The best WordPress membership plugins for 2022 can help you create new income streams and build a thriving, like-minded community from your WordPress website. But finding the perfect membership plugin for your project can be daunting, depending on your needs.
WordPress membership plugins exist today in varying degrees of complexity. Some allow you to add a phone number, address, and security info, which is it. Other membership plugins offer member tiers and the means to build a complex profile with unmatched security protocols.
In this guide, we’ll uncover for you the best WordPress membership plugins for 2022.
Let’s dive in.
What is a WordPress Membership Plugin?
A WordPress membership plugin allows you to sell memberships (sometimes called subscriptions) and offer members-only content from your WordPress website.
Memberships or subscriptions are a special type of digital e-commerce good that gives members or subscribers access to content that is gated behind a paywall and account login.
Some examples of membership websites include:
WordPress membership plugins, at the most basic level, provide you with the ability to restrict exclusive content to members or subscribers, offer subscription packages, and accept payments, along with a variety of other useful features depending on which plugin you choose.
Most WordPress membership plugins offer:
What to Look for in a WordPress Membership Plugin In 2022
WordPress membership plugins can be used to run any type of website, from online e-learning websites to tutorial-based websites, coaches, product/discount websites, and so many more.
But because of the number of different types of websites that a WordPress membership plugin can be used for, it can be difficult for the developers of the plugin to satisfy every need.
When it comes to WordPress membership plugins, don’t pay as much attention to negative reviews. Take them with a grain of salt in the WordPress membership plugin space.
Sometimes people are looking to achieve the impossible and won’t take no for an answer, and reviews can reflect that.
Ease of Use
WordPress membership plugins are complex. As such, setting them up can require you to read the entire documentation more than once to figure out exactly how to do what you want.
And that’s without even mentioning the plugin interfaces, which can often be a confusing mess of options, toggles, and switches.
Finding a WordPress membership plugin with an easy-to-use interface is critical to ensure that you aren’t tearing your hair out trying to set it up.
Multiple Membership Levels
Any good WordPress membership plugin will allow you to set up an unlimited number of Membership levels with support for all types you can think of.
This needs to include free, paid, and trial memberships which are essential for providing flexibility in what you can offer.
You’ll need a payment gateway to charge members their membership fees. Before you select a WordPress membership plugin, make sure that it supports your chosen payment gateway, such as PayPal or Stripe.
Some membership plugins also integrate with WooCommerce, allowing you to use any payment gateway that is supported by WooCommerce.
Membership Upgrades and Downgrades
Make sure whichever WordPress membership plugin you decide to go with supports upgrades and downgrades, ideally with prorated payments. After all, you want to give your members the best membership experience so they stick around.
One great way to do that is by making sure that members can move freely between plans.
Reporting and Analytics
Knowing exactly how many members churn and at which point is vital data for any membership site, along with spotting trends in new signups and slumps.
Ensure that the WordPress membership plugin you’re looking at supports these along with data exports.
Membership plugins are complex. There’s a good chance you may need to contact support at some point during setup and implementation.
That’s why it’s often best to go with a membership plugin that offers, at minimum, ticketed support so you can get the help you need to launch your WordPress membership website business.
Best WordPress Membership Plugins
Based on the criteria above, here are the best WordPress membership plugins available in 2022:
1. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is far and away one of the best WordPress membership plugins for 2022.
The plugin was originally developed by Pippin Williamson and his team at Sandhills Development. It grew to be one of the most popular membership plugins for WordPress.
This robust plugin is chocked full of value and offers best-in-class support and development.
The feature set is extensive with Restrict Content Pro.
Discount codes, built-in integrations, data export, and a robust reporting system are a small part of Restrict Content Pro. Create unlimited subscription tiers such as a free trial, beginner, and paid.
View all your members and their status on the easy-to-navigate dashboard.
The plugin is easy to set up and allows you to begin delivering a high level of premium content to your members and other users. Use the email system to build your membership roles with new member emails and emails offering discounts and specials.
