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10 Best WordPress Membership Plugins in 2021

Last Updated on September 16th, 2021

Published on March 2nd, 2020

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Adding a WordPress membership plugin to your website is a neat way of generating income via paid subscriptions. They allow you to restrict access to parts or even all your content to subscribers only. Subscription fees can be one-off or recurring, the latter being a great way of producing a steady income stream.

Types of Membership Sites

There are several main types of WordPress membership sites (also known as subscription sites:

  • Full access sites allow subscribers to access all content via a fixed upfront payment or a monthly recurring subscription. Downloads can be restricted to make them a monthly privilege.
  • Fixed-term programs offer memberships for a specific duration, such as for programs to quit smoking.
  • Drip-feed subscriptions release content incrementally to subscribers (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), the idea being to keep them yearning for the next installment. Newsletters are an excellent example of drip feeds.
  • Service-based membership programs where members pay a regular subscription for services like legal advice, coaching, etc. A typical arrangement would be where a basic plan provides group sessions, while the premium plan is one-on-one.
  • Product memberships, such as weekly food boxes, wine clubs, book clubs, monthly fragrances, etc.
  • Online communities to offer things like live chats, forums, articles, etc.
  • Online courses with access granted in its entirety, for individual lessons, modules, or even drip-fed at regular intervals or on completion of last assignment.

Features to Look for in WordPress Subscription Plugins

Like all plugins, which membership one you choose very much depends on what you want it to do. Listed below are features that you can typically find on the various available plugins:

  • Support for digital downloads
  • One-off, recurring, or multilevel subscriptions
  • Built-in templates, customization options, and other design-related features
  • Content drip tools
  • Social media logins (these are increasingly the preferred method over other login methods)
  • Tools for email marketing
  • Payment gateway support (e.g., Stripe, Paypal, etc.)
  • Backend member management
  • Frontend user profile and login management
  • Tools for offering discounts and coupons
  • Developer API access
  • Chat and forum support
  • Tools for building courses
  • Shortcodes or other means of placing the content restrictions exactly where you need them

Best WordPress Subscription Plugins Currently Available

Here is our selection of the best membership plugins for WordPress currently available in 2021. Each will help you convert your website into a membership site, which can include free or paid subscriptions. All are compatible with the latest version of WordPress (5.8) and are up to date.

MemberMouse

MemberMouse WordPress membership plugin

MemberMouse is a premium WordPress subscription plugin only available directly from the developer, meaning you won’t find it in the plugin directory. However, it gives you all you need to create a powerful, full-featured membership website tailored precisely to your needs, giving you tight control over who can and cannot access your content.

The plugin currently costs $29 for ‘Builder,’ $79 for ‘Advanced,’ and $199 for ‘Developer.’ Please note, those are prices per month, and while they may seem expensive over a year, you get plenty of practical features. Here is just a sample of what all subscriptions include:

  • Configurable restrictions including drip content
  • Dynamic membership core pages, such as checkout, login, password reset, etc.
  • Sell digital products, physical products, or services
  • Teaser content
  • Separate member homepages for each membership level
  • Wide range of customization, including messages
  • Free and paid memberships
  • Range of billing and subscription options, including one-time or recurring purchases, free and paid trials, limited-time plans, etc.
  • Multiple payment gateways with international currency support
  • Overdue payment recovery
  • Email integrations
  • Built-in anti-fraud and security features including 3D Secure 2.0 and reCAPTCHA v3
  • Detailed reporting and analytics
  • Import/export member details
  • Several integrations such as MailChimp, AffiliateWP, ConvertKit, etc.
  • GDPR compliant
  • Updates and support
  • 14-day free trial

Please note that the Builder plan covers up to 5,000 members, Advanced up to 50,000, and Premium 100,000. Also, Advanced and Premium offer additional functionality over Builder, such as social signups and logins, more reports, and enhanced support.

MemberMouse could be a great option if you have some budget at your disposal as it will give you many features not offered by its competitors.

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MemberPress

MemberPress

Jumping now to a premium plugin (no free version offered), MemberPress enables you to create a single or multilevel membership site quickly and easily with plenty of configurations for controlling who has access to your content. In addition, it will allow you to securely collect credit cards payments, create, manage, and track subscriptions, as well as sell digital downloads.

