Comparing WordPress Membership Plugins

Chris Lema

comparing-membership-plugins-wordpressThere are a lot of Membership Plugins Out There

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 six different drivers of your decision:

  1. Price
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Content Dripping
  4. Pausing Memberships
  5. Using Stripe
  6. Custom Coding

Sound good?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. If you don’t care about drip, but you do want inexpensive and awesome, check out Restrict Content Pro.

2. If you care about Ease of Use…

If what you want is a simple plugin that will protect your content without needing you to become a guru on membership sites, then you’re going to want to check out these two.

  1. The first is free, which most people don’t mind. It’s by the folks at iThemes – you know, the folks that brought you Backup Buddy. It’s called Exchange and you can read more about it here.
  2. When it comes to a second, easy to use plugin for content protection, I’d once again suggest you check out Paid Memberships Pro.

3. 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:

  1. My favorite plugin that does dripping is MemberPress. Their plugin rocks at content dripping – and it’s a fully-featured product. So if you have needs that go beyond the simple stuff, get started with them.
  2. I wrote about it above, but you have to check out Exchange if your needs are simple. Because it does content dripping and it does it cleanly. It’s a focused plugin, so if you need more, use MemberPress.

4. If you care about Membership Pausing….

You have a member who wants to take the summer off and you just want to pause the membership and then let them come back and resume like nothing happened, right? Well, turns out not a lot of the membership plugins out there do it.
  1. MemberPress – It’s not easy. And I wrote about pausing a bit ago. But Blair Williams said he was up to the challenge and he’s working on it.
  2. 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.

5. 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.

  1. Cart66 – it’s powerful, does e-commerce too, and supports Stripe, along with tons of other gateways. It’s worth checking out if you’re selling more than just memberships.
  2. 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!
  3. Paid Memberships Pro – yes, I’m cheating. Here’s a third option. It’s free and supports Stripe right out of the box.

6. Writing Custom Code?

There are times when the plugin you pick does most of what you want. Until you want more. And then you’re in trouble. That’s when you start looking under the hood to see what you can tweak. And that’s when you find out you liked it better when you didn’t know what was under there. Right?

Except there are a few cases where you’ll be delighted. There are four plugins that I want to highlight here, for different reasons.

  1. Some people start with one membership plugin and then have needs that require them to move to another. This won’t happen with MemberMouse. It’s rock solid and incredibly powerful. It’s a bit pricey, but not bad if you’re running a real business off their infrastructure. And it’s designed in a way that lets developers tweak it.
  2. Sometimes you want just a little feature and need a developer to code it for you, but you don’t know one. Paid Memberships Pro offers that kind of help and has a lot of custom code available for re-use.
  3. If you want something more complicated, and are looking for extensions, only one plugin vendor has engaged the community like that to build extensions for their plugins – Restrict Content Pro.
  4. If you simply want clean code to do what you want to do, then check out MemberPress.

What are you using for Memberships?

I’m sure I missed something. So what’s your take? What are you using, and why?

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  1. Great article, and thanks for the tip on the AppSumo deal. I picked up a copy based purely on your review (and the deal didn’t hurt, either).

    • Awesome! Let me know where you use it and how you like it!

      • I am using S2Member wp plugin. Please let me what do you think about this plugin?

        I am not too good with coding stuff, but still found it easier to us and good to go with as a newbie.

        Binco D.

      • Binco Debdot (MarketingGuru) says:

        Sorry forgot to tell you that I am using the Free version of S2Member… :)

        • I just upgraded using S2Member Pro and I love it! I’m pretty new to wordpress but my membership site is coming together well on my own. It’s great for newbies, i think!

      • Hey Chris,

        I would like to integrate a membership site into my site. I’d like to be a connector for members where they can post on the page and see it like a Facebook feed where other members can like and comment.
        Do you know of any that have this option along with providing them with dripped content.

    • Thanks Chris, this is very helpful. I am trying to find out which of these programs will allow the member to update their own profile (using a password system) and if any will allow the member to upload a CV or other document into their file. I contacted Restrict Content Pro, and they said no. No answer yet from PaidMembershipPro.

    • Great article on membership plugins. I’m looking for a membership plugin that can manage the membership of 20,000 students in a student union. It needs to be able to work alongside an election plugin -( if you could recommend good one Chris that would be awesome) , or have that as a feature. Be able to have fast look up of membership, bulk importing or integration with secure data feeds – to automate sign-up ( if possible). There would be a need to define a hierarchy around roles student officers, students, staff, (staff editors, writers, staff admin, guest users, etc. There would need to be a master membership – free ( no purchase process) then there would be options for free and paid membership for clubs, societies and groups – with devolved admin rights for students to manage their mini-sites on multisite set-up. The students are already using WordPress – so it’s already popular solution. Is there any such plugins that would do that … I’ll be first in the queue ( there will be a long queue!) 😉

  2. Another great resource man! I ended up buying Membership after Brandon’s presentation at OCWP a few weeks back. For $19 it was still a bargain and I definitely wanted the drip content and multiple membership levels and stuff for a project I’m rolling out soon. Great review overall!

  3. Thank you – great article.

    Just wondering if any of the above allow a member to have their own profile page?

    That would be important to me. Thoughts?

    Thank you!

    • Many do. Some of them simply show your membership account level. I know Wishlist Member has more extensive add-ons that let you really go to town on that Profile page. You may want to check them out.

  4. Something to consider with WishList: they obfuscate their code and it isn’t GPL (by their own words) which makes it harder for developers and users alike to try and do anything outside of what they’ve set up.

    • Absolutely. I mention that in #3 (though not the technical dynamics of obfuscation because of my audience). That said, I know users that have never had any desire to mess with code and the folks at WishList have some pretty amazing add-ons that do just about anything. So it depends on if you’re a developer/user who plans to tweak code, or an end user who just wants to pay to get things done. Definitely part of the trade-off to consider.

  5. Chris, great write up. There are a million things that could go into writing up a review like this, so I appreciate you not sucking up my morning with a novel. 😉

    One thing I would add though, because this seems like an emerging trend, is that the Membership plugin by WPMU is the only plugin that I know of that handles protection for BuddyPress features (site creation, private messaging, group creation, etc). If you’re looking to add any sort of recurring payment based membership to BuddyPress, Membership is the one you’re looking for. Now, I say this with one caveat: you have to be wiling to use PayPal for payments. For years they’ve been promising support for ARB and haven’t delivered. In fact, that’s one of my biggest complaints about the Membership plugin is that, while they continue to refine the plugin slightly over time, they haven’t really added anything to it. Seems like they could really be blowing the rest of these plugins out of the water if they would just make more payment gateways available for it.

    I’ve used Wishlist in the past, and find that it’s surprisingly simple to set up and use for any non-technical user. That being said, as a WordPress developer it makes me scream. The fact that I can’t read through the code and make adjustments or offer improvements kills me.

  6. I’ve used S2 many times in the past. Works pretty well, although some aspects of the UI are a little extra basic (like typing post id’s to protect them as opposed to selecting them).

    This month, after many recommendations from friends over the years and a great presentation by Stu Mclaren at Blogworld in NY, I tried Wishlist on an important project.

    It has not been a good experience. I’ve spent the last 16 days going back and forth with support in 5 different tickets. (the first took 12 days)

    Among other things, they put they break their own website up into 4 sites and lock it up in (you guessed it) a Membership site! Normally, I would trust a company that uses their own product in their own business quite a bit. Reminds me of the days ages ago when Larry Ellison switched Oracle Corporation over to Oracle software and saved a $1 billion.

    In this case, Wishlist using wishlist seems to point out the problems with a membership site, especially one split among 4 sub sites (customer, member, insider, products + support). When you need to find something you have to search the 4 different sites and if you don’t pay the extra for insider ($20 / month after purchasing that premium license) you don’t get the information. Plus those sites all seem to use different user/password combinations so you guessed it, four different logins across the sites.


    The functionality looked more user friendly in the videos as compared to S2. However, experience has taught me that looks easy, does not always mean, is easy. Several of the controls have descriptions that can be interpreted in several different ways, so it makes it very difficult to truly know what you are going to get when you pick a setting.

    For example, if you opt for the setting to insert the more tag after x number of words, to create a free teaser effect with member content after the more, that might sound great.

    however, you must think back to the old days of WordPress when the more tag only did something to a blog on the home page.

    If your home page is not already limited by exercpts or a content limit, then this feature comes into play and ads a more tag to the content dynamically.

    This ended up being a bomb for us. As we had a number of long long articles 1200-2000 words each. We thought we’d put teasers after say 400 words, to get a little seo benefit from providing a decent article freely available.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The single post page is entirely locked down and protected under membership. It only trickles out the teaser on the home page, so this functionality is mostly a bust (although I’d did find a work around using ad injection and short codes). Could have done this more efficiently, but wishlist code is encrypted. they do have an api, but in this case ‘private tags’ were not supported in the 2.0 version of the api as they had been in the 1.0 version. :(

    Then we attempted to setup integration for checkout through Only simple checkout is available, which means for each member level you create, you have to go over to authorize, create a product in authorize, and link that to the thank you url in wishlist. This also means the checkout will take place (in the scenario) off site. They do support several others, some better integrated than others, so make sure you do some deep research to see if your preferred method is supported well.

    Finally, wishlist offers pay per post (not the old blog ad network) functionality. This allows you to protect an article, page or file. A user can buy access to that single item if they choose too as opposed to getting the larger membership.

    The downside is that you have to manually create a buy now button (see that gateway complaint about integration). Imagine having a site with say 200 articles or pages that are protected. If you want to have payperpost functionality in addition to a general membership, that means you have to go and create 200 individual buy now buttons and insert them, 1 in each corresponding article. :(

    The video tutorials are mostly 1-3 years old, same with support documentation. This doesn’t exactly make it easy to review its functionality and make a good purchasing decision, let alone execute the setup well.

    I could go on, but I’ll save it for later. :)

    • Part of this post is about their website which isn’t part of my review. I will say this, the reason you’ve heard others talk about it positively is because they’ve had positive experiences. I know some people have had a hard time, and others get frustrated by the inability to see/edit code. But I’ve used them first hand and I can tell you that if I had to time myself using S2 and Wishlist, I’m faster in Wishlist every time.

      I do recommend, with all of these plugins to look closely into the features related to payments because many will articulate exactly what level of integration they support with the payment gateways.

      It sounds like it was a poor match for your site. I’d suggest you look at Paid Memberships Pro or the Membership plugin by WPMU Dev (though they don’t support

  7. Elena Griffith says:

    Thank you Chris! I have a client with two websites that need Membership plug-ins for different reasons.

    1. The first one is just so that we can password one category of reference that is mixed through his 100+ resources that are scattered through 17 different categories. Each article on the site may have 10 references, some in the passworded reference, some not. Once members have entered the password, we want them to be able to move back and forth to the un-passworded sections without having to enter the password again. No payment and he feels one password is sufficient for the site. Membership appears to be the easiest way to solve this requirement on WordPress. Why one passworded category? Those resources utilize a technology that by agreement requires a password.

    Perhaps the free version of Paid Memberships Pro is enough for this.

    2. The second site is already built, has password protect to the whole site and was a free membership site that they are converting to paid membership. It currently uses Gravity Forms with the “Gravity Forms Directory & Add-ons” plug-in by Katz. WordPress is being fully deployed with meeting announcements, resources, and recording of meetings delivered in a WP-Reloaded matrix. The members can add resumes and other materials with posts. There is a separate public site for recruiting new members. Everyone is happy.

    But to take it to individual passwords and member payment requires a rework. Client wants the same membership database to be able to be shared by event management including authorizing free admission to events where the members meet together in person and by chapter. The separate chapters should be manageable by chapter managers. I was looking a Membership Plug-in + Event Espresso but obviously the member database would need to be downloaded and uploaded and there are constant updates making that inconvenient.

    Are there any WordPress membership plug-ins that are built to integrate with event management?

    There will probably be 10 chapters for different geographical locations but each with only about 100 paying members . (They are in a very specialized field.) There will be about the same number of free members who will be able to see event announcements and get event notifications and can attend as guests but do not have access to resources on the site. Total member numbers should top out at under 2,000.

    The client is also looking at Associate Management Systems (AMS) tools for the paid site. He is reluctant to leave WordPress as now he loves it. I doubt that I could integrate an AMS with the WordPress database.

    • Hi Elena,
      If you put all those posts into a “password” category, you could protect them with Paid Memberships Pro for free and it would work quite easily.

      For your second site, it sounds like a larger solution that you need to architect carefully. That said, WPMU Dev’s Membership plugin and their new Events & Bookings plugin ( might be a good combo to pull it together.

  8. Elena Griffith says:

    Much appreciated Chris! I looked at the two WMPU Dev Plug-ins. They don’t talk about integration with each other on the WPMU Dev website but you think the database could be pulled across?

    Do you think that we would we need to use “multi-site” to manage the chapters. Up to now, I have gotten away with combining them but he hadn’t requested having chapter managers manage chapters. He got this new idea from reading the specs on the Association Management Systems tools. Apparently lots of associations have chapters so this a top of mind feature.

    • I’d need a bit of time to think this thru, but I think if it were me, I’d use multisite to create a site for each chapter. I think there could be ways to manage everything else, once that part of the architecture was in place. If you need more help, feel free to use the contact me page to get me your contact details.

      • Elena Griffith says:

        Thank you Chris. I’ll do that!

