The Best WordPress Plugins to Build a Membership Website in 2019

Our top 3 choices for the best membership solution for WordPress

A membership website is an actual goldmine if everything works according to plan. It's a smart way to enable a passive income with the minimum amount of work. Just imagine how awesome it would be to have 10,000 members that bought a membership account on your website to follow your photo course or an online training system.

It's something that generates quite a lot of money, but at the same time, a high responsibility which lays in the integrity of the system that hosts the membership website. In fact, a membership website requires a huge list of features that most people aren't able to comprehend.

What is required for a successful membership website?

Building a membership website is fun, but it takes attention towards details and access to the proper tools.

First and foremost, it is essential to use a powerful, reliable host for your website:

Web hosting

If you run your website on a web server that isn't prepared for your requirements, then your users will suffer and your business will suffer as a consequence. You need something that's reliable, running 24/7 with a guarantee uptime of 99.99% so your customers can enjoy your content whenever they need it.

Our recommendation is DreamHost which has WordPress dedicated hosting and starts at $2.59 / month. They also include special Varnish Cache for WordPress and tons of performance tweaks that will ensure a stable, reliable experience even for thousands of members accessing your website daily.

Content for the members

You can't have a membership website without having content to serve their interest. This can be a list of courses, tutorials, educational videos, books, software applications etc. Whatever you choose, just make sure it's of high interest and people are willing to spend money on it.

WordPress and the membership plugin

The third, obvious part of a membership website is the actual software piece that brings them all together to form a community, a membership website that's ready to bring in recurring commissions every single month.

The good part: There are plenty of WordPress plugins to offer membership capabilities for your needs.

The bad part: Most of them are not worthy of your time and they don't offer the bare minimum required for a membership plugin

What should a great membership plugin for WordPress offer?

As I said earlier, there are plenty of fish in the membership plugins pond. However most of them aren't great enough or reliable enough.

Here's what a membership plugin should include:

  • Member levels - the ability for an user to gain access to content based on their clearance level
  • Support for unlimited members
  • Ability to restrict certain pages / courses
  • They include customized registration / login pages
  • Lock content based on custom post types / category / tag etc
  • VAT Handling and Payment gateways
  • Comprehensive analytics and advanced reporting
  • Community access (bbPress)
  • SEO friendly environment that ensures your website's visibility
  • Email marketing support - MailChimp, Aweber etc

The list goes on and on but we ensured that all membership plugins in the list include them all. Here's the list of the best WordPress membership plugins of today.

  • Memberium

    Best plugin for: CRM and Marketing

    Starting price: $47

    Memberium is an advanced membership plugin for WordPress that was built with support for InfusionSoft and ActiveCampaign. Memberium will allow you to build unlimited membership levels and enable an unlimited number of member signups, for free or on a plan they choose from the ones you created.

    The even greater part about Memberium is the fact that it supports integrations for popular WordPress plugins like BadgeOS, WooCommerce, WP Courseware, Sensei, bbPress and even Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms.

    Infusionsoft's API will ensure the automation process of your membership website, will take care of the marketing, sales, CRM solution and will do the heavy-lifting instead of you.

    Memberium offers satisfaction guarantee or you'll get your money back if you are not satisfied within 30 days of your purchase.

      Pros

    • API from Infusionsoft - deals with CRM and marketing
    • Premium support 24/7 dedicated team
    • Free installation and setup on your site
    • Analytics / social media integration

      Cons

    • Relies heavily on 3rd party software (Infusionsoft)

    check out Memberium

  • MemberPress

    Best plugin for: Best overall

    Starting price: $149

    We consider MemberPress to be the all-in-one solution for your membership website. It is the most well known solution for a reason: it's easy to use and it comes with everything in the pocket.

    For starters, MemberPress offers 3 pricing plans ranging from $149 / year to $349 / year. Each of them includes unlimited member support, unlimited membership types and unlimited restricted content areas. The Pro version of the three also includes the "Affiliate Royale" plugin which allows you to set up your own affiliate program and run it on your own server.

    Just as important, you should know that MemberPress also offers its own payment gateways powered by Stripe, PayPal (Express Checkout or Standard) as well as payments through Autorize.net.

