Looking for the best WordPress membership plugins?
If you want to know how to set up a membership site with WordPress, then the plugins covered in this article will help you with your objective.
Not only are these plugins packed with features, but they are, for the most part, very easy to set up and use. The tools listed cover a range of budgets, from free to premium, and they are ideal for those just starting out, through to site owners looking for a high-end professional solution.
While most of these are all-purpose plugins, we also included a few plugins dedicated to creating online courses, as that’s a very popular use case for membership plugins nowadays.
In total, we’ll cover 11 different membership plugins across a range of different budgets, including several free options.
Let’s get right to the action.
The Best WordPress Membership Site Plugins for 2023
Keep reading to discover the best membership plugins for WordPress and get your site up and running today.
MemberPress is one of the most popular WordPress membership plugins. It doesn’t have a free version, but it’s pretty good value for what you get.
Once installed, this plugin allows you to restrict access to all the content on your WordPress site including pages, posts, categories, tags, and files you’ve uploaded. Some other top features of MemberPress include:
- Management of unlimited members
- Create unlimited access rules
- Offer unlimited pricing pages
- Sell an unlimited amount of digital products
- Accept payments with PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe
- Automatically grant and revoke access when members join or unsubscribe
- Content dripping with timed release of access
- Offer customizable coupons
- Integrates with the Easy Affiliate plugin to help you offer an affiliate program (this plugin was previously known as Affiliate Royale)
- Integrates with Blubrry PowerPress to help you create a members-only podcast (no more Patreon!)
- Premium support
If you’re specifically looking to offer online courses, you’ll also be happy to know that MemberPress recently released its own dedicated course tool. While it’s not as powerful as a full online course plugin, it offers enough functionality for most people’s needs.
💵 When it comes to pricing, there are three plans available:
- Basic – $179 – 1 site and basic features.
- Plus – $299 – up to 2 sites and some more advanced features.
- Pro – $399 – up to 5 sites and all features, including Easy Affiliate.
The prices above are for the first-year price. Upon renewal, the prices increase and range from $279 (Basic license) to $599 (Pro license).
Additionally, if you don’t renew your license, MemberPress will lock your access to the backend dashboard areas (though your frontend membership content will continue to function).
Basically, if you use MemberPress, you need to be willing to pay the regular license price every year for as long as you plan to use it.
If you want a premium membership plugin that covers all the bases and gives maximum flexibility then MemberPress is a great choice.
👉 You can learn more in our full MemberPress review.
Pros: This is a well-regarded option that is very easy to use. The support for digital products as well as managing a membership site makes this a versatile plugin.
Cons: There’s no free version. The plugin locks your backend MemberPress dashboard access if your license expires (though frontend content continues to work).
2. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is a great option that will cost you nothing to get started with. Yes, this is a free membership plugin that you can begin using today in order to restrict access to the content on your WordPress site to selected users. There are also two premium plans that get you access to lots of paid add-ons.
As for the plugin itself, it’s got a great feature set making it a solid choice for anyone looking for a no-budget tool. Some of the standout features include:
- Unlimited membership levels
- Integrations with 6 payment gateways
- Flexible pricing and free trial periods for your members
- Accept recurring subscriptions
- Set access and membership levels for individual pages and posts
- Customize the notification email messages
- Edit or replace the default plugin pages for login etc.
- Offer discount codes
- Drip release content over time
- Expand the features with free extensions and add-ons
While the core Paid Memberships Pro plugin is free and pretty generous with its functionality, the developer also has over 65+ premium add-ons (in addition to 19+ free ones). These give you a lot of flexibility for how you configure your membership site with features such as:
- Addon purchases. E.g. purchase one-off access to a single resource in addition to a membership level
- Integrations for bbPress, BuddyPress, email marketing services, and more
- Group memberships
- Member network sites with WordPress Multisite
- …lots more
💵 You can get access to all of the premium add-ons and premium support via two plans:
- Plus – $297 per year for up to 5 sites
- Unlimited – $597 per year for unlimited sites
👉 You can learn more in our full Paid Memberships Pro review.
Pros: Has a pretty generous free plugin. The huge array of official and third-party add-ons also make it very easy to customize the plugin to meet your needs (though you might need to pay).
Cons: It’s a little pricey if you need the premium add-ons because the cheapest plan is $297.
3. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is another popular membership plugin.
It originally was developed by the same developer as the Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins. However, it was acquired by Liquid Web/iThemes in 2020 via Liquid Web’s StellarWP subsidiary.
Liquid Web is one of the biggest companies in the WordPress space, which should give you confidence that it will be around for the long haul (always an important consideration when choosing a membership plugin).
The admin user interface is well designed and it fits right into the appearance of the WordPress admin area, creating a seamless integration on the backend. Restrict Content Pro is very easy to use and there’s helpful documentation displayed throughout the settings pages to ensure you’re able to get started as quickly as possible.
Restrict Content Pro gives you the ability to restrict access to your content in a number of different ways. You can restrict access to individual posts based on membership level or use categories and tags to restrict access. Some other features you get with Restrict Content Pro include:
- Create unlimited subscription levels
- Customer dashboard allows your customers to view and manage their account details
- Sell an unlimited number of digital products
- Accept payments with Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, PayPal Website Payments Pro, and PayPal Standard, and Express.