        • Lisa Sherwood says:

          On Paid Memberships Pro – The tutorial and set-up seems oriented to limiting access to a category on the site not for making an entire site a membership site available with a unique user name and password. That’s all I could figure out from the free documentation, adding it to an existing site and setting up a level of membership page leaving the category selection blank.

          If that is correct, this is great for protecting a category but not a whole site. Can you please confirm Chris?

  9. Hey Chris, great post! Of all the dilemmas and problems we have faced building the VLE for my e-learning website – settling on a membership plugin that does what we want and works properly has been the toughest nut to crack. we found it very hard to find helpful, impartial information and many of the review sites are just sales funnels for the affiliate programs.

    The big thing we are looking for is affiliate program integration. We also want support for mail chimp and 2checkout – but that seems to be standard these days.,

    I have already forked out for DAP (which gave me login problems and would not work with WPEngine) and Memberwing (which doesn’t seem to be in the running anymore).

    I am now back at square one – and am looking at magicmembers and wpmu membership.

    Magicmembers looks good but I keep seeing negative reviews about their support. WPMU membership looks good too but the affiliate program happens in the dashboard and I want it to look nice and run it though the wp front end.

    Maybe I should forget about the affiliate program integration? I wonder, in your or your readers experience, what impact an affiliate program has for an online training course? Was it not a consideration at all what you set out to build your e-learning site?

  10. I am a semi fan of DAP so I thought it was worth noting that DAP’s multisite license is the same price as Wishlists multisite license at $297.

    It’s a pain that it doesn’t work well with caching however which probably explains why one of your other readers is unable to use it with WP Engine.

    As far as affiliate programs go, I would be inclined unless you have a very big name to go with a recognisable affiliate program, rather than running your own. Quite a few people who self run their affiliate programs have been known to not pay out on time if at all.

    There appear to be quite a lot of newish wordpress based membership software coming out.

    One that I would recommend people look at that isn’t wordpress based is called Rapid Residual Pro which is a very robust and solid platform.

  11. sillyandrea says:

    Also have a look at Premise – it now has membership features.

    The best part? Studiopress’ new members are is run by our own Premise plugin. 😀

    • I left Premise out because I have a new article coming out that goes deep into just Premise – on it’s own. It’s a great plugin that keeps getting better.

    • So glad you mentioned Premise – I’ve been using it since researching this about a month ago and haven’t looked back – I LOVE it! Easy-to-use and awesome customizations to boot – I can create custom template options for clients as easy as can be and put a new style together for any new campaign they might have easy as you please … and I really like how easy it is to use!

      Great post with some great options for those who don’t have (or want) Premise!

  12. I’m using S2 Member right now, and it seems to work just great for us. Will be trying out Pippin’s EDD for digital stuff. I have tried Wishlist, and it worked great. It was encrypted, so I left it. After talking with Stu, he seemed real nice. He was always willing to help.

    Great writeup over all :)

  13. Thanks for the great post. I didn’t realize that there were so many membership plug-ins out there for WP. Still evaluating the options but thought I’d ask for a recommendation based on the particular implementation. Basically, a WP site with a lot of documents in one category. We want to start out by letting everyone who visits the site see everything. If a user visits a certain number of posts, we would like to require them to register for free. At some point down the road we would want to transition to a paid site membership model. At that point, we’d also like to make it so that the posts themselves do not show full content (perhaps only X characters worth of text) until there is a registration (perhaps a free registration for a period of days that then follows to a paid registration). In reading around it sounds like perhaps WishList may be the way to go but I thought I’d kindly ask for your thoughts on this.

  14. Jacqueline says:

    I am looking for a solution, and I’m not sure a membership plugin will help. I have a wordpress design site. I need multiple users to be able to login, design and save or publish without access to the design or information of the other users.
    Ideally, it would be great to have the user experience the site as if they were the only user.

    Is this possible?

  15. In reply to Lisa Sherwood,
    Yes, you protect content on your site – via each user having a login and password. PMP lets you protect pages, as well as categories of posts.

    • Lisa Sherwood says:

      Pages on PMP but not full site. That is good to know. Is there anyway to sell a membership on a public site that issues a user name and password to be used on a fully protected site (could be navigation tab on the public site).

      I also looked at WMPU Membership and although the plug-in is inexpensive, the comments on AppSumo imply that you need to pay the WPMU monthly membership fee or you won’t get updates and that is important.

  16. Well, nice list, however I can say that WPMU’s Membership plugin is half baked regarding the registration process. Quite a pity for a membership plugin.
    Setting it up is not that easy either. At $79 per month for support it certainly doesn’t come cheap – although this does give you access to all their plugins and themes, But who needs them all? Very clever marketing and their website looks awesome, But that is not what I am buying.
    And support, although very polite and reactive, wasn’t able to solve a critical registration issue using Woocommerce in parallel with Membership. Out of frustration I finally tried s2Member, which is free – the pro version is nice, a one time fee – but the free version is already packed with advanced features, notably regarding content restriction access and security. It’s hard to beat s2Member on these two features. And you get support for a one time fee. And the documentation is awesome. Sure, contrary to Membership which is conceived so as not to touch a single line of code, you need to do your homework a bit, add some code here and there, but it is all very well documented. Laziness never pays, anyway.

    I wish I did try s2Member before buying WPMU’s Membership plugin, and I regret the fact that I had been influenced by reviews that said s2member was hard to use. It isn’t. Much easier than Membership and its funky admin interface. And way more powerful. S2member does not fiddle akwardly with WP’s registration process, and that is a key issue: no plugin execution order problem, no hijacking of concurrent registration forms ever.
    Once you supercharge your WP site with other plugins requiring access to WP’s user roles, like Woocommerce or Gravity, you will understand what I mean.
    Of course WPMU will tell you that they have alternative solutions that work well with Membership, but hey! WP is supposed to be a free, interoperable environment, right?

    What is more, the team behind s2Member only does s2Member not dozens of plugins and themes. That’s another very positive point. They know their stuff and they are betting it all one one single product. They’d better be good right?

    I am in no way related to them and use their free version, should I add.

    • Glad S2Member worked well for you. I know it’s been a bear for others and I found it more complicated than it needed to be. Though Membership also was a bit complicated for sequential delivery, which is why Paid Memberships Pro (free – and now has an extension for drip), or MemberPress (not free) are potentially much better options than what’s at WPMUDEV. That said, few membership plugins work as well on a multisite network – so you really need to know what you need, in order to pick the right plugin.

  17. Hello again,
    I wrote a negative comment yesterday regarding WPMU’s Membership plugin and the issues I had met.
    The support finally solved my problem.
    So I am satisfied and I wanted to add this update to my earlier comment.

    Now that I have discovered s2Member, I think I shall keep it however, because of its unique security features. So I’m grateful the WPMU Membership plugin didn’t work at first, sort of 😉

  18. Hi Chris. What membership plugin does authorize a particolar user to create and publish posts?

  19. Well Chris,
    I discover your blog a few days ago and I must say it is plenty of usefull and relevant info.

    As I’m a french speaking guy .. please apologizes any mistake I could make.

    I’m using S2 Member, with its “Pro” extension .. and it’s a damn good plugin.
    Not easy not setup .. but once you get the trick .. that’s fine …

    I really love the Amazon S3 integration and support of the RPMT (streaming) protocol which allows you share protected videos .. :) .. and secure them (download denied) .. and deliver them fast …

    … and S2 does drip content .. :) .. but I agree it is not easy to find …and to setup


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  21. I bought a WordPress theme that has very strong WooCommerce integration throughout the site. I love the theme and very much want to find a solution as it fit my needs perfectly.

    I’m looking for the best option for a Membership plugin that would work seamlessly with WooCommerce. WishList seems to be the easiest solution but there is so many negative reviews that I’m extremely hesitant, to say the least, to give it a go. Maybe I give those reviews too much weight?
    Anybody have experience with Groups for WooCommerce combined with WooCommerce Subscriptions? Some Drip Content solution is important.

    I’ve done a lot of research but couldn’t find any solution so I would be very grateful for some advice.

    • MemberPress & Premise do drip well but each have their own approach to billing. The only serious integration is what you’ve listed here – Groups & Subscriptions. That’s integrated but doesn’t do drip. So you’ll likely have to pick.

      • Any idea how good Groups & Subscriptions are? Couldn’t find a review anywhere.

        Should I give WishList a serious look now that they have a new Woocommerce Wishlist Member Extension? I understand that they do not have a real drip function but I probably could make it work since my choices are so limited.

    • Solivier says:

      Hello, I will start a project that require the same plugins (localhost dev for the moment). And I was also wondering if WooCommerce Subscriptions with Groups is the best solution ?

      I need to sell pdf version of magazine on one side (normal wooCommerce with digital download product) and to integrate a subscription for membership with private access to certain post and page content.

      Do these plugins fill these tasks or s2member would be a better solutions ?

      Thx all for your feedback

      • Hello Solivier, i am in the same process (+ i must add a private area for users) so finally what did you choose to go with woocommerce? s2? magic members?


      • I’m on the same boat here, selling PDFs and premium articles as a subscription. I’ve also looked at WooCommerce Subscriptions + Groups + Groups for WooCommerce, but don’t know if it’s the way to go.

        • You guys should really check out Exchange, which Chris wrote about in this post.

          • Joshua, thank you for suggesting Exchange. Do you think that would work for a website that needs to restricts access to content, and also has a physical product to ship?

        • Exchange + their Membership add-on should do the trick, and they have easy shipping options you can enable as well.

          • I tried iTheme’s Exchange and is perfect except for one thing: posts that are restricted show a “This content is for members only”, instead of showing an excerpt with “read more” and then you’d have to become a member. There is also no immediate button to signup when that restricted message shows up, making the user figure out where the sign up button is at the top of the page. Thank you for the recommendation nonethless. I will have to try the WooCommerce bundle or perhaps PaidMemberships Pro with WooCommerce, not sure how that will work.

        • I’m quite sure you can modify those messages and/or add a signup button in that spot. If it’s perfect otherwise, I’d suggest you look into it further or ask a question via their support, because any plugin is going to need some tweaking to get it ‘perfect’, especially a Woo mashup. Feel free to look me up if you have any questions because I don’t know that discussing such specific details on Chris’s post will really add value. :)

    • We use and recommend WooCommerce Subscriptions and Groups a lot. It doesn’t drip but you can use obscure URLS, no-index and auto-responder emails as a workaround.

      We like that it’s a solid, extensible platform, especially the WooCommerce integration. If you’ve got a paid membership site and you don’t want to sell other things to your members too, you might be missing commercial opportunities. If you do, you need a rocksolid ecommerce system, not an ecommerce system and a membership system.

      Would love a drip feed or more sophisticated WooCommerce membership system but for now what we do works. HTH

      • I love WooCommerce Subscriptions. But it does take a bit to deploy – because you need WooCommerce, Groups, Groups for WooCommerce, Subscriptions for WooCommerce. I’ve used that setup, but for some, it’s a bit much. Cart66 offers the combination of sales and memberships, which is what I use on this site.

        • Chris, that is my conclusion so far from what I’ve read. You need:

          – WooCommerce (free on repository)
          – WooCommerce Subscriptions ($199 on WooThemes)
          – Groups (free on repository)
          – Groups for WooCommerce ($79 on WooThemes)

          That seems cumbersome.

          For my needs, I’m not sure if I really need all that.

          But my website will have:

          – regular and premium articles (latter to members)
          – page with PDFs (members)
          – physical product (anyone who buys)
          – paypal and bank transfer option (yes, latter is needed)

          The money transfer and physical product make WooCommerce a necessity?

          Or something Paid Memberships Pro and PMPro with WooCommerce would do?

          (code to checkout for a PMPro level via a WooCommerce checkout:

  22. Hi Chris, thanks for this comparison. Can you recommend the best of these that would also count analytics/stats/user log-ins? My client wants to be able to keep track of which users logged-in, when, and how many times, etc. Maybe that’s a whole other plug-in I should research that just does that function. Thanks again for the great post.

  23. Great Blog. learned alot.

    In my case i looking for a couple of things. The first is Content Dripping and the second is automatically notifying members of new content that has been added. While some of the Membership plugins can support Content Dripping. I’m having a hard time finding one that can automatically notify member when new content has been added. Can you recommend a Membership plugin that support both?


  24. If you use Buddypress, DAP is not the best solution. But what is more upsetting, DAP Tech Support is really slow to non-responsive. If you have an issue, you will need to buy live support in advance. Once you bought it, tech support remains unsupportive. I purchased live support two weeks ago and still did not get a response as to when we can actually have the session. Run, don’t walk away from DAP.

    • Hi Dit-IT… are you still using DAP? If so, has the support improved in the last year? It was just recommended to me by a developer that I want to use. I’m not using BuddyPress. Do you still say RUN.

  25. Hi Chris, Thank for the content. It is really helpful. Can you tell me why you didn’t include MemberMouse? I have no affiliation but found them via google search and just wanted to know if you knew about them and had any comment. Thanks again!

  26. I am trying to set up a WordPress site that has 3 membership levels customers buy into and get different “set amounts” of credits for their purchase and use those credits to purchase products from us. This needs to be a recurring cycle so they are billed and get more credits every month. Can you help me figure out what themes and plug ins to use and what I may need to do to make it work. I am not good with code, but have learnt html years ago.

    • re: chrislema:

      There are a lot of membership plugins for WordPress out there. How do you pick? Well, the answer depends on what you care most about.

