WordPress membership plugins can be a super-efficient way to convert your website into a membership-based site.
However, there are a ton of options when searching for the best WordPress membership plugins, and knowing which ones are worth your time can seem like a toss-up at times.
Thankfully you don’t have to comb through all the results because we’ve put together a handy list of our favorite WordPress membership plugins.
In this article, we will cover what WordPress membership plugins are, how they can help you, and our top four choices for the best WordPress membership plugins currently available.
- What is a WordPress Membership Plugin?
- Best WordPress Membership Plugins
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What is a WordPress Membership Plugin?
A WordPress membership plugin is a tool that allows you to turn your website into a membership-based site without having to write code.
Instead of building a membership site from scratch, WordPress membership plugins allow you to transform your site into a fully-functioning membership site with just a few clicks of your mouse.
How WordPress Membership Plugins Can Help You
There is no shortage of options when it comes to making money online, but not many are as effective as creating a membership-based website.
When you require membership to use your website you establish a proven way to generate income.
On top of that, because members have to pay to use your website, you will be able to build a bigger email list and make sure that list is full of people who care about your business and what you have to offer.
That allows you to get your content in front of the customers who matter as well as offer them something they actually want or need.
Best WordPress Membership Plugins
Now that you know what WordPress membership plugins are you want may want to use one to give your own site membership capabilities.
Narrowing down your options can take a lot of time. In fact, you’ll find 50 pages of results when you search for WordPress membership plugins on the WordPress plugin repository
Fortunately, we are here to save you time and effort by bringing you a list of the four best WordPress membership plugins available.
In order to limit our list to the top four plugins, we made sure each of the plugins we would recommend met a few standards.
All WordPress membership plugins below had to meet the following criteria:
- Have at least 20,000 active installations
- Been tested with WordPress 5.8.2 (the most current version of WordPress at the time of publication)
- Have at least a 4.5-star rating
- Be Free of charge
We thought it was important that plugins be up-to-date, widely used, well-reviewed, as well as free to use.
With those guidelines in mind, here are our top choices for the best WordPress membership plugins:
Ultimate Member kicks off our list of best WordPress membership plugins for good reason. It has more than 200,000 active installations and has maintained a 4.5-star rating with a little over 1,300 reviews to date.
The plugin has garnered so much attention because of how easy it makes it for users to sign up and become members of your website. It is lightweight and highly extendable and can be used to make just about any membership site.
Ultimate Member allows you to add user profiles to your website and is a great tool for creating membership sites and online communities.
Its top features include:
- Front-end user profiles, registration, and login
- Custom form fields with built in conditional logic
- Drag and drop form builder
- User account page, user emails, and custom user roles
- Membership directories
- Content restriction and conditional navigation menus
- Show author posts & comments on user profiles
Ultimate Member is also developer-friendly with dozens of actions and filters, and it offers a wide range of free and paid extensions that can be used to extend the power of the plugin.
It even comes with its own official theme that was purpose-built for websites that have logged in and out users.
The only 5-star rated plugin among the WordPress membership plugins with at least 10,000 installs, Members is definitely one of the top options when it comes to best WordPress membership plugins.
The plugin gives your users the ultimate member experience by giving you powerful tools to add roles and capabilities and assign them to your users.
Members enables you to restrict content on your site by setting permissions via a simple user interface for WordPress’ powerful roles and capabilities system (traditionally would need to be done via coding).
The plugin’s Role Editor feature allows you to create, edit, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles, and multiple user roles can be assigned to any user.
Its other features include:
- Explicitly Deny Capabilities
- Clone Roles
- Content Permissions / Restricted Content
- Widgets (login and user widgets)
- Private Site
On top of all that, Members also now includes all its addons free of charge that were previously paid-for features.
- Block Permissions
- Privacy Caps
- Admin Access
- Core Create Caps
- Categories and Tag Caps
- Role Levels
- Role Hierarchy
- And more
Paid Memberships Pro
The last plugin on our list to have cracked 100,000 active installs, Paid Memberships Pro markets itself as the most complete member management and subscriptions plugin for WordPress.
The plugin was designed for all types of membership-based sites and comes with all the tools you need to start, manage, and grow your own membership site.
With Paid Memberships Pro, users are able to select a membership level, complete checkout, and immediately become members of your site.
You can create an unlimited amount of membership levels and integrate payment options with Stripe, PayPal, and other popular payment platforms.
Like the other plugins mentioned above, Paid Memberships Pro also allows you to restrict access to content to members only.
Top features include:
- Front-end user profiles, registration, login, and profile editing
- Membership Account Dashboard
- Membership Invoices and Billing Information Pages
- Custom User Profile and Registration Form Fields
- Custom Member Emails
- Restrict WP Dashboard Access
- Hide the WP Toolbar
WP-Members Membership Plugin
WP-Members Membership Plugin has a lot of the same features as the plugins we’ve already covered, but this plugin prides itself on making membership sites simple and easy.
It is simple to use and easy to set up, yet flexible in all the ways you need it to be.
With the WP-Members Membership Plugin, you can do all the same functions you’d expect from the other plugins (user profile and login integration, content restriction settings, etc.), but it also has several other unique features such as:
- Limit menu items to logged in users
- Create custom registration and profile fields
- Notify admin of new user registrations
- Hold new registrations for admin approval
- Create post excerpt teaser content automatically
It might not have the huge installation numbers we’ve seen with our other plugins (still 80,000 installs), but the WP-Members Membership Plugin offers enough functionality and customization to make it well worth checking out.
Membership sites are a proven way to generate steady income.
And thanks to WordPress membership plugins, you can turn your site into a membership website quickly, easily, and for free.
Now that you know what a WordPress membership plugin is, how they benefit you, and what the top options are for free WordPress membership plugins, you can use them to set up your own membership site in no time.
Remember, all of the plugins we mentioned above are completely free to download and use, so there is no harm in trying different plugins out to see which one works best for your individual needs.
If you need help installing any of the above plugins please see How to Install WordPress Plugins.
You can find all the plugins covered in this article the WordPress Plugin Repository.