Best WordPress Membership Plugin 2021

Want to run your own membership site?

A top WordPress membership plugin is the solution!

We reviewed and ranked the best membership plugins. This was our review process:

  1. First, we signed up with the leading solutions.
  2. We then tested their features and ease of use.
  3. Lastly, we evaluated the pricing.

We feature the best deals in our reviews below. Discover the membership plugin that you like the most!

Best WordPress Membership Plugins of 2021

1. MemberPress

MemberPress is a do-it-all solution that can let you restrict just about anything and set up complex membership systems. There is even a proprietary add-on for building educational websites and selling courses. The plugin is very lightweight, so it won’t slow down your website. FULL REVIEW

  • Lightweight and bug-free
  • Awesome features
  • Can work as a learning management system
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MemberPress is a do-it-all solution that can let you restrict just about anything and set up complex membership systems. There is even a proprietary add-on for building educational websites and selling courses. The plugin is very lightweight, so it won’t slow down your website. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

9/10

Payment gateways:

PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net

Integrations:

Decent

Free plan:

No

2. MemberMouse

MemberMouse shows subscribers you care about them. Its short-code based system lets you personalize each nook and cranny of your website. Its robust automation tools can take a huge workload off your hands. A fantastic offer for powerful subscription-based websites. FULL REVIEW

  • Granular content restriction
  • Strong personalization
  • Security tools
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MemberMouse shows subscribers you care about them. Its short-code based system lets you personalize each nook and cranny of your website. Its robust automation tools can take a huge workload off your hands. A fantastic offer for powerful subscription-based websites. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

8/10

Payment gateways:

8 gateways

Integrations:

Autoresponders and Zapier

Free plan:

Free trial

3. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro might be lightweight, but the modular system lets you extend its power through 84 add-ons. It’s the best tool if you want to put together advanced features without adding bloat to your site. FULL REVIEW

  • Lightweight
  • Extensibility through add-ons
  • Donations and pay-to-access features
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Paid Memberships Pro might be lightweight, but the modular system lets you extend its power through 84 add-ons. It’s the best tool if you want to put together advanced features without adding bloat to your site. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

8/10

Payment gateways:

7 gateways

Integrations:

Decent

Free plan:

Yes

4. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict content pro has a strong offer with a lot of flexibility. The features get very advanced and allow things like letting members set up their own blogs on your site. A single-site license costs only $99/year, making it one of the most affordable options. FULL REVIEW

  • Very lightweight
  • Many unique features
  • Create site tools
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Restrict content pro has a strong offer with a lot of flexibility. The features get very advanced and allow things like letting members set up their own blogs on your site. A single-site license costs only $99/year, making it one of the most affordable options. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

9/10

Payment gateways:

5 gateways

Integrations:

Autoresponders and WooCommerce

Free plan:

Yes

5. Wishlist Member

WishList Member has a lot of features and the most integrations out of any plugin. It works with many shopping carts, autoresponders, forums, Slack, LMSs, etc. Plus it costs only $147/year. If you use a lot of apps and want a site that works with them, it’s the right choice. FULL REVIEW

  • Great features
  • Onboarding options
  • A host of integrations
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WishList Member has a lot of features and the most integrations out of any plugin. It works with many shopping carts, autoresponders, forums, Slack, LMSs, etc. Plus it costs only $147/year. If you use a lot of apps and want a site that works with them, it’s the right choice. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

7/10

Payment gateways:

25 gateways

Integrations:

50+ integrations

Free plan:

No

6. LearnDash

LearnDash combines a membership plugin with software for hosting an educational website. It has one of the most feature-rich offers for building e-learning setups. You can even set up a website like Udemy and let others sell courses on your platform! FULL REVIEW

  • Fantastic for course-building
  • Powerful content restriction
  • Easy management
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LearnDash combines a membership plugin with software for hosting an educational website. It has one of the most feature-rich offers for building e-learning setups. You can even set up a website like Udemy and let others sell courses on your platform! FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

9/10

Payment gateways:

PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout

Integrations:

Decent, but few autoresponders

Free plan:

No

7. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships is a membership plugin for, you guessed it, WooCommerce. It’s very easy to connect it to an existing store and add membership functionality. It’s fantastic for creating a sense of exclusivity for members of your store’s club. FULL REVIEW

  • Works smoothly with WooCommerce
  • Lots of available member perks
  • Decent integrations
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WooCommerce Memberships is a membership plugin for, you guessed it, WooCommerce. It’s very easy to connect it to an existing store and add membership functionality. It’s fantastic for creating a sense of exclusivity for members of your store’s club. FULL REVIEW

Membership features:

8/10

Payment gateways:

Numerous

Integrations:

Many integrations

Free plan:

No

THE BEST WORDPRESS MEMBERSHIP PLUGIN FOR 2021

We at HostingTribunal reviewed the best membership plugins for WordPres on the market and found something for everyone.

