7 Powerful WordPress Membership Plugins: Build A Thriving Online Community
Have you ever wanted to run your own membership site?
You’re not alone.
There are countless examples across the internet of membership sites that are helping their owners earn a substantial recurring income.
And it’s all made possible thanks to a number of different WordPress plugins.
These plugins will help you put together a membership site with relative ease. No need to get a developer involved.
In this post I’ll show you some of the best membership plugins on the market and give you a rundown of all of their features.
7 Powerful plugins to help you create a membership site with ease
I’ve put together a combination of free and paid membership plugins below.
An important thing to consider is that membership plugins offer a huge range of functionality so paid versions are at a higher price point than most other plugins.
It’s worth considering what functionality you really need but the feature lists below will give you an idea of the kind of features you can expect.
If you have searched for membership plugins in the past then I’m sure that you’ve probably seen S2 Members mentioned a number of times.
For a free plugin S2 Members has a great feature set and a bunch of different customisable options – you can change things like email templates, login welcome page, high level security and the ability to choose exactly what content you’re protecting along with protecting your file downloads.
S2 Member makes it easy for you to incorporate external affiliate systems such as iDevAffiliate and ShareAsale but doesn’t come with its own system.
There are some limitations because membership levels are limited to 4, you can’t use free registrations and the payment methods do come with limitations too – but considering it’s free, you do get a lot!
To lift these limitations there is a pro version available.
- WordPress multisite support.
- Compatible with iDevAffiliate, Shareasale and other affiliate management applications.
- Compatible with BuddyPress and bbPress.
- PayPal support.
- Various customizable options.
- Various options for protecting posts, pages, categories, tags and specific URI’s.
- Protection against IP spoofing and account sharing.
- Various solutions for protecting file downloads.
Price: Free with paid options available to give additional features.
Digital Access Pass (DAP)
DAP has been around since 2008 and has shown that it can stand the test of time – the creators continue to push out updates to keep the plugin current and includes the following features (amongst a lot more).
You can also use DAP on HTML/PHP sites as a stand-alone script and the developers behind the plugin also offer free installation – which is awesome!
This is one of the best membership site solutions that I’ve tried.
- Unlimited members.
- Unlimited products.
- Sneak peek teaser content.
- Built in affiliate system with 2 tiers.
- Forum integration.
- Easy to use shortcodes.
- Trial products.
- Advanced content dripping system.
Price: One off pricing starts at $167. $39.99/month will get you unlimited access to all plugins produced by the creators of DAP (and more).
If you’re looking to get more “bang for your buck”, then this is the membership plugin for you.
OptimizePress 2.0 is a plugin designed for creating high converting sales pages, landing pages, webinar pages, membership sites and more.
It comes with a WordPress theme version and its own membership plugin.
While the membership plugin isn’t as feature packed as some of the others that I’ve mentioned, you still get the important functionality and most importantly – you get a tool to help you create the sales pages/landing pages to promote your membership site. Read our full review here.
- Powerful IP address restrictions.
- Download restrictions.
- Your own coupon codes.
- Completely customise your membership levels.
- Supports 6 different payment gateways (including PayPal, Clickbank and Authorize.Net.
- Integration with ShareASale, iDevAffiliate and other affiliate tracking solutions.
- Drip feed content to your members.
MemberMouse is an incredibly comprehensive membership platform.
What I like in particular is that upon installing the plugin, a number of default pages that you will need to use your membership. This includes the likes of a home page, checkout page, account page, confirmation page and more.
The features you get access to are extensive.
MemberMouse is designed to make things easy, not just in the install stage but also with supporting your customers. Your customers can manage their account by themselves meaning that you will spend less time offering support.
There are also helpful reporting & analytics reports that will give you a variety of helpful insights.
The only downside to this membership plugin is that the price is a recurring monthly amount that varies based on features and how many members you have.
- 1-click upsells.
- Protect your content within a few clicks.
- Setup split tests for prices.
- Lock out members who share their logins.
- Trial offers and discount coupons.
- Drip feed content to your members.
- Overdue payment handling.
- Integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Clickbank and more.
- Integrates directly with iDevAffiliate.
- Integrates with popular email providers such as AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse.
- API support.
Price: Starts from $19.95/month.
Magic Members has been a popular favorite for a while now and comes with some great features.
You only get updates for the next year and while this sometimes puts people off, it’s important to remember that it would be difficult for any company to continue to provide continuous updates and ensure the long term viability of the plugin.
Magic Members also comes with 3 bonuses, some social icons (these aren’t that amazing) but you do get the Magic Kicker plugin and a 20% discount on the Magic affiliate plugin.
Magic Kicker stops multiple people from logging into a single account which is an essential security feature and Magic Affiliate will turn your membership area into an affiliate power house that will allow your site to be promoted by other people.
All in all, a very powerful plugin, but a few of the important things seems to be missing from the core plugin.
- Unlimited membership levels.
- A huge number of payment integration modules including PayPal, 2CheckOut, Authorize.net and many more.
- Amazon S3 support.
- Easy coupon creation (you can create unlimited coupons too).
- Drip fed content system.
- Powerful import and export features.
- Pay per post access.
WishList has been a long-time favourite within the internet marketing community because it’s a solid plugin with a great feature set.
Similar to Magic Members, you get 1 year of unlimited updates and some great support guides and tutorials to help you build out your membership site.
WishList Member also has a customer centre packed with resources and tips to help you in addition to the regular support guides for the plugin.
For those who purchase the multi-site license, you will get access to two custom built WordPress themes designed specifically for use with WishList Member along with some additional resources.
- Unlimited membership levels.
- Paid, trial or free membership levels.
- Drip fed content.
- Subscription length control.
- Custom error pages.
- Teaser content.
- Secure RSS feeds.
- Integrates with a number of affiliate networks and payment gateways including; PayPal, 1ShoppingCat, Clickbank, QuickPayPro, Ultracart and more.
- Integrates with popular email providers including AWeber, iContact, GetResponse, Mail Chimp and Infusionsoft.
WP Members is a free plugin that makes it really easy to restrict access to particular pieces of content or just create a straight forward membership site.
One of the things that I like about this plugin is that the login and registration options can easily be added to the sidebar with a widget and they also appear in line with the content, as opposed to on the usual WP login page which opens up some extra possibilities.
Overall this is a straight forward plugin to use that makes it really easy to just restrict your content.
You won’t get the same level of functionality as other membership plugins, but it provides a straight forward option to protect your content.
- Display a sidebar login widget.
- Protect access to posts and/or pages.
- Add custom fields to the registration widget and profiles.
- Shortcodes support enables you to create special pages like user profiles, registration pages and login pages.
Over to you
You’ve seen some of the plugins available and all of them have the ability to help you create a membership site.
Now it’s a case of understanding exactly what features you want – this will help immensely when making a decision.
About Adam Connell
Adam Connell is the founder of Blogging Wizard, a training hub for bloggers who want to accelerate their blog's growth. Adam's background is in marketing and used to manage a team of budding marketers at a UK based agency. Adam also co-founded Purcus.com, a blog that helps solopreneurs and bloggers to streamline their online business. When not blogging, Adam loves to eat Chinese food while watching re-runs of Firefly.