10 Best Wordpress Membership Plugins for Creating a Membership Site

Anna Fitzgerald
Anna Fitzgerald

Published:

Creating a membership website is a great way to increase user engagement and generate revenue.

Woman smiling while browsing a website powered by a WordPress membership plugin

Thankfully, the process is easy on WordPress with the right plugin. A membership plugin will help automate or simplify the tasks required to create a membership site, like setting up payments, membership levels, and rules.

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But first, let’s go over why you should use a WordPress plugin on your website.

Why use a WordPress membership plugin?

WordPress membership plugins help you deliver exclusive content to your most loyal followers. The plugins we’ve curated for you in this post make it easy to make a paid subscription option, create email lists to send updates or deals, and collect information from your customers.

All of these come together and allow you to monetize your content through the form of recurring revenue (e.g., subscription models like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.). This helps with customer stickiness, as seen by the fact that over the past decade, subscription-based companies have grown 4.6x as much as the S&P 500.

Below we’ll evaluate the best plugins for creating a membership site on WordPress for any budget.

Free Membership WordPress Plugin

The membership plugins below enable you to create a membership site at no cost. These tend to be less powerful and flexible than their premium alternatives but can help most site owners get started.

1. Ultimate Member

best membership plugin wordpress: ultimate member

Used on over 200,000 websites, Ultimate Member is one of the most popular and highly-rated plugins for creating online communities and membership sites.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Custom user roles
  • Content restriction
  • Advanced member directories

Pros

  • Provides Gutenberg blocks so easy to use in the block editor
  • Allows you to restrict access to your site globally or on a per page or post basis
  • Provides customizable email templates that you can send to members
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • No drip content functionality
  • No functionality or extension available for selling memberships
  • No built-in reporting tools

Pricing: Free

2. Members

best membership plugin wordpress: members

Members is a top-rated membership and user role editor plugin by the MemberPress team. This plugin works by letting you add roles with capabilities to your users so you can restrict content as needed.

Features

  • Simple user interface for WordPress’s roles and capabilities system
  • Content restriction

Pros

  • Can edit, create, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles in the easy-to-use Role editor
  • Allows you to restrict access to your content based on user roles
  • Allows you to assign multiple roles to a user
  • Can easily integrate many existing plugins

Cons

  • No drip content functionality
  • Must purchase MemberPress plugin separately to sell memberships
  • No built-in reporting tools

Pricing: Free

3. Paid Memberships Pro

best membership plugin wordpress: paid memberships pro

Paid Memberships Pro is designed to be the most comprehensive free membership plugin for WordPress. Like the Ultimate Member plugin, it provides Gutenberg blocks, customizable email templates that you can send to members, and a range of extensions for extending the power of the plugin — but it also provides more built-in functionality.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction
  • Membership levels

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to different content types, post types, and courses 
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing (including free memberships, free trials, subscriptions, and one-time payments)
  • Supports six payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe
  • Built-in reports for Sales and Revenue, Signups and Cancellations, and Member Visits, Views, and Logins

Cons

Pricing: Free

4. Simple Membership

best membership plugin wordpress: simple membership

Simple Membership is another comprehensive free membership plugin for WordPress. However, this plugin appeals to more advanced users since there are lots of action and filter hooks available to customize the plugin instead of extensions. 

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction
  • Membership levels

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts and pages in bulk and parts of posts and pages
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing (including free memberships, subscriptions, and one-time payments)
  • Supports three payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe
  • Logs all membership payments in dashboard

Cons

  • No drip content functionality
  • No built-in reporting tools
  • No premium add-ons to extend the power of the plugin — must use action and filter hooks instead

Pricing: Free

5. WP-Members Membership Plugin

best membership plugin wordpress: wp-members membership plugin

WP-Members Membership Plugin is a free tool designed to help you create and scale a membership site on WordPress. While it’s easy for any WordPress user to install and configure, there are over 100 action and filter hooks as well as a library of API functions for extending the power of this plugin. That means more advanced users will be able to leverage the full potential of this free membership plugin.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction
  • API Function Library

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, pages, and custom post types
  • Allows you to display an excerpt of restricted posts and pages automatically
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • No drip content functionality
  • Must purchase a premium extension separately to sell memberships
  • Must use filters for customizing the email templates you can send to members

Pricing: Free

WordPress Paid Membership Plugins

The membership plugins below are feature-rich and easy to use so that anyone can create and scale a membership website. They generally support more payment gateways and offer more built-in functionality, like reporting tools, than their free counterparts.

6. ARMember

best membership plugin wordpress: ARMember

ARMember is a top-rated premium plugin for creating a membership website without any advanced programming knowledge. This plugin is versatile and can be used to build a subscription service, user registration, user profiles, and more.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction
  • Membership levels
  • Advanced member directories
  • Drip content functionality
  • Membership set-up wizard
  • Multiple security options, including brute force login protection

Pros

  • Free version available
  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, pages, parts of posts and pages, custom post types, navigation menus, tags, and categories
  • Allows you to drip content based on membership plan, time of subscription, or a specific date
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing (including free memberships, subscriptions, one-time payments, or charge per post)
  • Supports five payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe
  • Built-in reporting on members, payments, coupons, and more
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • The premium add-ons can be expensive, especially if you need multiple
  • Smaller user base than most plugins on the list (about 7,000)

Pricing: $49/year

7. Ultimate Membership Pro

best membership plugin wordpress: ultimate membership pro

Ultimate Membership Pro is the best-selling membership plugin in the CodeCanyon marketplace and for good reason. There are 41 add-ons included and you can protect any part of your website for monetization.

