Are you looking for a way to restrict content on WordPress? There are many scenarios where you might need to do this. For example, perhaps you have set up a site for your upcoming wedding and only want guests to access it, or you need to give different levels of access to those more closely involved with the big day. Or maybe you run a website where you need a “Members Only” section, such as a club website.
Either way, you could use a fully-featured membership plugin, but you may end up with lots of features you will never use, slowing your site down. So instead, you might be better off looking for something super-simple and more lightweight like the ones we are going to suggest in this article. They will give you the functionality you need without having loads of code-laden features to hinder your site’s speed.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Content Restriction Plugin
The first and in my opinion, the most important question you’ll have to answer is do you need more content restriction options than WordPress offers by default.
Its visibility options allow you to make content private or public or protect it with a password. Membership and content restriction plugins give you access to advanced tools that enable you to hide entire categories or page sections.
Hence, going through the plugin’s feature list is among the things you’ll need to do when determining if it is the right solution for your site.
Intended use is another vital factor you must pay attention to because opting for a plugin stacked with features you don’t need could be a mistake because you might end up slowing down your website without a good reason.
Remember, a plugin must be compatible with your website’s theme, otherwise, you won’t be able to install it.
Finally, the content restriction plugin’s price can be a factor if its free version doesn’t have all the functionalities you need to hide content on your site.
The Best Plugins to Restrict Content on WordPress in 2023
We’ve got seven WordPress plugins to restrict content to logged-in users for you. These all have free versions that offer enough functionality to suit most situations, but they also have premium options to expand functionality further if necessary. Therefore, you are unlikely to encounter any compatibility issues with your site.
So, let’s get started.
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Available as both free and Pro versions, Restrict Content is a popular plugin that allows you to restrict specific parts of your site via shortcode, or alternatively, access to entire posts or pages can be limited using a simple meta box.
Additional key features of the free version include:
- Control user access and protect sensitive content, including separate public and private content
- Collect email addresses
- Restrict access to entire pages or just specific sections
- Allow users to register themselves and log in from the frontend of your site
If you are just looking for a straightforward way of restricting content on your site, the free version may be all you need. However, if you need more, the Pro versions add things like:
- Users can manage their own accounts
- Unlimited membership levels
- Payment processing support for various payment gateways, including Stripe and PayPal
- Mailchimp, ConvertKit, AWeber, etc. email marketing integration
- AffiliateWP integration
- WooCommerce product access restriction
- Discount codes
- Complete member management, including email updates to members
- Export data to CSV
- Detailed reports
- Various add-ons
- Developer-friendly for building custom integrations, plus many official and third-party add-ons are available
- One year of support and updates
Annual Pro subscriptions cost between $91 and $245, and the additional features included vary depending on the subscription purchased. These subscription prices are introductory for the first year only, rising to between $129 and $349 from the second year onwards.
Restrict Content has over 10,000 active downloads and an average user rating of 3.6/5.0 stars. The majority of the negative feedback that has resulted in such a relatively low score dates back several years, and the developer has since addressed problems identified in those.
ProfilePress is a great solution if you are looking to restrict your WordPress site content to members or subscribers. This user profile and membership plugin allows you to create registration forms, user profiles, login forms, and more without any hassle. Easy to install and set up, you can have your membership site up and running in no time.
Among ProfilePress’ functions is the ability to control who can access your posts or pages. Beyond that, you can also access these key features from the free version of this plugin:
- Custom Frontend Forms
- User Profiles and Member Directories
- Advanced Drag and Drop Form Builder
- Customizable pre-built templates
- Access and content restriction
- Easily customize your emails
The free version is packed with everything you need to maintain your membership site. However, if you are looking to extend the functionality of your site, ProfilePress offers a number of premium add-ons you can enjoy.
- Custom Fields Email Confirmation
- User moderation
- Social login and passwordless login
- Google reCAPTCHA
- Site creation
The plans start at $79 a year for one site, $179 per year for three sites, and unlimited sites for $279. With over 400,000 active downloads on the WordPress plugin directory, ProfilePress is among the most popular membership plugins in the market.