      What I care most about is not spending any more money on things I can’t make work. I have bought “OuterBridge User Credits” but can’t figure out how to apply it to memberships or to purchases. I have installed Paid Membership Pro, but can’t get it to apply the credit system that I mentioned above.
      I was hoping that you could lead me in the right direction.

      • No membership plugin will do what you’re hoping it will do out of the box. If you’re a developer, I’m sure you can use the various hooks each plugin gives you. But it won’t be as simple as buying two plugins and hoping they’ll do what you want.

      • The Outerbridge plugin is odd, because it is ‘one way’. One can have members pay for credits, but they cannot spend them. The error that anyoen makes in buying it is conceptual. The ultimate goal is ‘ecommerce’, so selling products or services with WP, using credits as a ‘cash flow tool’. That means you really first have to select a WP ecommerce plugin and then add a credits plug in. The buyer will then use the ‘buying’ functionality to buy a third type of product ‘credits’ and the plug in will allow for swapping those credits for a different product/service. That already exists for WooCommerce. The plug in keeps track of the total ‘credits balance’. See Another one that works with WP-Commerce is this one: So, if you get that you do not need any developer. Fundamentally what you are looking for is a loyalty rewards type of functionality, typical for (e)commerce, where the buyer can buy loyalty points and spend them. Note that the last plugin I mentioned has very advanced options, even of swapping points between users! Maybe oen can even donate the points (credits)?

    • You need custom programming. Not the right theme or plugin. If you have a budget for that project, contact me using my contact form and I’ll connect you to some great developers in your range.

  27. Hey Chris, great articles on Members plugins. I need a site plugin for membership and to show some basic stats for each member in a few rows. any idea’s which one would suit me best?

  28. Hi Chris,

    Great review – I’ve used s2 Pro for a client recently and it fitted all the needs – ability for 2 week trial without leaving credit card details, integration with Mailchimp, ability to hide parts of posts. However we ran into trouble because the client has a family trust business structure and his original intention to use PayPal was blown from the water (they don’t deal with Australian family trusts – don’t know about the US or other countries).

    On top of that, the only payment gateways s2 have built in only deal with US and UK companies and bank accounts. We are in Australia, so this is a major problem. The client’s site is basically non-functional because this minor details was missed in the planning (won’t be making that mistake again).So answering your question about other needs – membership plugins that deal with payment gateways for other countries is a big deal.

    Looks like MagicMembers might be the go for us, but so far trying to ascertain if the 2 wee free trial with no CC deets is possible – any idea at your end?

  29. Hi Chris,

    Here’s my needs, which I haven’t seen requests for in online reviews. I work with a teachers’ association that has a WordPress website and a traditional mailing list/membership database (kept on a local computer). I’d like to move the membership online, but we don’t need “member only” pages.

    What we’d really like to be able to do is integrate an event registration system with a membership system (most of our members attend one of our two bi-annual conferences). If you attend a conference, you get a year membership; if you don’t, you can still buy a membership, but probably only a few supporters will do that. So we’ll have some members whose memberships lapse, but we’ll keep them in the database and “reactivate” them when they attend a conference.

    We currently handle our local database similar to this, and when someone goes more than five years lapsed, we stop mailing to them.

    The other piece is that we’d like to have physical mailing addresses for some/all of our members (we have that now). It would be ideal to allow members to change an address field in their profile when their address changes. Then four times a year we’ll export the mailing names and addresses and print them on mailing labels (we can do this by importing into Access/Excel, so we don’t need the WP plugin to do this).

    The last piece would be to generate bulk announcement emails to our members, based on their email addresses in the WP membership database. I think most of the membership plugins can do this.

    Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.



  30. Have you looked at MemberMouse? They seem to have some interesting new features such as previewing upcoming content, user billing updates and one-click cancel options.

  31. Chris, what an excellent graphic. I have not used it to decide (as you will see) but it is a superb visual decision aide.

    I need a membership plugin that can grant access based on company name or, preferably, the domain component of an email, eg. where anyone logging in with can access or be recognised as pre-paid. I have not seen this functionality referred to in your review or in any others.

    Any suggestions? Your help would be appreciated.


  32. Great review Chris. I am wondering if you or any of your readers know of a dual function plugin that handles both members and affiliates. So when someone signs up as a new member they automatically get setup as an affiliate. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  33. Are and SMP (from Warrior forums: SiteManPro aka developer Deep Arorrah) the same folks?

  34. Hi – thanks for this info – do you know of any membership plugin that allows you to setup ‘pay what you want’ model etc?

    thanks Scott

  35. How do all of these compare to something like ? Is that relevant to this topic?

  36. patricewilliamsmarks says:

    Hi, I am looking for a membership plugin where people login, then complete a form for submission of their short film, as well as pay for the submission and upload it. Want them to be able to login and review their submission. Which service do you suggest would be best for this use?

    Thanks for your article!

  37. internetpsychologist says:

    Very useful article and comments. I have checked dozens of membership site plugins and software and for those of us in the UK there is a major failing with almost all of them. They do not handle Value Added Tax. Indeed, almost no shopping carts handle it properly either. Here’s the issue – if, like me, you are “VAT Registered” it means that there must be an additional 20% Value Added Tax added to the cost of the membership and that this VAT amount must be shown separately. Furthermore, if people are buying memberships from other EU countries, the VAT must not be added if the purchaser has a VAT Number of their own they can enter during payment. In other words, VAT must be added to everyone who buys from me in the UK and all those people in the EU who buy from me and who do not have their own VAT Registration Number. Plus VAT must not be charged to people outside the EU….! I use DPD Shopping Cart ( which does do this tax system correctly – but even though it has subscriptions it is not a full membership site. Whenever I have asked about VAT I am told just charge it in PayPal. Except PayPal does not handle VAT correctly because it doesn’t allow for the EU reciprocal arrangement where VAT is removed if someone enters a valid VAT number. If you know of any membership site plugins or software that handle VAT correctly, I’d love to know…!

    • I have the same problem in Belgium.
      I looking for a wp full membership plugin with ( conditional field VAT Number to add 21% VAT if you dont have a VAT Number )

      If somebody Have a solution for that, I’d love to know :) .

    • Yeah, it would be nice if CopyBlogger, makers of Premise, would integrate some sort of invoicing and VAT management in Premise. But having talked to them about it, I can’t say I have high hopes.

      Would love to use Premise, since it’s simpler than WooCommerce. But the latter really is the only solution I’ve come across that (via extensions) offers EU VATmanagement, invoicing, learning management (Sensei) as well as memberships, groups, etc.

      WooCommerce is a heavy plugin though. Both usability-wise and server-wise. But hey, it works.


    • You can add a VAT tax to PMPro checkouts with a little bit of code. See here:

  38. orgspring says:

    So many of my client are associations – nonprofit orgs, that have events – they sell tickets to those events, take donations, have early bird pricing, and separate pricing for members and non-members.
    I’ve used everything out there and they all seem to suck.

    Closest thing i’ve got that comes close to usable – is woo, with subscriptions, dynamic pricing extension to work for member pricing specials, and event ticketing from modern tribe.

    Any other recommendations for that kind of complex setup.

    • Linda Sherman Gordon says:

      Hi OrgSpring. I have the same challenge. Obviously many people build member sites to offer/drip a product but some of us use membership plug-ins for associations with members that also meet in real life and we want to give members different prices than visitors. Thank you for bringing this up here.
      The smart Membership Plugin guys (and Chris knows all of them) are watching this page and hopefully they will come up with an integration.

      • orgspring says:

        Yeah Linda, over the past two years I’ve owned and developed with Wishlist member, magic members, s2 members, wpmembers, shopp, woocommerce, premise, membership (i was also an editor at WPMU), and a few that aren’t worth mentioning. In the end, I think Woo ends up costing more, because of the price of the extensions – since everything is a la carte, but it’s easy to install, use, and easiest to use for the end users. That has been my experience. But when it comes to ticketing, booking, appointment solutions – they all get barely passing marks.

        There’s a brand new extension out for woo that does booking and it’s decent. I’ve not played with it a ton – just basic stuff. It works, handles booking ok. That one is promising.

        Modern tribe’s event calendar and woo ticket integration works well too – again, not cheap.

        Appointments+ from WPMU is decent, but their page creation and table formatting is very hard for end users to figure out. Without a developer training the nonprofit, it’s barely usable. Their plugin settings seem to go on for days and days and pages and pages with very little backup documentation. The support guys over there are good though.

        It’s one of those arena’s where it’s virtually impossible to cover every situation, and that’s the problem. OUt of the box is not good enough for everyone, and the full-featured ones are all too complicated, which just muddies the waters for the simple users.

        I wish a was a better coder, I’d do it myself, but at the moment, that’s above my pay grade. 😉

        Please let me know if you come across something interesting.

    • If you are still looking for this kind of thing, we’ve helped a lot of associations setup websites and are focused on helping that specific kind of membership site. We use PMPro as a base with many customizations built on top of it. It’s not cheap, but we offer a very good solution for associations and dues-paying organizations. Let’s talk sometime.

  39. Just wanted to say thank you for the list. Am building a membership site right now and had no clue what all was out there but found your site and this was very informative and helpful.

  40. The fact that this ‘old’ blog post is still commented upon is a compliment in itself! Nice comparison.

    Personally, I’m currently using Participants Database (from XNau) instead of S2. Can you comment on the differences using the experiences I expect you to have after reading this far.

    More info:

  41. Help,

    I am looking for a wordpress membership site that will allow member to pay $10 per month or $120 year.
    Each member need to have a page in a directory.
    And the directory need to be searchable by anyone that visits the site.

    When a member drops out there page in the directory need to be dropped or paused.

  42. YourMembers: One to avoid!

    I have been badly let down by Coding Futures over their YourMembers plugin. A bug appeared that meant YM and Zombaio were not transferring data properly so memberships were not being activated randomly. After 6 months, Tim failed to fix it. In fact at first, he blamed me for set up problems, in spite of paying them twice to do the job! He has a very unusual approach to customer ‘service’ as he seems well-versed in sales prevention techniques. I believe two of his developers have left (Dave Naylor set up his own support company but my experiences were not a lot better as sometimes emails would go unanswered for days). Rats leaving a sinking ship?

    Coding Futures closed their support forum some months back alleging a ‘security issue’ but AFAIK it has never been re-instated.

    YM is very full-featured and appears to do everything you would expect, plus more, with the notable exception of actually working! If it worked reliably, it would be a killer app. As it is, it’s a waste of time and has cost be deep in the purse in terms of time and money, not to mention members. l’m in the process of replacing the whole site with PornCMS from PKS Consulting. Ryan of PKS is a breath of fresh air after Tim. He delivers and understands customer service. My advice is not to touch YM with a barge pole!

    • I am another who has been badly burned by Your Members,, to the point of having to restart my business three times so far after weird glitches either locked out members or canceled memberships randomly or failed to register payments. Most recently, every member canceled upon their monthly renewal, and then the system refused to register new users. Tim responded until May, so I haven’t had responses on my most recent problems. I am seriously considering a class action lawsuit at this point, since it’s upgrades causing the problems.

  43. I run Restrict Content Pro with Stripe over at The WP Butler and it’s perfect. Not too complex, but solidly coded and with more than enough features to meet my needs.

    For clients who have needed drp before, I’ve used Amember and Digital Access Pass, but the code and WordPress integration is abysmal. Nice to know about these other options for future projects.

    • Dave, I’m currently using DAP and I have begun to hate it, its too clunky and doesn’t integrate well. I’m trying to get away from dripping content, I see no need for it really if I can do a self-service store. But then again DAP has phased our self service store and now requires another high priced plugin to make the upgrade to DAP work fully, so I’ve been looking at Restrict Content Pro.
      Have you used it with User credits plugin? I’m thinking if RCP can protect, I can use a user credits plugin to let subscribers choose what they want.

  44. Juan Duron says:

    Great article Chris, but unfortunately I’m still searching for an answer to my dilemma.

    Do any of these solutions offer a sub-admin role type where a registering member could create member accounts under them and manage just their accounts?

    I’m working with a trade association that signs up organizations of all sizes for their continuing education courses. The association wants the heads of each member organization to manage their own member accounts (mostly enabling/disabling individual member accounts).

    Does this feature even exist across any option you’ve run across?

    • I just wrote about associations and memberships plugins right here:

      I would guess that either company referenced in that post could help you.

      • I’m doing this right now with a state wide real estate association and we’re using woo. 100 member associations with approximately 5,000 total staff that get free membership to the association site once their employing agency signs up. we use the standard woo coupon functionality to limit coupon usage and set that number equal to the number of members each association has. We send out an email to the associations when they purchase asking for a current member list. We create their coupon, set the number, and send them an email they can forward to their members. everyone gets their own login. We use dynamic pricing extension to create special ticket pricing for members to get discounted pricing too. I’ll post a link when the site is done next week.

  45. It’s such a hard choice trying to decide which plugin to use. I can’t tell if you really get more with a paid plugin vs a free one

  46. Thanks, this article was just what I needed – clear, concise and informative. Looks like I’ll go for Restricted Content Pro.

    • I’m trying to compare Membermouse to Premise by copyblogger. The copy and sales writing features of Premise have me interested, but Membermouse seems like it’s well integrated with aweber and stripe. Do you have any opinions on the strengths and weaknesses other than above of either?
      thanks in advance.

