(Last Updated – 11 Oct 2018)
I have researched a lot about top Wordpress membership plugins because I wanted to create a private community, online courses and a website with exclusive content for my readers.
Actually, I wanted to monetise my website like Mixergy.com and I was looking for the combination of WordPress + Membership Plugin.
The common issues before finalising a WordPress membership are –
- question-circleShould I take a paid or a free version
- question-circleShould I take the recurring one or the fixed price one
- question-circleWhat are the options with the minimum cost
So, here’s what I did – I actually went through 50+ articles on WordPress paid subscription plugins, made an excel sheet and researched every single one of them.
Yep, that’s right. I am going to share the Pros and Cons of each plugin based on my research.
By the way, membership plugins can be used in many different ways.
- checkRestrict certain content – your blog articles, or reports, or an ebook, or a cheat sheet
- checkGive access only to some selected readers/subscribers on your blog
- checkMake one time or recurring payments
- checkAllow selected content to download
- checkDrip content over time through emails
- checkCreate one or multiple products
- checkOffer discount coupons
In fact, one of the most profitable monetization strategies for your blog is to create membership programs.
- Jason Chesters makes 6-figure online, running membership sites. In fact, he shows steps to make $172,000 from membership websites.
- Bestselling author Ramit Sethi has 18+ successful products built on membership website.
- Internet entrepreneur and NY Times bestselling author Mark Manson takes it to a whole another level. Mark Manson has membership video courses, audio content, articles, commentary, events and meetups.
One time or Recurring membership (subscription) plugin
This is an important consideration while deciding on your plugin. Here’s how you can think through it
- If your offering 1 or 2 products, you might purchase a plugin with a onetime cost.
- Buy recurring membership plugin, If you have multiple products, hundreds of customers, complex customisation, many pricing and checkout pages.
What to look for in a WordPress membership plugin
Some of the key factors to consider when choosing a membership plugin
- Payment gateway support
- Recurring payment support
- Ability to drip and protect content
- Send email notifications to subscribers
- Creating membership levels
- Support provided
- Ease of use
List of Features you get with a membership plugin
- Automated membership system
- Content protection
- Easy member management
- Download protection
- Payment gateways integration (E.g. PayPal)
- Autoresponder integration (E.g. Mailchimp, Drip, Aweber)
- Set up and design
6 Best Paid WordPress Membership Plugins
Although there are many free plugins that can do the job for you as discussed above, there are some premium plugins that are worth the price tag attached to them.
As your business needs change you might want to consider using these premium membership plugins to access more functionalities and gain more control over your content.
#1. MemberPress Membership Plugin Review
This is hands down the most powerful among the paid plugins out there.
You need to have only three pages on your website – login page, account page and thank you page. The makers have made it as easy for you and give you the option to create those pages with a touch of a button.
Apart from integrating with regular gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, it also gives you the ability to work with offline payments which are managed by site admin.
Also, you get many types of notification like
- Welcome email for new members
- Failed transaction notice
- Payment receipt notice
- Credit card expiring notice
MemberPress can easily be integrated with popular email marketing providers.
- Affiliate program and tracking
- Drip content
- Easy to set up
- Access rules are defined by you
- Simple payment gateway integration
- Create dynamic pricing pages
- Dashboard reports and stats
- Supports only 3 payment gateways – Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net
#2. Restrict Content Pro WordPress Membership
Restrict Content Pro is developed by the master WordPress plugin developer Pippin Williamson. That means you’ll get the best documentation and the support for the product.
This is one plugin which is quick to set up and doesn’t come up with the fancy bells and whistles you don’t necessarily need.
- Create magazine website
- Option to make your content private or public
It’s easy to manage members and create reports.
You can create unlimited membership levels, tiered memberships, upgrades, downgrades, renewals, add a signup fee (if you need) and discount coupons.
