We all know how WordPress is a full blown CMS. Let us add to its inventory.

Have you ever wanted to run a membership based WordPress site where people can buy paid content such as PDFs or video tutorials? Consider ElegantThemes for example. They are a popular WordPress theme company. They run WordPress at their core framework and use a membership plugin (custom built as far as I think) to manage the members area and the community support forum. All of this is deeply rooted in their WordPress installation. Its the same with StudioPress.

Today we’re going to discuss some of the best WordPress membership plugins available in the market and compare their features. Kindly note that developing these plugins takes an insane amount of effort starting from writing code for PayPal integration to support forums. Thus, most of them aren’t free except two genuine exceptions.

So lets get started with our guide to the best WordPress membership plugins …

Amember

This is quite a popular solution and is used on a few WordPress theme companies such as ThemeFurnace ( WooThemes also used to use it ) – It is stand alone membership software but also includes a WordPress plugin to tightly integrate it with any WP based website.

1

Features

  • Unlimited Membership Levels and Items
  • Incremental Content Delivery
  • Payment Systems Integration
  • Full-Featured Member Management
  • Automated Signup and Expirations
  • Integrated Modules
  • Translated into 6 languages
  • Coupon Codes
  • Flexible Signup Forms
  • Built-in Affiliate Program
  • More than 100 scripts integrated
  • WordPress, vBulletin, XenForo, Drupal and more…

Visit Amember »

MagicMembers

MagicMembers WordPress Membership Plugin

MagicMembers is one of the oldest WordPress Membership plugins with a wide array of features starting at 97 USD. It comes with video training courses, great support and the ability to buy separate add-ons.

Features at a glance:

  • Multiple payment gateways
  • Integrates with mail services such as AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse
  • Unlimited membership levels such as bronze, silver, gold, platinum etc.
  • Unlimited subscription options (1 day, 1 week or 3 week membership etc)
  • Synchronized (sequential) content dripping
  • Download manager which allows you to provide a members-only download option
  • Pay-per-post access
  • Integrates with Amazon S3

Visit MagicMembers »

Membership

WPMUDev WordPress Membership Plugin

Developed by elite WordPress company WPMU Dev, Membership is one of the most complete WordPress Membership plugins. It supports a variety of payment gateways, supports the latest revisions of MultiSite and BuddyPress and comes with unlimited updates and great support. The plugin costs 19 USD (which includes 1 month support) but there are other subscription packages available.

Download Membership »

MemberPress

MemberPress WordPress Membership Plugin

MemberPress is a nifty, easy-to-use WordPress membership plugin that supports payment gateways such as Paypal, Authorize.net and Stripe and integrates with MailChip and AWeber. It has 2 plans: 99 USD for a single site and 199 USD for the developer version. They have a great product tour with a lot of screenshots and a comprehensive FAQ.

Features:

  • Access rules to restrict access to pages, child pages, posts, custom post types, categories, tags and almost any other file.
  • Subscription Management allows members to add, renew and cancel subscriptions from the site without having to go through complex procedures.
  • Integrates with BBPress, Simple Press Forum and can create a new password protected forum.
  • Supports coupons, affiliate marketing and sequential content dripping.

Visit MemberPress »

MemberWing-X

MemberWing-X WordPress Membership Plugin

MemberWing-X is an advanced feature pack WordPress membership plugin which makes it one of the best choices in the market. They have an ad-supported evaluation version with max limit of 10 members. However, you can install it on multiple sites. The license starts at 200 USD and comes with 1 year of support and upgrades. They also have  a WordPress Membership University which has video tutorials on advanced usage of the plugin. They have a community forum as well as a detailed PDF, blog and member consulting for support.

Features:

  • Multilevel SEO boosting features
  • Advanced time-sensitive content dripping (really really advanced)
  • Advanced security for Digital Downloads
  • Infiinite membership stages and options
  • Easy-to-use shortcodes and a 3 min setup promise!

Visit MemberWing-X »

Nanacast

Nanacast WordPress Membership Plugin

Nanacast is a standalone full blown automated sales system with every necessary feature such as advanced sequential content delivery, subscriber and affiliate management system. You don’t need WordPress to use Nanacast. However, they have a great plugin called MemberLock which basically ports all the features of Nanacast into WordPress and seamlessly integrates them. Plans start at 97 USD a month. A detailed installation tutorial is available in the MemberLock site.

Download MemberLock »

Paid Membership Pro (Free)

Paid Memberships Pro WordPress Membership Plugin

This free plugin packs a lot of features. It integrates with popular payment processors including Stripe. It has a full fledged documentation, community forum and a public forum at WordPress.org. It also has a premium support option available. Given below is a short list of the main features, you could visit the main site to learn more.