- Prorated upgrades and downgrades
- Flexible schedules for content restriction – e.g. content dripping, option to restrict access to past content, option to hard-set an expiration date
- Group memberships
- Customizable coupons
- Let members create network sites with WordPress Multisite
- Integrations with email marketing services
- Premium support and updates
Overall, if you’re after a quality membership plugin with ever-increasing features and amazing flexibility then Restrict Content Pro is an excellent choice.
💵 There are four pricing plans available, all of which now give you access to all pro features (which wasn’t the case before the StellarWP acquisition).
- Personal – $99/year for use on one site.
- Plus – $149/year for use on five sites.
- Professional – $249/year for use on unlimited sites.
- Ultimate – $749 one-time for lifetime support and updates and use on unlimited sites. You also get all future add-ons at no extra cost.
The free version of Restrict Content Pro is now more powerful than it was before, which might make it a workable option for simple sites. However, most people will still want the Pro version for serious membership sites.
Pros: Restrict Content Pro is extremely versatile and gives you maximum control over access to your content. Drip it out, lock past content, set content to expire, and go public after a certain time – all of this is possible with Restrict Content Pro. It’s also pretty cheap with the new pricing plans.
Cons: You might need to use some custom CSS for the frontend dashboard pages.
👉 You can learn more in our full Restrict Content Pro review.
MemberMouse is a premium membership and eCommerce solution, which lets you create a membership site in minutes. The plugin is built with keeping non-techies in mind, and takes only a few minutes to set up.
The most attractive thing about this plugin is that everything is built-in right from the start, which is a big part of what makes it so easy for non-technical users.
In addition to restricting content and offering member access, you can also sell individual products, including some nice upsell opportunities. For example, you could upsell a one-off ebook as part of the membership signup process.
Other features include:
- Customer management
- Self-configuring checkout
- International currency
- Group functionality
- Tools to prevent unauthorized account sharing
- Prorated upgrades
- Social media integration,
- Protected upgrades
- Overdue payment handling
- Detailed analytics
- …much more.
MemberMouse currently supports six payment gateways:
- Braintree (by PayPal)
One downside of MemberMouse is that it uses a recurring billing model, rather than the traditional “one-time payment” model that most WordPress plugins use. That is, you’ll need to pay for as long as you want to use the plugin, whereas with a “traditional” plugin you’re only paying to continue receiving support/updates.
💵 You’ll also pay based on the number of members you have:
- Builder – $29 per month for up to 5,000 members.
- Advanced – $79 per month for up to 50,000 members and more features.
- Premium – $199 per month for up to 100,000 members and all features.
Additionally, another important note is that MemberMouse is not GPL licensed. This means, in part, that you cannot edit the underlying code like you could with a GPL-licensed membership plugin. If you’re a developer, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
However, if you’re just a casual user, MemberMouse’s “all-in-one works out-of-the-box” approach is quite convenient.
Pros: Has lots of advanced features and is pretty easy for non-developers to use.
Cons: Not GPL licensed, which is a turnoff to some WordPress users. Also uses a recurring subscription business model instead of the normal WordPress one-time payment model.
👉 You can learn more in our MemberMouse review.
💰 Use our exclusive MemberMouse coupon to get 25% OFF.
5. WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships is a WordPress membership plugin based on the popular WooCommerce eCommerce plugin. That does not mean it’s only for WooCommerce stores – you can use it to create literally any type of membership site.
By using WooCommerce as the base for handling payments, you can tap into all of WooCommerce’s many features and extensions including coupons, discounting, subscriptions, bundles, upsells, etc.
You can choose to restrict any type of content and you can also choose to drip content to members based upon categories, tags, specific posts or pages, and projects.
If you are running an eCommerce store, WooCommerce Memberships does include some nice features there. For example, you can:
- Require people to be a member in order to purchase products (like a purchasing club).
- Give special discounts to members (e.g. free shipping for all memberships).
Billing control is better than many other plugins as well. When combined with WooCommerce Subscriptions, members will have complete control over their own memberships. Including the ability to pause, upgrade, downgrade along with the other requested proration adjustment.
- Offer unlimited membership levels
- One customer can have multiple memberships
- Access to a great selection of payment gateways via WooCommerce
- Ability to integrate an affiliate program into your membership structure
- Full eCommerce features
- Premium support and updates for 12 months included
💵 WooCommerce Memberships itself costs $199. However, you might need to purchase other extensions for key functionality. For example, if you want to offer recurring subscription memberships, you’ll also need WooCommerce Subscriptions (also $199).
Pros: It’s WooCommerce. That means you’ll be able to take advantage of other extensions that Woo offers including Subscriptions, Bookings, and Groups.
Cons: It can quickly get expensive if you need access to other WooCommerce extensions, such as WooCommerce Subscriptions.
LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin (learning management system) that includes membership functionality to help you deliver and monetize online courses.
That’s the unique thing about LearnDash – it’s specifically focused on creating online courses. If you are doing that, LearnDash can be really convenient because it includes the course functionality and membership functionality in one integrated package.
In terms of course functionality, LearnDash offers the following:
- Drag-and-drop course builder
- Support for text and multimedia lessons, including dedicated video lesson support
- Simple or advanced quizzes, including automatic grading
- Course prerequisites
- Course certificates and badges
- Other course gamification features like points and leaderboards
In terms of membership plugin functionality, LearnDash also has the following:
- Content restriction support so that only eligible members can view some/all course content
- Option to drip feed content
- Built-in payment support for one-time or recurring payments, including bundles
- Direct payment integrations for PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout, as well as a WooCommerce integration to use any WooCommerce payment gateway
- Group membership support to sell plans to organizations
If you need even more advanced membership and content restriction functionality, LearnDash also works well with most other membership plugins on this list. There’s even an official Restrict Content Pro integration that lets you use the two together.
