Are you looking for a membership plugin for your WordPress site? Do you want to accept recurring payments for content, podcasts or video? Do you want to sell online courses for your members (e-learning and digital course-ware)?
There are plenty of membership plugins for WordPress. But not all of them may have what feature you need. Choosing the membership plugin which suits all your needs is crucial because it is not easy to switch from one membership plugin to another.
The main things to look for in the plugins are the built-in payment gateways, drip content feature, user-friendliness, WordPress multisite network compatibility, affiliate platform integrations, email marketing integrations, and their pricing plans. We have researched them for you and given you clear details.
With the plugins listed below could create Club memberships like photography club, fitness club, etc., Magazine subscriptions, Private forums and much more.
Membership Vs. Subscription
Membership is a relational term. It means that contents are exclusively available to members. It may be paid or free. You could have different levels of memberships like Gold, Silver, etc.,
Subscription is a financial term. It means that you are paying on a regular basis, maybe weekly, monthly or yearly (maybe even through recurring payments). You may be paying for a product, service or in this case selling memberships.
So you need plugins which can create multiple membership levels and collect payments from members regularly. All of the plugins listed below are capable of unlimited membership levels and recurring payments.
Best Paid WordPress Membership plugins
If the sole purpose of your WordPress membership website is to sell memberships and earn from your loyal members, then a paid membership plugin would be the best option because they give you premium integrations and multiple payment gateway options.
Note: All of the plugins listed have bbPress integration to give forum functionality for starting discussions and BuddyPress integration for social networking functionality.
MemberPress is the best WordPress Membership Plugin. It has an intuitive and user-friendly design. It is easy to learn, and you could launch your membership site in just a few hours.
It allows you to restrict access to all of the content on your WordPress website including pages, posts, categories, tags, and files.
You could easily handle thousands of members. Also, you can restrict content for Memberships plans and even for individual members. If you are a beginner, it is the go-to plugin for you.
Payments: PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net
- It has a good tax handling system
- It has PowerPress integration for podcasts
- Many email marketing integrations are available
- It supports WordPress multisite network
- Basic Plan lacks several key integrations
- Affiliate Royale integration only available on the top-tier plan
- The payment gateway options are limited
- It doesn’t have User profiles and Member directory features
The ideal plan could be Plus plan which is $249/yr give you 5-site license. It has all of the integrations expect for Affiliate Royale integration.
The basic plan – $129/yr has all the membership features you need but lack integrations.
The Pro plan – $349/yr gives you 25 site license with Affiliate Royale integration. This plan could be very profitable if you are an agency.
LeanDash is a Learning Management System (LMS) for WordPress. Though it is not purely a WordPress membership plugin, you create a membership site for selling online courses with LearnDash LMS.
It is very easy to create courses with course categories, lessons, topics, assignments, and quizzes. It has a drag & drop Course Builder allows you to create courses easily.
Payments: It has integrations with PayPal, Stripe, or 2Checkout
Shopping cart Integrations: could be integrated with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and iThemes Exchange.
Membership plugin Integrations: It has free add-ons for integrating with free Paid Memberships Pro and paid plugins MemberPress and Restrict Content Pro.
- You could create a course selling marketplace like Udemy with LearnDash
- It has Drip-feed content feature
- Multisite network is available
- User Profiles and Group management is available
- There’s a lot of free, paid and third-party integrations
- MailChimp integration is paid
- It doesn’t have any Affiliate plugins integrations. But you could integrate it with AffiliateWP plugin using LearnDash’s Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce add-ons
- Since it is an LMS, it is excellent for membership sites selling online courses. LearnDash is not right for another type of membership sites
The basic plan is $159/yr which has all the features except for some paid add-ons. Other multiple site license plans are also available.
ARMembers has a modern and intuitive design. Handling member profiles is very easy. There’s a lot of options and settings but will take some time to setup your membership site, but it is not tiring.
It takes some time to understand how access rules work, but page by page restriction for different memberships is very easy with this plugin.
It is one of the best-paid options for a simple membership site. Premium add-ons are available for AffiliateWP and other affiliate plugins.
Payment options: It gives you decent payment options such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and more
- It is the most affordable paid membership plugin, just $ 39 for lifetime updates.
- Member profiles can be created.
- It has paid add-ons for payment gateways such as Mollie, PayPal Pro, PagSeguro and other creative integrations which is generally not found in other membership plugins.
- Doesn’t have Multisite support.
- Customising your membership site will need a developer’s help.
- It may not be the best option for a membership site with complex rules.
- Though there is no limit in a number of members, there has been complains when handling a huge number of members.
You can get ARMember plugin for $39 (one-time) from Codecanyon, and other paid add-ons $25 to $40.
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is another useful WordPress membership plugin. It is very feature rich and also has good integrations and add-ons. But the design is as user-friendly as MemberPress, and it takes a little longer to learn and to launch the membership site.
If you are selling downloadable products for your members, then it is your best option because it has the best integrations with Easy Digital Downloads. It also allows for WordPress user role-based memberships.
