It’s been awhile since we reviewed membership plugins here on WP Superstars and we figured it’s time to revisit the space.
It has been 2 years since our last roundup, which is a lifetime for a typical WordPress plugin.
Membership plugins, in particular, are a competitive space and new features are constantly being made available. The plugins that aren’t proactive when it comes to feature and updates are virtually guaranteed to die a slow death.
By my last count, there are around 30 WordPress membership plugins on the market. On one hand, this is good news because competition forces innovation and competitive pricing. But on the other hand, it makes researching plugins an arduous task.
There are an overwhelming number of options available in terms of both plugins and individual features. Finding a plugin that does everything you want can be a real challenge and most of the time, it comes down to a compromise — finding a solution that meets the majority of your needs.
That said, let’s jump right into our roundup. We’ve picked 6 popular plugins that are worth your consideration.
MemberPress was designed to offer an extremely simple setup process. Allowing you to install the plugin and have your membership site up and running with just a few quick steps. In addition to MemberPress, the team at Caseproof has also created some other well-known plugins including Pretty Link Pro and Affiliate Royale. MemberPress is tightly integrated with WordPress allowing for plenty of flexibility in the customization department.
Not only is MemberPress designed to be easy to use, virtually all the options you might need or want are also available.
- Membership levels and products are unlimited and include plenty of internal options such as price, time period, trial, availability depending on membership and pricing box layout
- Extensive event emails for both members and administrators
- Easily drip content and allow users to create, update, upgrade or cancel their subscriptions
- Coupons can easily be created and customized based on your requirements
- Access levels can be set for pages, posts, categories, tags, custom posts types
- Payment Processors include PayPal, Authorize.net and Stripe
- Member reporting is extensive and can be customized using a variety of different fields
MemberPress integrates with a variety of different services including AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, Mad Mimi, ConvertKit, AWS, Avalara tax software and more.
Pricing is kept simple as well with just two options. The business edition is $99/year and available for use on 1 website. The Developer Edition is $199/year, can be used on unlimited sites and includes Authorize.net integration. Both plans include one year of updates and support, a 14-day money back guarantee and come bundled with Affiliate Royale.
Price: From $99/year
2. Restrict Content Pro
Sometimes you might not be looking for a membership plugin that is loaded with options. You might want something that achieves the objective, is simple, lightweight and reliable. If that’s the case then Restrict Content Pro from Pippins Plugins might be just what you need.
Restrict Content Pro doesn’t claim to be something it’s not. And I think that’s why, despite having fewer features than some of its competitors, it consistently receives positive reviews.
- Subscription levels are unlimited and can include free, trial and premium subscriptions
- WooCommerce compatibility means you can create and sell products to subscribers
- Payment integrations are flexible and include PayPal Pro, standard and express as well as Stripe, Braintree and 2Checkout
- Email integration allows you send a variety of key emails to members
- Member management and reporting features are extensive
In addition to the included features, Restrict Content Pro offers plenty of additional add-ons created both in-house and by 3rd parties. Restriction timeouts, custom redirects, math verification and several email list integrations are available.
There are over two-dozen more available on the website. There are some features (like content drip) that are not available with this plugin so make sure you do your research before getting started.
Restrict Content Pro offers a few pricing options depending on the number of site licenses you require. At the top of the food chain is the Ultimate Plan. At $499, it offers a one-time payment, 7 pro add-ons, lifetime updates and lifetime support.
At the other end, you find a very affordable $99/year Personal Plan that includes all features, 11 free add-ons and email support. Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed — if you’re not happy they provide a refund.
Price: From $99/year
3. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is both a plugin and support community. It’s billed as the most complete and customizable membership plugin in use on over 50,000 websites. A quick look at the release notes shows that their team is continually pushing out updates — both enhancements and bug fixes.
All of the features you’d expect to see in a membership plugin are available with Paid Memberships Pro including:
- Membership levels are unlimited and the plugin comes with a pre-built registration page that includes available level and descriptions. Membership levels are also created outside of the standard WordPress user roles which result in greater flexibility of user rights and privileges.
- Payment gateways include Stripe, Authorise.net, Paypal (Express, Standard and Pro), Braintree, Cybersource and 2Checkout.
- Content access is easily controlled from within the page/post editor
- Extensive membership reporting helps you to manage your business
- Email notifications for members can be easily customized
Paid Memberships Pro, like a few of the other membership plugins, makes a point of identifying the plugin as 100% GPL. Like some other membership plugins, clearly, this is designed to combat MemberMouse — one of the most feature-rich, yet non-GPL plugins available.
Paid Memberships Pro has a wide variety of add-ons available including over 55 premium and 13 free. There are 3 pricing levels including free, PMPro Core at $97 and PMPro Plus at $197. Paid membership are good for 12 months and can be renewed at a $50 discount to the regular fee. A 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee is also available.
Price: From $49/year
If there’s a specific feature or integration that you are looking for in your WordPress Membership plugins, chances are it’s available with MemberMouse.
