberPress has made improvements with the frontend design, but many of the items still look outdated.
6. Paid Memberships Pro – Free ($297 per Year for Premium)
Paid Memberships Pro is a WordPress membership plugin with incredible customer support and a wide range of features to launch your membership website.
Paid Memberships Pro provides a free plugin download and plenty of add-ons. The plugin has the basic functionality for rather simple membership sites, while the add-ons take it to the next level. Some of the add-ons include:
- Mailchimp integration
- MailPoet integration
- WooCommerce integration
- Register Helper to Add Checkout and Profile Fields
- Email Templates
- A bbPress integration
- Hide Admin Bar from Non-admins
Most legitimate membership sites will opt to go with the paid version since the core features are included. Having said that, the free version does offer 19 free add-ons, so it may do the trick for smaller membership sites.
The Plus plan makes the most sense for the average business, but developers may need the Unlimited plan, which has support for as many sites as you want. This sells for $597.
Benefits of Paid Memberships Pro:
- The free plugin works for those with simple membership sites. It offers basic video support and documentation and 19 free add-ons. It appears to be a useful plan for very small membership sites and for those who need a way to test the plugin before upgrading.
- Set your own membership levels with varying prices. You’re able to list those plans so that new users know exactly what they’re paying for.
- Integrate with six payment gateways like CyberSource, PayPal, Braintree, or Stripe.
- Set flexible pricing and trials. The trials are fully customizable and allow for an expiration date.
- You can insert and customize ads directly from the plugin.
- Send out email notifications to your members.
- Run the plugin on as many sites as you want with one of the plans.
- The customizable reports come in handy for checking in on your members and forecasting how much cashflow your site is generating.
- The over 60 premium add-ons ensure that you’re never without a feature.
- A 30-day money-back guarantee eases the nervousness of the initial purchase.
- The content restrictions are incredibly flexible. Restrict custom post types, single pages, and certain portions of your content.
- You’re able to generate full membership directories, giving your members the power they need to customize their own profiles and manage their subscriptions.
- The plugin is fully compatible with WordPress multisite.
Downsides of Paid Memberships Pro:
- Most design customization requires knowledge of CSS. For developers, this is is a plus. But for beginners, you’re stuck with the designs given to you.
- The pricing is a little high and it’s a recurring yearly payment.
- Further payments linger in the form of add-ons. Plenty of site owners won’t require any add-ons, but others will see that they’d be better off going with a different plugin that includes all features in the core plugin.
7. Restrict Content Pro – $99 per Year
Restrict Content Pro is a content-hiding plugin first, but it also includes membership management and subscription packages.
The reason so many people like Restrict Content Pro is because of its various built-in integrations. The pricing is somewhere in the middle when compared to other WordPress membership plugins, and it’s nice you get four packages to choose from.
Benefits of Restrict Content Pro:
- 13 free add-ons are included with each payment plan.
- The built-in integrations include Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and PayPal Website Payments Pro.
- Export CSVs for members and payment lists.
- Create unlimited subscription packages and manage all your members with ease.
- Send out welcome emails, along with several other types of automated member messages.
- The WooCommerce integration ensures that you can sell your memberships and even include other products for sale on your website.
- A lifetime pricing option is available to save money in the long-run and eliminate any recurring fees.
- The developer support stands out, where advanced users have access to the plugin’s API.
Downsides of Restrict Content Pro:
- You’re unable to drip content with the core plugin.
- User upgrading and downgrading is a little confusing.
- It’s unclear if any customer support or add-on updates are provided if you don’t pay for the membership every year.
- You’ll find that many features are only included in the add-ons. This means that more complex membership sites require multiple pieces, many of which aren’t available unless you pay for the higher pricing plans.
- The support documentation is in-depth, but Restrict Content Pro lacks other support outlets besides an email ticketing system.
- There’s no built-in affiliate system.
- The plugin integrates with a few of the major page builders (like Elementor,) but the styling functionality is sub-par. Sometimes it only copies your current content into the builder and allows you to add new page builder content, without any editing support for the previous content.
8. s2Member – Free (Pro Version $89)
s2Member packs quite the punch into its little free membership plugin. Not only that, but the premium version sells for a one-time fee, not a recurring payment.
The s2Member free version has content protection and PayPal buttons for integrating some membership functionality into your current website.
I’d recommend going with the pro version for anything more complicated, especially since the pricing is solid. It’s an excellent choice to consider when looking at WordPress membership plugins.
Benefits of s2Member:
- Manage WordPress roles and capabilities.
- Setup open registration and content restrictions.
- The premium version lets you integrate with PayPal Pro, Stripe, Authorize.net, and ClickBank.
- The Premium version also has support for WordPress multisite and a public members list.
- Coupons are provided.
- Integrate with your favorite mailing list service.
- Several security measures are built into the plugin, such as brute-force login prevention and unique IP restrictions.
- You’re able to protect your media when uploading it to your website. This means that users will have a more difficult time ripping your video or audio streams.
- All registration and login fields are customizable.
- A security badge is provided with your plugin purchase. This doesn’t make your site more secure, but it builds trust with your users.
- Developers can set event-driven notifications with API access.
Downsides of s2Member:
- s2Member is one of the less modern looking WordPress membership plugins.
- The integrations are okay, but I’d like to see support for more payment gateways and maybe an affiliate program.
- s2Member is not compatible with WooCommerce.
- It would be nice to receive an unlimited number of paid membership levels in the free version of the plugin. That doesn’t really seem like a premium feature for a membership plugin.
9. WooCommerce Memberships ($199 per Year)
WooCommerce reigns supreme as the top WordPress eCommerce plugin on the market. Yet some website owners would like to expand the regular product-selling functionality by adding some membership items.
