Struggling to make money from your WordPress website?

Creating a membership section is a great way to generate recurring income from your user base.

Membership websites offer gated content, private communities, online courses, exclusive products, or exclusive services at a monthly or yearly subscription fee. You can even offer different tiers, allowing your site visitors to sign up for a subscription that aligns with their budget.

While you can use a dedicated membership website builder such as Wild Apricot, you can stay within the WordPress CMS and simply install a membership theme or membership plugin. We’ll quickly review the two options, then go into the best WordPress membership themes that you can install now.

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WordPress Membership Theme vs Membership Plugin

Should you use a WordPress membership theme or install a membership plugin? What’s the difference between both, and which one is the best choice for you?

A membership theme typically comes with everything you need to set up a membership website. The bundle will include the theme and the tools you need to restrict content, create membership levels, and take payments from subscribers.

Alternatively, a membership WordPress theme will be compatible with a specific membership plugin, ensuring that the theme and plugin work seamlessly together. One example would be BuddyX, which is compatible with the BuddyPress membership plugin.

Your other option would be installing a membership plugin. A membership plugin is a standalone solution that will allow you to add a membership section to your site regardless of your theme.

Use a membership theme if:

  • You’re not totally married to your current theme.
  • You’re starting an entirely new membership website.
  • You have a $40-to-$80 budget for a premium theme.

Ready to get started? Check out the best WordPress membership themes below.

Best Membership WordPress Themes

1. Vayvo

Pricing table demo in the Vayvo WordPress membership theme

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Vayvo is a membership theme that comes pre-bundled with the ARMember plugin. It includes settings for establishing subscription plans, offering free trials, and restricting content. It also allows you to charge users a one-time fee for accessing individual posts.

While it’s primarily designed for streaming video content, you can use Vayvo to publish a membership website of any kind. You can offer courses, expert insights, or exclusive services. It comes with a drag-and-drop page builder, making it a great choice for those who’d like to avoid coding, and it provides demo content for an easy and quick setup process.

Pros

  • Includes a membership plugin — no need to install one separately
  • Optimized for video streaming, making it ideal for you if you’re planning to launch video courses
  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription levels

Cons

  • Only one demo available

Pricing: $69 one-time fee

2. Aardvark

Pricing table demo in the Aardvark WordPress membership theme

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Aardvark is a community and membership WordPress theme that includes demos for various types of membership-based sites, such as dating, social, directory, networking, and course websites. This makes it one of the most versatile membership themes on this list.

Aardvark specifically works with the Paid Membership Pro plugin, which must be downloaded and installed separately. It uses the WPBakery Page Builder for drag-and-drop customization — so you won’t need to touch a single line of code when editing this theme.

Pros

  • Various demos available for different types of membership sites
  • Compatible with bbPress and BuddyPress, two community plugins
  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription levels

Cons

  • Membership plugin has to be installed separately

Pricing: $65 one-time fee

3. Seeko

seeko-wordpress-membership-theme

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Seeko is a membership theme that’s specifically designed for social and dating sites. If you’re looking to create a membership-based social community, this would be the theme for you. You can still use it to launch other types of sites; however, you won’t be able to import any demo material, so you’ll have to build everything from the ground up.

Seeko comes integrated with the Paid Memberships Pro and BuddyPress plugins to set up a robust and exclusive online community. It uses the Elementor page builder, so you won’t have to code while customizing the design.

Pros

  • Includes a membership and community plugin
  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription levels
  • Advanced options available for matching community members

Cons

  • Only one demo available

Pricing: $54 one-time fee

4. Jannah

Membership section in the Jannah WordPress membership theme

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Jannah is a BuddyPress theme that’s specifically focused on newspaper and magazine websites. The best part is that you can create a member section where users can post their opinion on forums.

Jannah is a great choice for you if you’re planning to launch a news blog or website. If you’d like to restrict content behind a paywall, you can use a plugin such as Leaky Paywall.

Pros

  • Includes BuddyPress, a community plugin
  • Various demos available for different types of news sites
  • Day and night mode for enhanced accessibility

Cons

  • No ability to restrict content based on subscription levels

Pricing: $60 one-time fee

5. Woffice

Member dashboard in the Woffice WordPress membership theme

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Woffice is a premium theme that’s designed for membership-based organizations. It’s ideal if you’d like to give your members their own dashboard, where they can access a member directory and have their own profile.

