Do you want to create a membership site where users can sign up for exclusive benefits, restricted content, and other such premium access?
The easiest way to set up a membership site with all the bells and whistles is by using a WordPress plugin.
It will allow you to create and manage a professional membership program that’s complete with tiered pricing, subscription levels, auto-renewals, drip content, and so much more.
In this guide, we’ll help you choose a WordPress membership plugin that will best suit the kind of membership site you want.
Before we get to the list, if you want to skip the homework and let us choose for you, you can move straight ahead to our step-by-step tutorial to create your WordPress membership site with our #1 pick. Follow our easy guide: How to Create a WordPress Membership Site.
Also, if you’re looking to sell digital products without setting up a whole membership site, then you should check out: Easy Digital Downloads.
How to Choose a WordPress Membership Plugin for Your Site
Creating a membership website allows you to grant access to premium content only to those that sign up or pay a fee to join as a member.
A membership program is a great way to earn money through your website. You can charge a one-time payment or a recurring subscription for access to online courses, digital products, exclusive network/forums, and priority support to your registered users only.
Now if you haven’t yet set up your WordPress site, you’ll need a domain name, web hosting, and a membership plugin to start.
We recommend using Bluehost. It’s one of the best web hosting services on the market.
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Next, you need to choose the right WordPress subscription plugin. 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 professional developer to set up your membership site, 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 installing the membership plugin on your production site, make sure it is compatible with your existing WordPress membership 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 many customizable pricing page templates, member management, user roles creation, and other features to make your site look unique.
A good feature to have is creating multi-level memberships such as basic, premium, and ultimate member plans.
Take note of the essential features you’ll need on your site and figure out if the membership plugin you’re considering can meet your needs.
You’ll want to make it easy for users to pay for memberships using their preferred mode of payment such as credit card, net banking, or e-wallets. Make sure the plugin lets you integrate with multiple gateways to offer a variety of payment options on your site.
Now let’s compare some of the best WordPress membership plugins, so you can decide which one is the right choice for your site.
Best WordPress Membership Plugins
Below, you’ll find high-quality premium WordPress membership plugins. Each plugin offers unique features to create a membership site with WordPress.
MemberPress is the most popular WordPress membership plugin and comes with all the features you’ll need to create a robust membership site with ease.
Unlike other plugins, MemberPress lets you transform your existing website into a fully-featured membership site. It works great with all popular WordPress themes.
The plugin is also great for beginners because it’s so easy to use – all you have to do is install the MemberPress plugin on your WordPress site, tweak a few settings, and enter your payment gateway details. You can choose from payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.
Next, MemberPress lets you create multiple membership levels, add products, and create a custom pricing page with details of membership benefits.
Then you get options to restrict content access to specific pages, posts, custom post types, or any existing files from your regular visitors (non-members). And once your users sign up, they can easily manage their membership plan through their self-service account page where they can renew, upgrade, or even downgrade their plan.
If you’d like to sync your website with your email service provider, the MemberPress plugin integrates seamlessly with popular email marketing services like AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, etc.
And that’s not all! There’s a built-in Courses addon that lets you create, manage, and sell online courses with MemberPress.
Using the fully visual drag and drop builder, you can quickly build your course curriculum. It comes with features like course progress tracking, exams/tests, and a Classroom Mode to automatically style your course pages.
MemberPress is also developer-friendly so you can customize your site the way you want. With the developer tools, you get access to webhooks and a full REST API to develop mobile apps, web apps, and more.
Other standout features of MemberPress include:
- Content dripping
- Community forums
- Coupon codes
- Affiliate program
- Zapier integration
- Custom integrations
Price: MemberPress offers three plans:
- Basic – $179/year for a single site license
- Plus – $299/year for up to 2 site licenses
- Pro – $399/year for up to 5 site licenses
While there’s no free version or trial period, MemberPress offers a 14-day risk-free moneyback guarantee.
For more details, you should check out our complete MemberPress review.
Get started with MemberPress today!
LearnDash is ideally built for online course memberships.