  47. Hey Chris, thanks for all the useful information!
    I’m currently starting up a membership site and the option I’ve been looking at is Wishlist, or possibly Membership.
    But some of the things I’m interested in doing, I wasn’t to make sure can be done with these plugins. For example, this probably has more to do with the payment gateway but I want to have an affiliate program of sorts. More just casual referrals but same idea. If a member wants to refer a few friends, they get %10 of each of friend’s monthly payments. If they refer 10 friends then their $10/mo membership is basically paid back to them. if they refer more than 10 people they make a dollar per person a month.
    Do you know if I would be able to implement this with any of these membership plugin options? Or what payment gateway I could use in order to do so?
    Thanks a ton!


  48. Thanks for this comparison. Is there a reason why you did not mention Magic Members? Just curious.

    I use Magic members and support was good but not always helpful. Now on other hand their Magic Affiliate plugin is totally useless an there is 0 support. The reason why I decided for MM was the affiliate option. Unfortunately almost a year later it still does not do what it should do. In some occasions like WP 3.6 it just froze and stopped to “exist”. Our business model is that we have an initial payment (in the system set as trial payment) and then a membership fee/month. The Magic Affiliate ignores the “trial” payments.

    On Magic members I like that you can protect part of the post/page so you cans till do text and score with SEO. They have a lot of functions which makes the plugin a bit slow and it has a looooong learning curve. I have to say anytime I ask I get an answer. One thing I could not figure out is the google analytics . The system should have a conversion tracking but anytime you put in the analytics code the code disappears and does not track conversion. The support said that the tracking code is in the database and it does not matter that it is not in the settings anymore. “it should track”. And with this explanation I should be happy. But in many cases they really helped.

    So in my case I am playing with the idea to leave Magic Members. Our business model requires affiliates. I have no idea how to migrate to something else. Any thoughts?

  49. Hi Chris!

    Wow, brother, your reviews have been – by far – the most helpful I’ve read on the net. I’m been hunting for info about membership sites for weeks and I keep coming back to your stuff. Thank you!

    I have a couple of questions that I am hoping you can answer.

    1. Can cart66 deal with multisite & buddypress?

    2. If not, how well does Memberpress or one of the others you are a big fan of deal with it?

    I love the idea of Cart66, because we need to be able to sell many types of thangs: memberships (of varying levels); services; digital and physical products; tickets to live events; etc…

    But, if it can’t deal with memberships on a multisite & buddypress combo, then maybe I’ll need to combine it with a membership plugin that does?

    If THAT is the case, can I integrate them somehow?

    Not sure if you’ve ever dealt with that particular issue, but you are clearly well-versed in membership plugins & shopping cart solutions, and I value your opinion.

  50. Thanks for the article, if anything it really helped me to know what I need. Dripping is defiantly one of the main features I need for my online course.
    Did you this new (I think, they claim it’s beta) one: It seems like a good candidate for my needs. what do you think?

  51. Joshua Steimle says:

    We tried the plugin Your Members which was absolutely not what we needed and now we’re on the hunt for a new membership plugin. We have an association and our needs are:

    1. We need to be able to customize a membership sign-up form and save and access the data that is entered.

    2. As part of that sign-up process credit card payments need to be accepted (we’re set up on Braintree).

    3. Once someone signs up, we need to give them immediate and complete access (no drip) to various documents an admin can upload, along with a membership directory.

    4. We need to be able to take care of renewing memberships automatically.

    5. We do NOT want these folks to see a WP admin area when they log in. This is why Your Members doesn’t work for us. We want it to be drop-dead simple.

    Can anyone tell me what might be the best fit for our needs? Cost is not an issue.


    • MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro can do what you’ve listed.

    • Joshua Steimle says:

      BTW, I’m sooo glad this post came along when it did. I was ready to give up and tell our client they would need to find a different company to help them.

    • I’m finishing an association site where the members are other associations. They buy access for a year, and through that purchase all their members also get access to the main site. we did it with woo (free), groups and subscriptions (premium). That handled subscription timeline and groups handled capabilities for members to get access to members only pages. Just under 5,000 members. It’s working like a charm so far. Good luck on your site.

  52. Any suggestions for the ones of us that are not in countries where Stripe is offered? I agree that Paypal sucks but Stripe is only available in the US, Canada and very limited countries of the World.

  53. Thanks for the advice. I use Stripe and that excludes a lot of products. I also use Woocommerce (which I don’t recommend due to nickel and diming) and that knocks out more options. I’ve been pulling my hair out with developers who don’t know what they’re doing. They should have read this article first.

  54. theroyalvideographer says:

    Thank you so much! I have spend so much time during the last months learning about membership, payment and online learning courses and this is a great help! I haven’t tried it yet but just saw that with the free PMP it is possible to install add-ons to both “drip-feed” content and run affiliate marketing! That are some huge premium features for free. Go to and look for “PMPro Series for Drip-Feed Content”.

  55. Hello,

    Another really interesting article.

    Since I already want to congratulate you for your article is really complete.
    I really liked the way it was written is really very explanatory


    Nilton Falé

  56. Great post. Thanks for the help on this. I love your blog.

  57. saulgoodmanhonest says:

    Great article, I found this doing a search for WordPress Membership Plugin Reviews! You were the top result.

    I have been using RCP for years and have finally hit a brick wall. Pippin is great and RCP is an amazing plugin does 90% of what we need. But….yes there is a but.

    Many of our sites have grown to a point which we need the ability to sell multiple subscriptions to a single user. Right now with RCP we are only able to sell one membership to a single user, but what if we offer 3 different memberships and a member wants all 3? Not happening with RCP.

    So, I found woo-subscriptions which to my surprise you have no reviewed. After reading a ton of your articles (great stuff by the way Chris) I have seen you really like the Woo stuff. This woo-subscription is $199 per site, which I also need another extension woo-groups $99 bucks.

    Now they have told me through presales support that they can do multiple subscriptions for one user at the same time, perfect! However when I started to dig into woo-subscriptions I see they use this groups plugin which is free.

    So what is the deal here? Lets say I fork out the $300 bucks for the woo-package (which I am fine doing) could have done all of this for free?

    Chris, I am sure many readers would love to hear your thoughts on this new woo-extension woo-subscriptions.

    Hook the readers up?

  58. Ok, I want the ability to drip content, have it interface with aweber for autoresponders, be totally automated with paypal so once someone pays the membership just starts and does recurring billing, too and is very easy for a non-techy to run. I don’t care about pausing memberships and would like the lowest cost option that does those things. Which one do you recommend? And, if you know of anyone who can set this all up for me, too, that would be great if you can direct me to them.

    • Sounds like you want MemberPress, but Chris may have a different recommend (he has used many membership plugins). You can probably get it installed and running on your own using their manual, but feel free to look me up if you have any questions.

    • You also might wanna have a look at – the quick start wizard makes creating a membership quite easy…

  59. Great article thankyou. I have just had the free Memberships Pro installed on my new website and it is great. I’m just playing at the moment and have a question (I’m not tecky at all so this may seem like an odd question). If I upgraded to the paid membership and have to pay that fee every year – wouldn’t it be better for me to have a coder write one for me? Also, supposing (this includes all plugins) you get thousands if not millions of members – what happens if the plugin owners just decide to give up or something happens their end? We re reliant on their product working aren’t we. So wouldn’t it be easier to work with an independent coder? Have I got this all wrong? Oh and can paid MP handle millions of memberships? Thanks.

    • K, thanks for using Paid Memberships Pro. Our name confuses things, but we only have one version of the plugin. You get all of our code with the free membership. If you need support, you can buy a plan. If you don’t renew your membership, you still get updates, but would need to sign up again if you needed support.

      RE what happens if the company goes out of business: that is a real risk. You want to make sure that a plugin has support, both financially and in the developer community. I can tell you that we are as a company still committed to PMPro and I don’t forsee any reason we won’t be supporting it. The more important thing is that PMPro is completely open source and it is becoming a “community solution” for membership sites on WordPress. There are other developers besides us who also are committed to the platform. So if I disappear tomorrow (knock on wood), there will be other in the OS community there to carry the torch.

      RE handling millions of members: at that scale of website you have problems that are not specific to Paid Memberships Pro. So you’ll need a team of developers/etc really to get your site running at scale. I can tell you that sites with tens of thousands of members successfully run our plugin. And if you need help scaling above that, we’re here.

  60. Great article, thank you so much for your format and presentation, lack of heavy marketing on your site. You’ve got a new reader today.

  61. Hi Chris!
    I have been reading your blog for some time now and I want to thank you or providing so much wonderful content! I really appreciate it! I may have read too much information however because I’m almost confused now but I’m hoping you can set me straight….
    I would like to create a site kind of like “” in the sense that…..
    • I want my clients to be able to see all the different online courses that I offer…
    • They can view a sales pages detailing each elearning course…
    • If they want to purchase one they can create a free membership and can purchase however many paid courses they would like. (I am tentatively planning on using WP Courseware for this based on your recommendation.)
    • Once logged into they can have a ‘membership page’ or ‘profile’ where they can see all the courses they have purchased.

    Having said all of that….
    • Paypal is fine, I don’t mind.
    • I don’t want it to drop content by time….I just want it to make users take the lessons in the course in order.
    • I wasn’t planning on having quizzes for all lessons, but if I have to have them to enable people to go to the next level to take the lessons in order, then I’ll do it.
    • I kind of care about price, but I’m more into something that works.
    • I do not foresee at this time needing more membership levels.
    • I don’t care about changing code I’m not going to fool with it.

    Would you do:
    A – Paid Membership Pro with Wp Courseware?
    B – Member Press with WP Courseware?
    C – Woo Commerce and Sensei?
    D – Something completely different?

    I think I’m getting confused because PMP is a membership plugin… and I don’t want to tie each new course to a membership level. Do I need a membership, or an eCommerce solution?

    I have tried to synthesize all the information you provide, but it think it’s just a lot to take in! Thank you very much for your reply in advance! I really appreciate it!

    • Marilyn,
      I’ve been searching for a while, as you did (or do).
      I’ve tried Wishlist Member, PMP, S2 Member, MemberPress and Membership (WPMU)
      I was to the point to decide on the combination of MemberPress and WPCourseware and … I discovered LearnDash.
      LearnDash is very powerful and provides by its own all the features you described (and even more)
      LearnDash :
      – has 3 levels : Course – Lesson – Lesson Topic. People can buy (integrated with Paypal) as many courses as needed, or only one.
      – makes you decide if a topic / lesson / course is a prerequisite for the next one
      – drips content (if you want to)

      My e-learning website is not on line yet.
      Even I love LearnDash, I still decided to go for MemberPress + LearnDash as LearnDash does not allow (or I didn’t find how to) to keep some extracts “public” as I want my courses to be SEO optimized as well …

      The best is still to have a look at their web site (not an affiliate link) :

      Greetings from a belgian guy blogging about photography (in French)
      Have a nice day

      • Hi Eric,

        Thank you so much of your recommendation of LearnDash! I read the entire site and went thru the demo (which was very helpful) and I think they have a pretty good plug in. I will most likely use them. I also thought it was neat how they enable you to use video and images in the quizzes too. Very neat integration.

        Additionally as I went thru the demo for WP Courseware….. Their first YouTube video about “how to create a new course” (minute 1:27) explains that the new user can only be automatically enrolled if you have one course…. However if you have multiple, then you have to go in and manually add that user to the course he purchased(s). I find this a slight drawback…and made me not want to use them. Although I’m sure they do have some great features…

        Anyways, thanks again for responding to my post it was much appreciated!
        Marilyn in Kentucky (not nearly as cool a Belgium)

    • You would use MemberPress with WP Courseware and a theme like Modern portfolio from studiopress.

      Just remember, they didn’t build that site for spare change. It’s a custom site.

      • HI Chris,

        I looked up Modern Portfolio and I really like the clean feel very much. I have heard very good things about Genesis and was already contemplating buying Optimize Press…. I’m glad I was going in the right direction! Thanks for your recommendation!

        And I am happy to pay someone $100 for a theme as that is their specialty. As far as I’m concerned it’s a deal…I didn’t have to go to developer school! If I created a theme I’m sure it would be quite disastrous! (Smiley Face)

        Thanks again!

        • Hi Chris.
          Yep … right!
          That’s one of the reasons I’m still keeping Memberpress in the frontline.
          In addition, I love Memberpress ability to group Posts/Pages/Custom Posts within “Products” (what the others label “Membership Levels”) … and allow a single user to buy different “products” if he wants to (plus upgrade paths if necessary).

          I learn a lot through your blog and I like the way you write !
          Thanks for sharing all that info with us.
          Have a great day!


      • Hi Chris,

        Thank you for writing this amazing article on membership plugins.

        I am wondering do you know any membership plugin which have built-in rating system like gd start rating? I’ve checked both learndash and wp courseware and I think learndash will fulfill my requirements but it doesn’t have any rating system. :(

        Thanks Again!

  62. In the interest of contributing … I seldom see mention in articles like this one about Justin Tadlock’s members plugin ( A dev can do an awful lot with it.

  63. Søren Benzon Eskildsen says:


    Quick question, you don’t mention this feature ad all, but do you know if any of thos plugin’s support making content free after let’s say a month, since we are doing a web magazin, and wanna release the content free step by step, but paying users, shut se it first before it goes free.

  64. Hi Chris

    I am currently installing a wordpress website that will have a membership restriction area for daily report.

    I am hesitating between MemberMouse and MemberPress.

    I am looking for a solution that will have the following :

    * a good member dashboard, with ability to see invoices, and change subscription
    * good reports
    * easy registration
    * strong plugin with a good support if something is happening.