      Pros

    • Unlimited members and unlimited memberships
    • Customizable login / registration forms
    • Members can have multiple memberships active
    • Unlimited support and upgrades for the plugin

      Cons

    • More expensive than alternatives

    check out MemberPress

  • MemberMouse

    Best plugin for: Ease of use

    Starting price: $19.95

    You need a fast and secure way to start a membership website or you need to sell subscriptions? Then we recommend you to choose MemberMouse, an awesome WordPress plugin designed to facilitate fast setup and easy member management.

    With MemberMouse you can get up and running in no time at all. Simply upload the plugin via the admin panel and click install. The default installation will automatically add the "Checkout page", "My Account page" and everything required for a membership website so you won't lose any precious time.

    All of these are easily configurable and you can deal with them in due time. You're only job then is to start building the membership levels according to your needs and then set up the payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, Coinbase).

    Just to make things even more easy for you, MemberMouse offers a 24/7 video-based support center which includes over 60 videos and over 200 articles to explain everything in detail.

    MemberMouse is the membership plugin used by Six Pack Shortcuts, PaleoPlan.com and Paul Jenka, all 7 figure business that rely on the power of the plugin. Still, the thing that makes us love MemberMouse is the pricing package that fits every business size (starting at $19.95 / month for Starter and going to $299 / month for Premium)

    All plans include advanced content protection, member's area, drip content, smart tags, 1-click buy, support automation, trial offers, email support etc.

      Pros

    • Plenty payment gateways
    • Includes support for MailChimp, Aweber, GetResponse, iContact
    • Video-based support center

      Cons

    • Packages are limited in terms of maximum number of members

    check out MemberMouse

  • WishList Member

    Starting price: $197

    WishList Member

    WishList Member is a popular membership plugin for WordPress designed among the first solutions of its kind. The plugin serves almost 100.000 customers who built course memberships, software memberships and video tutorials.

    It offers unlimited membership levels (you can create pricing plans such as Basic, Advanced, Pro) and you have complete control over the membership options.

    With the WishList Member plugin you will be able to view the members and their current status, change their membership levels, pause their membership and even offer them a "sneak peak" content display.

    WishList Member offers "Money Back Guarantee" if you are not satisfied within 30 days of using the plugin.

      Pros

    • Unlimited membership levels
    • Sneak peak preview content
    • Custom error pages

      Cons

    • Not many improvements and upgrades over the years

    check out WishList Member

  • Ultimate Membership Pro

    Starting price: $34

    Ultimate Membership Pro

    Not the most popular membership plugin, but it does have over 17000 purchases and an average rating of 4.5 stars on CodeCanyon. UMP is a small yet powerful membership plugin that keeps attention to details when other plugins may not.

    For instance, Ultimate Membership Pro is GDPR compliant and includes recurring payment support out of the box. It allows you to build free / trial plans and let's you set custom menus based on the user level access.

    With UMP you can schedule classes or courses and add email messaging for member signups and notifications. The plugin also includes payment gateways that work with Stripe, 2Checkout, BrainTree Payment, Authorize.Net, Payza or Bank transfers.

    Ultimate Membership Pro is also great because is available at $34 and you don't have to pay a monthly subscription in order to use it.

    In this price, you will also get templates, custom currency support, a translation file (to translate it in your language) and an advanced search on the fronend. The plugin also includes membership badges, subscription delay, membership gifts, payment restrictions and even WooCommerce support.

      Pros

    • Includes 35 addons
    • Has multiple payment gateways
    • Advanced content locker

      Cons

    • Not the most intuitive administration panel
    • It is a bit heavy

    check out Ultimate Membership Pro

  • S2Member

    Starting price: $89

    S2Member

    S2Member is a plugin that has gathered a whopping 1+ million downloads and counting. The plugin is available for free on the official WordPress plugins repository and has an impressive list of features for a membership plugin.

    For starters, you should know that S2Member includes payment gateways for PayPal Standard, Stripe, Authorize.Net and Clickbank button.

    With S2Member you can select what content goes under content lock and what level gets access to those pieces of content. S2Member also allows you to create customized login and registration pages and even customize the email templates.

    The Pro version even allows you to create unlimited membership levels. The plugin also enhances the member's experience with gifts and redemption codes (coupons) and has support for WordPress multisite.

