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Top 10 Best WordPress Membership Plugins (Pros & Cons)

Posted by Stacey Corrin on December 16, 2020

Do you want to create a membership site in WordPress? Creating a WordPress members area is a great way to monetize your site and reward loyal readers with exclusive content.

In this article, we’ll share the best WordPress membership plugins for creating a members-only site.

But first, let’s dive in with answering the big question…

What Is a Membership Plugin?

A WordPress membership plugin lets you restrict parts of your website, so only members have access. They’re used to create a WordPress members area to reward subscribers with exclusive content.

And in other cases, you can offer restricted content to members who pay a subscription for the privilege.

The best membership plugins for WordPress have a wide set of features such as:

  • Access rules to protect new content as it’s published.
  • The ability to drip content access over a set period of time.
  • A range of different membership plans and levels to allow upsells.
  • The ability to add membership subscriptions to WordPress.
  • Support for discount codes.
  • Automation of important tasks like forgotten passwords, subscription pausing, and more.
  • Options to help you sell digital products from your website.

As you can see, membership plugins have the power to transform any WordPress site into a functional membership site.

How to Choose the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress

With so many WordPress membership plugins to choose from, how do you pick the best one for your WordPress website? Ideally, you should look at the following 3 key areas to make your decision:

  1. Ease of Use
  2. Compatibility
  3. Design and Features

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Ease of Use

When choosing a membership plugin for WordPress, you can either buy a lightweight plugin or one that’s feature-rich.

Lightweight membership plugins give you all the basic features you need and are built for performance. Many lightweight plugins offer add-ons to extend their functionality and features.

With feature-rich membership plugins, you get everything you need. You may even end up with some features you won’t use at all. This can result in a crowded interface that’s hard to use.

Compatibility

You can test the compatibility of a membership plugin by installing it on a local WordPress install. If it works with your WordPress theme and plugins, you can install it on your live website.

Design and Features

To decide which features you need, think about what you want to offer in your member’s area. Will members need the ability to check out using PayPal, or should you offer many payment options?

Do you want to drip content to members over time?

You should also consider how you want your WordPress membership site to look. What will your pricing page look like? The best membership plugins will offer templates to make the design process easy.

Once you know what you need, you’ll know which features to look for in a WordPress membership plugin.

Best Membership Plugins for WordPress

There are several excellent WordPress membership plugins for you to choose from. Each offers different features for different areas of your business.

Here are our 10 top membership plugins for WordPress:

Membership PluginRatingPrice
1. MemberPressBest WordPress Membership Plugin$129 / y
2. LearnDashBest WordPress LMS$159
3. Restrict Content ProFlexible Membership Plugin$99 / y
4. TeachableBest All-Round LMS$29 / m
5. S2MemberBest Free Membership PluginFree
6. aMember ProBest Membership Software$149
7. Paid Membership ProSimple Membership Plugin$297
8. Paid Member SubscriptionsBest WordPress Subscription Plugin$69
9. WooCommerce MembershipsWooCommerce Member Plugin$149 / y
10. MembermouseEasy Membership plugin$33.17 / m

1. MemberPress

memberpress membership plugin

MemberPress is the best membership plugin for WordPress and the easiest to use. It’s a full-featured membership management plugin with tools that work with the WordPress platform.

This means you can turn any website into a user-friendly membership platform.

Pros

  • Easy to Use – MemberPress makes it super easy to set up a membership site using WordPress. It’s as simple as installing the plugin, entering your payment gateway details, adding some products, and you’re good to go.
  • Control Access to Content – You can restrict access to posts, pages, categories, tags, files, login forms, custom post types, and more.
  • Drip Content – With MemberPress, you can drip restricted content and offer coupon codes to members over time. This is ideal for offering courses and educational material like downloadable PDFs.
  • Course Builder – The built-in Courses add-on lets you easily create, manage, and sell online courses on your membership website.
  • Software Integration – Connect to popular email marketing services like AWeber and MailChimp. You can even connect it with MonsterInsights to track site activity and Amazon Web Services.
  • Payment Gateways – It has built-in support for popular payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.

Cons

  • Payment Options Limited – Only 3 payment gateways are available in MemberPress. So site owners from unsupported countries might face difficulties.
  • Lacking Integrations – This plugin supports the most popular services for running a member site. But it misses other popular integrations to form a complete package. That said, you can pay someone to integrate the service you need.

How Much Does MemberPress Cost?

The pricing for MemberPress begins at $129 per year for the Basic plan. The Plus plan is $249 per year.

MemberPress is the perfect all-in-one solution for beginners. It’s easy to set up and has powerful features for building membership websites.

If you need help creating WordPress registration forms with custom fields for your member site, this article should help.

2. LearnDash

learn dash best LMS for WordPress

LearnDash is the most trusted WordPress LMS plugin, as well as being a popular WordPress membership plugin. It’s packed with a large variety of features for creating member websites, as well as advanced admin capabilities.

