10 Best WordPress Membership Plugins Compared: Free and Paid (2020)

Looking to create your own membership site with WordPress? Membership sites help you achieve the Holy Grail of running a business – automatic recurring revenue. But if you want to turn WordPress into a membership site, you need a WordPress membership plugin.

And when it comes to membership plugins, you’re spoiled for choice, which is why we’ve tried to winnow things down to just the 10 best WordPress membership plugins.

I’ll start by going through each plugin and its key features. Then, at the end of the post, I’ll leave you with some recommendations on how to choose the best WordPress membership plugin for your specific situation.

Let’s dig in…

The Best WordPress Membership Plugins

1. ProfileGrid

ProfileGrid membership plugin

ProfileGrid is a WordPress membership plugin that’s more focused on creating a social community rather than hardcore content restriction and monetization like some of the other plugins on this list.

With that being said, ProfileGrid does come with features to both restrict access to content and sell memberships, so it’s not just a BuddyPress clone.

The social aspect is definitely one of the most unique features, though. For example:

  • Each user gets their own detailed profile page
  • Users can private message one another
  • You can create public or private user groups
  • Users can create their own private blogs
  • Users can become friends with one another

If you just want to create a social members community, that might be all that you need.

But if you want to monetize your WordPress membership site, ProfileGrid also has some tools to help you there.

First off, you can restrict content to either:

  • All logged-in users
  • Specific user groups

Note, though, that you can only restrict entire pieces of content. You can’t, say, restrict a specific part of a page like you can with some other plugins. In this respect, ProfileGrid isn’t quite as flexible as some of the more restriction-focused WordPress membership plugins.

Then, if you want to monetize your membership site, ProfileGrid includes a built-in Stripe integration that lets you charge users to…

  • Register for your site.
  • Join a specific group on your site.

All in all, if you want a WordPress membership plugin with more of a social/community feel, then I think ProfileGrid is a great option. Just be aware that’s it not quite as flexible when it comes to content restriction and monetization, though it can do both.

If you want to learn more, you can check out our full ProfileGrid review.

ProfileGrid has a limited free version available at WordPress.org, but you’ll need the premium version to sell paid memberships and access other advanced features.

The paid plans start at $79.

Get ProfileGrid

2. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro  wordpress membership plugin

Restrict Content Pro is a popular WordPress membership plugin from Sandhills Development, the same team behind the well-known Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins.

As the name suggests, Restrict Content Pro is more focused on restricting access to your content, rather than the social features that you saw with ProfileGrid.

You can restrict content at multiple levels including:

  • Individual pieces of content
  • Portions of a piece of content using shortcodes
  • Entire categories/tags of content
  • Entire post types

There’s also a dedicated WooCommerce integration to restrict who can purchase products.

You can create as many membership levels as needed and charge for access in different ways including:

  • Free access
  • One-time payments
  • Subscriptions (with or without one-time setup fees)

You can also offer free trials and prorated upgrades/downgrades.

Other useful features include:

  • Content dripping to drip out restricted content on a set schedule
  • Group accounts
  • Option to automatically restrict past content
  • Coupons/discounts
  • Integrations with AffiliateWP to create your own affiliate program

Restrict Content Pro has a very limited free version at WordPress.org, but you’ll need the paid version for any serious use case.

The entry-level paid plan starts at $99, while the full-featured paid plan goes for $249.

Get Restrict Content Pro

3. Paid Member Subscriptions

Paid Member Subscriptions

Paid Member Subscriptions is a flexible WordPress membership plugin with a generous free version at WordPress.org.

Unlike a lot of the other plugins on this list, you can actually build a viable paid membership site with just the free version, though there are certainly plenty of reasons to upgrade to the Pro version.

With the free version, you can:

  • Create unlimited membership levels, including setting a membership hierarchy to help users upgrade or downgrade
  • Charge for one-time access to a membership level
  • Restrict access to your content by member levels

With the paid version, you also get support for features like:

  • Automatic recurring subscriptions
  • Content dripping
  • Group memberships
  • Multiple subscriptions per user
  • Free trials or one-time signup fees

Paid Member Subscriptions also has dedicated integrations with a number of other plugins. The biggest integration is probably WooCommerce, which lets you restrict access to view and/or purchase products. You can also offer special discounts to members.

