5 Best WordPress Membership Plugins (Compared) – 2016

Are you looking to build a membership site in WordPress? Want to know which is the best WordPress membership plugin? Choosing the right membership plugin is crucial for your business because a better platform means more opportunity for growth. In this article, we will compare 5 best WordPress membership plugins to easily create paid membership websites.

Membership plugins for WordPress

What to Look in a WordPress Membership Plugin for Your Site

There are plenty of WordPress membership plugins, but not all of them have the specific features that you may need for creating your membership site.

Some of them are good for selling subscriptions on a single level while others offer more diverse membership levels and subscription management features.

Some of them offer the content dripping feature which allows you to slowly release new content to a user. While others are restricted to only offering hidden content.

You will also need to figure out which payment gateways you will use. Do you want to accept credit cards only, PayPal, or both? Your membership plugin should have support for your preferred payment gateways either built-in or through an addon.

Having said that, let’s see what you will need to start a WordPress membership site.

What Do You Need to Run a WordPress Membership Site?

Membership websites are resource intensive, and choosing the wrong host can be detrimental to your overall performance. That’s why the first thing you need to do is choose the best WordPress hosting that you can afford.

If you’re on a budget, then you can start with Bluehost. Their Business Pro plan comes with a SSL Certificate which you need to securely collect payments, dedicated IP, and a dedicated support line.

If budget is not an issue, and you want the best performance, then we recommend using a managed WordPress hosting provider like WPEngine.

If you don’t already have one, then you will need to choose a domain name for your website. Here is our guide on how to pick the right domain name for your membership site.

Lastly, you will need to choose essential business plugins such as OptinMonster which help you capture leads and boost subscriptions.

Now that we have covered what you need to start a membership site in WordPress, let’s take a look at our top WordPress membership plugins.

1. MemberPress

MemberPress

MemberPress is one of the most popular WordPress membership plugins. It is also the easiest to use and the most robust when it comes to features.

Pros of MemberPress WordPress Membership Plugin

Easy to Setup – MemberPress makes it simple to setup a membership website with WordPress. It can automatically setup pricing, login, account, and thank you pages for your users. Adding membership plans is also very straight forward.

Content Access Control – MemberPress comes with powerful access control, which allows you to restrict access to any content including posts, pages, categories, tags, files, etc.

Content Dripping – Content dripping allows you to show restricted content to members after a certain time. This is a very useful feature for selling online courses or learning materials.

Integrations – MemberPress integrates with AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, and MadMimi email services. It also integrates with Amazon Web Services and BluBrry for podcast hosting.

Payment Gateways – MemberPress comes with built-in support for PayPal and Stripe payment gateways. Developer plan also adds Authorize.net support.

Cons of Using MemberPress Pro

Limited Payment Options – MemberPress only supports the three most popular payment gateways. This would be a deal breaker for site owners who live in countries not supported by these payment gateways.

Limited Integrations – While the plugin has enough support for popular services to run a membership site efficiently, it still lacks integrations with some other popular services. The plugin is easily extensible, and you can pay someone to integrate a third-party service you would like to use.

Pricing: Business Edition $99/Year, Developer Edition $199/Year

We think MemberPress is the most easy to use WordPress membership plugin for beginners. It is quick to setup, the options are powerful yet to configure.

2. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro is a powerful contender for the title of the best membership plugin for WordPress. It is created by same team that’s behind the popular Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins.

Pros of Using Restrict Content Pro

Easy to Use – Restrict Content Pro beautifully integrates with the WordPress User Interface. This makes it easy to use and figure out all features.

Built-in Integrations – Unlike other membership plugins, Restrict Content Pro comes built-in with integrations that other plugins ship as paid addons. It has Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, MailPoet, email manager, CSV export, and many more features.

Payment Gateways – Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree come as free addons. Other supported payment gateways include 2Checkout, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Express, and Stripe Checkout.

Works with Easy Digital Downloads – If you are running Easy Digital Downloads to sell digital products, then Restrict Content Pro is the perfect companion for that.

Excellent Support – There is extensive free documentation available for all users. You also get professional support by email with very fast response times.

Cons of Using Restrict Content Pro

Lacks Content Dripping – Currently, Restrict Content Pro does not offer content dripping feature.