The WooCommerce Memberships plugin does the trick, combining your content and products together with a complete membership system. You can sell or assign membership, grant access depending on who the customer is and turn your store into a purchasing club.
Benefits of WooCommerce Memberships:
- Create a purchasing club, where some products are hidden unless you’re a member.
- Reward your members with special discounts.
- Show all member perks in the Members Area.
- Import or export member lists.
- Send out messages to members and save templates for these messages.
- You can restrict access to posts, pages, custom post types, and even block partial content on a post or page with shortcodes.
- Users report that the developers offer personalized support with knowledgeable responses.
- The feature list is constantly being added to, so there’s a good chance that every few months, or every year, you’ll see a new feature or two to help your business.
Downsides of WooCommerce Memberships:
- The combination of WordPress + WooCommerce + WooCommerce Memberships results in several moving pieces. It might be too complicated for some.
- The cost is fairly high as WooCommerce Memberships is another $199.00. It’s also a recurring fee if you’d like to get updates on a yearly basis.
- The messaging system lacks the ability to send out an email to the entire membership base.
- You’re generally limited to the features already included with the plugin. You could always try to find a solution to a lacking feature in another WooCommerce extension, but there aren’t add-ons specifically made for this tool.
- We’d like to see advanced support for membership applications. In particular, some way to design unique application forms and reuse them throughout your website.
10. Paid Member Subscriptions – Free (starting at $69 per Year for Premium)
Paid Member Subscriptions is a really easy to set up, yet robust, membership plugin. As one of our favorite membership plugins, you can manage unlimited subscription plans, restrict content (posts, pages, or custom post types,) and get paid almost instantly. It also integrates with WooCommerce.
While the core plugin is free, it comes with an impressive number of premium add-ons that extend its functionality. You’ll find offerings like Discount Codes, Email Reminders, the ability to set Fixed Period Memberships or Pay What You Want prices in the form of an add-on.
More advanced payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal Pro, as well as Invoices or Content Dripping, are found inside the Pro version. What’s great about this plugin is that it doesn’t have complicated setup pages and the core plugin is enough to set up a complete membership site and start accepting payments. For everything else, you’ll probably want an add-on.
Benefits of Paid Member Subscriptions:
- Create Login, Register, and Account pages by using shortcodes.
- Create unlimited subscription plans
- Restrict content based on membership or logged-in status.
- A “pay what you want” pricing feature is provided to give your users the option of how much they’d like to send you per month.
- Support for Free Trial and Sign-up Fees.
- Integrates with WooCommerce allowing the admin to restrict product viewing, purchasing and offer special product prices to members.
- You can place a login module anywhere on your site with the use of a shortcode.
- Email templates which you can customize.
- You can export member data to use elsewhere or send to your stakeholders.
- The basic reporting fills you in on how much money you’re making and which members need to re-subscribe.
- The “prevent account sharing” feature stops your members from giving their login credentials to friends and family. It does this by blocking multiple logins from different locations.
- You gain access to several Basic and Advanced Add-ons.
Downsides of Paid Member Subscriptions:
- You have to pay for the Pro version to get access to recurring payments or payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal Pro.
- In fact, the majority of features required are only included in the paid versions. The free plugin is more of a trial.
- It’s silly to have to pay for integrations for free WordPress plugins like bbPress.
- The plugin lacks many of the third-party integrations we’ve come to expect from WordPress membership plugins. We’d like to see a connection with Zapier to at least provide some sort of link to outside apps.
11. BuddyBoss – From $228 per year
BuddyBoss delivers a fully-featured membership theme and plugin to configure a site offering membership customization, online communities, and courses. The flexible plugin integrates with most WordPress themes or you have the option to launch your membership site from scratch with the BuddyBoss theme.
There’s no option to get this plugin for free. An online sandbox demo is available for you to test on the BuddyBoss website, giving you an idea as to how the plugin works.
Pricing starts at $228 per year for one theme and plugin license. Additional plans increase in price but provide more licenses if you plan on running multiple membership sites.
As for the features, BuddyBoss provides tools for launching online membership programs. You get access to features for recurring payments, gamification, and integration to launch your own community mobile app. Several membership plugins are sold as SaaS platforms. BuddyBoss has a more open approach, selling for a set price and giving you the flexibility to extend your membership site with whatever plugins or custom coding you desire.
Some capabilities of BuddyPress include the capacity to sell courses online, build communities and run corporate training programs. It’s particularly appealing for nonprofits and online schools.
Benefits of BuddyBoss:
- The BuddyBoss package comes with both a plugin and a theme. This improves your flexibility as a business owner since you can either build a membership site right away with the theme or integrate with a different theme if you require a different look.
- The plugin includes options for selling courses, handling multiple levels of memberships, and allowing those users to chat about topics through online communities.
- You’re not limited to the features that come with the software, seeing as how BuddyBoss isn’t sold as a SaaS tool, but rather a plugin that plays well with other plugins and integrations.
- The member profiles are modern and easy to use, with private messaging, forum discussions, and event planning modules. Every member also gets their own media albums for uploading and organizing photos.
- Selling memberships and subscriptions is possible, and you can link to WooCommerce to sell the memberships alongside other products.
- Sell or give away online courses with quizzes, drip content, and reports. It also has options for giving out certificates when someone completes a course.
- The gamification feature from BuddyBoss adds a fun environment to your community. Some of the gamification elements include rewards, achievements, points, and ranks.
- Integrate with page builders like Gutenberg, Elementor, and more.
- You can create a mobile app for your membership site and offer in-app purchases and real-time syncing with your website.