Features:

  • Unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing.
  • Ability to create “free trial” periods.
  • Access control for all post types.
  • Custom member notifications
  • Hide ads from premium users.
  • SEO ready by showing the post excerpt.

Download Paid Membership Pro »

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro WordPress Membership Plugin

Written by veteran plugin developer Pippin Williamson, this plugin takes the cake! Priced at 30 USD (one time), Restrict Content Pro has been downloaded over 1,100 times from CodeCanyon. The plethora of (both free and paid) add-ons to choose from, this is the WordPress Membership plugin.

Features at a glance:

  • Multiple level membership management.
  • Unlimited subscriptions with email alerts.
  • Supports PayPal. Other payment processors like Stripe and PayPal pro can be added via add-ons.
  • Integrates with MailChimp (available as free add-on).
  • Discount codes
  • Payment tracking
  • Data export to CSV

Download Restrict Content Pro »

s2Member

s2Member WordPress Membership Plugin

Arguably s2Member is one of the most popular and free WordPress Membership plugins available. With over 380k+ downloads in WordPress.org, s2Member supports a wide array of payment processors and mailing lists, member subscription, 4 membership levels, custom registration fields, recurring billing and affiliate tracking. The paid version of s2Member costs (one time) 69 USD for a single site license and 129 USD (again non-recurring) for multiple site license.

Premium features at a glance:

  • Supports advanced integration for PayPal and a buck load of new processors like Google Checkout, ClickBank, Authorize.net and PayPal Pro.
  • Ability to create one-time offers
  • Unlimited membership levels.
  • Mass user-base import and export.
  • Multisite compatible.

Download s2Member »

WP-Member

WP-Member WordPress Membership Plugin

WP-Member is a well known membership plugin with which packs all the standard features including content dripping, subscriptions, unlimited membership levels, secure digital downloads and access restriction to content. The pricing starts at 47 USD for a single site and one year of updates. WP-Member also has a demo blog, screenshot gallery and a variety of support options.

Features at a glance:

  • Easy installation and setup
  • Unlimited membership levels
  • Flexible subscription packages
  • Sequential content dripping
  • Protected digital downloads
  • Customized messages and redirects
  • Customized registration forms
  • bbPress forum integration
  • Content teaser (using excerpts) for powerful SEO
  • Number of shortcodes and widgets

Visit WP-Member »

WP eMember

WordPress eMember is a simple yet WordPress membership plugin developed by the folks at Tips and Tricks HQ. It has a shopping cart integrated with PayPal, and supports various mail services. With a one-time fee of 49.95 USD, you get access to detailed tutorials, client only support forums, unlimited updates, one year of technical support and most importantly, the ability to use it on unlimited sites.

Features:

  • Content protection
  • Unlimited membership levels
  • Unlimited multiple site license
  • Easy member management
  • Partial content display
  • Secure RSS feeds
  • Automatic membership upgrades
  • Login redirection
  • Custom registration fields
  • Bookmarking feature
  • Affliate management via add-on

Visit WP eMember »

Your Memebers

Your Member WordPress Membership Plugin

YourMembers is a professional WordPress membership plugin with quite a few advanced (and unique) features such as the ability to sell from within Facebook and the innovative Group Membership. The plugin site in itself is very comprehensive with a detailed FAQ, screenshot gallery and step-by-step tutorials to name a few. Pricing starts at 97 USD with one year of support and updates.

Features at a glance:

  • Custom registration forms
  • Supported payment processors include: PayPal, PayPal Pro, Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Skrill, HSBC CPI, Zombaio, CCBill, Authorize.net and WorldPay
  • Transaction logging
  • Automatic rebiling
  • Advanced user management with unlimited roles, subscriptions and levels
  • Group Membership
  • Import and export user databases
  • Flexibe content protection – both via user role and individual user management
  • Content streaming and downloads from Amazon S3 & Amazon Cloudfront
  • Easy intertation using widgets and shortcodes

Visit Your Members »

Conclusion

I think you’ve noticed that I’ve listed the plugins in an alphabetical order. Since I haven’t use any of them personally, I do not have any preference. However, while researching I found a lot of references to MagicMembers, Amember and many votes for Restrict Content Pro. The latter requires considerably lower investment compared to the rest of the plugins.

I should mention that there are two genuine exceptions – Paid Membership Pro and s2Member which are excellent free plugins. The latter has a paid upgrade which is great if you’re looking to expand your business.

Happy marketing!


Author:

Sourav is a WordPress enthusiast, an avid gamer and a sitcom collector. His playlists include heavy metal, electronic, and new-age tracks. When he's not online, he's spending quality time with his friends and family.

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22 Comments

  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.

    • Jakob

      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. chrismccoy

    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. Restrict content pro seems to be great. I will give it a try.

  15. restrict content pro is a good plugin. i am using it.

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