Are you looking for the best Membership plugin for WordPress?
With so many promising you the moon, finding one that actually does what it claims can be daunting.
That’s why we’ve hand-picked seven membership plugins that you should consider as you build your membership site.
In This Article
- What is a WordPress Membership Site?
- What to Look for in the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
- The Best Membership Plugin for WordPress: Expert Picks
- Choosing the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
- The Best Membership Plugin for WordPress — Time to Build Your Membership Site
What is a WordPress Membership Site?
A WordPress membership site is a website built on WordPress. It’s structured so users can only access certain areas or content after paying. For example, you can restrict access to (among other things):
One reason users prefer WordPress is the way it’s easy to use. It’s also flexible and offers a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) options.
Membership sites are fast becoming popular. This is because people are social creatures that need to belong to a group of like-minded peers. Because of this, they have become an excellent way to make money online.
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay a developer loads of cash to build yours. All you need is a membership plugin enabling you to create various membership access levels and receive user payments.
What to Look for in the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
Besides membership levels and payment gateway integration, a lot is involved in setting up your membership site just how you want it to run. That’s why you must meticulously check out each plugin’s functionality. Some features to look out for in a membership plugin include:
Features and Flexibility
Membership plugins come in many different flavors. You can get lightweight and fast plugins that have limited features. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can get full-featured plugins. These give you the flexibility to create a membership site tailored to your exact needs. Of course, you can also get something in-between.
Another factor to consider as you shop around for the best membership plugin for WordPress is compatibility. First, check whether your preferred plugin works well with other website elements. For example, does it integrate well with your theme and other plugins? To do this, you can try out your plugin on a staging site.
Ease of Use
Do you intend to be hands-on with the development and maintenance of your membership site?
Then, ease of use must be a deciding factor when choosing a membership plugin. This means your plugin of choice should have an intuitive dashboard. It must also make it easy to integrate essential add-ons like payment gateways.
With that being said, let’s dive right into the seven best membership plugins for WordPress sites.
The Best Membership Plugin for WordPress: Expert Picks
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to pay tons of money to build a membership site. All you need is a powerful plugin that will help you transform your basic website into a thriving community.
With that said, let’s quickly look at seven of the best membership plugins for WordPress.
When it comes to WordPress membership plugins, none are as celebrated as MemberPress.
MemberPress is a powerful WordPress plugin that can help transform your website into a membership site. Besides being super-easy to use, it also comes with a robust feature set that allows you to build any membership site you want.
One of the best features of MemberPress is that it gives you the flexibility to create an unlimited number of memberships. You can also customize membership levels, including the price for each level, access to content at each level, and much more. You’ll also love MemberPress’s easy integration with plugins like bbPress. These are excellent for building communities and forums. Other great features you’ll love with MemberPress include:
- Integrates with popular email service providers (ESPs)
- LMS add-on that enables you to build and sell courses easily
- Powerful access rules that enable content restriction at various levels
- Easy-to-set up content dripping and contact access expiration
- Easy Affiliate integration makes it easy to create your own affiliate program
- Sell digital and physical products
- Customizable checkout page
One of the drawbacks of MemberPress is that the payment gateways are limited. Other than that, you can rest assured your membership site will be built using one of the best plugins around. Also, when it comes to features, MemberPress is almost unbeatable.
As for price, MemberPress pricing starts at $179/year for one site.
Plugins by Thrive Themes are always incredibly flexible and give you outstanding customization freedom. Thrive Apprentice is no different, making it rank high on our list of the best membership plugins for WordPress.
Thrive Apprentice is a powerful membership plugin and course builder that lets you create courses, assessments, and other course-related products using a highly customizable visual editor. It’s the perfect solution for creating and offering instructional content to your users. It also makes management easy, as you can see all your members’ information in an easy-to-read dashboard. Plus, you can easily create custom content dripping schedules, and more.
When it comes to features, Thrive Apprentice is hard to beat. It boasts many handy features that include
- Member management dashboard
- Visual course builder (with over 55 templates)
- Content personalization
- Easy to create and understand reports
- Unparalleled ease-of-use
Pricing: Paid plans start at $149/year.
WishList Member is another WordPress membership plugin that should be on your radar. It’s easy to use, has tons of customization options, and offers the flexibility to create any membership site. Whether you’re looking for an LMS, exclusive community, or private site, WishList Member can help.
With WishList Member, you can create unlimited membership tiers with countless access options. It also has many features to help your membership site thrive. Examples include:
- One-click content protection for safeguarding your premium content.
- Option for pay-per-post content, offering flexible payment methods.
- A fully integrated course builder to streamline your e-learning content.
- Drip and schedule content, allowing paced content release.
- Integrates seamlessly with popular payment gateways, CRMs, and email providers.
Pricing: Starts at $149.50/year.
Creating membership sites can be a challenge. MemberMouse was created to take the grunt work out of the process.
No matter your level of tech-savviness, you’ll find this plugin easy to use. That’s one reason it made it on our list of the best membership plugins for WordPress.