- You can integrate with a wide range of third-party plugins and software such as LearnDash, Elementor, and WooCommerce.
Downsides of BuddyBoss:
- The plugin doesn’t have a free version.
- The pricing isn’t unfair, but it’s going to appear high for some small businesses.
- BuddyBoss has more of a focus on being compatible with other plugins and membership systems. Because of this, you may find that a needed feature requires a third-party integration with another paid app.
- Full customization is possible with BuddyBoss, but for beginners, you’re limited to only changing elements like the header and footer.
- There’s an overall lack of built-in features compared to much of the competition. This is because it’s marketed as a highly extendable plugin, but some people won’t like that the features aren’t already included.
- Reports from past users state that the customer support response times are inconsistent. It seems that the customer support is knowledgable and friendly, but you may have trouble getting in touch with them.
12. Teachable – Free (From $29 per Month for Premium)
Teachable provides tools and support for a specific type of membership site: one for selling and moderating online courses. It’s a standalone software that does integrate with WordPress for accepting new admissions, making sales, and handling subscriptions.
With Teachable, you’re offered a complete membership website with support for unlimited students, instant payouts, and drip content. Some of the third-party integrations include Facebook, Sumo, and MailChimp for advancing your marketing efforts.
With Teachable you should expect to pay at least $29 per month. The pricing goes up to $99 per month to eliminate transaction fees and add more admins. For even more admin users, the $249 Business plan is the right option.
A website builder is packaged into Teachable, and your membership site works on all mobile devices. You gain access to sales landing pages that are made to convert. Not to mention, all members can choose their membership level, take quizzes, and interact with other people on your website.
Benefits of Teachable:
- The pricing model rewards membership sites that have success by offering lower transaction fees.
- The plugin includes all of the essential tools you need for managing memberships and publishing courses. It doesn’t take long to learn the system.
- You can build a nice website with the help of a website builder and several prebuilt templates.
- The courses and profile management areas look beautiful on all devices.
- There’s no need to pay for a landing page software since Teachable gives you sales pages that are already optimized to get sales.
- The multilingual functionality is great for getting customers in other countries.
- The Zapier integration links your site to WordPress and several other helpful tools like Zendesk and Olark.
- You can segment your membership list and charge them different prices and consider sending specific emails to those groups.
- The payment gateways allow for easy domestic and international transactions.
- Member enrollment is done automatically, with the option to add people manually. You can set custom membership levels and issue partial or full refunds from your dashboard.
- There’s no need to worry about hosting your website. It’s all done for you.
Downsides of Teachable:
- The signup process for a new member on your site is not as user-friendly as what you see from the competition.
- Some nonprofits, small businesses, and schools won’t be able to afford the pricing.
- It’s possible to build a good-looking membership site, but the platform is limited when it comes to making a beautiful website. The core features are made for beginners to launch quickly, so there aren’t that many customization features. In short, you get what’s provided, not much more like integrations or constantly updated features.
- A 5% transaction fee is charged for customers already paying $29 per month. That’s too much.
- Some of the communication features are limited. For instance, the student messaging between teachers and other students isn’t displayed well or not available in some situations.
- For more advanced edits and branding, coding knowledge is required.
13. WP-Members – Free (With Priority Support and Add-Ons Starting at $59 per Year)
WP-Members is one of the most cost-effective solutions for building a membership site on WordPress. There’s no premium version. But you’re given the flexibility to only upgrade to the add-ons that you truly need.
In addition, the $59 yearly plan gives you the option for premium customer support. However, there’s no requirement to sign up for that.
The premium add-ons vary in price, but the standard listings range from $29 to $125. A few of these plugins to choose from include Advanced Options, Download Protection, and Invite Codes. We like the integrations with MailChimp, WooCommerce, and PayPal.
It’s also nice that you can restrict as much content on your WordPress site as you want. Create an unlimited number of registration fields, and customize them to match your brand and the type of information you’re looking to collect.
The registration module is displayed on the frontend, with options to only restrict some of your content. This way, you may try to give away free blog posts but then ask for payment for the extensive ones.
The interface for configuring your membership site and managing the users is basic and straightforward and similar to the styles on WordPress. This doesn’t make it the prettiest dashboard on the market, but those familiar with WordPress should be fine.
Benefits of WP-Members:
- The entire core plugin is completely free.
- You have flexibility in extending the functionality of your site. You may need to pay for an add-on, but at least they’re not sold as one package where you may end up never using half of the features.
- Several API functions are provided for advanced expandability.
- Over 120 filter and action hooks improve the possibilities for customizations.
- The plugin has a unique feature for automatically generating an excerpt teaser for all blog posts.
- The plugin provides customizable registration and profile fields.
- The login module is provided as a widget, making it easy to add to several areas of your website.
Downsides of WP-Members:
- Some may not want to pay for add-ons like the MailChimp integration or PayPal Subscriptions. These are basic features that usually aren’t categorized as “premium.”
- Your customer support is limited if you’re not a paying customer. In addition, WP-Members doesn’t have a large community of people talking about it online.
- Both the frontend and backend have barebones designs. There’s nothing pretty about them, which may turn off some users.
- The plugin lacks templates for launching landing pages or constructing specialized courses or checkout modules. This may require custom coding if you’d like to improve upon what’s already given.
14. aMember – From $179.95 per Year
The aMember membership software has its own plugin integration for linking the membership structure to your WordPress site. The plugin is not available through the WordPress Repository, so you must sign up for a demo to get an idea of how it works for your organization.
The main listing for the aMember software is $179.95 (temporarily discounted at $149.36). This is a lifetime license, which gives you six months of support and no requirement to pay on a monthly or yearly basis.