A perfect fit for your if your requirements are
- Restrict past content
- Restrict timeout
- Create group accounts
In terms of pricing, you have 4 options to choose from
- Ultimate ($499 one time)
- Professional ($249 per year)
- Plus ($149 per year)
- Personal ($99 per year)
- Easy Setup and Navigation
- Great Support
- Integration with Stripe and Mailchimp
- Good Reporting Tools
- Unlimited Subscription Levels
- Fixed and Variable Discounts
- Ability to send customised Emails
- No way to add multiple restriction on pages and posts
- Some features are accessible only through add ons
- No Drip Content
#3. MemberMouse WordPress Membership Plugin
The primary focus of this plugin is membership management, so you get options like – managing documents, conduct member polls, online surveys, collect donations, fees, customize accounting, allow discounts to premium members.
One click upsells and downsells
Automated customer support
Completely customizable checkout process
Time released drip content
Custom user fields
Scalability with unlimited members and reporting
No integrations for CRMs like Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, etc.
No shipping option in case you’re selling physical products
No file protection
No GPL so you can’t customize the source code
One purchase is for one site use only
In terms of pricing, you have 3 options to choose from
Starter (for 1000 members, $19.95/ month)
Advanced (50000 members, $99/ month)
Premium (100,000 members $299/month)
#4. WooCommerce WordPress Membership Plugin
WooCommerce allows you to turn your WordPress site into an e-commerce store extremely easily to sell anything from digital to physical products.
WooCommerce is the is the right option for you if you have an e-commerce store selling multiple products.
Ability to create membership plans
Ability to restrict other products
Discounts for selected members only
Show related products
Link to different membership plans
One time signup fee and recurring payments option
Upgrade and Downgrade
Allow members to pause their accounts
Synchronize payments on a certain day
No ability to add members to an email list
You can’t redirect members to a specific page
No option to set a recurring payment
Limited integration for advanced email marketing providers like ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign
If you’re offering a lot of products and you want only your exclusive members to buy, this is a great option.
As far as pricing goes, it comes in 3 options
Single site ($149)
5 sites ($199)
25 sites ($249)
#5. Wishlist WordPress Membership Plugin
Wishlist gives you great control like how your membership site will function, how your content is protected, or how access is granted to your customers.
One of its key features is Sequential Upgrade, which allows you to automatically move members to various levels.
- Unlimited membership levels and members
- Free, trial or paid membership
- Also supports Pay per Post option
- Sneak peek content
- Create secure RSS feed
- Members can be part of multiple memberships at once
- Drip content
- Different error pages for non-members
- Wrong membership levels and cancellations
- Email broadcast
- Content protection
- Drip feed
- Payment integrations
- Does not allow you to generate coupon codes
- No ability to schedule emails automatically for renewal, expiry, etc.
- Ease of use is slightly difficult compared to other membership plugins since there are a lot of settings involved and configured
- Sequential Upgrade can be confusing to people who are used to drip feeding
- Does not create a separate account page where members can manage their own account
In terms of pricing, you have 2 options to choose from
- $197 for single site
- $297 for multi-site
#6. Magic Members WordPress Membership Plugin
One of the main concerns with a membership site is content protection and Magic Members does a great job in addressing this in a variety of ways.
It’s easy to maintain a large content section, while keeping complete privacy for the member’s area.
- Pay per post or a page
- Simple forums integration
- Drip feed / RSS feed
- Coupon codes creation super easy
- Multiple memberships
- Integration with Mailchimp and Infusionsoft
- Flexible membership options
- Control membership length
- Payment integrations with PayPal, 2Checkout, Clickbank, Authorize.net and more
- Import and Export users
- Full blog protection
- User interface isn’t impressive as compared to others
- No built in affiliate management system
- Although integration with email marketing providers is supported, there is no built in autoresponder system
In terms of pricing, it is available in 3 options
- Single site ($97 one time)
- Three sites ($197 one time)
- Unlimited site ($207 one time)
Final thoughts – Which Membership Plugin is best for your WordPress website
Like I mentioned above, there are almost 40+ membership plugins available. There is no one-size-fits-all when you have plenty of options. I have narrowed it down to the best ones in this article.
Which one should you select will largely matter on what is your criteria.
That means it will depend on what you use your site for.
- Are you selling multiple online courses? Or just want to protect certain portion of your website content then GO for MemberPress without any doubt.
- Is it an e-commerce store selling physical products? WooCommerce would be the best option for you
I will update the article after a few weeks after hearing your thoughts in the comments. Let me know if you need any more clarification about the membership plugins.