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The problem with choosing the right WordPress Membership plugins is actually the number of different problems it should solve. The needs of all membership projects are very diverse and there is simply no universal solution.
You’ll probably spend a lot of time evaluating all available plugins and figuring out which one is a good fit for your business.
Some projects have to code the membership system from scratch to meet their complex needs – billing, product or service purchase, compatibility with other plugins, etc. This is exactly the process the MotoPress Membership system underwent when we started selling all MotoPress plugins and themes for WordPress in one discounted membership package.
The developers had to roll up their sleeves to make a complex system work properly. But before that, we also took a look at some good solutions available on the market to understand how it all works.
Some of the existing WordPress Membership plugins are difficult to set up and manage for beginners so the problems start already in the first stages, others are not custom development-friendly (which can be crucial for many projects).
Things To Consider When Choosing a Membership Plugin
There are lots of things to evaluate, that is. Here are some major things you should take into consideration when choosing a plugin:
- Hierarchy of membership levels (easy to set up content restriction rules)
- Intuitive member interface
- Customizability (hooks to tweaks plugin’s behavior)
- Compatibility with other installed plugins
- Integration with popular plugins and services
- Payment gateways
- Content dripping
- eCommerce features (primarily, payment gateways)
10 Best WordPress membership plugins 2021
A bunch of useful features is offered by MemberPress WordPress plugin – this is one of the most popular niche representatives. The ease of the setup process is one of the most noticeable things about the plugin. It’s widely recommended by users and professionals.
With its help, you can create and manage unlimited membership subscriptions with unlimited access rules (in addition to pages and posts, you can restrict access to tags and categories as well).
The good thing is that so many useful options like unlimited members support, unlimited digital products support, etc are available in both – Business and Developer editions.
MemberPress also supports content dripping, integration with a lot of services (like MailChimp, AWeber, MadMimi, etc.), and unlimited coupons and pricing pages. Pricing plans come with the support of different useful addons like Match Captcha, Corporate accounts, etc.
As for disadvantages (for some countries), the plugin offers only 3 payment gateways – PayPal (Standard, Express Checkout, and Pro), Stripe, and Authorize.net (this one is included in Developer license only).
Pricing: Business 119/year and Developer 239/year
ARMember WordPress membership plugin is one of the most used solutions for building a flexible membership website. First off, its toolkit is flexible enough to cover different membership website scenarios based on various pricing models, still allowing people to choose the most optimal for their needs (monthly or annually). Content restriction rules are also on an equal footing with the rest of the similar plugins: you have control over pages, posts, custom post types, post taxonomy, navigation menu links, etc.
The plugin is very handy in use from the ground up: it’s provided with a user-friendly installation wizard that will guide you through the setup process, leaving all the shortcode work backstage. So, if maximum easy setup and customization of the membership website are high on your list, you might love this plugin.
A distinctive feature of ARMember is that it comes with the integrated WordPress form builder plugin to help you construct all types of needed forms and style them in real-time.
As for the payment options, they are really nice since the plugin is powered by the WooCommerce plugin, where the vast majority of the world popular gateways are available (though some may be paid and you need to keep extra expenses in mind). There are lots of great integrations that work out of the box – email marketing services, BuddyPress forum, etc.
Among other on-demand features provided by the plugin are badges for achievements, content dripping, periodic billing, and more. The plugin is easily extendable with free and paid addons.
And one bonus for budget-savvy people – the plugin comes with very affordable pricing.
Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is another good WordPress Membership plugin with a great list of options. The plugin is quite feature-rich and the pricing is relatively affordable. The developers focus on the ease of setting up and managing the plugin, development flexibility and a variety of extra features you might need when building your membership community.
To get a first-hand experience of working with Paid Member Subscriptions, you can use a fully functional free version of this plugin. However, different paid addons will more likely be a must, so consider checking payment plans as well. And yes, describing more features, we’ll be talking about Pro plans as all necessary things are in there.
Alike other niche WordPress membership plugins, Paid Member Subscriptions plugin allows you to manage unlimited members, comes with a flexible content restriction control (by taxonomies and post types as well), reCAPTCHA spam protection, and a well-thought-out content dripping option.
As for payment gateways, all major ones are included: PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, PayPal Express, Stripe, and Recurring PayPal payments into paid versions. The “Hobbyist” (for one website) payment plan comes with Unlimited PayPal Standard and Free Subscriptions only.
Pricing: Hobbyist (1 website) $69 and PRO (unlimited websites) $149.
LearnDash is a large membership plugin, also referred to LMS (learning management system) solutions.
