If we’re going to talk a bit about membership plugins for WordPress, we need to start with the most obvious – there are a lot of options out there. Want me to cut to the chase? Let me “bottom-line” it for you. The good news is that unlike a few years ago, many of them have improved to the point where they all offer a lot of the same features. That’s great news because it hasn’t always been the case. That said, which one is the best? Which one wins?
Your Values Drive the Winner
There is no point (at least in my mind) to score the plugins and tell you which one got the best score (though I did it and have the spreadsheet to prove it). And you know why already. Because what you care about and what I care about may be different. More than that, you may care about different things based on the site you’re creating. So it comes down to what you care about most. So what I’m not going to do is give you a sorted order of the best ones. Instead, what I want to do is give you the top two plugins you should check out based on the factor you care most about.
I’m going to cover four different drivers of your decision:
- Content Dripping
- Pausing Memberships
- Using Stripe
1. If you care most about Price…
If your pocket book drives your choices – and seriously, who isn’t in that category sometimes – then there is some great news for you today because honestly, two plugins are worth noting.
- I wrote about Paid Memberships Pro the other day when describing an online course. It is free. 100% free. That means you can download it for free. You can also review the code for free. You can change it for free. You can install it on 1 site for free – and you can do it on 100 sites for free. That’s amazing, isn’t it. And it’s easy, quick to install, intuitive and all that! But I’ll tell you this – if you want to drip your content, this isn’t for you.
- Luckily, I said I would tell you about the top two in any category. And there’s another low-priced one you need to know about. You’ll likely imagine that I’m going to tell you about S2 Member, or Justin Tadlock’s Members. But the truth is that while both are free, they’re not as easy to use as Paid Memberships Pro. And they don’t do drip (for real) either. So why look at them if you decide PMP isn’t for you. No, the other one I suggest you take a look at is Membership – by the folks at WPMUDev. You can get a single plugin from WPMU Dev for $19. That’s pretty cheap – and it can go on every site you touch. And guess what? It drips content. [Note: right now, on AppSumo, you can get it for $9. That's awesome!]
2. If you care most about Content Dripping…
Content dripping may be a really big deal for you. Why? Because you don’t want to offer all that great content in one shot and have someone pay, log in, and download it all in one day – right before they quit your monthly fee. Right? So if that’s what you care about, here are the two you may want to look at:
- WPMU Dev Membership - Yup, these guys do it, and do it pretty well. You can define levels, and content restrictions and then how long a person stays at that level before moving to the next level. It’s drag and drop, making it pretty simple to do – but trust me, you’ll still need to have the guide (PDF) next to you.
- There are three others that offer this feature (Magic Members, Digital Access Pass) and the other: MemberPress. Digital Access Pass costs $167 (because apparently they didn’t get the memo letting them know it wasn’t 2004 anymore). Magic Members and MemberPress cost the same ($99), but MemberPress support is better.
3. If you care about Membership Pausing….
- WP eMember – not a plugin that a lot of people talk about (in my circles), but they do it and it’s not too hard. They also have a pretty feature-packed plugin. And at $49 (for 1 or unlimited sites) it’s not too bad.
- Wishlist Member is the other one that does it – but at twice the price. The other thing to know about Wishlist is that you don’t have any access to the code itself. From what I hear, they’re working on changing it so that it’s fully 100% GPL.
4. If you care about using Stripe…
Wait a minute, is that really a factor? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Well let’s be honest with each other. I made the list, so I get to pick. Also, it turns out I hate PayPal. If you don’t know about Stripe, check them out. So for me, it’s always a factor. In this case, there really are only two players in the whole space. So guess what? They both jump to the top!
- Paid Memberships Pro - it’s free and it supports Stripe natively.
- Restrict Content Pro – This is one seriously beautiful plugin. The developer behind it (Pippin Williamson) knows how to write code. And the plugin is only $30 and the Stripe add-on will cost you another $20. At $50, that’s a great deal!
- MemberPress - yes, I’m cheating – I’m adding a third option. More expensive than the other two, but it’s awesome.
What are you using for Memberships?
I’m sure I missed something. So what’s your take? What are you using, and why?