It makes it easy to create a one-of-a-kind learning experience for your members. It even supports the latest gamification, social learning, and micro-content trends.
Since it’s more of an LMS (learning management system) plugin, you get multiple ways to sell your online courses. They are:
- Memberships: Create multiple levels of membership plans with different access to your online courses
- One-time fee: Let users buy individual courses or pay a single fee to join your platform
- Subscription: Earn recurring payments through subscription-based selling
It’s easy to use too. LearnDash comes with widgets that let you add dynamic content to your LearnDash site. It works similarly to blocks and shortcodes.
LearnDash allows learners to unlock new courses based on the points they earn as they complete their courses. This helps increase retention and makes users more engaged in your online courses.
What really makes you look professional though are the customized certificates and badges that you can award based on a learner’s performance. You can also offer front-end user profiles where members can track their activity.
We must also mention that this plugin supports multisite installations if you want to run a network of online course websites.
Some of the key LearnDash features include:
- Course builder
- Drip-feed lessons and modules
- Advanced quizzing
- Course forums
- Email notifications
- Free integrations
- Automated renewals
Price: LearnDash offers three plans:
- Basic – $199/year for a single site license
- Plus Package – $399/year for up to 10 site licenses
- Pro Package – $799/year for up to unlimited sites
There’s a 15-day money back guarantee.
Here’s a complete LearnDash review for more details on this WordPress membership plugin.
Get started with LearnDash today!
3. Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is one of the best membership plugins WordPress developers have to offer. It allows you to restrict product viewing, purchasing and offer special product prices to certain members. Think of this as offering an Amazon-Prime style eCommerce experience to your users.
With this plugin, you’ll be able to manage member subscriptions, grant and revoke access to posts, pages, categories as well as custom post types based on your users’ subscription plan.
The best part is that the plugin doesn’t force you into a predefined structure because the plugin seamlessly integrates into your WordPress site and content.
To set up the plugin, you need to specify your PayPal address to accept payments, set up subscription plans for users, and protect your content with a meta box that appears in individual posts, pages, and custom post types.
The most notable Paid Member Subscriptions features include:
- Email templates
- Account management
- Tax calculation addon
- Payment methods
- bbPress integration
Price: It offers two plans:
- Basic – €69/year for a single site license
- Pro – €149/year for unlimited sites licenses
Get started with Paid Member Subscriptions today!
Teachable is an all-in-one platform for creating and publishing beautiful online courses. It’s a standalone platform, so you can integrate your online courses into your existing WordPress website or host them on the Teachable subdomain.
There aren’t many free WordPress membership plugins, but Teachable is one that offers a basic forever free plan.
Teachable comes with a powerful editor that enables you to create and launch stunning sales pages to convert your visitors into paying users.
It lets you easily create quizzes and discussion forums on your Teachable site. You can also issue certificates of completion to reward your students.
The plugin is packed with features that let you create discount codes, affiliate programs, advanced pricing options, and more to improve your sales.
Here are a few features that set Teachable apart from its competitors:
- Learning tools
- Marketing tools
- Coupons and discounts
- 100+ currencies support
Price: Teachable offers four plans:
- Free – Forever free
- Basic – $29/year
- Pro – $99/year
- Advanced – Contact Teachable for price
Get started with Teachable today!
5. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a lightweight WordPress membership plugin that lets you easily create a fully-featured membership site. You can create private forums as well to foster online communities.
To make sure your site doesn’t become bloated, it bundles the set of features you’ll need for your membership site as addons. So you can choose just the ones you want to activate on your site.
The plugin lets you create a premium content library and provide access to members only. And you can use many built-in payment options such as Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and PayPal.
Restrict Content Pro offers a free membership plugin in the WordPress repository.
This lite version comes with the ability to create custom user registration and login forms and limit access to content with a shortcode.