Ultimate Member is the most popular plugin in this list by far, boasting over 200,000 active downloads and a good 4.4/5.0 average user rating. It allows you easily add sign-up and membership functionality to your site and restrict content accordingly.
The features list of this free plugin are impressive:
- Front-end user profiles, registration, and login
- Custom form fields with conditional logic
- Drag and drop form builder
- User account page
- Custom user roles
- Member directories
- User emails
- Content restriction
- Conditional navigation menus
- Show author posts and comments on user profiles
- Developer friendly
- Free extensions for added integrations and functionality, such as JobsBoardWP, ForumWP, reCAPTCHA, online users, and terms and conditions
Many premium extensions are also available, adding cool functions such as user locations, WooCommerce integration, profile completeness, social activity, MailChimp, friends, etc. The good thing about plugin extensions is you can add only the functions you need without bloating your site with code from ones you don’t. On the downside, the extensions don’t come cheap, costing around $30-$50 each per year for a single site. However, an extension pass is available, which is more cost-effective because it gives access to all extensions for $249 per year.
S2 Member is a plugin offering you several ways to control access to your web content. For example, using shortcodes, you can restrict access to entire post types or taxonomies, individual pieces of content (such as a post), or just a portion of that content.
The free version of S2 Member gives you plenty of features to play with, including:
- PayPal standard button integration
- WordPress roles, capabilities, and CCAPS
- Manual account creation and open registration option
- Various content restriction options
- Security features such as protection against brute-force logins, unique IP and file download restrictions, protected media streams, and security encryption key
- Conditionals via shortcode
- Customization features including registration/profile fields, login/registration form, email templates, login welcome and membership options pages, etc.
- Member profile updates
- Integrations for mailing lists, affiliate programs, bbPress/BuddyPress, etc.
- Caching plugin compatible
- Developer options, such as WordPress hooks, filters, and accessible source code
Pro versions, which cost $89 per year for a single site or $189 for unlimited domains, enhance functionality with features such as:
- More payment gateway and customization options
- More shortcodes, including content dripping
- One-step registration and checkout
- Unlimited paid membership levels
- Anti-spam measures
- Simultaneous login monitoring
- Data import and export tools
- Configurable coupon and gift codes
- Public members list
- Remote operations API
S2 Member is currently active on over 20,000 sites globally, and it has an average user rating of 3.9/5.0. All negative reviews date back well over a year, and the favorable ones since then indicate that previous problems are now fixed.
WP-Members is a plugin for WordPress to restrict page access to logged-in users. With it, you will be able to control access to your content, create custom registration fields, and do pretty much everything else you need to do to make member-only areas on your site.
Despite being free, the plugin puts plenty of powerful features at your fingertips:
- Ability to hide or restrict posts, pages, custom post types, and menu items to logged-in users
- Theme integrated user login, registration, and profiles
- Custom registration and profile fields
- Admin notification of new user registrations
- Option to hold new registrations pending admin approval
- Automatic post excerpt teaser to encourage people to subscribe
- Plenty of shortcodes
- WordPress action and filter hooks for customization, plus a library of API functions
- A large amount of documentation is freely available on the developer’s website
- Free extensions to stop spam registrations and to send test emails.
Many premium extensions are also available to enhance and tailor the functionality of this plugin to precisely suit your needs. These include:
- Advanced options
- Download protect
- Invite codes
- MailChimp integration
- WooCommerce memberships
- PayPal subscriptions
- Additional security features
- Text editor
- User list and tracking
- Word-based password generator
You can buy these premium extensions individually, with prices averaging around $30-$50. However, if you need more than one extension, the “Pro Bundle” could prove more cost-effective. For $125 per year, it includes all extensions, updates, and support for one year, plus access to more tutorials and a code snippet library for customizations.
