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One of the best ways to monetize your WordPress website is to turn it into a membership site. It’s ideal if you want to boost your income but don’t necessarily want to run an eCommerce store. Instead of selling products, you can provide exclusive content that you manage using a membership system.

The easiest way to create a membership site is to use a WordPress membership plugin. It’ll help you set up payment gateways and create access rules and membership levels without hiring a web developer.

That said, not all plugins are created equal. So we’ll look at the best membership plugins for WordPress websites to help you grow your online business.

What are WordPress membership plugins?

WordPress membership plugins help you turn your WordPress website into a membership site and deliver restricted content to registered users only.

Some membership plugins can help you build a subscription website by creating a paywall that restricts user access to content until the customer pays a certain fee. Others can help you charge members recurring fees, publish member directories and even sell event tickets.

A membership plugin also lets you:

  • Control content drip and release specific content periodically
  • Publish content that certain user groups can access based on their membership level
  • Add coupon codes and discount codes to encourage users to purchase more

Now that you’re familiar with what membership plugins are, let’s take a closer look at factors to consider when choosing these plugins.

Criteria for selecting the top WordPress membership plugins

With the huge number of membership plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, picking the right plugin for your website can be overwhelming.

To help you narrow down your options, here are some things to look for to determine which membership plugin to choose:

Multiple payment gateways and options

Your members may be scattered across the globe, so they may not be able to access the same payment methods.

Choose a membership plugin that supports several payment gateways for international payments, such as Stripe and PayPal. The more payment methods you provide, the easier for users to join.

Easy-to-use interface

The membership plugin should be easy for you and your members to use. It should have all the features you need to manage your membership smoothly.

It must also integrate with the WordPress theme you’re using. Otherwise, you may be forced to redesign your whole website, which can affect the membership launch and other business goals.

Integrates with other software and apps

On top of being compatible with your website, the membership plugin should integrate with your other business tools. These include your email marketing platform, CRM and social channels.

Reliable customer support

While most plugins run smoothly and are updated regularly, there’s always a possibility of a technical issue that needs more than just a regular update.

A membership plugin with reliable customer support can be crucial, especially when you’re having a problem that’s costing your business money.

Best WordPress membership plugins

Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a membership plugin, here are nine WordPress membership plugins that can help you monetize your website and grow your business:

1. MemberPress

MemberPress homepage.
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MemberPress is a popular WordPress membership plugin. It enables you to build a membership website and accept credit cards and digital wallets securely.

The plugin offers powerful access control, which lets you restrict access to any content, including pages, posts, categories, custom post types, files and tags.

Its powerful learning management system (LMS) makes creating and selling online courses easy. Using the drip content functionality, you can release content to members progressively to keep your content irresistible and customers’ interest alive.

Besides drip content, MemberPress lets you set content access expiration dates. Its automated billing systems also simplify allowing and canceling memberships based on users’ payments.

Key features:

  • Integrates with thousands of third-party apps and software
  • Supports Stripe and PayPal payment gateways. The Pro plan also supports
  • Content restriction
  • Drip content functionality
  • Subscription billing for recurring payments
  • Members-only dashboard for discussions and sharing ideas

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Website owners looking for effective tools to add capabilities and roles and assign them to users.

Price: Plans start at $179.50/year.

2. Restrict Content Pro

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Restrict Content Pro is an all-in-one content restriction tool that turns your website into a powerful WordPress membership site.

Its powerful content restriction options help you limit content in various ways, including access level, membership level, specific parts of content or WordPress user role.

For example, you can create and sell unlimited membership plans that allow you to restrict a user’s access to specific content on your website. Just create membership levels that customers can register for and display them on the registration page so users can select the one they wish to buy.

You can also configure emails to be sent automatically once a customer updates their membership.

Restrict Content Pro provides detailed reports on earnings, account registration and subscription payments. That way, you can track how well your membership website is doing.

Key features:

  • Powerful content restriction
  • Create and sell unlimited membership plans
  • Built-in member account dashboard
  • PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout and Braintree payment gateway integrations
  • WooCommerce integration

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Businesses looking to grow their membership websites with a lightweight eCommerce solution.

