Most WordPress website owners are tinkerers.

Are you like that? Are you always trying a new plugin or adjusting your theme?

When you start buying individual plugins and themes, then it’s easy to blow your budget.

That’s where WordPress Membership Schemes come in.

Signing up for a membership scheme gives you access to a wide range of themes and plugins made by the same vendor. That’s a bonus in itself as they should work together in harmony. No more plugin conflicts.

Also, membership schemes are often less expensive than buying individual themes and plugins.

So, which membership plan is the best?

That’s what we wanted to find out. And in this post we’ve reviewed three super duper WordPress membership schemes to save you the legwork.

Let’s get started.

Thrive Themes Membership

1a Thrive Themes Membership

The Thrive Themes Membership scheme gives you access to all of their conversion focused WordPress themes and plugins.

Their ‘All-In-One Online Business Toolbox’ includes 10 Themes and 7 Plugins:

1b Thrive Themes

1c Thrive Plugins

What we love about Thrive Themes Membership

Thrive Dashboard

Thrive has created a WordPress dashboard where you can manage any of their installed products on your site.

The Thrive Dashboard has two parts:

  • Installed Products
  • Thrive Features
Installed Products

When you install a Thrive product, it automatically creates or updates the Thrive dashboard. Here you can see four plugins and a theme:

1d Thrive Dashboard Products 1

In the top right corner of each product is a mini drop-down menu with links to the product tutorials and support sections in the Thrive Membership Area.

1e Thrive Dashboard Products 2

Thrive Features

The second part of the dashboard contains settings panels for features that are common to all of Thrive’s products. For example, you can add and edit Google Fonts, add and edit Icons, and manage API Connections to other services.

1f Thrive Dashboard Features

The Thrive Dashboard is an excellent way of managing your Thrive products inside WordPress. You know exactly where to head when you need to configure settings.

Instant access to Plugins and Themes

Once you log into the Thrive Membership Area, you can see the Navigation Menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Everything is clearly labeled:

1g Thrive Navigation Menu

But if you’re like me, then you’ll want to dive straight into the plugins and themes. And that’s what you get underneath the Welcome Video on the main page.

The plugins section has buttons for Download, Tutorials, and Forum:

1h Thrive Plugins Access

And in the themes section you can also access the Demo page:

The Demo page is a useful reference point for when you’re trying a new theme on your site. You can see what’s possible, and you can even upload the demo pages to your site if you wish.

This is the only place to download and install each product, but you can also access the Tutorials and Forum from the Navigation Menu.

Thrive University

Thrive opened the doors to their University in December 2016. The University is open to the general public, but some of the content is restricted to Thrive members.

For example, this course on creating Contact Forms and a Mini CRM System using Thrive products is for members-only:

1j Thrive University

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

The University is an excellent platform that captures all the best educational material from the Thrive Themes team. It includes courses and guides that will help you write better content, create landing pages, increase conversions, grow your mailing list, and more.

Members only content

A recent addition to the Thrive Membership Scheme is the members only content. Earlier we talked about members only content in the University.

But Thrive Themes has also started adding more members only content outside the University:

1k Thrive Members Only

Here are a few highlights:

  • Video – Quiz Landing Page From Scratch

How to create a landing page for your quiz, and customize it for your business:

1l Thrive Members Only 2

  • Templates – Quiz Landing Page Templates

Use these templates to build your own quiz landing pages:

1m Thrive Members Only 3

  • Webinar Replay/Course – Common Opt-in Form Mistakes & How to Fix Them

How to fix and improve your opt-in forms with super actionable advice to increase your opt-in rates:

1n Thrive Members Only 4

Each month a few more ‘goodies’ are added, so these exclusive resources will continue to grow.

  • This is a great idea to make Thrive members feel even more special.

The Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base includes tutorials, documentation and troubleshooting tips for all of the Thrive products.