Pros

  • Easy to Use – Setting up LearnDash is pretty simple while using it is even easier. There are various tools to help you organize member content, add it to varying member levels, and even offer free courses.
  • Content Restriction – With LearnDash hiding any content is easy. You can also restrict access to certain member groups and individual posts.
  • Advanced Course Selling – LearnDash is useful if you’re selling online courses because of its intuitive drag and drop course builder. By using this, you can build multi-level courses with assignments, categories, and topics.
  • Community Features – This membership plugin comes with tools to keep community members engaged. You can offer course forums, user badges, quizzes, user profiles, email notifications, and more.

Cons

  • Lacking Membership Features – If you don’t want to sell courses, LearnDash’s features might not be what you’re looking for.
  • Lots to Learn – Due to its many features, LearnDash has a lot to get to grips with. This might be too much to handle if you only need a simple membership site.

How Much Does LearnDash Cost?

The pricing for LearnDash starts at $159 for use on a single site, with 1 year of support and updates.

LearnDash is the perfect WordPress members-only plugin if you’re interested in creating an online course to sell on your website. The wealth of addons and integrations will help you build an exciting platform.

3. Restrict Content Pro

membership WordPress plugin

Restrict Content Pro is a fully-featured and powerful membership solution for WordPress. It’s a lightweight plugin that aids you in gating exclusive content so only valued members can get access.

Pros

  • Ease of Use – This plugin easily integrates with the WordPress interface, so it’s easy to learn how to use it.
  • Built-in Integrations – The built-in integrations you get with Restrict Content Pro are a game-changer. With other membership plugins, you have to buy them as add-ons. The integrations include Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and PayPal, to name a few.
  • Unlimited Subscription Packages – Create many subscription levels, like free, trial, and premium.
  • Discounts and Promotions – You can offer an unlimited number of discount codes. As well as percentage and flat rate based discounts to your members.

Cons

  • Limited Integrations – Integrations with third-party services are limited. Especially when compared to other content restriction plugins.

How Much Does Restrict Content Pro Cost?

The pricing for this plugin starts at $99 per year for a single site license with the inclusion of 12 free addons.

Restrict Content Pro is a good choice for website owners who need a solution to lock content that doesn’t interfere with their existing site.

4. Teachable

Teachable is an all-around inclusive online course builder. It offers a membership website, a learning management system (LMS), email marketing, and much more under a single dashboard.

Pros

  • Easy to Use – You won’t need technical skills to get to grips with Teachable. Creating member content is simple, and the built-in tools help you upload all manner of materials quickly.
  • Membership Site Customization – You can personalize content and turn it into a stunning online course. Work on your existing WordPress site, or build course landing pages on teachable using the drag and drop builder. Plus, everything is mobile responsive. You can even create your affiliate program.
  • Engagement Tools – Offer discussion forums, quizzes, and other tools for member engagement.

Cons

  • No WordPress Membership Plugin – Teachable doesn’t currently have a WordPress plugin. To use it on WordPress to create member areas, you’ll need to add links or use a sub-domain.
  • Expensive – Everything is included with teachable. This makes it a more expensive membership solution than the other options on this list.

How Much Does Teachable Cost?

The pricing for Teachable starts at $29 per month, billed every year.

If you need to create stunning online courses with a heap of personalization options and don’t mind the price tag, Teachable is a great choice.

5. s2Member

best membership WordPress plugin

s2Member is a free WordPress membership plugin with a paid version for site owners who want more features. Plus, it’s a well-known subscription solution with a loyal user base.

Pros

  • Free Plugin  – The base plugin for s2Member is free to use. While the free version has limited functionality, it’s a good place to start with building your subscription site.
  • Drip Content – Pre-schedule premium content to paid members of your site and put it in place using WordPress shortcodes. This is only available with the paid version.
  • Payment Gateway Options – With the free version of s2Member, you can use the PayPal payment gateway. Yet you’ll need the paid version to use Stripe and Authorize.net.
  • Third-Party Integration – s2Member is pre-integrated with MailChimp, AWeber, and GetResponse. It also integrates with bbPress and BuddyPress for forum and social network functionality.
  • Documentation – This plugin has extensive documentation to help you out with building your premium member site. You also get access to email-based support.

Cons

  • Difficult to Use – This WordPress plugin isn’t as easy to use as many others on this list.
  • Limited Base Version – The free version of s2Memeber is pretty limited. It only supports PayPal payments, has only 4 membership levels, and doesn’t include content dripping.

How Much Does s2Member Cost?

The free version of s2Member doesn’t cost anything to use. For a single site license of the premium version, you’ll need to pay an $89 one-time fee, which gives you access to extra features and premium addons.

This plugin is ideal if you’re looking for something more robust. It has been around for a while and has heaps of documentation to expand your knowledge.

6. aMember Pro

Another great piece of membership software is aMember Pro. And while it’s not a native WordPress plugin, it does integrate with WordPress to create a functioning membership site.

Pros

  • Automation – With aMemember Pro, you can automate the customer signup process. Just choose the fields, products, payment gateways, and the rest is automatic.
  • Content Dripping – Drip content day-by-day to easily keep customers engaged, subscribed, and billed.
  • Multi-Level Memberships – Set any number of subscription levels and products. And offer different prices and subscription terms for your members.
  • Integrated Modules – This membership software has several modules. You can use an opt-in email newsletter, helpdesk, affiliate management, and a shopping cart.

