The Best WordPress Membership Plugin

WordPress membership pluginThere are a lot of similarities among WordPress membership plugins. At the same time, each plugin has its unique strengths, focus, and philosophy. You’ll want to select the plugin whose purpose matches your exact requirements the plugin that’ll help you achieve your membership site goals.

The Top Rated Membership Plugins

Below, I’ve listed all of the known membership plugins and talked about the unique selling points of each one. You can click on the plugin name to read its full review and learn more about it.

s2Member (free) is extremely versatile and powerful. Yet, it’s available for free at, where it has a superb user rating. There’s a Pro add-on for the plugin, which adds a few more advanced features. s2Member is extensible, constantly improved and developed, and it’s just excellent in many ways. Download »»

WishList Member ($97) is by far the most popular premium membership plugin. It currently powers tens of thousands of WordPress based membership sites. Everything about WishList Member reinforces its professional image: the documentation, the support, the user interface, and the entire experience. Download »»

Digital Access Pass ($167) has the most features. And some of these features are developed to such a high degree of quality and depth. It has strong integration with payment gateways and supports various registration flow and payment scenarios. It puts a lot of emphasis on easy sequential content delivery, and drip feeding…among other things. Download »»

This is a comparison of these three popular plugins:

s2Member WishList
Access Pass
Download here Download here Download here
Installation & admin UI ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★☆☆
Support & docs ★★★★☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★½
Member management ★★★★★ ★★★★½ ★★★★☆
Payment processing ★★★★☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★
Content protection features ★★★★½ ★★★★½ ★★★★½
Extensibility & API ★★★★★ ★★★★½ ★★★☆☆
Subscriber mailing lists ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★
Affiliate management iDevAffiliate iDevAffiliate Built-in
Satisfaction guarantee (Core plugin is free) 30 days 30 days
Prices and licenses Free core
Single Pro module: $69
Unlimited Pro module: $129
Blog farm module: $289
1-site: $97
Unlimited sites: $297
1-site: $169
Unlimited sites: $297
Download here Download here Download here

Here are some more awesome membership plugins:

eMember ($49.95) sets itself apartment by offering a unique combination of simplicity, power, and affordability. It starts at $49.95 only, which is about half of what comparable plugins charge. But don’t let the low price fool you—this plugin can achieve amazing feats. And it is backed by passionate, yet very friendly support. Download »»

Magic Members ($97) is a beautifully designed, and well-rounded membership plugin. This is definitely one of the heavyweights. It can do it all. Yet, it is easy to use and it’s accompanied by high quality video instructions and tutorials that take you from A-to-Z. Download »»

Paid Memberships Pro ($10/month) is not as full of features as other plugins. It only covers specific use cases that utilize advanced payment processing. If one of the use cases that it covers fits you, you’re in luck because this is an excellent plugin. Download »»

WPMU DEV Membership (free) is an advanced plugin with a range of content protection options. It puts special emphasis on BuddyPress and Multisite protection. You can try the free version from before upgrading. Download »»

MemberWing ($199.95) is one of a kind. It is dedicated to protection of downloadable content by embedding traceable signatures and other tricks. It also has what it calls Time-Sensitive-Information delivery. It controls the availability of content based on its publishing date, where it gradually gives more and more access as content gets older. Download »»

Your Members ($95) is another heavyweight membership plugin that has a couple of unique features. With Your Members, you can easily embed your WordPress membership site into Facebook and accept Facebook Credits as payment! Download »»

wp-Member ($29.99) is a membership plugin with very basic options. It’s designed to help you setup a membership site with minimum fuss. It’s missing a lot of features, but it’s price very competitively at $29.99 only. Download »»

MemberMouse ($97/month) is a new membership plugin with interesting features. It claims to focus on marketing and conversion best practices. It’s the only plugin with direct integration with LimeLight. Download »»

And some more membership plugins

There are other membership plugins that aren’t reviewed here. Looking at their websites, I don’t see what they could possibly offer over the selection of great plugins above. Anyway, if you’re interested, here they are: WP Sales Automator, WP Member Site, and WP Member Champ.

190 comments. You can post one, too!

  1. Cee

    HI! A breathe of hope on your site! Have been asking, searching for sooooo long…I hope you can help end the misery! :-)

    I need a membership site/theme/plugin(s) – or whatever- that allows paid members to upload images, text, audio and possibly video onto their own private page or post.

    Each resulting post/page must be individual, meaning separately viewed from other user uploads on a separate page/post.

    I would like to incorporate different images and audio selections they can choose from as well to use and enhance their own separate page/post.

    After publishing…any visitor should be able to see/read/hear the info they create, but only the paid subscriber can edit it , And there needs to be some restrictions on the number of images (possibly a small photo gallery or slideshow potential) and possibly text and/or size of video that could be uploaded.

    Also, if possible, it should enable visitors to leave comments on any of the subscribers individual post/page.

    It needs to be on subscription basis that terminates if not renewed (hopefully automatic notification from the site)

    There also would be a FREE level, where visitors can upload some restricted text and a photo or two, also that any other visitor can read/see.

    Is there a plugin/theme/ membership function that will allow for these things?

    I’m particularly flustered as to HOW to offer a selection of media from which they can choose and then have those choices automatically incorporated into the layout/theme of the page/post they create to make it individual for them. ie. a list of special graphics…choose one. A list of audio that will play on their page… choose one…etc.

    Thank you so much if you can help…have been trying to figure out where to look and how to ask for eons it seems. Nothing seems to ‘come together’ yet. Going blind and balding…:-)

    Love your site!!!

  2. a

    Hey! Quick question that’s totally off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4.
    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

  3. Guys please dont buy wp-member unless you wanna waste your time & money. I bought that for one of my client & when i asked them for little support they never replied & when i wanted to transfer the site to my client site the plugin was locked by license & i tried couple of time to reach support but seems like once they have your money they will forget you (kind of scam). I would rather suggest to chose another plugin unless you wanna get frustrated & waste your time to rebuild the membership site. Thanks

  4. I’m a wordpress plugin programmer. We’ve crafted a plugin which is able to scrape web
    surfer’s email addresses on your database
    without having their communication and interaction. I am also wanting to find beta test candidates
    and also, since you happen to be gaining enormous numbers of visits,
    I am interested in you and the weblog. Think you’re attracted?

  5. Hi M.K.

    Since you wrote on the About page you prefer receiving comments rather than emails I am writing this here :)

    This is regarding Wishlist Member plugin, since I saw you have a few posts about it.

    About a year ago we have developed a plugin that automates the registration process, so when a members comes back from the shopping cart, he doesn’t need to fill-in any registration forms.

    He is registers and logged-in automatically and the details are sent to him by email.

    We first used the plugin in our own websites, but since people were asking for it, we improved it and released it over a year ago.

    Since then the plugin has improved according to our customers’ requests and we have added many features to it.

    The plugin is called Wishlist Auto Registration and I would be happy to get your feedback about it.

    Also, if you are using Wishlist Member and you like the plugin, I would be happy to send you a review copy so you would post a review in this website.

    This is the link to the plugin:

    Best regards,

    Bob Tolbert

  6. Radu Patron

    I can vouch for s2Member. I’m using it on many client sites to add paid membership together with PayPal and AVChat 3 video chat.
    Here’s a tutorial that I put together:

  7. Hi,
    I am a newbie to all of this and am not a web dev person, don’t know html, css etc.

    I am trying to put together a private social network buddypress site, using buddyboss theme.

    It will require a small paid membership fee (thinking of s2member but no commitment yet).

    Membership is restricted to the people who are existing members of a local in person social group. The social group is run via email, using mailchimp.

    We have 400 members and growing weekly.

    The goal is that when someone goes to register as a new user, their email address would automatically be checked against the list of current members as listed in the mailchimp list. If the email address used to register is an exact match to one in our mailchimp list, then the person would be automatically approved and could then move on to pay the subscription and start using the site. If the email address does not match, they would get a notice saying the need to be an existing member of the social group in order to join our online community.

    Does something like that exist? I have been doing google searches and wordpress support searches and don’t even know if I know the proper language to find it, if it does exist.

    I have seen where you can whitelist to restrict to those with business or college email addresses, but that won’t work as our users will have a large variety of possible email domains…

    Many thanks for any info you might have.

    Appreciate your time and that of any readers!