Pricing: $49 with 9 addons and single site license, $99 for 5 sites, and $199 for all addons and unlimited sites. There is also a $449 lifetime plan.

We found Restrict Content Pro to be one of the most easy to use membership plugin. If you don’t need content dripping feature, then Restrict Content Pro is the way to go.

3. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro

Next contender in our lists of best WordPress memberships plugin is Paid Memberships Pro. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of choosing it as your membership plugin.

Pros of Using Paid Memberships Pro

Basic Free Version – Paid memberships pro has a basic free version available for download. It has very limited features, but it gives you an idea of the software and can help you make your choice.

More Payment Gateways – It supports many popular gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, 2Checkout, and Cyber Source.

More Integrations – There are free and paid integration addons available for Paid Memberships Pro, which help you connect to popular services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, Slack, etc.

Extension Addons – A good range of extensions are available as addons for Paid Memberships Pro. These addons bring support for many advanced features that you may want to add to your membership website such as drip Content, link tracking, affiliate program, variable pricing, etc.

Cons of Using Paid Memberships Pro

Ease of Use – Paid Memberships Pro is a powerful plugin, but it is not very beginner friendly. Setting it up will take some time for most users.

Pro Plan with no Plus Addons – If you need to use any of the Plus addons, then you need to buy their PMPro Plus plan. The PMPro plan only gives you support and some extra features, but the PMPro Plus plan gives you access to 42+ other addons.

Pricing: PMPro $97. PMPro Plus $197.

We think Paid Memberships Pro is a great choice for a WordPress membership plugin. It has a large set of integration, addons, and feature which make it a complete solution for a premium membership website.

4. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships

As the name suggests, WooCommerce Memberships is created by the folks behind the best WordPress eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce. This powerful plugin beautifully adds membership site features on top of the WooCommerce core.

Pros of Using WooCommerce Memberships

Ecommerce Integration with WooCommerce – If you are already using WooCommerce to sell something or plan to sell something else later, then WooCommerce memberships makes it easy to use the same core for your membership site.

Payment Gateways – All payment methods supported by WooCommerce are available which means a lot of popular and even not so popular payment gateways.

Integrations – Since it works on top of your WooCommerce store, a lot of integrations available for WooCommerce work flawlessly with your membership plugin as well.

Member and Group Discounts – Give membership discounts to the members. Create beautiful account pages listing all the users perks and access areas.

Cons of Using WooCommerce Memberships

Lack Subscription Features – For subscription features, you will need to purchase other plugins like WooCommerce Subscriptions and WooCommerce Subscription Downloads.

Recurring Payments and Content Dripping – These features will be available after purchasing WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.

Pricing: $149 for a single site license, $199 for 5 sites, and $249 for 25 sites.

We believe that WooCommerce Memberships is an easy to use plugin but lacks important features which require buying another plugins. This makes things quite complicated for beginner users.

5. S2Member

s2member

S2Member is a popular free WordPress membership plugin with pro version available as well. It has been around for quite a while and has a devoted userbase.

Pros of Using S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin

Free Base Plugin – The s2Member base plugin is free. Anyone can download and give it a try. It is limited in terms of features and support but gives you a good starting point.

Content Dripping – S2Member Pro comes with content dripping feature.

Payment Gateways – The free version supports PayPal. Pro version of the plugin supports Stripe and Authorize.net as well.

Integrations – Works with MailChimp, bbPress and BuddyPress.

Documentation & Support – S2Member has an extensive knowledgebase available to all. Pro users also get email based support.

Cons of Using S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin

Not very user-friendly – We found s2Member to be a little more difficult to use than other membership plugins.

Free Version Limitations – Free version only supports PayPal, limits to only 4 membership levels, and does not have content dripping.

Pricing: The base plugin is free, then Pro version for a single site license costs $89 USD. For unlimited sites pro version costs $189 USD.

Conclusion:

We believe that MemberPress is the best option for WordPress membership plugin. It has all the features that you would need with great documentation and support.

If you don’t need content dripping and want something simple yet flexible, then Restrict Content Pro is a great option. The team behind has a proven track record for producing excellent products.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress membership plugin for your site. You may also want to see our comparison of 7 Best WordPress backup plugins.

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