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Best WordPress membership plugins

7 Best WordPress Membership Plugins 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Are you looking for the best WordPress membership plugin?

A WordPress membership plugin is a tool that allows you to easily create and manage membership-based plans. These plugins can be useful when you want to set up a paid subscription model, offer exclusive content to specific members, restrict certain areas of your website, or build a community of members with shared interests. 

In this article, we’ll show you exactly what key features to look for in a WordPress membership plugin. Then, we’ll round up the best options!

What to Look For In a WordPress Membership Plugin

When you’re looking for a WordPress membership plugin, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure it fits your needs. A membership plugin is what you’ll use to create and manage your membership site, control who can access certain content, and handle all the subscriptions and payments. 

So, here’s a rundown of what you should consider when picking a WordPress membership plugin!

Membership Levels and Content Restriction

Look for a plugin that lets you create different membership plans. That way, you can offer varying levels of access to your content and customize your offerings based on what each member gets.

User Registration and Management

Check if the plugin makes it easy for users to sign up, log in, and manage their membership accounts. It’s always a plus if it offers cool features like customizable registration forms, the option to log in with social media accounts, and user profile management.

Payment Integration

You’ll need your membership plugin to handle member subscriptions and payments securely. It’s also important to check if it supports recurring billing, international payments, and trial periods or discount codes to attract new members.

Content Dripping and Time-Based Access

This nifty feature lets you release content to your members gradually over time or based on specific intervals. It’s super handy if you want to provide structured courses, exclusive content, or create a sense of progression for your members.

Integration with Email Marketing Services

If you’re into email marketing (and you probably should be), see if the plugin integrates with popular email marketing services. That way, you can automate your email communication with members, send welcome emails, and segment your email list based on membership levels.

Community and Engagement Features

Depending on the vibe of your WordPress website, you might want features like forums, discussion boards, private messaging, or member directories. So, check if the plugin includes these community-building functionalities or easily integrates with other plugins that provide these features.

Analytics and Reporting

It’s always handy to have detailed analytics on how your membership site is doing. Look for a plugin that gives you insights into member growth, retention rates, and revenue. These stats can help you make informed decisions and improve your strategies.

Scalability and Flexibility

If you have big plans for your membership site’s future, check if the plugin can handle a growing number of members. It’s also great to have a membership plugin that offers flexibility, allowing you to customize the design, integrate with other tools, and add new features as your site evolves.

By considering these factors, you’ll be well on your way to building an awesome WordPress membership site!

7 Best WordPress Membership Plugins

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best membership plugins. Here’s our definitive list of tools that will help you build a membership site:

Membership PluginPricingBest For
MemberPress$179.50/yrBeginners looking to start and grow their membership site
Thrive Apprentice$299/yrCreating a course-selling business
MemberMouse$199.50/yrSmall business owners
Easy Digital Downloads$99.50/yrSelling downloadable products
WishList Member$149.50/yrBloggers and teachers
LearnDash$199/yrIntegrating an LMS into a membership site
aMember Pro$149/lifetimeMemberPress alternative

1. MemberPress

MemberPress plugin

MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin. It offers a range of powerful features that make it a top choice for building and managing membership sites.

First of all, MemberPress makes it a breeze for beginners to set up and configure their first membership site. Once installed, you can use it to quickly create online courses, paywalled blog posts, and other premium content. With MemberPress, you’ll be able to effortlessly set up multiple membership tiers, customize access rules, and tailor the content experience for different member groups. 

Whether you plan to sell software or monetize your blog, MemberPress allows you to get your membership website up and running. This is a flexible all-in-one membership plugin that integrates with Easy Affiliate, MonsterInsights, WooCommerce, and many more helpful tools for your business.

Key features:

  • Unlimited memberships
  • Unlimited members
  • Online course builder
  • Community forums
  • Access rules to control memberships
  • Paywalls
  • Drip content
  • Customizable front-end pricing pages
  • Payment gateways
  • Automated subscription billing
  • Customizable coupon codes
  • Email notifications
  • Custom widgets and shortcodes
  • Integrates with ChatGPT, Mailchimp, Zapier, BuddyPress, and more
  • Rest API for developers

Pricing: MemberPress is a premium plugin that starts at $179.50 yearly. Even with the basic plan, you can create unlimited courses and manage unlimited members. This makes MemberPress a powerful tool that stands out from its competitors. 

2. Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice is an LMS WordPress plugin that was designed to create and manage online courses. Using its drag-and-drop course builder, you can effortlessly structure your specialty content, including lessons, modules, quizzes, and assignments.

Plus, Thrive Apprentice can also handle your paid memberships. It has flexible drip functionality which allows you to unlock new lessons for your students. This ensures that you’re always giving valuable content to your members and furthering their education.

With Thrive Apprentice, you can sell access to any content on your website. Instead of just monetizing courses, visitors can pay to view valuable blog posts, pages, videos, tagged content, and more. You can even combine any of these products into one premium membership so your students can learn in different formats.  

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Visual editor
  • Organize courses with modules, chapters, and lessons
  • Embed media for video or audio courses
  • Customizable course overview page
  • Pre-designed lesson templates
  • Drip content
  • Evergreen and scheduled lesson repeating
  • Conditional display
  • Compatible with any WordPress theme
  • Membership management dashboard

Pricing: You can purchase Thrive Apprentice as a part of the complete Thrive Suite, which comes with a theme builder, plugin automator, comment moderator, and more. You can get all of these tools starting at $149 per quarter or $299 for an entire year. 