MemberMouse lets you create different membership levels and bundles. This feature makes it easy for new and existing members to purchase one-off items. You can also create trial offers and coupons to help boost conversion rates. Other notable features to expect include:
- Integration with various payment gateways
- Integration with ESPs for email marketing
- Smart tags for personalization
- Optimization tools (including A/B testing)
- Member management
- Automated member engagement
- Automatic downsells
- Prorated upgrades
When it comes to features, MemberMouse is probably top of the class. But pricing starts at $24.08/month.
Looking for a lightweight membership plugin that still affords you the ability to create powerful membership sites?
Then Restrict Content Pro is the answer.
Particularly if you’re new to membership sites, you’ll find Restrict Content Pro to be a godsend. This is thanks to its ease of use and the ultra-clear user documentation. Coming from the same stable as popular plugins like AffiliateWP and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), you can expect nothing but the best from this WordPress membership plugin. Notable features to expect include:
- Different membership levels
- Intuitive customer dashboard (for members)
- Content dripping
- Create unlimited subscription packages
- Payment integrations with Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, and PayPal
- WooCommerce integration
- Prorated memberships
- Data and analytics dashboard
- Easily offer discounts or create coupons on membership subscriptions
Another good thing is that developers constantly add new features to the plugin. As a result, Restrict Content Pro is fast growing into a plugin that fits the bill of the best membership plugin for WordPress.
Despite pricing starting at only $99/year, Restrict Content Pro comes chock full of features that make it easy to create and run membership sites.
Another plugin you should consider as you shop around for the best membership plugin for WordPress is WooCommerce Memberships.
If you have an online store built using WooCommerce, consider adding another revenue stream by selling subscriptions to regular, ongoing services or product shipments. The WooCommerce Membership plugin can help you easily do this. You can encourage purchases and subscriptions by integrating membership perks with your store.
With WooCommerce Memberships, you can set up subscriptions for recurring or one-time payments. However, if you’re to accept recurring payments, you’ll also need the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
What features can you expect from WooCommerce Memberships?
- Invite-only members area
- Drip content
- Option to offer free shipping for members
- Easy communication with members via “Membership Notes.”
A huge advantage of WooCommerce Memberships is that you can leverage WooCommerce SEO plugins to help boost your visibility and thus grow your membership site.
WooCommerce Memberships has one pricing plan that will set you back $199/year.
For those in the business of creating and selling online courses, one of the best WordPress membership plugins in the industry is LearnDash.
LearnDash is an excellent WordPress LMS plugin that’s easy to use. It also offers exceptional flexibility for creating membership plans of your choice.
One thing you’ll love about LearnDash is the one-click WordPress install. It makes the initial setup a breeze. With LearnDash installed, you can quickly turn your WordPress website into a branded learning portal.
Another reason many users have fallen in love with LearnDash is that it gives greater control than other learning management systems (LMS). You can easily define rules determining who gets access to your courses and for how long. Other features include:
- Drip-feed course content
- Set up automated permission levels for content
- Award badges and certificates for significant milestones
- Integration with other popular membership platforms
If online courses are your primary line of business, then LearnDash should definitely be one of the tools on your radar.
Pricing plans for LearnDash start at $159/year.
8. aMember Pro
Technically, aMember Pro was created as a PHP script you can install on your server. But there’s now an official plugin that makes integration with WordPress super easy.
aMember comes with unlimited membership levels and over 200 payment options (including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net). It also boasts full-featured membership management, and a whole lot more. These are just some of the goodies that make it one of the best membership plugins for WordPress. Other features you can expect include, among others:
- Free installation
- Lots integrations
- Integrated helpdesk to make customer service easier
Unlike other subscription-based plugins, aMember only offers a once-off lifetime license that starts at $149.36.
9. S2 Member
If you’re looking for the best free membership plugin for WordPress, S2 Member is a great one.
Interested in testing the waters of building membership sites?
Then, the free version of S2Member is a great place to start. After that, however, you’ll have to upgrade to the pro version to unlock more features. These are features such as:
- Easy to set up recurring payments
- Unlimited membership levels for free memberships or paid plans
- Payment gateway integrations that include Stripe, ClickBank, PayPal Pro, and Authorize.net
- Coupon and gift codes (including coupon code tracking)
- Customizable email templates
S2 is one of the most comprehensive membership plugins on the market despite being the cheapest.
Pricing: The base plan will set you back a one-time fee of $89, granting you lifetime access to all future updates.
Choosing the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
Now that you’ve seen our top seven membership plugins for WordPress, you’re probably wondering which one is best for you. Here are our best of the best recommendations:
- The best overall: MemberPress
- Best membership plugin for e-commerce stores: WooCommerce Membership (if you are already using WooCommerce for your store)
- Best membership plugin for online courses: LearnDash
One thing you must do is take a close look at the features of each plugin and see if they align with what you want to achieve. Then, for those that offer free trials, don’t hesitate to take them for a spin to gauge their ease of use and performance.
The Best Membership Plugin for WordPress — Time to Build Your Membership Site
As you build your membership site, don’t forget that marketing is one of the keys to growth and success. Getting noticed online doesn’t happen by chance. You have to be proactive and strategic in making it happen.
We hope this post helped you learn how to create cornerstone content in WordPress. You may also want to check out other articles on our blog, like our best free WordPress plugins or our guide to SEO for beginners.
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