  8. Chase

    Your article was great and it highlighted my remaining questions that my research has failed to turn up answers for.
    Have had a WordPress blog for some time and now have a bunch of new content that I will offer to subscribers upon signup/email & password registration. Have an extremely limited WordPress knowledge and do not do code. So am looking for something simple and straight forward. After reviewing tons of stuff most seems loaded with tons of features that revolve around payment and memberships.
    Other than the landing page with registration option all the other content will be restricted based on members signing in to gain access. email + password. I want integration with A Webber since they will be doing list management and drip content (campaigns).
    At this early stage there is no payment feature needed nor do I need more than the subscription for entry to the one restricted access level for pages available to non paying members.

    I would like to have some flexibility for the landing page and the various registration/log in forms that will be in different on and off site locations.
    In the member access area there will be affiliate links that members can click on. It would be necessary to have tracking/ stats on that and affiliate tracking for referrals to my site. Essentially I am under the impression that A Webber will handle the rest if the membership plugin properly integrates.

    My final question is the mechanics behind the member access part. Does the software automatically confirm the email is valid and then in the future if the user forgets the password is that entire access aspect automatic and built in or is it another plug in?

    What do you recommend with regard to the above ?
    Many thanks

  9. Oscar

    Hi winkpress and hi to all,
    Firstly its such a great work that you re trying to help out people here. Secondly I have this question: I m gonna build a casting agency site with WP, so film producers can search actors online. So obviously actors should be basic member first to my site, then if they want to create their profiles (upload photos and info about them) they need to be paid member using paypal payment gateway. 3 user levels:
    1.NonMembers public: Can view few random actors’ 1 thumb photo and just the name of his/her on homepage, can not do actor search.
    2.Paid Members (actors): Filled a short form then paid on paypal or paid on paypal first then Filled a long form to be member of the site and uploaded photos to create profile,
    3.Producer members: They dont need to pay but admin needs to manually authorise them, so they can browse and fully search all actors, and can see everything on their profiles.

    I only need paypal payment. No credit cards or check or etc.
    And would be useful if a plugin have this function too: On the same page partial protection like this plugin does:

    So please tell me which membership plugin would suit me best?

  10. Thank you for giving this membership plugin tutorial. after i got this membership plugin it had useful for me.

  11. Thanks winkpress and happy new years!

  12. Paul

    I want a really simple plugin that allows me to have pages protected so only members logged in can view them and a way to stop pdfs etc. from being directly downloaded from someone not logged in. All I need is the admin to the have the ability to add/remove/edit members on the backend. On the front end only a login/log out feature. There is no registration required. Which one??? tx!

  13. I am creating a wordpress webinar plugin for my site and want to know which one of your membership plugins you would recommend to compliment the plugin. also is it possible to the membership plugin just pull the registered members into it, or force my plugin to send the information into the membership table???

  14. Hi guys

    I was wondering which one would best suit a simple landing page set up with:

    1) sign up form on landing page
    2) Video on landing page
    3) Auto Mailing on sign up (inc password etc)
    4) control subscription length

    Looking for competitively priced and easiest to use

    Thanks in advance

  15. troy

    Hi guys, awesome review. I am look to create a members area.

    Where the front page is just a landing page with a sign up and login section (possibly a theme that is already created for this!) , there won’t be any free content.

    1) I would also need to be able to generate auto responsive email service for people who sign up
    2) An automatic password generator once signed up.
    3) Be able to display videos & PDFs
    4) Possibly a forum (not yet sure)

    Quite simple but was wondering what would be the best option in terms of

    Thanks a lot

  16. Is there a WP plugin that will allow me to offer members the ability to:
    (1) Sign-up for a set fee, for a 3 month, 6 month, or yearly subscription, and offer a 1 week free trial;
    (2) Create their own page to sell their items;
    (3) Use their own payment gateway (PayPal, Google, etc.
    (4) Renew membership upon expiration

  17. Cart66 Cloud is our latest product and has everything you need to run a membership site. It includes the content restriction features you need to require a person to own a “subscription” in order to see your content. You can restrict access to pages, posts, entire post categories, or just sections of pages. Cart66 also includes recurring billing that works with any of the 50+ payment gateways. It’s a complete package that makes it safe and easy to sell memberships and also control access to your content all in one easy to use solution.

    Lee – Cart66 Team

  18. I think this is one of the most important info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  19. Ann D

    Thanks so much for your talent and expertise. I’m looking for a membership plugin that to service a private lake club. I need something that will make the site invisible and inaccessible to everyone except members. I also need a basic membership level for access and an committee membership level that would allow those members to access certain pages and particular downloads (like minutes). I’m new to wordpress. Can you please point me towards the easiest possible plugin to accomplish those goals?

  20. Johnny Rocket

    Thank you for the great article.
    I’m putting up my first membership site and need guidance.
    What I need to do

    1. Have members sign up for a paid membership receive a free a audio/video course the will be.
    2. All Audio content protected.
    3. After they sign up for the membership I want the option for them to be able to select and purchase other e-courses they like.
    4. I want them to have the option to be able to go back and download courses they purchased at any time in the future.
    5. When they sign up I’m hoping that it will automatically sign them up for my newsletters
    6. I want certain pages of my blog to be members only and other pages open to the public.

    7. I would also like to put partial blog post up for free, but members can read the full article.

    Any Suggestions?


  21. Wishlist is a HORROR… that is the only way to describe this monstrosity.
    NO integration with MailChamp after TWO YEARS of asking support to somehow fix it. Crashes the entire website. Has to be reinstalled at intervals. The much obstruse and strange interface ever. Support is pathetic. Thats it.

  22. I went with s2member (free version) and it took me less than an hour to tweak it yesterday. I am really impressed with the free version of s2member and I paid $15 for a plugin called “advance file-manager” that works perfect with the member site. I might try a paid member site plugin later. But for now, I am very happy with what I was able to create with only a $15 plugin_ which may not be a necessity for some people; but was for me because of a special project that I am working on for a client of mine who needed its members to be able to keep their files in a folder on their site.

    Thanks for the post! :-)

  23. Robert

    Have you looked at MemberMouse or MemberPress yet? They seem to be the new kids on the block with some interesting features like self-cancel and a customer control panel where they can update or change billing information. Automation is a big deal when your membership site gets larger. Small sites don’t need to worry about it so much at the beginning.
    Rob Lawrence

  24. Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up
    fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my website loaded up as
    quickly as yours lol

  25. How about adding Restrict Content Pro to this list?

  26. I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am moderately sure I will be told many new stuff proper right here! Good luck for the next!

  27. I am using wp-members plugin for my blog and its really awesome. Even though I have not tried any of the other plugins but once you have shared means they must have been really great as I am a big fan of your blog.

  28. kc

    Thank you for the informative post! Wondering if you might know of a plugin that will control access based on page views rather than particular articles/posts.

    My client wants to allow visitors to read up to 5 articles per month for free, then get prompted for a subscription. So far I haven’t been able to find anything like that out of the box.

    Does this unicorn exist?

  29. Michelle

    Thanks for the info. Does anyone know if any of these plugins “Play well” with WP-Client? I need to be able to have members upload files.


  30. We are using Magic Members for one of our sites and we send out auto-response emails for subscribers. But for some reason, Gmail addresses will not get delivered. They are not hitting the Spam folder or anything, it is not even getting that far. Any suggestions? Just starting the process with support.

  31. Ethan


    Thanks for your good review!
    I have a question. I will be launching my website very soon and I’m still working on a pricing model trying to find THE most adequate plugin for that.
    Basically, I would like to create different levels of membership with different options (i’m running a classipress website which has been highly customized). The options would be in terms of visibility of the ad (highlighted ad/priority ad) etc.
    Which plugin would you recommend for that?
    Best regards,

  32. Jessica

    I pretty much a newbie and I bought both Premise and DAP, thinking I needed them both.

    Now I think maybe Premise will do the trick, with its new membership capabilities.

    Would you recommend keeping both, or one over the other? Thank you so much!

  33. Jacqueline

    I have a wordpress design site. I need a solution that allows multiple users to log in and create their own designs. Each user will not have access to another person’s design and information.
    Ideally, it will appear to each logged in user that they are the only user on the site. They see their own saved and published work etc.

    Is there something out there that does this?

