Do you want to transform your WordPress site into a fully-functional membership site? Then you need a WordPress membership plugin. With a membership site plugin, you can create a premium content library and make it accessible only to your registered members.
Choosing the right membership plugin is crucial for your business because it’s hard to back out if your decision turns out to be wrong.
Whether you’re interested in generating recurring income, selling online courses, or just building a list of loyal registered members, the following guide will help you choose the best WordPress membership plugin for your requirements.
The Benefits of Building a Membership Site
Creating a membership site allows you to limit access to downloads, online content, forums, and support to your registered users only.
A few reasons for creating a membership site are:
- Create a highly engaging email list: You can create a content library and make it accessible only to your registered users. You can add these users to your email list as well. This way you can collect the email addresses of hyperactive users.
- Demonstrate your authority: Creating a membership site and providing great content behind your paywall helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. It also helps you foster a good relationship with your members and even lay a foundation for a loyal customer base.
- Earn recurring income: Persuade users to pay for the subscription and generate recurring income.
How to Choose a WordPress Membership Plugin for Your Site
Choosing the right WordPress membership plugin can be a daunting task. Before you dive in, below are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a WordPress membership plugin for your site.
Ease of Use:
If you don’t want to hire a developer to set up your membership site, then you’ll need a plugin that is easy to use. Some plugins come with a complete set of features out of the box. While this might sound good at first, the downside is that the user interface will be bloated with too many options that you’ll never need.
However, there are a lot of lightweight plugins out there that won’t bloat your interface by providing only the important features out of the box. And, if you want additional features, you can easily install the respective addons.
Before you install the membership plugin on your production site, make sure the plugin is compatible with your existing WordPress theme and plugins by testing it on a local WordPress install. If everything goes smoothly, then you can install the plugin on the production site.
Design and Features:
Membership plugins often come with a lot of pricing page templates and other features to make your site look unique. Take a note of the important features you’ll need on your site and figure out if the membership plugin you’re considering can meet your needs.
Let’s compare some of the best WordPress membership plugins, so you can decide which one is the right choice for your site.
MemberPress is the most complete WordPress membership plugin and comes with all the features you’ll need to create a powerful membership site with ease. Unlike other plugins, MemberPress lets you transform your existing website into a fully-featured membership site without hassle.
All you need to do is install the MemberPress plugin on your existing site, enter your payment gateway details, setup your products, and start inviting your visitors to join your membership site.
With MemberPress, you can restrict access to specific pages, posts, custom post types or any existing files from your regular visitors. The plugin integrates seamlessly with popular email marketing services, like AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, etc.
MemberPress offers built-in support for payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. You can also create dynamic pricing pages quickly and easily. The plugin also comes with several pricing page templates to create a unique look.
The pricing starts at $119 per year for a single site license.
LearnDash was built for creating and selling online courses on your WordPress sites.
It enables you to offer a robust learning experience to your members and supports the latest gamification, social learning, and micro-content trends.
Selling courses has never been easier thanks to LearnDash. A few different ways to sell your online courses are:
- Memberships: Provide traditional access to all of your online courses
- One-time price: Implement a shopping cart where visitors can buy individual courses.
- Subscription: Earn recurring payments through subscription-based selling.
LearnDash allows learners to unlock new courses based on the points they earn as they complete their courses. This allows you to increase retention and make users more engaged in your online courses. You can award highly-customized certificates and badges based on a learner’s performance. You can also offer front-end user profiles where members can track their activity.
The pricing starts at $199 per year for a single site license.
Restrict Content Pro is a light-weight WordPress membership plugin that lets you easily create a fully-featured membership site. Without bloat, it bundles the set of features you’ll need for your membership site as addons.
It is built by the same team behind the popular Easy Digital Downloads plugin.
The plugin offers a lot of built-in payment integrations such as Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and PayPal.
A few different ways to use Restrict Content Pro are:
- Club memberships: Create a premium content library and provide access to members only.
- Magazine subscriptions: Generate recurring payments by selling online magazine subscriptions to premium subscribers.
- Private forums: Create private forums and limit access to private communities.
- Member blogging: On a multi-site network, you can allow paid subscribers to create their own blogs.
- And a lot more…
The plugin offers a lite version, which can be downloaded from the official WordPress plugins repository. It comes with the ability to create custom user registration and login forms, and limit access to content with a shortcode.
The premium pricing starts at $99 per year for a single site license.
WooCommerce Memberships is an addon for WooCommerce that allows you to limit your content only to the registered members of your site. If you’re already selling digital products on your website and want to sell memberships as well, then you should give WooCommerce Memberships a try.
Keep in mind that it’s not a single plugin solution for creating a membership site. You’ll need to use the free WooCommerce plugin; but, for accepting recurring payments, you’ll also have to install WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
The main benefit of the plugin is that you can restrict WooCommerce products so that they can be purchased by members only. You can also provide special site-wide discounts for premium members.
If you’re unhappy with your purchase, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
The pricing starts at $149 per year for a single site license.
Paid Memberships Pro is the complete membership solution for your WordPress website. It comes with all the important features you’ll ever need for your membership site.
Just like Restrict Content, Paid Memberships plugin also offers a free version, which is available to download from the official WordPress plugins repository. The strength of this plugin lies in their addon system. Moreover, the free version of the plugin allows you to install 14 free addons to enhance your membership site.
Paid Memberships Pro is relatively simple to set up. It comes with a wide variety of features that you can’t find in any other membership solutions in the market.
The pricing of the pro version starts at $297 per year for up to 5 site license.
S2Member is one of the most comprehensive membership plugins and comes with a lot of features out of the box. You can extend your S2Member site with popular community plugins, including bbPress and BuddyPress.
The core plugin is bloated with many features, so the user interface of S2Member is not as simple as other modern membership plugins. Due to this fact, there is a steep learning curve when you’re just starting out with the plugin.
The plugin is almost entirely powered using shortcodes, and you can easily accept recurring payments with great flexibility.
The basic S2Member plugin is free to install and use. With the basic plan, you can protect your content and accept membership payments through PayPal.
The pro version of the plugin is available to download for a one-time fee of $89.
aMember is another comprehensive membership plugin that has been around for over a decade. Before you jump in, keep in mind that aMember Pro is not a native WordPress plugin. It is a membership site software built with PHP that also allows you to integrate it with WordPress.
Since this plugin was not specifically created for WordPress sites, you might find compatibility issues with other WordPress plugins.
Out of the box, aMember comes with all the features you would expect from a membership plugin. It is shipped with unlimited membership levels, full-featured membership management, and 200+ payment systems (including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net).
The cost of the plugin is $149.36. After purchasing the plugin, you can install it on an unlimited number of sites.
Which WordPress Membership Plugin is Best for Your Needs?
Through our comparison, we’ve found that MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin you can have on your WordPress site. It’s the most comprehensive membership plugin for WordPress.
Alternatively, if you want a plugin that focuses on retaining members by providing a robust learning experience, quizzes, and certification, then LearnDash could be the right choice for you.
We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress membership plugin for your needs.
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