A few different ways to use Restrict Content Pro are:
- Club memberships
- Magazine subscriptions
- Private forums
- Member blogging
- WP-CLI integration
Price: The pro version comes in four plans:
- Personal – $99/year for a single site license
- Plus – $149/year for up to 5 site licenses
- Professional – $249/year for unlimited sites licenses
Get started with Restrict Content Pro today!
6. WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships is an addon for the popular WooCommerce plugin. It allows you to limit your content only to the registered members of your site. Every new member will get user access and exclusive permissions to the premium version of your site.
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 to list your products with cart and checkout options. And you’ll also have to install the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin for accepting recurring payments.
This plugin is well-suited for online magazines, e-learning sites, membership sites, online forums, and more.
Some of the WooCommerce Memberships features include:
- Club memberships
- Shipping options
- Member discounts
- Import/export members
- Drip content
Price: It offers a single plan that costs $199 per year.
Get started with WooCommerce Memberships today!
7. aMember Pro
aMember is a comprehensive membership plugin that has been around for over 2 decades. Before you jump in, you should know that aMember Pro is not a native WordPress plugin.
However, it’s a membership site software built with PHP that 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 and themes.
Some of the key aMember features are:
- Unlimited membership levels
- Content restriction
- Membership management
- 200+ payment systems
- Automated signups
- Multi-language support
Price: A single site license costs $149 for a lifetime (6 months of updates/support). The Pro license will cost you $399 for 5 sites. You can also contact them to get a pricing plan for unlimited sites.
Get started with aMember today!
Bonus: Other Membership Plugins for WordPress
If you’re looking for more options, you may want to check out these membership plugins too:
- Paid Memberships Pro: Lets you restrict content and manage memberships with ease. It lets you automate user registration, add custom profile fields, and accept payment through multiple gateways. The plugin also integrates with BuddyPress to your community forums by membership level.
- S2Member: Protect posts, pages, tags, categories, and even specific URLs. You can even restrict portions of content within your pages, posts, and WordPress themes and plugins.
- WP-Members: A free and simplified membership plugin for WordPress with content restriction, custom registration, and powerful customizations.
- MemberMouse: Lets you sell protected content and customize the access you want to grant to every piece.
That’s our list of the best membership plugins for WordPress. Want to know our #1 pick? We give you our verdict below.
Which WordPress Membership Plugin is Best for You?
MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin you can have on your WordPress site. It’s the most comprehensive plugin and comes with powerful LMS functionality. It has powerful integrations, a premium affiliate program, coupon codes, and more.
WordPress users will also love the interface since it’s very similar to the native WordPress admin dashboard.
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.
If you need to offer special pricing for selected members of your WooCommerce store (like Amazon Prime, for example) and show certain pages and products exclusively for them, then Paid Member Subscriptions plugin is the best choice.
We hope this article helped you find some of the best WordPress membership plugins for your needs. Want to get started with creating your membership site right away? Follow our easy guide: How to Create a WordPress Membership Site.
Next, you’ll be interested in reading our list of the Best WordPress Plugins that reveal the top tools for speed optimization, SEO, page builders, and social media tools. There’s even the best form builder in there to help you create registration and login forms for your membership site.
Before we wrap up, we’ll answer questions we get asked often.
FAQS: Membership Plugins for WordPress
Is there a free membership plugin for WordPress?
Restrict Content Pro has a free lite version in the WordPress repository. Teachable offers a forever-free plan. WP-Members is a free but simplified membership plugin.
What is the best membership plugin?
We recommend MemberPress as the #1 membership plugin in the market.
How do I add a membership to my WordPress site?
The best way to add a membership plan to your website is to use a plugin like MemberPress. It will make sure you have a professional setup that allows members to have a personal account that they can use to login to your site and access members-only content.
What are the benefits of a membership plugin?
A membership plugin lets you set up a full-fledged membership program on your site. You can create members-only areas and you’ll get control over what content and features you allow members to have access to. Added to that, you can create tiered pricing plans such as gold, silver, and platinum plans. You an also set up automated renewals, renewal reminders, and cancellations. The membership plugin will take care of the technical aspects for you while you can run your membership website with a user-friendly dashboard.