There are a few ways to find the information that you want. For example, you can:

  • Use the search bar:

1o Thrive Knowledge Base Search

  • Check on popular topics:

1p Thrive Knowledge Base Popular

  • Look up specific products:

1q Thrive Knowledge Base Topics

But I especially like how it caters for a broad spectrum of skills.

For example, on the one hand, you have some WordPress Basics, and on the other, you have detailed Developer articles:

1r Thrive Knowledge Base Basics

Overall, the Knowledge Base has the right mix of Thrive product-specific articles mingled with some WordPress Basics and Developer resources.

What we don’t love about Thrive Themes Membership

Support software

There’s not much to dislike about the Thrive Membership Scheme. My main niggle is the Support Forum section.

Thrive Themes support is excellent. You report issues and requests via their online Support Forum, plus you have the option to get email notifications when the ticket is updated.

The problem arises when you’re trying to search for answers to previously reported problems. Let me explain.

The Support Forum has five sections:

  • General Discussion – For general non-specific product issues
  • Plugins – For plugin related issues
  • Showcase – For broadcasting how you’ve used a Thrive product
  • Themes – For theme related issues
  • Affiliate, Account and Presales Support – For administration requests

But customers don’t always use the right section to submit their requests.

For example, someone reported a problem with the Pressive Theme in the General Discussion section:

1t Thrive Support General Pressive

But if I wanted to search for previously reported issues and answers on the Pressive Theme I’d look in the Themes section, not the General section.

It’s not a deal-breaker. But some smarter support software could help users report issues in the correct category and save the Thrive Support Team from answering duplicate requests.

Pricing

Thrive Themes has two membership levels:

  • Thrive Membership – $19/month (annually) or $25/month (quarterly)
    • Use all of the plugins and themes on all of your own
  • Agency Membership – $49/month (annually) or $59/month (quarterly)
    • Use all of the plugins and themes on your sites and clients’

Membership includes all the current and future products, plus enhancements and updates, plus ongoing support.

Join Thrive Themes Read Our Review

Elegant Themes Membership

2a Elegant Themes Home

The Elegant Themes Membership gives you access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including the popular Divi theme and Visual Page Builder plugin.

The membership scheme allows you to use the themes and plugins on as many websites as you like, including client sites.

What we love about Elegant Themes Membership

Quick access to downloads

The Elegant Themes Members Area has a simple layout.

Central to the homepage is access to their flagship products:

This makes sense as they’re the most popular downloads. You can download any of these five products via their individual download buttons:

2b Elegant Homepage

The Downloads Page is the next stop where you can access all of the plugins and themes.

I like the way Elegant Themes have designed their page.

Let me show you.

The Plugin Downloads are listed first:

2c Elegant Plugins Downloads

Followed by the Theme Downloads:

2d Elegant Themes Downloads

Each plugin and theme have four options:

  • Download – opens a popup box to download the product to your computer:

2e Divi Plugin Download

  • The theme download also includes the PSD files. This is a super bonus for web designers who wish to customize themes for their clients, as they can edit the original Photoshop design files in Adobe Photoshop:

2f Divi Theme Download

  • Preview – links to the product’s preview page:

2g Divi Theme Preview

  • Documentation – takes you to the product’s documentation page:

2h Divi Theme Documentation

  • Changelog – opens a drop-down panel with the latest changelog information:

2i Divi Builder Catalog

The Download Page is the most important part of the member’s area. And Elegant Themes has made it easy to download any product, plus access the relevant information.

Support management

As well as an excellent Download area Elegant Themes also has a super Support Forum.

Like we saw in the Downloads, Elegant Themes has quick access to the most popular themes and plugins on the main page:

2j Elegant Support Forum

I like the way in which they prompt you down the right path when you want to report an issue.

Before you Open a Ticket in the Support Forum you should do two things:

  1. View The Documentation
  2. Search The Frequently Asked Questions

It’s common sense, but it’s easy to forget that the answer might exist already. And, by the way, the online documentation is excellent.

