WishList Member — Review of WordPress Membership Plugin

WishList Member review

Overall rating: ★★★★½

Version: 2.71

Reviewed by

WishList Member is one of the earliest membership plugins. It is perhaps the most popular and widely used plugin. It started out a little basic but has become very rich and powerful now. Its interface is extremely clean and professional.

The UI isn’t the only thing that feels professional about WishList Member the entire experience from purchasing to support and documentation is polished and sophisticated. That’s why, despite its many advanced features, the plugin is easy to use.

WishList Member is a well rounded plugin that’s suitable for membership sites of all sizes. Check out the review to find out about the specifics and whether WishList Member is right for you.

Installation & Admin UI

Once you download WishList Member, installation is quite simple. Upload the zip folder with either FTP or WordPress plugin uploader and activate the plugin. After that, you’ll see a top-level menu for the plugin, click on it and you’ll be asked to enter your license key and email address to be able to start using the plugin. That’s all there is to it.

The admin UI of WishList is excellent. It is nicely organized and intuitive to use. It borrows as much as possible from WordPress native UI.

Unfortunately, the plugin has to contact the servers of WishList every time you access your admin dashboard. So, it is always dependent on WishList servers being up and running.

Documentation & Support

WishList Member includes several PDF guides for basic settings, payment processor integration, autoresponders, and more. There are also plenty of instructional videos that cover everything that can be done with the plugin. An FAQ page is available as well. All of these resources are reserved for paying customers. They are not viewable publicly.

As for technical support, you can submit a ticket or email support@wishlistproducts.com. It’s plain and simple. There is no live chat or forum support, though.

Member Management

Subscribers within WishList Member and WordPress users are the same. Adding a member in either one is reflected on the other. However, while WishList Member uses WordPress users to manage members, it does not use WordPress roles and capabilities. WishList Member membership levels are separate from those.

You can create an unlimited number of membership levels and you can associate and capture custom profile fields through WishList Member.

Payment Processing Features

WishList Member supports the following payment processors (or shopping carts, as they are called by the WishList people): PayPal, 1ShoppingCart, 2Checkout, ClickBank, Cydec, Infusionsoft, Premium Web Cart, QuickPayPro, and Red Oak Cart, and UltraCart.

Additionally, documentation for integration with other payment processors is provided.

Processing of Cancellations and Refunds

There are two categories of integration within WishList Member: simple and full. Some processors, such as PayPal and ClickBank, have full integration. When these are used, WishList Member is capable of automatically processing cancellations, refunds, and failed payments. However, with simple integrations, these capabilities aren’t available. WishList Member also lacks some advanced payment features such as coupon codes and upsells.

Flow of Registration Steps

WishList Member supports the following registration flow scenarios (each ‘→’ represents a redirect):

  • Register Login & access free content Pay
  • Register Pay Login
  • Pay on PayPal first Register Login
  • Pay and register account on one page on your site Login
  • Register for a free trial by submitting payment info Login Automatic payment after trial

Content Protection Features

WishList Member provides great flexibility in content management and protection. You can protect posts, pages, comments, categories, files, and folders.

Posts, pages, and custom post types can individually be protected from their respective edit screens. If you need to set protection rules in bulk, you can do that from the “Manage Content” tab in admin side.

You can tell WishList Member whether you want new posts to be automatically protected, if you wish.

WishList Member uses native WordPress API to protect content, which enhances its compatibility with other plugins. It’s content protection mechanism are well thought out. It offers you the option to restrict logins of the same username and password if it’s from multiple IPs to prevent password sharing.

Gradual Content Delivery

Sequential content delivery in WishList Member is handled through sequential membership level upgrades. Basically, you assign content to various membership levels, and then you create rules that automatically upgrade members from a certain membership level to the next. That way members gradually gain access to more and more content. Making these is actually not as complicated as my description of it sounds!

Protecting Files

The way WishList Member handles file protection is very efficient and professional. In WordPress, you can attach uploaded files to posts. If the post is protected, WishList Member automatically protects files that are attached to it.

Alternatively, you can protect files separately or create entire folders that are accessible to certain membership levels only.

Teaser Content or Scripting Tags

You can use [private] tags to partially protect content. WishList Member also has, what they call, merge tags, which are shortcodes that can be used to programmatically control the visibility of content.

