BlogWebsite & Technology Top 10 WordPress Membership Plugins for Your Website Website & Technology Top 10 WordPress Membership Plugins for Your Website Author: Terry Ibele May 5, 2019 Contents 🕑 8 min read If you have a WordPress site and are looking for a membership plugin, I’ve put together this list of the top 10 most popular ones according to WordPress downloads. What is a Membership Plugin? Simply put, a Membership Plugin is an extension you can add to an existing WordPress site. It will allow you to start registering members and give them special access to various pages and features on your site. With a Membership Plugin, you can do things like: Create paid and free memberships with a basic form builder Decide which members have access to the pages on your site Create a membership directory for members to network with one another Create multiple users with different administrative permissions and more All the plugins in the list on this page include these basic features. I have also included both free membership plugins and paid membership plugins. If you’d like to do your own search for Membership Plugins on WordPress, simply go here. Pros and Cons of Using a WordPress Membership Plugin vs Membership Management Software If you aren’t a WordPress user, or would like to explore more options, consider that Membership Management Software exists, which can instantly build an entire Membership Website apart from WordPress. Below are the pros and cons of each option: WordPress Plugin Pros and Cons Pros: Many plugins have open source code meaning you, or another developer can go in and change features to your liking. Many plugins allow you to choose the exact features and extensions you want to add, so you don’t have a lot of backend clutter. Many plugins offer a free basic version. Plugins are simple to install and use. WordPress is one of the top website builders and makes it easy to customize your site however you like. Cons: In order to use WordPress Plugins, you need to upgrade to a paid Business account. Using multiple plugins can cause some not to function properly, creating a backend nightmare for you and your admins. Many plugins are supported by individuals or small teams, which can sometimes go defunct — make sure you trust the longevity of the plugin you choose (a good plugin will be updated every month). If a plugin stops being supported, it may no longer work properly and your member data may be vulnerable to security breaches. Using too many plugins can slow down your site. Not many plugins have full customer support, so you may have to rely on wiki documentation to figure out how to get things done. Using a plugin means you’re stuck with WordPress. If you ever decide to leave WordPress and start using another website builder platform, you won’t be able to use the same features the plugin provided you. You also may have difficulty extracting your member data based on the plugin’s capabilities. For a full guide to WordPress for Nonprofits, check out this post. Membership Management Software (MMS) Pros and Cons Pros: An MMS will give you instant access to all the features your membership site could ever need Most MMS features are more robust and customizable than plugins Most MMS solutions have full support staff (phone, email, live chat, wiki, video tutorials, etc.) An MMS can handle everything from hundreds to tens of thousands of member profiles You can create multi-chapter sites. Some MMS solutions (like WildApricot) offer a completely free basic version Cons: The biggest con is that if you already have a WordPress site, not all MMS solutions integrate with WordPress, so you’ll need to transfer your website over, or start from scratch. If you only need one or two basic features, you don’t need the all-in-one package that MMS solutions offer. If you’re developing an e-learning website with courses, there are many WordPress plugins that are made specifically for that. If you’re interested in how Membership Management Software can help grow your organization, you can visit our website to learn more. What Is the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress? There are many lists that claim MemberPress is the best Membership Plugin for WordPress. However, it really depends on what your definition of “best” is. It’s true that MemberPress is very robust in its offerings and it can turn any WordPress site into a complete membership site. However, I couldn’t find any information on how many sites actually use MemberPress, especially because you can’t find it in WordPress’s Plugin Directory — instead, you must download a .zip and install it on your site after you pay for a plan (starting at $258/year). That’s not to say MemberPress isn’t great, you can find a lot of very positive reviews about it (here for example), but for the purposes of this list, I’m only including plugins that have their total installations published on WordPress. As a final word, the best plugin for you will depend on your needs. Most websites we’ve worked with consider the following five criteria before finding the best option for them: Total cost (installation cost, access cost, extension costs, support costs, etc.) Ease of installation and usability Features Access to support (email, phone, live chat, online documentation) Security of member data With this criteria in mind, it’s my hope this list helps you understand which options are out there and helps you pick the best one for your membership site. Good luck! Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Creating A Membership Site The Top 10 Most Downloaded WordPress Membership Plugins (of all time) Note: I did not include Course Membership Plugins like Teachable, Accessally, and LearnDash, which are useful if you are a school or tutorial site. 1. Ultimate Member Ultimate Member had its beginning back in 2014, when developer Calum Allison realized a need for his WordPress website to have user profiles, member directories, and other membership capabilities. Now, Ultimate Member is run by a small team and is used by over 100,000 organizations. Installations: 100,000+ Pricing: Plans start at $249/year, Extensions start at $30/year Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Front-end user profiles, registration, and login Custom form fields Drag and drop membership website form builder Member directories Content restriction Website Link WordPress Download Link 2. Paid Memberships Pro Paid Memberships Pro was developed by husband and wife team, Jason and Kim Coleman. Today they run a full staff team who also creates custom WordPress sites, code, and handles support. Installations: 80,000+ Pricing: Free basic version, Premium plans start at $297 Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Unlimited membership levels Customizable reports and member