Restrict Content Pro lets you integrate with all the popular payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.Net.
Without a doubt, Restrict Content Pro is a membership plugin for WordPress that is the most developer-friendly, with a huge range of hooks and filters allowing developers to build whatever they need making it perfect for custom jobs.
Restrict Content Pro Pros
We’ve already mentioned the developer friendliness of Restrict Content Pro. But there is so much more to this plugin.
It supports multiple membership levels, upgrades, and downgrades, all the popular payment gateways (like Stripe), along with functionalities such as WooCommerce integration.
Like all good WordPress membership plugins, it supports drip content (releasing content over time on a schedule).
It even supports site creation on multisite.
Restrict Content Pro Cons
There aren’t any cons to the functionality or support of Restrict Content Pro. Although a few users have said that they would like a more “designed” membership panel on the front end of their website.
But the developers of this plugin have addressed many of those concerns within the last year.
Restrict Content Pro Pricing
Restrict Content Pro is available with the following plans:
Our Opinion on Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is one of the best WordPress membership plugins available, with everything you need to build your membership site.
It’s really the best place to start your search for the best WordPress membership plugins in 2022.
With well more than 100,000+ active installs and over 300 five-star ratings, you can be sure that you’re in good hands with this plugin. And it’s feature-rich as well, with 19 free add-ons and 65 Plus add-ons available in the Pro version.
If you’re looking for a plugin that offers unlimited everything, try Paid Memberships Pro. It is a little expensive to start; however, you may not have to purchase another member plugin in the future.
It offers complete integration with all the popular solutions for WordPress, such as bbPress, MailChimp, Stripe, and BuddyPress. The plugin can support any type of membership site. Create entire communities with forums, member tiers, and member-only content and product sampling.
The plugin also comes loaded with a very robust email system to keep in close contact with your members.
The plugin offers three tiers of memberships with a no questions asked money-back guarantee.
Paid Memberships Pro Pros
What we love most about Paid Memberships Pro is that you don’t need to buy the paid version. The free version offers everything you need to get started with your WordPress membership website, including:
Out of the box, it supports protecting custom post types and even integrates with both BuddyPress and bbPress.
Paid Memberships Pro Cons
There aren’t many cons associated with the software. While it has a lot of settings to configure, that’s a given with all membership plugins.
Instead, the main con is that the documentation requires an account to view. While it’s a clever marketing trick so later they can upsell you, it is annoying if you’re trying to evaluate and get a sense of the plugin before installing it.
Paid Memberships Pro Pricing
As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a free version that does plenty and is available on WordPress.org.
The paid version takes a simple pricing approach, with the plus add-ons available as part of a bundle only.
The add-ons are included in every paid bundle, with the only difference being the number of websites you can use them on.
Our Opinion on Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is one of the best free WordPress membership plugins, with a wide array of functionality and 19 free add-ons.
This makes it the perfect starting point for those on a budget.
MemberPress is the only premium-only WordPress membership in our list, and was one of the first plugins to be invested in when Syed of AwesomeMotive and WPBeginner fame opened up his investment fund.
Since then, MemberPress has seen a raft of improvements and has gone on to be a dominant force in the WordPress membership plugin scene.
MemberPress is a rules-based WordPress membership plugin with tons of features to build a comprehensive tier-based site.
Quality membership plugins allow its users to control the content subscribers can access, and MemberPress is no different. Use child pages, custom post types, and categories to provide only the content you want subscribers to see.
Start a forum inside your site to build a like-minded community. Use built-in password protection and make subscribers sense that anything they post is secure.
Integrate your MemberPress forum with other popular WordPress forum plugins like BBBPress, and build a robust community.
MemberPress makes it easy to start monetizing your site with full coupon integration. Run any number of promotions and giveaways to generate new business.
Like most WordPress membership plugins, MemberPress has a range of Extensions. These are separate plugins you can upload that integrate a raft of third-party plugins and SaaS tools with your membership site.
There’s no denying that MemberPress has the widest range of extensions and integrations on the WordPress membership plugin market.
