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14 Best WordPress Membership Plugins (Compared) – 2024

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

Are you looking for the best WordPress membership plugin to build a website?

Choosing the right plugin is very important for your membership business because a better platform means more growth opportunities.

Luckily, we have made this super easy for you by testing the most popular membership plugins and inspecting different factors like ease of use, features, customization options, and pricing.

In this article, we will compare the 14 best WordPress membership plugins to let you easily create paid membership websites.

Best WordPress Membership Plugins (Compared)

Are you in a hurry? If so, then just take a quick look at our top picks to help you make a decision.

#PluginBest ForPricing
🥇MemberPressAll-in-one solution for membership sites$179.50/yr + Free
🥈Thrive ApprenticeBuilding and selling courses online$299/yr
🥉Easy Digital DownloadsSelling digital products on a membership site$99.50/yr + Free
4MemberMouseCoaching business $199.50/yr
5WishList MemberCreating members-only content$149.50/yr

How We Tested And Reviewed WordPress Membership Plugins

There are plenty of WordPress membership plugins, but not all of them have the specific features that you may need for creating your membership site.

Some of them are good for selling subscriptions on a single level, while others offer more diverse membership levels and subscription management features.

To give you the best recommendations, we tested some popular membership plugins and paid attention to the following criteria:

  • Ease of Use: We have picked membership plugins that offer a beginner-friendly interface along with extensive documentation. We have also prioritized an easy onboarding process.
  • Different Use Cases: We have included plugins that can perform different functions on your site like selling digital products, creating members-only content, building courses, supporting payment gateways, creating an LMS, releasing drip content, and more.
  • Reliability: For this showcase, we have only included the membership plugins that we have tested ourselves. We also went through some customer reviews to find popular options.

Why Trust WPBeginner?

WPBeginner is a team of experts with 16+ years of experience in WordPress, hosting, SEO, online marketing, and more.

We have thoroughly reviewed and tested each plugin in this list on real websites to give you the best recommendation for all kinds of membership site use cases. For more information, you can see our editorial process.

Having said that, let’s see what you will need to start a WordPress membership site.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, then just keep reading.

What Do You Need to Run a WordPress Membership Site?

Membership websites are resource-intensive, and choosing the wrong host can hurt your overall performance. That’s why the first thing you need to do is choose the best WordPress hosting that you can afford.

If you are on a budget, then you can start with Bluehost. Their Business Pro plan comes with an SSL certificate, which you need to securely collect payments, a dedicated IP, and a dedicated support line.

If budget is not an issue, and you want the best performance, then we recommend using a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine.

If you don’t already have one, then you will also need to choose a domain name for your website. Here is our guide on how to pick the right domain name for your membership site.

Lastly, you will need to choose essential business plugins such as OptinMonster, which helps you capture leads and boost subscriptions.

Now that we have covered what you need to start a membership site in WordPress, let’s take a look at our top WordPress membership plugins.

1. MemberPress

MemberPress

MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin on the market that allows you to sell unlimited membership levels and subscriptions.

It is super easy to set up and can automatically add pricing, login, account, and thank you pages for your users. The plugin also lets you add drip content to your site and create a client portal to manage client resources online.

For more detailed instructions, you can see our tutorial on how to create a client portal in WordPress.

Creating restricted content in MemberPress

Other than that, MemberPress comes with powerful access control, allowing you to restrict access to any content, including posts, pages, custom post types, categories, tags, files, and more.

MemberPress can also act as a WordPress subscription plugin because it supports both recurring and one-time payments and it can offer monthly, yearly, or even lifetime memberships to your users. This also makes it easy to sell courses online.

Pros

  • You can use MemberPress to create a paid newsletter for your website.
  • It is the best content protection plugin because it allows you to restrict content based on membership level or user role.
  • The plugin can integrate with AWeber, Mailchimp, Uncanny Automator, and Constant Contact. It also integrates with Amazon Web Services, Blubrry for podcast hosting, and BuddyPress for building an online community.
  • MemberPress comes with built-in support for PayPal and Stripe payment gateways. The developer plan also adds Authorize.net support.
  • Some of its other powerful features include a built-in membership management dashboard, customizable coupon codes, email notifications, user registration forms, custom widgets and shortcodes, Rest API for developers, and more.

Cons

  • MemberPress’s free plan has limited features, and you will need to upgrade to the pro version to unlock more options.
  • It only supports the three most popular payment gateways. This could be a deal breaker for site owners who live in countries not supported by these payment methods.

Why we recommend MemberPress: MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin on the market. It allows unlimited membership levels, comes with a user-friendly interface, integrates with popular gateways, and also offers content restriction, making it a great all-in-one choice.

For more information, you can see our complete MemberPress review.

2. Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice plugin

Thrive Apprentice is a popular all-in-one membership and online course builder plugin for WordPress. It comes with advanced features and easy access control settings.

It offers a built membership management dashboard where you can easily grant or revoke access to courses, content, or membership products for specific subscribers.

