Are you looking to create a membership site in WordPress? Want to know which is the best WordPress subscription plugin? Choosing the right membership plugin is crucial for your business because a good platform means more opportunities for growth. In this article, we will compare the 5 best WordPress subscription plugins to create easily paid subscription websites.
What to Look for in a WordPress Membership Plugin?
There are lots of WordPress membership plugins, but not all of them have specific features that you might need to create a membership site.
Some of them are good for selling subscriptions on a single level while others offer more varied membership levels and membership management features.
Some plugins offer drip content features that allow you to slowly release new content to the user. Others are limited to offering hidden content only.
You also need to find out which payment gateway you will use. Do you just want to accept credit cards, PayPal, or both? Your subscription plugin should have support for the payment gateway of your choice, either built-in or via an add-on.
Having said that, let’s see what you need to start a WordPress subscription site.
If you like written instructions, just keep reading…
What Do You Need to Run a WordPress Membership Site?
Membership websites are resource-intensive, and selecting the wrong host can be detrimental to your overall performance. So the first thing you need to do is choose the best WordPress hosting you can afford.
If you are on a budget, you can start with Bluehost. Their Business Pro plan comes with an SSL certificate that requires you to securely collect payments, a dedicated IP, and a dedicated support line.
If budget is not a problem and you want the best performance, we recommend using a managed WordPress hosting provider like WPEngine.
If you do not already have one, you need to choose a domain name for your website. Here’s our guide to choosing the right domain name for your membership site.
Lastly, you need to choose the necessary business plugins like OptinMonster to help you capture leads and increase subscriptions.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to get started with WordPress membership sites, let’s take a look at our top WordPress subscription plugins.
Memberpress is one of the most popular WordPress subscription plugins. In terms of features, it is the easiest and most powerful to use.
- Easy to Setup: Memberpress makes it easy to set up a membership website with WordPress. It can automatically find out pricing, login, account, and many thanks pages for your users. Adding membership plans is very straightforward.
- Content Access Control: MemberPress comes with powerful access controls that allow you to restrict access to any content, including posts, pages, sections, tags, files, and more.
- Content Dripping: Content dripping lets you show limited content to members after a certain period of time. This is a really useful feature for selling online courses or learning materials.
- Sell Courses: MemberPress allows you to easily create and sell online courses. It provides users with an interactive learning experience that focuses on course completion rates.
- Integrations: Memberpress integrates with AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, and MadMimi best email services. It integrates with Amazon Web Services and blubrry for podcast hosting.
- Payment Gateways: Memberpress comes with built-in support for PayPal and Stripe Payment Gateway. Developer plans add Authorize.net support.
- Limited Payment Options: MemberPress only supports three popular payment gateways. This will be a contract-breaker for site owners living in countries that are not supported by this payment gateway.
- Limited Integrations: While the plugin has enough support for popular services to run a membership site efficiently, it still lacks integration with some other popular services. The plugin is easily extensible, and you can pay someone to integrate a third-party service that you want to use.
Pricing: Starting from $129 / year for the Basic plan and $249 / year for the Plus plan.
We think MemberPress is the easiest-to-use WordPress subscription plugin for beginners. It’s quick to set up with many powerful options.
→ GET MEMBERPRESS ← → GET HOSTING ←
LearnDash is a highly flexible and extremely easy-to-use WordPress LMS plugin. It comes with advanced membership modules and tons of integration.
- Easy to Setup: LearnDash is very easy to set up and add content to it. It comes with advanced tools to easily organize your subscription content into levels, groups, etc.
- Easy Content Restrictions: LearnDash lets you easily hide any content and restrict it to different membership groups.
- Sell Courses: LearnDash lets you easily create and sell online courses. It has advanced modules that allow you to manage learning elements better than other WordPress subscription plugins.
- Drip Content: It comes with a powerful drip content feature that lets you roll out content to users at regular intervals or after completing layers.
- Built-in Community Features: It comes with tools to create highly engaging membership sites, including quizzes, user badges, course-specific forums, certificates, user profiles, and more.
- Integrations & Payments: LearnDash offers an amazing set of integration and payment gateways. You can even link it to Memberpress, WooCommerce, bbPress, Slack, etc.