This makes sense given that LearnDash was acquired by Liquid Web in 2021, which is the same company that acquired Restrict Content Pro in 2020.
💵 LearnDash starts at $199 for access to all* features and use on a single site.
We also have a special LearnDash coupon to help you save up to 40% on those plans. With our deal, you’ll pay just $159.
*Higher-tier plans include a special ProPanel feature, but this isn’t needed for membership sites as it’s more for serious academic institutions using learnDash.
👉 You can learn more in our full LearnDash review.
Pros: LearnDash excels at creating membership-powered online courses. While it’s technically an LMS plugin, it includes a lot of built-in membership functionality at no extra cost.
Cons: If you’re not creating courses, you’ll definitely want to choose a different membership plugin.
7. Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is a versatile membership plugin for WordPress that will help you set up a full-featured membership site. The basic plugin is free, but if you want to unlock features like content dripping you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
With the plugin, you’ll be able to restrict access to your site content by post, page, tags, or categories.
Some of Paid Member Subscriptions’ other features include:
- Management of unlimited members
- Navigation menu filter, members see only what their access level allows
- Accept payments with PayPal Pro, PayPal Express Checkout, and Stripe
- Globally restrict access to content based on post type, taxonomy, and terms
- Content dripping with timed release of access
- Discount codes for running promotions or rewarding your members for upgrading their membership level
- Free trials
- Multiple subscriptions per user
💵 When it comes to pricing, there are three plans available::
- Free – fairly generous with features and available at WordPress.org
- Hobbyist – $69 for limited premium features and use on a single site
- Pro – $149 for all premium features and use on unlimited sites
Both paid plans come with a year of updates and support, so to continue receiving them you’ll need to continue paying annually.
If you want an affordable membership plugin that gives you great flexibility and the ability to drip content, then Paid Member Subscriptions is a great choice.
Pros: The free version is pretty generous with the features that you get. The Pro version is still affordable at just $69.
Cons: It’s not quite as flexible as something like Paid Memberships Pro, though it can still do everything most membership sites need.
8. OptimizePress 3
Note – OptimizePress 3 is not a membership plugin by itself. Instead, it integrates with any of the other plugins on this list to help you more effectively sell your memberships.
We recently published a full OptimizePress 3 review, covering the best features and usability of this landing page builder for WordPress. However, it’s worth another mention here as it does allow you to enhance the membership functionality of your WordPress site.
OptimizePress comes with a number of templates specifically for dealing with membership sites and is a great tool for those looking to optimize the signup pages of their site.
The page builder makes it very easy to set up and customize the landing pages for your membership offering, and the membership portal aspect of the plugin works with a range of membership plugins. If you want to customize the signup pages, login forms, and membership lesson and module listings then OptimizePress, used in conjunction with a supported membership plugin equals a powerful combination.
👉 Read our full OptimizePress 3 review
💵 OptimizePress 3 starts at $199 for use on up to 20 websites for full features. There’s also a more limited $99 version for use on a single site.
Pros: Comes with a very large selection of templates. The page builder is also very easy to use, giving you access to an unlimited amount of designs. Ideal for any type of landing or registration page, not just membership sites.
Cons: Unlike the older version (OptimizPress 2), OptimizePress 3 doesn’t help you restrict content/create plans/manage members, etc. That is, you’ll still need to pair it with another plugin on this list.
9. WishList Member Plugin
Launched all the way back in 2008, WishList Member is a premium membership plugin that is known for giving you lots of control over how you can restrict content and make it available to members. This also means that there are lots of options to explore, which can sometimes be confusing for new users. However, lots of settings and expansive menu systems are often the price you pay for this level of control over your membership site and premium content.
While WishList Member used to have a very dated interface, it recently got a big facelift and now looks quite modern. The developers did a great job of listening to customers and really improving the plugin. So if you’d already written this one off before, it might be worth another look now.
Some of the features of this premium WordPress membership plugin include:
- Create unlimited membership levels
- Sequential content delivery and auto-upgrades of membership levels
- Easy ability to hide or restrict individual pieces of content from non-members
- Handles free, trial and paid memberships
- Integrations with tons of payment processors including big names such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, and more
- Integrations with most email marketing services, as well as a catch-all Zapier integration
- Secure RSS feeds (let members securely view restricted content in their own readers)
- Subscription length control with auto-expire
- Free previews with protection after the ‘more’ tag
- Partial content display for protecting as little as one sentence within a post
WishList Member also recently launched a Courses add-on in late 2021 that helps you build online courses powered by WishList Member. This add-on is only available on the highest-tier WishList Member plan, though.
The plugin also comes with a good selection of support material to help you get started such as video tutorials, support guides, one year of unlimited updates, and one year of unlimited support.
💵 WishList Member has two plans:
- $199 for just the WishList Member plugin and use on a single site
- $399 for the WishList Member plugin and the Courses add-on as well as use on up to 50 sites
Note – WishList Member used to obfuscate their code and was not GPL licensed. However, that’s changed! You can now edit the underlying code and WishList Member has embraced GPL, which is great! This is another example of the improvements in newer releases.
Pros: Lots of control over how your membership site works, comes with a risk-free 30-day trial, recently got a facelift to modernize the interface.
Cons: Because of the way that WishList Member integrates with payment gateways, it’s difficult to implement discounting strategies and coupon codes.
