Looking for the best membership plugin for WordPress?
Choosing the right plugin to build your membership site makes a huge difference when it comes to growing your business and making more money online.
We’ve tested some of the most popular membership plugins available on the market.
In this article, we’ll discuss the highlight features of the best membership plugins so you can make an informed decision and pick the right plugin to start your membership site.
Quick Comparison of Best WordPress Membership Plugins
Before we dive into our full membership plugin review, here’s a side-by-side comparison of our favorite WordPress membership plugins covered in this post:
|MemberPress||$179.50/yr||Beginners, multiple income streams|
|Thrive Apprentice||$149/yr||Enterprise-level sites|
|MemberMouse||$199.50/yr||Simple membership online courses|
|aMember Pro||$149/lifetime||MemberPress alternative|
|LearnDash||$199/yr||Full Learning Management System|
|s2Member||$89/lifetime||Advanced users, physical products|
|WooCommerce Memberships||$199/yr||Established WooCommerce stores|
|Restrict Content Pro||$99/yr||Bloggers and other publishers|
|Paid Memberships Pro||$247/yr||Subscription-based businesses|
You can learn about the highlight features of these plugins by reading on below.
Best Membership Plugin for WordPress
Now, let’s take a look at the top WordPress membership plugins so you can decide which one is right for you.
In This Article
MemberPress is one of the easiest to use WordPress membership plugins out there. It comes with a ton of features and integrates seamlessly with WordPress, so you can turn your website into a powerful membership site with ease.
Plus, it’s the best alternative to MemberMouse and ARMember on the market. We were super impressed with MemberPress’s range of features and flexibility.
You can use it to create a full-fledged members-only site that’s accessible to subscribers, add a paywall for restricted content on specific sections of your site, and even sell courses.
MemberPress offers a built-in Courses addon that turns it into a Learning Management System so you can create, manage, and sell online courses. You can use the drag and drop builder to easily build your course curriculum, automatically style your course with Classroom Mode, track learners’ progress, and more.
We built a simple course page on a very plain WordPress theme, and it still looked absolutely fantastic!
To summarize, there’s a lot to admire about MemberPress.
- Easy Setup — To get started all you need to do is install the plugin, configure your payment gateways, create different membership levels, and add some products. Then, start inviting people to join.
- Content Restriction — Restrict user access to pages, posts, custom post types, categories, tags, and much more. Maintain control over what members can see using customizable membership plans.
- Course Builder — Create courses that mimic the style and functionality of professional online course platforms like Udemy and Coursera.
- Integrations — MemberPress integrates with popular email marketing services such as AWeber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, MadMimi, and GetResponse. You can also integrate with BuddyPress for creating a forum, and Amazon Web Services for organizing and growing your business.
- Widgets — Login widgets for sidebars to make it easy for your members to sign in.
- Payment Gateways — MemberPress supports both PayPal and Stripe payment gateways. The Pro and Plus plans also support Authorize.net.
- Documentation — Tons of helpful walkthrough tutorials.
And using MemberPress, you’ll also enjoy features such as coupon generation, dynamic pricing, content dripping, and detailed analytics for monitoring the success of your membership site.
Overall, MemberPress is our favorite membership plugin for WordPress.
Tip: If you’re having difficulty with MemberPress email notifications going to spam, here’s an article on how to fix MemberPress not sending email that’ll help.
Cost: Pricing for MemberPress paid plans starts at $179.50/year for a single site license.
Plugins by Thrive Themes are always incredibly flexible and give you outstanding customization freedom. Thrive Apprentice is no different. It’s a powerful membership plugin and course builder that lets you create courses, assessments, and other course-related products using a highly customizable visual editor.
It’s perfect for offering instructional content to your users. You can see all your members’ information in an easy-to-read dashboard, create custom content dripping schedules, and more.
When it comes to custom course, building Thrive Apprentice gives you tons of options. You can choose how to divide up your classes, what format they’re available in (text, video, or audio), and whether you want to include additional downloadable materials and certificates.
We had a fantastic experience using the course builder from the backend. When you’re creating a course for the first time, Thrive Apprentice walks you through all the steps with a user-friendly setup wizard.
Our favorite feature offered by Thrive Apprentice is content drip. This allows you to drip feed your course content to customers over a specific period of time or by using other user actions as triggers.
It’s a powerful way to keep your customers intrigued with the promise of upcoming content that will only be released in time.
- User Friendly — Thrive Apprentice is beginner friendly and even provides a handy setup wizard to walk you through the process of creating your first course.
- Content Dripping — Set a custom schedule to determine when students can access new lessons. You can even create multiple schedules for the same course or use trigger actions to personalize the experience.