Price: Plans start at $99/year.

3. LearnDash

LearnDash homepage.
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LearnDash is a powerful learning management system that helps WordPress users create engaging, professional courses in a few clicks. As a result, it’s an ideal plugin for professionals who want to monetize their expertise.

The LMS platform offers advanced features to create the best online learning experience for users.

For example, you can build different courses using the drag-and-drop builder and pre-built templates. Other features include a “Focus Mode” that lets you create a distraction-free environment for learners and certification for students who complete the course.

Once you install LearnDash, the support team will take you through an onboarding process to show you how to maximize the plugin’s potential.

The platform also offers checkout options such as Stripe, PayPal, WooCommerce, 2Checkout and RazorPay.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Integrates with the most popular apps, including BuddyPress, Zapier, Mailchimp and WooCommerce
  • Schedule drip content as learners progress through the course
  • Onboarding process to show you how to maximize the plugin’s potential
  • Integrates with Stripe, PayPal and 2Checkout

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Websites owners looking to create professional courses for users.

Price: Plans start at $199/year.

4. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships homepage.
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WooCommerce Memberships is an easy-to-use plugin that helps you build a membership system connected to your WooCommerce store.

The platform helps you restrict content to members, sell access to memberships and include memberships with product purchases. You can also drip content over time and schedule when users can access it.

For instance, you can require users to be members for a specific time (e.g., a week) before accessing certain pages or posts.

In addition, the WordPress plugin lets you offer certain products exclusively to members. You can build members-only products so your website becomes a purchasing club. You can even restrict product viewing to members, so non-members can’t see the items.

The plugin also has free shipping options for members, and you can also offer exclusive discounts to customers for all products or some items.

Key features:

  • Content drip to schedule when members see your content
  • Options for free shipping and other special discounts
  • Restrict product viewing and purchasing
  • Membership flexibility to create different types of memberships
  • Export member lists to a CSV file and import it into an email tool

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Websites owners looking to create a membership system on their WooCommerce stores.

Price: Plans start at $199/year.

5. MemberMouse

MemberMouse homepage.
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MemberMouse is an enterprise-level membership plugin for WordPress site owners wanting to sell products or subscriptions with flexible payment options such as custom checkouts, one-click purchases and coupon codes.

The plugin helps you password-protect various pages so you can deliver premium content, videos, PDFs and software to members only.

On top of that, you can manage members with an intuitive and simple customer relationship management (CRM) platform. The CRM tools help you track member info, transaction history, activity and more.

MemberMouse also offers automation features that empower members to easily reset their password, update their account information and view purchase history. They can downgrade, upgrade or cancel subscriptions without contacting customer support.

Key features:

  • Easy installation and fast activation
  • Affiliate support and integration
  • Robust reporting tools to calculate sales, customer lifetime value and more
  • SmartTags for personalization
  • Flexible pricing options

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Subscription-based businesses on WordPress.

Price: Plans start at $199.50/year.

6. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro homepage.
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Paid Memberships Pro is a complete WordPress membership plugin that helps you restrict content and manage member subscriptions with recurring payments.

The platform helps you offer each member a unique page so they can communicate with you directly — an excellent way to create more intimate content for users.

Personalization also includes adjustable navigation menus to highlight important links and a custom homepage for different member levels.

With its AffiliateWP and Affiliates Manager integration, you can create an affiliate program and convert members into partners. That way, you can reward members who bring in new users with special membership rates and coupon codes.

Key features:

  • Content restriction
  • Flexible membership-level pricing
  • Integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and offline payments (check)
  • Use WooCommerce to buy membership levels as products
  • Integrates with other WordPress plugins, including bbPress, BuddyPress and Elementor
  • Detailed admin reports

Best WordPress membership plugin for Businesses looking to build feature-rich subscription websites.

Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $247/year.

7. WP-Members

WP-Members homepage.
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WP-Members is a free, easy-to-use membership plugin that offers content restriction and custom registration.

The plugin helps you create content teasers. That means you can protect specific sections of your content and allow visitors to view the rest without signing up first.