👉 Read our full WishList Member review
ProfileGrid is a WordPress membership plugin with more of a focus on the social aspect of creating members-only communities.
For example, you’ll get features like private messaging between users, user groups, friends and friend requests, personal user blogs, notifications, social streams, etc. But at the same time, you also get traditional membership plugin features such as the ability to restrict content and charge for membership on a one-time or recurring basis.
Basically, if you want to create a membership site that includes these social community features, ProfileGrid is definitely one to consider because most other membership plugins don’t offer these tools.
Here are some of the key features:
- Restrict access to content on your site.
- Charge for access to your membership community using PayPal, Stripe, or WooCommerce (including support for WooCommerce Subscriptions for recurring payments).
- Dedicated front-end user profile areas for members.
- Add social features such as private messaging, friend requests, user activity feeds, and more.
- Option to let members create their own personal blogs.
- Option to create multiple user groups, including charging for access to user groups.
- Email template manager to customize the email notifications that you send to users.
- Custom registration form builder.
💵 ProfileGrid has a free version at WordPress.org that might work for simple membership communities.
To unlock the advanced features, including the ability to charge for access to your membership community with Stripe or WooCommerce, you’ll need the premium version. The premium version gives you access to all of the premium extensions for one price:
- Premium – $79 for use on a single site and one year of support and updates.
- Premium+ – $159 for use on unlimited websites and lifetime support and updates.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons…
Pros: It has unique social features that most other membership plugins don’t offer. There’s a functional free version. The Pro version offers an affordable lifetime license.
Cons: If you don’t need the social features, you’ll probably want to choose a different plugin.
Teachable is another LMS tool that, like LearnDash, is primarily focused on helping you create online courses (or sell coaching services). However, like LearnDash, it includes pretty solid membership features as part of that functionality, which makes it a great option if you’re looking for a membership solution to create and deliver online courses.
Teachable is technically a SaaS tool rather than a native WordPress plugin. However, it does integrate quite well with WordPress, so it can fill that same need.
For example, you can create a registration form on your WordPress site and then automatically add users to Teachable when they fill out your WordPress form.
You can use Teachable to deliver online courses to your members and/or offer them coaching services. You can also bundle the membership plans together. For example, you could create a bundle of an online course and one-on-one coaching.
Teachable also offers some nice conversion-boosting features, such as built-in support for order bumps/upsells.
In terms of online course functionality, Teachable offers the following:
- Drag-and-drop course builder
- Support for text and multimedia lessons, including dedicated video lesson support
- Simple multiple choice quizzes with automatic grading
- Course completion certificates
And then in terms of the membership functionality, you get the following:
- Restrict course content to eligible members
- Drip content out of time
- Built-in payment support via Teachable’s own payment gateway or PayPal and Stripe
- Four different payment options for your courses, coaching, or bundle products – free, one-time payment, recurring subscription, or payment plan
There are also other useful features like Zapier/webhooks support and a built-in tool to create an affiliate program for your membership site.
👉 Read our full Teachable review
💵 Teachable has a free plan that supports unlimited courses with limited features. Paid plans start at $39 per month.
Pros: Very user-friendly interface on the frontend and backend. Hosted SaaS tool so you don’t need to worry about maintenance or security. Strong functionality for membership-powered online courses. Offers nice conversion-boosting tactics like order bumps.
Cons: Teachable is a SaaS tool rather than a native WordPress plugin, though it does integrate tightly with WordPress. It’s only for courses – if you’re not creating membership courses, you’ll definitely want a different tool.
Quick Membership Plugin Comparison Table
|Membership Plugin Comparison|
|Content Dripping||Digital Downloads||Recurring Subscriptions||Starting Price|
|Restrict Content Pro||✅||✅||✅||$99|
|Paid Memberships Pro||✅ (Pro)||✅||✅||Free, $297 (Pro)|
|Paid Member Subscriptions||✅ (Pro)||✅||✅||Free, $69 (Pro)|
|Teachable||✅||❌||✅||Free, $39/month (Pro)|
Conclusion: The Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
With high-quality free and premium options available, anyone can start offering restricted access content on their site to their members and subscribers. Whether you want to build a private community or a premium online course, you should be able to set up your site in a very short amount of time using one of these plugins.
While the above plugins only represent a small sample of the many membership tools out there for WordPress, they should be enough for most users’ needs. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all best WordPress membership plugin, as while the above are all well-rounded products, they have their own strengths and weakness, not to mention price tags.
Before making a choice, it’s a good idea to be clear on exactly how you plan to manage your members’ area and what features you will need, such as content dripping, course delivery, recurring payments, ease of use, custom landing pages, or pay per view access. Once you know your requirements, making a decision will be much easier.
If you’re looking for a starting point, some of the top options are MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, and Paid Memberships Pro. Or, if you’re on a budget, consider Paid Member Subscriptions.
If you’re specifically looking to create a membership site to offer online courses, you might want to start with LearnDash or Teachable. Or, MemberPress and WishList Member both now offer dedicated course add-ons, though neither is as powerful as a dedicated tool like LearnDash or Teachable.
But remember – they all have strengths and weaknesses, so we recommend that you just use this article as a diving-off point for a more thorough investigation.
I hope this article helped you find the right membership plugin for your website. If you’re planning to offer online courses with your membership site, you also might want to check out our collection of the best WordPress LMS plugins, which has a few other good options.
Have you set up a membership site and if so which plugin did you use?