In our reviews, you’ll discover the best membership plugins for:

  • General use
  • Education
  • Integrating with third-party apps
  • Ecommerce

… and more.

You’ll find more details about the plugins themselves and our review process just below.

How We Ranked the Best Plugins for WordPress Membership Sites – Our Review Process

Plugins are a bit different from the solutions we usually test, so we needed to augment our review process.

  • Track the market—We started by checking out what’s on the market. We put together a list of all WordPress membership software with a competitive offer. The ones with the most useful features got further testing.
  • Test ease of use—We evaluated the overall feel and intuitiveness of the software. It should be easy to get around the plugin and manage your site. 
  • Does it work for most systems?—We researched software compatibility with other WP themes/plugins. If you have a preferred setup, you definitely don’t want a plugin that’s a nightmare to integrate. 
  • Evaluate the features—The most exciting part is what shiny features you get to use. We tested them to see what the plugins can and can’t do.
  • Check out the integrations—Integrations are a big deal. Our reviews will tell you if the plugins work with your favorite software.
  • Determine value—Lastly, we took the price into account. The seven best WordPress membership plugins with the most lucrative deals made it to the reviews below.

Keep reading to find out which ones.

Best WordPress Membership Plugins

MemberPress
MemberPress
MemberPress

BEST MEMBERSHIP PLUGIN OVERALL

Starting at
$ 149 /yr
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 9/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net
  • INTEGRATIONS: Decent
  • FREE PLAN: No
  • Lightweight and bug-free
  • Awesome features
  • Can work as a learning management system
  • All key integrations
  • Works with popular website builders
  • Great reputation
  • Not all add-ons included in the smallest plan

What Is MemberPress?

Caseproof, the company behind MemberPress, focuses its attention on only four plugins, all immensely popular. Unlike others that create hundreds of plugins to see what sticks, Caseproof goes all out on a few solutions. That’s why you can expect frequent updates and specialized support.

Here’s how it pans out for MemberPress:

Best Features

MemberPress is an astonishingly well put together WordPress membership plugin. The code is clean, bug-free, lean, and it gets better each year. 

Memberships and Subscriptions

MemberPress lets you set up unlimited membership levels. It’s effortless to apply various rules to different access levels. You can display all the relevant info on the pricing table in a few clicks.

One cool thing is that users can have multiple memberships. It’s fantastic if you want to sell multiple products with different access levels.

It’s easy for users to manage their subscriptions. They can cancel or upgrade their membership in a few clicks. The system can allow prorated upgrades automatically, so customers have extra incentives to purchase.

Users can pause their subscription to your WordPress membership website. Еven if someone doesn’t want to be a subscriber, they might restart the membership later—great for minimizing subscriber churn.

Admin Controls

Access rules let you restrict just about anything—pages, posts, tags, categories, etc. You can drip content, set content expiration times, etc.

Pricing options abound as well. Free trials, lifetime memberships, monthly subscriptions, and coupons are on the table. You can also set a paywall giving visitors a sneak peek before being locked out.

You can use add-ons for even more functionality to your store. One is MemberPress Courses, which turns the WordPress paid subscription plugin into an LMS software. You get a ton of options for setting up an educational website.

There are options for creating corporate accounts—solid if you want to sell group memberships. MemberPress Developer Tools add a REST API for doing custom coding. MemberPress Downloads lets you upload files and restrict access for members. It also allows reporting on member file access. 

Robust Reporting

Lastly, the reporting tools are comprehensive. You can view info on the number of active/inactive members, the average lifetime value of a subscriber, and overall money made/refunded.

By now, MemberPress probably sounds like a pretty good membership plugin for WordPress. It is one of the most feature-rich platforms, and it lacks no significant tools.

Integrations and Payment Gateways

Admittedly, MemberPress could do better where payment gateways are concerned. The free integrations support PayPal and Stripe, which are the two most popular gateways. Paid plans only add Authorize.net. Not the broadest choice, all in all.

Other integrations are decent, though.

Autoresponder integrations include AWeber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, Drip, GetResponse, MailChimp, and a bunch more. Pretty much all popular and a few less popular systems are included.

The WordPress members plugin is compatible with sites built on Elementor, Divi, or BeaverBuilder. These are three of the best WP page builders and are an excellent asset for getting custom site designs. 