The Thrive Apprentice user-friendly course builder

The tool comes with a drag-and-drop builder, customizable certificates, and 55+ course templates that make it super easy to create, sell, and manage online courses.

When we were testing the plugin, we also found out that Thrive Apprentice can track student progress, offer one-time or recurring subscriptions, create landing pages, and build coupons and discount offers for different membership or subscription courses.

Pros

  • It has a school setup wizard that will guide you through the process of setting up the plugin.
  • It has powerful content-dripping features that let you unlock content at consistent intervals for students. You can also create multiple drip schedules for the same content.

Cons

  • The plugin does not have a free plan.
  • Thrive Apprentice only offers built-in support for Stripe payments.

Why we recommend Thrive Apprentice: Overall, Thrive Apprentice is a powerful WordPress subscription plugin that comes with a drag-and-drop builder and premade templates. We recommend it if you want to build and sell courses online.

For information, see our Thrive Apprentice review.

3. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads Website

Easy Digital Downloads is one of the top eCommerce plugins for selling digital products.

It allows you to restrict downloads based on membership levels, offer discounts for different memberships, and send email notifications to inform members about important updates or renewals.

Easy Digital Downloads is easy to use and gives you the ability to accept recurring payments. You can use the plugin to sell any type of digital product in WordPress, including eBooks, PDFs, audio files, videos, and more.

Pros

  • It comes with a built-in shopping cart system that allows your customers to purchase multiple downloads at once.
  • You can accept one-time payments or easily set up automatic recurring payments on any product, including daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.
  • With Easy Digital Downloads, you can accept credit card payments from Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other popular payment gateways like Braintree, with no additional monthly fees.
  • You can use the EDD Subscription addon to create membership plans with different access levels and the EDD Member Downloads extension to grant access to specific downloads based on membership level.
  • The plugin also offers built-in reports and analytics to track membership sales and activity.

Cons

  • While Easy Digital Downloads connects with some popular tools like AffiliateWP to create an affiliate program for your products, it lacks integrations with other popular services.
  • It has a free plan, but you will need to upgrade to the pro version to use it as a WordPress subscription or membership plugin.

Why we recommend Easy Digital Downloads: It is the best plugin for creating a membership site that sells digital products. It comes with a built-in shopping cart system, recurring payments, and a library of addons to grow your business.

For more details, you can see our Easy Digital Downloads review.

4. MemberMouse

MemberMouse

MemberMouse is another powerful, flexible, and scalable WordPress membership plugin. It has many advanced features for protecting your content, selling products, creating courses, and maximizing revenue.

We were impressed by the plugin’s SmartTags, which allow you to display personalized content based on member attributes without using any code. This gives you complete control over how you protect and display content on your site.

Additionally, MemberMouse keeps track of important business metrics like lifetime customer value, retention and churn rates, member engagement, and more.

Pros

  • With MemberMouse, you can create upsells and cross-sells that your members can purchase in one click without re-entering their credit card information.
  • The tool lets you offer both free and paid memberships.
  • It can automatically handle overdue payments so you don’t have to worry about missing out on revenue.
  • The plugin lets you create and send push notifications to members or specific WordPress user roles based on actions like new members added, memberships canceled, payment received, and more.
  • It lets you create a dedicated space on your website that is only accessible to members and offer drip content.

Cons

  • MemberMouse offers limited design options.
  • It does not have a free plan.
  • It has limited integration options for payment gateways compared to other plugins on this list.

Why we recommend MemberMouse: It is a powerful WordPress membership plugin for businesses that are serious about growth. If you have a coaching business or a growing membership site, then MemberMouse is the perfect choice.

5. WishList Member

WishList Member

WishList Member is another flexible WordPress subscription plugin that comes with powerful features to protect members-only content.

It allows you to create unlimited membership levels and offer free, premium, or pay-per-post content on your WordPress blog.

WishList Member even allows you to schedule and release drip content over time, set up recurring subscriptions, and connect with popular email marketing services to build an email list.

Pros

  • It offers one-click content protection where you can click the ‘Protect’ button right in the WordPress editor to quickly set your content to members-only. It also has a Private Tags feature, which you can use to protect specific sections within the post.
  • WishList Member has a built-in course builder called CourseCure. It lets you easily build lessons, quizzes, and certificates.
  • It allows you to show ‘sneak peek’ snippets of your content to non-members and invite them to sign up to see what they’re missing.
  • You can accept payments from over 20 of the most popular payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, WooCommerce, 2CheckOut, Authorize.net, and more.

Cons

  • The plugin has a lot of features that can feel overwhelming for beginners.
  • It has no free plan.

Why we recommend WishList Member: If you want to create members-only content with powerful restrictive features, then WishList Member is a great choice.

It offers drip scheduling, page locks, integrations with a lot of payment gateways, and many advanced features to take your membership site to the next level.

To learn more, see our detailed WishList Member review.

6. AccessAlly

AccessAlly

AccessAlly is an elegant and user-friendly membership plugin for creating and selling courses, group coaching, and memberships.