Cart66 Cloud includes a pretty robust set of membership features including both the e-commerce of selling the membership (or subscription) on a recurring basis as well as the content restriction including the “drip” functionality you mentioned was lacking in some of the other solutions. You also get a built-in customer portal for your subscribers to manage their own billing information. Everything is built-in including the security so you don’t even have to worry about installing your own SSL cert. It’s a pretty comprehensive solution – would be cool to see it listed as another option to consider. http://cart66.com
Joe Fylan says
Thanks Lee. I will take a look at Cart66 as not used it before.
One that we’ve been using for awhile is aMember. It’s been pretty good to us and it works well with other softwares like vBulletin.
Joe Fylan says
Thanks for the recommendation Michael, I will take a look at it.
Drew Strojny says
Great summary Joe. We feel like we’ve got a pretty unique solution over Memberful. You can start selling memberships with no up front costs, and it only takes a few minutes to integrate with WordPress.
Joe Fylan says
Thanks for the heads up Drew. I will take a look for an updated article.
You’re missing Premise (by Copyblogger) and Restrict Content Pro by Pippin 😉
Joe Fylan says
Cheers Rudd. There are lots out there that didn’t make the list.
Amazing Article, Incredible writing style. i really liked the way you represent the content.
Kim Coleman says
Thanks for the excellent coverage of the plugin options available. I’m co-developer of Paid Memberships Pro and just wanted to mention that we do indeed have drip feed content included in the PMPro Series add on here: http://www.paidmembershipspro.com/add-ons/plugins-on-github/pmpro-series-for-drip-feed-content/.
Joe Fylan says
Thanks Kim. Are the add ons on Github developed by the PMPro team?
I think I will do an updated version of this post including all the recommendations received so far.
Developers, feel free to send over any review copies of any plugins that you think should be included.
Yep – our GitHub Repositories and Gists are all written by or reviewed then pulled in by Jason Coleman who’s the core Paid Memberships Pro developer. http://github.com/strangerstudios and http://gist.github.com/strangerstudios
Rasmus Lindgren says
I can’t see how you can create such a list without the master if membership plugin Wishlist Member.
The plugin uses quite a lot of resources so I can see how it from a hosting perspective is not the best plugin, but from an end user perspective it’s fantastic.
Also including OP2 on the list kind of crazy since it has nothing to do with a membership plugin. If you really wanted to review something like this you should probably have reviewed OptimizeMember that is actually a free membership plugin from the creator of Optimize Press.
I’ve tested several of the products on your list (and a few more including OptimizeMember) and while it is a resource hog, I still recommend Wishlist Member to anyone wanting to build a membership site on WordPress.
Joe Fylan says
Thanks Rasmus. I will look at those for part II of this list, due in the next week or so.
Jill Renee Feeler says
Thanks for this info and your other helpful posts, Joe. I have some additional questions hoping you can answer.
1. I’m looking for a solution in which my customers experience the purchased product content directly on the page (no emailed download links). For each product I include audio players (for live and archived audio access to the class), pdfs, embedded video, and an area for customer interaction/community forum that is product specific. Looking for an option where all of this can be available within each product.
2. What do you recommend for the customer interaction aspect, where customers of that product can interact with each other on that page, creating a virtual experience for the customers (sharing what they enjoyed most, questions for me or others, other general comments).
3. Which of these has product/membership options that can show up as Store items, along with any other products, including those that are not memberships? I don’t do code, so hoping this is out of the box.
4. Can I offer payments for some membership products (some are pricey)? With Cart66 Cloud, in order to offer payments, they force you into subscriptions (with expiration dates) yet the product content is actually more like all the other membership items (unlimited access).
5. Is there a way to limit how many devices/IPs my customers can use to access the content, to minimize piracy/login sharing? (I know wishlist member offers this and that Cart66 Cloud does not.)
6. Which of these membership plugins allows me to organize the products, shown in a Store type menu, into categories or some other form of grouping? With so many classes offered, it’s important for me to be able to group them to keep things organized in the offering, which I hope is the Store. With Cart66 Cloud I learned I cannot organize my product posts into Categories within Store.
7. Is there a membership plugin that allows me to offer memberships that links the dates of the customer’s specific membership and to dates product was published/created? I’m not talking about content dripping here. I’d like windows of time for membership matching present window of material that matches their membership dates. Since we offer about 4-6 events per month, some regular customers purchase all that we offer, so this membership would be a big convenience for them to just know they have access to new products offered in that time window, but not to everything created in prior time windows. For my staff, we wouldn’t have to do anything special, just knowing the system is matching their membership dates with the workshop published dates.
8. Which of these allow customers to have “accounts” which saves their info for future purchases?
9. Which members offer PCI/SSL out of the box or what additional is needed to achieve this?
Sorry if some of these are basic and for so many questions. My use case is specific and with so many options it’s been a lot of researching to try and find what meets my needs. Not sure if I need an eLearning solution (like WP courseware) with a membership plugin or whether I can just find the right membership plug-in. Have been trying to make Cart66 Cloud work for the past 2 months and I’m realizing it just isn’t a fit for me. For now still muddling through with Ning plus my website but want one WP site solution.
Joe Fylan says
I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can!
1) I think all of the main options should allow you to give your customers access to your content as soon as they register/make the payment. WishList Member would be one option, which I covered recently here: https://www.wpkube.com/wishlist-member-plugin-wordpress-review-tutorial/
2) Would the standard post comment functionality of WordPress suffice for this? Or do you want more of a forum experience? If the former then with these membership plugins, you can display the protected content on a post and then allow those with access to discuss it in the comment section. If the latter then you might need to use an additional forum plugin/service.