Affiliate marketing integrations cover Affiliate Royale and Affiliate WP. The former solution is created by Caseproof, so it works quite smoothly with MemberPress.

You can also hook it up to AWS S3 instances. It’s fantastic if you want to let subscribers access various files.

There are a few good add-ons for creating registration forms and advanced account pages. 

Unfortunately, there’s no good support for ecommerce functionality. The plugin does integrate with ThriveCart. However, this means you can’t use MemberPress’s member management, which makes this WordPress members-only plugin less effective.

User Reviews

MemberPress user reviews are simply stellar. The great majority of people love the features, how well and smoothly everything works, and many heap praise on the support team.

All in all, most clients enjoy using this tool.

Pricing

MemberPress has three pricing plans:

  • Basic—Works on one site, $149, renews at $249/year
  • Plus—Works on three sites, $249, renews at $399/year
  • Pro—Works on five sites, $349, renews at $549/year

The core WordPress membership management features are mostly the same across the plans. The plans differ on the number of site licenses and what integrations are supported. All add-ons are included in the Plus plan.

There is no free version or even a trial. However, you can use a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

MemberPress is one of the most powerful and user-friendly solutions. It offers you everything you need to create a powerful membership site. The flexible features make it the best membership plugin for WordPress for most projects.

MemberMouse
MemberMouse
MemberMouse

BEST AUTOMATION & PERSONALIZATION

Starting at
$ 33.17 /mo
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 8/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: 8 gateways
  • INTEGRATIONS: Autoresponders and Zapier
  • FREE PLAN: Free trial
  • Granular content restriction
  • Strong personalization
  • Security tools
  • Lots of supported payment gateways
  • Automation tools
  • Subscription based on subscriber count
  • Few third-party integrations
  • Only single-site licenses

What Is MemberMouse?

The guys behind MemberMouse run the plugin as more of a SaaS deal than a licensed solution. It means the focus is shifted on strong customer service and month-to-month deals.

Let’s see if this equates to a quality service.

MemberMouse Best Features

MemberMouse comes with a ton of features for setting up memberships and selling products. Aside from letting you set up custom membership tiers, you can use coupons, prorated upgrades, gifting, affiliate support, recurring payments, etc.

Content Restriction

The WordPress subscription plugin supports advanced content protection. You can lock pretty much anything, including pages, posts, post types, categories, etc. Content drip and custom login pages are included.

Restriction goes even deeper. MemberMouse allows the use of all sorts of SmartTags (experienced users will know them as shortcodes). This lets you display dynamic content that changes based on an individual subscriber’s membership level and profiles info. You can push for upsells, send personalized emails, and a whole lot more. You can make changes to pages based on the member’s referring affiliate. The options abound, so SmartTags are a fantastic way to hook users on a personalized experience.

Of course, this type of freedom would require you to check if your WordPress membership site works as intended. You can log in as a member and see if everything is in its place. If you use content drip, you can view your website based on individual subscription days, so you’ll always have an accurate idea of the setup.

Client Account Controls

The options for membership control and automation are many. You can manage everything manually or automatically handle overdue payment messages, send out emails, reset passwords, send receipts, etc.

One of the best features is downselling. If a user attempts to unsubscribe, you can ask to downgrade their membership instead. It can save you from potentially losing subscribers.

Security and Reporting

There’s a lot to love about the security of the WP membership plugin. You can set up a preset number of allowed login attempts—handy for crushing brute-force attacks.

Another excellent option is to limit how many different IP addresses can connect to a single account in 24h. It prevents one person from purchasing an account and letting everyone use it. You should allow access to at least two IPs, though, since many people like to use both a desktop computer and a phone.

Lastly, you get robust reporting. You can view basic subscriber counts and average membership value. You can collect member churn and retention stats, engagement stats, reports based on subscription level, and activity logs. Some of these are reserved for higher-tier plans, however.

Integrations and Payment Gateways

The WP membership software integrates with several payment gateways – Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, Authorize.net CIM, ClickBank, Coinbase, sticky.io, and Braintree. The gateway range is acceptable.

The plugin works with major marketing integrations like AWeber, Drip, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, GetResponse, and ConvertKit.

You can use Zapier to exchange info between MemberMouse and a host of other apps.

MemberMouse only supports essential integrations. There is nothing for website builders, ecommerce applications, or CRM software. There are plenty of third-party plugins to compensate for this, but be careful downloading from unfamiliar sources.

MemberMouse User Reviews

MemberMouse gets fewer user reviews than most of the best WordPress membership plugins. The ones I did find were all positive. 

Users enjoy getting very granular with membership options and SmartTags. Flexibility really is one of the plugin’s strong points.