Features

    • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
    • Content restriction
    • Membership levels
    • Advanced member directories
    • Drip content functionality
  • Brute force login protection

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, pages, parts of posts and pages, custom post types, navigation menus, tags, and categories
  • Allows you to drip content based on time of subscription or a specific date
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing (including free memberships, subscriptions, one-time payments, or charge per post)
  • Supports seven payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe
  • Built-in reporting on members, payments, coupons, and more
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • Can’t drip content based on membership plan
  • Limited security options

Pricing: $49/year

8. MemberPress

best membership plugin wordpress: memberpress

MemberPress is designed to be an all-in-one solution for creating a membership site. This plugin lets you monetize your pre-existing site, or assists you in building a new one while remaining beginner-friendly.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction
  • Membership levels
  • Drip content functionality

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, pages, custom post types, navigation menus, tags, and categories
  • Allows you to drip content
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with flexible pricing (including free memberships, free trials, subscriptions, and one-time payments)
  • Supports two to three payment gateways, depending on your plan
  • Built-in reporting on members and payments
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • One of the most expensive plugins on the list
  • Supports relatively few payment gateways
  • Lacks built-in security features
  • Doesn’t allow you to restrict access to only parts of posts and pages
  • Can’t drip content based on time of subscription or a specific date

Pricing: Basic Plan, $179/year; Plus Plan, $299/year; Pro Plan, $399 per year.

9. Restrict Content Pro

best membership plugin wordpress: restrict content pro

Restrict Content Pro is another powerful tool for creating a membership website on WordPress. You can restrict content and give extra access to premium members on your website.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles (check)
  • Content restriction
  • Membership levels
  • Drip content functionality

Pros

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, pages, custom post types, navigation menus, tags, and categories
  • Allows you to drip content based on when member joined
  • Allows you to create unlimited membership levels with free, paid, or trial memberships
  • Supports five payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe
  • Built-in reporting on earnings and sign-ups
  • Range of extensions available to extend the power of the plugin

Cons

  • One of the most expensive plugins on the list
  • Lacks built-in security features
  • Drip content functionality only available on the Professional Plan (otherwise must pay for it as an add-on)
  • Limited reporting capabilities

Pricing:1 site, $60/year 5 sites, $90/year unlimited $150/year

10. SUMO Memberships

best membership plugin wordpress: sumo

SUMO Memberships is a membership plugin designed specifically for WooCommerce shops. With this plugin, you can allow members to view restricted pages and posts, buy certain products, and more, depending on their membership plan.

Features

  • Front-end user registration, login, and profiles
  • Content restriction

Pros

  • Can edit, create, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles in the easy-to-use Role editor
  • Allows you to restrict access to your pages, posts, custom post types, and products
  • Allows you to display an excerpt of restricted posts and pages automatically

Cons

  • No drip content functionality
  • Must purchase the SUMO Subscriptions plugin separately to sell memberships
  • No built-in reporting tools

Pricing: $39/year

11. LearnDash

LearnDash is a membership plugin that empowers you to build a membership site specifically for learning. This plugin lets you set up access to videos, materials, assignments, and more while also having built-in functionality to give certificates and badges. Here’s a free demo that will help you learn more.

Features

  • Allows you to restrict access to posts, videos, and more
  • Drip-feed content
  • Courses available as a one-time payment or by subscription 

Pros

  • Very intuitive and easy to use
  • Scalable for any number of students
  • Free and premium add-ons available

Cons

  • Limited functionality - if you aren’t building a website for learning, this plugin won’t be helpful

Pricing: $199/year

Choosing the Right Membership Plugin

The right membership plugin will provide all the features and flexibility you need to create a membership website. You might need to restrict access to certain content, create multiple membership levels, offer several payment gateways, and more, depending on the needs and goals of your site.

Here's a breakdown of the key differences between each of these membership plugins. 

  PRICING USER LOGIN AND REGISTRATION GATED CONTENT DRIP CONTENT PAID MEMBERSHIPS NO. OF SUPPORTED PAYMENT GATEWAYS BUILT-IN REPORTING TOOLS ADD-ONS AVAILABLE
Ultimate Member Free Yes Yes No No N/A No Yes
Members Free Yes Yes No No N/A No No
Paid Memberships Pro Free Yes Yes Yes but requires add-on Yes 6 Yes Yes
Simple Membership Free Yes Yes No Yes 3 No No
WP-Members Membership Plugin Free Yes Yes No No N/A No Yes
ARMember $49 Yes Yes Yes Yes 5 Yes Yes
Ultimate Membership Pro $49 Yes Yes Yes Yes 7 Yes Yes
MemberPress $179 per year min. Yes Yes Yes Yes 2-3 Yes Yes
Restrict Content Pro $60 per year min. Yes Yes Yes Yes 5 Yes Yes
SUMO Memberships $39 Yes Yes No No No No No
LearnDash $199/year Yes Yes Yes Yes 20 Yes Yes

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