Payments: Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, and 2Checkout. It also has API that allows building custom payment gateways
- If you are planning to use AffiliateWP or Easy Digital Downloads with your Membership site better go with Restrict Content Pro because they are all created by the same author and so you can expect best integrations with them
- It has a free WP Job Manager addon which could help you to restrict jobs posting to members who have paid subscriptions
- It has many valuable free add-ons
- Drip-feed content and other useful features are only available on pro add-ons
- The design could have been more user-friendly
- Affiliate integration is limited to only AffiliateWP. But there are third-party integrations like the iDevAffiliate add-on.
There are 4 pricing plans, which starts from $99. Personal and Plus plans do not include pro add-ons.
The Professional plan is $249 per year with all pro add-ons with an unlimited site license.
There is an Ultimate $499 plan which gives everything for a one-time payment with lifetime updates.
If you are building many number of membership sites Professional and Ultimate plans will be very helpful for you.
Best Free WordPress Membership Plugins
For creating a simple membership site, there are lots of free plugins. When you want to add more functions to your membership site you may have to upgrade. But when you’re upgrading if the plugin doesn’t suit your need then it could be tough for you. So it is essential to consider the premium features before using the free membership plugins.
Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Membership Pro is a free WordPress membership plugin. The core plugin is feature packed and has most of the membership features. It has an user friendly dashboard and gives you detailed reports and stats.
It will take some time to setup your membership because it is jam-packed with options, but it’s not hard. Customizing your membership site using Paid Membership Pro for the desired results might need the help of a developer.
Affiliate: It has a Lightweight Affiliate Tracking add-on and Post Affiliate Pro and WP Affiliate Platform integration add-ons are available.
Payment Gateways: PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, 2Checkout, and CyberSource.
Multisite Support: Two Multisite addons are available.
- Good Customer Support
- Core plugin is free and powerful
- It has many subscription options
- Many numbers of valuable add-ons (78 add-ons till today) both free and paid are available
- Drip content is only available on premium
- The Plus plan gives you all the add-ons, but there is no way to buy a single addon. If you need only one or two premium add-ons paying $297 could prove to be a big ask.
- Adding many add-ons may need extra effort to get desired functions
The basic plugin is free with 14 free add-ons. Plus plan $297/yr gives you 5-site license with all 64 pro add-ons and Unlimited plan $597/yr gives you unlimited site license with the same.
WP-Members is a simple but solid plugin which does the job which it says in its description. It may not fit for all types of membership sites. It is easy and simple to use.
It has very limited integrations such as MailChimp, Salesforce, and PayPal. If you only need these three integrations, then it is okay for you. There are limited, but they work fine without causing any troubles. If it fits your needs, you can go at it without any second thoughts.
It is ok for creating a membership site with few numbers of users and limited content. It is not for building a large membership site.
- It is simple and easy to use
- It is a beginner’s plugin
- The Invitation Code add-on is unique.
- Very few add-ons
- No drip content feature in free or pro
- Multisite not supported
- Limited payment options, only PayPal as a paid add-on is available. Has to be integrated with WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for payments.
Add-ons can be bought individually starting from $25/yr.
There is a Pro-bundle for $129/yr includes all the 12 addons and a Lifetime plan for $499. This is just for a single site. No multiple site license is available.
If you are satisfied with the free plugin but you require support for setting up your membership site there is a $59 Support plan.
s2Member is an old plugin, and the design is not user-friendly. It is a very flexible and powerful plugin. Setting it up will take time, and if you know some basic coding, it could really help. If you know what you are doing, you can create a stunning membership site. But it is not for an average user.
It could handle thousands of members at ease. It is fully customizable unlike many other plugins, but it takes expertize to use its full power.
The free plugin lacks payment options other than PayPal and drip content feature is not available. You will certainly need the paid version to create a complete membership website.
Affiliate: iDevAffiliate and ShareASale integrations available on free version.
Mailing list: MailChimp and AWeber in free and GetResponse in Pro are available.
Payments: PayPal available in free and Paypal Pro, Stripe, ClickBank and Authorize.net available on paid version.
- It is very flexible and has creative features such as Custom Capabilities.
- You can sell packages independent of membership like one-time offers to members.
- Multisite membership available in Unlimited Pro License
- May take a bigger learning curve for beginners.
- The free plugin gives only 4 membership levels
- Drip content only on the pro version
- WooCommerce integration is not available
Pro version is $89 for a single site and $189 for unlimited sites. The good thing is that it is that it is a one-time payment and not an annual subscription like many other plugins. So if you find this plugin is best suited for your needs getting an unlimited site license would be a wise deal for you.
Creating an Ultimate Membership WordPress website
We have found MemberPress to be the most user-friendly and flexible membership plugin, and LearrnDash is the best WordPress solution for selling online courses.
LearnDash and MemberPress could be integrated to create membership levels for access restriction using MemberPress and associate these access levels to LearnDash courses. Customers are then auto-enrolled into courses after signing up for membership.
For example, you could create a membership site with free membership and other paid memberships. Only paying customers could see course materials and other members could have access to some restricted contents.