There aren’t any legitimate negative comments to speak of. MemberMouse has a satisfied user base.

MemberMouse Pricing

MemberMouse comes with three plans. There is a 14-day trial but no free tier. The pricing below reflects a 17% discount if you pay annually.

  • Builder—up to 5,000 members, $33.17/month
  • Advanced—up to 50,000 members, $82.17/month
  • Premium—up to 100,000 members, $248.17/month

The smallest plan includes most features, so the only difference is how many subscribers you want to support. And, if you sell over 5,000 paid WordPress memberships, you won’t lose much sleep over a few extra bucks.

The Advanced and Premium plans are the only ones that include features like member churn rate reports and social logins. I would like to see the latter on the smallest plan as well. However, advanced reporting really isn’t that important for smaller subscriber numbers. You can mostly check the basic reports and see how your website is doing.

You can only purchase licenses for individual WordPress member sites. It’s fine for most users – you’re paying for a specific number of members anyway. If you want multisite discounts, though, look at MemberPress or Restrict Content Pro.

Overall, the pricing is fair, as long as you get in a few members.

Verdict

MemberMouse is an excellent plugin that lets you provide a curated and personalized experience. Plus, the automation features are a great timesaver. It’s also reasonably affordable given its features. MemberMouse easily competes for the best membership plugin for WordPress in 2021.

Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro

BEST CREATE-A-SITE TOOL

Starting at
$ 99 /yr
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 9/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: 5 gateways
  • INTEGRATIONS: Autoresponders and WooCommerce
  • FREE PLAN: Yes
  • Very lightweight
  • Many unique features
  • Create site tools
  • Lots of supported autoresponders
  • Very affordable
  • Few third-party add-ons
  • Requires you to install add-ons manually

What Is Restrict Content Pro?

Restrict Content Pro is produced by Sandhills Development – one of the most well-known WP development companies. It is behind excellent plugins like Easy Digital Downloads, and it has a reputation for clean coding and excellent support.

RCP definitely has big shoes to fill. Let’s see if it manages.

Restrict Content Pro Best Features

You can restrict content on your website by post, page, post type, category, or tag. You can use shortcodes to conceal parts of content on any individual web page.

The WP member plugin lets you set up various access levels, do free trials, send out discount codes, manage members manually, or allow prorated upgrades. There are also nice reporting features.

Modular Solution

Apart from the basics, RCP strives to remain lightweight, so it only includes the essentials out-of-the-box. Most of its power comes with various add-ons. You have to download and install these manually, which can take a few minutes.

You can enable advanced features like member wallets, downloadable materials, limited product numbers, and enforcing strong passwords.

Premium Add-ons

Once you get to the pro add-ons included in the two largest plans is when RCP really comes into its own.

The WordPress paid subscription plugin lets you:

  • Drip content
  • Restrict content published before member’s join date
  • Use content scheduled content and content expiration
  • Set fixed-period memberships
  • Ban IP addresses or let them bypass restrictions
  • Add custom welcome page URLs

… and more.

Group accounts are a fantastic option if you want to go after businesses or organizations. The management is easy for both you and the main account owner.

Site Creation is probably the most surprising feature of them all. It lets you build a website where members can set up their own WordPress sites. Just look at how popular Medium is, and it becomes clear why member blogs can be a profitable strategy.

RCP is easily the best WordPress subscribe plugin in terms of extensibility.

Integrations and Payment Gateways

The default payment gateways include PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, Braintree, and 2Checkout. You can use a payment gateway API to integrate custom ones.

Restrict Content Pro has a handy integration with WooCommerce. You can allow only members to purchase certain products or set up subscriber-only discounts.

Free email marketing ones include only three solutions—MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and MailPoet. Pro integrations add Aweber. You can use ConvertKit for emailing and building landing pages for your sales funnel. Lastly, ActiveCampaign lets you handle email, CRM, and customer support.

The existing integrations are handy, but it would be nice to see more from the WordPress subscription plugin.

Restrict Content Pro Pricing

Restrict Content Pro has a free version you can download from WordPress.org. However, it lacks support from the team and premium add-ons.

 The rest of the plans are:

  • Personal— 1 site, $99/year
  • Plus—5 sites, $149/year
  • Professional—Unlimited sites, $249/year
  • Ultimate— Unlimited sites, $499 lifetime license, and support

The first two plans mostly only differ in the number of supported sites.

The Professional plan also gets you add-ons like Site Creation. It allows drip content, WooCommerce Support, email marketing integrations, and more. The Ultimate plan is basically the lifetime subscription for the Professional plan.