The aMember developers also hold sales for the plugin on a regular basis. As for integrating and launching your site, free installation is included with your purchase. Content protection is the main feature you get, along with drip feed content, over 200 payment processors, and recurring payments.
The email autoresponder and broadcasts are built into the core software for constant communication with your members. We also like the idea of product add-ons and variants, allowing you to upsell your members with additional services or products. Quite a few features are provided with the package, so it appears to be a rather good deal, considering you’re only committing to a one-time payment.
Benefits of aMember:
- This is a full suite of membership tools organized into one software. The software integrates seamlessly with your WordPress blog, or whatever CMS you’re using.
- An affiliate program is already included with aMember, cutting out the need to install, and potentially pay for, a third-party affiliate tool.
- You’re able to send opt-in newsletters directly from the aMember dashboard. Again, this is yet another feature that eliminates the need for another service such as MailChimp.
- Customers can create and manage their user profiles with a large collection of fields.
- Set subscription levels and accept payments by choosing from over 200 payment systems. Some of these include PayPal, 2Checkout, and Stripe.
- The aMember plugin translates into six other languages besides English. Chinese, Greek, Spanish, French, Russian, and German are all supported.
- Create an unlimited number of membership levels with incremental content delivery for certain types of members.
- The automated signup system expedites your admin responsibilities. You also don’t have to cancel someone’s membership, as the expirations are done for you.
- The member management module offers everything from coupon codes to flexible signup forms and a fail-back payment processor.
- The WordPress plugin has a nice feature that adopts the branding of your current theme by taking styles from your headers and footers.
- The access control lets you protect certain files on your site and create pages that only some members are allowed to see.
- The one-time payment is a much better deal in the longterm then having to pay for software on a monthly or yearly basis.
Downsides of aMember:
- You need to contact the company to see a demo. It’s not a big deal, but I often find that this means you’ll be contacted by a sales representative. It’s somewhat of an archaic way to sell software.
- The WordPress plugin provided with your software is not listed online or reviewed on many sites. This leaves us in the dark for online user reviews which are usually extremely helpful to see how longtime users are liking the software. You also can’t test out a free version of the plugin because of this.
- The interface could use an update. It’s a feature-packed software but it looks like it was created in the 90s.
15. Ultimate Member – Free ($249 per Year for Access to All Extensions)
An economical route to take for building a membership website is the Ultimate Member plugin. The core version of the plugin has a $0 price tag, and you only have to pay for the extensions you need.
As an alternative, a $249 bundle is available to get all of the Ultimate Member premium extensions for a discount. A theme is also sold at a higher price.
The extensions vary in price, but most of them start around the $35 mark. A few of the extensions include:
- Terms and Conditions
- Private Content
- User Reviews
- Unsplash support
- User Bookmarks
- Verified Users
Benefits of Ultimate Member:
- The Ultimate Member plugin is free to use, and some of the extensions are available for free as well.
- You can either pay for premium extensions individually or save money on the collection by getting the all-extension bundle.
- There are conditional logic form fields and custom form fields to build the exact types of forms that you need for your membership site.
- The frontend user registration and profile module has options for customization.
- All front and back-facing interfaces look just as beautiful compared to some of the premium membership plugins on this list.
- There are plenty of beginner-friendly features such as the drag and drop builder and the Gutenberg modules.
- You gain access to a large library of premium and free extensions, some of which provide tools for stock photos, groups, private content, and more.
- A WordPress theme is also available to go along with the membership plugin. This is probably one of the easiest ways for someone to launch a membership site, considering everything is already designed and ready for them.
- The customer support is top-notch, with a support forum, getting started guides, and contact information to get answers to your questions.
Downsides of Ultimate Member:
- It would be nice to have a few of the premium extensions as free features, seeing as how items like private messages and user photos aren’t exactly “premium” features.
- There aren’t any demos for the premium plugins to give you an idea of exactly how they work for your business. Screenshots are shown, but it’d be nice if people could test out the extensions before paying for them.
16. ProfileGrid– Free (Premium Starting at $79)
ProfileGrid offers a combination of simplicity and extreme expandability as a profile creation and management plugin with most of the same features as a membership software.
The core plugin includes WooCommerce integration, support for bbPress, and advanced forms. You can also make a group event, a logout menu, and user profiles.
After that, the premium functionality offers MailChimp integrations, geolocation, and a group wall for users to discuss topics in a public forum. The social login helps with speeding up the login process and the frontend group creator ensures that your users don’t have to mess too much with the backend.
A standout benefit of the ProfileGrid plugin is the ability to make groups, directories, membership discussions, and profiles, all without being a cluttered, clunky plugin.
The signup pages are beautiful, and the profile tools are useful for all skill levels. In addition, you can run the majority of the features for free. There may come a time where you have to upgrade to get additional features. In that case, you’d opt for one of the many extensions or pay for the $79 Premium version of the plugin.
The premium version typically works by activating certain extensions that you require at the moment. For instance, you may need to turn on the Instagram photos integration or a user labels module to keep track of your members.
Benefits of ProfileGrid:
- The core plugin is free.
- The premium features are affordable as well.
- It’s a lightweight plugin without the need for dense software that may cause your computer or server to get overloaded.
- You can integrate with several other plugins such as WooCommerce and bbPress.
- User communication and participation are highly encouraged with user blogs, private messaging, and a friend system.
- This is a solid plugin for letting your users upload larger content files.
- Create your own membership levels with the help of payment systems like Stripe and PayPal.
- Various security elements are included with the ProfileGrid plugin, such as a reCAPTCHA toggle, whitelisting/blacklisting settings, a site key, and more.