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With MemberPress, you get the following features:

  • Unlimited access levels and restrictions, including multilevel per user
  • Super-simple setup
  • Powerful access rules and restrictions (unlimited)
  • Unlimited members, memberships, and courses
  • Multiple memberships per member
  • Drip content facility
  • Automated email reminders
  • Comprehensive reports
  • Self-service member dashboard
  • Full subscription and transaction management
  • Customizable registration form
  • Payment gateway integration (Stripe, PayPal)
  • Tax handling
  • Discount coupons
  • Built-in and addon integrations (depending on subscription purchased), including BBPress, Google reCaptcha, MailChimp, TaxJar, etc.
  • Fully translatable
  • WordPress API for deep customization
  • Updates and support
  • 14-day moneyback guarantee

Subscriptions to MemberPress cost $129/year for the ‘Basic’ plan (one domain), $249 for ‘Plus’ (two websites and adds more integrations), and $349 for ‘Pro’ (three domains and all integrations).

MemberPress is a great option if you are looking to sell online courses.

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ProfilePress

ProfilePress

ProfilePress is a lightweight, easy-to-use user profile and membership plugin that helps you create WordPress membership sites. With an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, the plugin makes it super easy to create a login, registration as well as frontend user profiles. ProfilePress currently has over 400,000 active installations that make it one of the most popular membership plugins in the market.

The free version of this WordPress plugin packs a punch in terms of features. Some of the key features include:

  • Advanced drag-and-drop and form builder
  • Easily create login, user registration, password reset, and edit profile forms
  • Allow users signup through a custom registration form
  • Quickly user profiles to your site that displays the profile picture and details of your users
  • Customizable pre-built templates for user profile, member directory, and forms
  • Get control over what kind of content your users see according to your protection rules
  • Flexibility to customize email templates for emails you send

You may also access powerful premium features when you purchase one of their plans. Some of the add-on features include custom fields, user moderation, social login, passwordless login, WooCommerce, Mailchimp, and Campaign Monitor.

ProfilePress offers three premium plans you can choose from. The Standard plan costs $79 a year for 1 site, Plus costs $179 a year for three sites, and Agency which lets you use the plugin on unlimited sites at $279 a year. 

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WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships WordPress membership plugin

WooCommerce Memberships is a novel plugin that fully unites and integrates your memberships with your content and WooCommerce store. It allows you to do things such as sell standalone memberships or grant membership access privileges as part of product purchase. So, for example, when someone purchases a particular case of wine, you could give them access to discount coupons for other products.

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The main features of this premium plugin, which costs $199 per year, include:

  • Configurable restrictions and protections
  • Drip content facility
  • Include memberships with product purchases, or assign them manually
  • Memberships plans are independent of products for maximum flexibility, as it is possible to assign any number of products to a membership plan
  • Facility for free trial periods
  • Create members-only products via restricted visibility and/or purchasing capability of these products, or drip access to them
  • Offer better shipping options to members, e.g., free shipping for members only, while non-members must have a minimum order amount or a discount coupon
  • Provide members with special discounts (all products, selected products, or selected categories)
  • Show member benefits in the “My Account” section of the member’s area
  • Import and export members to CSV
  • Add notes to member profiles and share with them via email
  • Expiration and renewal reminders by email
  • Integrates with WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin for expanded functionality
  • Updates and support
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

Of course, WooCommerce Memberships is not a standalone plugin, as it requires you to have WooCommerce running on your WordPress site. Users have rated this plugin 4.4/5.0 in the WooCommerce extensions store.

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Simple Membership Plugin

Simple Membership Plugin

We kick off with the completely free Simple Membership Plugin, which offers an excellent solution for providing free and premium subscriber content on your website. It lets you protect posts and pages so that only members will be able to view them. Furthermore, creating different membership levels with access to content granted (in whole or part) depending on the subscription tier purchased is also possible.

Other benefits of this free plugin include but are not limited to:

  • Free and paid memberships, with an option to offer a free trial
  • Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, or Braintree payment gateways
  • All payments are logged and accessible at any time
  • Non-members trying to view protected areas are required to log in, or a (customizable) message will ask them to subscribe
  • Email activation or email confirmation for free memberships
  • Customizable sidebar member login widget
  • Content can be fully or partially protected, including image galleries, attachment pages, comments, etc.
  • Google reCAPTCHA on registration, login, and password reset forms
  • Teaser content to help visitor-to-member conversion
  • Configurable redirections (registration, login, logout, etc.)
  • Member list filters
  • Developer API access for deep customization
  • Compatible with any theme
  • Can be translated into any language (over 30 already available)
  • A range of free and premium addons available for more functionality
  • Extensive documentation

Simple Membership Plugin is a hugely popular option, with currently more than 50k active downloads in existence and a star rating of 4.5/5.0 in the WordPress plugin directory. So, if you want to create a membership site but have no budget whatsoever, this one comes highly recommended.