dashboards Accept recurring payments for any type of content Create private social communities Develop directories by topic or region. Website Link WordPress Download Link 3. WP-Members Membership Plugin WP-Members Membership Plugin was developed by RocketGeek, which supports 12 popular WordPress Plugins in total. Installations: 80,000+ Pricing: Free basic version, Premium Support starting at $59/year Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Restrict or hide posts, pages, and custom post types User login, registration, and profiles integrated into your theme Create custom registration and profile fields Notify admin of new user registrations Create post excerpts automatically Website Link WordPress Download Link 4. Simple Membership Simple Membership is a plugin that allows you to do just that — create a simple membership site. They also have a number of premium addons that can make your membership site more robust. Installations: 30,000+ Pricing: Free, Premium addons start at $29.95 Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Works with any WordPress theme Over 30 language translations available Ability to partially protect post or page content. Filter members list by account status. Allow your members to delete their membership accounts. Website Link WordPress Download Link 5. WP User Frontend WP User Frontend was developed by weDevs, a team of developers who began working on WordPress plugins back in 2008. Today they manage 10 popular plugins. Installations: 20,000+ Pricing: Free basic version, Premium versions start at $49/year Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Drag-n-drop membership website form builder WordPress Guest Post Submission Set post status, post message, and update post button text Custom Redirection after login and submission Create subscription packs, pay-per-posts & receive payments from users Website Link WordPress Download Link 6. s2Member Framework If you decide to purchase the premium version of s2Member Framework, it’s completely open source, which means you, or a developer can go in any time to access the code that makes it work. Installations: 20,000+ installations Pricing: Free basic version, Premium versions start at an $89 one-time purchase Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Customizable email templates Open registration options Content restriction options One-step registration/checkout Manual account creation Website Link WordPress Download Link 7. Paid Member Subscription Paid Member Subscriptions was developed by Cozmoslabs, an organization that supports over a dozen WordPress Plugins. Installations: 10,000+ Pricing: Pricing starts at $69 for installation and 1 year of support and updates Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Create hierarchical subscription plans allowing your members to upgrade from an existing subscription Customizable email templates Prevent account sharing Member discounts and discount codes Pay what you want pricing option for members Website Link WordPress Download Link 8. Restrict User Access – Membership Plugin with Force Restrict User Access was developed by Joachim Jensen, a Danish developer living in Los Angeles. He has also developed a WordPress Sidebar Plugin. Installations: 10,000+ Pricing: Free Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Multiple levels per user Add membership durations Unlock (drip) content for new members Permit & deny level capabilities Redirect unauthorized users to a page or custom link Website Link (Restrict User Access is run by Joachim Jensen) WordPress Download Link 9. WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace WooCommerce Memberships was developed by WooCommerce, an online store plugin for WordPress, which powers over 30% of all online stores. Installations: 9,000+ Pricing: $149 for 1 year of support and updates Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Unlimited membership levels (free, silver, gold etc) Content drip options for new users Add an online store Member discounts like member-only free shipping Easily import and exports members Website Link WordPress Download Link 10 (tied). Membership 2 Membership 2 was developed by WMPU DEV, a WordPress Plugin development team of 100+ people who manage over a dozen plugins. Installations: 8,000+ Pricing: Free basic version, Full version $49/month Rating on WordPress: Key Features: Four flexible membership types Members-only content protection Automated email messages for events Manage user-capabilities based on member level Enable free trials for members Website Link WordPress Download Link 10 (tied). WP User Manager WP User Manager was built by Alessandro Tesoro, a freelance web developer from the UK. He runs a blog where you can find updates of WP User Manager. Installations: 8,000+ Pricing: Free basic version, Additional addons are available starting at $19.99 Rating on WordPress: 4.5 stars Key Features: Customize email notifications. Allow members to create custom avatars Shortcodes editor. Custom fields editor Create a terms and conditions checkbox Website Link WordPress Download Link The Reason We Put This List Together We are WildApricot, the number one Membership Management Software on the market used by over 25,000 organizations worldwide. One of our goals is to help membership organizations save time and money by automating as many administrative tasks for them as possible — tasks like: Processing online payments, fees, and donations Setting up online event registrations and reminders Improving member communication through automated invoices, emails, and newsletters Creating a professional, easy to build membership website Maintaining a full contact database, financial reports, and more We also have a WordPress Membership Plugin (admittedly it’s not in the top 10 most downloaded plugins of all time), however it will allow you to add member-only content from your WildApricot site into your WordPress site and restrict content to your members. For more details on how WildApricot integrates with WordPress through this plugin, check out this article. All the best! Additional Resources: 9 Most Useful WordPress Plugins For Beginners (RSWebsols.com) The 10 Best Membership Website Builders You’ll Come Across (WildApricot.com) 71 Best Free WordPress Themes (ATHEMES.com) Related Website & Technology Articles Website & Technology 🕑 9 Min Read How to Make a Forum on Your Nonprofit Website: 13 Steps + Best Software Marlena Moore Nov 14, 2023 Website & Technology 🕑 5 Min Read 25 Solid Membership Website Examples & How to Create Your Own Terry Ibele Oct 24, 2023 Website & Technology 🕑 5 Min Read 7 Solid Club Website Examples to Get Ideas for Your Club Website Terry Ibele Oct 11, 2023 The Membership Growth Report: Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents Get the report now!