If you can’t find your answer in the documentation or the forum, you can open a new ticket. But first you’ll to complete some routine checks on your site:

  • Update Your Theme to its latest version
  • Update WordPress to its latest version
  • Disable All Of Your Plugins to ensure there are no conflicts
  • Include Your Website’s URL In Your Post so the support team can see the problem

2k Elegant Plugin Self Check

These are all good suggestions, and you know it makes sense to complete the tasks.

Once you’ve passed these prompts and checks, you can submit a support ticket.

What we don’t love about Elegant Themes Membership

Support software

Despite all the prompts and hints the Support Forum software does not force users to categorize requests correctly.

The Support Forum has four main categories:

  • General Support – for general non-specific product issues
  • Theme Support – for theme related issues
  • Plugin Support – for plugin related issues
  • Community – for customization showcase and help

For example, you can see Divi issues reported in the General Questions:

2l Elegant Support General Divi

It’s a minor problem. But if Elegant Themes has encouraged you to search the forum for previously answered questions, would you check in General Support or Theme Support for a Divi Theme query?

Outdated older themes

Elegant Themes are putting great emphasis on developing their Divi Theme. It’s understandable that they want to focus on their flagship theme, but it does mean that some of their older themes are not updated as often.

So while the offer of how many themes you get access to sounds good, most look very dated.

That said, the Divi and Extra Themes are packed full of features, and you can do a heck of a lot with them.

Pricing

Elegant Themes has two membership levels to choose from:

  • Yearly Membership – $89 per year
    • Use all of the themes and plugins on unlimited
  • Lifetime Membership – $249 one time
    • Use all of the themes and plugins on unlimited

Membership includes access to all the current and future products, plus enhancements and updates, plus ongoing technical support.

Join Elegant Themes Read Our Review

MyThemeShop Membership

3a MyThemeShop Homepage

MyThemeShop has two membership schemes.

They offer a Free Membership Club that includes 16 Themes and 11 Plugins for WordPress. Consider it a starter club to see if you like their style.

If you want access to all of their premium products, then you’ll need to join their Extended Membership Scheme.

There are currently 93 Premium Themes plus 16 Free Themes giving you access to a total of 109 WordPress Themes.

3b MyThemeShop Themes

On top of that, there are a total of 16 Premium Plugins plus 11 Free Plugins giving you access to a total of 27 WordPress Plugins.

3c MyThemeShop Plugins

What we love about MyThemeShop Membership

Easy access to your products

Once you’ve logged into the Membership Area you get a list of all the available products starting with the premium themes and ending with the free plugins:

3d MyThemeShop Premium Resources

When you click on a resource, a drop-down menu opens with more details.

Let’s take a look at the new Social Now theme as an example:

3e MyThemeShop Social Now

The top section of the menu has some basic instructions on how to install a theme in WordPress. There’s even a link to a generic Theme Installation Guide Video.

The bottom section has five download options.

  • Theme Files – downloads the theme zip file to your computer
  • Documentation – downloads the theme documentation to your computer
  • Demo Data – links to a YouTube video explaining how you can import MyThemeShop demo data into your theme on WordPress.
  • Sometimes it’s a good idea to see the theme’s demo data before you start customizing it.
  • More Info – links to the theme’s general page on the website where you can also view the live demo as a reminder.

3f MyThemeShop Social Now Theme

  • PSDs – downloads the PSD design files for the theme
  • If you wish to customize a theme or see how the design looks without all the code, you can open the Photoshop Design files in Adobe Photoshop.

Overall, MyThemeShop makes the download and installation process easy.

Superb video tutorials

MyThemeShop produces excellent HD video tutorials. The narrated screencasts that you find in the membership area or on YouTube are all well-presented with a clear voice and crisp screen definition.

Inside the membership area is a collection of videos that cover numerous topics. There are categories for Premium and Free Tutorials:

3g Video Tutorials

The Free Video Tutorials cover WordPress basics like “How to Install a WordPress Theme.

