If you look at the chart above, you'll notice that some of the membership plugins that have been around forever (S2 Member, Digital Access Pass, and Wishlist Member for example), while powerful, set the standard for NOT being as easy to use as many of the recent market entrants.
If you've read my other posts that compare membership plugins, or help you choose a membership plugin, then you'll know I'm a big fan of the recent plugins (less than 3 years old).
Products like Restrict Content Pro, MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro are all amazing products that are not only powerful but also incredibly easy to learn and easy to use.
Things are Heating Up
Until recently, if you would have asked me to create the chart above, I would have topped it out where MemberPress was.
After all, it supports various kinds of drip in a much easier design than S2Member, DAP, WP-Member or even Premise. It supports old and new gateways alike, like Stripe. And it even integrates with BuddyPress – not something normally available out of the box.
But time moves forward and moves the bar up as it moves along. Hosted and hybrid membership plugins are changing everything.
Today you can see there are two additional players you should know about, and I'm going to tell you why.
Finding the Best Membership Plugin
Before I tell you about these two membership plugins, I want to make it really clear, as I hope I have before, that finding the best membership plugin is always a decision shaped by context. Only you know what you need.
But when I talk with people who aren't WordPress experts, what I find is that they didn't know about any other options except for S2Member, Digital Access Pass, or WishList Member.
So part of my writing on membership plugins is to help you realize how many solutions there are out there. Some are better than others. Some have better support than others. Some have more features. And, of course, some are much easier to use than others.
Have you checked out MemberMouse?
It's possible you've never even heard of MemberMouse. That's ok. But it might be the very plugin you've been looking for. Here are my three favorite features:
- If you use a gateway like Authorize.net or Stripe, it creates customer accounts and stores credit card information. The upside is that purchasing decisions (especially up-sells) are much easier. It even lets you create offers when people are downsizing their plans or canceling.
- It supports single links to put items in a shopping cart. This is great for sending links via social media or in email newsletters. It removes a few steps from the process.
- Maximum IP addresses in a given period. Password sharing is a serious challenge with membership sites. Unfortunately too many plugins ignore this. Thankfully MemberMouse doesn't. [Note: I think Paid Memberships Pro is releasing this feature soon too!]
MemberMouse is a powerful membership plugin that does far more than just these three items. But it's focus on metrics, the list above, and all of its drip features make it worthy of your review.
Digital Downloads, Memberships & More – with Cart66 Cloud
If you like what you get with MemberMouse, then you should seriously check out Cart66 and their new Cloud offering. I told you already that I had been a customer of CloudSwipe (by the same folks), but I recently signed up for Cart66 because it does more than memberships.
In the past, when you wanted to sell digital products but also sell memberships, you were looking at combining Easy Digital Downloads with Restrict Content Pro (both awesome plugins by Pippin Williamson), or looking at WooCommerce with a few extensions.
Now, those are great options. Seriously.
Cart66, however, has just rolled out their Cloud service. And it provides a single interface to create digital products, shippable products, variable products, subscriptions and memberships.
And because it's a hybrid plugin (where part of the solution is in the cloud), it also provides some of the same features listed above:
- Single links that move people directly to check-out
- 48 payment gateways including Stripe
- Centralized storage of credit card info in a PCI compliant environment
It delivers all of this without additional modules – it gives me everything I want, all in one easy-to-manage package.
As I migrate from CloudSwipe to Cart66, I've started recording some videos of how easy it is to use Cart66 Cloud. You can find them on YouTube.
My Advice For You
As I mentioned above, finding the best membership plugin is more about you than about the plugin. You need to know what's possible and what you need. From there, you can evaluate how all the plugins match up to your requirements.
For me, in the last year of answering membership questions online, I've not hit a situation that can't be solved with one of these five options:
- Paid Memberships Pro (free)
- Restrict Content Pro ($42)
- MemberPress ($99)
- MemberMouse ($20/month)
- Cart66 Cloud ($49/month)
Each brings different features to the table, at their own price points, but all of them are incredibly easy to use, and they represent the new “state of the art” when it comes to membership solutions (with great support).