Personal and Plus plans work if you only need a basic plugin. Then again, you might as well use the WordPress subscription plugin for free. The only difference is the support.

You should go for at least the Professional plan to experience the full power of RCP. And if you can cover the Ultimate membership, you’ll never have to make another payment again. Either way, the price for the subscriptions is more than fair.

Verdict

Restrict Content Pro is a decent plugin with a few unique features. It’s flexible, though it lacks a few integrations. Considering it offers unlimited subscriptions, it’s definitely worth it.

WishList Member
WishList Member
WishList Member

BEST INTEGRATIONS

Starting at
$ 147 /yr
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 7/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: 25 gateways
  • INTEGRATIONS: 50+ integrations
  • FREE PLAN: No
  • Great features
  • Onboarding options
  • A host of integrations
  • Advanced automation
  • 25 payment gateways
  • Multisite licenses get more affordable on renewal
  • Limited reporting

What Is Wishlist Member?

Wishlist Member is one of the older plugins in the game. It played the sidelines for a while, but it got a complete revamp in 2019. It’s among the most powerful WordPress members plugin today.

Here’s why:

Wishlist Member Best Features

Wishlist Member starts you with standard features. You can create unlimited membership levels, free, trial, and paid subscriptions, restrict pages, posts, custom page types, and categories.You can have visitors pay per post. Prorated upgrades are an option as well.

You get all sorts of options for content dripping, scheduling, and archiving. You can make sure members see the right content at the right time.

Content Triggers and Sneak Peek

The so-called triggers are a unique feature. You can automate certain actions whenever a condition is met. For instance, Wishlist Member can create a new web page every time a WordPress website membership is purchased. It can fill the page out with custom member data and include onboarding info. Great for personalizing your service.

One nice addition is the sneak peek tool. You can let the site partially display protected pieces of content to new visitors. It can hook users into paying to see the full piece.

The advanced automation options can save you a bunch of time and add all sorts of complex functions.

Reporting

Unfortunately, the reporting is kind of bland. You can view basic stats on the number of members. However, there is no financial info or member churn data. If you need more robust reporting for a larger site, I suggest looking at MemberPress.

Otherwise, the WP membership plugin has a solid offer. 

Integrations and Payment Gateways

This is where Wishlist Member really shines.

It supports 25 gateways, including big ones like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, ClickBank, and WooCommerce Payments. You’d be hard-pressed to find a plugin that supports more gateways out-of-the-box.

The plugin has 50+ more integrations available.

It works with a range of shopping carts. Think WooCommerce, ThriveCart, Easy Digital Downloads, SamCart, InfusionSoft, UltraCart, and many others. It’s one of the broadest offers if you want to sell products or use a different shopping cart.

You can use 14 autoresponders with your WordPress club membership plugin. The available ones include AWeber, Convertkit, Drip, Active Campaign, MailChimp, and others.

If you want to set up an affiliate program, you can do it via bbPress, Vanilla Forums, or SimplePress.

The tool lets you integrate webinars into your membership website. It’s a fantastic choice if you want to add courses or training materials but don’t want a full-on LMS plugin. Wishlist Member supports some of the leading webinar platforms, like EasyWebinar, GoToWebinar, and Evergreen Business System.

If you want to specialize in e-learning and restrict access to courses, you can use WPCourseware, LearnDash, or ProgressAlly. All fantastic options, though LearnDash already doubles as a WordPress membership plugin.

Wishlist Member User Reviews

WishList Member mostly enjoys positive reviews. Users say the features are great and that the plugin delivers on what’s promised.

There are a few complaints about the extension being tough to use. Admittedly, the initial setup can be time-consuming. However, there are decent learning materials and onboarding to help you get up and running.

Wishlist Member Pricing

Wishlist Member has three plans. The features are the same across the board, and you can install all integrations for free. The only difference is how many installations the WordPress membership site plugin supports.

  • 1 Site—$147
  • 3 Sites—$197
  • 10 Sites—$297

All plans renew at $147/year, so the multisite licenses actually get more affordable. You only have to pay up more in the beginning.

There is no free version. If you are unsatisfied, you can invoke the money-back guarantee within 30 days. 

The pricing is fair, especially in the long-term.

Verdict

Wishlist Member has good features that can work for most membership sites. It’s also the best membership plugin for WordPress in terms of integrations.

LearnDash
LearnDash
LearnDash

BEST LEARNING PLATFORM

Starting at
$ 159 /yr
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 9/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout
  • INTEGRATIONS: Decent, but few autoresponders
  • FREE PLAN: No
  • Fantastic for course-building
  • Powerful content restriction
  • Easy management
  • Great reporting
  • Multiple-instructor features
  • Limited mailing add-ons

What Is LearnDash?