To put that in a different perspective, it would be much easier to put together a list of what MemberMouse doesn’t offer that what it does. It’s an amazingly full-featured plugin that is capable of managing virtually every aspect of your membership site. As well, it’s easy to connect to a wide variety of other services which we cover shortly.
There are two important points that I think we should start out with when looking at this plugin. First, it’s a membership-based subscription. That means you’ll have an ongoing expense that starts at a very reasonable $19.95 per month for 1000 members and basic features. From there, it moves up to $299/month for premium and 100k members.
The second thing to note is that MemberMouse isn’t GPL so you won’t be able to modify or customize the plugin. In fact, the terms of service for MemberMouse specifically state that doing so is a violation and may result in termination.
If neither of these issues is of concern to you then this plugin is definitely worth a closer look. It makes running a membership site, selling subscription content or physical goods very simple. Pretty much all of the features considered important in a membership plugin are made available.
- Complete customer management that lets you track contact details, order history and engagement statistics
- Self-serve memberships allow customers to update the information, billing and account details without adding things to your to-do list. When payments fail, customers will be emailed automatically
- A protected members area that lets you share content based upon a specific membership level
- Drip content and configure setting based upon membership levels
- Multiple options allow you to create free trials, discounts, payment plans, trials, one-time purchases, prorated pricing and more
- Automated up sell and down sell functionality
Setup with MemberMouse is designed to be as simple as possible. Installation of the plugin automatically creates key pages like signup, check-out and confirmation The developer advertises from zero to first customer in 2 minutes 30 seconds but in reality, it’ll probably take a little longer than that.
MemberMouse also offers a ton of integration options including MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, iContact, PayPal, Authorize.net, Braintree and Stripe. Finally, with over 200 support articles and 60 tutorial videos, help is never far away.
Price: From $19.95
5. S2 Member
This roundup specifically refers to the S2 Member Pro version although the basic framework and PayPal Standard integration are available for free. You’d never know it from their outdated website, but S2 Member has a large, active user base and community with thousands of members and tens of thousands of forum posts.
Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that this plugin comes packed with an impressive number of features that make it possible to do almost anything you want with your membership website.
- Content restriction options allow you to protect posts, pages, categories, tags , portions of posts, files and more. What’s more, this can be accomplished in a variety of ways including shortcodes, a meta box in the post editor and even by hard-coding the functions into your theme.
- Flexible payment options include PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, Stripe, Authorize.net and ClickBank. You can also accept offline payments or use your merchant account.
- Easy integration with affiliate programs like ShareASale and iDevAffiliate.
- Easily customize email templates for users who signup, modify their accounts or fill out a specific registration form.
- Content drip can be enabled using simple shortcodes
The above features really only scratch the surface. There are plenty of other options available for review on their website and if you don’t see something you need, S2 Member makes it clear that their source code is available to modify and adapt in order to meet your needs — something that isn’t available with MemberMouse.
Pricing for S2 Member is very reasonable and may even borders on generous. The single-site pro license is $89 and includes lifetime updates and 12 months of support. A license for unlimited sites costs just $189. Both of those are one-time charges and renewal is $19 and $29 respectively. This seems like a pretty good deal to me. S2 Member also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee although there are a few conditions attached to be sure to read through their return policy.
Price: From $89
OptimizePress was designed as both a theme and plugin. In terms of membership websites, it’s a little unique. Although it integrates with several popular membership plugins including iMember360, MemberMouse, WishlistMember and more, it also includes the Optimize Member Plugin from OptimizePress which is capable of functioning as a full-blown membership website.
Although this plugin might not have as many features as some of the dedicated membership options, there is a good chance it’ll still provide everything you need including:
- Membership levels by default are set at 10 but can easily be changed to unlimited
- Protect any page or post as well as the ability to create packages of content with access to specific downloads
- Drip feed content using flexible intervals from days to weeks
- Email integrations are better than average and include Aweber, Mailchimp, OfficeAutoPilot, Infusionsoft, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor and more
- 5 Payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, ClickBank, Authorize.net and ccBill with more to come
In addition to the above features, remember that you’ll also access to all the standard OptimizePress features.
OptimizePress offers 3 pricing options starting with the Core Package at $97, the Publisher Package at $197 and the Pro Package at $297. The difference between these packages is the number of Sites you are able to operate at 3, 10 and 30 respectively. None of the options allow you to use the plugin on client sites. For that, you’ll have to purchase developer licenses in packs of 5 on top of your individual pricing. Once your licenses expire, you can renew for 50% of the regular rate.
Price: From $97
Which membership plugin is best for your website?
Choosing a WordPress membership plugin for your website can seem like a daunting task. We’ve covered 6 popular plugins in this roundup but there are many more. While it can be tempting to simply go with the plugin that offers the most options, that’s not always the best choice. There is a lot to be said for being lightweight and functional.
However, virtually all the other plugins covered in this roundup will provide competitive and comparable features. Each one is capable of meeting the needs of 99% of membership websites — making it easy to find an appropriate solution to your needs.