  34. Audrey

    I’m looking for membership plugin that supports the eWay payment gateway

  35. Thanks for this great list and the conversations here. I’m still a bit at a loss in choosing my plugin. I am running the website for a 500 person non-profit volunteer group that serves our community.
    I do not need marketing pages, squeeze pages and all the salesy stuff, other than collecting addresses for a newsletter and announcements.
    But we do want a portion of our WP site to be members-only viewable and downloadable, as well as having the hooks for mail, membership payments and other modern web based communications among a group. Or at least being able to use other plugins to acomplish the ancillary functions. We probably want to do a forum also on the members only-side.
    I’m willing to pay, but not continuiouusly for drip plugins and such. And many of these programs maintain seperate membership listings as opposed to using WP membership lists. This can cause plugins to fail.
    I need to buy from a reputable organization so I can trust the security of the plugin and also want there to be some reasonably good training and support offered online as my successors will need that for continuity. The folks at Premise said “we can’t help” you basically because I think they are targeting a different audience.
    Whishlist member looks good in print but I read (on this site) they sound awful with support.
    I’m trying like others to get my selection correct prior to doing the member migration leap. We’re a community with members rather than a business trying to attract members.
    Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance

  36. Jewel

    Actually no matter if someone doesn’t understand afterward its up to other users that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  37. Good day very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?I am glad to find numerous useful info here within the publish, we’d like work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  38. Ria

    You gave some great comparisions. Since we are designing a website for a business networking group with 3 separate geographic regions. Each region is totally separate from the other two. Their might be future regions and would like the possibility of expansion as they grow. We need the members to be able to register for an event (cancel if needed) in their region only. The members would be able to access which other members are registered. They should be able to look at a calendar and the events for registration and have both their side updated and the admin updated in real time. We would also like the autoresponders to confirm registration or cancellation etc. We would also like them to be able to add the event to their calendar automatically. Which plugin would you recommend? Thanks for your help.

  39. Hi Safi,

    Thanks for great list. I’m currently using WPMU Dev’s plugin. I think it’s the best plugin in the list. And the best thing is it’s free.

  40. I am about to launch this new web site: which will have international reach
    Is there a wordpress membership plugin that works with international currency options
    £/$ etc so that people can pay/subscribe in their local currency?
    Ronnie G

  41. Tarek

    Thank you Safi for the amazing reviews, really helped me out tremendously!

    I was wondering if any of the reviewed membership systems support custom Gravity Forms during registration? Thanks again!

  42. Sam

    I also wanted to let you know about MembersGear which I use on my WordPress site, a very good quality plugin that allows you to have a great membership site.

  43. brian

    Hi MK, this is a good article and your other posts are well written. I have a question and would like your opinion – or the opinion of anyone that may be reading this. We currently deliver our content through drupal and are considering a move to wordpress.

    We contract with companies to deliver content to their employees. Content is delivered through a series of modules over the course of a year. We need a membership plugin that can control content based on the company and where they are in the course. For example, if they are with Company X and in Module 6, they would have access to Modules 1-6; if they were with Company Y and in Module 4, they would have access to Modules 1-4. And so on. As they move through, access to additional modules becomes available.

    Do any of these membership plugins have this capability? If so, which ones do you recommend? I would also like to add, MailChimp integration would be a HUGE plus.

    Any recommendation you can make is appreciated. If we need something other than a membership plugin and you have some suggestions, that would be great too.

    Thank you.

    • I’m not quite sure how to accomplish this, but I do think it’s possible. There is at least one plugin that can probably achieve the functionality that you want—Digital Access Pass (DAP).

      DAP allows you to create “products” and each one can have a drip-feed schedule. You can create a product for each company and subscribe employees to the product of their company. DAP, I think, also integrates with MailChimp.

    • Mike

      hey did you end up trying DAP for this? i’m also interested in doing this kind of thing,
      would be interested to hear how you went :)

    • H W

      Brian-I am running the IT side of a business start-up to do this too, and I am likely to use WordPress to build it around. I would love to get in contact with you personally to discuss mutual ideas. If you get this reply and could contact me directly, I would like to hear from you: aeneas3 at g-mail.

  44. Bonnie Burtraw

    I have used DAP for about a year now and am amazed at their functionality and their service. I’ve never waited more than few hours to get a reply to a request for help, and I’m sure it would be even quicker if I marked it ‘urgent.’ I especially love that they can manage it all — tiered membership, payments, affiliate program, drip content, autoresponder emails …. Granted, if my membership grows to 2,000 or so, I’ll add Aweber or another email / newsletter provider — just to avoid the issues that can arise from sending via my own server — and DAP co-ordinates beautifully with all of the email autoresponders. I don’t have any complaints … and lots of praise for DAP!! Highly recommend them.

  45. I was wandering around the interweb and found your Digital Access Pass page. Not being much on posting, I thought it would be fun to post on someone’s site. So, I think I left a post there. Memory gets freaky when you reach my age.

    I’ve used dozens of membership softwares, including the three softwares you reviewed here, Wishlist, S2 and DAP.

    I came away from WishList with a very sour taste in my mouth. They are ,asters at marketing, but their program is too tightly integrated into WordPress. It is prone to breaking on a WordPress upgrade, and support goes into denial, rather than fixing the problem. It almost destroyed my business a few years ago.

    S2Member is free, and it is solid. But it is difficult to drip protected content, a necessity for a membership site.

    DAP is solid, the support is great, and its versatility is unparalleld,. (sp) I can’t say enough about them. I give them fourtten and a half stars.

  46. Martin Wilson

    M.K. – Thanks for all the great content and reviews. I’ve purchased Wishlist Member and DAP based on your recommendations (used your link so I hope you get some affiliate revenue for your great content!). So far, DAP is a better choice for us.

  47. Hi M.K.

    I simply don’t know where to start but I do know that you have one of the most legit Membership plugin breakdown’s on the web. Job well done Sir! With that being said, I NEED your help.

    My mission here is simple but finding the solution for what I’m looking for is nearly impossible and I’m almost in tears bc of how beat down I’ve become. My brother and I have already spend 2 weeks on Wishlist Member before we gave up – 2 weeks on Magic Members before we gave up – and 1 week on s2member Pro (which we are currently using) and still don’t have our WP-Membership plugin setup to our liking.

    Here is the short version of our mission with our WP Membership Plugin: We want a module based membership site – Modules 1 and 2 will be free, Modules 3 through 8 will be paid – and we want it set up with automatic monthly drafts that start on module 3 and will automatically cancel after the final draft for module 8) Thats it!!!!! This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to accomplish in my life and I would greatly appreciate your guidance! :(

    I have spent my entire day today going through the s2 tutorials while working on my site as I watch the tutorials. My brother has done the same..

    Almost everything is set up exactly as we want so I wrote this email in the s2 forum in hopes that someone can help us finish up this project so that we can move forward and start making money. This will give you an idea of where we stand and what we need… Begin email:

    “Just a heads: Here are the 2 problems that we’re having trouble with…

    Our membership site has 8 modules total ( The first 2 modules are free (level 0) and modules 3-8 are all paid (levels 1-6). All anyone needs to do to access the first 2 modules is fill out the free form (in either the module 1 sign up page or the module 2 sign up page) – an email confirmation username and password is sent to the subscriber – then the subscriber simply logs in and they can access both modules 1 and 2.

    1. This works PERFECTLY if you have a yahoo email but the subscriber never gets the email for their password if they use gmail? Yahoo mail works 100% of the time but we CANNOT get gmail to work?!?! I already submitted this question to the s2member forum which was answered by telling me to follow the instructions found here: (Knowledge Base » Troubleshooting Email Delivery Problems). I went through every step and still can’t get gmail email addresses to receive a confirmation email upon submitting a form. This is problem #1 – Please help me!!

    The second problem we’re having is finding 100% clarity in how this is going to work – I will try my best to make this question as clear and concise as possible:

    I have setup – modules 1 and 2 are free – modules 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are paid. After completion of module 2, my members must be able to go to module 3 to sign up. Here is where things get confusing.

    Lets say in (s2member>Auth.Net Pro-Forms) each of the forms (Authorize.Net Forms For Level #1 Access – through – Authorize.Net Forms For Level #6 Access) or otherwise (Modules 3 – 8) are setup like this:

    I want to charge: $50 / One Time (for lifetime access, non-recurring, no trial)

    Then I Generate my Form Code for (Authorize.Net Forms For Level #1 Access – through – Authorize.Net Forms For Level #6 Access) and paste those codes individually in my Module 3 Sign Up Page, Module 4 Sign Up Page, Module 5 Sign Up Page, Module 6 Sign Up Page, Module 7 Sign Up Page, and my Module 8 Sign Up Page.