LearnDash is not strictly a membership plugin, but it combines a learning management system with membership features. In other words, it specializes in selling courses.

Let’s see if the combo works:

LearnDash Best Features 

LearnDash is primarily an education platform. You get powerful options for building courses using drag-and-drop, setting up videos, and even quizzing the audience. You can give out badges and certificates, have a gradebook, and set up user profiles.

Course-oriented

LeanDash is one of the top course or training plugins here, but that’s not the only thing of interest. It’s also among the best membership plugins for WordPress.

You can restrict access to just about any course. The user would come to your site, pay for it, and be able to watch.

LearnDash adds so-called Groups, which are membership levels. You can set up multiple ones and specify which content each one can access. Each group can have an admin. They can serve as a sort of instructor managing the courses and adding new materials.

There is an option to drip-feed content based on when the subscriber signed up. You can set up course prerequisites, so a member cannot attend a course before finishing the previous one.

Subscription Options and User Management

Members can pay a one-time fee, or you can run a subscription-based site. Of course, the WordPress membership software has all the options for running discounts, selling bundles, or allowing universal access.

With all that, you’ll need some way to keep an eye on your audience. That’s why the Plus and Pro plans come with the ProPanel add-on.

Aside from being a dashboard for easy management, ProPanel lets you keep track of key stats. You can see how many subscribers you have, their course progress, time spent on a course, quiz results, etc. You have the option to view how users interact with courses in real-time. The reporting is fantastic for getting the most out of your courses in the long run.

Integrations and Payment Gateways

The WordPress role manager plugin only allows three payment gateways. PayPal is supported by default, and you can integrate Stripe or 2Checkout. The most popular gateways are supported, but it would be nice to see a few alternatives.

The mailing add-ons are kind of scarce too, with only MailChimp and ConvertKit available.

There are a few good options if you want one of the most powerful shopping carts. LearnDash supports WooCommerce, SamCart, and EasyDigitalDownloads—all reliable.

You get standard useful integrations like bbPress for forums, BuddyPress for community building, and Slack for collaboration.

The Multiple Instructor add-on is a great way to let other users host courses on your site. You can set up a website akin to Udemy. LeanDash is one of the few WordPress membership site plugins that allow this advanced setup.

You can use Zapier to send LearnDash member data to numerous other apps.

If all of that is not enough, LearnDash endorses many third-party plugins. You can add functionality like notetaking, upsells, Salesforce CRM, and much more.

The integrations are good, but not all are free. Most paid ones are at least $29/year, so the costs can pile up. You should do some planning before committing to a setup.

LearnDash User Reviews

For the most part, LearnDash reviews on sites like G2 and Reddit are positive. If you want to host a learning website, the application certainly gets the job done.

Most complaints are about it not being that user-friendly. The plugin is designed to be a powerful and scalable WordPress membership software, so there are numerous options to work with. If you want to build a simple website and don’t care about micromanaging your setup, you can pick one of the more straightforward plugins.

If you appreciate the extra control, though, LearnDash can provide.

LearnDash Pricing

There are three LearnDash plans:

  • Basic—$159/year, 1-website license
  • Plus—$189/year, 10-website license
  • Pro—$329/year, 25-website license

All three plans come with the same features. The only thing the Basic plan doesn’t allow is the ProPanel. It’s a bit annoying, as ProPanel simplifies management, but most users will be able to get by without it.

There is no free trial. However, you get a 30-day money-back period.

Verdict

LearnDash qualifies as the best membership plugin for WordPress and one of the leading LMS platforms. If you want to sell courses or let others sell their materials on your website, it’s one of the most advanced systems.

WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships

BEST FOR WOOCOMMERCE

Starting at
$ 199 /yr
  • MEMBERSHIP FEATURES: 8/10
  • PAYMENT GATEWAYS: Numerous
  • INTEGRATIONS: Many integrations
  • FREE PLAN: No
  • Works smoothly with WooCommerce
  • Lots of available member perks
  • Decent integrations
  • Easy setup
  • Many payment gateways
  • No multisite licensing
  • Pricey

What Is WooCommerce Memberships?

WooCommerce Memberships was developed by SkyVerge. It is used to turn WooCommerce into a full-on membership site.

Here’s what comes included:

WooCommerce Memberships Best Features

WooCommerce Memberships is a plugin designed to work in conjunction with WooCommerce.

