This WordPress Wednesday post is excellence if you want to transform your WordPress site into a fully functional membership site?

Then you certainly need to obtain a membership plugin to install in your WordPress site. With a membership plugin. You can create a place where you can have a library of premium content and make it accessible only to your registered members.

Choosing the correct membership plugin. For your situation is essential for your business as it is hard. To back out if your decision turns out to be wrong.

Whether you are keen to generate recurring income. Sell online courses, or want to build a list of loyal registered members. This post can help you choose a WordPress membership plugin that can meet your requirements.

Building a membership site with a membership plugin

Crafting a membership site. Will allow you to limit access to downloads, online content, forums. And support to your registered users only.

Here are some reasons for having a membership site:

  • Create a engaging email list: You can create a content library and make it accessible to only your registered users. You can also add your users to your email list too.
  • Demonstrate your authority: Having a membership site and providing content behind a paywall can help you establish yourself as an authority and it enables you to raise a connection with your members.
  • Earn recurring income: Influence users to pay for the subscription and generate recurring revenue.

Choosing a membership plugin for WordPress

Choosing the best WordPress membership plugin can be a hard task. So before you dive in, here are a few points you need to keep in mind when choosing a membership plugin.

Ease of use

You will need a plugin that is easy to use. As you might want to hire a developer to help and set up your membership site. There is are some plugins that has a full set of features out of the box. This sound good at first. But the downside could be that the user interface will be bloated with options that you probably won’t need.

There’s are some light-weight plugins that won’t bloat your interface. By only providing the essential features right out of the box. And, if you want additional features. You can simply install additional add-ons.

Compatibility

It would be best if you made sure the plugin you have selected is compatible. With your existing theme and plugins by testing it out on a staging environment. This is to make sure that everything goes smoothly, then you can install the plugin on your live site.

Design and features

WordPress Membership plugins usually come with various pricing page templates and extra features that make your site look different. So remember to take a note of the essential features you will need on your site and figure out if the plugin you are considering can meet your requirements.

1. WP Members

Wp Members

WP-Members is a free solution for building a membership site on WordPress. There is no premium version but you are supplied with the flexibility to only upgrade to the add-ons that you’ll need.

Additionally, you can purchase the $59 yearly plan. This gives you the option of premium customer support. But, there’s no requirement to sign up for that.

The add-ons vary in price. But the standard pricing range from $29 to $125. You can restrict as much content on your site as you want.

So, just create an unlimited number of registration fields, and customise them to match your brand and the type of information you are looking to collect.

The registration module gets displayed on the front-end. With options to only restrict some of your content. Thus, you may try to give away free blog posts. But then ask for payment for the long ones.

The interface for configuring your membership site and managing the users is basic and straightforward.

Features of this plugin

  • The entire core plugin is completely free.
  • You may need to purchase an add-on. But you will notice that  they are not sold as one big package where you may end up never using everything included.
  • You only need to pay for an add-on that you need
  • Several API functions are provided for advanced expandability.

2. Groups

Groups

The Groups plugin presents a stable interface and contains a strong collection of extensions. Which are here for you to expand upon the core membership plugin.

What’s unbelievable in this free plugin is the large number of extensions you can choose from. You will find options for 404 redirects, file access, forums and more.

But not to bore you with a full list of extensions that you need. I would suggest to you go through the list and pick out the ones that you need.

The pricing in this plugin for extension varies from extension to extension. But they seem to be around the $19 to $29 each. As for the free, core features. The Groups WordPress plugin supports an unlimited number of groups.

Features of this plugin

  • The core plugin is free.
  • Full access control to block items like post types, products, pages etc
  • Shortcodes are featured to boost your flexibility when it comes to specifying exactly which content on your site you’d like to restrict.
  • There’s Gutenberg blocks are provided for a drag and drop content restriction experience.
  • The UI has quick filters and bulk actions for managing your entire membership base.
  • Offer subscription products with recurring payments.
  • You get to set the amount of time a membership lasts.

3. Simple Membership

Simple Membership

If you’re in the search for a quick and easy way to offer free and paid memberships on your site. You should check this Simple Membership plugin. This plugin appeals to small businesses because it doesn’t cost you anything and it has support for multiple languages.