Just some of the extensions include:
New extensions are regularly released.
MemberPress also has comprehensive data analytics and reporting functionality, along with everything that you’d expect from a membership plugin, such as membership levels, upgrades, downgrades, and payment integrations like Stripe and PayPal.
Overall, there aren’t many cons to MemberPress. It has a lot of settings that can be expected of any membership plugin. And it isn’t exactly the most beautiful plugin on the front-end.
But just like Restrict Content Pro, you can easily change that with some CSS manipulation.
MemberPress offers a three-tiered membership package that includes different add-ons/extensions depending on which tier you buy, which means that sometimes you have to buy the most expensive plan to get what you want.
The plans are:
MemberPress is definitely more expensive than Restrict Content Pro and Paid Memberships Pro if you develop many sites for clients and want an unlimited license.
This plugin simply doesn’t offer that option.
Our Opinion on MemberPress
MemberPress is a comprehensive WordPress membership plugin that offers everything you need but comes at a cost.
If you’re on a budget or build a lot of sites and need an unlimited site license, then we’d recommend looking at Restrict Content Pro or Paid Memberships Pro instead.
Other WordPress Membership Plugins and Tools
Here are a few other WordPress membership plugins worth noting.
Paid Member Subscription
Paid Member Subscription is a lightweight solution and easy to set up. Get started with a free membership for your subscribers and offer a paid solution down the road. Members have an exceptional area to edit their content and membership details.
Restrict content to logged-in users or employ other criteria. Offer varying degrees of content to your users, such as posts and pages, WooCommerce products, and forum subjects. Place shortcodes throughout your site so a user can log in easily.
Subscription management is easy, allowing your members to upgrade whenever they feel the need for more content and from any member level. Even though this is a lightweight membership management plugin, there is still plenty of options to make your subscribers feel they are getting their money’s worth.
Configure the plugin for free memberships, free trial periods, one-time fees, or recurring payments. Paid Membership Subscription also features a robust email management system. Send an email template when a subscriber signs up or on a pre-determined schedule. Another useful feature of the plugin is the reporting function. It lets you know how your site is responding to the changes you are making.
The plugin allows for two types of pricing, which are billed annually.
WooCommerce Memberships is the plugin you need for any e-commerce site. The plugin offers complete integration into the popular e-commerce system.
Take your e-commerce site to a whole other level with this plugin. Build on repeat sales by letting customers create an account and follow up with an email to promote your product. The WooCommerce Membership plugin enables you to create exclusive content and then drip that content on any schedule you prefer. Integrate your store with memberships for sale or after product purchases.
Once you have the plugin setup, the possibilities are endless. Create a selling club with the features of integrated WooCommerce. Restrict viewing of strategic products to specific members or tiers. Once you have your shipping in place, offer improved rates to members and products.
Discounts and coupons are a great way to sell more products. With WooCommerce Membership, you have everything in place to offer the best discounts for your products. Let members view their perks in the dashboard along with other drip content. Give them a reason to shop and keep shopping with incentives throughout your store.
WooCommerce Memberships is offered as an annual payment of $199 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You also get a full year of updates when you subscribe.
WP-Members is a free plugin with a ton of features. This is the solution to check out if you are just starting with a new site and need a member plugin. The plugin becomes part of your theme with no restrictions.
Once you have the plugin downloaded and installed, the WP-Member plugin is wholly integrated with the base code of WordPress. This function allows you to focus on your business and not setting up a member site. The plugin is easy to use and extremely flexible. WP-Members offers all the features you would see in a paid membership plugin.
WP-Members is scalable to any depth and restricts content to any member or tier of members. Restrict any page, post, or content on your site and use a login for your subscribers to access. Create custom fields for registration and profile pages.
Use shortcodes throughout your site to enhance the customer experience. Use a shortcode to log in to different restricted areas or a different tier of content.
The WP-Member plugin is free of charge and integrates seamlessly with any other WordPress content. If you need a free solution for membership, this is the plugin to have.