That’s all we have for you today. You should also check out these useful resources:
- Best WordPress Plugins for Selling Services Online
- 11 Best User Login and Registration Plugins for WordPress
- How to Sell a Product on Your WordPress Site (Without an Online Store)
We handpicked these guides for you to get the right set of tools to better your membership site. And if you’d like to sell physical or digital products in the most simple way, the last post will do the trick.
Comments Leave a Reply
Hello, it was helpful, although i am looking for membership plugin where clients after signing up, can create their own profile as well. Where they can add they’re profile picture, and describe themselves with couple of words. Plus you can leave a review for the profile. Is that possible somehow?
Given that many WP membership plugins create user accounts, Security is a key feature that isn’t mentioned here. Do you have thoughts about most secure plugin?
Hello, I went to install memberpress and learndash in wordpress and they are not in the plugins available through word press admin, why is that?
Both are premium plugins
I think before we go and pay for one of these plugs, there should be a way to do a test run, to make sure it works for what we need it for. In many cases i install a plug in that i had to buy, then after using it for a day, come to find out it doesn’t do what i needed it, then your out on that money. There needs to be a demo no matter what.
Most of these plugins have a free version
was searching for a club membership theme but nowhere i could find one
What about ultimate member ? It looks great !
I think Ultimate Member will lose their position if they do not add a few more features as default.
You can imagine a membership plugin not having subscription plans/setup. You have to find other plugins/extensions to go with, just to achieve its basic. Too bad
I have constant trouble with UltimateMember. They keep producing updates with bugs, picking, them up, repairing them (some day) or not, producing new updates which fix on issue, opening another.
I can’t update UM to the newest version because it breaks my user list. Considering switching.
I am using TutorLMS and I am wondering if Restrict Content Pro is integrated with it?
Also does RCP can be as a middle man between TutorLMS and ThriveCart?
Envato deliver crappy wordpress plugins. If you use Paypal to purchase, they’ll claim they delivered and they’ll streal your money.They ignore support questions. Don’t buy anything from this dishonest seller..
I am looking for a membership WordPress database tool that can also create and manage events that occur on an annual basis. It is a paid membership group, so most people use Paypal to pay dues.
I’m looking for a membership plugin for a hockey club, adult and junior. No hidden content, just ability to sign up each season, put in the basic details, select the right category of subs due and be able to pay them, in full or monthly. The club like all are, is a charity based non-profit organisation. Would like to be able to email out reminders, and allow existing people to log in annually to update details and pay next seasons subs after having a reminder letter.
Looked at many, all seem massive and complex for what must be a common issue for any club, football, tennis, whatever, with circa 350 members.
I like look of Tadpole (Non-Profit Membership Management Using WordPress) so far, but would appreciate any help before I waste our time with the wrong thing as I see others above have, and I did with S88rt Forms.
After using DAP (digital access pass) for a a couple years, I switched to aMember a few years ago. And I’m glad I did. Our site offers a free version of the software and optional premium recurring subscriptions. While it’s true that aMember is not a native WP plugin, have not experienced any major conflicts (or minor ones that I can recall) with other plugins.
With free and paid aMember add-ons, we’ve created a powerful membership area and shopping cart. My only complaint is that I wish customizing themes on member pages and the shopping cart would be easier. For those with solid PHP skills you’ll have no problem.
Hi guys, I want to create a subscription based membership site, for online content. I’m thinking about WooCommerce Subscriptions and Membership, because these seem like well built plugins, but since I don’t really have products (maybe later on), I don’t know if these WooCommerce solutions would be the right for me. Or does it even matter that I don’t have products? It would be great to have some advice on that, thanks!
Hi there and thanks!
I need a plugin that allow to buy multisubscriptions (more than one subscriptionfor the same user). Can you help me?
Thank you 🙂
Hi, I am looking for a membership plugin that offers the following –
1:User custom registration form that auto syncs with mailchimp list
2: User can bookmark/add to favourites wordpress posts
3: Admin can view details of what each user bookmarked
Is this possible with your membership plugin?
