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Are you thinking of building a snazzy members-only website? Want to share exclusive content with a select few? Maybe dish out premium perks to your most valued members?
Whether you already have an offline club or you’re just starting out building an online member base, there is a WordPress membership plugin built just for you. We’ve compiled a list of the six most popular and powerful WordPress membership plugins, each with their own area of specialty and functionality. These plugins range from FREE to more affordable than you’d think!
Read through the options below and choose the plugin that works best for your WordPress business. Then find out how Uncanny Automator can connect your favourite plugins and apps so you can spend more time serving your members and less time doing the grunt work.
Why You Should Start a Membership Website
Whether you already have an existing business or you’re building one from the digital foundations up to “the cloud”, memberships can help you get to the next level.
Build a Sense of Community
If you’re trying to grow your company, you’re also trying to grow your community—and memberships can help you. Offering memberships to your customers gives them a stronger sense of belonging so that they keep coming back—or simply never leave!
Bolster Your Brand
Membership plugins that grow your company can also help you shape your brand identity. Whether it’s intangible features like the design of your forums or physical products like members-only merchandise, you can use memberships to further build your brand.
Market to Your Members
Member lists and profiles are the best place to start your next advertising campaign. Build detailed member profiles so that you can tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to their specific wants, needs and tastes.
Earn a Steady Revenue Stream
Turn a steady stream of content into a steady stream of revenue. Subscriptions and recurring memberships give businesses a reliable revenue source so that they can continue to serve their customers. Ensure your members keep up their subscriptions with personalized content and watch your member list grow.
Once you’ve decided to start up a membership service, the only question that remains is, “How?” The answer to that question will depend on what type of memberships you’ll be offering. But we guarantee that there’s a plugin out there that will fit your needs like… well, like a plug in a socket!
MemberPress bills itself as the “all-in-one” membership plugin for WordPress—and with its bevy of powerful features, it’s easy to see why. With MemberPress, you can easily create and manage just about any type of membership website, from premium learning management systems to paywall restricted blogs. Additionally, MemberPress comes equipped with a payment gateway so you can start processing payments without any additional plugins or software.
MemberPress offers an exhaustive menu of features to make customizing and managing your WordPress membership website hassle-free. However, some of the more notable features include course creation, pricing pages, drip content, infinitely customizable access rules and seamless page builder integration (Divi and Elementor).
Click here and scroll down the page for a full list of features and integrations.
Who’s It For?
With so much flexibility in its features, it would be fair to call MemberPress the generalists’ membership plugin—if those generalists specialized in value. If you want to offer a wide range of membership benefits with various types of content, then MemberPress gives you the best bang for your buck. Similarly, if you’re just starting out and you need to grow your membership base and experiment with different models, you can do that with MemberPress in an economical way.
Considering how powerful MemberPress is, it is among the more economical options for WordPress users starting up a membership business. Annual plans start at only $179 for a single site.
However, seeing as though MemberPress doesn’t offer a free version, there is no cost-free way to get started. But there is a risk-free way to try out the “all-in-one” membership plugin as MemberPress offers a 14-day money back guarantee.
Click here for the latest MemberPress pricing.
2. LearnDash + BuddyBoss
LearnDash is the premier learning management system (LMS) for WordPress websites—with a few extra features packed in under the hood. As a dedicated LMS, LearnDash makes it easy to create and customize online courses and lessons of any kind—from casual cooking classes to college-level curricula. With PayPal, Stripe and 2Checkout, you can easily restrict your content to paying customers and set up one-time or recurring payment schedules. LearnDash also comes with a “group” system that adds basic membership capabilities to elearning sites.
BuddyBoss is the #1 online community builder for WordPress websites. Create events, forums, groups, activity feeds and even job boards to immerse your members in their community. Allow features such as likes, friends and followers, mentions and direct messages to keep your members engaged. Additionally, BuddyBoss gives you the ability to create an app for your online community so that your members can always stay connected.
As a LMS, LearnDash is loaded with must-have features such as a course builder, quizzes, leaderboards, badges and certificates, flexible prerequisites, etc. However, LearnDash takes e-learning to the next level with marketing and sales tools such as shopping carts and subscriptions, drip content and support for various media formats. Click here for a full list of LearnDash features.