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Restrict User Access

Restrict User Access

Staying with another completely free subscription plugin for WordPress, we have Restrict User Access. This plugin offers a simple way of restricting content to subscribers only – post, page, category, taxonomy, etc. What’s more, you can also configure access levels allowing you to offer different tiers of membership.

Key benefits of Restrict User Access are:

  • Unlimited access levels and restrictions, including multilevel per user
  • Restrict access to your posts, pages, posts in a category, pages by an author, content from other plugins, etc.
  • Extend subscriber capabilities in WordPress by adding/removing them per level
  • Automatically add levels to subscribers based on something they do (‘Triggers’) or something they are (‘Traits’), for example, when they make a purchase, whether they are logged in or not, etc.
  • Synchronize levels with user roles
  • Configurable membership durations, e.g., day, week, month, unlimited, etc.
  • Shortcode to place restrictions exactly where you need them
  • Drip content facility
  • Hide navigation menu items and widget areas depending on subscription tier
  • Redirect unauthorized users to any URL or page, or display a teaser
  • Teaser content to help visitor to member conversion
  • Developer-friendly API

Over 20k active downloads of Restrict User Access exist, and it has an impressive 4.4/5.0 star user rating.

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Paid Memberships Pro

WordPress membership plugin paid memberships pro

Paid Memberships Pro is available as a free plugin, although premium versions are also available that include some additional addons, updates, and support.

The plugin promises a fast, simple setup, while extensive customization options allow you to tailor it precisely to your needs. It is well suited to all kinds of subscription sites, including online courses, clubs and associations, subscription boxes, and more.

Key features of the free plugin include:

  • Create unlimited levels of membership
  • Flexible subscription pricing, e.g., one-time or recurring subscriptions, free memberships, trials, variable pricing, etc.
  • Flexible subscription durations
  • Payment gateway integration (PayPal, Stripe, etc.) and offline payments via check or direct transfer
  • Configurable content restrictions and protections, including personalized content for each member
  • Ability to create an interactive members-only community
  • Drip content facility
  • Discount codes
  • Ability to offer member directories to subscribers
  • Frontend registration, login, password recovery, and profile editing
  • Dashboard for membership account management, including import/export, reports, etc.
  • Membership invoices and billing information
  • Custom fields for user profile and registration forms
  • Custom member emails
  • Nineteen addons covering things like courses, member-only events, etc.
  • Memberlite theme

Two paid subscriptions of Paid Memberships Pro are available: ‘Plus’ costs $297/year and covers up to five domains, while ‘Unlimited’ costs $597 and covers any number of websites you may have. Both these subscriptions have all the features of the free version, plus the following:

  • 65 additional addons
  • Updates and support
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

Impressively, over 100k active downloads of this hugely popular plugin exist, and it has earned a good user rating of 4.3/5.0 stars.

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LearnDash

LearnDash WordPress membership plugin

You will probably realize from the name that LearnDash is a learning management system (LMS) plugin that allows you to create a membership-type website to sell your courses online. The plugin operates using any pricing model, so you have total flexibility over how you bill your students and what access to content you grant them.

LearnDash is a premium plugin, so you will be paying $159 for the ‘Basic’ package, which covers a single domain license. If you have more than one website, $189 buys you ‘Plus,’ which covers up to ten domains, while ‘Pro’ ($329) includes 25. All three licenses bundle the following features:

  • Drag and drop course builder
  • Unlimited courses and users
  • Course content protection
  • Drip feed lessons, e.g., require assignments to be fully completed before the next lesson is unlocked
  • Advanced quizzing
  • Leader boards, badges, and certificates
  • Discussion forums for subscribers
  • Automated email notifications with configurable triggers
  • Supports all popular payment gateways
  • Group management
  • Assignment management
  • Detailed reports for enrolment, progress, and performance
  • Ability to offer free samples and trials
  • Demo site template
  • Works with any theme
  • Support and updates
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

The prices quoted above are per year. Once a subscription expires, if you choose not to renew, the plugin will continue to work. However, problems may occur in the future as it won’t be updated or supported. That applies to most other plugins purchased on a monthly or annual basis.

