Building up a subscriber base is for your blog or website is easy until you actually get too many of them. As it turns out, winning their attention is only half the battle, the other half is keeping it, meaning taking care of your audience in pretty much all aspects, including offering premium content. For that, you’ll need help in the form of WordPress membership plugins.
There are two important questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to membership plugins. The first is do you need a membership plugin and the second is why your blog needs one. Having this plugin for your page gives you the opportunity to give your member base perks and special access for their loyalty. It is also a great way to keep your members engaged. On top of these, and probably the most important, is that a membership plugin gives you back control over how your blog community behaves within your website. This could come in the form of gated content, download limits, special access, and more.
Hence, you might want to take a look at these plugins. They are some of the best WordPress has on offer in regards to making your regular viewers honorary members of your website.
Considered as one of the most trusted membership plugins for WordPress, Paid Memberships Pro is a worthy investment. It boasts of its completeness making it the one-stop shop for all your membership management needs. The best feature yet – if you want to use the plugin for just one license, they offer it completely free. It is highly customizable and flexible making it seamless to use for any of your websites.
The problem is, all its additional features do come with a hefty price of $297 per year, for five licenses.
- Free signup for all users, offers basic features with no support
- Basic plan is $297 a year for five website licenses and $597 a year for unlimited licenses
- Probably one of the most expensive of all
Wishlist is one powerful membership plugin for WordPress. It boasts of providing premier, “every-feature-you-need” with its standard membership. Wishlist Membership promotes itself to be an all-in-one toolbox that will get its users unlimited membership levels and unlimited members.
On the downside, it’s not the best plugin here for new users. It’s quite advanced and would need a seasoned blogger or website admin to operate. It’s also quite serious and usually reserved for the bigger businesses. Why? Wishlist Member does not have a free trial, but they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Users will be required to pay at least a single site license and could request a refund (“no questions asked”) in case the plugin is not the best fit for your blog.
- Premium version is $149/year for single-site license, $399 for multisites (up to 20 sites).
- Advanced tool for advanced users
- Plenty of customizable membership options
MemberPress is often considered unanimously as the best among all WordPress membership plugins. One thing which earned this plugin much praise for many users is how easy it is to use compared to the more intermediate Wishlist Membership. For new bloggers, the cost of $179 a year is already a good deal in exchange for its ease of use.
Additionally, MemberPress integrates with a wide range of third-party solutions making payment processing, email marketing automation, and even page building easier. Such flexibility does come at a cost, though. MemberPress does not offer a free trial. But they do offer a 14-day money-back guarantee.
- Basic plans for single site access starts at $179 per year
- Pro plan for up to 5 site access is rated at $399 per year
- Not ideal for big businesses as there are no plans for access for more than 5 sites
- Versatile plugin with lots of conveniences for the admin
- Easy to use
What WP-Members can boast is that it is the original membership plugin for WordPress. It may be old, but it is surely in active development. It is up to date with whatever is current with WordPress.
It may not be the best membership plugin on the internet, but an open-source membership plugin is hard to come by. Despite being free to use, it can still fare well compared to its competitors. It is easy to set up and simple to use. Plus, its flexibility and customizability are admirable.
- Offers all basic or standard membership plugin features you could ask for
- Basic support is available for all users, but developers offer premium support (for a fee)
- Premium extensions are also available for download (for a fee)
Another premium tool in our WordPress membership plugins list is the Restrict Content Pro. You could say that it’s as easy to use since Restrict Content Pro mimics the look and feel of the WordPress admin dashboard– something you should already be familiar with.
The plugin is also designed to fit seamlessly with any theme without any need for custom CSS. Its developers also made sure to reduce potential clashes with other plugins that are possibly installed on a user’s website.
- Costs $99/year for single-site, $149 for five websites, $249 for an unlimited license, and a one-off fee of $499 that provides your websites iThemes Security Pro and BackupBuddy access
- Also guarantees full control for membership restrictions
- Blends in seamlessly with WordPress dashboard
If free WordPress membership plugins are more your speed, then look no further than s2Member. It has been in existence for a while now and has a dedicated user-base as well. Now, since it’s free, you obviously have to give up a few things. In this case, s2Member isn’t exactly known for its user-friendliness.
It’s more suited for advanced users and those who know their way around WordPress. Still, it’s free and also comes with a pro version; it also comes with its own range of functions similar to the more heavyweight plugins in this list like the content dripping, integrations, and payment gateways. Meanwhile, the pro version’s pricing isn’t too steep.
- Has a generous free version
- Pro version costs $89/year for a single-site license, unlimited sites cost $189
- Not beginner-friendly
Another option for those of you who want WordPress membership plugins with free versions would be Paid Member Subscriptions. It’s pretty straightforward and is all about gating some of your content, products, or site sections to non-members. Thankfully, setting it up is easy (installation) but the functionality isn’t as flexible as the others.
Its latest feature is the Pro version that offers licenses for unlimited websites. Other than the features for the basic plan, the pro version has PayPal integrations, content dripping, invoicing, and more. The pro version also offers multiple subscription opportunities per user.
- It has a fully functional free version
- Single-site license starts at €69/year
- Multi-site license starts at €149/year
- Not as robust as the others
- Better suited for online stores
LearnDash is not a membership-dedicated plugin. But it is an all-in-one learning management system that has membership plan options. LearnDash is highly versatile and comes with great options for membership tiers and other conveniences.
Its features, for that matter, are similar to the best plugins in this list. LearnDash’s integrations list is also extensive and includes Slack, WooCommerce, bbPress, and even other membership plugins like MemberPress. The cost? Quite high, consequently.
- Single-site pricing starts at $159/year
- Easy to use
- Highly flexible
It is a longstanding, comprehensive membership tool that has been in existence on the internet for almost two decades. What it boasts best about is its lifetime license that involves a one-time payment of $149.36.
It’s also not free but comes with a plethora of payment integrations for your site members (over 200) and an unlimited allowance of members. One of the good sides to this is that aMember Pro is not a WordPress dedicated plugin. This means you could use it with any CMS that allows integration into WordPress. But, be wary of compatibility issues that might arise.
- Tool costs $149.36 and can then be used as a plugin for an unlimited number of sites
- Extensive payment integration options
What is admirable about MemberMouse is its questionnaire that matches you with a membership model that fits your needs and your blog best. This is a great, informative tool for start-up bloggers who are just starting to explore membership plugins for their use. It is user-friendly from installation, dashboard use, up to member management.
MemberMouse also has a 14-day free trial, something that other membership plugins do not have.
- Offers a $29/month basic plan, and $199/month premium plan
- Measures the plan per members instead of per site (as compared to its competitors)
- A bit pricey for its features, compared to its competitors
- Offers discounts for annual subscriptions
The Magic Members website boasts of its user-friendly interface. Users can easily download and install this plugin to their websites with minimal to no programming necessary. It also seamlessly integrates with multiple payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, AlertPay, ClickBank, and more.
One special feature of Magic Members that rarely exists on other membership plugins is its pay-per-view and pay-per-post access. Although we aim that our websites get members that subscribe, and stay subscribed, this kind of setup does not exactly work with every subscription.
- Offers a one-time payment of $97 for a single license and a one-time payment of $207 for unlimited licenses
- Training videos are available for all users
- Pro packages offer store credits to certain website and perks
On a final note, make sure to review each of the plugins’ offerings to ensure that your website needs are covered, especially if you’ve chosen the premium ones.
Updated January 2022