If you have a website with lots of valuable content, turning it into a membership-based site can make it a very lucrative business for you. There are loads of use-cases for membership plugins, and there are quite a number of such plugins as well.
Here are the best ones we’ve found:
MemberPress is a WordPress membership plugin that makes it easy to charge your users for access to content and digital products such as software and e-books.
It will give you the ability to confidently create, manage and analyse membership subscriptions and digital products. In addition to these powerful abilities, MemberPress will allow you to grant and revoke access to posts, pages, categories, tags, feeds, communities and digital files based on what products your users have purchased or subscribed to.
With MemberPress you’ll be able to create powerful and compelling WordPress membership sites that leverage all of the tremendous features of WordPress and WordPress plugins including content management, forums and social communities.
Pricing: $99/year (Business Edition) | $199/year (Developer Edition)
WishList Member™ is a powerful, yet easy to use membership solution that can turn any WordPress blog into a full-blown membership site.
Just unzip and upload the plugin, and within minutes you’ll have your own membership site up and running, complete with protected, members-only content, integrated payments, member management, and so much more.
Pricing: $197 (Single-Site License) | $297 (Multi-Site License)
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a complete membership and premium content manager plugin for WordPress. Create an unlimited number of memberships levels, including free, trial and premium.
Manage member’s and their subscriptions, track payments, offer discounts with a complete discount code system, and provide premium, members-only content to your subscribers.
Pricing: $42/year (Single-Site License) | $86/year (5-Site License) | $132/year (Unlimited Sites)
Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is a powerful, yet really easy to setup & use membership plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce.
You can easily create an unlimited number of hierarchical subscription plans, restrict or drip content based on active subscription, as well as accept payments using the most popular gateways, like Stripe, PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro & Express.
Paid Member Subscriptions integrates nicely with WooCommerce allowing you to restrict product viewing or purchase to non-members, as well as set up discounted prices to members.
While the main plugin is free, the premium version comes with a wide range of advanced add-ons, so you can use only what’s needed for your situation. Among them are Invoices, Content dripping, Discount codes, Email reminders, Global content restriction or Pay what you want pricing.
Paid Memberships Pro
Set up unlimited membership levels and provide restricted access to pages, posts, categories, videos, forums, downloads, support, single “a la carte” page access, and more. Paid Memberships Pro is flexible enough to fit the needs of almost all online and offline businesses. It works great out of the box, but is easy for developers to customize to fit your needs.
Paid Memberships Pro is the community solution for adding paid memberships to your WordPress site. PMPro is 100% GPL. All code, including add-ons, is available for free from the WordPress repository or from their site. The version in the WordPress repository is the full version of the plugin with no restrictions or additional licenses required.
Pricing: Free | $97 (PMPro Core) | $197 (PMPro Plus)
Digital Access Pass
DAP is a premium WordPress membership platform to create a fully automated, “buyers only” site with one-time payments, recurring subscriptions or no payments at all (free members).
DAP has a built-in ContentResponder (to drip content), email autoresponder and a broadcast system, shopping cart with coupons, dime-sales and 1-click upsells and an affiliate program that instantly turns your members into your own private salesforce.
Pricing: $167 (One-site) | $297 (Unlimited Sites) | $497 (Membership Site In A Box) | $39.99/month (Part of WickedCoolClub Platinum)
MemberMouse is an easy to use WordPress membership plugin that allows you to sell products, subscriptions and memberships, setup a password protected member’s area, offer 1-click upsells and downsells, manage customers, automate customer service, track critical retention metrics and more.
No matter where you’re starting from, MemberMouse has the power you need to maximize revenue and get your business running like a well-oiled machine.
Pricing: $19.95/month (Starter) | $99/month (Advanced) | $299/month (Premium)
iThemes Exchange Membership Add-on
The Membership add-on for iThemes Exchange is a WordPress membership plugin that allows you to sell membership access to your WordPress site with iThemes Exchange.
Membership sites are all about access—and the member experience. As with all things Exchange, the main priority with the Membership Add-on is keeping it simple.
Pricing: $97 (2 Sites) | $150 (Unlimited Sites) | $197 (Pro Pack – All iThemes Exchange Add-ons)
Get iThemes Exchange Membership Add-on
PrivateContent – Multilevel Content Plugin
PrivateContent takes advantage of the wordpress structure to let you create unlimited lists of users and restrict your website contents. To keep the integrity of the wordpress users, they are stored in a separated database.
