Looking for the best WordPress plugins to restrict content at your site?
In this post, we’ve collected six free plugins that let you restrict content on WordPress. While this is definitely something you can also do with a WordPress membership plugin, we’re going to focus this post on more lightweight solutions, though you could certainly use the plugins in this post to create a lightweight membership site.
With that being said, if you want a feature-rich membership site, you might want to also check out our collection of the best WordPress membership plugins.
6 Best WordPress Plugins to Restrict Content
All of these content restriction plugins offer a free version at WordPress.org, so you’ll be able to easily install and test every single one to find the plugin that’s right for you.
Then, most also offer a premium version or extensions that you can use to tack on extra functionality if needed.
1. Profile Builder
Profile Builder is a really easy to use WordPress user profile plugin that allows you to restrict content based on user role or logged-in status.
You can easily restrict access to individual posts, pages or custom post types.
While restricting certain content, you get two options for what happens when a non-authorized user tries to view the content:
- Display a restriction message, where the content will be replaced by it. The restriction messages can be customized for different situations.
- Define a redirect page (url), where users should be redirected if they don’t have access to the content.
The content restriction can also be used to restrict WooCommerce products and bbPress forums through dedicated add-ons.
And because of its roots as a user profile plugin, Profile Builder can also help you create detailed frontend profiles and, with its premium version, detailed member lists.
2. Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is a free membership plugin that allows you to restrict content and accept payments from members.
You can restrict content based on a purchased or assigned subscription access plan, or simply based on logged-in status.
It gives you the ability to restrict:
- Posts and pages
- Custom post types
- Individual WooCommerce products or the overall shop page
- bbPress forums and topics
Or, you can also use a shortcode to only restrict certain portions of otherwise-public content.
When a visitor tries to access restricted content, you have a few different options for how to handle that. You can:
- Show a message
- Redirect them to a different page
- Show a unique template
All that functionality is free. If you want more, there’s a paid version starting at $69 that adds support for:
- More payment gateways
- Content dripping
- Discount codes
- Email reminders
- …plus a lot more
3. Restrict Content
Restrict Content is the limited free version of the popular Restrict Content Pro membership plugin.
While the paid version digs into more advanced features like subscriptions, payments, and content dripping, the free version that I’m focusing on is a simple affair that lets you restrict:
- Specific parts of your content by using a shortcode
- Entire posts or pages with a simple meta box
Beyond that, you can create front-end login and registration forms so that users can skip the regular WordPress login/registration page.
And if you do want to add a whole lot more functionality, you can grab the premium version to start charging users for access to your restricted content, plus a bunch more.
4. Ultimate Member
Ultimate Member is a popular option that, like Profile Builder, handles both creating more robust user profiles, as well as giving you the ability to restrict access to content.
To actually restrict access to content, you can use shortcodes to restrict specific portions of content or use a meta box to restrict entire posts or pages.
You can either restrict content to any logged-in user, or you can only let specific user roles view the content.
Finally, if someone who doesn’t have permission tries to view the restricted content, you can choose to either show them a message or redirect them to a different page (like your registration page).
In addition to the core free version, there are also premium add-ons for things like:
- WooCommerce integrations
- Private messaging between users
- …plus a whole lot more
5. Restrict User Access
Restrict User Access is another creatively named free WordPress restrict content plugin.
It’s pretty generous with its functionality – without paying a dime, you can create different access levels and assign content to each access level.
For example, you could assign an entire post type or category of posts to an access level to restrict all the content inside.
Or, you can also get more granular and restrict individual pieces of content or use a shortcode to just restrict portions of a post.
Other helpful features include:
- Content dripping
- The ability to add new user capabilities to membership levels, like the ability to create new posts
Beyond that, Restrict User Access integrates with, in part:
S2Member is a popular, extensible, and longstanding plugin that helps you restrict access to your WordPress site in a number of ways.
Using a variety of shortcodes, you can restrict access to user roles, capabilities, posts, pages, or pretty much anything else.
You’ll be able to protect:
- Entire post types or taxonomies
- Individual pieces of content
- Portions of content
You can even protect file downloads, including an integration for Amazon S3/CloudFront.
Personally, I find the interface a little dated, but I know a lot of people who are big fans of S2Member and how flexible/configurable it is.
As I mentioned, all of these restrict content plugins are available for free at WordPress.org. So, pick the ones that interest you, spin up a test site, and see if they can do what you need.
Then, when you find one that you like, consider going Pro for more features and functionality.
And remember, for more heavy-duty uses, you also might want to check out our collection of the best WordPress membership plugins.
That wraps up the list. Have any questions about how to restrict access to content in WordPress? Know another great plugin that should be here? Let us know in the comments section!