The plugin comes with a smart course builder to help you create engaging courses, online classes, assignments, and quizzes. You can then sell access to your classes for a one-off price, or in the form of subscriptions, membership fees, packages, and more. You can also add the content of a particular course/class to a schedule.
You can open content to visitors according to certain rules, for example, a few days after the membership has been paid, or at certain intervals.
The plugin allows you to send automatic email notifications to students based on their actions. You can connect to popular email marketing platforms like MailChimp to keep your users updated.
LearnDash has integrations with WooCommerce, PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout for accepting payments and recurring payments (subscriptions). Also, the plugin is compatible with many plugins in the WordPress repository to increase its functionality or integrate with third-party services, such as bbPress, Slack.
After installation, the plugin creates a user admin panel, and, if necessary, you can set up a forum, quizzes, certificates, badges, and various other functionality.
Despite its large size, the plugin has a simple and intuitive navigation.
Pricing: $ 199 for a single site license.
Ultimate Membership Pro
You’ll be simply impressed by a variety of features offered by the Ultimate Membership Pro plugin for WordPress. Looks like the “ultimate” is a very suitable name for it. By the way, this is the best selling WordPress Membership premium plugin on CodeCanyon marketplace.
Let’s have a bird’s-eye view of what it offers to understand whether it’s better than others. It’s hard to highlight all features, probably you’ll never need some of them. However, the plugin should work as it’s supposed, not limiting your management work.
The plugin is powered by WooCommerce functionality, so you can sell subscriptions as products via a variety WooCommerce payment gateways available: PayPal (single and recurring payments), Stripe, 2CheckOut, Braintree, Authorize.net, Payza, and Bank Transfer.
Ultimate Membership Pro plugin supports free and paid unlimited membership subscriptions, different content restriction levels, content dripping, social media member login, coupon codes, and much more.
Moreover, it will let you customize the visual part of the content with lots of pre-made designs, login templates, colors, and a built-in Visual Composer plugin.
The plugin is ready to meet lots of complex customer needs: it allows to use of pushover notifications, printable Membership cards, gift vouchers, multi-level membership access, and so much more.
Just take a look at all features presented on the plugin’s page to discover more benefits in detail.
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a Membership plugin by a respectful WordPress developers from PippinsPlugins, so if the plugin’s functionality suits your needs, you should rest assured that the code quality is guaranteed.
The MotoPress developers also tested this plugin – it is definitely one the best solutions in terms of development flexibility – if you ever need to tweak the functionality with your custom code, the plugin will give you a lot of freedom.
If you happen to already sell your digital products with a popular Easy Digital Downloads plugin, then Restrict Content Pro should work just fine for you.
This WordPress Membership plugin is very easy to set up, intuitive, and comes with built-in integration with many important payment gateways – Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Standard, and Express.
With its help, you can also create and sell unlimited Subscription packages, set the needed restriction rules, monitor reports, and perform all basic tasks to set a fully functional membership community.
Pricing: prices start at $99
Magic Members is a great WordPress Membership plugin, which is particularly good at building membership community for selling online courses (another good alternative is LearnDash plugin). However, it will work well for other purposes as well. This plugin offers a huge bunch of features for an affordable price.
Magic Members plugin comes with a smart content dripping feature (Sequential Course Delivery System) and unlimited membership level, content restriction for individual pages, posts, and views, ability to create discount codes, and other necessary features for creating a membership website. You may even allow unregistered users to perform a guest purchase of a particular piece of content.
Magic Members also provides integration with tons of popular services such as AWeber, InfusionSoft, GetResponse, Constant Contact, iContact, AutoResponse Plus, Sendy, GVO, and MailChimp.
Integration with a variety of payment methods is impressive: you can accept payments via 1ShoppingCart, PayPal Standard, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Express Checkout, 2CheckOut, Stripe, CCBill, Authorize.net, ClickBank, WorldPay, MoneyBookers, iDeal, Epoch, Payza, Ogone, SagePay, eWay, PagSeguro, and Manual Pay. So from this perspective, you can serve a huge global audience.
As an administrator, you’ll be also provided with lots of management opportunities: you’ll be able to customize emails, set automatic email reminders, view sales reports, and even more.
Pricing: prices start at $97 for a single site
MemberMouse if one of top popular WordPress Membership plugins with a special attention to no-brainer settings for non-technical users. You may start with a 14-day free trial to test it firsthand.
It’s worth mentioning that plugin creators claim their developers have architected systems for Walmart, British Airways, Sony Pictures, and other popular brands, so you may rest assured that this plugin is a reliable solution for your site.