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JetEngine

JetEngine WordPress membership plugin

JetEngine is not a dedicated WordPress membership plugin. It is, in fact, a dynamic content plugin that gives you the capability to create complex websites quickly, including membership sites. Best of all, the plugin’s webpage has step-by-step instructions on how to do that.

One of the most attractive features of JetEngine is its price – a measly $26 per year. That includes a year’s worth of updates and support on top of the following functionality:

  • Assign different membership levels to user roles, including personalized content to each user
  • User profile preset import/export
  • Create custom welcome email notifications, multi-step login and registration forms, pricing page, etc.
  • Accept payments via PayPal and Stripe
  • WooCommerce compatible
  • Assign user roles and access permissions for each
  • Create a user page with a bespoke dashboard structure
  • Create custom fields for members’ profile
  • User-to-user contact forms
  • Collect and publish content generated by users
  • User profile page editor
  • Configurable content access and visibility based on user roles
  • Unlock content based on progress
  • Ability to offer digital downloads
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

That’s one heck of a lot of functionality for less than thirty bucks, plus the plugin has so many other applications also. For $130 per year, you can opt for the JetEngine subscription, which also includes:

  • Twelve dynamic templates
  • 47 design templates
  • Fifty interactive popups
  • Twenty additional plugins (reviews, product gallery, form builders, etc.)

All in all, JetEngine is a highly versatile plugin that offers superb functionality at a highly competitive price.

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Paid Member Subscriptions

Paid Member Subscriptions is a plugin that allows you to create a membership website with tailored subscription plans and online payment facilities, member management, and content restrictions. You can choose from free and paid versions, with the free one giving you functions such as:

  • Configurable content restrictions and permissions
  • Create single level or tiered subscription plans
  • Free and/or paid membership options
  • Paypal integration
  • Detailed payment and membership logs
  • Admin can add, delete or edit member details
  • Customizable emails and messages
  • WooCommerce integration
  • Elementor compatible
  • Shortcodes for adding restrictions precisely where you need them
  • Export records to CSV
  • GDPR compliant
  • Create a WordPress members’ area
  • Google reCAPTCHA support

Two paid versions of Paid Member Subscriptions are available. ‘Hobbyist’ costs $69 per year for one website, while ‘Pro’ costs $149 per year for unlimited domains. Both include the same functions as the free plugin, but Hobbyist includes eight addons for things like discount codes and reminders. Pro adds another eight addons (content drips, invoices, etc.) Additionally, both paid versions include a year of updates and support. For a comparison of the two, click here.

Paid Member Subscriptions scores an impressive 4.7/5.0 stars in the WordPress plugin directory, and over 10k active downloads are in operation.

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WP-Members

Wp-Members

WP-Members gives you everything needed to turn your WordPress website into a full-featured membership site. This easy to setup plugin enables you to hide or selectively restrict content to subscribers, customize the registration and profile fields to suit your requirements, create custom registration fields, and much more.

WP-Members is a free plugin. Support and additional extensions are available as premium products. In its base form, WP-Members gives you the following features:

  • Restrict or hide content and menu items to logged-in subscribers only
  • Custom registration and profile fields
  • Automatically create teaser content
  • Integrate login, registration, and profile into your theme
  • Notify admin automatically when new users register or hold new registrations for approval
  • Shortcodes to place restrictions and forms wherever you need them
  • Complete library of API functions and hooks for deep customization
  • Two free extensions: one to prevent spam registrations and one to send test emails
  • Extensive documentation

Support-wise, two options are available:

  • ‘Support’ adds email support, premium site access, and forum access for a year. That will cost you $59 per year.
  • ‘Pro Bundle’ is $125 per year and gives you everything in Support along with a bundle of premium extensions, such as PayPal subscriptions, download protection, text editor, user tracking, and many more.

You can purchase premium extensions individually if you only want to add one or two to the base plugin. However, in all honesty, if you are adding several, it is likely to be more cost-effective to invest in the Pro Bundle.

Given the functionality WP-Members gives coupled with the fact users have rated it 4.7/5.0 stars, it comes as no big surprise that over 80k active downloads now exist.

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Do You Have a Favorite WordPress Membership Plugin?

We have suggested ten plugins that we firmly believe will allow you to create an excellent membership or subscription website using WordPress. Furthermore, there is something to suit all budgets, even if you are completely broke.

What is your favorite membership plugin? Do you already have a website with content restricted to members only, or are you planning to create one in the future? We always love to hear what you are doing and what your plans are. Not only does it help your fellow WPLift readers, but it also helps us tailor our content to suit your needs better.

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