Membership Plugin Review: S2Member Pro

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Reviewing S2Member Pro

I don't like S2Member Pro. But I need to keep it in my list because so many people have used it. Over 40,000. So there's that.

You need the Pro version if you're going to use Stripe instead of PayPal, so that's why the review is on S2Member Pro instead of S2Member, the free edition.

Let me get the score taken care of right away so we have something to talk about.

Scoring S2Member Pro

Here is the score, but it's deceptively low, because if we score on features, the product does a lot. I'll come back to it in a second.

  • Ease of Use – 1
  • Payment Gateway Support – 3
  • eCommerce Support – 2
  • Drip Support – 5
  • Concurrent Accounts – 1
  • Pro-rating Charges – 1
  • Upgrades / Downgrades – 4
  • Speed of setting it up – 1

The S2Member Pro Score: 2.3

So why don't I like it?

I'll be honest. I find this plugin has shown no restraint on features. That means you'll probably love it. But since it has twenty million features, it also is really hard to use and takes a long time to set it up to do the things most businesses want to do.

Can you let users upgrade or downgrade their account? Yes. Cool.

Can you do it easily? No. Because you have to go to the Billing Modification Forms and try finding that. (Hint: S2Member > Stripe Pro Forms > Stripe Billing Modification Forms)

That's what you would have guessed, right? Not a settings page for upgrades / downgrades. No. Because that settings page would have 436 settings and your page would time out before it loaded.

Am I just an angry blogger after having looked at 18 other membership plugins?

No. I've not liked S2Member since I noticed several other plugins appearing several years ago. Because each of them focused on ease of use and speed to set up.

But let's be clear, if you have hours and days to spend learning and figuring S2Member Pro out, you might come to love it.

Until you don't.

Because it doesn't do things exactly the way you might want or expect.

So eventually you go to setup a memberhsip upgrade and then discover that what you set up (with PayPal as the gateway) doesn't let customers upgrade beyond a certain percentage (meaning they can't jump from $10/month to $100/month) based on the way S2Member Pro is working. And that means you can't really get that extra cash you were hoping for from clients. (True Story)

Yet, once you move to another member plugin, you can do it. hmmm.

Let me try stating this a different way. Just to get your attention.

The normal free membership plugin like Simple Membership Plugin has 25 settings to configure.

The free version of S2Member has over 250 settings to configure. That's before you get the Pro version.

s2restrictionsHere's the screen just for setting up content restriction. Thought you'd be picking a category or something? Nope. You have ten sections to look at and make choices about.

S2Member Pro Features

I'd do you a disservice if I wasn't honest with you about how I felt about this plugin. But I'd also do you a disservice if I wasn't honest with you about it's features.

So let's check them off:

  • Works with BuddyPress
  • Works with bbPress
  • Works with PayPal & Stripe & Authorize.net
  • Supports Coupons
  • Supports Upgrades / Downgrades (kind of)
  • Supports security measures like protecting against password sharing
  • Supports adding custom fields to profiles for registration
  • Protects file downloads
  • Supports MailChimp (even segments)
  • Provides a member directory
  • Does Content Dripping (but via shortcode, not rule based)
  • Let's you create members manually

So yes, most of what I've talked about in some of the other reviews as being important or available (or not) with some of the other plugins is all here in S2Member Pro.

So if you have the time and the interest, dig in. But get ready for a steep learning curve because it's not always checkboxes and dropdowns. Because of the way they do memberships and levels, it can get tricky if you want to find out which people have which rights but aren't in certain memberships. Normally, it might be easy. With another plugin.

Welcome to S2Member (and Pro).

S2nestedConditionals

If you're hurting, I have some good news.

I bet you that any of the plugins listed below, and the rest to come, will be easier and faster to learn and use.

S2Member Pro has features. But there are many alternatives out there. Choose this if you have the time and need.

You have great alternatives

  1. Membership 2 Pro
  2. WP eMember
  3. WP-Members
  4. Restrict Content Pro
  5. FastMember
  6. Memberful
  7. InstaMember
  8. Members
  9. WP Membership
  10. Cart66 Cloud
  11. Private Content
  12. Zippy Courses
  13. Ultimate Member
  14. Easy Quick Member
  15. WooCommerce Membership (Envato)
  16. MemberWing-X
  17. Simple Membership Plugin
  18. Page Security and Membership

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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