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 …
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.
- 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…
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
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 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.
Paid Membership Pro (Free)
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.
- 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.
Restrict Content Pro
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
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.
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
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.
- 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
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 »
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.