Are you looking to build a membership site in WordPress? Want to know which is the best WordPress membership plugin?
Choosing the right membership plugin is crucial for your business because a better platform means more opportunities for growth.
In this article, we will compare the 14 best WordPress membership plugins to let you easily create paid membership websites.
What to Look For in a WordPress Membership Plugin
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.
Some plugins offer a drip content feature that allows you to slowly release new content to a user. While others are restricted to only offering hidden content.
You will also need to figure out which payment gateways you will use. Do you want to accept credit cards only, PayPal, or both? Your WordPress membership plugin should have support for your preferred payment gateways, either built-in or through an addon.
Having said that, let’s see what you will need to start a WordPress membership site.
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 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.
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.
Disclaimer: We comprehensively tried out all the plugins mentioned in this article on our test website. This helped us explore all the features, pros, and cons to give you the best recommendations.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- 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.
- You can show personalized content for different users to boost engagement and sales. For example, you can display a different course overview or login form for visitors and members.
- You can integrate the plugin with other Thrive Themes tools like Thrive Leads, Thrive Automator, Thrive Optimize, and more.
- Thrive Apprentice offers multiple language support, SEO optimization, email notification, and dynamic buttons.
- The plugin does not have a free plan.
- It does not have built-in payment support. To accept payments online with Thrive Apprentice, you must connect it with a checkout plugin like WooCommerce.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
S2Member is a popular WordPress membership plugin that lets you create multiple membership levels with different access controls.
It lets you 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.
- S2Member comes with customizable email templates, file download restrictions, protected audio/video streams, and multisite network support.
- It lets you build an affiliate program.
- The plugin integrates with popular payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, ClickBank, and Authorize.Net.
- It offers detailed analytics and reports.
- It can be a bit difficult for beginners to set up S2Member.
- It has a free plan but most of the features are locked.
Why we recommend S2Member: If you run a video membership site, then we recommend S2Member because it lets you restrict audio and video content based on membership levels.
11. aMember Pro
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
14. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- MemberPress – Best WordPress membership plugin (overall).
- Thrive Apprentice – Best membership plugin for selling online courses.
- Easy Digital Downloads – Best membership plugin for selling digital products.
- WooCommerce Memberships – Best membership plugin to sell subscriptions on your WooCommerce store.
- S2Member– Best membership plugin for creating a video membership site.
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
- How Much Does it Cost to Start a Membership Site?
- How to Create a Pay-Per-View Site with WordPress
- Best WordPress Themes for Membership Sites
- How to Create a Searchable Member Directory in WordPress
- How to Add Subscriptions to WooCommerce (Free and Easy)
- Best Membership Site Examples That You Should Check Out
- How to Sell Group Memberships in WordPress for Corporate Teams
- How to Stop Spam Registrations on Your WordPress Membership Site