    I am expected to have around 120 members.

    What would you do ?

    Thanks a lot

  65. Hi Chris,
    Great article as always.
    Am I able to integrate WP Courseware with Restrict Content Pro? Also is it possible to use Restrict content pro with both EDD and WP courseware at the same time so that people would be able to log in to their account and access both products from EDD and courses through WP Courseware? Hope this makes sense.
    Thank you.

  66. Thanks to Chris for the fabulous article and to all the commenters who have added great value to the discussion.

    Just curious about your thoughts on two others.

    The first is Premise. What I like about it is that it plays nice with WP, allows for forum discussions,has a ton of free graphics you can use, and has a social share gate. What I don’t like is the blind customization. It’s not WYSIWYG. You have to change settings for color, font, graphics, etc., then save those settings, then import the page you are trying to tweak, and THEN you finally get to see what it looks like. It’s a real hassle. (Maybe it’s because I have only downloaded the free trial and didn’t work with it for more than a couple of weeks. Still, I have created several WP sites, so I was surprised at how cumbersome this membership plugin seems to be.)

    I am also considering Optimize Press. Any thoughts on that one, too?

  67. Chris, I really appreciate how thoroughly you research things. You are now the main source for my WP reading.

    I had mentioned earlier that Your Members from Coding Futures UK bombed for me, big time, by unsubscribing all members when their renewal came around. I am looking for a replacement ASAP.

    One of the main features I need is the ability to have a teaser on each post, which YM did via the shortcode [private], which I could insert wherever in the content I liked, turning it off with another one at the end of the post. Do any of these plugins have this feature?

    My site and service are pretty simple: I post one weekly dinner menu, and I write a couple of paragraphs about what’s on the menu at the top of the post, and I want that part public. Membership is month-to-month via Paypal, although I want to add Stripe when I switch plugins.

    I also need to keep my past content protected. I really don’t want to reveal the last four years’ worth of weekly dinner menus to the world for free, or what would be the point of looking for a new plugin?

    I am looking at Paid Memberships Pro, Premise and a couple of other plugins. Any ideas, Christ, or anyone else?

    • Oh good grief. CHRIS. Thank you, autocorrect! Not that you won’t be a sort of miraculous miracle worker if you can help me solve this and resurrect my business!

      • Hi

        It might be a quite a bit of work to transform an existing site from one membership plugin to another, but as both Your Members and do their teaser feature with short codes, there might be a way to transform your content via database update statements.

        About the lost members: Are the members still there, just unsubscribed or are they gone from the DB? Do you have backups of your site?


    • MemberPress will do what you want, and they have a member import add-on that lets you mass import members from a .csv file. You could export your current site’s users/information, and then adjust the output to match the way MemberPresss does it. You’ll still need to update your shortcodes to MemberPress style, but in general it works the same with the partial content stuff.

  68. Bummed no one was able or willing to respond to my Premise question. Oh well…still interesting comments.

  69. Apparently it’s backed by a former Apple Computer Executive.
    Cleeng is a new twist on the paywall. It does recurring subscriptions to content bundles, single ppv and rental periods. It’s not a membership plugin, but would you say membership sites will fall to this type of content model?

  70. Hey Chris, great article! I was wondering what you would suggest if I want users to signup to my wordpress site using a unique code they get. They would provide name,email and the code to get into the membership section.

  71. Have you looked at easyquickmember?
    It sounds great but I am just getting started in IM and this will be my first membership site.
    Its at if you want a look
    Rich in Red bank

  72. Hi Chris, thanks for the great post and for all the commenters who have provided so much information.

    Most plugins seem to assume that memberships are hierarchical (e.g. Bronze, Silver, Gold), However, I’m interested in creating a site where different training products can be put on the same site, and the customer has access to whatever they buy, and they can buy one or any combination of several. I think the right lingo is that a user can simultaneously have multiple levels of access.

    Besides Wishlist, do any of the other membership plugins allow this? I can’t tell if this feature generally doesn’t exist, or it’s so basic that it’s not worth mentioning on the sales page.

    I think I read above that Memberpress may allow this. What about Fast Member, Easy Quick Member, or Paid Membership Pro?

    • Hi Eric

      This is probably so basic that most don’t mention it. I only know about wish list and fast member and certainly can handle parallel products. You just add pages or posts to a given product and you can even mix within one page using the short code system.

    • Easy Quick Member does this easily. You choose which pages or posts you want protected by a particular product.

  73. Hi Chris,

    I love your writing and take my hat off to your expertise! I’m building a 30 day course with daily updates (video) and always available PDF documents. I’m thinking this is the best way for me to go:

    1. Memberpress to build the membership site

    2. WP Courseware for creating and managing lessons

    3. s3 Media Maestro to protect the video content

    Would you agree? Is there anything else I should be aware of before I jump in?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Clare

      You might want to have a look at FastMember – Depending on which functionality from courseware you really need it might be able to handle all of your requirement with a single product. FastMember will protect your video content from S3, you can use it to drip feed your daily lessons pages and of course it will handle the membership…


      • Hi Mike,

        Thank you for this, it sounds like a great solution and I will check it out today. Have a good one!


      • Hi Mike,

        I just signed up with FastMember to create a client site. There was no option to input my registration details, the link went straight to Paypal. As I paid using the client’s Paypal account, they have received the login details. Not a good start, I didn’t expect this and find it rather too automatic for my liking. I need to start work tonight and am not bursting with enthusiasm after this.

        Hopefully the rest of the process will run smoothly.


  74. Hi there,
    Great article as always.
    I have WP courseware. I would like a customer to purchase my course by creating an account and then sign back in to be-able to access the course. I would also like them to be-able to purchase other products from my website which may be other courses or digital products which they they would then have access to through their account. Does paid memberships pro support this? I guess I am not wanting my customers to know about the levels but simply have access to their account and to the products they have purchased.
    Thank you very much for you time.

  75. I just spent the past 10 days trying to configure S2member. It is really complicated. I am a content producer not a coder. I find it clumsy and hard to use. It was a waste of time for me. I’ll try some of the recommendations here. The money lost trying to learn s2member could have been used to make money with an easier to use plugin. I am really frustrated with that plugin. I am all for ease of use even if you have coding background. Ease of use translates into more time to try make some money and living. So any advice on the latest easy to use flexible plugins that offer various subscription levels, paywall, etc would be much appreciated.

    • I see… would be better to be able to supply a contact address that is different from the payment address…

      • Hi Mike,

        I think this is essential. Five days into the programme we have quite a few customers who used a partner’s or friend’s Paypal account to signup, then need to update their details. I also have to wait for my client to forward emails to me. This {small} detail would make an amazing difference to, what is, an awesome plugin.


  76. So far I’ve looked in detail at two of the membership plug-ins you recommend Chris, and I can’t believe that they don’t have 1 feature: A confirmation email with a link to confirm before registering a new member (free or paid). To me, this is a deal breaker because unless I know the person registering is a real person with a real email address, I have no way to be sure I have two-way communication. I can’t market to them, I can’t send them critical notifications. Paid Memberships Pro and Restrict Content Pro are the two plugins I’ve looked at and I liked Paid Memberships Pro in particular except for this problem. I have no ability to program this myself, so I’ll keep looking.

  77. What about imember360? I am surprised to see that it was not mentioned. Because I was under the impression that it was the best!

  78. Is anyone using membermouse here? Anyone have experiences to share?

  79. Hi Chris
    Any suggestion for a first click free plugin ?

  80. So, my client wants to be able to bring in current members by way of a voucher or coupon code, and thereafter it’s a recurring annual fee, as well as bring in new subscribers with the same simple signup form. Being able to set each membership by how much time they have left (an expiration) would be needed for the current subscribers. They do not have a database of users so far, I think, because they simply have a SINGLE password for last year’s subscription, and next year’s. I wanted to know how easy the free versions of these plugins are (including Paid Memberships Pro) in setting up a voucher system (at least 12, for each month they might have remaining), checkout and redirecting back to the site with PayPal standard. I basically just need a simple form with name, username, email, password and coupon code (optional) – unless that’s entered on the PayPal payment page..? The client has a small budget, so PayPal Pro probably isn’t something they will do, nor will they want to tack an extra $70 on for a plugin.

    Also, I was wondering if it’s relatively easy to separate regular content that any visitor can view, from the membership-only content. Is it as easy as adding a category/tag?

    Lastly, I was wondering if there’s an easy way to test setting up a membership account locally from start to finish with a PayPal checkout – without spending actual pennies to test it. Is there an easy way to do that? I’m still a little new to WordPress and PHP/MySQL, so any help – especially detailed help – is much appreciated!

  81. Also, a user may need to change his/her password. Do any of the free plugins assist in that matter, is it managed by WordPress or is that entirely an admin thing? Just trying to figure out how to better assist the client from having much admin work.

  82. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for a great post. Would you consider continuing postings on membership plugins. I personally have used Gravity Forms User Registration add on integrated with a payment gateway, and MailChimp Add Ons, Participants Database, and have considered Premise, Magic Members, and combinations of these for some of my sites. It would be great to get your imput. Membership management is a big subject, and Membership Plugins continue to evolve as new ones are brought to market.

  83. I am looking for a plugin able to use the google first page free methodology. Is it right that the only solution as of today is emember?

  84. Having trouble finding something that fits my needs.
    I want people to sign up via our wordpress website for one of several membership tiers, pay for it, be in a database separated according to membership tier and other fields, like email, address, name, etc. and (important) have the ability to design & send newsletters to selected membership tiers.
    Having auto renewal notifications would be a bonus.
    Having recurring payment choice, nice but I could live without it.

    Our budget is miniscule as we are a small business, but it’s important that the system works well.

    • What you’re describing isn’t typically associated with a minuscule budget. But if you have the know how and put in the time, Paid Memberships Pro would do what you like (though you’d have to have MailChimp do some work too).

  85. Hi nice article. I’m also looking for a membership plugin. In my quest WP-members from ROCKETGEEK INTERACTIVE always pops-up somewhere. It is a 4-star plugin on with around 400K downloads and free… what’s your opinion on that plugin?

  86. Chris, this is a great post. What is your expert opinion around finding a membership plugin that also allow Google to crawl the entire protected content? I heard the only way is to set up First Look Free with the plugin. Is this true? Does eMember have this feature?

    Another way is to have a custom length for the excerpt to be unprotected and crawled. Which plugin can allow for this? thanks


    • I see why you would want that – being found for all your content gives you more customers – unfortunately this would also mean you give everything away for free as all an interested person has to do to get your content is click on the little “in Cache” link on the google search result page…

  87. Help Chris! I need to know if ANY membership software will meet my needs?

    I offer 4 or more separate training courses, each which is paid for separately. I need the information in each course dripped sequentially in one week shots over the course of a month. It would be great if a person who bought more than one course could see all the paid for training with one log in.
    I can see how this sequential dripping could be applied to a single course on a single site (week one silver week two gold ect) but can I put all 4 courses on ONE site. I would like that one site to be my main site which also includes my blog.

    The problem I see is that these courses are not really memberships in its usual sense although we do plan to add a long term monthly membership to our site. I am trying out Magic Members now because it seemed to have a lot of options but it seems not this one.

    • Eric Heymans says:

      Memberpress will do that for you ! (I’m using it in the same kind of setup)

    • Fastmember can do that, too – you could even use the Conditionals feature to create a page that links to the paid for products/courses and to the sales pages of the not yet purchased…

  88. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for sharing. Okay I might be real late but thanks for sharing. Since Premise went down (was late to get a copy of it), I am thinking hard which is a better choice to go for. Heard so much about Optimize Press but wanted a different view.

    And I got it here! Thank you for sharing and let me check them out.


  89. Thanks so much for the article! I am a newbie at WordPress and using it to set up a site that will have users that will have different access roles, an online store, and ability to do reoccurring donations. I would like them to have their own profile page and the ability for us to customize it more in the future. One thing I would really love is to be able to export names/addresses so I can use them for mailing labels – based on what they subscribe to. Is there any user management that you would recommend that does all that? I don’t mind paying for quality and ease of use. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Chris
      I think most of it can be made with fastmember – the online shop of course only if it is downloadable digital products…
      Fastmember even has a simple newsletter/autoresponder system built in, so you can mail your users depending which product/levels they belong to…


    • If you want serious ease of use, head over to iThemes for Exchange. It does eCommerce, subscriptions, membership and more.

  90. Hi Chris,

    I’m looking for a membership plug-in that can take someone’s Linkedin profile and instantly populate their membership profile within the site – do you, or the others here, know of one by any chance?


  91. I’m currently using Magic Members and Magic Affiliate. The jury is still out on whether or not I recommend them. Sometimes they are incredibly quick and responsive and other times they leave a lot to be desired. I have had a lot of technical issues with them in my year of being with them, though they have worked hard to resolve them.

    However, many of the issues have lingered, and if anyone has a WordPress plugin/software where I could easily transfer things over with minimal impact to my current and “recurring billing customers” I would be interested in hearing about it.

  92. Chris, first off thank you for your wonderful site that I just recently discovered. Quick question, I have a membership site that has multiple topic-oriented memberships. Do you know of any membership plugins that support users purchasing more than one membership type?

  93. Thanks Chris, for this awesome list! I have built a handful of websites with WP, but this is my first foray with a PAID MEMBERSHIP – check out (work in progress).

    PaidMembershipsPro really is super easy, however my only gripe would be not allowing both STRIPE and PayPal at the same time. Am I missing something?
    I guess for now, I’ll stick with Stripe until clients complain about no paypal..

