WordPress is one of the powerful and best website building platforms ever. It is an open-source platform, which means you don’t have to pay anything to join it; it is available for free to everyone. To get started with WordPress, you just need a domain name and a right hosting plan.
You have purchased a domain name, web hosting, and created your WordPress website, now you want to add a membership to your website and you are confused how actually you can do it and what are the best plugins for it. Don’t worry! in this post, we’ll discuss how membership website can benefit you and what are the best membership plugins you can choose for your WordPress site. Going with the basic, first, let’s understand what membership websites are.
What Is A Membership Site?
Membership sites are those in which there is an availability of gated content, which means the content behind the login. The gate is the barrier to the user to limit the access to your website’s content. It is based on you whether you want to give access to those who pay you or allow users to just log in for free.
Once the visitor or user is allowed to enter the website, he/she will be given access to the website’s exclusive content. Here, it is based on the website owner, whether to allow users for a free-trial or only make it paid-membership.
Apart from this, you may also have a different membership level. For example, basic level, standard level, pro-level, etc. memberships. Different membership would have different benefits for users. Let’s say, in basic level membership, you give access to your five ebooks, while in pro-level, you give access to 15 ebooks.
So, how would you do these all? Does it sound complicated? Don’t worry; if your website is in WordPress, all you need is just one perfect plugin, that’s all. You don’t have to mess with coding when you go with WordPress.
Why Build a Membership Site?
Building a membership website provides you many benefits. It is the best way to increase your revenue from your website or blog. Let’s have a look at why build a membership site:
One of the great benefits of creating a membership website is that you just have to create your content once and sell it to numerous people. You don’t have to spend time producing content for different people. All you will do is just create content once, and different visitors will start buying it, the process will be automated.
Generally, people don’t value the content which is provided for free, no matter how quality and useful the content is. To increase the subscriptions, you can set reasonable price so that more and more users can get benefit from your content.
People like being surrounded by a community with the same interest. Hence, building a membership site is a great way to create a tribe or community of people with the same interest.
Now, let’s have a look at top WordPress membership plugins by using which you can add a membership plan in your WordPress website.
Best Membership Plugin WordPress
A right membership plugin is the one which provides ease of use, compatibility, best designs, and additional features. Let’s have a look at some of the best membership plugins and select the best one:
MemberPress is the complete membership plugin which comes with so many additional features; it is also one of the most popular membership plugins in WordPress. MemberPress plugin allows you to transform your existing website into a membership website.
The plugin can easily integrate with the top email marketing services like MailChimp, AWeber. GetResponse, etc. Here are pros, cons and the pricing structure of MemberPress plugin so that you can know it in a better way:
- Content Access Control: MemberPress plugin comes with powerful access control which restricts users from accessing your content no matter of its type.
- Easy Setup: With Memberpress you don’t have to mess up with things and get through complex procedures, because it is very easy to setup. It can automatically create important pages for you.
- Integrations: MemberPress plugin can integrate with major top email marketing service providers like MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, etc.
- Content Dripping: In case if you are selling online courses or lessons, this feature is for you. It allows you to show restricted content to your members after a certain time period.
- Payment Gateways: The MemberPress WordPress plugin supports top payment gateways including Paypal and Stripe.
- Limited Payment Options: The plugin only supports three popular payment gateways, which might lose some customers. It would not possible to join for people who live in the country with the unavailability of these payment options.
- Limited Integrations: MemberPress has integrations with a popular service provider, but they have very limited integrations.
- Basic Plan: $129 / year for 1 site and basic features.
- Plus Plan: $249 / year for up to 10 sites and more advanced features.
- Pro Plan: $369 / year for up to 30 sites and all the features, including Affiliate Royale.
As the name suggests, LearnDash WordPress plugin is specially designed for creating and selling courses online. LearnDash is the most trusted WordPress LMS. This plugin is the top choice for the fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating and selling online courses.
The plugin offers your readers an amazing learning experience and it supports the latest gamification, social learning, and micro-content trends. Here are pros, cons and the pricing structure of this plugin so that you can know about this in a better way:
- Easy Setup: The customization and setup of LearnDash WordPress plugin is very easy and simple. You can organize your content in a more efficient way with the use of advanced tools.
- Content Restrictions: The plugin is effective in restricting or hiding any of your content in a different membership group.
- Sell Course: The plugin is especially for the purpose of providing the best learning experience. Hence, if you are planning to sell online courses or lessons, this plugin is for you.
- Community Features: The plugin also has built-in community features which keep your members engaged with you. Through this plugin, you can create quizzes, give user badges, certifications, etc.
- Integrations & Payments: Through this plugin, you can integrate your site with MemberPress, WooCommerce, Slack, bbPress, etc. And, it also provides wide payment options.
- Suitable only for Selling Online Courses: LearnDash is useful for you only when you want to build a website with the intention of selling online courses. And, its features will not be helpful to you if you don’t want to sell courses online.
- Basic Plan: $159 / year for 1 site.
- Plus Plan: $189 / year for up to 10 sites.
- Pro Plan: $329 / year for unlimited sites.
3. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is also the best way to add a membership feature in your website. It is different from other membership plugins in a way that it will provide a free basic version to you so that you can test out its features.
By using its basic features of the free version, it will give you an idea about how the premium version will work. This membership WordPress plugin comes with a Memberlite theme and rich documentation set. And, you are free to alter its code as it includes GPLv2 License. Here are pros, cons and the pricing structure of Paid Memberships Pro plugin so that you can know about this in a better way:
- Free Version: One of the great things about this membership plugin is that it gives you a free basic trial version so that you can check out its performance & features and take a decision regarding buying its plan.
- Integrations: Through this plugin, you can integrate major free and paid extension plugins and get the benefit of both the plugins.