- Restricting content is done from the admin, with options for limiting the content for certain members and allowing some of your content to be displayed as free.
- The profiles are detailed yet simple enough for the average person to quickly upload and create items like profile photos, group pictures, biography information, and whatever other custom fields you include.
- You receive powerful group management tools for elements like adding badges to groups, making them private and associating only certain WordPress users to that group.
- A directory page allows for admins and users to filter through the users to locate friends and people with similar interests.
- It’s one of the best WordPress membership plugins to assign group managers for moderation in forums and message boards.
Downsides of ProfileGrid:
- The WooCommerce integration comes with the free version, but anything outside of the basics requires a premium subscription. For instance, combining your membership site with your WooCommerce wishlist is going to cost you.
- Some of the basic features are bundled into the premium version of the plugin. Some of these include the Instagram integration and MailChimp integration.
- The designs are simple, meaning that if you’d like to duplicate your branding or make any customizations, you’ll have to work with code or hire a developer.
- The customer support is limited to opening support tickets.
17. Restrict User Access – Free
If all you’d like is to restrict some, or all, of your content, the Restrict User Access plugin does the trick without any unnecessary features. The point of the plugin is to restrict blog posts and pages and only show them to members.
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These members are categorized based on user roles in WordPress. You sell membership levels directly through your website and name them based on the user level and pricing.
No coding is required for you to enjoy the benefits of Restrict User Access. Access levels are created by overriding your current user levels or working with what’s already included in WordPress.
Users can jump to and from multiple levels, and you can add membership durations that expire after a certain period of time. The teaser content is also helpful for convincing non-paying users of what they’re missing out on.
The Restrict User Access plugin is entirely free, but you do have the option to pay for other plugins from the same developer. Some of them may come in handy for a membership site.
We like the Content Aware Sidebars and Sectors for creating theme templates. The Personal plan starts at $49 per year for one site and unlimited widget areas. However, the vast majority of membership sites can operate with the free Restrict User Access plugin.
Benefits of Restrict User Access:
- The entire plugin is free, with no upgrade options to get additional features.
- Activate an unlimited number of access levels based on your current WordPress user levels or ones that you make up for your membership niche.
- Make membership durations that expire at a time in the future.
- Send out drip content that you compile once and send out automatically into the future.
- All unauthorized users are sent to a specific page on your website. This comes in handy for providing a landing page that explains the benefits of a premium account and information about the value they receive.
- You have the ability to reveal teaser content for non-member users. A custom message is also possible to convince them even further and have a call to action.
- You’re given shortcodes to make content restriction a little more flexible.
- Restrict your member content based on dozens of conditions such as posts, pages, content written by a specific author, page templates, blog pages, user profiles, and more.
- The plugin integrates with some excellent tools to improve your membership site. Our favorites include Pods, Polylang, BuddyPress, and bbPress.
- A developer API is open for adding advanced customizations and integrating with all of your organizational systems.
Downsides of Restrict User Access:
- The backend interface has a learning curve. It doesn’t look all that modern so you’ll find a long list of settings and times in which you have trouble locating the right tabs.
- Restrict User Access isn’t nearly as robust as the premium membership software we’ve already covered.
18. Memberful WP – Limited Free Plan (Starting at $25 per Month)
Memberful WP comes as a standalone membership selling software that links to your WordPress site with the use of a plugin. The plugin by itself doesn’t provide the functionality you need for selling memberships, but the Memberful WP software has everything required to configure membership levels, collect payments, and charge for taxes.
Memberful WP offers a free plan that helps with testing out how it works and integrates with your WordPress site. Serious businesses will have to upgrade to the $25 per month Pro plan to receive the best features. This offers unlimited plans, coupon codes, staff accounts, and more. The $100 per month plan is needed to remove the Memberful branding and to sell group subscriptions.
As you can see, Memberful WP isn’t the most affordable option for you to create and manage memberships on your site. However, the reason this pricing is so high is because of the sleek interface and all-in-one feature set.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Memberful WP API is open and ready for integrations and extensions. The signup forms, community forums, and profiles are already beautiful, but this opens up the door for those who want to customize the system more.
Benefits of Memberful WP:
- A free plan is available for you to test out the plugin and see how it interacts with your WordPress site.
- The member management and signup modules are some of the best designs you can find.
- Subscriptions are handled with ease, allowing for multiple payment gateways, support for subscriptions, and refund issuing with the click of a button.
- You’re able to block content and protect specific pages and posts depending on what membership level a user logs in as.
- Memberful WP provides a large collection of useful videos and tutorials for launching your first membership site.
- The notifications are all configured right out of the box. This includes emails for password resets, credit card expiration notices, and renewal reminders.
- You can create a coupon within seconds and give out discounts to new members.
- Custom branding is possible through the use of the built-in settings.
- The API is open for developers.
- Users are able to purchase gift subscriptions to send to friends or family.
- You can upload quite a few file types for your members to download and use on their own computers. For instance, you may want to give them ebooks or infographics to read.
- The analytics stand out compared to the competition. You have options to track all conversions and see how your users are interacting with each other.
- Sell physical and digital goods to people who are or aren’t members. Memberful WP provides the tools to make both a full eCommerce store and a membership site.
Downsides of Memberful WP:
- The pricing is high. Although there is a free plan, it’s more of a neverending free trial with limited features. After that, the monthly fee adds up in the long run.
- All plans charge transaction fees, and they’re not low. The Free plan is set at a 10% transaction fee, while the premium plans are at 4.9%. And that’s before the credit card processing fees. Therefore, you can expect to pay anywhere from 7.8% to 12.9% per transaction. And here I thought PayPal fees were pricey.