    Would love to hear if I’ve overlooked something. thanks again!

  94. Hi, thanks for these, do you know of any free ones by chance?

  95. Thanks for this info, Chris. There are so many options for membership sites and it’s challenging to sort through their ability to meet a specific use case. I’m trying to use a membership plugin to replace my separate Ning site where I offer about 50 new online classes (live and archive) per year via Ning’s “paywalls”. Want to transition to one WP site that includes the Ning approach. I don’t use Ning for the social networking aspect.

    1. Is there one you’d recommend over another where I can offer products for purchase, sold a la carte to customers that upon purchase provides them a page with access to all the course materials (audio players (for live and archived audio access to the class), pdfs, embedded video, and an area for customer interaction/community forum that is product specific). Looking for an option where all of this can be available within each product.

    2. Do any of these membership plug ins offer a customer interaction aspect, where customers of that product can interact with each other on that page, creating a virtual experience for the customers (sharing what they enjoyed most, questions for me or others, other general comments)?

    3. Which of these has product/membership options that can show up as Store items, along with any other products, including those that are not memberships? I don’t do code, so hoping this is out of the box.

    4. Can I offer payments for some membership products (some are pricey)? With Cart66 Cloud, in order to offer payments, they force you into subscriptions (with expiration dates) yet the product content is actually more like all the other membership items (unlimited access).

    5. Is there a way to limit how many devices/IPs my customers can use to access the content, to minimize piracy/login sharing? (I know wishlist member offers this and that Cart66 Cloud does not.)

    6. Which of these membership plugins allows me to organize the products, shown in a Store type menu, into categories or some other form of grouping? With so many classes offered, it’s important for me to be able to group them to keep things organized in the offering, which I hope is the Store. With Cart66 Cloud I learned I cannot organize my product posts into Categories within Store without coding.

    7. Is there a membership plugin that allows me to offer memberships that links the dates of the customer’s specific membership and to dates product was published/created? I’m not talking about content dripping here. I’d like windows of time for membership matching present window of material that matches their membership dates. Since we offer about 4-6 events per month, some regular customers purchase all that we offer, so this membership would be a big convenience for them to just know they have access to new products offered in that time window, but not to everything created in prior time windows. For my staff, we wouldn’t have to do anything special, just knowing the system is matching their membership dates with the workshop published dates.

    8. Which of these allow customers to have “accounts” which saves their info for future purchases? (I’m a newbie, this may be standard — sorry).

    9. Which members offer PCI/SSL out of the box or what additional is needed to achieve this?

    Sorry if some of these are basic and for so many questions. Not sure if I need an eLearning solution (like WP courseware) with a membership plugin or whether I can just find the right membership plug-in. Have been trying to make Cart66 Cloud work for the past 2 months and I’m realizing it just isn’t a fit for me.

    Thank you!!

  96. Hello Chris,

    Please I want to know the WordPress membership plugins supports the following features:

    1. I want to create a school website where;
    – Students can register online for admission and upload their pictures
    – Students can check their admission/result status online
    – Students can pay school fees online and it will be shown in their member’s area that they have paid.

    2. affiliate website where;

    – people can register and get their referral link.
    – member’s will be promoted to another level after referring someone.

    3 Also i want to know if the plugin supports other payment method apart from PayPal & Stripe, provided one can get their API

    Please I will be glad to hear from you


  97. Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for the article and also all the information in the questions and replies.

    I currently use socialgo for a membership site that i have. I would love to switch my site to wordpress. My main requirement is that the members can enter their profile (the profile questions and content would be determined by me) and then people that visit the website can view all of the members profile pages. Is there a plugin that will do this?
    Thanks so much for your time!

  98. Hi Chris,

    Thanks a lot for the info above. I have been digging through your site for as much info on membership sites as possible. I’m struggling a bit to make a decision on which plugin to use – so many options.

    I’m trying to build a website that sells weekly meal plans. We want potential customers to be able to choose a single menu or monthly or yearly subscriptions for meal plans. After they choose and pay for a subscription, they should be able to log in to a member page and see the current weekly meal plan and/or (not decide yet) all the meal plans (so last weeks and before that, etc).

    I started using the Vantage theme with Page Builder which looks really good and is easy to use, but I’m not sure how compatible it is with any of your suggestions above. I’m a relative newbie with WordPress and web dev and also I’m on a budget so looking for free plugins. Paid membership Pro, s2Member, and eXchange look promising. Can you recommend me one out of the 3 to get my hands dirty with?

    Greatly appreciate your help

    • Are the meal plans the same for all? If not, you’re doing more than creating a membership system. Paying for subscriptions is easy with PMP or Exchange. But each person seeing their own menu is different than them seeing all the same menu.

    • I have actually already done this same thing, over 4 years running now. I used a plugin that is now available for free but I would never in a million years recommend any longer, because the developers abandoned it after running into massive problems last summer (it unsubscribed ALL my subscribers upon their renewal dates instead of billing them!)

      After weighing a lot of options with the help of Chris’s articles and comments, I decided to go with Exchange.

      One thing I’ll say, from both my own experience with my site and my friend who runs another very well-known service: You will probably recycle your menus after awhile. One well-known service excitedly announces that there are no repeats in a 6-month period. Really, how many people don’t repeat a dish within 6 months? My friend and I go with a year on our services, because we’re about seasonal eating.

      So my subscribers get their *own* archives, not every single menu I’ve ever published. This allows me to concentrate on customer service, marketing, and writing for other websites and ezines (and website design for other clients).

      • Thanks for your reply,

        At this stage I’m not ready to spend the money on Exchange and all the plugins I’d need (membership recurring payments and mailchimp addons) . I will try PaidMembershipPro or s2Member.

        I was wondering, how you drip your content to your clients. Do you rotate it based on a yearly cycle?

        • I actually spent a year creating a new menu each week. Because of how I set it up initially, I dated everything, so each week I go in and change the date from that week a year previous and republish it. It only takes me a few minutes and it’s worth it to take a look at the menu again–sometimes servers eat things, and once in awhile I suddenly have something bolded I know darn well wasn’t originally, or a close tag gets moved so that something doesn’t appear (although it’s right there in the code–just doesn’t display).

          Doing this also gives me time to develop new things, either a new type of menu, or the writing and site design I do. Originally each week’s menu and shopping list took me the better part of two days to put together.

  99. Thanks for your awesomely quick reply!

    We will launch with one type of meal plan. Every week we release a new meal plan. This meal plan (and possibly all of the previous week plans) should be accessible to members whose subscription is still valid. For single paying customers they will have access to this member area for a week. When they click on the meal plan they would be taken to a page with a downloadable shopping list and all the recipes on a webpage with text that is not copyable.

    Alternatively they would have access to a download page where every week a new meal plan (shopping list and recipes) would be posted and available for download over the course of the week.

    At a later point we will have different meal plans. Vegetarian or gluten free or dairy free or whole food meal plans. And customers who buy a subscription for a particular meal plan should only see the download page for the meal plan they paid for.

    Is that clear enough?

    thx a gain for your help Chris.


  100. Gergana Micova says:

    I was actually refereed to your blog by genesis customer service! This link was very interesting as I am trying to set up a monthly subscription site that offers healthy snacks to busy people ( which is pretty much everyone is America ). Can you recommend a plug in for that specifically?Thank you

  101. HI Chris,

    Ive looked around for a while but I am looking for a membership plugin that will handle just simply club memberships on a yearly basis ranging from 1-10 years of paid dues. Id like it to be able to automatically invoice the person and then update their membership online. Maybe have a member profile page also.

    We arent worried about content protection at all… what we worry about is if the member has a current member card to show at the clubhouse.

    There are MANY great plugins discussed here but most seem to revolve around content protection.

    Any ideas?

  102. I need a way to have two different join forms and each have differnt restrictions. One everyone who wants to join site to see pages and posts but not staff content. then a second that sees everything including staff pages and posts. any ideas NO money is involved all free just must sign up.

    • The forms on most/all of the membership plugins mentioned here will automatically sign people up to the correct level after you create the different subscription types with the content permissions/rules you want.

  103. Hi Chris, great post! I am looking for 2 membership plugin solutions.

    1 for a solution similar to jigsawbox – online coaching some private space q&a audio, webinars, docs etc and some public space for forum/learning share.

    2 buddypress type social network where member have profiles contact each other with ability to also sell programmes etc. also looking for some sort of token that folks can earn and spend on the site.

    Any ideas gratefuly received. budget v tight :-(



  104. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for all of this great information. I am using Wishlist and Event Espresso, and hosting ten at Hostgator. Hostgator has suspended the site because Wishlist is causing them too many problems and hogging resources, causing spikes, etc. It may be the theme I bought too but the plugin is causing me so much drama and slowing down my site. I have about 1200 members who have access to a “Members’ Console” on the site where they can download materials. We also plan and organize events using Event Espresso ….. I am stumped on what to do next. The thought of switching to a new theme gives me heartburn, but I may have to. The theme does not play nice with Google Ads either. So between Wishlist and the theme I am trying to make some big decisions. Any suggestions? The site is down right now.

    • Yeah, that sounds like a real pain – but not the first time I’ve heard a hosting provider killing that plugin. Hit me up on my contact form and we’ll chat about some potential next steps.

  105. Hi there!

    great article! CTL-D-ing it right now!

    I’m looking for a membership plugin where all members of a group would share the group’s expiration date. any ideas?


  106. Hi !
    What about Membership and Job board mixed together ?
    Somebody asked me for that request. A kind of “private club” where you can find job opportunity for …. €/year.
    Is that realizable just with a “Job board template” and the “WordPress plugin S2members” ? (and of course some web development and a little bit work on it…) ? The latter plugin seems to be quite easy to begin with.

    Thanks for your answer 😉

    • Hi !
      What about Membership and Job board mixed together ?
      Somebody asked me for that request. A kind of “private club” where you can find job opportunity for …. €/year.
      Is that realizable just with a “Job board template” and the “WordPress plugin S2members” ? (and of course some web development and a little bit work on it…) ? The latter plugin seems to be quite easy to begin with.

      Thanks for your answer 😉

  107. I know you are big on MemberPress, and I do need their ability to have one user subscribe to multiple paid subscriptions at once. But I also need a very simple shopping cart so it can all be in one transaction, and MemberPress does not support that. Am I missing something? Thanks!

  108. I just want to find a plugin that will allow me to hide pages and posts from non-members. This is an Association site so there is nothing to do with paying. They just need to register and then be verified by the administrator as being an member of this association. They then are given access with a login and pw. After logging in they should be sent to the home page of the site and not the profile page as many plugins seem to do. I have yet to find anything with these simple features.

  109. Hi Chris!

    I don’t think it’s fair to call Exchange free in this article. Because the membership addon is part of the pro pack which isn’t free.

    You seem to know a lot about membership plugins, so you can probably help me. I am looking for a way to offer access to a library of ebooks to my subscribers.
    I looked at Memberpress, Exchange and many other plugins and didn’t find any which allows me to do that.
    They can all add new members to an Email list. But they can not automatically restrict access when a subscriber unsubscribes.
    Basically I would like to do it the way copyblogger does it with My Copyblogger but can’t find any way to make it work.
    Any idea?

    Thank you for your time

    • Hi Benjamin

      I guess most plugins should be able to do this. My best experience is with fastmember. Here you could put your ebooks on restricted space on Amazon s3. Fastmember will only allow current members to download ebooks from protected S3 space as long as they are a member – so when someone unsubscribes he can not access the ebooks any more. The problem is, once an ebook is downloaded, you have no control any more. If you are looking for a DRM solution to protect the ebooks even when they are downloaded, it becomes a lot more complicated – possibly you will need to have a look at adobe digital editions or something similar then…


      • Thanks for your quick answer Mike.

        Na I am not looking for DRM, I hate these stuffs :p.

        According to your description fastmember does exactly what I want :).

        • Amazon s3 content protection is quite straight forward to set up in fastmember, you only need to set your permissions key once in the global settings and then can put all protected content in the list of protected content. There is a short code to add protected content to your members pages (the ebook library, as you would call it) and you are good to go)

    • Most of those plugins will stop the person from accessing pages/products when they unsubscribe. Normally that’s done with an unsubscribe to the membership plan. But Paid Memberships Pro also has code that syncs from mailing lists.

  110. Hello Chris,

    I’ve read all your posts on membership plugins several times, and each time I think I’ve found optimal solution for client, I learn something new they want! Yes, some scope going on :( The newest requirement is that x membership level would be able to view x number of specific posts types per month.

    Do you know of any solution that would allow me to restrict access after X Membership level has reached their monthly view quote?

    not entirely a membership plugin question but the restriction would be within a membership area.

  111. Hi Chris,
    I need a recommendation. I need the best option(s) for building a site that can offer several levels of paid membership, can do event creation/management/paid registration and allows the members to have their own profiles that they can manage. It also needs to be able to integrate with or similar (don’t want to use Stripe or Paypal – which knocks out MemberFindMe). Is there any one plugin that can handle all three? Or do you have a recommendation on a good combination?
    Free or low cost would be great, but will to consider others if they provide the solution I need.
    I appreciate any guidance you can give.

    • Membership site, with event registration, personal pages, and – the one thing I can tell you is that this will mean not only a plugin but some extra code, and it won’t be free. I’ll work on writing up how I’d go about doing it.

      • Wonderful! Thank you and I look forward to seeing what you find.