- Member Management Dashboard — Keep track of all your members from the member dashboard and easily set access rules for individual users.
- Visual Course Builder — Create unique online courses with ease using the drag-and-drop course builder. It comes with over 55 templates.
- Personalized Content — Use conditional display rules to show different courses to different types of users and increase your engagement rates.
- Reports — Measure course performance with enrollments, completion, average course progress, and more.
We strongly recommend Thrive Apprentice as one of the most feature-rich membership plugins for WordPress.
Cost: Thrive Apprentice starts at $149/year.
MemberMouse is a popular enterprise-level membership plugin. It offers lots of advanced features for creating gated content, managing your members, and generating revenue. Although it’s not as beginner-friendly as MemberPress or Thrive Apprentice, it can be a great solution for large membership sites.
The one area where MemberMouse really stands out is its advanced analytics features. It generates charts to illustrate important metrics like total members, retention, engagement, average customer value, and more in an easy-to-understand way.
We were also very glad to find convenient features like push notifications, which can be really handy for admins. You can use create various kinds of notifications that trigger when a new member is added, a membership level is changed for a user, a refund is issued, and so on. These allow you and your team to immediatley learn of user events as they happen.
MemberMouse also integrates with popular payment gateways and email marketing platforms as well. Plus, you can offer prorated upgrades and upsells to your members to increase your revenue.
- Create Multiple Membership Levels — Set up different types of memberships with increasing price ranges.
- Content Protection — Lock content for non-members or members who don’t have the right subscription.
- Content Dripping — Release content on a pre-set schedule.
- One-Time Product Sales — Sell physical products in addition to your membership subscriptions.
- Advanced Member Dashboard — Manage your members and view advanced analytics right in your WordPress admin dashboard.
We rate MemberMouse highly for its excellent range of features. The only minor drawback is that it’s a bit more expensive than alternatives like Thrive Apprentice and MemberPress.
Cost: MemberMouse starts at $199.50/year.
4. aMember Pro
aMember Pro is another featured-packed membership plugin designed to help you create any type of membership site you want. Keep in mind that it’s not a native WordPress membership plugin (which may cause some compatibility issues with your plugins and theme). And despite its somewhat dated interface, this solution makes it easy to create a fully functioning membership site.
- Multi-Level Memberships — Create unlimited membership levels, add as many products as you want, and set dynamic prices for products and subscriptions for WordPress users to pick from.
- Complete Member Management — Manage members in the easy to access admin panel. Add, edit, or delete customers and their subscriptions. View detailed reports and run batch operations, saving yourself tons of time and hassle.
- Integrated Modules — Modules in aMember Pro include an email newsletter optin, a helpdesk, affiliate management, and a shopping cart, plus many more.
- Automated Processes — Save time by automating customer signups. Set the product and payment gateways to offer during the initial sign up and let aMember Pro do the rest.
And with aMember Pro, you’ll also get membership features like access to dozens of payment gateways, content dripping, and coupon codes. On top of that, it has 6 translations (German, Spanish, Greek, Russian, French, and Chinese) for both the admin interface and the frontend of your site.
Cost: The cost of aMember Pro is a one-time payment of $149 which gives you access to support and updates for up to 6 months.
LearnDash is a WordPress membership and popular LMS plugin designed to help you create and sell online courses on your website. It’s an extremely easy-to-use tool that comes with lots of integrations, membership modules, and powerful administration capabilities.
- Advanced Course Builder — If selling online courses is the main goal of your membership site, LearnDash has you covered. Their drag and drop course builder lets you create multi-layer courses with categories, lessons, topics, assignments, and quizzes.
- Easy Payment Structure — You create any pricing model you want, which includes one-time sales, subscriptions, and membership bundles. You can also use any of 300+ available payment gateways. Which is great since the goal here is to generate the most money and make the process super easy on your users.
- Comprehensive Member Management — You have complete control over your students as they progress through courses. Features include frontend user profiles for users, detailed reporting, and automatic email notifications to encourage engagement.
- Advanced Technology — LearnDash supports the latest technology and it’s WordPress multisite compatible. Use this membership plugin on any WordPress theme, without the need to code. Plus, insert tons of different media types and know your courses will look great on mobile devices.
Also, additional features in LearnDash include drip content, forums, restrict content, and the ability to award learners with certificates and badges.
Cost: Pricing for LearnDash starts at $199/year for a single site license.
Teachable is an all-in-one platform that lets you create and sell online courses with a few simple clicks. It comes with built-in member management, payment gateways, and even sales and marketing tools to help you grow your business fast.