    This works perfectly and I completely understand how this works (Note: this works as long as I have a yahoo email address and I’ve already registered for Modules 1 and 2 – this does NOT work right now if you have gmail).

    I could leave my site like this (if I could get gmail to work) and everything would be in place. This allows my members to go at the pace that they want by purchasing a new module whenever they’d like…perfect! Now what if I want my modules setup as automatic recurring monthly drafts? Here we go:

    Lets say in (s2member>Auth.Net Pro-Forms) each of the forms (Authorize.Net Forms For Level #1 Access – through – Authorize.Net Forms For Level #6 Access) or otherwise (Modules 3 – 8) are setup like this:

    I’ll offer the first 0 Days @ $0.00
    Then, I want to charge: $50 / Monthly (recurring charge, for ongoing access)

    This makes it to where you pay for access to Module 3 and you’re in – One month later it charges you again and now you have access to module 4 – Then 5, 6, 7, and 8.

    2. Is this correct or not? Yes or no? If yes, then perfect! If no, can you please explain? :)

    Now, what happens at the end on module 8 (my last module)? It would make sense in my mind that they would be automatically charged again for module 9 (which doesn’t exist) so should I change the (Authorize.Net Forms For Level #6 Access) from:

    I’ll offer the first 0 Days @ $0.00
    Then, I want to charge: $50 / Monthly (recurring charge, for ongoing access)


    I want to charge: $50 / One Time (for lifetime access, non-recurring, no trial)

    3. Is this how everyone thats using automatically recurring monthly drafts should set up their final Authorize.Net Form so that the automatic billing stops after their final draft for the final module? Yes or no? If yes, then perfect! If no, can you please explain? :)

    Now, what happens if my modules are setup as automatic recurring monthly drafts and someone wants to fast track from module 3 to module 4?

    4. Do they have to wait a month for the draft or can they simply fill out the form on module 4 sign up and immediately access module 4? Please be thorough…

    5. If they are able to fast track and sign up for module 4 whenever they want, what happens on the next month when that draft for module 4 was initially scheduled to come out? Please be thorough…

    That about does it for my Box of Hell… If these descriptions aren’t thorough enough and there’s no one out there to provide detailed answers for my questions, I’m afraid that tall bridges and skyscraper ledges are the only two options in my near future… (Weeeeeeeee!!!!) Jk :)

    Thank you kindly for your time,

    So I submitted that in the s2 forum and the moderator that responded told me that s2 is not designed for that and to create a module based membership site with automatic monthly drafts that will automatically after the final draft for module 8 is NOT possible with s2… :(

    Please guide me and help me figure this thing out.

    Thank you so much for your time!!

    • Hi Clint, Thanks for your comment! I’m not quite sure what you mean by automatic monthly draft, but it seems that you’ve concluded that s2Member wouldn’t work for you—regardless of whether or not you solve your Gmail problem.

      What about Digital Access Pass, have you considered that one?

    • Palak

      Hi Clint,
      This all sounds like out of the box functionality for MemberMouse. Our platform has the ability to start a payment X amount of time after signup, stop payments after a certain number (while keeping the account active), expiring a membership, and more. Just feel free to drop us a line and we can talk you through your scenarios and how you’d solve them in MemberMouse (we’ll even screencast a demo to show you it in action).


  48. csleh

    Oh wise one, perhaps you can help me. Do know of a plugin that will allow this:
    – membership by a time period (month or year)
    – limit to downloads — they can choose from any 10 from a large list in that time period


    • lol, thanks for the comment, csleh. Almost any plugin in the list does that, i.e. monthly, yearly, weekly memberships and limiting downloads by a certain number of tries. Check out s2Member. It’s free.

    • csleh

      I meant not by an individual file (ie, you can download this file up to 10 times) but that there is a list of 20 and you may only download up to 10 of those. Once you’ve downloaded one copy of 10 files, you can’t download anything else.

    • Hmmm, I see. Well, I’m not aware of any plugin that does this, but one possible workaround is perhaps to upload 10 files have a 1-time download limit on each one? That’s all I could think of, sorry! :)

  49. Wow! Great Post!!!!!

    I am kinda a newbie at building this type of site, so I need a strong plug-in that is fairly easy to use (if possible). Could you please make a suggestion as to which tool listed here would best suit my needs:

    – Membership site with some content available before signing in, but most content available after signing in.
    – Membership has a monthly subscription fee so need to integrate PayPal or Google Check-out with subscription payment processing (prefer to not open a new robust merchant account)
    – Ability to post documents, blogs, possible a forum, videos, etc for both the member only access and limited public access.
    – Ability to have different levels of membership with premium content for higher levels.
    – Ability to market through affiliates, so need built in affiliate tracking.
    – Need ability to sell items in an online store, so need online store, google or paypal checkout, and affiliate tracking of the online store items.
    – Need to be able to cross market members via email addresses, so maybe the ability to automatically upload emails from new members into our constant contact list?
    – Need ability to send newsletters to members.
    – Possibly a platform for webinars? Conference Calls?

    I know that is a big list! Do any of these offer all that?

    Thank you so much in advance for replying to my novel!!!!!!!!!


    Jamie BBurg

    • Hi Jamie, Yep, that is a big list! Fortunately, WordPress membership solutions are advanced enough and there are a couple of plugins that meet almost all of your requirements exactly. The two I would most recommend for the requirements you listed are Digital Access Pass and s2Member, in that order.

    • M.K.

      THANK YOU so much for replying to my lengthy post! I really appreciate it! After reviewing your two suggestions, I think I am going to try s2member just because it looks about 1million times easier to use (for me anyway, not a dev, just a knucklehead trying to build a member site). Would you agree that s2member is easier to use for those of use who are comfortable with the WordPress UI?

      Thanks again!!!


    • KellyAZ

      You might also look at cart66 pro; I have a similar set of requirements. Cart66 is a shopping cart, so you can sell goods, but at the Pro (paid) level it is also manages memberships. Although you don’t plan to use a payment gateway, if you ever did Cart66 has two very cool features not found in alot of cart plugins: a simple checkbox to force the checkout pages into SSL (no wordpress hacking required), or integration with a pay-per-use 3rd party hosted shopping cart (i.e. no SSL cert required but you will still have full PCI compliance).

      Something else that I ran into in evaluating membership solutions is that some of them use a “hierarchical” model…each level of membership inherits all rights assigned to the membership below. That may work for you, but it does not for me – I need to be able to assign random categories to specific membership levels.


    • Thank you so much Kelly! I think I am sticking with s2member for now, I really like it! And with integrating idevaffiliate, it looks like it will do everything I need. Any suggestions on a better affiliate application with s2member?

    • Yes, s2Member is a good choice. iDevAffiliate is a popular software and it works reliably. However, its reporting features are limited (at least from my experience as an affiliate). However, it’s about your only option if you’re gonna use s2Member, unless you use a payment gateway that also does affiliate management, like ClickBank, Avangate, ShareASale, etc, in which case you wouldn’t need to worry about affiliates inhouse.

  50. Great Post. Thanks. I want to create a password protected site and it seems like one of these would work, but I am not sure if there are other solutions that may work better. We are an entertainment and event planning company and want to grant access to our planing website to our clients. They would be able to browse articles, listen to audio, view videos etc. I would like to have the following functionality.

    1) the ADMIN would create their account and email them their username and password.
    2) We would set an expiration date after which they will no longer be able to access the site.
    3) Certain sections would be available to certain clients based on the package they purchase with us.


    • Jose, Any of these membership plugins can allow you to create new users and email credentials to them. In fact, that feature is built-into WordPress itself. And the plugins allow you to create subscription packages that expire after a specified period of time. The content protection methods of the plugins vary a little, but your requirement to make certain sections available to certain clients are pretty straight-forward, so most of the plugins would work. I would recommend you either go with s2Member or Wishlist Member.

    • Jose Gonzalez

      Thanks so much. Greatly appreciate your advice.