Cons

  • Dated Interface – The interface for aMember Pro is fairly basic and doesn’t compare with the many modern alternatives.
  • Lacks Advanced Features – aMember Pro lacks features like event management. It’s not suitable for typical associations and clubs. There’s also no donation functionality included.

How Much Does aMember Pro Cost?

You only need to pay a single one-off fee to take advantage of aMember Pro. It costs $149.36, and you can use it on as many websites as you’d like.

The one-time payment and included member features make the simple membership software a good choice. Member-based blogs, retail websites, and membership forums will enjoy it. But site owners with more complex member needs will need to look elsewhere.

7. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a simple and popular WordPress membership plugin. It has over 80,000 active WordPress installations.

Pros

  • Free Version – If you’re wondering if Paid Membership Pro is free, you’re in luck. There’s a free version that comes bundled with 19 free addons.
  • Unlimited Membership Levels – Control access to content for any number of member levels. Members are added as WordPress users at the subscriber level, and you can structure the hierarchy in any way you see fit.
  • Payment Gateways – It offers 6 payment gateways, including Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal, and Braintree. You can access all of them in the free version.

Cons

  • Limited Free Version – The free version of this WordPress plugin is limited for use on only 1 website and doesn’t include unlimited support tickets.
  • Expensive Paid Version – While the paid versions are only one-off payments, they’re still pricey. More so, considering you get most of the features with the free option.

How Much Does Paid Memberships Pro Cost?

There is a free version of Paid Memberships Pro, so it won’t cost you anything. But, to use it on more sites and for more support, pricing starts at $297.

So if paying for a membership plugin isn’t on the cards for you, Paid Memberships Pro is a feature-packed choice that doesn’t have to cost a penny.

8. Paid Member Subscriptions

Paid Member Subscriptions is one of the best subscription plugins for WordPress. It lets you restrict product viewing and purchasing to paying members. 

Pros

  • Subscription Management – You can manage your member’s subscriptions. It’s also possible to revoke and grant access to pages, categories, etc., all based on the user subscription level.
  • Easy Integration – This plugin won’t disrupt your WordPress website. It seamlessly integrates into your content and site.
  • Easy to Set Up  – This plugin is also easy to set up. Add your PayPal email address, your subscriptions, and set restrictions individually on each page or post’s meta box.

Cons

  • Limited Integration – This plugin includes all the features needed for a membership website. But it lacks integration into third-party services like Authorize.net and Zapier.
  • Refund Policy Clarity – It offers a 15-day refund policy. But, they first tell you to contact their support team to see if they can fix your issues. In our opinion, this could be clearer.

How Much Does Paid Member Subscriptions Cost

There is a free version of this must-have membership plugin available with limited options. But to get all the features you’ll need for a fully functioning WordPress membership website, you’ll need to upgrade. Pro versions begin at $69 for a single site with 9 basic addons.

9. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships is a WooCommerce Plugin for WordPress. It lets you restrict the sale of products and services to registered members of your eCommerce website.

Pros

  • Flexible Member Levels – Create different types of membership options. You can make stand-alone product purchases, monthly subscriptions, and yearly subscriptions.
  • Drip Content – Choose when members get to see your content and control how those users access the content on your site. If you like, you can run a free trial that locks after the trial period, prompting users to subscribe to regain access.
  • Membership Rewards – WooCommerce Memberships lets you offer free shipping, coupons, and discounts. If you’re already selling digital downloads, you can sell memberships on your site too. This is a great way to reward loyal members.
  • Easily Manage Members – Managing memberships is easy for both you and your members. Users can view all the content they have access to, see future releases, and see their membership details.

Cons

  • Requires WooCommerce Subscriptions – This plugin isn’t a complete membership solution. To accept recurring payments, you’ll need to use the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin. You’ll need this plugin to upgrade and downgrade subscriptions too.

How Much Does WooCommerce Memberships Cost?

The cost of this WordPress Membership plugin starts at $149 per year for a single site license.

10. MemberMouse

MemberMouse is a cool WordPress membership plugin. It’s useful if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. You can create many membership levels and bundles, making it easy for users to buy one-off items.

Pros

  • Easily sell your products – Sell any product or subscription with custom checkout upsells and one-click purchases.
  • Content protectionPassword protect pages to deliver premium content. This includes PDFs, videos, software, etc.
  • Member management – You can offer free and paid memberships and support automation tools. Plus, view member activity logs in the member management dashboard.

Cons

  • Limited features – The features included in the started plan are limited.
  • Payment options – Payment options are also limited
  • Shipping – MemberMouse doesn’t offer any shipping options.

How Much Does MemberMouse Cost?

MemberMouse plans start at $33.17 per month billed annually.

And there you have it! You’ve found the best WordPress membership plugins to turn any WordPress site into a powerful membership platform.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to discover even more of the best WordPress plugins, take a look at our ultimate guide.

And don’t forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook for even more great content.

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