3) One option is to use WooCommerce with WishList Member to do just that: list memberships and other products for sale. There is an extension for that which can help you: http://docs.woothemes.com/document/wishlist-member-integration/
4) I don’t understand this, sorry. Who would you be offering the payments too?
5) Yes with WishList Member you can set the number of IPs per customer to any number of your choice. MemberMouse is another plugin that has this option. I don’t think many of the other plugins have this featured as far as I’m aware.
6) You can do that with WooCommerce as your eCommerce platform and integrating it with a membership plugin such as WishList Member. With WooCommerce, products are created in a similar way to posts (using a custom post type) and you can assign them a product category.
7) Sorry, I’ve no idea about that one!
8) I think most of them have user profiles that are created when a user signs up/registers.
9) A lot of them integrate with PCI compliant payment gateways including MemberMouse, MemberPress, MagicMembers, etc.
Hope this has been some help. It might be a better idea to write down a required feature list and send it to all the vendors and see who can meet your needs. Let me know how you get on.
Jill Renee Feeler says
Thank you, Joe — very helpful. I so appreciate your time to reply.
Ray Cassidy says
Well Jo! that was a very thorough review. I was surprised not to see S2 Membership plugin in the list though 😉 Any particular reason (non-libellous) that it wasn’t included?
My requirement is to have membership level control over content and resources on a crowd funding site. The architecture so far is to use Astoundify’s Fundify theme which hooks into their Crowdfunding and Easy Digital Downloads Plugins; to control the sales and membership.
Unfortunately the info on those plugins is relatively scant. Have any of your readers had any experience with the membership aspects of the plugins mentioned above, or have any experience of marrying them to the functions of a classic membership plugin?
Thanks for the excellent review. Good work.
Joe Fylan says
Thanks for your comment. No real reason why S2 wasn’t included, just haven’t had any experience of it yet. Will try and include it if we do an update.
Same goes for EDD. I hear that is a great plugin but haven’t used it yet. I’m sure it will be fine for your needs.
Good article! Are there any security issues with using such plugins? Are there any vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit? Thanks.
Joe Fylan says
No different from any other plugin I would imagine. The above are all widely used so any weaknesses would’ve been quickly ironed out. As with any software, plugin, or theme, make sure they are updated as soon as possible (after testing the update of course). Running outdated software can lead to problems with security.
Joe, thanks a lot for the reply. I’m confused by the variety out there and I need to make a decision soon. What would be you #1 choice for an easy-to-use plugin that offers simple integration with Paypal, a feature to notify members about new posts and ability to restrict content at any place within a post?
Joe Fylan says
Well Paid Memberships Pro is free without support so is a good option.
Wishlist Member is good too and is easy to use. You can read my review/tutorial I did of it to get a better idea of if its for you:
I need some plugins to develop my WP site, so could you please recommend which plugins I should use to achieve these functions below (I have the latest version of WP):
1-It will be an online casting agency site. Where member film producers will search and book member actors.
2-There are 2 member types: Producers and Actors. Both members are free members, there wont be any paid members on the site. Actors membership will be authorized my email confirmation. But producers’ authorization will be made manually by admin.
3-Actors:Web site visitor that decided to be an actor in my site’s portfolio, click sign up button and fill a small form with name, email so after his email confirmation -or signup by Facebook – he comes back on landing page that has long form that consists of age, physical details, skills etc, and upload 6 photos of himself/herself, then when he sends the form he is registered actor member, now he has his profile page with all info about him/her and has 6 photos (1 profile pic the rest his/her other photos). And on the user profile page there are 2 buttons: Add to Favorites and book this user buttons which only producer members can see these 2 buttons.
4-Producers:Web site user that he is in real life a film producer or production company rep, clicks for sign up button (this button is different that above sign up button in a another page or can be the same sign up button as above then there may be option saying actors click here to sign up and producers click here to sign up). So producer fills a form that has name, company name, email, tel no, address, so when he sends the form, admin receives the warning in admin panel also receives email about this signing, and sees that it is a producer so admin manually makes some phone calls and confirm that he is a real producer so admin manually authorize that producer’s membership to the site as “producer member”. So now producer member can search and view all actor members, view theri full profiles, and view those 2 buttons (fav and book buttons) and when he clicks book button on a user’s profile page a small popup modal window opens with a small form saying: Event name, event date, event hour. So when he fills and sends this form, these data is saved on DB: Producer’s ID, name, event date, name, hour. So admin can see that in event or booking calendar in admin site only, and admin manually informs that particular booked user about this booking.
5-Non-member public users can do search as well and see actor members’ thumbs on search results, but they cant view their profile pages, so only thumbs they can view and when they click on a thumb a popup windows appears saying you should sign up to view user profiles.
6-In few months I may make the actor members registration process through payment. Basically to be an actor member they have to pay an annual small fee by Paypal only. So membership plugin should be compatible with Paypal payment gateway. ( I m thinking only 1 payment option which is Paypal, nothing else).
So please tell and recommend and give advice; which WP plugins I should use to achieve above? Thanx very much to all helpful people in advance.
