Paid Membership websites are growing rapidly. From providing stock option info to business 2 business marketing info, there are plenty of things one can offer on a paid membership website. The hard part is implementing the technology to make it all work. If you are running a WordPress website, you have plenty of options available- Before I compare these options, I should mention any good developer should be able to create a paid membership website from scratch, or customize a CMS plugin or extension to fit your needs. On to the goods!
I hate looking for reviews on the internet because I have found that more often than not the reviewers are either paid to post their (biased) review or they are just taking the word of other people to get a blog post out the door. I want you to know I have personally used and customized each of the plugins I am reviewing today. (In order of my personal preference) Paid Memberships Pro, S2 Members, Member Mouse and MagicMembers.
– Paid Memberships Pro –
Pricing: Standard Version is $0.00, Pro Upgrade is $97.
Overview: Excellent plugin, my favorite by far. Not only is the plugin easy to use, but for the low price of FREE you get tons of features. Another thing I like is their “Pro” bundle upgrade is not an excuse to limit what you can do with the standard version, in order to get you to upgrade. The Pro Bundle gives you one year of documentation and support in the member-only forums and it includes all the ‘add-on plugins’ with the installation, so you do not have to install them each separately (But you CAN install them separately, at no cost, with the free version). So in short they do not limit your features or functions with the free version, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!!!
Details: You get unlimited membership levels, ability to restrict any type of content to a certain membership level, however it does not support file access/download restrictions (But there is a free plugin we can use for that). Paypal, Paypal Pro, Stripe and Authorize.net are all included (FOR FREE). Drip content, and Affiliate Program Integrate included (FOR FREE). You can even integrate with MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, BuddyPress, bbPress and WooCommerce. Also provides Excellent reporting. All source code is available, so if you hire an awesome developer, he or she can add, customize or modify anything you want.
– S2 Members –
Pricing: Standard Version is $0.00, Pro Upgrade is a one time charge of $69 for ONE website.
Overview: Very robust, but almost too robust, it can be very confusing for first time users or non-developers. Having said that this is a great plugin, but there are some frustrating limitations with the free version.
Details: The free version limits you to 4 paid membership levels. The pro version gives you unlimited levels. The free version supports PayPal Standard payment gateway ONLY. The pro version supports Paypal Pro, Authorize.net, Google Wallet and ClickBank. Both versions support the ability to restrict any type of content to a certain membership level, as well as file access/download restriction. S2 is compatible with most user/member login forms, although the Pro version provides you with a Login Widget. Both versions integrate with MailChimp, AWeber, bbPress and BuddyPress. The interface can be quite confusing, and so ease of use could be an issue for non-developers. All source code is available, so if you hire an awesome developer, he or she can add, customize or modify anything you want.
– Member Mouse –
Pricing: $19.95 PER MONTH for up to 1,000 members, $39.95 PER MONTH for 5,000 members and $59.95 per month for 10,000 members. (Higher volume costs $99-$599)
Overview: Clearly it is pricey, however the user interface is extremely simple to use and they have extensive documentation on their website, if you are dead set against hiring a developer and need an ‘out of the box’ solution, this is the one for you.
Details: Unlimited membership levels, easy customization, built in push-notifications (sending emails, like welcome emails and such) Drip content and restrict content easily. Affiliate integration. PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Lime Light, Authorize.net, and ClickBank payment gateways. Integrates with MailChimp, GetResponse, Aweber and IContact. Group functionality (One person pays for multiple memberships) Also provides excellent reporting and easy member management. Tons of other great features.
– MagicMembers –
Pricing: $97 for one website (one-time)
Overview: I do not like that you only get upgrades for 1 year, however this is a robust plugin that is fairly simple to use.
Details: MagicMembers is easier to use than S2, the interface is well designed. You get support and updates for 1 year, I have heard the support is very poor (I have never needed it), and I am not thrilled with only giving you updates for 1 year, that basically forces you to pay the $97 again next year in order to get any vital updates. You do get Unlimited membership levels, the ability to restrict any type of content to a certain membership level, as well as file access/download restrictions. Drip Content, Affiliate Program Integration are included. Payment gateways include Paypal, PaypalPro, ClickBank, Authorize.net, 2CheckOut, WorldPay and a few other, lesser known, gateways. You also get integration with MailChimp, GetResponse, Aweber, Constant Contact, and Amazon S3. MagicMembers also includes handy login, register and status widgets. Decent reporting and once again all source code is available, so if you hire an awesome developer, he or she can add, customize or modify anything you want.
There are a number of other options out there, MemberPress, Meberships, EMembers, wp-members, just to name a few. I have found Paid Memberships Pro to be my go-to plugin, it is free and has everything I could want or need in a membership plugin. I have heard good things about EMembers, so if I get some free time I will try it out and update you.