- Lacks some membership features: If you are trying to build a membership website without selling the course, some features of LearnDash may not work for you.
Pricing: Starting from $159 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.
If you want to sell online courses on a paid membership website, LearnDash is the perfect solution. Its extensive set of add-ons and integration allows you to create a very attractive platform.
→ GET LEARNDASH ← → GET HOSTING ←
Teachable is an all-inclusive online course developer. It packs subscription websites, LMS, discussion forums, email marketing, and analytics all under one dashboard.
- Ease of Use: Instrumental is easy to set up and does not require any technical skills. Subscription content creation includes a built-in tool for quick creation and uploading of videos and videos, texts, PDFs, and more.
- Drip Content: It has a flexible drip content feature that lets you roll out content based on user progress or membership level.
- Built-in Engagement Features: It offers discussion forums, quizzes, contact forms, certificates, and other features to increase user engagement and build a strong online community.
- Not a WordPress Plugin: Tutorial is not available as a WordPress plugin. Instead, you can integrate it into your WordPress site by adding a link or a subdomain.
- More Expensive: Teachable includes everything that makes it more expensive than other WordPress subscription plugins.
Pricing: Basic plan starts at $39 / month, professional $99 / month, and business $499 / month.
→ GET TEACHABLE ← → GET HOSTING ←
4. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a strong contender for the title of the best subscription plugin for WordPress. It was created by the same team that is behind the popular Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins.
- Easy to Use: Restricted Content Pro integrates seamlessly with the WordPress user interface. It lets you easily figure out how to use it.
- Built-in Integrations: Unlike other subscription plugins, the Restricted Content Pro comes with built-in integration that sends other plugins as paid add-ons. It has features like Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, MailPoint, Email Manager, CSV Export, and many more.
- Payment Gateways: Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree come as free add-ons. Other supported by payment gateways include 2Checkout, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Express, and Stripe Checkout.
- Works with Easy Digital Downloads: If you are running Easy Digital Downloads to sell digital products, then Limited Content Pro is the perfect companion.
- Excellent Support: There is comprehensive free documentation available for all users. You get professional help via email with a very quick response time.
- Fewer Integrations: It has less integration with third-party services like email service providers than other plugins in this list.
Pricing: $99 with 12 addons and single site license, $149 for 5 sites, and $249 for all addons and unlimited sites. There is also a $ 499-lifetime plan.
We’ve found Restricted Content Pro to be one of the easiest-to-use subscription plugins. It is developer-friendly and comes with a great feature that is suitable for all types of subscription websites.
→ GET RESTRICT CONTENT PRO ← → GET HOSTING ←
S2Member is a popular free WordPress subscription plugin with a Pro version available. It has been around for quite some time and has a dedicated user.
- Free Base Plugin: s2Member Base Plugin is free. Anyone can download and try it. It is limited in terms of features and support but gives you a well starting point.
- Content Dripping: The S2Member Pro comes with a content drip feature.
- Payment Gateways: The free version supports PayPal. The Pro version of the plugin also supports Stripe and Authorize.net.
- Integrations: Works with MailChimp, bbPress, and BuddyPress.
- Documentation & Support: S2Member has a broad knowledge base that is available to everyone. Pro users also receive email-based support.
- Not very user-friendly: We found s2Member to be a little more difficult to use than other subscription plugins.
- Free Version Limitations: The free version only supports PayPal, is limited to 4 subscription levels only, and does not feature drip content.
Pricing: The base plugin is free, and the Pro version for a single site license costs $89 USD. For unlimited sites, the pro version costs $189 USD.
→ GET S2MEMBER ← → GET HOSTING ←
We believe that MemberPress is the best alternative to the WordPress subscription plugin. It has all the features you need with great documentation and support.
If you want something simple and flexible, then Restrict Content Pro is a great option. The back team has a proven track record for producing excellent products.
If you want to sell the course on your membership website, we recommend using LearnDash, it comes with powerful features for creating and selling courses online.
We hope this article has helped you find the best WordPress subscription plugin for your site. You may want to check out our step-by-step guide for beginners.
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