Similarly, BuddyBoss is a flexible, feature-rich social plugin that extends LearnDash with rich community features. Allow your members to create profiles, befriend each other, write their own blogs and join forums. Click here for a full list of BuddyBoss features.
Click here for an overview of the LearnDash/BuddyBoss integration.
Who’s It For?
If you want to create a membership website centered around online learning and community building, then the LearnDash + BuddyBoss combination is tough to beat—though it might be a lot to learn. New WordPress users might need some additional time to familiarize themselves with these plugins.
As LMS membership platforms, both LearnDash and BuddyBoss function well on their own. And, though there is a lot of overlap between LearnDash and BuddyBoss features, they serve better as complements than they do as substitutes. With LearnDash and BuddyBoss together, you can recreate a complete campus experience for your members, with informative and interactive course material in a wholly immersive online community setting.
1 Site: $199/year
10 Sites: $399/year
Unlimited Sites: $799/year
LearnDash Cloud: $29/month
Click here for the latest LearnDash pricing.
1 Site: $228/year
5 Sites: $288/year
10 Sites: $388/year
Click here for the latest BuddyBoss pricing, including a pricing and delivery schedule for the native BuddyBoss mobile app.
Both LearnDash and BuddyBoss offer money-back guarantees so you can teach a course on “No-Brainers” to all of your members after you get started.
3. WooCommerce Memberships + Subscriptions
WooCommerce Memberships is a purpose-built WooCommerce extension for creating and managing memberships on your WordPress website. It’s a behemoth of a plugin but, with its intuitive interface, it’s one of the easiest to use (and most powerful) membership plugins on the market today.
WooCommerce Subscriptions—a separate extension—takes memberships a step further and gives you, and your customers, added flexibility (pretzel-like flexibility, in fact). The Subscriptions extension allows you to set up recurring payments so that your members never lapse. Additionally, you can leverage the power of WooCommerce Subscriptions to prorate member payments for their convenience, create limited free trial options with drip content and empower your members with the ability to pause their subscription.
Pairing WooCommerce Memberships with the Subscriptions extension gives you the ability to create something every WooCommerce store owner needs: a steady and predictable revenue stream.
Aside from the usual membership plugin features such as content restriction and member profiles, WooCommerce Memberships has some unique functionalities to make you say, “Woo!” Offer store-wide member discounts, special in-store member offers and exclusive member content and products.
Where this option really stands out, however, is in its customizability. With WooCommerce, you gain access to an entire ecosystem of free and premium extensions so you can customize your WooCommerce store, memberships and subscriptions however you’d like.
Click here for a full list of the 130+ extensions you can use to build and customize your store and memberships to suit your exact needs.
Who’s It For?
The ability to add or remove extensions as you choose makes the WooCommerce Memberships + Subscriptions option one of the most versatile and viable for any WordPress user. You can always start simple—and cheaply—and add extensions as your membership grows.
With that said, however, WooCommerce Memberships is geared towards WordPress users with a planned or existing eCommerce store. If memberships are not your primary product or service or you want to leverage the advantages of selling memberships to boost your eCommerce business, then this is your solution.
WooCommerce Memberships: $199/year
WooCommerce Subscriptions: $199/year
WooCommerce Memberships + Subscriptions is as flexible a pairing as you’ll find out there. And that flexibility extends to the cost. WooCommerce gives you a generous 30-day money back guarantee so you can try it out for a month before deciding if it’s right for you.
4. Ultimate Member
Ultimate Member is a no-frills, all-business membership plugin for WordPress—and it’s free forever! Right out of the box, Ultimate Member comes equipped with the essential tools you need to create an engaging membership website. Restrict content, create branded registration forms and browse your ever-growing member directory. Then, when you’re ready to upgrade, customize your memberships with dozens of extensions.
The free version of Ultimate Member is a barebones membership tool meant to help you get started. It comes with the tools required to create a membership website such as login/logout forms, content restriction, user profiles, etc.
Who’s It For?
Ultimate Member is the best option for those seeking to grow their member base before they attempt to monetize it. The fact that Ultimate Member is free forever means that you can experiment with all different kinds of member perks, content types and advertising models to grow your business without putting yourself out of pocket.
Ultimate Member is also a powerful tool for social and interest/activity groups who want to create simple members’ only websites. As your member base grows, upgrade to a paid plan so your members can pay their dues online, send direct messages, share useful tips in forums and even leave each other reviews.