Alike other solutions, MemberMouse allows you to sell digital products, subscriptions. It offers flexible content restriction rules, password-protected members area, and more.
You may customize the products you sell depending on the membership level, duration time, etc. One outstanding feature is that the plugin is supplied with SmartTags that will display content dynamically, all upsells and downsells, member details, offers, and other data.
As for billing details, the plugin is integrated with PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, Braintree, ClickBank, CoinBase, and some others. In terms of services integration, the plugin allows using MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, and iContact.
Overall, apart from a standard functionality to run a membership website, MemberMouse gives you more management and marketing tools.
Pricing: the starter plan is $19.95 / month
Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro will give you a great opportunity to start creating a membership subscriptions website without paying a dime as it comes with a free version. Of course, the possibilities of a free version are very limited, but this can be a great starting point.
We’ll generally take a look at pro features. This WordPress Membership plugin comes with a solid functionality to create unlimited member levels, provide paid and free trial periods for members, drip content release, extendability with dozens of helpful addons like Affiliate Tracking, Donation addon, Multisite membership, etc. Overall, you may charge for any content, including videos and downloads.
Members can pay via different popular payment gateways: PayPal (Standard, Express, Website Payments Pro, Payflow Pro), Braintree, CyberSource, and 2Checkout. You may also sell subscriptions with a help of a WooCommerce addon (it’s also required for Recurring subscriptions).
To sum up, the plugin is very feature-rich, extendable, and well-documented.
Pricing: Core is $97 and Plus is $197.
WishList Member is another powerful WordPress Membership plugin with a very rich content restriction management toolkit. It allows to create as many membership levels as you want, provide free, trial and paid memberships, set auto-upgrades, show and hide certain content for non-members, etc. The drip content option is also included.
All in all, your list of instruments is huge. However, it will be hard to modify the plugin to your needs with some custom development as the plugin’s code is encrypted.
Integration with popular payment gateways is also there: your members can pay with PayPal, Stripe, Infusionsoft, ClickBank, PayPal Pro, Authorize.net, Recurly, 1ShoppinCart (API), 2Checkout, eWay, JVZoo, Pin Payments, SamCart, Premium Web Cart, UltraCart, Red Oak Cart and Cydec.
Also, there are lots of services the plugin can be integrated with (e.g. MailChimp, Aweber).
In a word, WishList is a good WordPress Membership plugins alternative if you are not going to tweak the code and are satisfied with its default toolkit.
Pricing: $197 for a single site and $297 for multiple sites.
Pabbly Subscription Billing
In this blog, we have got a refined list that holds top-class membership WordPress plugins. But if you’re searching for an easy-to-manage subscription billing service with reasonable pricing then you can go through the Pabbly Subscription Billing. It is a recurring and subscription management platform that allows you to sell your products online via multiple payment gateways.
With this software, you can start selling your memberships by creating unlimited plans corresponding to the products. Also, you can manage all your subscriptions, recurring payments, customer communication, invoice creation, and much more. These features are great for increasing your customer base, managing your sales funnel, and creating recurring revenue for your business!
Apart from this, the best thing about Pabbly Subscription Billing is that it does not charge any extra fees on the basis of per-transaction and monthly revenue generation, unlike other membership management software.
Moreover, you can integrate this with any SaaS application using the API keys. It provides several features like email notifications, coupon codes, dunning/auto-retry, etc. This gives you a clear picture of your business with actionable metrics that show you monthly recurring revenue, net revenue, active customers, new subscriptions, and much more.
Pricing: Pabbly Subscription Billing offers various pricing plans. You can choose a monthly or annual subscription plan at an affordable price and grow your revenue without any hassle. Buy this software at a nominal price of just $19 per month and start creating unlimited products & plans online.
Which Membership Plugin Is Best For You?
While comparing 10 best WordPress membership plugins, we came to the next conclusions:
MemberPress is the best multipurpose solution, which has everything to create a fully functional membership system with unlimited membership subscriptions & unlimited access rules.
Both Paid Member Subscriptions & Restrict Content PRO plugins provide more payment options at an affordable cost. Both plugins have a bunch of flexible settings worth the price.
With MemberMouse, you will access more management & marketing tools. It works nicely for beginners who will not mess with the original code, as the plugin does not allow making any code changes.
Finally, the LearnDash & Magic Members plugins will work especially for selling online courses as a one-off price, or in the form of subscriptions, membership fees, or packages.
Have you found the solution for your future membership website on WordPress? Already run one? We are eager to know the details!