You can get started with basic features like restricting content and creating different subscription levels. A few more advanced options include assigning memberships manually or selling memberships as a part of a product. This is handy if you want to include user manuals or training courses with your products. Content drip options are available as well.

eCommerce-oriented Tools

Of course, the whole point of using a WordPress membership plugin with WooCommerce is selling products. You can do things like only allow customers to purchase (or see) specific products. You can also offer exclusive member-only discounts. There are options to include other perks, like better shipping conditions. It adds exclusivity to your ecommerce sites.

There are nice tools to keep track of individual members. You can even create notes associated with individual accounts and use them for later reference. You can use notes to send out emails to individual members.

You get useful features for adding membership functionality to your online store. A lot of the plugin’s power comes from its integrations, though, so let’s dig into those.

Integrations and Payment Gateways

For one, you can connect the WooCommerce members plugin to countless payment gateways. Think PayPal, Braintree, Square, Amazon Pay, AliPay, and a bunch of others.

There is a solid integration with WooCommerce Subscriptions. It allows recurring payments, with all sorts of billing periods, trials, subscription expirations, and automatic renewals. Clients can easily manage their subscription plans, pause memberships, upgrade, downgrade, and cross-grade between memberships.

There is a native integration for MailChimp and Jilt. WooCommerce Memberships also works with AWeber.

You can get a Teams add-on as well. It lets you sell group subscriptions, manage group accounts, and let account owners manage subscriptions under their account.

The WordPress membership plugin for WooCommerce can work with many apps through WooCommerce. It adds dozens of features for interacting with customers, customizing your checkout, managing your store, getting reports, and much more. You can even connect your entire setup with hundreds of other apps via Zapier.

WooCommerce Memberships User Reviews

WooCommerce Memberships sports positive user reviews, most of which are on the official WooCommerce site. Users like that the plugin is easy to integrate and that the dev team provides excellent support.

The few negative comments are about WooCommerce Memberships charging for add-ons despite being expensive. It is a bit of a con if you need premium options for things like subscription payments. The best WordPress subscribe plugins cover them for free.

It takes a bit of foresight to figure out if WooCommerce Memberships fits your budget, but the plugin works well.

WooCommerce Memberships Pricing

WooCommerce Memberships only has one pricing plan. You get all the features for $199/year – kind of pricy for a single-site license.

WooCommerce Memberships has no multisite licensing. There is also no free trial. You can get a full refund for the first 30 days of using the plugin.

Verdict

WooCommerce Memberships is a great WordPress plugin for membership management. Its main advantage is letting buyers become members of your club and getting various perks. Admittedly, there are more powerful options to build an entire setup from scratch. If you just need an easy way to engage users on an existing WooCommerce site, it can be a solid asset.

Great WMPs that Didn’t Make the Cut

  • S2Member—S2Member is an excellent plugin with a solid free tier. Still, a complicated setup and clunky designs put it a bit behind other solutions.
  • aMember Pro—aMemberPro is easy to integrate into existing sites and plays well with ecommerce platforms. However, options are limited, so it didn’t make it to the best WordPress membership plugins.
  • ARMember—ARMember is an ambitious plugin I’d love to recommend. However, it is relatively fresh, so it is a bit behind tried-and-true systems. It will be nice to follow its development.
  • WP-MembersWP-Members is good but includes a few unique advantages. It does the job, but I can’t recommend it over more powerful tools.
  • Teachable—Teachable works well enough as an LMS, so it’s excellent for selling courses. However, it doesn’t have the traditional content restriction features. There are more suitable options.

How to Use a WordPress Membership Plugin

WordPress does have some membership site features by default—like letting visitors create accounts on your website. This alone isn’t enough to build a full-on membership site.

As you can probably guess, WordPress membership plugins let you set up a subscription site on WordPress.

In case you’re unfamiliar with them, those are websites that lock member-only content. The content can be anything, really. Website owners usually host articles, video tutorials, podcasts, courses, downloadables, training programs, or even entire online stores. You can even grant special perks —for instance, discount codes on your products.

WordPress member sites can come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why there are dozens of plugins you can use. You should just install your preferred one and enable member registration. Some options also require SSL to work correctly.

Once installed, the plugin usually creates a separate tab in the WordPress backend. You can configure various user roles, prices for each tier, payment models, etc.

Once that’s done, you should pick which content to restrict. This is usually as simple as adding a tag to the right pages.

You would have to tinker a bit more with the configuration if you want to use advanced features like content dripping or integrating third-party services.

That said, the setup is intuitive with the right solution. Using a WordPress membership plugin is one of the easiest ways to set up a subscription website and start making an income.

How to Choose a WordPress Membership Plugin?

If it’s your first membership site, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are many tools to pick from, all with different features and pricing models.