  51. I have a client that has videos protected using amember. We are redesigning the site using wordpress and I want to see if one of these plugins work better than amember. I prefer a plugin than an install program. I am trying to decide between wishlist and magic members. My clients requirements:

    – User signs up using paypal for either 7 days, 1 month, 3months or 1 year.
    – After payment, they have access to all of the videos.
    – He only wants certain blogs blocked. Others will be free.
    – After the time expires, it rebills the client for the same membership they currently have. If payment fails, the membership is cancelled.
    – If a client isn’t happy before 3 days is up, we want to be able to cancel the membership and credit the users account.

    • Ernest, Both Wishlist Member and Magic Members can satisfy these requirements. But if you want to have profiles automatically processed when a cancellation or a refund is initiated through PayPal, I recommend you go with either s2Member or Wishlist Member because these two can automatically process PayPal transactions such as refunds and cancellations. However, you also mention that you want “certain blogs” blocked. By blocks do you mean blog posts or is your client running a multisite blog network? If it’s a blog network, then you better just go with s2Member because it can handle multisite and BuddyPress well. There’s also WPMU DEV Membership, which is also good with blog networks.

    • Sorry, I meant blog posts. Sounds like wishlist will handle this. I haven’t heard about s2 member. I will read you reviews and see if that is an option.


    • Hi Eaton:
      IMHO s2member would be the better option. I have seen the administrative back end of both wishlist member and s2member on wordpress websites and my recommendation would be s2member. The user interface is less frustrating for someone who want to install and set it up and or maintain the site administratively .

  52. Alexandra

    I need to find plugin(s) that have the following abilities:
    – for job seekers to upload their custom profile describing their skillsets that can be searchable only by paid recruiters.
    – for recruiters to “buy” an ability to search through job seeker profiles.

    The job seekers would be a Job Seeker Paid Membership.
    The recruiters would have several levels of memberships depending on size of company.

    Can you suggest any options to accomplish this?

    • Alexandra, The requirements of a job site are kind of unique. WordPress membership plugins aren’t gonna be able to easily handle requirements like “search through skillsets”. I think you’ll have to find a plugin that’s dedicated to job sites for that, or even look at CMSs other than WordPress.

  53. Hi, I need some plugin for wordpress to make something like club for releasing the wordpress themes we have. The way like work. For example user subscribe for yearly package and get all files/updates which are protected from inside. Any idea which would bestly fit for this?

    • That’s easy, gevork. Almost all of the plugins can do that. You simply create a yearly subscription membership site.

  54. Andrew

    My client wants a membership system where there are two main roles: student and marker. Students buy (with money) credits. They then use credits to interact with markers. I guess similar to iStockPhoto.

    Are any of the systems above capable of doing something like this?


  55. Can anyone recommend a good, reliable stand alone autoresponder plugin for WordPress?

  56. Jeff

    I need a Membership Plugin that will allow me to capture addresses and TNs during registration. Unfortunately the plugin I currently have (WPMU Dev Membership Premium) will not allow any additional fields. I will also need two levels (one paid, one free) and need to have the ability to restrict access for the free Members to specific pages/posts across three themes/sites under the same domain (I am using multisite). Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • Loggy

      You need to add fields to the user or usermeta data or add your own tables. Then use Theme My Login which is a plugin that puts the login/registration on the front. You can add a custom facility to include extra fields at registration. This takes a bit of coding but it quite simple.

      I do this with s2member (free version). I see no reason why it shouldn’t work with any other membership plugin as it is nothing to do with restricting pages or posts or anything like that.

    • Palak

      Hey Jeff,
      Custom fields are actually completely out of the box with MemberMouse. You can even choose to have them appear on the registration page or the my account page (or both or neither).


    • Jeff

      Will MemberMouse work with WP Multisite across multiple sites attached to the same main domain?


    • Palak

      Hey Jeff,
      MemberMouse will work on the main site but won’t work the child sites. Feel free to contact us and we can talk you through it.


    • Bhaskar


      I read your blog post on winkpress regarding MemberMouse and I would really appreciate if you could help me to activate MemberMouse on a multi site.

      Thanks a lot.
      Bhaskar Sharma.

  57. You didnt mention Mingle?

    • M. K.

      Mingle is comparable to BuddyPress, which is not a membership plugin. One of the essential features of membership plugins is the ability to paywall content. Mingle doesn’t do that.

  58. You all NEED to check out WP eMember! This is the plug in I use for MY membership site! It’s is so advanced and so simple at the same time. It’s has lot’s of very useful features, settings and stuff. It’ll even build the login, registration and sign up pages for you if you don’t wanna build your own! It can be used with UNLIMITED sites, UNLIMITED upgrades, UNLIMITED help and all of this is FOR LIFE! So check out wp Emember! You will not be sorry!

  59. deepanshu

    Hey nice post. Btw can u help me i want to start a blog about my city, but i also want it to have a section where users can discuss and raise issues related to the city and i want different user levels with point system similar to that can you suggest me any pugin(wp)? Please it will be a great help, I right now want to use wordpress, do i need to choose drupal or joomla for this purpose.

  60. sam

    I am looking for a Membership plugin to add to my pay per view movie, video streaming website. I am using eStore and looking into eMember by Tip&Tricks HQ. I am wondering if any of the above Plugins has specialized features for such use. I don’t have any download products. You pay by PayPal and automatically redirected to a page where the video player is hidden until the payment is made.

    Thanks M.K.

    • M. K.

      Hi Sam, Yes, most of these plugins can protect video streaming if you use Amazon S3 service. Some even work without Amazon S3. Checkout this page where I detail the content protection features of each plugin.

  61. Nicole

    Hi there,
    I am looking for a membership management plugin to help me keep track of membership lengths and expiration dates. For example if someone signs up for my 3-month membership, I want some kind of automation so that things don’t slip through the cracks. The issue I have is that I have a main website (blog) and a separate landing page (with no page or post capability) that directly links to my shopping cart (ultracart). My shopping cart is also integrated with Mail Chimp. Each week I will send member a link to a protected PDF file for the length of their membership. Also I want to send monthly newsletters with bonus material. Do you have a recommendation for a plugin that would work for this set up. I do have plans for private eCourses this year too, if that makes a difference.
    Thanks so much for this valuable information!

  62. Scott

    Great post. I have a client who is running membership site that is free but users must register to download content. I see several of these plugins will solve this. However my client needs to be able to track what members download, do any of these plugins provide metrics on who downloads what?


    • None of these membership plugins tracks who downloads what, but this can be done with Google Analytics custom variables and a bit of WordPress development.

    • Scott

      thanks for the reply. Is google analytics accurate or just ballpark metrics? My client needs to know document A was downloaded 58 times between date 1 and date 2 by which members. Or do i need to look in other directions?

      liking WinkPress a lot

    • Hi Scott:
      I stand to be corrected here but I believe you can track downloads with Google Analytics by adding the file extensions and in the settings panel in the dashboard area if you are using WP. I think you can also set up a funnel as goals in the Google Analytics dashboard itself and if it is a paid item set it to tract as ecommerce.

    • Scott, If it’s implemented correctly in Analytics, it’ll probably be the most accurate metrics you can get. Yes, it’s possible to know how many downloads occurred when by who.

  63. Tomoya

    HI there

    Thanks for the great post!!!!!

    I currently use whishlist to run my membership webiste and I was wandering if you knew membership plug-in that allow user to receive auto generated password and username.

    Ideal would be the username=address that user used to sigh up pay pal and password=auto generate.
    Been try to figure this out for such a longtime but not real solution yet,,,

    • Digital Access Pass has a feature where if someone signs up through an email opt-in form, it automatically creates an account in your membership site for the user. You can set it up to also email the login credentials to the user.

    • Tomoya


      I will look into DAP!!

      Again cheers for your advice

  64. Erik

    This a great post. Thanks for the info. I have been trying out a few different membership plugin options but I can’t find one that allows non-registered users to view posts/wiki/forum ect. but only allows registered users to participate. Do you know if any of the plugins you mentioned have this capability? So far s2member has been the best (and thanks to the video tutorials), easiest free plugin to use. I just can’t seem to make it to this one thing.

    • Erik, have you tried s2Member‘s integration with bbPress? As far as I remember, it does have this feature.

    • Erik

      Thanks for the reply. I am using bbpress forums but I haven’t noticed a way to create the situation that I want yet. I am having a problem with the log in/registration page, so maybe once I clear that up other features will make more sense. Thanks again.