      Pros

    • Has free version
    • Build customized email lists, login / registration pages

      Cons

    • Doesn't work with WooCommerce

    check out S2Member

  • aMember Pro

    Starting price: $179

    Even though aMember Pro isn't as popular as MemberPress or MemberMouse, we consider it a viable solution for many membership websites out there.

    It is a powerful membership plugin for WordPress that comes with a great advantage that many other membership plugins don't share and that is the one time payment.

    Yes, you heard that right! You pay for aMember once and you get it for life and that is $149.

    In this package you will get free installation, 200+ payment systems, one-time & recurring payments for your members and many more.

    aMember is among the first in the market with over 16+ years of experience, empowering large communities and membership websites.

    We trust aMember for membership websites of all sizes and the number of features it offers is mindblowing. However, we decided not to place it on top because of the old layout and rare updates.

      Pros

    • Supports over 200 payment systems
    • PDF invoice support
    • Drag and drop signup forms
    • Includes coupon codes and custom user fields
    • Full-featured affiliate module

      Cons

    • It has an old design and is updated quite rarely

    check out aMember Pro

  • MagicMembers

    Starting price: $97

    magicmembers

    MagicMembers is yet another awesome membership plugin for WordPress that is a one-time payment solution. You pay once and you enjoy it forever!

    The smallest package starts at $97 and comes with a license for 1 site only. This gives you access to training videos, 1 year free updates and access to premium customer service.

    Each package comes with Payment Modules (PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorize.net and MoneyBookers or iDeal).

    The plugin also includes an advanced download manager for members who signed up and Amazon S3 support for an increased security of media files that get uploaded by the members.

      Pros

    • Securing media files using Amazon S3
    • Set different billing options
    • Unlimited number of subscription levels
    • Supports coupon codes
    • Widgets for login, sign-up, member status widgets

      Cons

    • Old looking design and feel

    check out MagicMembers

  • Restrict Content Pro

    Starting price: $99

    Restrict Content Pro - WordPress plugin

    This awesome plugin comes from PippinsPlugins, the developer behind Easy Digital Downloads, one of the most beloved eCommerce plugins for WordPress.

    Restrict Content Pro is a full-featured membership plugin that enables you to build a powerful site that sells subscriptions, offers discount codes, gets reports and manages members with ease.

    The plugin has a built-in "Members Emails" section which allows you to customize emails that are being sent to your registering customers and you can also send automated reminders before the expiration date of the subscription.

    Just like MemberPress and MemberMouse, the plugin allows you to create unlimited subscription packages and offers gateway support for Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, PayPal Payments (Standard and Express).

    In addition to these, Restrict Content Pro offers 12 addons with each pack (WP Job Manager, EDD Member Downloads, EDD FES Vendor limits and many other plugins from PippinPlugins.com)

      Pros

    • Clean and intuitive user interface

      Cons

    • Not as many features as competitors

    check out Restrict Content Pro

  • Ultimate Member 4

    Starting price: $249

    Ultimate Member is a younger member of the membership plugin's group but it manages to stand out in the crowd with ease.

    For starters, the plugin offers a huge list of features that will offer an outstanding experience to your members. Pretty much everything from user profiles to roles and registration forms and login can be customized and each package gets access to their extenstions list.

    In the extensions you'll find:

    • Instagram
    • Verified users feature
    • ForumWP
    • Private messages
    • User bookmarks
    • User reviews
    • User photos

    The list goes on and on, but the thing that you'll be missing is the payment gateways.

      Pros

    • Role assignment
    • Multiple registration forms

      Cons

    • No payment gateway

    check out Ultimate Member 4

Honorable Mentions

  • How can I create a membership website on my WordPress the fastest?

    If you are looking for an easy to manage and easy to install membership solution for WordPress, then we highly recommend the MemberMouse plugin. This plugin will take less than 2 minutes to install and it will automatically add all the required pages for a membership website such as: Checkout page, My account page, Membership packages etc.

    All you have to do is to choose which payment processor you need and then you're good to go.

  • How can I make money with a membership website?

    A membership website can earn you recurring commissions in various ways. The most common way is through classrooms and tutorials. People will be more than happy to pay someone to teach them a skill if that skill is worthy of their time.

    Some other common ways to make money using a membership website are: selling access to content, selling subscriptions for podcasts, SAAS (software as a service)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, we may earn comissions if you click and make a purchase.
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