3. MemberMouse

MemberMouse membership plugin

MemberMouse supports membership websites for teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and other business owners. It offers features to not only sell virtual products but manage members and start increasing profits. 

To ensure your members trust you, it’s important to have security measures in place for your membership site. Fortunately, MemberMouse will limit login attempts, automatically lock shared accounts, and protect any of your paid membership content. 

You can also use MemberMouse to send welcome emails, overdue payment reminders, and custom push notifications. This can notify certain WordPress users or user roles to renew or even upgrade their subscription level. 

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Free and paid memberships
  • Recurring subscriptions
  • Customizable checkout pages
  • Upsell and cross-sell
  • Upgrades and downgrades
  • Members-only area
  • Protect posts, pages, categories, taxonomies, and custom post types
  • Drip content
  • Member and revenue analytics

Pricing: To use MemberMouse, its paid plans start at $199.50 per year. 

4. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads

If you want to start selling products online, you can’t go wrong with Easy Digital Downloads. This e-commerce plugin can help you monetize your music, artwork, videos, software, or other digital products.

One of the best parts of Easy Digital Downloads is that it supports unlimited file downloads. You’ll be able to sell as many products as you want without worrying about extra fees. 

With Easy Digital Downloads, your premium products will always be protected and only downloadable by paying members. By default, your files will be restricted to your members. If you’re concerned that members will share your products without your permission, you can create limits on file downloads and set an expiration date for download links. 

Key features:

  • File access control
  • Unlimited file downloads
  • No monthly fees
  • No listing fees
  • One-time payments or automatic subscription billing
  • Customizable shopping cart
  • Reports on customers and sales
  • Compatible with payment options such as Stripe, PayPal, EDD Wallet, Braintree, and more
  • External file storage to Amazon S3 and Dropbox
  • Discounts

Pricing: There is a free version of Easy Digital Downloads. To extend the core features, you can purchase a premium pass, which starts at $99.50 per year. 

5. WishList Member

WishList Member plugin

Another powerful WordPress member subscription plugin is WishList Member. Whenever you want to restrict a post or page from non-members, you can protect it with one click. To make sure you’re pleasing all your customers, you can set up free, premium, and pay-per-post payment methods.

Additionally, WishList Member is compatible with many WordPress themes, page builder plugins, and LMS software. This makes it a flexible option that won’t cause conflicts with other tools on your WordPress site.

Key features:

  • Drip content
  • Free, premium, or pay per post
  • Free, trial, and paid memberships
  • Partial display of paywall content
  • Payment gateways like WooCommerce, Authorize.net, 2CheckOut, and more
  • Integrates with email marketing services
  • Triggers for creating new posts or moving members to a different level

Pricing: WishList Member subscriptions start at $149.50 yearly. With any plan, you’ll be able to build unlimited courses, set up membership levels, and add unlimited members to your community. 

6. LearnDash

LearnDash plugin

LearnDash is the most popular Learning Management System (LMS) plugin. It was originally developed by educators for other educators. This means that it’s an easy-to-use tool for creating courses, onboarding students, and managing assignments.

With LearnDash, you can provide an excellent learning experience for your members. It supports badges, certificates, and points to reward students and motivate them to continue their education. 

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Pre-designed course templates
  • Drip content
  • Recurring subscriptions
  • No additional fees
  • Bundle courses in one membership
  • Customizable prerequisites for courses
  • Compatible with many WordPress themes
  • Integrates with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, bbPress, MemberPress, and more

Pricing: LearnDash costs $199 per year for a single site license. There are higher subscription tiers if you manage 10 or more membership websites. You can also choose from a variety of add-ons to extend the plugin even more. 

7. aMember Pro

aMember Pro

Unlike the other options on this list, aMember Pro is not a WordPress plugin. Instead, it’s a PHP script that you can install and customize as you see fit. Once added to WordPress, you can use aMember Pro to sell paid member subscriptions, create a members-only area, and even manage your email list.

Keep in mind that aMember Pro may be incompatible with other themes or plugins on your website. With a native WordPress plugin, you’ll ensure that your membership software has been tested with most WordPress software. 

Key features:

  • Unlimited membership levels and products
  • Drip content
  • Flexible access control
  • Sharing prevention
  • Built-in affiliate program
  • Create opt-in email lists

Pricing: aMember Pro offers one-time fees starting at $149. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You might still have some pressing questions about WordPress membership plugins. Let’s answer them!

What are the best WordPress membership plugins?

Our top 3 picks for the best WordPress membership plugins are:

  1. MemberPress
  2. Thrive Apprentice
  3. MemberMouse

Alternatives: If you’re looking for a membership plugin, you could use options like WooCommerce Memberships, Paid Memberships Pro, Restrict Content Pro, S2Member, wp-members, ARMember, Simple Membership, or Ultimate Member. We limited this list to the most user-friendly and feature-packed plugins for member management. 

How do I create a membership plan in WordPress?

You can create a membership plan by installing the MemberPress plugin. Then, create a new membership, give it a price, and customize its permissions. For more details, check out this helpful tutorial on how to create a WordPress membership site.  

Is there a free membership plugin for WordPress?

You can use the core version of Easy Digital Downloads as a free WordPress membership plugin. This supports basic payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Amazon Pay. However, we’d recommend upgrading to the Pro version to access content restriction and recurring payments. 

Conclusion

We hope this guide helped you find the best WordPress membership plugin for your goals! 

Are you looking for more plugins to optimize your membership site? Check out our different comparison guides:

Do you want to customize your membership site before going live? Download Duplicator Pro to easily clone your site and move it to a safe staging area!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.