  65. Hi guys! Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive guide to membership plugins for WordPress – very useful.

    I’ve been reading through and haven’t yet found a good answer to a couple of questions, so thought I’d follow everyone else’s lead and ask directly…

    I am building a site that needs the following membership features:
    1. Multiple levels of access to different areas
    2. All membership levels to be free
    3. Some membership levels to have time-based expiry
    4. Username for membership to be email address, not a custom username
    5. Membership approval to be based on a unique code – this is the tricky one, so here’s some background:
    The site is for a company that creates and sells music tuition textbooks. Each book has a unique code printed in the front of it. Along with the purchase of the book comes a free digital copy, as well as access to a digital resources section of the website containing music files, examples, etc. So we need users to input their number and (ideally) have the system automatically check that number against a list/table and approve the member accordingly.

    We are currently using Wishlist Members, which is pretty good but I’m not super happy with it. While it does allow custom fields to be placed in the registration form it allows you to do very little with them. They can’t be reported in the approval email sent to admin, they can’t be displayed very easily, and they can’t be checked against anything before registration. Wishlist also does not allow use of email address as username (although there’s a kludgy way to get around that – rename the username field to “email” and call the email field “confirm email”. Works, but doesn’t give any checking to the matchup between the two fields.

    Can you guys suggest a plugin that could do these things? Tried out so far:
    spMembers (free)
    WPMembers (free)
    Wishlist (paid but still within 30 day period)

    As it took several days setting up Wishlist before the limitations became really apparent I don’t really have the time to dig through the others comprehensively enough to be sure they can do what I need, so thought I’d ask!

    Thanks – would appreciate any advice you can give!

    – Andrew

    • Loggy


      I think s2Member will do this but you will have to get your hands a bit dirty. For example to activate levels rather than by Paypal (ie make them free), you can set the role s2member_level{n} using a line or so of php. s2Member extends the standard WordPress roles.

      The free version allows up to 4 levels (plus a free level) while the pro version allows infinite levels. Note that levels are nested so level 3 contains level 2 etc. If you have particular requirements then capabilities can be used instead of roles. s2Member Pro includes coupon codes. If you don’t want nested membership then look at Your Members. s2member also allows you to protect the back end by making it invisible unless you are an admin.

      I think s2member will also allow login with email addresses but if not, then Theme My Login does.

    • Does s2Member do login based on a unique code?

    • No, Andrew, it doesn’t do that out of the box. That feature will have to be custom built.

  66. Scott

    I think many of the membership plugins suit most of my organization’s needs, from what I’ve seen. However, I’m unclear as to whether any (or most) of them allow you to give permission to members to add content to your site. For example, I would like to allow our member organizations to be able to add job postings for THEIR organization on a “jobs” page that I would create. So, I want them to be able — as a benefit of membership — to be able to post job listings for public viewing…and, of course, I would like to have some control over the fields and parameters so that the “jobs” page they are adding content to looks uniform and appealing to job hunters.

    Do any of the membership plugins fit the bill — oh, and this is for a WordPress based site (just to be clear).

    Thanks in advance for any and all pointers…and THANKS so much for these reviews; very helpful!

    • I would recommend you use Gravity Forms to create the job submission form. (See this article on allowing visitors to post content to your site.) And then use a membership plugin to protect the page that has this form.

    • Scott

      I have installed Gravity Forms and have learned how to create basic forms. Check. I have read posts on allowing visits to access forms that then post content to your sit, HOWEVER, they all seem to deal with allowing POSTS to be created. I need advice on allowing visitors to fill in a form that then generates content for a page!

      So, for example, a visitor would enter a set of info into fields in a form and then it would generate content listings on a page, taken from their submission.

      Can anyone help? Thanks!!!

    • Scott do you think you would be able to achieve what you are trying to do – membership features and directory listing – on your website by using a directory plugin for to list the info after members use the membership feature to register? Just a thought.

    • Scott, It’s possible to allow visitors to create Pages on your site using Gravity Forms. Contact Gravity Forms support for more details.

      However, I would advise that you use Posts instead of Pages. Posts have categories, tags, and are generally more versatile. Then consider using a WordPress category template to display your list of posts.

  67. Ray


    I hope someone can help me out here.

    I have a real estate site for which I want to upload a new themeforest theme.
    However, I want the visitors to upload their real estate information (images, description).
    For that I need a membership plugin. But it has to have the feature to combine it with the real estate functionality. Moreover, it should have (at least for the future) a payment option. Maybe I would like to switch to a fee-based version.

    Would that be possible with the free plugins mentioned above?

    Some advice would really be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    • M.K.

      But it has to have the feature to combine it with the real estate functionality.

      What do you mean by that? As I told Jim below, if you’re looking for a flexible membership plugin that has good API for integrating with other stuff, take a look at s2Member.

  68. Jim

    I need a plugin that can accept third party payment and provide direct access to another custom plugin I’m having developed that will have three levels of memberships, two are paid levels. I’d like all the other bells and whistles, but communication with my custom plugin that will handle delivery of content based on membership level is a must.


    • M.K.

      So, your custom plugin already handles content access control, you don’t want a membership plugin to do that? In that case, you just need a plugin to handle the payment and has an API. For Authorize.Net, there’s Authorize.Net for WordPress by Daniel Watrous and I’m sure a plugin to facilitate integration with PayPal exists, but I’ve not researched that.

      If you want a membership plugin with strong API, I recommend you look into s2Member or WishList Member.

  69. Dev

    I have been busy to find a solution to block the access to the Membership Level after the Subscription days is over.

    • Palak

      Hey Dev,
      MemberMouse actually does that right out the box. You simply need to select that the membership expires and how long it takes for that to happen and you’re done. Once a member’s membership expires they will be locked out of the content that membership protects but they will still be able to log in so that you can upsell them or have them renew their membership.
      Hope that helps,

  70. jaclyn

    I need some advice. I’m building a website with about 40 workout videos. The service will be sold primarily to companies as an employee benefit. I need a plug in that will allow me to create “groups” for each company name and have all of the employees for that company under that particular “group”. I’d like to send out drip emails/ content to each group separately.

    The other hurtle is tracking. It would be great if I could tell each company how many of their employees are using the service, how long they are on the site, things like that.

    Any thoughts?

    • Loggy

      You need a membership system so that people are members of groups and the group defines what can be seen. Think of each group as a product then people login and are allocated to products. Each product contains access to a bespoke set of videos that are not exclusive. This means that a strictly hierarchical system of membership won’t work since in that system the higher level capabilities contain the lower level capabilities. Whereas if you can define your products completely differently that will enable you to tailor the product to the company.

      I think YourMembers will do that as the products are independent although it can be rather messy to set up in my experience and writes a [private] tag into the posts and pages which needs to be removed if you find it is the wrong system.

    • I think you’re exactly right Loggy on how to implement that. Groups that can be sold differently but contain the same content would be the best way to handle that situation. This is actually something that is built into MemberMouse and was specifically designed to do.
      Jaclyn, MemberMouse’s Product Bundles are completely independent products you can sell and you can protect that content through a simple point and click interface. And you can even create custom messaging, confirmation pages, member homepages, and more for those different groups (for example, using each company’s logo in the design). The nice thing too is that none of that requires a developer or that type of knowledge. Check us out.

  71. nate

    Very helpful guide to membership plugins – thanks!

    I’m trying to do something pretty simple (I think) with my membership site; I need to be able to have people sign up and identify themselves as one of three roles (i.e. doctor, nurse, or administrator) and then have an extended profile that supports custom fields (i. e. licensed in what state, specialty practice, etc). I then need to be able for visitors to the site to see a searchable lists of people separated by role. Any thoughts on which plugin would work best? or is what I’m looking for more of a profile plugin?

    • M.K.

      Hi Nate, Almost all membership plugins allow you to extend the registration page with custom fields. But I haven’t come across a plugin that would allow your visitors to see a searchable lists of people separated by role—except perhaps if you use BuddyPress, which sounds more appropriate for what you’re trying to accomplish. s2Member has the best compatibility with BuddyPress, so try it out. And you may ask in their community forums. They’re pretty useful.

    • Hi Nate,

      I think you don’t need a Membership plugin for that. A “Role Manager Plugin” should be enough (search for that).

