How many paid and unpaid online memberships and subscriptions do you think you might have? A dozen? Thirty? More than a hundred?
Member areas are becoming increasingly popular online and can be invaluable for businesses and bloggers looking to make more money online, gather more information about their readers, or provide a more valuable experience for their existing customers.
Why create a protected area for members?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to set up a members-only area on your website or blog. If you’re creating a business website, you may want to provide value to your existing customers by making premium content on your site – such as video tutorials – available only to them on an extranet that only they can access.
If your site is aimed at members of a club, sports group, graduating class, or similar organization, the content should be accessible only to members to maintain exclusivity. Themerex, by the way, has a wide selection of extranet (and intranet) themes for you to choose from.
On the other hand, if you have an existing website or blog that you want to monetize, a popular way to make money from your online project is to offer a paid membership and provide premium content and private member forums for paying subscribers.
The premium content you offer can be videos, downloads, presentations, podcasts, documents or eBooks, from which you can post teaser content and excerpts to encourage unpaid members to sign up.
Of course, encouraging your readers to join may have nothing to do with money at all. If you want to grow your subscriber list and gather more information about your users for product research or development or for future sales leads, offering a free membership is also a good option.
Below you will find the best premium and free WordPress membership plugins that you can use to add a membership component to your WordPress website….
Premium Membership Plugins WishList Member
WishList Member is used by more than 50,000 online communities and membership sites around the world and can turn any existing WordPress website or blog into a powerful membership site.
Key features include:
Easy installation and membership management
Unlimited membership levels and flexible membership options
Sequential content delivery, so you can automatically upgrade members from a free trial to the next membership option
Content control, including the ability to create modular memberships and approve content for different membership levels
Shopping cart integration with e-commerce systems such as ClickBank, PayPal, InfusionSoft and others.
Additional features include subscription length control, partial content and sneak peek display, custom error messages, secure RSS feeds, login redirects and more.
The WishList Member WordPress Membership plugin is available for a one-time payment, priced at $97 for a single-site license or $297 for a multi-site license.
With the Member Mouse WordPress Membership plugin, you can sell products, subscriptions and memberships, set up password-protected member areas, manage customers and track metrics, automate customer service and more.
Key features include:
Payment integration with powerful e-commerce platforms like Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Authorize.net and more
International currency integration and overdue payment processing
Email integration with MailChimp, AWeber, iContact and GetResponse
Group feature that allows a member to pay and secure a certain number of seats, e.g. for consultants and agencies
Self-service customer account so members can update their information
Other features include 1-click upsells to maximize sales, trial offers and coupons, gift features, time-release and drip-feed content management, and an extensive shortcode library for dynamic site features without complex programming.
MemberMouse is available as a monthly subscription, starting at $19.95 per month for the starter package (for up to 1000 members). There are a range of subscription plans up to the Professional package for unlimited members priced at $599 per month.
The Magic Members WordPress Membership Plugin is easy and intuitive to use and allows you to use your existing content to create a membership site.
The main features are:
- Integration of payment gateways with PayPal, eWay, Stripe and moreRestrict Content Pro
- Pay-per-post access that provides the flexibility to enable free subscriptions to purchase content on a per-post basis
- AutoResponder integration with MailChimp, iContact, AWeber and more
- Download manager that protects downloads from access by unauthorized users and provides the ability to assign different permission levels to different subscribers
- Sequential course delivery system, which is especially useful if your members receive course content on a drip-feed basis (weekly or monthly)
- Category protection that allows you to assign member access to specific categories
Other features include easy setup and installation, simple member management, custom post type support, coupon creation and management, subscription length control, forum integration, custom widgets, flexible membership options, partial content display for teasers, and S3 Amazon support.
The Magic Members plugin is available for a one-time payment starting at $97 for a single user. Other options include a 3-user plan for $197 and unlimited users for $207.
Restrict Content Pro is a complete membership and premium content management plugin for WordPress that lets you create an unlimited number of membership levels, including free, trial and premium.
The main features are:
- Membership and subscription management
- Payment tracking
- The ability to offer discounts with a complete discount code system
- Member-only content options
- Unlimited subscription packages
Restrict Content Pro supports Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree for easy, integrated payment options and revenue and signup analytics.
Restrict Content Pro is available as a single-site, multi-site and unlimited-site subscription starting at $42. Certain Restrict Content plugins require an annual license for support and updates.
Free WordPress Membership Plugins
There are many tools available via the WordPress plugin directory to help you create restricted member access, and registration and login pages. These are five of the top free member-access / WordPress membership plugins currently available.
s2Member is a WordPress membership plugin that works with PayPal to give paid members access to members-only content, posts, and pages.
s2Member supports up to four primary membership levels as well as custom membership package creation features. This plugin has an average user rating of 4.4/5 stars and has been downloaded more than 469,000 times.
With Maven Member you can protect and restrict access to pages, posts and categories on your WordPress website, as well as create your own login form and customize templates for login and registration.
This plugin has an average user rating of 4/5 stars and has been downloaded more than 12,000 times.
WP-Members is a powerful membership management plugin that lets you restrict content access to registered users. Also, you can create some special pages with simple shortcodes, including a profile page, a registration page and a login page.
This plugin has an average user rating of 4.2/5 stars and has been downloaded more than 322,000 times.
WordPress Access Control
The WordPress Access Control allows you to restrict pages, posts, custom post types, and more for members, as well as customize the search page to hide restricted posts or pages for non-logged-in members from search results.
This plugin has an average user rating of 4.5/5 stars and has been downloaded more than 49,000 times.
With Member Access, you can make individual posts and pages on your WordPress website accessible only to logged-in members. This WP member plugin has an average user rating of 4.3/5 stars and has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
Do you currently offer members-only pages and content on your WordPress website or blog? What WordPress membership plugin or tool are you using?