If with wordpress you have a small number of roles, here you make the rules. Having the ability to create user categories your customization capabilities are virtually unlimited. Each user can be assigned to one or more categories giving you the maximum flexibility possible.
The plugin has got also some extra features to help you manage users with ease, such as category filter, data sorting and an internal search. Gives you also the ability of deactivate users, to keep them in the database but deactivating their accesses to restrict contents.
Pricing: $19 (Regular License) | $95 (Extended License)
Get PrivateContent – Multilevel Content Plugin
WP-Members is a membership plugin for WordPress – perfect for newsletters, premium content sites, and more. The plugin restricts selected WordPress content to registered site members.
WP-Members puts the registration process on the site front end so it is inline with your content (and thus your branded theme) instead of the native WP login page. It works with no modifications to your theme, but it is scalable for users that want to customize the look and feel, or want to restrict only some content. It’s a great tool for sites offering premium content to subscribers, and is adaptable to a variety of applications.
So, what’s your favourite membership plugin for WordPress?
Thanks for this write-up!
Great list. Awesome post!
I used UserPlace – A complete Free WordPress Membership Plugin. Excellent plugin with great documentation, It is very nice and simply superb. It has easy settings to understand. And many free features. Great WordPress Membership Plugin. Best FREE membership plugin!
Thanks, Its a very good list of WordPress Membership Plugins, here’s another 2018’s free and Premium WordPress Membership Plugins list at: https://www.wpblog.com/best-free-premium-wordpress-membership-plugins/ Sharing here because I found it very useful. I hope others will like it too. thanks
Extremely valuable data and pleasant examination of enrollment modules. It would be ideal if you consider new and capable participation module ARMember as well.
A long time ARMember user and fan here, what I have liked most is the ease with which I could integrate it with the code of application themes with front end posting functionality.
Very useful information and nice comparison about membership plugins. Please consider new and very powerful membership plugin ARMember too.
As usual another great post I found from related post. from you. I used S2member before, but it not so easy to use, specially for beginner and non-technical person like me. Just few days ago I changed membership system from my site using “Moz Membership” which is available at: http://thememoz.com/product/moz-membership/
I hope people whoever will read this post from related post or from google will get this membership plugin very useful as mine.
Hello Jean and all,
Every comment is very helpful, Wow, I got the lot of thinks from there.However, I want to add something, and recently I just released the membership plugin in the wordpress repository who is called “rs-members”. Before developing I just studied existence all membership wordpress plugin.I got many problems from the those.As a result; I just tried to include many useful features.Without programming skill any guys can easily maintain this plugin.Guys you can visit my “rs-members” from wordpress repository.
Thank you gentleman For patiently reading.
Wp-member is a fake company & plugin i bought their plugin & asked for little support no reply & when i had to change the site from demo server to client server my plugin was locked by license & tried several times to connect for support but they never replied. So seems like once they have got your payment they will never reply or ans you. I would suggest everyone please dont buy wp-member unless you wanna get into trouble with your clients deadline.
Though your review is from 2013 I was wondering if you are still using Wishlist Member.
My team has developed a plugin that automates the registration process so when members return from the shopping cart they are automatically registered and logged-in to the site.
We are selling this plugin for over a year now and we would love to hear your thoughts about it.
We’re adding new features to it all the time according to customers’ feedbacks.
You can find more information about it in our online store:
Developers Department Manager
Hi Bob, thanks for sharing. I’m sure those using Wishlist Member will find this plugin useful.
Hi Jean and all,
Firstly its such a great work that you re trying to help out people here. Secondly I have this question: I m gonna build a casting agency site with WP, so film producers can search actors online. So obviously actors should be basic member first to my site, then if they want to create their profiles (upload photos and info about them) they need to be paid member using paypal payment gateway. 3 user levels:
1.NonMembers public: Can view few random actors’ 1 thumb photo and just the name of his/her on homepage, can not do actor search.
2.Paid Members (actors): Filled a short form then paid on paypal or paid on paypal first then Filled a long form to be member of the site and uploaded photos to create profile,
3.Producer members: They dont need to pay but admin needs to manually authorise them, so they can browse and fully search all actors, and can see everything on their profiles.