Other dedicated integrations include:

  • bbPress
  • Elementor (you can restrict access to sections or widgets)

You can play around with the free version of Paid Member Subscriptions at WordPress.org. After that, paid plans start at $69, with the full-featured plan going for $149.

Get Paid Member Subscriptions

4. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro

With 80+ official add-ons, Paid Memberships Pro is one of the most flexible WordPress membership plugins out there.

There’s a free core version and 19 free add-ons, but most people will want to upgrade to access the 65+ premium add-ons.

Like Paid Member Subscriptions, you still can build a viable WordPress membership website using just the free version. You’ll be able to:

  • Set up unlimited membership levels
  • Restrict access to content based on membership levels
  • Charge for access via six different payment gateways
  • Use one-time or recurring payments
  • Integrate with WooCommerce

Where things get really flexible, though, is with the 65+ premium add-ons. You can browse the full list of add-ons here, but here’s a list of some of the most notable features:

  • Content dripping
  • Separate purchase for access to individual pieces of content (e.g. upsells)
  • Integrations with BuddyPress and bbPress
  • Member network sites (use with Multisite to give each member their own site, like WordPress.com)
  • Member user profiles
  • Proration for billing
  • Variable pricing

All in all, it’s definitely one of the more flexible WordPress membership plugins.

You can get started with the free core version at WordPress.org. Then, access to all 65+ premium add-ons starts at $297. You cannot purchase individual add-ons – your only option is the bundle.

Get Paid Memberships Pro

5. MemberPress

MemberPress  membership plugin

MemberPress is another popular WordPress membership plugin that only comes in a premium version.

It comes from Caseproof, the same company behind the popular Pretty Links plugin (and ThirstyAffiliates, after an acquisition). It’s also part of the WPBeginner Growth Accelerator, so you’ll see it mentioned on WPBeginner quite a bit.

With it, you can restrict access to any content on your site and set up unlimited membership levels to control access. You can sell both one-time and recurring subscriptions and members can manage their own subscriptions from the front-end.

You also have the option to drip out your membership content over time.

Other notable features in MemberPress include:

  • Discount or “trial” coupons
  • Proration if users upgrade/downgrade their subscription
  • Custom registration forms and pricing pages
  • Option to restrict access to standalone files
  • Integrations with Blubrry PowerPress (members-only podcast website) and bbPress

MemberPress does let you restrict access to view WooCommerce products, but I couldn’t find any deeper integration features like restricting purchasing (but not viewing) or offering members-only discounts.

MemberPress starts at $249, with prices ranging up to $549 depending on the features that you need.

Get MemberPress

6. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Members  membership plugin wordpress

As the name suggests, WooCommerce Memberships is a WordPress membership plugin that’s specifically built to work with WooCommerce. It comes from SkyVerge, a reputable developer with a number of popular WooCommerce extensions.

Some people get confused with WooCommerce Memberships and think that it’s only for restricting access to WooCommerce products or otherwise creating a members-only store.

Don’t get me wrong – WooCommerce Memberships does have some great WooCommerce-focused features. However, you can also use it to restrict non-WooCommerce content, too. For example, posts, pages, custom post types, etc. You can also drip out content and even mark certain content items as available during the free trial.

Basically, it’s a “regular” WordPress membership plugin, just like the other plugins on this list.

You can create unlimited membership levels and tie them to WooCommerce products, which lets you hook into all the normal WooCommerce checkout options.

If you are using WooCommerce for eCommerce, you can also:

  • Offer better shipping options to members
  • Give members special discounts
  • Restrict viewing or purchasing

WooCommerce Memberships itself costs $199. However, you’ll probably need to purchase some additional WooCommerce extensions depending on the features that you need. For example, if you want to sell recurring subscriptions, you’ll also need WooCommerce Subscriptions, which also costs $199.

For that reason, WooCommerce Memberships can get a little pricey.

Get WooCommerce Memberships

7. MemberMouse

MemberMouse

MemberMouse is a WordPress membership plugin with detailed built-in features. It has one of the lengthiest feature lists of any plugin on this list, but it also uses monthly SaaS-style billing, which can make it a little pricey.