This plugin may not be useful for every situation but when it comes to a membership plugin this suite has many different opportunities to use in different countries to the large list of languages supported.

As this plugin is free. It’s an open-source project. You’ll notice the unlimited number of membership levels which is possible with the Simple Membership plugin.

Also has a simple easy to use interface for beginners and advanced users alike. To configure the settings to offer free or paid memberships. And link PayPal to your site to begin accepting payments.

Features of this plugin

  • The plugin is free.
  • There’s no upsells along the way.
  • Many of the essential add-ons are free. with some exceptions with some premium add-ons.
  • There’s a API for Developers to set up filter hooks and actions.
  • A paper trail is created to check in on which members have paid and which ones haven’t
  • Protecting your content is done while you’ll edit a post or a page.

4. s2Members

S2member

s2Member is a free membership plugin, it has a remarkable variety of features that you can find with a free plugin but though they are limited.

With the standard plugin, you can restrict posts/pages, custom post types, and categories. It also adds a couple of neat restriction methods, though. Restrict BuddyPress, specific URL fragments but also particular pieces of content in full posts and plus you can restrict streaming media and file downloads.

With this plugin you also get access to tools like email templates, custom login welcome pages, IP restrictions, and brute-force protection.

You will notice with the free version is that it’s limited to four paid membership levels and cannot create coupon codes or drip content, among other feature restrictions. So if you are serious about creating a membership site, you will almost need to go with one of the paid versions to get those restricted features.

Features of this plugin

  • Manage WordPress roles and capabilities.
  • Premium version lets you integrate with PayPal Pro, Stripe, Authorize.net, and ClickBank.
  • Coupons are provided.
  • Security measures are built into the plugin, such as brute-force login prevention and unique IP restrictions.
  • Protect your media when uploading it to your website.

5. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro is one of the most prominent names when it comes to membership plugins. This plugin let’s you create unlimited subscription levels and you can choose between free, trial and premium subscriptions which gives you a great deal of flexibility. With pricing you can get creative as for paid memberships, you can choose to charge a fee for a set period or as an optional one-time fee.

If users want to move between plans, they can upgrade or downgrade and have the amount they paid pro-rated to their new plan. Restrict Content Pro lets you restrict content on a per-post basis or you can use shortcodes to only restrict specific content.

With this plugin you can create coupon codes, though its only for a flat rate or percentage but combined with restricting the codes to specific membership levels. You can integrate with external services, with the plugin and it works with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and a wide range of email marketing services and payment gateways.

Features of this plugin

  • There are 13 free add-ons included with each payment plan.
  • Built-in integrations include Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout.
  • It can be integrated into your WooCommerce site.
  • A lifetime pricing option is available to save money.
  • Gain access to its API.

6. MemberPress

Memberpress

MemberPress is a popular and well-supported plugin. It includes all the standard features you would expect. With this plugin, you can create unlimited membership levels with all kinds of trial periods and payment options. And you can even categorise different membership levels into “Membership Groups” to create predefined upgrade paths. The $179 price point is discounted from the normal $279 per year rate.

You can restrict content in many ways. You can go wide and restrict whole categories or sets of child pages, or you can go restrict only parts of a post or page, or you can restrict access to individual files to help you manage downloads.

MemberPress gives you all types of reports so you can see how well your membership site is performing and it also has a feature called MemberPress Reminders which lets you send out emails when specific events occur such as subscription renewal.

This plugin can integrate with some major email marketing services, but also with payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.Net and Stripe, it can be integrated with LearnDash, that unlocks some powerful online course functionality.

Also it has unlimited coupons and a built-in affiliate program to round out the feature set of this plugin.

Features of this plugin

  • It can be integrated with some of the most popular email marketing tools like Mailchimp.
  • Gain access to the member’s only area for discussion and sharing ideas.
  • Present coupons and reminders, as they can help keep members active.
  • Set access rules and configure membership groups.
  • A 14-day money-back guarantee that gives you some time to test it out.
  • It can be extendability so see how it can be connected to a wide range of useful services and products like Zapier, AffiliateWP, and Amazon Web Services.
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WordPress Wednesday – 6 Best WordPress Membership Plugins