Member Mouse is an outstanding plugin for anybody stating a membership site if you can forget about the name. It is a comprehensive plugin for managing e-commerce solutions.
Deliver any type of content to your subscribers, including specials and promotions on any number of products. Member Mouse provides a complete customer management system, smart tags, and one-click upsells. Customers feel a part of the action with their self-service page to update passwords and preferences.
One of the best features is the ability to drip content to your subscribers. Use individual schedules or a tier system for any number of subscribers. Member Mouse offers plenty of automatic features, such as the ability to downsell an account if your customer attempts to cancel. Set up different price points for any number of subscribers in different tiers or the same level.
Three pricing levels for every need.
S2Member is another feature-packed WordPress membership plugin. The plugin integrates easily into any WordPress theme and other plugins. It is compatible with PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net.
Shortcodes are a significant feature of S2Member. You can use WordPress shortcodes throughout your content to grow your readership and subscriber base. Make complex transactions quick and easy by learning the basics of WordPress shortcodes. Place buy and sell buttons wherever you need them.
Integrate any of the major payment gateways in any area you want by merely placing a shortcode. S2Member offers a host of options often reserved for more expensive plugins. Restrict content any way you choose by an individual subscriber, rule-based, or tier—drip content on any number of criteria such as custom schedules.
S2Member is a secure platform with encrypted content and protected audio/video streaming. Create custom fields for login and welcome pages to improve your subscriber community. Everything in S2Member is integrated with some of the largest brands on the internet.
S2Member offers three levels of membership with a money-back guarantee.
MagicMembers is a simple yet highly effective plugin for your community. Integrate your existing content into the plugin and start making money.
MagicMembers lets you integrate your site into a full suite of payment gateways, including Stripe and Authorize.net. As a bonus, accept payments from as many portals as you like, giving your customers a broader choice. Build your customer base with multiple membership levels. Let your subscriber view their subscriptions on an individual dashboard.
Decide on different membership billing options. Choose weekly or monthly, whatever is convenient for you and your customer. Let your users manage downloads with the protected download manager and set access levels for your subscribers. A Valuable option is the integration of S3 Amazon and MagicMembers. Protect audio/video files even if they sit on Amazon’s servers.
Use ready-built custom widgets for login, text, and status. Use MagicMembers to build an unlimited number of coupons and build your subscriber base through the robust email system. The Sequential Course Delivery System allows you to time when content is delivered to your members. Drip content and make it available on a weekly or monthly basis.
MagicMembers offers three one-time-only subscription levels.
Wishlist Member is an excellent plugin for quickly creating communities and learning sites. It is an extremely easy-to-use software for the beginner and professional.
Wishlist is integrated with all the top payment gateways and email providers, including PayPal and Mailchimp. The plugin is also tightly integrated with Easy Webinar, iDevAffilliate, and Zapier. The best thing about Wishlist is the ease with which you can go through setup. The wizard lets you make a host of choices as you effortlessly move through the options.
WishList is built for WordPress and its base code. Run the wizard once, and the rest of your membership actions are integrated into every other task. No complicated setup; everything is there when you need it. A useful feature for WishList is its tight integration with Zapier. Use the online service to automate a lot of your daily tasks. This integration gives you the ability to focus on what is fun about running an online business.
Pricing options are straightforward with WishList. WishList Member is for one URL and unlimited memberships for $299. WishList Member + CourseCure is for one URL, unlimited memberships, and includes courses, quizzes, points, and badges for $499.
The Best WordPress Membership Plugins For 2022
Depending on what you are looking for in a membership plugin, one we’ve covered here will definitely get you up and running.
Of course, no membership site is complete without making sure that it is secured. iThemes Security Pro is there to fully protect your site.
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. As marketing director here at iThemes, she’s dedicated to helping you find the best ways to build, manage, and maintain effective WordPress websites. Kristen also enjoys journaling (check out her side project, The Transformation Year!), hiking and camping, step aerobics, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.
This content was originally published here.