Thanks in advance
Can i get thru to Ankur and Andy who contributed to present thread. Thanks in advance.
looking for membership plugin for a camera club where members can sign up anytime but all members revert back to subscriber level at a preset date ( June 1st) using WooHoo commerce as the sales plugin.
Can you give my plugin (Member Chimp) a shout? It’s not exactly to manage paid memberships, but it provides community features, where people become members, search other members and submit photos and information to their profiles. If you got a minute, check it out at the WordPress repository.
This is a brand new plugin. How certain can I be that it will be supported for many years, improved and updated?
What is the cost? Will the cost change in the future?
It will be supported through a premium version which include premium only features. However the free version will remain free, and the free version also will get improved (already did many updates since release). At this point, I’m just trying to get the word out about it. Thank you.
Thanks for reviewing this non-exhaustive list of membership plugins available for WordPress.
I will share a point I sure wish someone had shared with me before. The right or best plugin for membership sites does not exist. It depends on your needs and, wait for it, the other plugins you intend to use.
Your number one pick, Memberpress, was also high on my list when I bought an annual membership with them only to realize, even thought I had asked the right questions before buying, this plugin DOES NOT work well with my cart solution.
Since building a member site can take a good amount of time, and I also had many important life changes in the meantime, it took a few months and lots of testing, mistakes, back and forth and countless hours to realize Memberpress could not deliver on its promise with my cart solution. (by the way, like many I run countless plugins to hold this together, there are no compatibility problems with everything else I use. Trust me the list is long enough)
When I contacted them to inform them of the problem it was very vaguely communicated that it would not work the way it should (when someone signed up on the site they had to wait to receive 2 to 3 emails and confirm to actually become a member – it was everything but seamless and deadly from a user experience stand point.)
Now with Wishlist, no promo intended, I have a seamless checkout and new member access process. By the way, to this day I still own and don’t use my multi-site Memberpress license – just laying out the facts as I wish someone had done before I spend more than 200 US dollars. They will not help you when you are in deep as I was, they just stopped responding when I inquired about the problem, the cause, and finding a middle ground to end this business relationship.
Nothing is perfect in this world, but a membership plugin has to behave like one otherwise it’s not a membership plugin but some other thing.
Wishing the best to those webpreneurs that are learning the ropes and making cutthroat concessions in time and financial resources to make their dream come true.
Very valuable feedback thank you! Just starting this journey…& insights like this are much needed & appreciated.
I’m having a nightmare with Wishlist which is why I’m here on this page. Their support is friendly and highly responsive but ultimately, the plugin supports very little. Basic things like coupons — NOPE. The Wishlist “coupons” plugin stopped being supported years ago. This is one of several issues I’m having.
I am looking for a membership that members pay $9.99 per month thought PayPal reacurring payment and the get credit of $20 to there account. One that will reset each month
Teachable is nice WordPress Membership Plugin.
I’m new to all this. I am looking for a plugin that will allow me to share documents with only members in our club at our club’s website.
Did you solve your plugin issue. I’m looking for exactly the same thing. On a site I want to make certain pages to be available by a members login. I just want to use one username and password for everyone.
I am looking for a way to run a youth sports membership site through wordpress. Essential function would be the ability for parents to have a “master” account under which they would register their children. Parents would need to have access to all child accounts through one login. Any suggestions?
Did you find one that did this? I am looking for exactly the same functionality.
I am looking for a plugin to give membership on my site. I want to make a portal for handymen to join the platform for free, submit documents and sign up to accept jobs from a calendar. I will be using google calendar and adobe sign for documents but need a plugin that allows members to join free of charge. I will also be needing a payment processor for customers, looking into square for that need. Any free plugins that can do what Im looking for as far as membership goes?
Have you ever came across new interesting plugin ARMember? Please have a look. Its worth adding in the list.
Thanks for the addition, Ankur
What about Paid Memberships Pro? What are your thoughts on their plugin?
We haven’t tried that plugin yet.