You can also add custom registration and login forms to your membership website to generate unique URLs for your registration page.

That said, the free version offers limited features, so you may want to check out its premium add-ons for more advanced features, including selling memberships through WooCommerce and user tracking.

Key features:

  • Restrict pages and posts
  • API functions for extensibility
  • Customizable registration and profile fields
  • Shortcodes for content restriction, registration, login and more
  • Over 120 filter and action hooks for powerful customizations

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Businesses looking for a cost-effective solution for building a membership website on WordPress.

Price: Free plan, with options for add-on upgrades.

8. s2Member

s2Member homepage.
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s2Member is another popular WordPress membership plugin that provides both a free and premium version. However, the free version has a lot of limitations, including not having access to any payment integrations.

If you opt for the paid versions, you’ll be charged a one-time payment and get access to advanced features such as offering highly-configurable access to specific parts of your content.

You also get content dripping, allowing members to gain access to more content progressively. You can also create multiple membership site portals without direct day-to-day involvement in releasing the content.

s2Member integrates with Mailchimp, GetResponse and AWeber to help you send email newsletters to customers, grow your email lists and monitor campaign performance.

Key features:

  • Content restriction and alternative view restriction options
  • Brute force login protection
  • Integration with popular email marketing tools, including GetResponse, Mailchimp and AWeber
  • Integration with iDevAffiliate and ShareASale affiliate management platforms
  • Unique Internet Protocol (IP) restrictions

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Website owners looking for a free membership plugin for selling digital and physical products.

Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $89 (one-time fee).

9. Ultimate Member

Ultimate Member homepage.
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Ultimate Member is a membership plugin offering a range of features, including member directories, user profiles, content restriction and user registration or login.

With User Accounts, members can manage their own accounts directly from your website’s front end. They can change their names and passwords, update their email addresses and control their profile’s privacy.

Another great feature of Ultimate Member is restricting access to your website on a per-page basis or globally. In other words, you can limit the entire website to logged-in members only or make it available to everyone.

The plugin also offers a drag-and-drop form builder that makes designing unique registration and login forms for your website simple. The range of form field types will help you collect various types of user data.

Furthermore, you can use its customizable templates to create emails you can send to users after a particular event happens.

Key features:

  • User role assignment
  • Multiple registration forms
  • Customize user profiles
  • Choose which user roles to show in the member directory
  • Triple anti-spam protection

Best WordPress membership plugin for: Small website owners wanting to try out a membership system.

Price: Free with limited features. Premium plans start at $249/year.

Final thoughts: The 9 best WordPress membership plugins for 2023

The best WordPress membership plugin for your website will vary significantly based on your needs. But no matter your choice, you’ll want to back up your membership site with reliable hosting.

Bluehost offers a number of hosting plans designed to boost your WordPress website’s performance. For a better WordPress experience, sign up for WordPress Hosting to get top-tier plugins and updates and enjoy 75% faster performance.

WordPress membership plugin FAQs

What is the best free WordPress membership plugin?

Paid Memberships Pro is the best free WordPress membership plugin. It’s highly customizable since it lets you choose the features you want to add to your website.
You can also build any type of membership website, including a premium content site, online course and association website.

How do I create a membership website in WordPress?

Here’s a quick guide on creating a membership website on WordPress:
Step 1: Set up your membership website using WordPress powered by a web hosting service like Bluehost.
Step 2: Install a comprehensive membership plugin like MemberPress.
Step 3: Configure your WordPress membership plugin.
Step 4: Set up your payment methods.
Step 5: Create membership levels for users to purchase.
Step 6: Set up the access rules.
Step 7: Create premium members-only content for registered users on your membership website.
Step 8: Create a pricing page for different membership plans.
Step 9: Add sign-up and login forms.

How do membership plugins work?

Membership plugins convert your WordPress website into a membership platform. As a result, you can create courses or subscription content for your audience, sell digital products and offer unlimited membership levels, ranging from free to paid.

Is WordPress good for membership sites?

Yes. WordPress is your best and safest option for creating a membership website. The platform is packed with a massive ecosystem of plugins, templates, themes and hosting options that make it easy even for beginners to develop a website.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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