I only need paypal payment. No credit cards or check or etc.
So please tell me which membership plugin would suit me best?
Nice article and pretty well covered. However, I noticed that you didn’t include WP-Members in your your selections? This plugin has been in the wordpress.org plugin nearly since its inception and has about 350k downloads and ranks fairly high in the repository when sorted by popularity. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-members/
Great write-up and very timely for my development requirements! Thanks!
I am rebuilding a Web site (http://californiaconsultants.org) from scratch using WordPress. I am currently using the Tersus theme as it was recommended by a friend (not sure it was the right way to go. I was initially going to use the Genesis theme.) The Web site is for the IEEE – Consultants’ Network of Silicon Valley of which I am a member. This is simply a group of (primarily) engineering consultants, meeting monthly in Santa Clara, and having profiles on a membership Web site. We do not sell any products, except membership is $50/year.
Anyway, the purpose of our Web site is twofold: first, to allow company project managers (or anyone) search our site for the expertise they need for their project and find an appropriately-skilled consultant. We are not a broker; we do not charge anything extra. We are simply a database of consultants.
At first, I thought I could just use WP’s built-in user levels to control access on the site but, that looks like it’s going to be quite complicated for what I need. We also have special access for our board of directors to do things like: add new members, print badges for meetings, print a membership roster, check for unpaid renewals, etc. The new site will also add a blog so I will need to set up a few user levels for that as well.
After watching the video of setting up a site with MemberPress, I am quite impressed with its capabilities. But, I still am not certain I can make this work for what I need.
Any insight or recommendations would be immensely appreciated.
Thanks, and sorry for the long-winded message but, I wanted to paint a full picture of what I need.
Consultant, Shadow Cliffs Engineering
Director, IEEE – CNSV
It was a great starting point for me! Sometimes, just the quick details are enough. .. you can do the digging from there! Thanks for doing some of the leg work for me.
Welcome Demetrius, would love to always go into detail on these plugins, but time is limited!
This article would actually be useful if you had a feature comparison table or if you asked the authors to send you a review copy of the plugins and then compared the features, user interface, price, ease of use etc. You could also comment on which cases each plug-in is most useful. Otherwise it’s just an article that promotes affiliate links with minimal value for the Reader. Jean, I read your blog quite often but you’re not going to go far with these tactics. Valuable content is an output of hard work not just a collection of promotional links. This is just a friendly message from a WordPress lover in Greece.
Thanks for the honest feedback Stella, I’d love to go through all the plugins in depth, but at this moment I couldn’t do that due to time constraints. I hope to do it at a later stage. I published this post in the hope that it will at least be a starting point for others. I have found similar list posts useful myself in the past.
Having said that, I agree with you that a more in-depth post would be more useful.
Welcome to the WP Mayor community bdw, nice to hear from someone in Greece 🙂
Since these are plugins, can I assume they will work with the Genesis Framework theme?
Yes that’s correct Jeff, they will work with Genesis.
I agree with Robert here, there are so many more out there even if this is a long list. I currently use MemberMouse on my sites and I completely love it. It is the most powerful membership software I have used (I haven’t used them all). I would be interested in seeing others that have compared these more than just a list of what they all do.
There is also WP-Emember from Tips and Tricks HQ, MemberMouse, and about a dozen more. Seems like everyone is getting in on the paid-content bandwagon. I’ve covered almost 30 or so on my site. Both hosted solutions using wordpress and non-hosted plugins.
Yes Robert, membership are some of the most requested plugins in WordPress, along with SEO and E-Commerce.
Interesting subject but hard to tell which ones are best and for what reasons.
Surely you should also mention Justin Tadlock’s Members plugin? I would guess that many of these paid plugins have taken at least some “inspiration” from Justin’s code, which is available freely in the WordPress.org repository.
Having said that, it is well worth paying if a plugin gives specific advantages in getting your paid membership site up and running but, as I say, I wish it was easier to work out what the advantages of each one are.
Agreed, Justin’s Members plugin is excellent.
Maybe too simple for commercial membership sites, but it does what it says on the tin and does it beautifully.
A long time s2Member user and fan here, what I have liked most is the ease with which I could integrate it with the code of application themes with front end posting functionality.
Thanks for the feedback Mohsin, good to see you putting 2sMember to good use.