Worry not; I’ll tell you what to look for.

General Use vs. Specialized Plugins

This is a significant split among membership extensions. Most plugins, like MemberPress, are flexible. They let you restrict any type of post or page or allow you to put a lock on any section of content.

With the right integrations, general WP member plugins can work for anyone. These solutions are decent if you want something easy to implement with room to potentially pivot.

On the other hand, there are a few good specialized plugins. Most focus on letting you sell courses and learning materials as LearnDash does. Those are less flexible, true, but the features usually go more in-depth. They can work if you have a specific type of website in mind.

Both are solid options, so it depends if you need advanced features for your niche.

Free vs. Paid

Most WordPress subscription payment plugins are either full-on paid or freemium, meaning they have a free tier but can be upgraded.

Free plugins are good enough for setting up simple memberships and charging for access. However, they usually lack advanced features, like complex membership systems, mailing plugins, content personalization, etc.

Free plugins are sufficient for taking it slow and seeing what you can build before upgrading. Just make sure you can get everything you need in the paid plan.

If you want to build a robust site immediately, you might want to go for a premium plugin right off the bat.

Features

Good extensions are usually feature-packed, so it’s tough to say which is the best membership plugin for WordPress.

It’s worth considering what kind of website you want to build. 

Do you want to build a community? 

Then you’ll probably want to create user profiles and use a forum integration. Consider drip content, save sales through downsells, etc. It can also be a good idea to find a site similar to what you want and make a list of features it uses. 

From there, you can cross-reference your list to what the plugin includes.

Integrations

No software can handle everything. That’s why you should hook up your WordPress membership site to third-party apps for extra functionality.

The two big categories are payment gateways and autoresponders.

The payment gateways are a way to process payments. Most plugins don’t support that many options for that. If you’re interested in one with a choice of processors, you can go for Wishlist Member. Alternatively, integrate your plugin with a shopping cart software that supports its own set of processors.

Mailing integrations are very useful. You need a way to communicate with users, send them relevant info, and bring them back to your website. Not to mention you’ll want to set up automatic notifications for when your users need to renew their subscription to your WP membership site.

You should look into other integrations too. Popular choices include webinar integrations, Slack, CRM software, push notification systems, shopping carts, and affiliate programs.

Compatibility

Most plugins today are well-coded, so they rarely interfere with themes or other plugins.

That said, it’s still worth checking if your desired WordPress membership plugin would prevent you from using something else. Most commonly, speed optimization add-ons can break membership sites. Also, many work with WordPress but not WooCommerce.

You usually won’t have compatibility issues, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.

Cost of Ownership

You don’t want the costs of running a plugin to be too high.

The cost of the subscription is one thing to consider. Also, the price of paid add-ons. Make sure to have your budget worked out before you settle on a solution.

Consider if you custom coding for your WordPress member site. The most common example is custom CSS for your landing page since the default ones can be quite bland. Simple work like that shouldn’t be too pricy, but everything is worth adding to the balance sheet.

Once you are sure you can build a profitable site, it should be easy to pick a plugin that fits the bill.

Wrap Up

Congratulations! Now you know how to use WP Membership plugins and which ones are the best.

Are you ready to take your website to the next level? Choose from the best-rated tools on my list and get started.

FAQ

What is WordPress MemberPress?

MemberPress is one of the most powerful subscription plugins. You can use it to restrict access to premium content and have users pay for it. It is incredibly feature-rich and easy to use, and it is one of the all-around best WordPress membership software. If you’d like to learn more, check out the in-depth MemberPress review above. 

What is the best WordPress membership plugin?

One of our favorites because of its powerful features and flexibility is MemberPress. It offers all the essentials and doesn’t lack important options. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to scroll up to its review above.

Is Ultimate Member plugin free?

Ultimate Member is a freemium solution. You can get the free tier and use core features like content restriction. It’s entirely enough to build a membership website.

The Premium subscription plan comes with extra extensions and support from the plugin creators. You’ll get various integrations, terms and conditions forms, social login widgets, private messages, etc. This tier would cost you $249/year.

So, you can use Ultimate Member as a free WordPress subscription plugin, but the paid plan comes with more advanced features.

What is the best free membership plugin for WordPress?

There are a few good options. Both Restrict Content Pro and WishList Member let you use all the core features for free indefinitely. But choose them only if you need basic restriction tools. 

How do I create a membership site on WordPress?

There are a few ways to go about it, but the most popular is using a membership plugin. Such solutions let you restrict content, set up membership areas and profiles, and design everything from landing pages to checkout systems. If you’re interested, you can check out our picks for the best membership plugin for WordPress above.