Maya Hanley says
Hi Joe, thanks for this great article. It’s very informative and helpful. I am looking for a membership plugin for WordPress that allows me to sell physical products. We sell wine from small producers in Spain and are adding tastings, courses and wine tours this year and want to give people the option of regular deliveries as well as upsells, coupons, discounts etc. Most of the plugins seem to be for digital downloads. Can you recommend one that would work for us? Many thanks.
You should check out WooCommerce, it is a fantastic solution for selling physical products.
john coffey says
Please note that if you are selling digital products or services (including memberships) to customers in the EU that you need to comply with the new EU laws.
Currently memberpress does not allow the necessary VAT calculation functionality (2 non conflicting pieces of evidence) to allow the vendor identify the location of the customer.
Woocommerce’s membership plugin integrates with the woocommerce VAT plugin (made to work with taxamo.com) and is the only compliant solution on the market right now.
Andrew Bossola says
Cart66 just changed their pricing structure to an annual rate of $95 a year…. might be worth updating this article. If you don’t have quite such intricate needs and want something easier to setup, Cart66 Cloud is a great way to get started with low cost and peace of mind.
Hello joe Fylan and everyone,
Wow, I got the lot of thinks from there. Every comment is very helpful.However, I want to add something, and recently I just released the membership plugin in the wordpress repository who is called “rs-members”. Before developing I just studied existence all membership wordpress plugin.I got many problems from the those.As a result; I just tried to include many useful features.Without programming skill any guys can easily maintain this plugin. I hoped this plugin will be helpful fill up your all demand. .Guys you can visit my “rs-members” from wordpress repository.
Thank you gentleman for patiently reading.
Hello, on the website I am creating, you nedd to be a member to buy virtual products (services ) . This can be done with paid membership pro? or wich is the best for a online shop with membership?
Does Paid Memberships Pro allow you to sell group memberships ? For example, if I want to sell 5 memberships at once to a single company in a bundle, can I do that? Lots of companies we work with like to purchase group memberships for their various teams (sales teams, media teams, HR teams, etc.) or wich plugin allow you to do this?
Shameem Reza says
Great summary Joe. You really did a good review. Including your list, I want to add another one, which is quite impressive. in Last three month I did four membership site projects and in every projects I used Expand Memebership plugin.
I wanted to write some review on this membership plugin, because not only I, but my clients are also satisfied to get perfect solution spending few penny. I was looking for review article written by my favourite writer including you, and that’s I can suggest you to check this plugin too.
Once again thanks for the awesome summery.
Hi, Amazing article,
I just want to download the list of plugins and themes you use, i also clicked on one of the lead magnets but it seems not to be working. Can you please provide me that file where in you have listed all the plugins which you use. Thanks
Devesh Sharma says
Glad you liked the article.
Sorry about that, will get it fixed. Here’s the list — https://www.wpkube.com/toolkit/
I have Memberpress and Mailchimp. Do I also need a CRM?
Devesh Sharma says
I don’t think either of them are CRM solutions. Though, MailChimp does provide integration with most popular CRM solutions — https://connect.mailchimp.com/collections/crm/. Hope that helps.
Kyle Healey says
Great roundup. I wanted to mention that Optimize Press now has a member plugin, so you don’t need an additional one.
Not a fan of Magic Members because it doesn’t let the user pick a password when registering. A user is e-mailed some auto-generated password and then they can log in to change that. I am changing to a plugin with fewer steps. I lose a lot of customers who do the initial sign-up, but then never log in.
Joe- I am looking for a simple membership plugin for WordPress that will simply collect membership data….no membership dues, dripping, or anything else. The only capability I need is to export the membership data six months from now and then be able to import it into a full up plugin. I tried MemberPress and WP-Member but could not get it to work.
Any comment on the usefulness of encrypting membership plugin in files in 2017. Does this provide any real security today?
We are using Digital Access Plus (DAP) which has been great but we are at a point where we want to customize the member page more than its allowing us to.
It offers most everything included in the plugins listed above and it does two things which we need.
1. Automatically pause content when payment not made. has option to retain access to paid for data and also to restrict on a member to member basis.
2. When paused it advances access start and end date so next payment maintains drip and doesn’t dump weeks of content at once when the payment is caught up.
If you don’t mind can you explain or discuss Optimizepress?
Audie Eduardo says
I adore this website – its so usefull and helpfull.|
Blaine Fallis says
I was on the phone with Ontraport yesterday and realized they include membership site creation and management as part of their product, however upon further review, the affordable offering called Basic doesn’t include it. Pro level and up does though, and they also offer landing page creation and some great CRM style features, triggers, and prospect tagging and such. But for a person willing to spend medium business levels of money, it should be noted that membership site creation and functionality are included in the Pro and Plus plans.
All of the above membership plugins are great. However, I seek a membership plugin, or some easy to implement code, that expires access to view content on a company site (it’s not an eCommerce site) for ‘Visitor’ Users, based on hours and minutes or ‘instantly on logout’, rather than days, weeks and years. I can find no plugin that offers this feature. Is there anyone out there that can solve my dilemma?
For example: I land on a website. I want to read all of the pages, but it says it is a restricted website. Viewing requires a registration. I register my name and email address, and this gets confirmed via email. I search through the site and eventually choose to leave. I close my browser. 15-30 minutes later I want to return to this website and read something I read previously. I try to login, but I can’t and a message returns saying my registration has expired, “Please re-register for access”. Had I logged in within a 14 minute window my login and password would have worked. This restriction is only for the casual ‘Visitor’ User. Staff and business partners would be approved, registered and managed, by the site Administrator and a regular membership plugin would work for this.