      All the best

  72. RossP

    Thanks for the great review…has anyone built a WordPress membership solution that protects video content? Preferably vimeo PRO… but could be another service if necessary. I’m stumped on the best way to present and protect this video content to members, including private videos to specific users (photo critiques). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Loggy

      Have a look at Your Members. I haven’t tried the video bit myself but it has secure streaming:

      “Amazon S3

      Using Amazon s3 to store media content Your Members – Secure Stream allows protected content to be delivered using time sensitive URLS

      Protecting Content

      Associate media with other content types and they will automatically inherit permissions. Permission are checked on every load of the media to check if the user is authorised and a time sensitive URL is issued, if the URL is shared it will not work.”


    • Hi RossP, I’ve not seen any plugin that’s specifically made for Vimeo PRO. There are several plugins that protect videos, but all of them do it through Amazon S3, so you’d have to upload your videos there first.

  73. KellyAZ

    I’ve got a challenge – I need a fairly straightforward membership plugin (1 free level, 1 paid level with access to all content). However, I need to create special membership logins that allow that member to have access to all items with a particular TAG, but not items with other tags.

    Any thoughts? S2Member seems to allow membership levels that grant access based on tags, but they always include the tags at the lower level and that won’t work for this site.


    • Hey Kelly,
      You can actually do this easily (and with no coding) with MemberMouse. MemberMouse has the ability to group content and make that content accessible for free or for a price – called Product Bundles. You can then restrict parts of your website to just be accessible by that Product Bundle – and have that be completely different protected content from your Free and Paid memberships. Take a look at the video on our homepage to get more of an idea of what you can do.


    • Hi Kelly, If you must have tag-based protection, then you might have no choice other than s2Member. I have not seen any other plugin that offers tag-based protection.

      If you’re looking for something simple and free to use, try Paid Memberships Pro.

  74. John Logsdon

    Most membership systems I have seen don’t include email notification of posts. In a non-membership site, this can be easily done by, for example, Subscribe2 which sends emails to all subscribers and users. But you may not want to warn free or lower level members of posts at the Gold level for example, particularly if this level is private.

    In addition, it may be necessary to limit menus to different levels and tag clouds to point to entries that the member can actually see. Lastly when a visitor or member comes across a post that they are not entitled to see, there should be the option of not seeing anything at all or just a taster message to encourage them to upgrade.

    These last issues are all to do with the theme of course so it does make it difficult to implement and requires coding.

    • Thanks for your observations, John. You’re right, I’ve never seen a membership plugin that sends automatic email notifications either. But there are workarounds. For example, s2Member and Digital Access Pass can both add members to specific mailing lists based on the members subscription level. If your content protection is based on WordPress categories, you can setup the RSS feed for those categories with, for instance, MailChimp to send notifications to subscribers.

      As for limiting menus, I think that’s built into some of the plugins. WishList Member and s2Member both do this, I think. And as you said, a theme developer could use the API of those plugins to control what is and isn’t available to visitors in menus and theme templates.

      And the last bit about replacing protected posts with taster content, most plugins do that. Some plugins let you to use [shortcodes] to protect content and leave some of it visible…other plugins only protect content after the <!--more--> tag.

  75. Aysia Wright

    Hi – I’m trying to find the best fit for a membership/subscription site that ships a physical item vs. providing digital content. The needs are:
    1. Easy access, set and use as I’m learning my way and building the site myself
    2. Members join, in 3 steps – name and email, pay (likely via PayPal), then fill out a detailed profile questionnaire.

    I need all of the data from sign up to go into a database that also includes their payment status each month, questionnaire answers along with shipping info. Suggestions?

    Simple is best. At this point, I don’t need protected content and I don’t even know what a drop feed is ;)

    Thanks for your input!

  76. Hi,

    After I’ve read your review of eMember, I wanted to see if you had a review of Rapid Action Press. I’m considering buying it, since I need drip feeding, and although I would love to buy eMember (they have great service and great products), I’m afraid the auto-upgrade function will not fulfil my needs, since one of our membership sites will have drip-feeding over 21 days.

    I’ve tried Digital Access Pass in 2008 and again now for the last time.

    Another great membership plugin (which doesn’t do drip feeding, though) is WP Sales Automator for only $10. The programmer does EXCELLENT service! Really! You should take a look at it.

  77. Hey, great reviews.
    I am looking for a membership site of sorts. I teach classes and want to offer a package where you the client can buy 10 credits, and then utilize your credits to sign up for a class.
    I have tried searching for punch cards, loyalty program management, membership, and others, without any help.
    What I really want is something where I have a list of “members” on the back end with a number of credits, that I can add credits to as required.
    Any suggestions would be insanely appreciated

    • I think you could achieve this with Digital Access Pass. DAP has a feature called Self Service Store. Here’s one way the Self Service Store works:

      Using our “Self-Service Store” premium plugin, your members can be awarded “X” credits with each monthly subscription payment, and they can use those credits to purchase any content that *they* are interested in for that month, instead of being force-fed content only in a certain order as decided by you, the admin.

      Think of it like an “” membership where members get credits, and can redeem those credits towards any audio book from the store. All credits roll-over each month, and if a product needs more credits than what they have currently, they can wait for the next month to accumulate more credits and then redeem those credits when they have enough.

      As Admin, you will be able to configure how many credits they get each month with each subscription payment, and also configure how many credits each “Product” (content) in your membership site is worth.

      This feature is offered at an extra cost by the way—a $97 plugin in addition to DAP itself. Best you contact DAP before you buy and verify whether it can accomplish what you’re trying to do.

  78. Skip

    Hey M.K.! Man I really like your site but it is a pain to navigate because I can’t find articles, that I want to read again, easily in Google or on your site. That’s great for stickiness but bad for getting the info to read again and again. Would you be willing to trade a search box for likes and tweets? I really could use a search box at the top of your site. ;0)

  79. Tim

    Which plugins do you recommend that would work with 1shopping cart and also provide sequential content distribution. In other words, some content is only available in month 2, month3, etctera of the subscription.

  80. Hey M.K. have you seen the newest wordpress membership site plugin, MemberMouse? The plugin is designed to follow marketing best practices for signing up new members and keeping them as long as possible. Its got some great features such as 1-click buy links & a my account page.

    You should check out the video on the homepage (has some really cool stuff in it):

  81. VBk

    Hello !
    I would like to hear more about (And Premium: . Does any body have Idea on both versions of this plugin?

    Personally, I don’t like WPMU’s plugins. But would like to use this one

    • M.K.

      The full version of WPMU DEV Membership is reviewed here. What exactly would you like to know about the plugin?

    • VBK

      At that moment, I was confused a bit about configuration . But now it’s Okay. Could any one share their opinion on this plugin before I purchase premium version ? Free version is too limited .

      I request other subscribers of this post to share their opinion on this plugin as this plugin just seems as a fork of other plugins

      Thank you!

  82. Membership-only menus

    Does anyone know of a plugin that enables a special members-only menu? So that non-logged in users don’t see pages that they can’t access? WP-members doesn’t provide this, and the built in wordpress private pages function returns a 404 if non-logged in users click a private page.

    I’ve tried using custom menus plus “if ( is_user_logged_in() ) ” but I don’t know PHP at all.

    Suggestions most welcome.

    • M.K.

      If your menu is done manually in the template file, you could use something like the following code (it’s what I used in one of my previous websites):

      < ?php  
      global $user_ID;
      if ($user_ID) 
        // $user_ID is set -- meaning the user is logged in.
        // HTML for private menus goes here..
        // $user_ID is not set. User isn't logged in.
        // HTML for public menu items goes here...
  83. Seego

    I am using Paypal Subscription Button together with User Access Manager for my membership site. The interface of PSB is very simple and easy to use and it’s not bloated like other plugins out there. Though it’s not the ultimate solution but it’s exactly what I need. You may want to try it:

    On my other site I am using s2Member. It’s a beast but non-technical users may find it very hard to set up.

  84. VBK

    The most popular RoleScoper and Capability manager were not listed here. Is there a reason for that?

    Most of the plugins listed here are paid plugins tough :)

    • I’m nothing to do with the site, but I’d imagine that as good as they are, they’re not really membership plugins.

      I’d also point out that the vast majority of membership plugins are commercial (a couple have free “lite” versions). If the implication is that these are paid reviews then I’ll state that a plugin I’m involved with is on here, we didn’t pay for the review and the author isn’t even using our affiliate link!