It allows you to create as many membership levels as you want and uses tag-based permission to control access. This makes it easy for members to upgrade or downgrade membership subscriptions on their own.

AccessAlly also comes with a user-friendly builder to create live or drip-fed online courses, detailed reporting and analytics, and a built-in affiliate program.

Pros

  • AccessAlly offers multiple content delivery options. You can choose from delayed, specific date and time, completion-based unlocking, cohort style, and all-access.
  • It comes with tons of conversion-focused features, including one-click upsells, order bumps, coupons, bulk course enrollment, abandoned cart follow-up, free trial offers, cross-selling members dashboard, and more.
  • You can boost engagement for your courses with gamification features like a flexible points system, badges, and leaderboards.
  • Seamlessly integrates with popular payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal to accept online payments.

Cons

  • It doesn’t offer many customization options to change the look of your membership site.
  • There’s no free plan.

Why we recommend AccessAlly: AccessAlly is a powerful plugin for building and scaling a coaching, teaching, or training membership website. It comes with all of the features you need to offer 1-1 or group coaching, including dripped content releases, live group cohorts, bulk course enrollment, and more.

7. LearnDash

Is LearnDash the right LMS plugin for your WordPress website?

LearnDash is a super flexible and extremely easy-to-use WordPress LMS plugin. It comes with advanced membership modules and tons of integrations to help you create members-only online courses.

LearnDash is quite easy to set up and adding content to it is even simpler. It also comes with advanced tools to easily organize your membership content into levels, groups, and more.

The tool also has a powerful drag-and-drop course builder, pre-designed templates, and completion certificates to help you build and sell courses online.

Pros

  • LearnDash allows you to easily hide any content and restrict it to different membership groups. It also lets you control when a student gets to access specific lessons.
  • It comes with a powerful drip content feature, allowing you to roll out content to users at regular intervals or upon completion of levels.
  • The plugin offers tools to create highly engaging membership sites with quizzes, user badges, course-specific forums, user profiles, and more.
  • It can track student progress, offer multiple pricing options, and optimize your courses for SEO.
  • LearnDash also has an amazing set of integrations and payment gateways. You can even connect it to MemberPress, WooCommerce, bbPress, Slack, and more.

Cons

  • If you are trying to build a membership website without selling courses, then some of LearnDash’s features may not be useful because it is not exclusively a WordPress membership plugin.
  • LearnDash has no free plan.

Why we recommend LearnDash: It is the perfect solution if you want to sell online courses on your paid membership website. Its extensive set of add-ons and integrations allows you to build a highly engaging platform. It’s also WordPress multisite compatible.

Check out our complete LearnDash review for more details.

8. Teachable

Teachable

Teachable is an all-inclusive online course builder. It packs a membership website, LMS (learning management system), discussion forum, email marketing, and analytics all into one dashboard.

The tool offers a drag-and-drop builder, course templates, and certificates, and also lets you build quizzes and assessments for students. The students can then submit their work and receive feedback on the same platform.

During our testing, we were very impressed by the flexible drip content feature, which allows you to grant access to content based on a user’s progress or subscription level.

Pros

  • It is easy to set up and does not require any technical skills.
  • The software includes built-in tools to quickly create and upload videos, text, PDFs, and more.
  • It comes with detailed analytics and reports, offers fraud protection, and integrates with flexible payment types like Affirm and Klarna.
  • Teachable offers discussion forums, quizzes, contact forms, and other features to boost user engagement and build powerful online communities.

Cons

  • Teachable is not available as a WordPress plugin. Instead, you must integrate it into your WordPress site by adding links or a subdomain.
  • It includes everything, which makes it more expensive than other WordPress membership plugins.

Why we recommend Teachable: If you want to create a membership site that sells online courses and also has an LMS system, then you can opt for Teachable.

9. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro is a robust WordPress membership plugin that helps you build a membership site and restrict content based on different criteria.

You can use the plugin to restrict content to registered users, membership levels, and access levels, as well as target individual pages, posts, custom post types, tags, or categories for restriction.

The plugin allows you to build unlimited membership stages, offer recurring subscriptions, add discount coupons, and create dedicated registration and login forms.

Pros

  • It lets you create drip content to be released over time.
  • Restrict Content Pro allows members to manage their subscription and access levels in the dashboard.
  • It lets you control content access based on individual progress and actions.
  • It offers reports and analytics, lets you build a referral program, and integrates with email marketing services.

Cons

  • Restrict Content Pro’s marketing features are not as strong as other tools on this list.
  • It has a free plan, but most of the features are locked in it. Plus, the free version also has the plugin branding, which can only be removed by upgrading to the pro plan.

Why we recommend Restrict Content Pro: The plugin is a great choice for building a membership website due to its amazing content restriction features, great access control, and seamless integration with WordPress.

10. SureMembers

SureMembers

SureMembers is another beginner-friendly plugin that can help you build a membership website.

It is easy to set up and can be used to create simple subscriptions or complex membership levels with access rules. You can use it to restrict any content on your website including pages, posts, categories, and tags.

