Membership: The Best WordPress Membership Plugin

So you’d like to build a membership-based WordPress website? You probably started out by researching about membership plugins, as WordPress doesn’t provide this sort of functionality straight out of the box.

Let me tell you, it’s not that easy to settle on a membership plugin, there are a couple of good plugins and it’s a painfully difficult task to choose between them. Today we aim to make this decision a bit easier by tackling Membership, a plugin by WPMUdev.

First of all, when I think about membership sites and WPMUdev, the first thought that comes to mind is that they are probably the most qualified people to build such a plugin. Why? Well, their own WPMUdev site is built on such a membership system, where users can subscribe to have access to their plugins and themes. They look like they have a few thousand subscribers and everything is going strong, so I bet they know how to build a membership plugin alright? Let’s see if first impressions are right…

WPMUdev describe Membership as:

“The most powerful, easy to use and flexible membership plugin for WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress sites available. Offer downloads, posts, pages, forums and more to paid members.”

So these guys really believe in their product, and they also provide an upgrade and support guarantee, whereby they state that they guarantee to update their plugins to new releases of WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress. Furthermore they guarantee full support. Can’t complain up till here really!

Documentation & Support

Documentation is ample. You will read on other reviews on the web that documentation is awful or that it consists of one page. While this might have been true in the past, it seems WPMUdev have acted on this criticism and produced a thorough guide of 60 pages in the form of a PDF which you get when you buy the plugin. The support forum for this plugin is very active, as can be expected, since it’s a plugin that has already been downloaded more than 23,000 times. Support is helpful and judging by the short release cycle, the guys at WPMUdev take users’ suggestions seriously and continuously improve the plugin, which is at version 3.0.1 at the time of writing.

Features

You’d be hard pressed to find another membership plugin with more features than Membership.

With Membership you can create:

  • A WordPress membership site, offering resources, forums, downloads, videos, support and more… with multiple different levels of membership and complete customizations
  • Multiple membership sites on a WPMU / WordPress MultiSite install – so any user of your site can have their own membership site, combine with Pro Sites to make this a feature they pay for – or you could run dozens of membership sites yourself
  • A BuddyPress membership site, where different groups and blogs are only visible to members, so members can join for free and then upgrade to key groups and forums

You can control access to:

  • Downloads
  • Categories
  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Comments
  • ‘More’ tags
  • Galleries
  • BuddyPress groups
  • BuddyPress blogs
  • And *any content or functionality* (like forums!), via multiple different shortcodes

And you can also create multiple different levels of subscriptions, for example you can decide to:

  • Offer free memberships that turn into paid subscriptions after x days
  • Finite or indefinite subscriptions
  • Serial renewing subscriptions
  • Subscriptions that renew every 5, 10, 30, 90 etc. days
  • And plenty more…

Of course, payment gateways are supported:

  • Authorize.NET AIM
  • 2Checkout
  • PayPal Express

with more coming soon.

Within the Membership Dashboard you have three options of how would like the plugin to function. The first two bring up a wizard helping you along the way, while advanced is more of a manual affair.

1. Standard Membership Site

With such a setup you can create a number of membership levels (up to 99). You can then assign what each level can do within the site.

2. Dripped Content Site

Dripped content basically means that you can create multiple levels for one subscription. Each level could be active for a set period of time and so a user could signup and access your content for say 20 days, then on the 21 st day they move to the next level thus getting more content. You could do this multiple times with different time frames and even fees. You could use this as a reward… Signup for one membership, stay active for a month, a year or something else and then get moved to the next level which has access to an extra category for your loyal members or some super cool download content.

3. Advanced

Create your own style of membership setup. This leaves you to set up all the options by yourself, and is a good choice if you’re experienced with membership sites and want something custom.

There are of course a whole bunch of other features like Communications and Remote Pings, which we don’t have space to include here, but definitely, Membership plugin does not skimp on the features.

Pricing

To download Membership and use it on unlimited websites, you can purchase it for $39 (includes 1 month upgrades and support), or become a member at WPMUdev on a yearly basis.

If you decide to sign up to WPMUdev you get Membership plus all the other plugins by WPMUdev. All access pricing is as low as $79, so it’s quite worthwhile if you need more than one plugin.

Verdict

Conclusion: Membership is a really powerful plugin that brings a load of functionality to your WordPress site. Documentation is ample and support is very active. The great thing with buying a plugin from WPMUdev is that they have so many plugins which tie in together. For example, you can combine Membership with Affiliates, to provide affiliate support and generated more sales.

I don’t know of any other plugin development company that operates on the same scale of WPMUdev, and in my opinion this is a big plus for them and their plugins. Membership therefore comes highly recommended, it is not the only option for building a membership site, but it is indeed a great option that will probably satisfy your requirements.

Download Membership

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About Jean Galea

Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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5 Responses

  1. Chris Lema
    Chris Lema November 5, 2012 at 17:57 | | Reply

    I have found that the selection of a Membership plugin depends on what you care most about…which is how I broke out my recent review: http://chrislema.com/comparing-wordpress-membership-plugins/

  2. emilyblunt
    emilyblunt December 11, 2014 at 06:59 | | Reply

    I am a business man and i regularly updated for market and all day to day useful tools to improve my business. I was using Membership plugin for long time. But i want more robust and innovative feartured system then i found Trackurly as the most relevant. I used trackurly membership software and it really works very well to manage our online site members. Find about it here: http://trackurly.com

  3. emilyblunt
    emilyblunt December 11, 2014 at 07:01 | | Reply

    I am a business man and i regularly updated for market and all day to day useful tools to improve my business. This month i find Trackurly products are the most relevant and helpful when you needs 100% business growth. I used trackurly membership software and it really works very well to manage our online site members. Find about it here: http://trackurly.com

  4. Dan
    Dan October 25, 2015 at 09:01 | | Reply

    One of the best and least expensive I think is Wishlist Member. It’s also easy to install/configure. There’s a Youtube video that shows how to install/configure Wishlist Member. it’s a 4 minute video. I’ve tried many membership plugins and Wishlist Member has the easiest and fastest install because of its install wizard. You can watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbXx4qM-E9A

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