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Top 10 Most Downloaded WordPress Membership Plugins (of all time)

Terry Ibele 05 May 2019 2 comments

WordPress Membership Plugins site

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.

Here are the contents of this article:

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.

WordPress Membership Plugins

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.

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 Wild Apricot) 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.

 

MemberPress

 

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:

  1. Total cost (installation cost, access cost, extension costs, support costs, etc.)

  2. Ease of installation and usability

  3. Features

  4. Access to support (email, phone, live chat, online documentation)

  5. 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!

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 WordPress Membership Plugin

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: WordPress Plugin 4.5 Stars

  • Key Features:

    • Front-end user profiles, registration, and login

    • Custom form fields

    • Drag and drop membership website form builder

    • Member directories

    • Content restriction

 

2. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro WordPress Member Plugin

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: WordPress Plugin 4 Stars

  • 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.

 

3. WP-Members Membership Plugin

WP- Members Membership Plugin WordPress 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: WordPress Plugin 4.5 Stars

  • 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

 

4. Simple Membership

Simple Membership WordPress Membership Plugin

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: WordPress Plugin 4.5 Stars

  • 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.

 

5. WP User Frontend

WP User Frontend WordPress Membership Plugin

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: WordPress Plugin 4 Stars

  • 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

 

6. s2Member Framework

 

s2Member Framework WordPress Member Plugin

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:WordPress Plugin 4 Stars

  • Key Features:

    • Customizable email templates

    • Open registration options

    • Content restriction options

    • One-step registration/checkout

    • Manual account creation

 

7. Paid Member Subscription

 

Paid Memberships Pro WordPress Membership Plugin

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:WordPress Plugin 4 Stars

  • 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

 

8. Restrict User Access – Membership Plugin with Force

 

Restrict User Access WordPress Membership Plugin

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:WordPress Plugin 4.5 Stars

  • 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

 

9. WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace

WooCommerce Members WordPress Plugin

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:WordPress Plugin 5 Stars

  • 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

 

10 (tied). Membership 2

Membership 2 WordPress Membership Plugin

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:WordPress Plugin 4.5 Stars

  • 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

 

10 (tied). WP User Manager

Ultimate Member WordPress Membership Plugin

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

 

The Reason We Put This List Together

We are Wild Apricot, 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

 

Wild Apricot

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 Wild Apricot site into your WordPress site and restrict content to your members.

You can give it a try by accessing it here.

All the best!

Additional Resources:

Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Posted by Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Published Sunday, 05 May 2019 at 7:40 PM

Comments

  • Greg said:

    Monday, 20 May 2019 at 3:12 PM
    have you tried neuronto plugin for AI Multilingual content generation?
  • Tatiana Morand

    Tatiana Morand said:

    Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 9:08 AM
    Hi Greg, given that this is a post about membership plugins, I'm not sure that's entirely relevant to this list. However, I'm glad it's been useful for you.
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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