SureMembers also allows drip scheduling and can integrate with email marketing services to help you build an email list.

Pros

  • It provides detailed analytics so you can track how your membership site is performing.
  • SureMembers lets you add a paywall, configure menu item visibility, and integrates with a lot of third-party tools like Beaver Builder, Twitter/X, Slack, and YouTube.
  • It offers amazing customer support and a knowledge base to you help build a website.

Cons

  • SureMembers does not offer a course builder or community forum features.
  • Its content dripping feature is not as complex as some of the other tools mentioned in the list.
  • This WordPress membership plugin does not have a free plan.

Why we recommend SureMembers: If you are just starting to build your membership site, then SureMembers is a great choice because it is super beginner-friendly.

11. aMember Pro

aMember Pro, a great WordPress subscription plugin

aMember Pro is membership software that helps you create and manage subscription-based websites.

It supports recurring and one-time payments, lets you create multiple membership levels, and can integrate with over 200 third-party apps like affiliate programs, email marketing services, and payment processors.

Additionally, aMember Pro can protect your content, including blog posts, videos, and courses, by only making them available to subscribers.

Pros

  • It supports about 100 payment systems, including Stripe, PayPal, CoinBase, ccBill, and more.
  • It is not a WordPress plugin but provides seamless integration with the platform.
  • aMember Pro is open source and has a user-friendly interface.
  • It lets you create a members-only area, manage your email list, and provide advanced reporting.

Cons

  • aMember Pro does not have great customer support and provides limited documentation for the software.
  • Installing, configuring, and maintaining aMember Pro requires some technical knowledge.

Why we recommend aMember Pro: If you have a small business site and are planning to sell subscriptions, then aMember Pro can be a great choice.

12. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships is another WordPress subscription plugin that is specifically designed to integrate with your WooCommerce store.

It lets you convert your online store into a membership site and create exclusive content that is only accessible to paying members.

You can also show different content to various members based on their membership levels using this plugin. For details, you can see our tutorial on how to create a members-only WooCommerce store.

Pros

  • Upon integrating the plugin with WooCommerce, you can sell memberships as products.
  • You can offer free trials and manage user accounts from the dashboard.
  • WooCommerce Memberships allow you to create exclusive products that are visible and purchasable by members only.
  • The plugin allows you to give discounted pricing to members and create drip-specific products.

Cons

  • The plugin is not an ideal choice if you are not already using WooCommerce.
  • It does not offer a free plan.
  • It has integrations with a limited number of tools.

Why we recommend WooCommerce Memberships: If you already have a WooCommerce store and are planning to sell courses, subscriptions, or memberships, then this is the best plugin for you.

13. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a popular WordPress subscription plugin that lets you create a membership and subscription-based website easily.

It lets you restrict default content and sets a message for users who attempt to access it. It even restricts custom post types and single pages to paying members only.

Paid Memberships Pro allows you to create personalized content and add drip content. While testing the plugin, we were also impressed that it lets you create a dictionary and profile for all the members on your website.

Pros

  • The plugin lets you build multi-tiered membership levels, set up offline communities, and connect with your subscribers over emails.
  • It can integrate with payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree. You can also set up one-time or recurring payments.
  • Paid Memberships Pro lets you create discount offers, view sales and revenue, build landing pages, and manage affiliate programs.

Cons

  • It has a free plan, but most features are locked in it.
  • The user interface and setup can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
  • Unlike some other plugins on the list, it does not offer advanced reporting and analytics.

Why we recommend Paid Memberships Pro: Overall, the plugin has the basic features you need to build a membership or subscription-based site in just a few minutes.

For more details, see our full Paid Memberships Pro review.

14. Ultimate Member

Ultimate Member

Ultimate Member is a free WordPress plugin that lets you build online communities, sell subscriptions, and create membership programs.

It also lets you create visually appealing user profiles and enables you to add customer registration and login forms on the website front.

Plus, Ultimate Member has an account management feature where users can see their profile details, update account information, and change passwords directly.

Pros

  • You can use the plugin to create public or private directories with user listings based on specific criteria.
  • The plugin allows users to leave reviews and ratings for other members and track social activity on your website.
  • Ultimate Member can also integrate with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, and Mailchimp.

Cons

  • Integrating the plugin with other tools can sometimes lead to conflicts.
  • It lacks an advanced reporting feature.
  • The plugin does not have any customization options.

Why we recommend Ultimate Member: If you are on a budget and looking for a free solution, then Ultimate Member can be a great WordPress membership plugin for you.

Avoid: S2Member

S2Member

Although we don’t recommend S2Member, we’re including it in this list because it’s a popular WordPress membership plugin with over 1.59 million downloads.

It lets you create multiple membership levels with different access controls. You can also customize the registration and login forms, add drip content, and password-protect various pages on your website.

The plugin provides a dedicated dashboard for members to manage their accounts, and also sends email notifications to inform them about any updates.

Pros

  • S2Member comes with customizable email templates, file download restrictions, protected audio/video streams, and multisite network support.
  • The plugin integrates with popular payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, ClickBank, and Authorize.net.