WP-Members is hugely popular, with 80,000+ active downloads in operation and an excellent user rating of 4.7/5.0 stars. This plugin is definitely one you should check out if you need a great free option with plenty of functionality.
Restrict User Access
Adding Restrict User Access plugin to your website might be an overkill if you just want to hide posts or pages.
The plugin’s free version lets you manage user access levels, set membership durations, and automatically assign access levels to users based on their purchase history, roles, or member types.
Its built-in User Manager makes defining the capabilities of individual members effortless as you can easily alter the default permissions created by a role.
In addition, it allows you to restrict access to tags, categories, WooCommerce products, or pages. Restrict User Access can hide taxonomies and custom post types created with plugins like BuddyPress, PolyLang, and WPML among others.
Purchasing the Essential plan for $117 per year will unlock URL restriction, date restriction, and timelock features. However, you must buy the Plus plan for $199 per year if you want to use the plugin on more than one site.
The annual subscription for the All Access package is $399 and it includes the license to install the plugin on fifty sites as well as visibility controls and meta box restriction feature.
WishList Member is by no means a newcomer to the WordPress membership plugin market. It amassed more than 100,000 active installations over the last decade and a half which speaks volumes about its trustworthiness.
That said, the plugin isn’t ideal for new membership sites because it doesn’t have a free version. The Starter package costs $299 per year and it is the most affordable option if you opt for this plugin.
The plan includes the license to use the plugin on one site and access to all its features. WishList Member supports integrations with popular payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe. Moreover, you can use the plugin with:
You can use WishList Member to distribute drip content, create content archives or create content snippets that incentivize visitors to become subscribers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Content Restriction Plugins
What is Restrict Content Pro Plugin?
The long list of features the plugin offers makes it one of the most reliable solutions for membership sites.
Restrict Content Pro is the paid version of the plugin that delivers a variety of payment processing, safety, and email customization tools.
You’ll have to spend $99 to install this plugin on one website, $149 for a license to use it on five websites, or $249 for unlimited installations.
The features you’ll get are the same regardless of the subscription plan you choose. Installing the Restrict Content Pro on your website will enable you to accept payments through PayPal, prevent subscribers from sharing their passwords and create product discounts.
How Do I Restrict Content in WordPress?
Each page or post you create in WordPress has default visibility options. Hence, you can make a page private, public, or password-protected.
Switching between different visibility options is simple, as you just have to open a page or blog post in the WordPress block editor, click the Settings icon and choose one of the available options from the Visibility menu.
The page’s visibility will be set to public by default which means anyone on the Internet can see it. Changing visibility to private will make a page or post accessible only to the website’s admin and editor.
Visitors must provide login data to see password protected pages and posts.
What is Restrict Content Pro Drip Content?
The Pro version of this freemium WordPress plugin comes with 34 billing, content, email, security, and marketing add-ons.
Drip Content is one of the content add-ons included in all Pro plans that allows you to choose when content becomes available to a subscriber.
The add-on informs the Restrict Content Pro how long it needs to wait before allowing a member to view a certain piece of content.
The plugin displays a message informing subscribers they don’t have access to that content if they attempt to view it before the delay access period expires.
How Do I Restrict Content by Category in WordPress?
You cannot hide an entire content category on a WordPress website without a plugin. Hence, you must install Restrict Content, Content Control, or a similar plugin that allows users to limit access to a content category on their websites.
If you already have Restrict Content installed, you can navigate to the Posts menu on the dashboard and open the Categories window.
Click the Edit button next to the category you’d like to hide and proceed to adjust the access options. The plugin lets you restrict content to members with paid subscriptions and define subscription and access levels.
Some Final Thoughts on Restrict Content Plugins
The wonderful thing about all the plugins we have suggested is they are available for free. Best of all, despite being free, none skimp on features, and you will be able to add excellent content restriction functionality to your website quickly and easily. That is great news if you are working with a minimal budget.
We recommend that you try out the free versions of the plugins until you find the one that works best for you. Then, as your site scales, you can adapt your content restriction capabilities accordingly by adding the premium features.