3h Free Video Tutorials

The Premium Video Tutorials cover more in-depth theme and plugin topics like, “How to Use MyThemeShop’s Typography Options.”

3i Premium Video Tutorials

What we don’t love about MyThemeShop Membership

No Changelog

MyThemeShop does not provide a Changelog for its products. If you hit a problem with a theme or plugin, a Changelog can often help identify a recent change as the root cause.

I’m sure MyThemeShop has the Changelog information. They just need to make it available to members.

Pricing

Extended Membership

The MyThemeShop Extended Membership plan has an initial joining fee followed by monthly payments:

  • $87 initial joining fee
  • $19/month for continued support and updates from the second month onwards

Membership includes access to all the current and future products, plus enhancements and updates, plus ongoing technical support.

Free Membership

The Free Membership Club is perfect for startups and includes access to the free themes and plugins.

Join MyThemeShop Read Our Review

Conclusion

Whichever membership scheme you decide to invest in, you’ll get three guaranteed benefits:

  • Continued support even after the initial warranty period
  • Access to all the current themes and plugins, plus any future products
  • Locked in price when you join, so great value as more products added

But which membership scheme is best?

That depends on your requirements and budget.

Comparison Table

Thrive  Individual Thrive Agency Elegant Themes MyThemeShop
Themes 10 10 87 109
Plugins 7 7 3 27
Websites Own Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Annual Subscription $228 $588 $89 $296 (1st yr) / $228 (2nd yr)

Budget

Let’s start by comparing prices.

The cheapest option, by a long way, is Elegant Themes. At $89 per year for 87 Themes and 3 Plugins, it’s exceptional value, averaging $1/product. And if you take the Lifetime once only deal then you’ll be set forever.

The MyThemeShop and Thrive Individual membership schemes are almost identical in price. The main difference is that MyThemeShop has an initial joining fee which bumps up the first year subscription.

But with Thrive you’re limited to using the products on your own websites whereas MyThemeShop has an unlimited license.

Upgrading to Thrive Agency to use the products on client sites too is a significant jump in fees.

Products

Next we’ll compare the number of products on offer.

MyThemeShop has the most products in its membership scheme. They include 109 Themes and 27 Plugins for a whopping total of 136 products. (Note that MyThemeShop includes 27 free themes and plugins in this amount.)

Elegant Themes are second with 90 products in their range. And in final place is Thrive Themes with a low total of 17 products.

But ask yourself what you want, or more precisely what you need. Do you need a hundred themes or will ten themes suffice?

Added Value

Finally, let’s compare the added value that each membership plan offers.

It’s difficult to quantify added value in numbers, so there aren’t any figures in the table.

We’ve spent some time digging around each of the membership areas, and without a doubt, Thrive offers more to its members.

Each membership scheme has excellent product tutorials and support. But Thrive Themes goes a step further with its training material.

It takes real-life online scenarios and creates training to solve those problems using its products. Of course, that’s smart marketing on their part, but the training is relevant and thought-provoking. And, they’ve added the exclusive members only content.

Plus they’ve also developed their Thrive Dashboard to manage all of their products in one handy place in your WordPress Admin panel.

That’s why they get the nod here.

Our pick

There are no winners and losers with these WordPress Membership schemes. You should choose the scheme, or schemes, that suit your needs most.

For us, Thrive Themes is our pick. They don’t have the largest amount of themes. But their plugins are excellent, and they’ll have more coming later this year. They already had a high standard of tutorials and documentation in their Knowledge Base and University. But with the introduction of the Members Only Content, they’re top of the class.

Join Thrive Themes  Join Elegant Themes  Join MyThemeShop

Posted by David Hartshorne

David Hartshorne is a freelance writer helping solopreneurs and small business owners build their online presence through friendly, engaging and shareable web content. When he’s not writing about WordPress and the latest digital marketing tools, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller in Spain.