Still, if you’re willing to pay for convenience, it can be a good option.

You can easily:

  • Restrict content
  • Set up unlimited membership levels
  • Drip and schedule membership content
  • Let members manage their own subscriptions
  • Offer free trials and coupons

Some of the more advanced features that MemberMouse offers for its price are:

  • Detailed analytics on churn and retention
  • Easy upsells and downsells to boost revenue
  • Automatic account locking if people try to share accounts
  • Marketing automation to send emails based on event triggers

There’s one important thing to note with MemberMouse, though. It is not GPL, which might be a dealbreaker for you. MemberMouse obfuscates its code, which means that you can’t easily edit and redistribute it like you can with most GPL WordPress plugins.

With MemberMouse, you’ll pay based on the features that you want and the number of members that you have. Plans start at $19.95 per month for up to 1,000 members.

Get MemberMouse

8. aMember

Amember  membership plugin

aMember is a standalone membership site tool that includes a built-in WordPress integration to help you use your WordPress site as a membership site, which is a little different from how all of these other plugins operate.

You’ll still be able to restrict content from inside your WordPress site, you’ll just also work with some aspects of your membership site from the separate aMember interface.

Notable features of aMember include:

  • Unlimited membership levels
  • Content dripping
  • Built-in affiliate program support
  • Coupon codes
  • Restrict individual file downloads
  • Prevent access sharing between users
  • Integrations with 200+ payment systems

aMember only comes in a premium version. It costs $179.95 for a lifetime license, which includes six months of support and upgrades.

Get aMember

9. AccessAlly

AccessAlly

AccessAlly is a WordPress membership plugin with a unique twist – it uses tags from your CRM to manage access to your site and restrict content. It’s also a little bit more focused on online courses than general membership sites.

To use AccessAlly, you’ll also need to set up a CRM like:

  • Infusionsoft
  • ActiveCampaign
  • ConvertKit
  • Ontraport
  • Drip
  • Keap

It’s a little bit more involved to set up your membership site. But the payoff is that you’ll be able to set up all kinds of powerful marketing automation rules using your CRM.

You’ll also still get all the “standard” WordPress membership site features like:

  • Content restriction
  • One-time or recurring payments
  • Analytics

You can learn more about this plugin in our full AccessAlly review.

AccessAlly is super flexible, but it’s also quite expensive. Plans start at $99 per month.

Get AccessAlly

10. Ultimate Member

Ultimate Member

Finally, we have Ultimate Member. Like ProfileGrid, Ultimate Member is more focused on creating social communities than paid membership sites.

To that end, it comes with lots of helpful social features:

  • Custom user registration forms
  • Dedicated user profiles
  • Member directories
  • Front-end account management
  • Private messages between users
  • Users can follow one another

You still can restrict access to your content. And, it does have a WooCommerce integration that lets you assign members to a certain role after they purchase a product, which gives you a way to charge for access to your membership community.

Still, if monetization is your main focus, you’ll probably be happier with a different WordPress membership plugin as that’s not Ultimate Member’s strong point.

The core Ultimate Member plugin is free. You can then purchase individual extensions or get access to all extensions for $249.

Get Ultimate Member

Which is the Best WordPress Membership Plugin?

All of these membership plugins have something to offer and your decision really needs to come down to your budget and the specific features that you need in your membership site.

With that being said, I can give some guidance to hopefully help push you in the right direction.

If you want to create a membership site with more of a social community feel, I would say your two best options are:

If you’re looking for the best/most functional free WordPress membership plugin, then I would recommend:

As for the best overall plugin for running a profit-focused membership site on WordPress, I can’t give a single recommendation. But if I were building one, I would start my search with one of these:

Any questions about picking the best WordPress membership plugin for your site? Ask away in the comments!

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

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23 thoughts on “10 Best WordPress Membership Plugins Compared: Free and Paid (2020)”

  1. Restrict Content Pro definitely takes the crown for me. I’ve tried several of these other plugins and they just make the whole process clunky and ugly. RCP does it right, using WordPress standards and functionality to achieve everything it does.

  2. Thats a solid list of services, one thing to keep in mind is will the service scale. Some theme shops have less than 5k customers, some 300k+ (WooThemes) and others over 1M+ (Code canyon).