      • I would love to read how you’d go about this. I’ve developed a couple of rather complicated membership management sites. But I don’t know that i’d do it again the same way. These are sites that provide complete membership management for small business or organization, not just provide private content, and logins. The sites are and Each club had specific requirements that required much php coding. The idea of including events booking with membership is something I’d like to be able to integrate without extensive coding.

      • Hi Chris,
        This would be of great help for me too! I am building a site for an organization that offers different membership levels and pricing and these members have discounts for events organized by them whereas free or non-members haven’t. I am currently trying with Membermouse but it needs a lot of research. Have you written anything up about how you’d go about doing something like this? I can’t seem to find anything related to this on your site.
        Thank you and gongrats on your site! Awesome stuff, can’t stop informing myself.

  112. Hi Chris,

    Are you aware of this family of plugins for small business: ?

    Affiliate and

    Seems like they cover a lot of ground with integrated solutions.
    Significant download volume and good reviews in the WP repository.
    But I don’t see them included in many reviews.
    Is there a reason for that?

  113. Hey Chris thanks for the great information;

    I am using MemberFindMe plugin , my site is pretty new so i will like to know what do you think about this plugin.

  114. Thanks for this valuable info. I am building a membership site and haven’t been able to find a plug in that does what I need it to do.
    Here is what I want:

    I want each member to be able to “unlock” the training of their choice each month. Each member gets to choose which class they want from a long list of choices. Different members may choose different trainings. So I need something that allows each member to “unlock” ONE class of their choice each month.

    I also want the member to continue to have access to previous classes they “unlocked” as long as they are a member, so they can go back and watch them over and over again as needed.

    My web developer has not been able to find a plugin that does all this. Do you know of any??

  115. grow nick says:

    Hi! I have noticed that my website can be logged in from 2 or more different computers at the same time.

    Is there a way to allow just one login at a time? I can’t keep students from sharing their credentials. So, would like to allow only 1 login per member at a time.

    How can I find this type of login restriction plugins?

  116. Radu Patron says:

    I’ve used s2Member Framework (free plugin) to create paid membership websites.
    Here’s a tutorial I’ve put together including PayPal payments and AVChat 3 video chat:

  117. Hey Chris,
    This is completely amazing!
    Wonder if you can make a suggestion for us over at
    1. Not a full paywall, but a “support us — become a member” request on the nag screen that pops up as you visit our custom-themed WordPress site. We don’t want to be members-only paywall restricted, but we do want to be able to invite people to support us.
    2. You can dismiss the nag screen if you want, and go ahead and look around anyway
    3. The nag screen can pop up, say 2-3 times during your visit, and then not pop up again during this visit — but if you leave and come back, it will pop up again
    4. several payment levels (9.99 monthly, $100 annually, more if you love us)
    5. lets anybody come in from a social link
    6. lets google crawl us a lot b/c we get a lot of SEO traffic
    7. ideally stripe rather than paypal.
    8. collect emails and ideally play well with Mailchimp.
    9. it would be great if it’s easy enough for me to set up myself with minimal work from our webmistress. i’m pretty handy with WordPress.

    i had been looking at TinyPass, another NYC startup. But I am intrigued by your thorough research and the suggestions you make: Memberpress seems really great. Also PMPro.

    All thoughts welcome.
    Did I mention? This is completely amazing! cheers jeanne

    • Nag screens are normally not part of the membership plugin, but work in collab with them. I know PMPro just released an article about doing things like the NY Times. Check it out.

  118. Why no mention of S2 Member in your post?

  119. This is valuable blog. I am building a membership site and haven’t been able to find a plug in that does what I need it to do….i like it and thanks for share.

  120. I am testing MemberPress and like the ease of use. The rules are easy to set up and it supports having 2 or more subscriptions at once. I really wish it had a shopping cart feature though. Anyone know a developer who has worked on this?

    • Hi Christina! I enjoyed your post and am also considering MemberPress. I was wondering if you could update us on the status of your issue. Did you ever find a solution to the shopping cart feature you wanted? Thanks!

  121. Hi Chris,
    The two things I don’t like about WPMU are:
    First, as you pointed out, they obfuscaate their code so you cannot tweak it in any way and second, they hold you ransom to keep your annual subscription (at a hefty pricetag) to keep the nag screen away. Not good to see on a client’s site if you don’t have a maintenance contract with them.
    I have used Wishlist, S2Member (Free and paid depending on the needs of the site), Instamember (Great membership plugin from Suzanna), OptimizePress, and a few others with varying degrees of success.
    Since I use my own installation of Delavo to manage all of my own memberships, I need a plugin that can easily be integrated with 3rd party scripts for centralization of the multiple memberships I run.

  122. We are nearing completion of the development of our membership site. After some reviews and trials of several plugins, we chose MemberMouse and so far we are glad we did. The flexibility with the product is great, we learn new features everyday. And their support is first class, responsive and thorough in understanding our questions. If you are looking for a membership plugin that does more than just protect posts and pages, I would suggest taking a look at MemberMouse.

    • Roy, did you customize the Member Mouse much? Did you add other plug-ins into it. If so, did MemberMouse staff do it for you?

      • HI,

        MemberMouse did almost everything we needed, the smart-tag feature is extremely powerful. However there was one feature we had custom developed. Specifically, we wanted certain memberships to be restricted from seeing any posts prior to their subscription date. Sort of like Sports Illustrated, you can only see your issues going forward. MemberMouse allows for hooks, making it possible to integrate code to do these kind of things. We used a recommended partner to make that code modification, and they delivered it as a separate plugin.

        Oh, and the documentation is fabulous including videos on most stuff.

        Hope that helps.


  123. Hi Chris,

    Question for you..

    I have a friend who would like to sell their cookies online.

    They want to sell them by the dozen as a one time purchase and they also want to have a monthly membership option where you can get auto-billed monthly and receive 18 cookies per month for that.

    They already signed up for Paypal Pro (prematurely, before deciding upon the needed ecommerce plugin).

    What would be the best ecommerce / membership plugin for what they’re doing?

    I appreciate your help!!

  124. Restrict Content Pro is nice!

  125. Nice Article. Im creating a website where company owners will have to buy membership for 3 months to post their company profile on my site. And this will be recurring payment if they want to continue. Do you think Paid Membership Pro will be a good choice for me ?

  126. Good article, do know of a good plugin that offers monthly memberships, pay per post and uses stripe? I know that’s asking a lot but I can’t seem to find one that has all three.

    • What do you mean by “pay per post” ?

      • Like a pay per view situation. I’ve found some that have this feature but aren’t exactly what I’m looking for. For example, a user clicks on a post and they can either subscribe monthly or just pay for that particular article. TinyPass and some others do this but they don’t have everything I’m looking for. I hope that explains it.

  127. Though I’m more confused than I was before (this is all new to me), this was a great read! I appreciate your “get to the bottom line” approach to sharing information. Will definitely be following :)

  128. Is there a membership Plugin that will allow a member to have sub members under them.

    what i mean is i’m making a paid website for owners that would pay a higher price them they can add managers under there membership for a lower cost. The managers would have less content then owners.

    I will have sceure pages for each owner and sub pages for each managers.

  129. We are a non-profit and are looking to sell some shirts, but are main goal is our training videos. We would like the videos limited to members and also some downloadable files of training documents. We would like there to be levels where the higher the level a member is the more content is available. So my question is what do you think is right for us?

  130. Patricia O says:

    Hi Chris,
    I love your blog and advice!
    I am looking for a membership solution for an Institute’s Director who wants to protect the access of some parts of his website. He manages an Institute with 20 schools related.
    Most of the website would be public, but some content would be private, each school having its private pages on the website. (The information would be sort by post categories, each school being given a different category). The Director wants the parents to log to his website in order to have access to the private information of their children’s school only. No payment to deal with, but a specific password and individual and restricted access for each parent.
    Any idea with a membership plugin ?

  131. I like your way to categorize plugins according to different needs. Everyone need different things and has different priorities. Thank you, this review is very useful for me.

  132. Chris, love your blog. It’s one of my regular stops. Thanks.

    This post is almost two years old and still getting comments because this is exactly the info we’re looking for.

    Is anyone aware of a membership solution [besides aMember] for wordpress that has all these three features:

    – offers lifetime commissions [database tracking], NOT just cookies or even “lifetime” cookies but true hard-coded lifetime permanent assignment of member to referring affiliate

    – allows affiliate tracking of ALL pages on site, not just offers but articles, webinar invites, etc., meaning that ANY page that we want to track will “tag” the visitor to the affiliate link whether there’s a purchase or not

    – is installable so if the company goes away, the software doesn’t [vs. SAAS]

    Keep up the good work, Chris, you’re crushing it. Drop by MarketerTalk any time – we’d love to get your voice in the mix!

    • You should talk to Blair Williams – the guy behind MemberPress because he’s also the Affiliate Royale guy. He’s sure to have good ideas.

    • fastmember does… The tracking possibility for any page is not very well documented but it does work.
      As soon as a person becomes a member – no matter if for a paid product or for a free membership, the affiliate relation is written into the fastmember DB.
      Fastmember is a wordpress plugin, so it it is installable.

      Hope that helps


      • Thanks, Michael! Are you currently using it, and if so, how do you like it? If not, what are you using instead?

        • Hi

          I am not only using it, I am also developing it.
          So, I am clearly biased, but I think it is great. 😉
          We are also taking feature suggestions very seriously – if it is something that a couple of users demand, it gets implemented. If it is something only one user demands, and we like it too, it get’s implemented…


  133. Hey Chris,
    Do you know of a membership plugin for WordPress that can limit download per month base on the level of membership someone has bought? The downloads would be mp3 and say kindle books. There would be 3 or 4 levels you could buy in at and each level would have a different about of files that are downloadable each month.


  134. Hi Chris,

    Are your top 8 recommendations good for HTML sites, also? If the top 8 are not good for HTML sites, what Member Management Solutions would be?

  135. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for keeping this chain of discussion alive.

    I’ve been trying to get a membership site setup for 5 years now, mainly with Wishlist Member and have yet to get anything beyond a demo site running.

    While not a super user of wordpress, I was a software developer for 30 years and pretty highly skilled in many technical areas.

    Each summer, i dedicated a full week to attempt to get my membership running and thus far have aborted and left it alone because the software just didnt’ work, or broke the rest of my system.

    This year I’m going through all the tutorials again and finding serious bugs in the canned teaching systems… now after investing $1200 for the unlimited software, upgrades and ongoing membership after 4.5 years i haver nothing but 300 wasted hours of time.

    So, it seems time to look for something a bit easier to work with. Others here noted WLM being very easy – i found every single module would break in some way.

    Enough about wlm.

    I need a system to do 4 things:
    a) I create download software and audio programs for training singers

    b) I have an online member singing lessons program that i’ve run for years through an adhoc member setup via aweber with a lot of a manualy oversight.

    c) In addition to selling the modular courses, I want to create an ongoing singing member site with tips, techniques downloads and direct coaching.

    d) lastly, I sell a little bit of my time and often include this as a bonus – so i’d like a way to sell these or bundle these adn easily track them and redeem them, leaving a log of private lessons in the customer profile. (comments from both of us on what they’ll be following up on next sort of thing).

    i could keep sweating and fighting with every little feature that doesn’t work in WLM or maybe it’s time to cut free and find another path.

    These systems take a lot of time to set up to discover if they really work or not… so, i’m not ready to jump in an try 4 or 5 of them and put them all through the rigorous testing.

    That said – if you might have any recommendation, it wold be appreciated.

    Perhaps I stay with wlm… perhaps the other systems are filled with booby traps as well and it’s just part of the landscape in this type of lower cost software?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Peace Out

    • Stephen,
      I feel your pain. Try a shopping cart called Zaxaa. It can do mulitiple offers and bundles, and includes a membership plugin. You might find it less frustrating to setup and maintain than WLM.
      Let me know what you think of it.

      :) John

      • Hi John,

        I like Zaxaa and was ready to buy…

        But, when I went to buy it they changed the price. Advertised $299 but then changed it to $399.

        When contacting support to ask them to honor the advertised price the response was “oh… yeah… we raised the price… let us know if you have further questions”

        i can see them wanting to raise prices, to not honor the price the have plastered all over their sales pages and the internet seems a big mistake. what else are they going to switch?

        Even their revised sales page now shows 50% off of $599… some how they calculate this to be $399.

        Not a great way to start a relationship.

        I really like the product, but not sure i want to work with these folks.


        • Tried it out for several days, but tech support was the ultimate killer.

          Every response was as minimal as imaginable, never fully addressing the question – assuming they responded at all.

          I found another sales page on their site still advertising $299 and i asked again to honor the price… here’s the reply

          “=> Our pricing page states it’s $399.95/year, the $299.95/year pricing is no longer available since a few days ago.”

          But, what about the 2 urls of your website that I sent to you showing the $299 price? no reply…

          —- there was another part of their sales page that was confusing, so I asked a detailed question wanting clarification of what they meant… the response was to send me to the page I copied/quoted the confusing text from…

          ==== answer ====
          You can find it here about Zaxaa plan types

          If you have
          any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

          Thank You!
          Zaxaa, World’s EASIEST & FASTEST Online Selling Automation


          In about 10 questions submitted, only one was adequately addressed… Do you support Clickbank – NO.

          I can’t imagine being happy working with these folks.

          • sorry to hear about that. Stephen. That is the one gripe I would have with Zaxxa.. Their support is located outside the country and they offer no telephone support, as far as I know.

