If you're building a membership site in WordPress, it's worth exploring your options as it's a very competitive space. Last year saw membership sites reach new highs, as more people than ever are creating membership sites. That being said, there's definitely still time to seize this opportunity due to unwavering popular demand.
MemberPress is among the most popular and intuitive WordPress membership plugins. It's a premium plugin but affordably priced.
++ Intuitive set-up: easily add membership plans and automatically configure pricing, login, account, and thank you pages
++ Content control options: restrict access to certain types of content and configure content dripping with ease
++ Integrations: integrates with Zapier, Affiliate Royale, MailChimp, LearnDash, and AWS
++ Sell courses: supports selling courses
-- Limited payment options: only supports the most popular payment gateways
-- Integrations: many would like to see still more integrations (the eternal gripe of the WordPress community)
-- Pricing: starting from $129 / year for the Basic plan and $249 / year for the Plus plan.
2. Restrict Content Pro
Brought to you by the same team that is behind Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP, this plugin makes a powerful claim for the membership plugin throne.
++ Intuitive set-up: seamless integration with your WordPress dashboard
++ Built-in integrations and compatibility: many of your favorite plugins, including Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, MailPoet, etc. come built-in; Easy Digital Downloads compatibility
++ Excellent support: free documentation and professional support that
++ Extensive payment gateway options: besides Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, it supports 2Checkout, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Express, and Stripe Checkout
-- Integrations: many would like to see still more integrations, especially as relates to email service providers
-- Pricing: $99 with 12 addons and single site license, $149 for 5 sites, and $249 for all addons and unlimited sites; there is also a $499 lifetime plan.
LearnDash is very flexible and, like most of the other options on this list, fairly intuitive.
++ Intuitive set-up: easy enough to set up and introducing content is even simpler
++ Built-in integrations: many of your favorite plugins, including Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, MailPoet, etc. come built-in
++ Sell courses: best plugin on this list for selling courses
-- Lacks certain membership features: for sites that are not interested in selling courses, LearnDash may not be all that useful for you
-- Pricing: Starting from $159 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.
Teachable is an all-in-one online course builder, enabling you to create a membership website complete with a discussion forum, email marketing, and analytics all managed with one dashboard.
++ Intuitive set-up: no technical skills needed to get set up, and built-in tools like video and PDF creation abound
++ Content control options: although not as varied as MemberPress, drip content is supported
++ Engagement features: forums, quizzes, contact forms, certificates, and more can be used to boost engagement
-- Not a WordPress plugin: Teachable has to be integrated by adding links, a sub-domain, or Zapier
-- More expensive: basic plan starts at $39 / month, professional $99 / month, and business $499 / month.
S2Member is the most popular free WordPress membership plugin, but a premium version is available as well. It has a loyal, long-running userbase.
++ Free: the base plugin is free, allowing you to give it a try and see if it is right for you
++ Content control options: although not as varied as MemberPress, drip content is supported but only with the premium membership
++ Built-in integrations: works with MailChimp, bbPress, and BuddyPress
++ Solid support: extensive documentation and pro users get email-based support
-- Not a user-friendly set-up: less intuitive set-up than the other options on this list
-- Limited payment options: free version only supports PayPal, but the premium version supports Stripe and Authorize.net
-- Pricing: The base plugin is free, then Pro version for a single site license costs $89 USD. For unlimited sites pro version costs $189 USD.
MemberPress is the best option overall, given its features, support, and documentation. If you want to prioritize simplicity and ease of use, then Restrict Content Pro is a solid option guaranteed by a great team. If you want to sell courses, then LearnDash is the best option.