  3. Amember seems to be the most popular. Almost all themeshops I have visited use this system to manage their members. I just don’t know if it can work well with a lot of customers, like WooThemes has moved their program to a self-built platform.

    • Just because you may have run into amember within a small sphere of theme sites in your experience doesn’t make it the most popular. S2member is by far the most popular in terms of use and downloads.

      I have no skin in the game btw and am not using any plugins or associated with any of the developers.

  4. I don’t seee why Amember couldnt handle a lot of customers – I allready have over 5,000 in my system at ThemeFurnace and it’s been fine.

    I guess when you get up into the hundreds of thousands of members you have more money and time to develop something custom and more fitting for your company.

  5. Paid Memberships Pro isn’t developed by me, it’s developed by Jason Coleman. I’ve used many of these plugins and I’ve written a review of several, including a map on how to select the right one. You can find it all on chrislema.com

  6. just bought a copy of memberpress, looks good so far, also a fan of restrict content pro, also own a copy of magicmembers, but its kinda overkill, loads very slow in the backend.

    also a side note: you have it saying 99/month for memberpress, its not a per month product. ;)

  7. I have used Your Members for years now and have nothing but high praise for it. The support I’ve had off Tim and the team has been 1st class – not just about YM, but about WordPress in general – they really do know their stuff

  8. I bought Wishlist Membership, but have found support to be very hit or miss (more often miss), and very difficult to customize – plus, they encrypt their code, so some customizations are impossible. I’m tempted to dump it and try Restrict Content Pro – has anyone else had experience with both?

  9. WARNING: YourMembers doesn’t work with Zombaio reliably!

    I have been badly let down by Coding Futures over their YourMembers plugin. A bug appeared that meant YM and Zombaio were not transferring data properly so memberships were not being activated randomly. After 6 months, Tim failed to fix it. In fact at first, he blamed me for set up problems, in spite of paying them twice to do the job! He has a very unusual approach to customer ‘service’ as he seems well-versed in sales prevention techniques. I believe two of his developers have left (Dave Naylor set up his own support company but my experiences were not a lot better as sometimes emails would go unanswered for days). Rats leaving a sinking ship?

    Coding Futures closed their support forum some months back alleging a ‘security issue’ but AFAIK it has never been re-instated.

    YM is very full-featured and appears to do everything you would expect, plus more, with the notable exception of actually working! If it worked reliably, it would be a killer app. As it is, it’s a waste of time and has cost be deep in the purse in terms of time and money, not to mention members. l’m in the process of replacing the whole site with PornCMS from PKS Consulting. Ryan of PKS is a breath of fresh air after Tim. He delivers and understands customer service. My advice is not to touch YM with a barge pole!

  10. I now hear CodingFutures have let down their Zombaio and CCBill users by discontinuing support! This has meant a complete replacement of my membership system and a lot of trouble and expense. Thanks for nothing, YourMembers :-(

  11. Hi Sourav,

    Great list here. Unfortunately, looks like you left out DigitalAccessPass.com (DAP).

    What can we do to get DAP on this list? Do let us know.

    We would also love to invite you to join our affiliate program. Just need an email address for that.

    Cheers!

    – Ravi

  12. From long time i was looking for such kind of solution. And my search end here. Thanks for writing this great article to make us aware of this great plugin. Love try these plugins.

  13. Sourav, thanks for writing this post. I was hoping you can address two questions for me.

    1. You mentioned Studio Press up front. Are you saying they have a membership function built in that I can you to protect my content and charge for membership?

    2. Can you discuss about the ability for any of these plugin to allow for First Look Free so that Google bots can crawl and index my member only contents? I heard eMember can do this. Also what are some other viable solutions to make my member only content seo friendly.

    thanks
    Lei

  14. Saw this in an email blast, and thought it was a current article. Then I see the comments are from 2013, so not sure whether comments will even be read. Oh well …

    I was hoping you would cover metered paywalls as part of your membership site review. We use Leaky Paywall, which overall works well in terms of the paywall part, but is missing a few other features I would like to have. I’ve looked at a number of other paywall plugins and tools, and LP seems to be the best unless you are willing to spend mucho $$$.

    If you do a review of paywall tools, please advertise it so I can read it. Thanks!

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