Cons

  • It’s very difficult for beginners to set up S2Member, especially advanced features like content dripping.
  • The plugin interface is not user-friendly and front-end elements like login and registration pages look outdated.
  • It has a free plan but most of the features are locked.

Why we don’t recommend S2Member: S2Member is outdated and not intuitive when compared to other membership plugins. We recommend using another membership plugin from this list because you’ll get a better user experience and more modern membership features.

However, if you run a video membership site and don’t care about a user-friendly interface, then S2Member could be a good option. It lets you restrict audio and video content based on membership levels.

Which Is the Best WordPress Membership Plugin?

In our expert opinion, MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin on the market. It has all the features that you need to create a membership site and sell online courses, along with great documentation and support to help you learn the membership software.

If you want a MemberPress alternative, then Thrive Apprentice is a great option. It’s a powerful and easy-to-use membership and online course builder plugin.

Alternatively, if you want to sell digital products on your membership website, then we recommend using Easy Digital Downloads. It comes with powerful features to create and sell digital downloads.

Similarly, if you want to sell subscriptions in your online WooCommerce store, then you can use WooCommerce Memberships.

Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress Membership Plugins

Having helped over 2 million WordPress users start their websites, we’ve answered a ton of questions over the years. Below are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions about membership plugins.

What is the best membership plugin?

Our top 5 choices for the best membership plugin are:

No, this question is not a joke. We seriously get this question even after referring people to this guide.

What is the best free membership plugin for WordPress?

While there are free membership plugins available, such as Paid Memberships Pro and WP-Members, they often come with limited features and additional transaction fees.

But, with a premium WordPress membership plugin like MemberPress, you get all of the features you need to build a successful membership site. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

MemberPress also offers a 14-day free trial period so that you can test it out first.

How do I create a successful membership site?

Simply follow this tutorial on how to create a membership site with MemberPress for step-by-step instructions.

Best WordPress Guides for WordPress Membership Sites

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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168 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Vishal Arora says

    Which of these is the best option if it is critical that my members are able to make selections in multiple categories? Also, since I am looking for something very specific, I know I will need to add extra code to add some features. Which of these is most flexible when it comes to adding features? Thanks.

  3. Storm Grayson says

    Struggling to find the right member plugin. Am trying memberpress but it wont allow my members to sign in and membership pro is too complicated. Restrict content pro sounds OK but nervous to try another plugin as it doesn’t help my popular site. I don’t want to do downloads either. Any suggestions.

  4. Yancey Thomas jr says

    Another review site states this about Restrict Content Pro, “Limitations: The plugin lacks content dripping feature which is surely a fundamental feature for a membership site.”

    That’s not mentioned here.

  5. Ed says

    Am looking to be able to manage contact information in a not for profit that has 3800 members. Would want them to be able to login and update their own information.

    Also would want members to be able to login and be able to search (access) normally restricted information.

    Any thoughts?? You all are the go to place for getting objective information!!

  6. Michael Taylor says

    Thank you for such a comprehensive and informative review of the membership plugins. Your recommendations have definitely helped me make a decision.

  7. Sarwar says

    I am a newbie to wordpress. I am using bbPress for my site. I have an existing form that doesn’t have any approval process. I am manually adding the users after receiving the forms. I did some digging and found the “New User Approve” plugin. I went ahead and installed the plugin. But not sure how to link/connect the plugin to my form so that the new user registrations can be moderated (approve or deny). Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  8. Taylor Hamilton says

    Hi guys! I’m hoping you (or someone here) can help me.
    I’m using MemberPress and WooCommerce to set up a site that sells annual memberships to a local brick-and-mortar archery club. In order for someone to become a member of the club, they have to watch a safety video and pass a quiz on the video content (if they miss more than 2 questions it’s a ‘fail’, but they can re-take the quiz until they pass). Do you know of any plugins or add-ons that will add this functionality to MemberPress or any of the other membership plugins? Thanks in advance!

    • Vic Dorfman says

      Hey Taylor,

      GravityForms would work great for this scenario.

      The easiest implementation would be to present the video before collecting payment for the membership (if user passes => redirect them to the checkout).

      But if you want to collect payment first you can restrict content until they pass the test, and then make it available. This method would be a bit more technical.

  9. Renee says

    We’re looking for a plug in or theme that includes a search function (several fields as well as scattershot search) for the directory of members. would any of these work in that way.? Thank you.

  10. Bob says

    HI

    Im looking for a membership plugin that makes the members upload insurance certificates every time there existing one expires. I run a therapy practice and the therapists need to be insured. Having the membership expire if they dont upload a new certificate would really help.

    Any ideas??

    • Vic Dorfman says

      @Bob

      You would need to use something like GravityForms (for the upload component) plus a bit of custom coding.

      I assume every member has a different expiration date that is NOT relative to when they joined? If that’s the case it makes it more complicated because you’ll need a way to set the expiration date and sync it with the content protection.