Secure RSS Feeds

WishList Member provides every subscriber to your site with a unique RSS feed, which can be used by the member to access content that’s available to their particular account.

Extensibility & API

There are several websites out there that are dedicated to WishList Member development. The WishList Member plugin has its own plugins, which can be found by searching the web.

The API documentation includes descriptions of several filter and action hooks, which WordPress developers will find very familiar.

Even non-WordPress applications can interface with WishList Member through its external API, which is sufficiently documented in a PDF file.

But keep in mind that the code of WishList Member is obfuscated, so you won’t be able to inspect the code and tweak it yourself.

Email Communication with Subscribers

WishList Member integrates with AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, Autoresponse Plus, iContact, Infusionsoft, and Enterprise Email Marketer.

It allows you to create multiple lists for each membership level. It is even capable of automatically unsubscribing users from a list when those users are removed or upgraded from their membership level.

Additionally, WishList Member has a handy email broadcast feature where you can compose an email and send it to specific membership levels.

Affiliate Management Capabilities

To manage affiliates, you can integrate WishList Member with iDevAffiliate using an add-on provided by WishList. Or if you’re using a payment processor that provides affiliate management capabilities, such as ClickBank, then you can utilize that.

Who is Using It

WishList Member is an extremely popular membership plugin. On their website, WishList shows a counter of how many websites are powered by the plugin, and it shows tens of thousands! You can check out the complete showcase here.

Money Matters

You can buy the single site license ($97) which allows for installation on one domain. The Multi-Site license ($297) can be installed on as many domains as you own, and it includes some bonus material, such as themes and icons.

Both licenses entitle you to a one year of free updates. After that year, you can renew for $47.

WishList Member is backed by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so you can buy worry-free.

15 comments. You can post one, too!

  1. I had a somewhat negative experience with Wishlist Member. It turns out the plug in was not compatible with my theme, and in order to get it working for me it cost a ton of extra time trouble shooting the problem, and ultimately I had to scrap all the customization I had done to my site.
    So word of caution, if you are using a theme with WordPress, make sure it’s compatible with Wishlist Member before you make the investment.
    My customer service experience in trying to trouble shoot the problem was lukewarm.
    Now I am stuck with them (for reasons too lengthy to explain here) and wish I could go back in time and reconsider.

  2. Is there any way to show the comments on protected blog entries using Wishlist member? We think that all the comments saying “this stuff is awesome” would make people want to buy a membership.

  3. looking at alternatives now — i am one of WLM’s 1st customers — over the years i have given them professional-quality accurate and direct critique of their user procedures and application functionality — with the intent of truly providing their organization with help and information that can create a better user experience for WLM plugin owners.

    sometimes you just gotta absorb and respond to negative feedback and i’ve been in IT documentation and training for quite a while — so i have experience in optimizing software.

    it’s gotten personal with me and WLM — and Stu at WLM let me know he found my presence in his community draining — so i am working on getting out from the use of WLM — don’t want to “drain” their community with my comments as they are well intentioned and in my opinion — quite helpful.

    i want certain core functionality to work when i use WLM — some things are no brainers and should really “just work.”

    best,
    dainis

  4. Martin Wilson

    A few thoughts after having purchased and used Wishlist Member for a week.

    Myself: Computer Science Bachelors degree and MBA with 15 year of technical and business experience. Spent the previous 3 years consulting to large fortune 500 companies on business and technical strategy. Only 1 year in the Internet Marketing space.

    One: The integration of payments and drip content work very poorly. For instance, if you drip content every month and then the person cancels on month 3, Wishlist Member will only automatically cancel access to Month 1. Therefore, the person can come in and still see content form month 2-3.

    Two: You basically have to purchase Wishlist Insider to get any timely help on the forums or get access to the additional plugins they offer (which are fantastic). Unfortunately, these plugins are only available during certain time periods and cannot be purchased (as of yet).

    Three: It was hard to find the right trainings. For instance, if you just purchased the product, wouldn’t you expect a simple walk through and guide on how to setup the site. I finally found this information from another user (thanks Clint) but it wasn’t obvious.

    Four: The training videos were very unprofessional at times. The internet marketing space can be extremely cheesy at times and, call me jaded, but this company definitely fit the mold. Felt like I was listening to an Amway training. The presenters were so excited and “pumped-up”. At other times, they would harass a person for asking a question that they had already covered.

    Thanks for the great content.