Extensions Pass: $249/year
Extensions + Theme Pass: $299/year
What’s more affordable than free? How about a 30-day money back guarantee that gives you “ultimate” access!
Click here for the latest Ultimate Member pricing.
5. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro (PMP) is the WordPress membership plugin that does it all—and then some. PMP is a powerhouse of a plugin with advanced features and functions that allow developers to unleash their imaginations. Despite its sophistication, however, PMP is still accessible for casual WordPress users (not least of all because it comes with an eye-poppingly powerful FREE version).
With Paid Memberships Pro, you get all of the usual membership plugin features such as content restriction, payment gateway integration and member management tools. However, Paid Memberships Pro enhances all of these features, giving you more hands-on control.
Create restricted and personalized drip content for each of your members, accept payments offline and process them separately or gather member information by membership level. Click here for a full list of Paid Memberships Pro’s amazing features.
Who’s it For?
Paid Memberships Pro is the membership plugin for WordPress users who mean business. Paid versions allow you to operate multiple membership websites and add dynamic features such as variable pricing, proration and invitation only membership to give you greater control.
Nevertheless, with such a powerful free version available for download, there’s no reason that casual WordPress users such as part-time bloggers can’t get started with Paid Memberships Pro and grow into it.
Paid Memberships Pro are the only professionals you’ll find who are willing to work for free—or for only pennies a day!
WordPress Plugin: FREE
Click here for the latest Paid Memberships Pro pricing.
6. Restrict Content Pro
Memberships come with all kinds of perks and privileges including, most importantly, gaining access to exclusive, premium content. Restrict Content Pro is a WordPress membership plugin that specializes in protecting and monetizing your most valuable content. With Restrict Content Pro, you can create your very own media empire—or just a really member-friendly WordPress website.
Restrict Content Pro’s features make it easy to protect your content from outside web traffic and share it with your members in a more personal way. Create an unlimited number of membership levels, customize content restriction messages, integrate with Stripe then give your members the power of their own dashboard so they can manage their membership.
With the Pro version, you get enhanced security features such as password sharing prevention and Google reCAPTCHA to better protect your content and your members. Additional payment options and sales tools such as PayPal integration, coupon codes and free trials make it easy for you to grow your member base.
Click here for a full list of Restrict Content Pro’s free and Pro features.
Who’s It For?
It’s all in the name: Restrict Content Pro is for the content creators, distributors and promoters of the world (or, more specifically, the WordPress world). Whereas other membership plugins do offer powerful content restriction features, none of them specialize quite like Restrict Content Pro.
Whether you’re a prolific blogger or author, an indie filmmaker or a contemporary musician, Restrict Content Pro makes managing and monetizing your content and your members easy and enjoyable. Content rich offline communities can also take advantage of Restrict Content Pro’s features to enhance their members’ experience and increase engagement.
Basic (1 Site): FREE
1 Site: $99/year
5 Sites: $149/year
Grow Your Memberships with Uncanny Automator
With so many great WordPress membership plugins—and tons of ways to try them all for free—you can’t really make a wrong decision. Regardless of which membership plugin you choose, however, running a membership website comes with a lot of work and a lot of moving parts. Fortunately, there’s an uncanny way to get your membership website running smoothly right out of the gate.
Uncanny Automator is the #1 WordPress automation plugin—and for good reason. With Automator, you can put your WordPress membership website on autopilot so that you can get back to creating more premium content for your paying members (or take that much-needed vacation you’ve been daydreaming about).
Want to automatically sync your new members with your ActiveCampaign or Groundhogg mailing list? How about saving your site administrators hours upon hours of data entry by automatically updating your Airtable workspaces ? Why not send your new members a personalized coupon code to use for their subscription renewal or to help them with their first premium content purchase? With Automator it’s all possible—and it requires not a single line of code!
Automator integrates with ALL of the above-mentioned membership plugins so you can enhance their functionality.
Just like with the membership plugins, Automator has a no-cost option that makes it easy for WordPress users to get started. Plus, your free Automator account comes with 250 complimentary app credits so that you can try out app integrations without spending a dime!
Basic: FREE + 250 app credits on the house!
When you’re ready to upgrade to unlimited app credits, upgrade to Automator Pro. Click here for the latest pricing and special offers.
Which membership plugin did you choose? What are some of the automations that would make growing your membership easier? Let us know in the comments section below.