- Membership Site Design — Create a stunning membership site with Teachable using their built-in customization tools. Add video, images, text, audio, and PDF files with ease. Plus, use the drag and drop builder to create new pages. You can use Teachable’s domain, a subdomain connecting to your site, or work with your existing WordPress website’s domain.
- Learning Tools — Create quizzes, surveys, and discussion forums for students. In addition, integrate with Zapier to connect to nearly every known support tool to stay organized and on track. Lastly, issue course completion certificates as people progress through your programs.
- Marketing Tools — With Teachable, you can easily incentivize people with coupons or promotions. Also, you can start your own affiliate program and create fully customized sales landing pages. On top of that, you can define varying prices such as one-time, membership subscriptions (recurring), or bundled services.
- Easy Member Management — Take advantage of the useful dashboard for monitoring members. You can access detailed analytics about signups, membership types, and revenue. Plus, you can even give others access to create courses and manage students.
And with Teachable, you’ll also get features such as flexible drip content functionality and international payment gateways and multiple currency acceptance. Plus, it offers automated email marketing to boost engagement and segment users.
Cost: Teachable paid plans at $39/month billed annually.
S2Member is a WordPress membership plugin that comes packed full of features. However, it’s not beginner-friendly. That said, once you get the hang of it, s2Member is a powerful membership plugin for selling physical and digital products.
And it’s a free WordPress membership plugin, which makes it a great alternative to WP-Members or Ultimate Member.
- Registration Flexibility — s2Member can restrict registrations to paying customers. Or, allow open registrations so free subscribers can create accounts too. This way you can limit your content the way you want and for who you want.
- Content Restriction — Restrict access to entire posts, pages, categories, tags, and more. Or, lock portions of content to encourage people to join your membership site. Using s2Member’s simple shortcode conditionals, you can restrict content in creative ways that boost signups and retain existing users.
- Email Marketing — Customize transactional emails such as signup confirmations, upgrade/downgrade actions, and checkout behavior. Add customer names for a personalized touch and include all transaction details for your customer’s records. Plus, integrate with email service providers Mailchimp, AWeber, and GetResponse.
- Multiple Membership Levels — Create 4 membership levels with the free version of s2member. With the pro version of this WordPress membership plugin, you can have an unlimited number of users.
In addition, s2member offers site owners features like popular payment gateway integrations and brute force attack monitoring. It’s also got bbPress and BuddyPress support, content dripping, and coupon/gift card redemption functionality.
Cost: S2member’s free plugin doesn’t cost anything. If you want additional features, the premium version of s2member is available for a one-time fee of $89 for a single site license.
But, it’s not an all-in-one solution since you’ll have to use WooCommerce Subscriptions to accept recurring payments for paid member subscriptions on your site. However, it does give you the ability to create locked content and products.
- Membership Flexibility — Since memberships are created separately from your WooCommerce products, so you have the flexibility to create different kinds of memberships. This includes standalone products, part of a product purchase, or as a monthly or yearly subscription. You can even assign memberships manually as part of an invite-only members area (exclusive to members only).
- Content Dripping — Easily schedule when members see you content as part of a drip campaign. Restrict access to WordPress posts or pages so you can control how members use your site. You can even set up a free trial and then lock content when the trial periods are over and require payment to continue accessing it.
- Member Rewards — Those paying for access to your WooCommerce shop and content are often your most loyal customers. Extend free shipping and other special discounts to people that are a part of your membership site. Then, require non-members to meet certain criteria, such as having a coupon or a minimum order amount.
- Easy Member Management — WooCommerce Memberships makes managing memberships easy for both site owners and their users. So members can view their accessible content, discover future access dates, and see all details regarding their membership status in the exclusive Members Area.
And you’ll also get features like the ability to export member information into email marketing tools and communicate with members by sharing notes you’ve created.
Cost: WooCommerce Memberships starts at $199/year for a single site license.
Restrict Content Pro is a lightweight WordPress membership plugin that gives you all the features you need to create a full-featured membership site.
- Built-In Payment Integrations — Restrict Content Pro comes with popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, and Authorize.net.
- Easy to Use — It’s built to work seamlessly with the WordPress interface. So it works perfectly with all WordPress themes and plugins. It’s easy to use so even beginners can figure it out quickly.
- Flexible Subscription Levels — Create any number of subscription levels and assign them a price, optional signup fee, frequency, and a user role that members will receive when they register for your membership site. Members can easily upgrade and downgrade, and new subscriptions will be prorated automatically.