      If the expiry date is relative to when somebody joined, then you could conceivably make a membership level or bundle called “certificate”, and use that to restrict access based on whether or not they’ve renewed.

  11. Dwayne says

    Which of these plugins allow management of users restricting them to only be logged in from one location at a time, preventing the sharing of passwords?

    • John says

      Hi Dwayne,

      You could use Prevent Concurrent Logins, which is a free plugin that attaches to the core WordPress log in script. All of these tie into the core WordPress log in script, so it will work with them.

      As for sharing logins, there is nothing you can do for that. Accept it as part of being in the membership business and move on. It will happen far less than you think.

  12. Mateusz says

    Hi,
    Thanks for the excellent review. I am looking for a wordpress plugin that with help me with managing membership service for members of association I am volunteering. I look for basic features such content restriction, and sending e-mails to members like 1 week after joining, 1 month, and so on; and before theirs renewal date. However, one important things is that I’ll have an external list of members (basically they are renewing or buying their membership via external site and all I have is a members’ list with their e-mails, join and expiration date). No need to have payment gateways. Thanks for your help.

    • Vic Dorfman says

      Hey Mateusz,

      1. “I am looking for a wordpress plugin that with help me with managing membership service for members of association I am volunteering. I look for basic features such content restriction, and sending e-mails to members like 1 week after joining, 1 month, and so on; and before theirs renewal date.”

      You can do that with most of the top membership plugins on the market right now including MemberPress, MemberMouse and DAP, plus Zapier.

      You can even make the emails look like they’re coming directly from your Gmail with Zapier, which is a nice personal touch I feel.

      The only difficult part is sending an email before the renewal date. You’d have to use a 3rd party script for that or some Zapier magic to ‘calculate’ the date since it’s different for each member.

      2. “However, one important things is that I’ll have an external list of members (basically they are renewing or buying their membership via external site and all I have is a members’ list with their e-mails, join and expiration date). No need to have payment gateways. Thanks for your help.”

      This part is easy. Just connect your membership plugin to Zapier and hook it up to Google Sheets or Airtable (my preference) and you’ll have a synced external database of members.

  13. Mark Williams says

    I’m looking for a plug-in compatible with a WP-designed website that can take annual subscription payments for a PRINT magazine and generate a mailing list for the magazine labels etc. It should also be able to handle individual copy sales and sales of magazine binders and be easy to use and able to look like the actual website. Any ideas please?

  14. Troy says

    I need a membership website for elders to store their legal documents, login and a email contact. basic 3-5 clicks any recommendation. I have been stuck at idea for 2 years

    • John says

      “store their legal documents”

      Don’t!

      You need specialized servers that cost upwards of $1500 a month. A 24 hour a day 7 day a week Security Operations Center, huge amounts of liability insurance, and really good attorneys.

      Doing that in WordPress by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is a hackers dream.

      You would be legally liable, possibly criminally liable to every single one of them when your site gets hacked.

      • Richard Pace says

        A vps can be rented fairly cheap and with a ssl cloudflare mod sec and a bit of pci scanning tweaking for compliance it is perfectly affordable and safe to host legal documents. There are also some things like the blockchain that could provide a robust secure no hosted solution.

  15. Jessica says

    I’m trying to set up a weekly meal planning service, which will have different levels of membership. Each week, the members will have access to new menus (different ones depending on membership level) that I post. I can’t figure out which plugin would be best. Any ideas?

    • Julius Musembi says

      I believe Paid Memberships Pro can be a good choice for implementing your idea. You can try the basic version though before you purchase. I have used it and it’s great!

  16. Anand More says

    Could you recommend a membership plugin for a website which aims at delivering content free to all its members and non members?
    The idea of membership is to help them keep track of the content liked by them in the past, or downloaded by them in the past.

    • Jan Brokes says

      Hello, thanks for another great article. I tried to some of these solutions but none of them suit for my purpose.
      Could you please recomend me some other ?

      I need to use payment by bank transfer (or cheque), so i need to be able add some instruction to thank you page.

      I need to use it in czech language (later english, german….) I am using qtranslate plugin for my sites, so it should be ready for multilang or could be easily translatable to czech.

      Thank you very much for any idea

  17. Ivey says

    Hi,

    We would want to create a paid education platform in chinese and english which will be the best services for us?

    We need the platform to display in chinese.

    Thank you.

    • Vic Dorfman says

      @IVEY

      You can internationalize several of the top membership plugins including MemberPress and MemberMouse.

      They have documentation on their respective websites that will guide you through the process.

      If you only need the content to display in Chinese, and you’re fine with the membership back end displaying in English, that makes things even simpler. :)

  18. Andre Kish says

    Thanks for this very handy information. I’m about to start using a membership system on site and this has helped sort out what I need and given me a much clearer idea of what additional features I need for best results.

    Yet another really useful article so do keep up the brilliant work and thanks again.

  19. Nick says

    Great article! However, I’m still not completely sure of what I need. I have a project which is a website where people can register to place car ads and manage their ads. I’ve found a template which is great and also has built-in functionality for payments. These are pretty limited and are missing the most important ones which are common in my country.