- It’s not really a WordPress plugin. A plugin is offered for the integration, but most of the work is still done in a separate dashboard.
19. Simple Membership – Free
If you’re interested in a quick and easy way to offer free and paid memberships on your site, the Simple Membership plugin is a quality solution. One of the reasons the plugin is so appealing to small businesses is because it doesn’t cost a dime and it has support for dozens of languages.
This may not be useful for some people, but it truly is one of the longest lists of languages when it comes to membership plugins, opening all sorts of opportunities for use in different countries.
As mentioned, the Simple Membership plugin has no pricing plans. It’s an opensource project with the user in mind. Not only that, but the name of the plugin says it all. The plugin works with all WordPress themes, is ready to go within minutes of installation, and you can protect whatever pages you want.
An unlimited number of membership levels is possible with Simple Membership. It also has a fairly easy to use interface for beginners and advanced users alike. Configure the settings to offer free or paid memberships, and link PayPal to your site to begin accepting payments. Both Braintree and Stripe are alternative payment gateways. From one-time payments to recurring subscriptions, the basics are all included with the Simple Membership, making it an ideal membership plugin for those who don’t want all the unnecessary features or a clunky plugin.
Benefits of Simple Membership:
- It’s free, without any upsells along the way.
- Most of the essential add-ons are free, with a few premium add-ons to choose from. Some of the add-ons include email service integrations, login redirection, and a membership form builder.
- The developer API is open for setting up filter hooks and actions.
- A member login widget is provided for placing a login form on all site pages.
- A membership payment log provides you a paper trail to check in on which members have paid and which ones may have missed a payment.
- You’re able to make an unlimited number of membership levels, and it allows you to list free and paid memberships on your website.
- The content protection is done while editing a WordPress post or page. A login module appears for those who aren’t the right membership level. In short, the Simple Membership plugin makes it easy for you to add a blocker on certain pages.
- We really like the feature that lets you protect parts of your content. For instance, you may want to show a small part of your blog post or photo gallery as a teaser. The rest of the content can be blocked, similar to how some major newspapers restrict content online.
Downsides of Simple Membership:
- You shouldn’t expect to get a high level of support with this plugin, considering almost every part of it is free. A premium support package is sold if this bothers you.
- It would be nice to see a few extra payment gateways considering there are so many languages supported. PayPal isn’t always the most affordable solution in some countries.
- The feature list may seem a bit limited for some users.
20. Groups – Free (With Premium Extensions)
The Groups plugin delivers a solid interface and robust collection of extensions for you to expand upon the core membership plugin. The community behind the plugin is also quite active in talking about how to use it on the development website. As for pricing, there’s no need to take out your credit card for this one, unless you plan on grabbing a few of the extensions.
What’s incredible is the large number of extensions to choose from. There are options for 404 redirects, blog protection, file access, forums, and more. You may think that some of these features should be included with the core plugin, but we like this model, since you’re not forced into buying anything, and there’s no need to pay a lump sum for all of the extensions.
Instead, go through the list and pick out extensions you need, such as the ones for group newsletters or PayPal support. The pricing varies from extension to extension, but they seem to float around the $19 to $29 mark. As for the free, core features, the Groups plugin supports an unlimited number of groups, where the users sign up through a form. You have complete control over the access permissions.
Benefits of Groups:
- The core plugin is free.
- You have full access control to block items like post types, products, pages, and more.
- You get to group together your users and only show certain content to those groups. The overall idea behind this plugin is to give improved control over those groups.
- Shortcodes boost your flexibility when it comes to specifying exactly which content on your site you’d like to restrict. For instance, if you wanted to block non-members, you’d grab the members shortcode so only they can see it.
- Gutenberg blocks are provided for a drag and drop content restriction experience.
- The user interface includes quick filters and bulk actions for managing your entire membership base with a few clicks.
- The plugin has a handful of translations for use all over the world.
- Offer subscription products with recurring payments.
- You get to set the amount of time a membership lasts. There are also plenty of settings for the collection of one-off payments or late payments.
- There’s more flexibility involved with a plugin like this, where you’re given the basic features for free, then you select the extensions based on your organization’s needs. Some of the extensions include forums, importing, exporting, newsletters, and payment processing.
- The API is open for developers to expand upon what’s already included with the plugin.
Downsides of Groups:
- We like that the core plugin doesn’t cost anything, but there’s a very good chance you have to spend money on this membership plugin. Some of the essentials are sold as extensions. That’s not a huge deal, but they could add up for businesses.
- Most of the functionality is managed in the WordPress dashboard. That’s not always a bad thing, but the interface from the Groups plugin is somewhat watered down compared to advanced membership software.
- WordPress has a learning curve for beginners, but this plugin adds a little more complexity to the mix.
21. MemberMouse – Starting at $19.95 per Month
MemberMouse is often overlooked as a membership plugin because it doesn’t have a plugin listing in the WordPress repository. That’s alright though, since all of the development, customer support, and information you need to know is consolidated on the MemberMouse website.
It’s a powerhouse of a membership site builder with a fully functional WordPress plugin and a list of features that compete with many of the membership plugins on the market. From customer management to protected member’s areas, the Member Mouse plugin does it all.
Member Mouse includes advanced reporting and support automation. The reporting and analytics offer useful information like the lifetime customer value of your members, the retention rate, and any affiliate tracking you may need.
As for support automation, Member Mouse enables a self-service system where members update their own profiles, credit card information, and cancellations.
As for pricing, the cheapest plan is $19.95 per month, with upgrades based on how many members you plan on having. For instance, the price is $99 per month to support up to 50,000 members.
