Membership Plugin Review: Wishlist Member

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The story behind Wishlist Member is a long one

One of the first membership plugins I ever tried was Wishlist Member.  That was so long ago it's hard to remember how far back – but something like 8 years or more.

This was when I didn't know anything about the WordPress ecosystem. I just knew the software – WordPress – was free and able to do a lot of what I'd been using other software to do. So I spun up a membership site using Wishlist.

Like some of you, I heard one of their founders talk – this is before they had 60,000 sites running with their code – and thought, wow, he knows a lot about membership sites.

Of course I was running a rather large and important one, so I was feeling pretty good about my choice to use their plugin.

These are the guys that used to obfuscate their code

Then I hit a roadblock – I was trying to create a special dashboard for members when they logged in. They had a feature that could do something like I wanted, but it was an extension, a plugin I would get if I joined their monthly membership group.

And since it wasn't a perfect match, I decided to create my own. And that's the first time I tried to look at their code. This was maybe a year after I started using their plugin and still a year before I would go to a WordCamp, learn about the community and pay attention to the GPL.

What I discovered was that the code was hidden from me. And you can imagine how frustrated I was. Many of the plugins that I'd been using showed me their source code, so I could adjust whatever I liked.

I'm sad to say that in those days I had no idea I wasn't supposed to change the core WordPress files. But I didn't think twice about it. And here I wanted to tweak their code for the dashboard and I couldn't.

That's when I started looking for other solutions.

These are the guys that limited use per URL

If you know anything about the GPL, it's a license that's built on top of four freedoms. I've written about those four freedoms before. Well obfuscating (hiding) code is against the GPL.

And guess what? So is limiting your ability to reproduce and use the code anywhere you like.

Well, if you went to their site to purchase the product, you'd see that they were selling one license for one url for one price and an unlimited product for a different price.

Their site still shows it a bit like this – though they've added in the text for “supported” site. And that's the key.

You should be able to use this plugin on as many sites as you like – for one price – but you'll get different levels of support based on what you pay for.

I know this to be true because I had a long discussion with the owner / ceo the other day, to confirm.

These are the guys that never stop adding value to their customers

See, what's been happening over the last several years is that Wishlist has been slowly turning around their business and how they do it – even if they're already wildly successful with people who don't really care about the WordPress ecosystem.

Wishlist Member no longer hides their code.

Wishlist Member now will support you if you try to put it on a second site.

If you need help activating it, they will help you – but won't give you more support beyond the single site you've paid for.

They've discovered that embracing the GPL won't hurt them. Because their customers aren't a threat to them. They're not going to duplicate code and sell it.

And why would they?

Few companies have as robust a support infrastructure as Wishlist. They provide forums, documentation, training courses, and more.

These are the guys you may want to check out

I sat down with their CEO twice in the last year to talk about their next version. This is after they created a solution for Infusionsoft. After they rolled out another updated release.

And as we talked, it was clear that they wanted to figure out a way to circle back and embrace the community that's been here all along.

So no surprise that I'm telling you that this is a plugin you may want to check out.

Of course, remember that you have a lot of options.

  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
  19. S2Member Pro
  20. MemberMouse
  21. Digital Access Pass (DAP)
  22. Magic Members

Scoring Wishlist Member

Let me get to the scoring so you know some of what it can and can't do.

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

The Wishlist Member Score: 3.6

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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