    That’s the reason I would like to use the WooCommerce functionality for payment methods. Which of the above plugins would you recommend in this scenario? Any tips or comments are more then welcome.

  20. Neal Ghoshal says

    Very good and useful article – thanks!!

    I need to create a number of membership sites that allow members to have a Profile Page which they can update themselves.

    Any ideas what would do that?

    I have heard Memberpress works well with BuddyPress?

    Also potentially connecting Ultimate Member with Memberpress for a powerful solution?

    Anybody else gone through this process?

    • matteo93 says

      Hi Neai, i also want to create a membership site where members can update their account with their personal information and uploading photos.

      Like you i have the idea of connecting memberpress with Ultimate member, because the account section of the first is very poor.

      Have you already tried this solution?

  21. Aasim says

    Is it possible with any of these plugins to restrict content based on hours? For e.g., I want to give hourly membership to my registered users. after completing the no. of hours, user should be dsiabled/deactivated if not renewed.

  22. Barros Moura says

    Fantastic list of membership wp plugins. Which of them have the functionality to make monthly content available to each user. Example: course (12 parts) of 12 months and each month is released 1 part of the course.

    Thanks
    Barros Moura

    • Ify says

      That’s drip content. Since you’re selling courses, LearnDash should be the best option on this list.

  23. Rodney Davis says

    I’ve been looking at comparisons for 3 weeks now. This is the most clearly articulated one I’ve come across so far. Thank you.

    However, I was hoping for a comparison that includes Rainmaker, since I’m considering switching my hosting. Rainmaker is an entire platform for marketers with done-for-you hosting, membership functionality, email autoresponder, landing pages, podcasting tools, forum setup and security. It eliminates a thousand and one plug-ins, and would help me to focus, but it carries a price-tag.

    I also would like to see Optimize Press and Wishlist member included, since these are the two most widely used membership plugins for WordPress.

    Would you consider such a comprehensive comparison? There is no such comparison available yet. You’d keep your #1 Google rank for a long time.

    • Editorial Staff says

      Hi Rodney,

      Rainmaker is definitely a good choice for those who’re looking for a one-stop solution and don’t mind paying the extra $$. Also the time it saves is worth it as well. However losing control and flexibility that you get with controlling everything is a decision that you’d have to make.

      We don’t have Wishlist or OptimizePress in this list, but definitely open to adding them in the future.

      Admin

      • Suman Ghorui says

        How many people registere my WordPress website???? I am using Ultimate Member plugin!! Plz… Help me

    • Emanuele Giacomini says

      Excuse me if I dare. OptimizePress isn’t a membership plugin. It is useful to create high converting pages without having any coding knowledge. It comes both in theme or plugin version.
      OptimizePress use OptimizeMember to limitate the access into specific areas of a website. This is a revisited version of s2member Pro plugin.

      Those two plugin works separately, but if you need a membership plugin you should talk about OptimizeMember.

      Considering that this article already talked about s2member, you already know the most about OptimizeMember.

  24. Tim Berneman says

    Will a membership plugin like you reviewed above allow me to create two paid services (yearly & lifetime) and then send email to specific users or should I be looking for a different type of plugin?

  25. John says

    what membership plugin do you suggest for a site that caters to ADHD patients and their loved ones to a site and basically help them and educate them on certain content and it would have content dripping but basically it would be a membership site to educate the community about the challenges and potential treatments for people with ADHD and have access to a community of people who also have loved ones or are themselves ADHD patients ?

  26. Rosie Davenport says

    Hi, I am planning to use MemberPress for my new association website. Can you use any WordPress website theme design with this plugin? Or are there restrictions? I am totally new to this! Thanks.

  27. martin says

    first of all : belive it or not: i never ever would buy paidmembership pro.
    NEVER – NEVER – NEVER – !!!!!!

    i really like the participants database for its powerful features.
    i run the wordpressplugin participants database – and i must confess i love it for its powerful features.
    one question: can i arrange the access to the list via a gate that every one that gets access to add new entries into the list have to pay for his account?

    i need a kind of a paidmembership – but without pro.

    Love to hear from you

    • Louise says

      What have you got against Paid Membership Pro? I’m considering buying but you are not saying why you will not buy it?

  28. Steve Morton says

    I run the WordPress website for a club. We use MailChimp for newsletters, so integration would be great. We also need something to manage memberships (Accept PayPal, are they paid up, when did they pay, etc.) and also create a member directory. We have an annual banquet event and random,extra cost workshops throughout the year. Suggestions on the best plugin to cover these requirements?

    • Mikki says

      I’m looking to do pretty much exactly the same thing. Is there a reasonable solution for this? Right now, we have an online form and are adding members manually to a spreadsheet. It works, but it would be good to have access to all the pertinent data without having to re-enter everything by hand.

      • Evan says

        Steve or Mikki,

        Did you ever receive any information? I am trying to do a non profit organization as well. Looking for a yearly membership that maybe can be tied into an additional membership from another company, but looking for a form that would allow me to have all of my contacts in one place instead of doing it manually. We also have a yearly banquet that would be used for payment. Any help is appreciated on this from you or anyone who can help with this.