    • Clint Mallon

      Martin!! Just read your comment and I couldn’t agree more (I’m really sorry that I helped lead you to WLM). It’s 2:05 am right now and I’m doing my research trying to find an alternative to WLM bc they are complete GARBAGE!

      Along with everything Martin just shared, their customer support is EASILY the worst customer support I’ve ever seen – it’s TERRIBLE!! You can’t call them (I believe this is the norm in the membership plugin world), and I’ve submitted AT LEAST 20 (extremely thorough) tickets to their support staff with nearly no decent responses whatsoever.

      Their support staff is completely oblivious to how WLM works. It’s almost like their support staff is a bunch of automated computers that simply copy and paste Wishlist Insider text as their responses to questions. Half of their responses don’t even pertain to the questions I ask?! It’s an absolute JOKE!!

      I even had a gentleman yesterday that doesn’t even work for WLM (Thank’s Aricsp) provide an answer to a question that the WLM support staff said wasn’t even possible?!?! I did a random search on Google, found a forum, and the answer this gentleman provided (after he worked all day to find the answer) actually worked!! Are you kidding me?! This is completely unacceptable but this is what WLM provides for their customers…

      Bottom line: If I were you (I’ve already spent a month on WLM, two weeks on Magic Members, and two weeks on s2member Pro) I would completely avoid WLM at all costs. Yes, WLM does offer a lot of features – yes, some of them work very well. On the other hand, I’ve seen FAR TOO MANY absurd things about WLM that these guys haven’t even thought about!!!! And I’m a Newbie!!!

      If you’re looking for a simple, well thought out, customizable membership plugin, with decent support, WLM is not for you. I’m completely disgusted and if Steve Job’s were to see what WLM has created, he’d probably throw a fit and then fire the ENTIRE staff…

      This company is a joke and if I could rate them out of 5 stars, I’d generously give them a 2.

    • Clint/Martin:

      I think it’s about time you checked out DigitalAccessPass (DAP) :-)

      - Ravi Jayagopal
      Founder & Co-Developer, DAP

    • Sarah

      I know this post is kinda stale, but you guys obviously have some hard earned experience in this area. Having ruled out Magic Members and WishList, what do you recommend? High on my list are ease of use, and clean integration with existing themes.

      Thanks so much :)
      Sarah

    • I’m pretty much in the same mindset as you and most others here about WLM. I’ve installed the plugin and set up exactly as their tutorials show. Their support sucks. I’ve tested the cancellation process a few times and not a single time has WLM actually blocked members only content. It says their membership is cx’d but still allows them access. I’ve submitted a few emails to them and only one response thus far.

      Plus, I believe a customer should be able to cx their membership within their profile and WL makes them have to go through PayPal or call their CC company to cx. That just doesn’t seem right.

      I know it’s been a while since you made this post but was wondering if you switched to s2Member and what you thought of them. I was originally going to go with them but someone recommended WLM so I went that direction. Considering making the switch. Thoughts?

    • well, i got kicked out of the wishlist insider online community for supposedly “being negative.” basically – i wanted specific functionality to work. stu removed me personally.

  5. Brandon

    Hi,

    I would like know if your WordPress product supports subscriptions, reoccurring payment, promo codes and discounts on how many users sign up and discounts on longer term commitments.

    If so I would like a tutorial on how to set it up, any documentation I would need to get going and if you have video tutorials I would like to see them as well.

    Thanks,
    Brandon

  6. Monique Dansereux, Ph.D.

    We offer an educational program and have a moodle site that needs a robust membership system that has a shopping cart and also allows us to use aweber. Can you help us?

    • Hi Monique, If you have specific questions about membership plugins in general, I’ll be happy to see if I can answer them if you post them here.

      Fortunately for you if you’re using WishList Member, there are plenty of 3rd party developers who work closely with WishList Member and build websites based on it, so you could hire any one of those to get the help you need.

  7. Wray C

    Thanks for the review!
    Just wanted to follow up and let you know that we do have 2 APIs that can be used to work with WishList Member. These open up WishList Member to allow for customizations.
    Those can be checked out here:
    http://wishlistproducts.com/api/
    Thanks again @M.K. :)

  8. The best thing about Wishlist Member because it wordpress based you can extend its features using plugins.
    I have set the a website that contains all the plugins of wishlist member in one place.
    You can find it at: http://wishlistmemberplugins.net

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read this to make your comment cool.