            I’d say either try their no monthly fee account for now and try to build the site you want and see if it will work for you. You can always upgrade to a paid monthly or yearly fee account later, once you have a chance to prove it all integrates for you the way you want.

            I should have warned you about the pending price increase, but my suggestion to try Zaxaa wasn’t intended that you immediately buy it, though nothing wrong with that if you like it!

            My suggestion to look at Zaxaa was more to change your approach to building your membership site. Rather than struggling with a membership platform that frustrated you, focus instead finding the shopping cart platform that offers the features and integration you seek. Then choose a membership platform that supports and plays well with that shopping cart. Which is why, despite your bad initial first experience with Zaxaa, I still think it might prove to be the right choice for what you want to do. So I would still say try it, using the “free” account.

            But if not, option 2 is to find something else. I still think you should find the right shopping cart first, then pick the membership site from there.

            Another good cart to try is Premium Web Cart. It’s more complicated than Zaxaa, but still far easier to setup than something like Infusionsoft. And I believe PWC offers a membership option of their own as well, but you can still integrate it with other options.

            Give those a try and let me know what you end up selecting. I’d love to hear what you end up moving forward with, and your experiences!

            :) John

          • Hi John,

            Thanks for the follow up. In a sad way that is encouraging – eg, if their biz takes off maybe they can afford better support locally.

            I liked the features I saw and appreciate the thought of changing mindset.

            PWC – I LOVED their feature set – amazing sales page- WOW! But, there support, even though local was hit or (mostly) miss. of the ~20 times I called them, a live person answered only once… and by accident… they were picking up the phone to make an outgoing call and I was on the line – surprise! So, i got their model was to schedule appts – fine and good for me. But, they never followed up and called at our appointment times. Tech support by email was hit or miss… sometimes over a week delay in the middle of response.

            Last straw was an integration problem with Wishlist Member and their site – the problem appeared to on their side as it took 30 seconds to complete the transaction. with 1ShoppingCart doing the same thing it took 1-2 seconds. I even video taped the problem to show them but they claimed their platform was solid and got kinda angry and defensive when I told them I knew of every other person using PWC with WLM had the same problem (actually only know 2 others but they both had the same problem). So – amazing product feature sets, that partly works… awesome support on the lucky day you get to talk with someone… the rest of the time you’re out of luck. Maybe you need to live down the street from them so you can take a rep out to lunch and get your questions answered.

            I mention all this here in case others might have be researching PWC and it’s dozens of hours wasted that could be avoided. I could find almost nothing on them before hand, so almost everything had to be figured out first hand – a lots of time invested.

            FYI – for the first 3-4 years PWC was in business they went in and out of service, their websites were down, wrong numbers posted on their site, never returning calls or emails… I was very excited they stablized somewhat for the last couple of years and really wish they actually had the working products and support features they claim – if so, I’d be very happy. Maybe they’ll get their business straightened out before I implement the entire thing on my own.

            Zaxaa – i’ll take another look, but looks to actually do anything required more than the free account. (my site is ready.. .just need to take ordres and protect the content)

            Ideally i’d like to deal with a reputable company that stands by their products and promises. Is it really too much to ask that you actually pay what the price says on the sales page? If they can’t keep that simple promise for a couple of days, what else are they going to pull 6 months down the road? Maybe nothing… maybe all other areas of their ethics are fine.

            On aside – I love the ethics and support provided at Digital Access Pass. Truly outstanding. I just found their offering a bit too challenging to implement and ran into problems porting my test site into production without massive manual edits – probably my error. If I were a better engineer with more patience I’d probably be going their route – and they’re my top pick to return to if I can’t find anything else. I like working with them. And I trust them.

            Now this is too ramblling. time to go do something fun for awhile… play guitar, sing some songs and dancing with a great group of people – yeehaw!

          • Go enjoy, Stephen! Let us know once you have the site up and running and what you end up building it with. I can’t wait to check it out!
            :) John

  136. Hi, Chris. Thanks for the great article. I am shopping for a membership site within which the paid members will be able to access a knowledge base of information. (I currently have my initial data in an excel spreadsheet, but am looking for a searchable database to hold my data so the members can search it. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Marian

      This is probably possible with just any given membership solution if you can find a plugin that can organize the knowledge database and give access via a single searchable page – you could then protect that page and are done.


  137. Hi Chris

    I am creating a blog page for our community site.

    I am looking for the Members Control plugin that only allow members register within 10 postcode address can join us as members, send us questions and participate our members events.

    Our site is more on food blogs and we welcome other people who like to post the recipe for free but only members within limited postcode can join our small events.

    Can you share with me if you know any plugin can turn on this function? Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank You

  138. Chris,

    I have products that are different prices (Variable Products). These variations each have a different price… But with the Paid Membership Pro it will only let me set one basic price… Anyway Paid Membership Pro or any other membership plug ins allow me to set membership pricing per variation?

    Please let me know!


  139. Kahakura says:


    I want to use Exchange to launch my subscription sales of collections of downloadable digital goods.
    Customers subscribe to one of 6 choices, then they can log in to a download area and retrieve their digital goods for as long as their subscription is valid. Will Exchange provide my customers with access to different download areas? How? Wish password access?

  140. Chris,
    I am looking to make a website where my costumers can make a profile page, where they can store information…I am a golf pro and it would be a nice benefit to offer. kind of like a personal locker. Are there any plugins for wordpress that can do this?

  141. Piye Ntchwaidumela says:

    Lets say I want to create a shareholders page where they can log in and view company progress. No E commerce, where each user has a private page. What plugin do you recommend.

  142. Chris, I want to migrate a forum into a paid membership on word press. Which of these solutions would be most friendly for a forum/messageboard. my current form is sitting on a flux BB system, open code.

  143. Do any of these offer rewards functionality where you can reward a member (reduce their annual recurring membership fee) when they refer another member?

  144. Paid Membership pro was AWESOME until it slowed down my site to a slow crawl. I think I will try exchange.

    • Exchange is VERY COOL… but… it’s also so new that it’s full of holes when it comes to functionality. Can you believe that they did not even have “Buy Now” buttons or links – seriously – how could this product be on the market for a year without this? The good news is that they added Buy Now buttons just this week.

      There are lots of other surprise gotcha’s waiting the wings… There’s no real performance data available yet… so who knows? it might be sleek and support a 50k member site, or might bail at 20k.

      Also integration with your autoresponder is pretty much useless… all customers go into 1 pot. you can not specify Customer A goes on List A and customer B goes on List B.

      Of all the 12 membership sites I’ve evaluated in the last 4 months, I liked their design best… you can see where they are going and when they get there it’s going to be amazing.

      If you’re looking for a tool to save you from PMP you’ll probably not find it in Exchange right now… but of course depends on your requirements… some people might not have needed Buy Now buttons (not sure i’ve met an internet marketing person who could live without those, but there might be one).

      Good luck! Would love to hear how it goes!

      btw – I’m now trying out another new entry to this market Sonic Member… all the right features except – no credit cards YET (scheduled for December), but they are integrated with all of the major affiliate systems, clickbank, jvzoo etc… oh, and Paypal.
      The developer, Andrew, does tech support so the answers are quick an reliable. Definitely not ready for prime time until Stripe integration, but it’s looking good so far.

  145. Great article leaving me with SO much to read up but not sure I’m yet going to find what I need. We have a nfp website with membership at a company level – each company can register as many of their staff as they wish and we want the staff profiles – this is an IT user association so other members are looking for help from individuals. I can find plenty of plugins that do the company membership, at varying levels of competency but nothing that handles the multiples within the company – any suggestions would be great thanks!!

  146. Paid Memberships Pro and Restrict Content Pro look very promising for my needs. Anybody here have any bad experiences with either of these plugins?

  147. I have a fitness instructor who wants a very simple WP site that allows her clients to login and track their goals. It doesn’t need any “bells and whistles”, just something as easy as inputting somewhere how many miles they plan to walk next month and the ability to add miles each day/week as they get them done.
    Any ideas on how to make this happen?

    • Hi glrwork

      By coincidence I am in the midst of developing a wordpress plugin that lets users enter goals and values and draws a nice chart so you can see whether you are on track. There is a rudimentary draft website at where you can already get an account and see the plugin in action.
      Use the contact info on that site to get in touch if you are interested in what this can offer.


  148. Good opening membership comparison made great with the community comments!
    It would be interesting to have a follow up that takes all of these suggestions and graphs it into a new comparison table. As a developer/designer that has worked, or rather toiled with about 10 of these membership plugins, I hope for a day when the functions can be easily managed by all of the varied users including the beginner WP site owner, the more intermediate and advanced user/developer and the code writing advanced user. I like how Quicken has developed their product over the years and now have options of turning the complexity on and off.
    I have some clients that only want the most basic functions. This has sometimes been the hardest to provide.
    I will explore the new ones I discovered through this post and see how things are evolving. Thanks again!

  149. getting ready to launch some paid courses and guided services on what has been a free, public service website. I completely understand how membership levels can restrict new content and am wondering if you are willing to weigh in on which would be best for these purposes:
    1. Easy to set up – I am not a coding person, I’m a health practitioner
    2. Drips feed via MailPoet plugin email. For some of my services I want to actually send the entire article, not just a link – In certain cases I am fine with clients sending this info to anyone they want, it is great promotion and I get new clients from it; what I’m really selling is my individual guidance, so the generic stuff needs to be sent timely but not protected in this case.
    3. This is the KEY: Maintains correspondence by member. In other words, they complete and send me a form comprising their work. I write back with corrections and key points. I want each member to be able to access a log of their submissions and my reply–but no one else can see it. Guided expertise is what I am selling. I think this could work in a plug-in that has a member support ticket system; maybe there is a better way?

    As always, your posts are amazing and most helpful. And if this dream plug-in costs something that is fine – and I’ll go through any link you care to send if you get affiliate credit 😉

    • Hi Marie,
      I’ve been investigating a lot on Membership plugins and “Courseware” plugins.
      I never came through a combination of such functionalities (1+2+3)
      Point 1 is the easiest : most of membership plugins do that and those advised by Chris… certainly do.
      Point 2 is a bit tricky : MailPoet (Im using it) can drip mails by itself once a user subscribes to a particular list.
      Understand me well : the trigger is not done by the membership plugin but by the fact the user is linked to a list.
      Of course, you can tell the membership plug to subscribe a user to a particular list (then MailPoet manages the drip). The trick is : only a very few membership plugins work with MailPoet. Most of them have interfaces for Aweber – GetResponse – Mailchimp and in any case, it is ONLY to subscribe the user to a list AND NOT to use the those as the mail system used by the membership plugin.
      Point 3 : None of the membership plugins that I know handle assignments. This is done through “coursware” plugins. Anyway, I never saw what you describe. The only way I see this possible is to use BBPress in conjonction with a membership plugin.

      As a conclusion (at least from my viewpoint), I believe that what you try do achieve needs a vertical development (customized) and is not available “as is” … even with a combination of plugin features.

      My 2 cents …

    • Marie, I’d suggest you taking a look at WP courseware/WPLMS, s2Member Pro and Formidable Pro form. Should work great for your scenario. :)

  150. Hey,

    Great post and I can see that you’ve replied to people as well. I’m in a bit of a dilemma with what sort of route to take with my site.

    What we really offer is packaged services, however, depending on the package(s) purchased, I need for my clients to be able to track the progress of their order easily instead of following up with them over email or them becoming worried.

    any ideas? or suggestions?


  151. Is there a membership plug-in that would allow my students to purchase a membership based on a number of credits. For example, one level of membership would include 20 credits to be used to take classes. I would need the plug-in to allow me or the students to check off each time they have used a credit. Or I would need to be able to tie the credits to a booking form. Thanks.

  152. Hello,

    Thanks for presenting such a fantastic blog!

    I’m wondering if you may know of a membership management plugin that:
    a) enables volunteers to sign up for events/shifts
    b) enables volunteers to swap shifts
    c) displays a list of all the volunteers and their qualifications to the whole database (for example – a volunteer may need to swap a shift with another person that has a specific qualification)
    c) sends reminders about shifts that you’ve registered for

    Thanks for your help,

  153. Hey, I have a question… what should I do?… I am trying to create a Membership Site but the think is that I am seeing a lot of info and of course all they say they are the best. But I am not sure between the difference between Software and Plugin… for example Amember is a software… but t Paid Memberships Pro is a plugin.. so what should I do?… the only thing that I am really sure is that I need to work with CCBill or Vendo.

    Thanks for your time.

  154. Hi Chris, Thank you for all the wunderfull information you are sharing with us. But I haven’t found what I’m looking for jet. I need a membership plugin that does content dripping ( found that one) but I also need the possibility for students to fill in answers wich in the will generate a rapport with all the filled in anwsers . Van you advise me? Thanks!

  155. I have a website that I use for a non profit and just need to allow for people to join the organization. There is no need to secure content on the site. It just needs to collect the dues and collect information about what things they are interested in helping with. I am very surprised that there isn’t a very simple one available. Right now I have people register and then send them a link to a Google Form. Anyone have any ideas?

  156. I’m looking for a membership site, free or one-time-pay (inexpensive) that also has a progress status element within in, so students know where they left off and where to restart a module or lesson. Secondly, a social forum button on the same page would be a nice feature. Know of a plugin that contains both?

    • Chris Lema says:

      It sounds more like you need a LMS solution, not a membership solution. Check out LifterLMS or WP Courseware.

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