Want to turn your WordPress site into a fully functional membership site? Choosing the right WordPress membership plugin is crucial to building a better platform.
A membership plugin is designed to help you create memberships and then give those members access to the content.
But how does that increase your bottom line?
A membership plugin allows you to:
- Create mailing lists so you can send coupons or updates to your customers
- Share free content to retain your customers
- Access fees to content reserved for members
- In this article, we share the 14 best WordPress subscription plugins to get your site up and running.
How to choose a WordPress membership plugin
With all the WordPress subscription plugins out there, how do you choose the right one for you?
There are 3 key areas to consider: functionality, compatibility, and ease of use. Let’s talk a bit about each of these areas.
- Features: When it comes to membership plugins, you can buy a lightweight WordPress membership plugin which is fast but only gives you the basics. Or you can get a full add-on to have everything you need right at your fingertips.
- Compatibility: You can check if a plugin is compatible by testing it on a test site. If it is compatible with your WordPress theme and plugins, you can install the plugin on the live site.
- Ease of Use – You will also need to make sure that the interface or control panel is user-friendly. It should also be easy to integrate payment options like PayPal or Authorize.net.
- Several top-notch WordPress membership plugins have been created with these factors in mind.
The best WordPress membership plugins to power your community
MemberPress is a popular and well-supported membership plugin. It includes all the standard features you’d expect, as well as some nifty tips.
First of all, you can create unlimited membership levels with all kinds of trial periods and payment options. And you can even classify different membership levels into “membership groups” to create predefined upgrade paths. It is definitely a unique selling point!
You can restrict the content in several ways. You can go one step further and restrict entire categories or sets of child pages, or you can go one step further and restrict only parts of a post / page. You can also restrict access to individual files to help you manage downloads.
And like the plugins above, MemberPress allows you to deliver your content on a pre-defined schedule.
MemberPress provides you with all kinds of reports to see how your membership site is performing. And it also has a cool feature called MemberPress Reminders that lets you send emails when specific events happen, like an upcoming subscription renewal.
When it comes to integrations, MemberPress connects to most of the major email marketing services, as well as major payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Stripe. And you will really love this integration if you take an online course:
MemberPress can be integrated with LearnDash, a popular learning management system for creating online courses using WordPress. This unlocks powerful online course features.
Unlimited coupons and a built-in affiliate program complete the feature set.
Pricing: MemberPress starts at $ 149 per year
LearnDash is a super flexible and extremely easy to use WordPress LMS plugin. It comes with advanced membership modules and tons of integrations.
Benefits of using LearnDash
Easy to Set Up LearnDash is fairly easy to set up, and adding content is much easier. It also comes with advanced tools to easily organize your membership content into tiers, groups, etc.
Easy Content Restrictions LearnDash allows you to easily hide any content and restrict it to different groups of members.
Sell Courses – LearnDash makes it easy for you to create and sell courses online. It has advanced modules that allow you to manage learning material better than other WordPress membership plugins.
Drip Content – It comes with a powerful drip content feature that allows you to stream content to users at regular intervals or at the end of levels.
Built-in community features Comes with tools to create very engaging membership sites with quizzes, user badges, course specific forums, certificates, user profiles, and more.
Integrations and Payments LearnDash offers an incredible set of integrations and payment gateways. You can even connect it to MemberPress, WooCommerce, bbPress, Slack, etc.
Disadvantages of using LearnDash
Lacks some membership features – If you are trying to build a membership website without selling courses, some of the features in LearnDash may not be of use to you.
Price: Starting at $ 159 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.
LearnDash is the perfect solution if you want to sell online courses on a paid website. Its vast set of plugins and integrations allow you to create a very engaging platform.
s2Member is a popular free membership plugin. It has a surprising variety of features for a free plugin, although they are limited.
As is the norm, you can restrict posts / pages, custom post types, and categories. s2Member also adds some other cool restriction methods. You can restrict BuddyPress, specific URL snippets, as well as specific pieces of content in full posts. And you can also restrict media streaming and file downloads.
You’ll also get helpful tools like email templates, custom login pages, IP restrictions, and brute force protections.
Unfortunately, the free version is limited to 4 levels of paid membership and does not allow the creation of promo codes or drip content, among other feature restrictions.
So if you are serious about creating a membership site, you will almost certainly have to use one of the premium versions to get these restricted features. And at this point, it’s probably best to go for one of the other premium options on this list.
Price: Free. Pro versions start at $ 89
Restrict Content Pro is a lightweight WordPress membership plugin created by the team that created Easy Digital Downloads. If you’re feeling less confident setting up your membership site, Restrict Content Pro can help – the plugin offers notes to guide you through the setup pages.
This plugin also comes with features to regulate access to content, and new features are constantly being added by developers.
Restrict Content Pro offers many options for payment integration, including Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, PayPal, and PayPal Standard and Express. The plugin can also handle multiple payment options at once.
To “try before you buy,” visit the Restrict Contents Pro live demo site.
- Different levels of membership
- Customer dashboard, so members can view and manage account details
- Content dripping
- Unlimited subscription plans
- Membership emails
- You can offer discounts on subscriptions.
Pricing starts at $ 99 / year for the Personal plan.
5. aMember Pro
aMember is a full membership plugin that was built in PHP but allows for WordPress integration. Therefore, one of the downsides of using aMember as a membership plugin is that you may experience compatibility issues with other WordPress plugins.
This membership plugin comes with unlimited membership levels, over 200 payment options (including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net), comprehensive membership management, and more.
- Unlimited membership levels
- Complete member management
- Translated into 6 languages
- Long-term add-on (over 17 years)
Pricing starts at $ 149.36 for a lifetime license.
We believe that MemberPress is the best choice for WordPress membership plugin. It has all the features you would need with excellent documentation and excellent support.
If you want something simple and flexible, Restrict Content Pro is a great option. The team behind you has a proven track record of producing great products.
If you want to sell courses on your membership website, we recommend using LearnDash, it comes with powerful features to create and sell courses online.
We hope this article has helped you find the best WordPress membership plugin for your site.
Is there a free membership plugin for WordPress?
WP-Members is another free membership plugin for WordPress sites that offers simple yet fully functional and expansive features. This plugin can restrict content, integrate member profiles into the installed WordPress theme, and automatically generate teaser content.
Can you have a membership site on WordPress?
You can set up a fully functional membership website with WordPress in less than 30 minutes, and we’ll walk you through every step of the process. Below are the steps that we will cover to help you make a powerful membership website with WordPress.
How do I enable subscriptions on WordPress?
WordPress comes with built-in functionality to manage user registrations. By default, it is turned off but you can easily turn it on. Head over to Settings » General page in your WordPress admin area. Scroll down to the ‘Membership’ section and check the box next to ‘Anyone can register’ option.