Benefits of MemberMouse:
- Member Mouse is a behemoth when it comes to features. The suite is filled with options for all types of member businesses.
- The member’s area gives quite a bit of control to your users, cutting down on customer support calls and allowing them to run the community.
- Deliver drip content to your users. Upsells and cross-sells are possible.
- You can lock whatever content you want on your site. This includes a tool for piracy autolocking if someone is trying to steal your content.
- The checkout pages are customizable and great for showing your brand and getting people checked out quickly.
- Change your pricing structures whenever you need to, and have as many membership levels as you want.
- Some of the pricing plans provide advanced elements like a full reporting suite, lifetime value reporting, and a social media login module.
- The API is available for all developers to extend the functionality of Member Mouse. This is essential if you attempt to integrate with other organizational tools.
- The plugin includes smart tags to improve your user management. This way, a quick search or filter brings up the results you want instead of having to scroll through a long list of users or groups.
Downsides of MemberMouse:
- Member Mouse is expensive. You get what you pay for, but many smaller businesses will immediately look elsewhere to save money.
- You don’t receive phone support until you start paying for the $299 per month plan. You’d think that the $100 per month users would at least get to talk to a customer support rep on the phone.
- Some companies might find the software too overwhelming, as it tries to pack as many membership features into the system as possible.
22. AccessAlly – Starting at $99 per Month
Consider AccessAlly for a learning management system (LMS) and membership platform wrapped into one plugin. Many WordPress membership plugins already have LMS features included. In fact, membership sites are often similar in functionality, or they pull features from both types of plugins.
AccessAlly takes it a step further by providing full suites for both membership and learning management, giving you the opportunity to build and sell online courses, along with unique memberships.
The vast majority of the features are built to improve your conversions, from the forms to the payment modules. You can set up an affiliate tracking system and make sure that abandoned cart emails go out to people who don’t finish their purchase.
The AccessAlly plugin isn’t listed on the WordPress repository and it’s far from cheap when it comes down to pricing. It’s a premium suite of tools constructed for serious, growing online course and membership sites. Some might argue that it’s more so an offering for already established businesses.
As with most higher-end software, AccessAlly has long lists of features you’ll probably never use. However, customer support is far better than what you’d get with a free WordPress plugin. In addition, a one-on-one demo is necessary in order to actually see the software. If you don’t have time for that, a video is available on the website.
Benefits of AccessAlly:
- It’s a powerhouse software and WordPress plugin for the fastest growing companies and established brands.
- The flexibility is unparalleled, with highly customizable settings and tools for developers to integrate with all current organizational systems.
- As a high-end software, AccessAlly provides top-notch customer support for all users. Everyone gets access to in-depth online materials, and users receive several training calls per month.
- You can save money on the high pricing by paying for a yearly subscription.
- AccessAlly is a learning management system and a membership plugin built into one sleek WordPress plugin.
- Activate an unlimited number of memberships, courses, files, tags, and directories.
- The member director has filters and search functions for locating information on users.
- Customize every element of your forms and add a gamification element to your community by awarding points for certain actions.
- An affiliate management program is built into AccessAlly, providing leaderboards, custom links, and payments.
- The order forms are simple and modern, using PayPal and Stripe and payment processors.
- The plugin features impressive promotional and analytical tools like quick coupon creation and detailed reports.
- Along with a solid WordPress plugin, AccessAlly integrates with several other tools like ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, and ActiveCampaign.
- Split testing is one of those unique features that for some reason isn’t included in many of the other membership plugins on this list.
Downsides of AccessAlly:
- The pricing is high for smaller businesses. Simply put, AccessAlly is meant for larger companies with the cash flow to quickly have this plugin pay for itself.
- There’s no free trial to test out the plugin on your own time.
- There’s no core plugin in the WordPress Repository.
- Some aspects of AccessAlly almost require you to hire a developer or insert coding yourself. It’s truly meant for companies with those types of workers on their teams already.
- After activation, a whirlwind of features, settings, and tabs are activated on your WordPress dashboard. Some folks will find this far too cluttered and intimidating.
- I found the course content builder to be less user-friendly than some competitors.
23. YITH WooCommerce Membership – Starting at $99.99 per Year
Locating the right membership plugin often comes down to which of the plugin options offers the right amount of ecommerce support. If you currently have a WooCommerce site, or you plan on making one, it’s not a bad idea to check out a membership plugin made to work directly with it.
The YITH WooCommerce Membership plugin is an example of that type of solution, where you can still have a full online store, but with the added benefits of selling memberships through, or alongside, that store.
The YITH plugin is sold at $99.99 for a single site license and $399.99 for six sites. It’s technically a one-time payment unless you want to pay every year for ongoing support and updates (which is usually a good idea).
The plugin focuses on the automation of the membership selling and management process. You tailor the content you want to sell, then prompt new users to sign up for a membership.
This could be anything from an eBook series to an online course. YITH offers a rather simple and reliable set of features for configuring your memberships, and there’s no limit to the number of levels you can add. Furthermore, the plugin’s customer support is responsive and provided through the use of a ticketing system and an online knowledgebase.
YITH is a developer with a large portfolio of plugins, so you may also think about expanding upon your operation with other WooCommerce plugins that support your membership site and integrate directly with the plugin.
Benefits of YITH WooCommerce Membership:
- The pricing is reasonable, especially if you’re not planning on paying for support every year.
- YITH WooCommerce Membership lets you create an unlimited number of memberships.
- The plugin is built for WooCommerce, allowing you to take advantage of that infrastructure for your membership sales. It’s also nice for selling other products on the same site.
- Limiting content access is done with the click of a button. You can set expiration dates and make sure some user types get access while others are blocked.
