WordPress Membership Plugins can turn a good website into a fantastic and genuinely useful one, but with so many options out there, which WordPress membership plugin should you pick for your site? Well, luckily for you, we’ve taken the guesswork out of it. Below we’ve dissected 7 of the best WordPress membership plugins to help you make the right decision.
The best WordPress Membership Plugins
1) Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a titan in the WordPress Membership Plugins space. Created by the same team behind Easy Digital Downloads, this plugin is quite similar to MemberPress as it is relatively easy to use, install and maintain, however, RCP does have a few negatives. Most notably, many necessary features are locked behind more expensive versions of the program. So, while it may seem cheap at first at $99/year, you might have to pay $249/year to get the features you want. Overall though, if you can afford it, RCP is a great choice for installing membership features onto your site.
- Offer a lifetime option for $499, which it’s great if you build websites for customers
- Relatively easy to set-up and use
- Managed by a well-known and broadly successful team
- Strong list of features
- Extreme flexibility in billing, granting some payment management options not offered by other plugins
- Very lightweight plugin
- Many features are locked behind one of the most expensive versions of the plugin
- Some minor issues with integration with other plugins and WordPress
- Basic: $99/year
- All features: $249/year
- Lifetime: $499
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Though LearnDash doesn’t exactly belong to the WordPress Membership Plugins category (it’s designed more as a Learning Management System), it does still contain many of the characteristics of this group. LearnDash also contains plenty of specific features that make it incredibly easy to use as an LMS such as the ability to easily implement a reward system for completing courses, allowing for easy distribution of certificates, points or other awards. LearnDash is the membership plugin you want if you’re facilitating learning to your members.
- Easy to use and implement
- Very functional and dynamic reward system for members
- Used by major institutions such as the Universities of Florida, Michigan and Washington
- Intuitive membership groups system that allows the implementation of group leaders to manage progress throughout courses (note: managing course progress is not done by any other LMS plugins and is a terrific feature)
- Flexibility and options in communications that allow you to message specific classes or courses with ease
- Focused on being an LMS, so it’s not the best choice for sites not focused on education or courses
- Basic: $199/year
- All features: $229/year
Overall: 7/10 (but a strong 10/10 for education sites!)
MemberPress is one of the most popular WordPress Membership Plugins, and it certainly lives up to the hype. MemberPress is a relatively simple and easy to use plugin that packs a big punch with regards to the features it comes with. While there are a few negatives such as the price point and the scalability of the features, this plugin is certainly a great choice for general use.
- Relatively easy to set up, allowing for very quick implementation
- Simple to use and maintain
- Simple integration with a current WordPress site and other plugins
- Great list of features in all versions of the plugin
- Extremely powerful access rules
- Smooth online user account management, reducing the need for manual support
- Responsive and extremely helpful customer support
- Somewhat expensive with the cheapest version costing $258/year
- Some features are not easily scaled up, such as drip-feeding content and protecting a significant number of pages
- Basic: $258/year
- All features: $698/year
Overall Score: 9.0/10
4) WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce memberships is a great plugin for managing memberships of websites already utilizing WooCommerce. While other plugins such as RCP and MemberPress also offer WooCommerce integration, as the name would suggest, nothing integrates quite as well with WooCommerce as WooCommerce Memberships. WooCommerce Memberships is great if you want to sell products only to certain members or assign rewards for purchasing items.
- Straightforward to use and implement
- High flexibility allows you to sell or show products only to certain members
- Assign rewards (such as discounts or better shipping options) to members based on the total amount purchased or other metrics, incentivizing spending and rewarding loyal customers
- Easy implementation for free trial options (including the ability to customize which level of membership the free trial is for!)
- Lacking in some broader membership plugin features
- All features (1 site): $149/year
- All features (25 sites): $249/year
Overall Score: 7.5/10 (but 9.5/10 for implementation on an existing WooCommerce site)
5) Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscriptions is another great choice for implementation with an existing WooCommerce site. Paid Member Subscriptions, as the name suggests, is a WordPress membership plugin focused on managing subscription-based memberships. It integrates well with already set-up WordPress sites and has many similar features to WooCommerce Memberships such as the ability to restrict product viewing and purchasing to certain membership groups. This plugin, similarly to RCP, does, however, lock some essential features (such as the ability to drip-feed content) behind more expensive versions of the plugin. That considered, this premium version is still significantly cheaper than comparable versions of RCP.
- Offer a Lifetime version for $429
- Easy to install and use
- Awesome integration with WooCommerce, though not as flawless as WooCommerce Memberships
- Powerful list of features, especially for managing subscription-based membership
- Unrivaled ability to analyze and export data on trends in membership, great for analyzing exactly how you can improve
- Some essential features are hidden behind more expensive versions of the plugin
- Basic: $69/year
- All features: $149/year
- Lifetime: $429
Overall Score: 7.5/10 (9/10 for implementation on an existing WooCommerce site)
6) Ultimate Member – User Profile & Membership
Ultimate Member is another great option in the WordPress Membership Plugins space. While it comes with many of the basic features of other plugins, there is one area where this plugin really stands out from the crowd; its member directories. Member directories allow members to search for and find other members based on certain criteria. This feature is incredibly useful in some situations and puts Ultimate Member head and shoulders above the rest for sites where user interaction is key.
- Simple to set-up and use
- Automated communication with members based on actions
- Powerful features for managing and restricting access
- Member directories make this plugin a must for sites where inter-user interaction is required
- Provides a great way to create a community online
- Some limitations with basic restriction of content such as protecting posts based on categories
- Basic: $99/year
- All features: $299/year
Overall Score: 8/10 (10/10 for sites where inter-user interaction is key)
7) Simple Membership
Finally, we have Simple Membership. Simple Membership is, as the name suggests, a beautifully simple way of implementing membership features onto existing WordPress sites. This plugin is incredibly easy to install, set up and maintain and automatically handles some of the more painful parts of managing membership on a website, and best of all, it is free! This plugin is aimed at reducing the stress of managing a website with memberships and is a great choice if you’re looking for a plugin that can be easily implemented and then left to work on its own, with minimal adjustments. This plugin does, however, have a few limitations with regards to more advanced features such as lacking automated communication with specific member groups and other more specific, niche features.
- Free other than add-ons (though many add-ons are also free!)
- Incredibly easy installation and maintenance, perfect for the average user trying to implement simple membership features
- Automatically handles tedious membership chores such as changing of passwords etc.
- Can be largely left to run with minimal adjustments
- All basic and necessary membership plugin features
- Lacking many of the advanced and more specific features of other plugins
- Leaves a little to be desired with customisability
- Basic: Free!
- All features: Some add-ons are paid, though most are free.
Overall Score: 7/10 (though the ease of use cannot be overstated!)
Want to read more? Check out The Best Optimization Plugins for WordPress!