- Promotional Tools — Give your registered users exclusive discount codes to use on their subscriptions when they register for your membership site. So you can create an unlimited number of discounts, set them up as a flat rate discount or a percentage, set expiration dates, and even limit the number of uses.
Restrict Content Pro also comes with great features like a comprehensive customer dashboard and detailed earnings reports. Plus, the ability to export member data to 3rd-party tools as well as automated emails sent out based on member behavior.
Cost: Pricing for Restrict Content Pro starts at $99/year for a single site license and includes dozens of free addons.
Bonus Pick: Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is an awesome membership plugin that can be totally customized to fit your business’s needs. We’ve included it as a bonus pick because of its built-in payment tools.
- 1-Click — Comes with 1-click add on installation and updates.
- Support — Includes unlimited support tickets and access to helpful customer service.
- Flexible Subscription Levels — Unlimited membership levels with flexible membership pricing options.
- Built-In Payment Integrations — Has 6 popular payment gateways included.
You can also find a great reporting dashboard, content access by levels, email notifications, and more with Paid Memberships Pro.
Cost: Pricing for Paid Memberships Pro starts at $247/year.
Which WordPress Membership Plugin Is the Best Choice For You?
After comparing the top WordPress membership plugins out there, we’ve found that MemberPress is the most comprehensive and easy-to-use solution, and one of the best WordPress plugins overall.
It offers plenty of payment gateway and email service integrations for a WordPress membership site. Plus, you can set up content dripping, create courses, and access detailed reporting so you can track your success.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to create advanced online courses for your membership site, Thrive Apprentice is probably the best option for you. It comes with a variety of templates for different types of course content, assessments, and quizzes. Plus, you can boost engagement and retention with easily configurable course content drips.
And for something that’s more lightweight and flexible, Restrict Content Pro is a great solution. You can create unlimited subscription levels, integrate with popular payment gateways, and export member data into other tools. That way, you can grow your business even faster.
Best Membership Plugins for WordPress FAQs
Is MemberPress free to use?
No, MemberPress is a premium plugin only. It doesn’t offer a free version. However, all paid plans are backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee, so you can try MemberPress completely risk-free.
What are the benefits of creating a membership website?
A membership site lets you monetize your site by limiting access to your site’s content to only paid users. This content can include downloads, forums, support, and more.
There are a lot of ways to make money online, but creating a membership website using a WordPress membership plugin is one of the most effective.
With a membership site, you can:
- Generate Steady Income — By requiring site visitors to pay for access to your membership site, you generate a consistent stream of recurring income that increases as more people register.
- Build a Bigger Email List — All small business owners look for ways to improve their email marketing strategies. And that all begins with building a bigger email list. Adding registered users to your email list helps keep your list full of active members that are more likely to respond (and convert) to your email campaigns.
- Deliver More Value — The great thing about creating a membership site is that the premium content you limit access to is evergreen, meaning it will be valuable to people forever. It’s also packed into one convenient location for everyone to see. You can easily build on that content to create even more value for your users, which will encourage them to continue paying you for access.
- Automation — Though you can continue to build on the content that you offer registered users, you don’t have to. If you do all the work upfront and create a membership site for your target audience to enjoy, you technically don’t ever have to do anything else. Unless you want to update content from time to time, the content on your membership does all the work for you.
Lastly, building a membership website will help you establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Providing high-quality content and requiring payment to access it shows that you’re an expert and you understand the value of what you know.
Do membership plugins allow one-time and recurring memberships?
Most membership site plugins will allow you to create a one-time subscription or a recurring membership. It’s best to research your options before choosing a plugin so you can be sure your preferred plugin includes that feature.
How do membership plugins compare to membership site builders?
Membership plugins give you more ability to customize, but they require you to have some technical skill and know-how. On the other hand, membership site builders are often easier to use, but don’t offer as many options for customization.
What should I consider for security measures with my membership site?
To keep your membership site secure, use SSL and strong passwords. It’s also a good idea to limit how many people have admin access to your site. Also be sure to keep on top of your site maintenance by keeping your WordPress core, theme, and plugins updated.
Next, Build a Custom Registration Form for Your Membership Site
We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress membership plugin for your needs. We think MemberPress is the best one out there.
Once you have set up your membership site, you’ll want to create custom user registration and user login forms. Our WPForms plugin can help with that.
The WPForms drag and drop form builder makes it easy to create a custom user registration form in just a few minutes when you get started with WPForms today.
And if you love comparison posts, make sure to check these ones out as well:
- WPForms vs Contact Form 7
- Wufoo vs WPForms (Compared)
- WPForms vs Tableau
- Formstack vs WPForms Comparison
- WPForms vs SurveyMonkey