    • VBK

      Glenn Pegden,

      Oh ! I didn’t mean what you thought. I don’t mind if someone write reviews on useful tools, his favorite plugins or the plugins which he like. That’s his choice .I just suggested the author that it would be useful to WinkPress users if the popular free plugins were mentioned in the review.

      Thanks !

    • VBK

      BTW, I don’t know who you are and ‘one of the plugins’ listed here is yours . I didn’t use most of these plugins and don’t know much about them or their authors (Plugin Authors) :)

    • It’s deliberate you don’t know which one I sell. I not here to pimp our stuff, I’m here to be helpful :) .

      Clue: It’s not one of the three listed as “best”, even though I think it’s better than them (if you don’t need multisite support).

    • M.K.

      As Glenn said, Role Scoper and Capability Manager are not real membership plugins. They can’t automatically grant access to a member when payment is made. Those free plugins don’t have any payment processing capabilities, which is an essential feature of the plugins listed here. For a plugin to be listed here, it must have this feature and it doesn’t have to be commercial.

    • VBK

      Sorry ! I mistaken

  85. Michael

    Would like your thoughts on aMember Pro.

    • M.K.

      Hi Michael, While aMember does have an official plugin to integrate with WordPress, it remains an external script that’s not really made for WordPress. Even if that mattered only a little to the end user, aMember doesn’t offer much more than the existing membership plugins for WordPress. And aMember is expensive ($175 for a single site license). I don’t see why any WordPress user would want to use it, honestly. Thanks a lot for your question!

    • Michael

      Thanks M.K. Very helpful.

  86. WPMU Dev offers a Lite version for free and it’s great for most basic membership sites but only allows 2 levels which usually isn’t a problem.

    Just a heads up

    Here’s a link to it:

  87. AM

    I have WP with the Thesis theme. WLM seems to have problems with Thesis. Can you comment on this? And do you know if any of the other membership plugins have problems with certain WP themes

    • M.K.

      I heard from more than one developer that Thesis is needlessly complicated. Regardless though, I doubt that WLM doesn’t support Thesis properly because both Thesis and WLM are popular among internet marketers. I think the problem lies in your particular setup. Try contacting WishList or Thesis creators.

      Unfortunately, there is no way for me to test a membership plugin against all the possible themes out there. If contacting the creators is not an option for you, try membership plugins that offer a refund policy. If the plugin works for you, keep it, otherwise, refund it — until you find one that works.

  88. What about Digital Access Pass — doesn’t it do what AWeber and Wishlist member do — and as an all-in-one package?

    • Yes, DAP offers a built-in autoresponder for convenience, but I would suggest integrating with a real email service provider if you really wanna use an autoresponder sequence. WishList Member and DAP both offer integration with several email marketing services.

    • I understand the need for a ‘real’ email service provider if I’m going to be sending hundreds or thousands of emails… due to server challenges. But if I have fewer than 100 members at any given time, won’t DAP work fine alone>?

    • It all depends how much the rest of the internet’s mail servers trust the mail server your web host uses. It’s getting increasingly hard to send mail from “your own” mail servers without being flagged as spam.

      The Membership Plugin I’m involved with supports using the servers configured in php as an autoresponder, but we strongly recommend people use the gateways we provide to professional services (i.e. Aweber, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor etc) to avoid the mail ending up in your user’s spam buckets (at best).

    • Thanks for your answer. I just hate the thought of ‘integrating’ two separate companies (i.e., Wishlist Member and AWeber). I’ve heard nightmares about difficulty getting them to work together. DAP is as expensive as both of those together — which makes it not cost effective if I have to get AWeber in addition to DAP
      ! Seems to defeat the purpose of purchasing an ‘all-inclusive’ service. I’m not thrilled about the learning curve of DAP, but they do post their entire manual on the net for all to see — so I can see what it will take to make it work. AWeber and Wishlist Member are relative unknowns. So the question becomes, again, does it really make a difference if I’m working with paid members whom I will ask to add my email to their contact list. If they don’t, and messages go to their spam, and they contact me because they think they haven’t gotten their emails…… is that really a huge problem? So sorry to be a pest. I’m just really trying to figure our the best approach for my situation. Thank you.

    • Hi Bonnie, Thanks for your questions. From what I’ve seen, WishList Members’ integration with AWeber is simple and reliable. When a user signs up for your site, they’re added to your AWeber list. They will then begin receiving your autoresponder sequence or your manual email broadcasts that you setup within AWeber.

      But like you said, if you only have around 100 members, using DAP’s built-in email broadcast module may work for you.


    • Johnny Rocket

      You seem very knowledgeable so I’m going to through this out to you.

      1. Have members sign up for a paid membership receive a free a audio/video course the will be.
      2. All Audio content protected.
      3. After they sign up for the membership I want the option for them to be able to select and purchase other e-courses they like.
      4. I want them to have the option to be able to go back and download courses they purchased at any time in the future.
      5. When they sign up I’m hoping that it will automatically sign them up for my newsletters
      6. I want certain pages of my blog to be members only and other pages open to the public.
      7. I would also like to put partial blog post up for free, but members can read the full article.

    • ” ….. If they don’t, and messages go to their spam, and they contact me because they think they haven’t gotten their emails…”

      That’s the best case scenario. Unless you already have some kind of positive relationship with these people they are much more likely to lose confidence, be wary it’s some kind of scam and cancel their subscription.

      Most of the reputable membership plugins and service providers (such as Awebber) have plenty of experience at tying their services together and provide robust mechanisms for doing so. Although as somebody involved with doing these types of integrations I’d probably list WishList+Aweber as one of my least preferred.

      I don’t wish to use these comments to advertise, but the YM/MailChimp integration video at gives you a great idea of how completely a membership plugin can work with mailing manager.

    • Thanks — I’ll give it ‘a look.’

  89. Melkiades

    Hi there,

    Nice review but you forgot to include localization as a criteria. English speaking people tend to forget that there are other languages out there… :)


    • Hi Melkiades, While some plugins support translation, there are no translation files available yet for any of them. You have to make your own. I did a brief comparison of each plugin support for localization here. It’s not included in the table — only in the links below the table. The comparison page may not be comprehensive. Other plugins — such as WPMU DEV Membership and s2Member — may both support translation but I wouldn’t know until I inspect the code of each one. I’ll do that in the next update. English isn’t my native language either, by the way! ;)

  90. This is a nice comparison table. However, the most important thing is not addressed here — do the plugins fully integrate into the WordPress roles and capabilities system? If they don’t, the plugins aren’t worth using to me.

    • Hi Justin, Thanks for your comment. I just updated the table but honestly, I haven’t looked into how the plugins integrate with WordPress’ built-in roles and capabilities. I see how that’s important for interoperability with other plugins and expandability, which is what WordPress is all about, so I’ll include it as comparison metric when I’m done with some content I’m currently making. Thanks again for the suggestion!

    • Your Members will certainly set the WP role for you when somebody subscribes to a membership level, but other than implementing a pay-to-post system, I can’t see how this is of much use to 99% of users who just want to paywall their content from subscribers and none logged in users.

      If WordPress offered a way to create user defined roles, I could see some real value in it, but currently I imagine it’s something most people just leave on subscriber and never consider changing.

      Obviously, I’d be delighted if you think I’m wrong, as it then becomes something I can suggest to our development team.

    • James C

      I use Magic Members for my clients and it supports roles and capabilities. They have a nice menu which lists all the previously created roles (from different roles and capabilities plugins), system defined ones and the ones you created within Magic Members. You can create your own roles and attach them to the subscription packs right inside Magic Members.

      With roles, you can create various different concepts.
      For example: If anyone uses Simple:Press forum and wants to turn it into a membership forum you can combine Simple:Press’ roles functionality with Magic Members’. This way you can control which membership level can access to which forum category.

  91. I think you missed Magic Members plugin.

    • Thanks for the suggestion — I'll update this section to include it soon. But do you think Magic Members is better than Wishlist Member?

    • M.K.

      The section has been updated and Magic Members included :)

    • Steve, We are using Magic Members for one of our sites and we send out auto-response emails for subscribers. But for some reason, Gmail addresses will not get delivered. They are not hitting the Spam folder or anything, it is not even getting that far. Any suggestions? Just starting the process with support.

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