- You’re able to link multiple membership types to one customer. This way, that user is given access to more content.
- File protection works the same way as content restriction. The setting ensures that your uploaded files, like photos and eBooks, don’t get pulled from your website without permission.
- With the WooCommerce connection, you’re able to set memberships based on WooCommerce elements, like post product categories and tags.
- The plugin comes with a quick contact widget for users to send you instant messages from the sidebar.
- Email templates are provided. You have full control over the customization of these emails and when they send out.
- There’s an easy way to reveal or block specific content on your website. It’s done with a shortcode.
- The customer support has a decent reputation, and YITH almost exclusively makes WooCommerce plugins. So, they should know they’re stuff.
Downsides of YITH WooCommerce Membership:
- YITH doesn’t provide a core plugin in the WordPress Repository. Because of this, the main user reviews you can find are on the YITH website. So, you can’t really take those reviews as being credible.
- There’s a live demo to test online, but YITH lacks a free trial. We know that many people like to test a plugin on their own website before buying. That’s impossible with YITH.
- There’s no free plan at all.
- Plenty of the elements you place on your site from this plugin lack styling. Some organizations will enjoy this, but others won’t like the fact that they have to customize heavily or even contact a developer.
24. PrivateContent – $25 (With the Option to Pay for Future Support and Updates)
The PrivateContent plugin is a popular option to add membership functionality to your WordPress website. The plugin is only sold on CodeCanyon, meaning you’ll have to purchase it in order to start using it.
As for the plugin’s popularity, it’s been featured on CodeCanyon publications several times and the sales and positive user reviews reflect how people feel about the developer and how the plugin does a great job of blocking content from users and adding membership levels.
Some of the features we like include the ability to restrict menu items, options for making private pages for your users, and the developer API support.
Another reason this plugin stands out is because of its skin builder. As a membership seller, your company needs conversion-optimized and tested forms that match your own branding.
With PrivateContent, you’re able to create unlimited registration forms and utilize the skin builder to developed the ideal form. It’s also refreshing to see how advanced the user management and tracking is for such an affordable plugin.
The $25 price tag for PrivateContent is one of the lowest prices on this list. This is a common pricing strategy for CodeCanyon listings, where you receive maybe six months of customer support for free, but then you need to upgrade on a regular basis to receive updates and support. However, it’s not uncommon for buyers to purchase the plugin and never spend money on support.
Benefits of PrivateContent:
- It’s possible to restrict all content forms through PrivateContent, including menu items and widgets.
- You’re able to block comments from some users, making it rather appealing to pay for a membership, since it gets them to the conversation.
- Each user receives a private page and profile. All of their private comments are shown on the page so they can check back on their own conversation.
- The PrivateContent plugin is developer-friendly, offering hooks and API access.
- Make an unlimited number of user levels and accept payments from those users with the click of a button.
- A one-click complete website lock may come in handy if someone tries to hack your site or if you’re seeing a problem with accidentally giving away content for free.
- You can design as many registration forms as needed. The skin builder does the trick for most user experience levels.
- User tracking is completed through the Google Analytics integration, checking in on how your members interact on your site.
- The PrivateContent plugin integrates with popular visual builders like Elementor and Cornerstone.
- You can take advantage of several extensions and plugins, such as an option to activate paid subscriptions.
- This is a multilingual plugin.
Downsides of PrivateContent:
- It’s impossible to test out the PrivateContent plugin on your own site prior to purchasing it.
- There’s no free plan.
- The preset form styles are about as plain as they come.
- A few of the elements you insert onto your website are lacking any custom design. You may need to work with a developer to achieve the appearance you need.
- The settings page for configuring your private content is long and cluttered. It’s important to have many features like this plugin offers, but I do believe it could be organized better.
- Not all features are sold in the original plugin package. This is actually a good thing for some, considering you get more flexibility to pay for only the features you need. However, it does add some needless piecing together of the plugins. It’s also commonplace to get the entire plugin on CodeCanyon. I’d argue the average CodeCanyon user wouldn’t expect to pay for new features in the future.
WordPress Membership Plugin: What’s the Best One?
Now that you’ve seen all that each of these WordPress membership plugins has to offer, it’s time to make your decision.
Are you looking for simplicity? Affordability? Great customer support? Here’s our consensus:
- The best value – Membership by Supsystic.
- For simplicity – Paid Member Subscriptions.
- The best free option – Simple Membership.
- The most features packed into one – Ultimate Membership Pro.
- For powerful reports – AccessAlly or Paid Memberships Pro.
- For selling courses – LearnDash or Teachable.
- For top-notch customer support – Paid Memberships Pro, Membership by Supsystic, or Paid Member Subscriptions.
- To integrate with WooCommerce – WooCommerce Memberships, Membership by Supsystic, YITH WooCommerce Membership, or Ultimate Membership Pro WordPress Plugin.
- If you only need to restrict content – PrivateContent or Restrict User Access.
- If you want a learning management system and membership site in one package – AccessAlly.
- For a simple solution to make segmented groups and assign content to those groups – Groups plugin.
- To give your users a highly advanced and customizable profile – ProfileGrid.
- If you’d like a theme and a plugin made for selling courses (eliminating the need to go find a theme for your site) – BuddyBoss.
Last but not least, we put together a detailed guide about the challenges of hosting membership sites. Please make sure you take a look we share a lot of advanced tips: The Do’s and Don’ts for Hosting WordPress Membership Sites
Also, this might be useful to figure out the hosting needs of your membership site.
Now we’d like to hear from you: what’s your preferred membership plugin? Share your own experiences and feedback in the comments section!
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