- Extension Add-ons: The Paid Memberships Pro WordPress plugin will provide you a wide range of extension add-ons. Add-ons may include affiliate program, content dripping, link tracking, variable pricing, etc.
- Payment Gateways: The plugin supports major payment gateways including, Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2Checkout and Cyber Source.
- No option to buy individual add-on: At the time of purchasing Paid Memberships Pro plugin, you will get access to all the add-ons, and you can’t buy an individual add-on. It means you also have to pay for plugins which are not useful to you.
- Not Beginner-Friendly: The setup of PM Pro is not beginner-friendly. To set up, you will need to have a bit of technical knowledge.
- Time Consuming Setup: Another disadvantage of this plugin is that it takes more time in setting up as compared to other membership plugins. Hence, you need to invest a bit of more time for plugin setup.
- Free Plan: Free of charge with some basic features.
- Plus Plan: $297 / year for up to 5 sites with all the features.
- Pro Plan: $597 / year for unlimited sites with all the features.
Teachable is another great membership WordPress plugin which is effective in online courses building. It provides membership website, LMS, discussion forum, email marketing, and analytics in one dashboard. This tool is specially designed for teaching courses, and lessons.
The plugin is easy to set up and customize. In the case of Teachable plugin, you don’t need any technical skills at all. It includes some of the best in-built tools. Here are pros, cons, and the pricing structure of Teachable WordPress plugin so that you can know about it in a better way:
- Ease of Use: One of the best things about Teachable WordPress plugin is that it very simple and easy to use, you don’t need any technical or coding knowledge for setting it up, and you can customize everything easily and quickly.
- Built-Engagement Features: To keep your users engaged, it comes with some best built-in engagement features. Different built-in features like contact forums, quizzes, certificates, discussion forum, and many other features.
- Drip Content: Teachable membership plugin is the WordPress plugin which comes with flexible drip content feature. This feature allows you to roll out content, based on the users’ progress or subscription level.
- Not a WordPress Plugin: Teachable is the great platform but it is not a WordPress plugin. To make it run on your WordPress website, you have to integrate it to your site by adding links or sub-domain.
- Expensive: As compared to other membership plugins, Teachable plugin is more expensive. However, it offers great and unique features which we may not find in other WordPress plugins.
- Basic Plan: $29 / month with basic features.
- Plus Plan: $79 / month with basic + professional plan features.
- Pro Plan: $399 / month with all the features
5. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a lightweight WordPress membership plugin through which you can easily make a fully-featured membership website. The plugin is created by the same team who created Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP WordPress plugins, hence you can estimate the effectiveness and power of this plugin.
It provides you so many features to provide your user with a great experience for membership subscribing. It is easy to use, it has some great built-in integrations and it covers major payment gateways. Here are pros, cons and the pricing structure of Restrict Content Pro so that you can know about this plugin in a better way:
- Easy to use: The plugin does not require any technical or coding knowledge, the set up of plugin is very easy.
- Support: The support system of the plugin is also good. If you are stuck anywhere or if you have any query, you can ask the customer support about that.
- Built-in Integrations: Some membership plugins keep several integrations as paid, while this is not the case in Restrict Content Pro. It will come with integration with Stripe, MailChimp, Paypal, email manager, Mailpoet, etc.
- Works with Easy Digital Downloads: If you have already installed Easy Digital Downloads to sell digital products, this plugin is perfect for you, it will integrate with Easy Digital Downloads in the best manner.
- Less Integration: The plugin has very fewer integrations with third-party services as compared to other membership plugins.
- Personal Plan: $99 / year for 1 site and core features.
- Plus Plan: $149 / year for up to 5 sites and core features.
- Professional Plan: $249 / year for unlimited sites and all the features.
- Ultimate Plan: $499 (One-time Payment) for unlimited sites and all the features.
S2Member is another popular membership WordPress plugin which comes with so many features and benefits. The great thing about this WordPress plugin is that you can also get its free version as well so that you can test out its performance and experience.
Generally, it is free of cost; anyone can download it and use it, but it is only limited in the terms of features. However, the disadvantages in the free version are that you will be limited in terms of features and support. Here are pros, cons and pricing structure of S2Member so that you can know about this in a better way:
- Free Base Plugin: S2Member WordPress membership plugin is free; anyone can download and install this plugin in their WordPress website. The limitation of the free basic version is that you will be limited in terms of plugin’s features and support.
- Payment Gateways: The free version of S2Member supports Paypal, which is the major payment gateway. And, in the pro version, it supports Paypal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.
- Integrations: Talking about the integrations of S2Member, it has integration will top service providers like MailChimp, bbPress, and BuddyPress.
- Support: If you will be a pro user of S2Member plugin, you will get amazing email-based support, which you cannot get in the free version.
- Not User-friendly: If you are a complete beginner, S2Member plugin might be a bit difficult to use for you because the plugin is not user-friendly.
- Limitations of the free version: Free version has so many limitations in terms of features and support. Talking about payment gateways, the plugin supports only Paypal in its free version, which is a big limitation.
- Free Plan: Free of charge with some basic features.
- Single-Site License Plan: $89 (One-Time Payment) for 1 site and comes with all the features.
- Unlimited-Site Pro License Plan: $189 (One-Time Payment) for unlimited sites and comes with all the features.
Choosing the best membership plugin for your WordPress website might be a bit difficult for you. But, after going through this complete guide, you will understand the pros, and cons of some top membership plugins.
If you want a free membership plugin, S2Member is ideal for you and if you want the best, paid plugin, then MemberPress plugin is perfect for you.
Hello my name is Tab Winner. I have a degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Web Development. Which honestly doesn’t mean much in today’s world with the entourage of site builders at anyone’s disposal. I have been a full time Entrepreneur since May 2016. I haven’t looked back since.