Is there anyone out there with the knowledge and experience who can guide me to resolve this issue?
The only plugin I could thing about is Restrict Content Pro, as it is focused more on the content-side of things, instead of eCommerce. We reviewed it, a while back, you can read here
If RCP doesn’t solve the issue, you will probably need to hire someone from sites such as Codeable or Envato Studio.
Would love some assistance! I’m helping a friend with his new site, and I’m only looking for a plugin that will tackle the sites 2 main functions:
1) Allow members to register/sign-up (payment likely to be handled externally…)
2) And this is the most important: Each member will have access to a specific page *uniquely assigned to each individual account/user* that will have their own audio player with a custom set of music that we’ll provide.
3) Bonus: If possible, I’d like to be able to restrict the number of simultaneous users logged in to a single account. (Example: User123 is logged in. If User123 is logged in 2 locations, and I am able to restrict them to only 2 simultaneous sessions, then if a third location tries to log in, they’ll get a “limit reached message” of some sort.
#2 is the biggest thing I need – I need the user to (once they login) be able to be able access a specific page, assigned to that unique user ONLY (which we would assign to the users manually once registration is approved.) I hope that makes sense.
The idea being that if User1 logs in and goes to their player, it’s the on the page that we created for User1. If User2 logs into their account, their player will be unique to them, thereby being completely separate and having nothing to do with the page/player assigned to User1.
I apologize for the lengthy explanation, I just want to make sure it’s fairly clear to understand. It’s worth clarifying that I don’t need a the plugin to create the unique user pages or the players that will be designed. We can do that on our own, fairly quickly. We just basically need to be able to assign individual permissions to every single user for their own unique page. There won’t be any “page sharing” by users (again, I hope this makes sense…)
I appreciate any assistance, and apologize for any over-explaining.
Thanks for all of your time, and any help you can provide.
Question: I have a client that is a teacher and wants to sell lesson plans, books he has written, etc. He has 198 items for sale in his store and wants to setup membership areas where people who buy into the program for a year will get access to that content.
So basically a person can buy 5 lesson plans in the store or they can choose to buy a full membership and get everything. Is there one membership platform that is better for this? My concern is that if I buy one it will make everything private and I’m looking to easily create the membership area and keep his shop in tact.
From the article: “All this functionality comes at a hefty price tag, however. A starter package comes at $19.95 per month only allowing for up to 1,000 members. Up to 5,000 members — $39.95 per month. MemberMouse is a high-end and expensive plugin, but if you are starting a professional online and eCommerce business, this is the best membership option money can buy.”
Is this supposed to be a typo? $19.95/month is considered a “hefty price tag” and a “high-end expensive plugin”?
I, too, noticed this discrepancy.
$19.95 a month sounds ideal, working out at around $240 over a year.
If it is a monthly subscription, then more people can get their feet in the water faster and start getting on with the project.
De Ivett says
We are currently using Magic Members for one of our clients and ran into an issue a couple months ago – they have not responded to any of our inquiries, tickets etc… I would not recommend them based on that – even though we loved the plugin.
I took over the management of a small non-profit site that is a member-only site. They have been using Magic Members for some years and I’ve been struggling with it for about 2 years now.
Magic Members looks good until you actually have to use it. Many of the features that they tout are simply not there or are extremely buggy.
A simple task like setting up a yearly date-based subscription (i.e. members pay yearly by a certain date) is not as simple as it should be – I apparently need to create a new “subscription pack” each year instead of just a recurring one with a month/day expiration date. I have just spent hours trying to get the MailChimp integration to work – unsucessfully. And although I can add my own custom field to the interface, I can’t edit it once it’s there.
So many other problems. I keep filing bugs and requests with little result. I cannot recommend this to anyone and I’m actively looking to switch to something else.
I initially used Magic Membership but soon found their app unworkable for what I wanted. They were and still continue to be extremely obstructive when I asked for a refund within the 30 day Money back Guarantee. Their invoice they sent wouldn’t print out properly and now I having the pass the matter over to my bank in order to reclaim the funds. You should not be recommending Magic members it is an extremely dogy app that should be flagged as fraudulent.
Zippy Courses is very good The Best WordPress Membership Plugins .
Jackson Kobby says
which membership plugin can allow me to match or pair users to perform certain task like to mentor or pay some amount to another?
Pat Ness says
Love the list! I’m super surprised DAP (Digital Access Pass) isn’t on here. It’s the most feature rich WordPress plugin by far! I’ve used some of the plugins mentioned and they work great. No issues. But when I want certain functionalities and automations it’s not possible. With DAP anything is possible 🙂
Nino Alves says
I’d have to second Pat’s comment. I’ve been using Digital Access Pass for myself and my clients for years for the simple fact it has massive amount of needed features and super responsive support. Very surprised it’s not on this list.
I’m with Pat and Nino shocked to not see Digital Access Pass (DAP) in your list. I’ve been a long time customer of DAP and they just keep getting better and better with each release.
Recently they added an LMS solution to their offering, which means I was able to dump one of the suggestions you have above. Their integration with their shopping cart (SPC) and the customer support team that goes over and above makes them superstars for me in the world of membership plugins.
John Ravi says
What an amazing list! I have been looking for a membership plugin for a WordPress website, and you shared some amazing options in this list. I really loved several options you shared in this article, and I am looking forward to checking them out. Since I am doing this research for a friend, I will share this article with him to let him know about all these options as well, and I really hope he can find the best one from this insightful list!