        • Steve Morton says

          Evan,

          I haven’t received any responses with additional information. I have a test copy of our site to start trying plugins. Once I have a solution, I’ll post back.

  29. Geoff Cole says

    There are 2 earlier comments/ questions to which I’m interested in your reply, but I can’t see one.

    Have you answered these and if so could you repost the answer.
    EDMUND
    Aug 3, 2016 at 10:40 am
    I would like to create a free membership site which stores the database of members and requires the id of an existing member to signup. Is there such a plugin or wordpress theme that fulfills such criteria?

    SCOTT LOVELESS
    May 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm
    Great article! Listing the pros and cons of each plugin is very helpful. I’m wondering if anyone has some advice for me for the situation I have….

    I’m creating a site for a small organization (less than 50 members). The “front end” of the site is to provide information about the organization as well as “donation” and “store” areas for the public. The membership side of the site is strictly for members of the organization which would all be added by the site admin. These memberships are not paid so I have no need for a payment gateway. So what might be my best option for a plugin that can restrict content, has only 2 membership levels, and requires no public signup or payment gateway?

  30. Bruce Maples says

    I want to set up a fairly simple (to me) combination of membership and ad management that looks like this:
    Not a member – you see most content, you see ads, you can’t comment
    Free member – you see most (maybe all) content, you see ads, you can comment
    Paid member – you see all content, you DON’T see ads, you can comment

    I have read about twenty articles about membership plugins and ad management plugins, but have not been able to find a review that talks about creating an ad-free membership level. I’m SURE it can be done, but either my Google skills aren’t as good as I thought, or no one has written about both features in one review.

    Thoughts?

  31. Edmund says

    I would like to create a free membership site which stores the database of members and requires the id of an existing member to signup. Is there such a plugin or wordpress theme that fulfills such criteria?

  32. James Katt says

    My concern is the longevity of these membership plug-ins.

    If the company that creates the plug-in goes out of business, will their plug-in continue to function? Will then my protected website content be exposed to non-members?

    S2Member at least is open source and will continue to work even if its developer retires, and has a good following.

    • Kyle says

      Definitely a worthwhile concern. I have an affiliate site that when I (accidentally) updated WordPress, the theme broke :)

  33. Kathy says

    I would like to see a membership plugin more geared to managing organizational memberships, not just selling content. I think there would be a big market for it.

    • Hrvoje says

      Kathy, what would it be included into that organizational memberships? can you maybe add some sample of it?

    • Kathy Smith says

      I absolutely agree!!!! They are all geared towards selling digital media. There would be a great demand for one that tracked officers, committees, etc, as well as track membership payments.

  34. Kronoscode says

    great post. Restrict Content Pro has recently added drip content feature, so it seems not to be a Cons of the plugin.

  35. samkelo says

    Hi Great article!

    What do you think about optimizemember from the optimizepress team?

    Thank you

  36. Osama says

    Great list but what plugin needed if i want only restrict access to content for visitors until they registered to collect email and then allow content.

    • James Katt says

      You can create a Free Account that visitors have to register for so you can collect their email and get access to protected content.

  37. Scott Loveless says

    Great article! Listing the pros and cons of each plugin is very helpful. I’m wondering if anyone has some advice for me for the situation I have….

    I’m creating a site for a small organization (less than 50 members). The “front end” of the site is to provide information about the organization as well as “donation” and “store” areas for the public. The membership side of the site is strictly for members of the organization which would all be added by the site admin. These memberships are not paid so I have no need for a payment gateway. So what might be my best option for a plugin that can restrict content, has only 2 membership levels, and requires no public signup or payment gateway?

  38. Japs says

    Thanks for this list. Do this membership plugin have trial period? I am looking for membership plugin that have the functionality of trial period.

  39. Eve Lurie says

    Adding Custom User fields that then are added to the User Meta table, and show on the ‘Edit User Profile’ has been a requirement on most of the membership sites on which I’ve have worked. It would be interesting to know which of these supports this feature.

    • Jo says

      I know MemberPress custom fields are added to the db usermeta table and do show on the Edit User Profile.

  40. Hemang Rindani says

    Thanks for sharing the insights. WordPress is a popular enterprise / web content management service that allows a developer to design and manage website for any business requirements. There are number of tools available for any required functionality, however it is important to identify the tools that are secured and provides rich functionalities.
    I believe WooCommerce membership is one of the most efficient multipurpose tool mentioned in the article. With its ability to carter enterprise level websites, personal or blogging sites or e-commerce websites, WooCommerce can be very effective.

  41. Ramon says

    I’ve been using Magic Members for 2 years now and it works fine. There’s never been an issue, at least not with me. What do you know about that?

  42. Jeremy Myers says

    Excellent review.

    Do you know which of the plugins easily integrates with Mailchimp GROUPS? I want to sign up members to a particular group within Mailchimp when they become a member.

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