It comes bundled with BuddyPress, Paid Memberships Pro, and bbPress for setting up memberships and community forums. The one downside is that it doesn’t have public demos of the front-end of the website. You can still publish a front-end section, but you’ll need to build it from scratch.

Pros

  • Includes BuddyPress, a community plugin, and Paid Memberships Pro
  • Various demos available for different types of organizations
  • User-friendly dashboard for members

Cons

  • No demos available for the front-end of the membership website

Pricing: $79 one-time fee

6. Beehive

Non-member view in the Beehive WordPress membership theme

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Beehive is a membership theme that’s designed for online social networks. It’s ideal for founding a membership-based community around a common interest. To create subscription tiers, you’ll want to install a plugin such as Paid Memberships Pro in addition to the theme.

Beehive includes member profiles, group profiles, forums, and news feed pages. Your users can also chat with one another. The theme uses the Elementor drag-and-drop editor for easy customization.

Pros

  • Compatible with the Paid Memberships Pro plugin
  • Includes BuddyPress, a community plugin
  • Advanced options available for connecting community members

Cons

  • Only one demo available

Pricing: $59 one-time fee

7. SKRN

Pricing table demo in the SKRN WordPress membership theme

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SKRN is a media streaming theme that allows you to create subscription tiers using the ARMember membership plugin. It’s ideal for you if you’re planning to host videos on your membership website.

While the demo lists movies and TV shows, you can use SKRN to provide access to exclusive video courses, tutorials, and more. It uses a drag-and-drop page builder, making it easy to customize.

Pros

  • Includes a membership plugin — no need to install one separately
  • Optimized for video streaming, making it ideal for you if you’re planning to launch video courses
  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription levels

Cons

  • Only one demo available

Pricing: $69 one-time fee

8. Olympus

Member section in the Olympus WordPress membership theme

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Olympus is a social networking theme that’s optimized for creating a membership-based website. It includes demo pages for newsfeeds, individual member profiles, groups, comments, reviews, and forums. Users can also see each other’s activities and friends.

Olympus is ideal for you if you’re planning to build a membership-based organization — complete with events, groups, and more. You can also include a storefront for easier monetization, although Olympus doesn’t include the option to add subscription or membership levels.

Pros

  • User-friendly dashboard for members
  • Includes BuddyPress, a community plugin
  • Advanced options available for connecting community members

Cons

  • No ability to add subscription or membership levels

Pricing: $59 one-time fee

9. BuddyApp

Member section in the BuddyApp WordPress membership theme

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BuddyApp is a membership theme that’s ideal for launching an online community. It’s integrated with the BuddyPress plugin to allow community members to chat amongst themselves, see each other’s profiles, and join groups. Users can also publish forum posts.

Like Olympus, Beehive, and Woffice, BuddyApp is ideal for you if you want to run a membership-based organization or social network. The theme uses the WPBakery drag-and-drop page builder for code-free customization.

Pros

  • User-friendly dashboard for members
  • Includes BuddyPress, a community plugin
  • Advanced options available for connecting community members

Cons

  • Only one demo available

Pricing: $43 one-time fee

10. KLEO

Pricing table demo in the KLEO WordPress membership theme

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For a simple and versatile membership theme, look no further than KLEO. It’s integrated with the Paid Memberships Pro plugin, so you won’t need to download the plugin separately. It’s also compatible with GeoDirectory and BuddyPress to create both member and local business directories.

KLEO uses the WPBakery page builder for easy and code-free customization.

Pros

  • Includes a membership plugin — no need to install one separately
  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription levels
  • Various demos available for different types of membership sites

Cons

  • Designs can seem outdated, depending on your taste

Pricing: $59 one-time fee

11. JNews

jnews-wordpress-membership-theme

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JNews is a newspaper and magazine theme that allows you to place content behind a paywall so that only members can access it. It’s a great alternative to Jannah (number four on this list) because it automatically includes a paywall function, prompting your site visitors to become members or subscribe.

It also allows you to create a pricing page with different plans, so if you wanted to launch a subscription-based membership model, this theme will allow you to do that too.

Pros

  • Ability to restrict content based on subscription status
  • Two paywall demos available
  • More than 150 demos available for different types of news sites

Cons

  • No online forum

Pricing: $59 one-time fee

Use a Membership WordPress Theme to Monetize Your Site

By offering memberships through your website, you can tap into the revenue potential of your existing traffic. Use a dedicated theme to set up a profitable membership-based site — and watch your user base grow exponentially along with your profits.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

 Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

Originally published Aug 11, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated August 16 2021

Topics:

WordPress Themes