Top 5 WordPress Membership Plugins in 2023: A Comprehensive Comparison for Your Membership Website

When selecting a WordPress membership plugin for your website, it’s essential to focus on specific features that cater to your membership site’s needs. Different plugins offer varied subscription management features, ranging from single-level subscriptions to diverse membership levels.

What to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Membership Plugin in 2023

Evaluate whether a plugin provides drip content functionality to gradually release new content or restricts access to hidden content. Additionally, consider the supported payment gateways—whether you prefer credit card acceptance, PayPal, or both—and ensure your chosen plugin offers seamless integration with your preferred payment methods.

To run a successful WordPress membership site, prioritize selecting a reliable and efficient hosting provider to handle the resource-intensive demands. For budget-conscious options, Bluehost’s Business Pro plan offers SSL certificate, dedicated IP, and dedicated support. Alternatively, if performance is paramount and budget allows, consider managed WordPress hosting providers like WPEngine.

Don’t forget to choose a suitable domain name for your website, and consider essential business plugins like OptinMonster for lead capture and subscription boost.

By focusing on these factors and finding the best WordPress membership plugin that aligns with your requirements, you can create a successful and engaging membership site in 2023.

1. MemberPress: The Best WordPress Membership Plugin for Easy Set-Up and Robust Features

MemberPress is a popular WordPress membership plugin known for its user-friendliness and extensive features. Setting up a membership website with WordPress becomes a breeze as MemberPress automatically handles pricing, login, account, and thank-you pages. Creating multiple membership levels is effortless, and you have full control over pricing and premium content access.

With no limitations, MemberPress empowers you to craft unlimited membership levels, tailoring each level with exclusive content. The powerful access control feature allows you to restrict access to various content types, including posts, pages, custom post types, categories, tags, and files. Content dripping is seamlessly integrated, enabling you to gradually reveal restricted content to members over time, ideal for online courses and learning materials.

MemberPress also excels in selling online courses, delivering an interactive learning experience that boosts course completion rates. It boasts seamless integrations with popular email services like AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, and MadMimi, making communication with members a breeze. Moreover, it integrates smoothly with Amazon Web Services, Blubrry for podcast hosting, and BuddyPress for building a vibrant online community.

The plugin comes with built-in support for widely-used payment gateways, PayPal and Stripe, with the option to add support in the developer plan. While MemberPress has extensive integrations, it may not cover some less common services, but it can be easily extended through third-party integrations.

Pricing starts at $179.50/year for the Basic plan and $299.50/year for the Pro plan.

In summary, MemberPress stands out as the ideal choice for beginners seeking an easy-to-use WordPress membership plugin with powerful capabilities. Its quick setup and plethora of features make it a top contender in the membership plugin space.

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2. Thrive Apprentice: The Complete WordPress Membership and Course Builder Plugin

Thrive Apprentice is a sought-after all-in-one membership and online course builder plugin for WordPress, packed with advanced features and user-friendly access control settings.

Pros of Thrive Apprentice WordPress Plugin

User-Friendly Interface – Thrive Apprentice simplifies the setup process with a helpful school setup wizard that guides you through creating an online course membership website effortlessly.

Membership Management Dashboard – Its built-in dashboard allows easy management of member access to courses, content, and membership products, providing control and convenience.

Seamless Course Selling – Thrive Apprentice enables effortless creation, selling, and management of online courses. It offers over 55 course templates, a drag-and-drop course builder, customizable certificates, and more.

Powerful Content Dripping – Unlock content at regular intervals for students using Thrive Apprentice’s robust content dripping features. You can even create multiple drip schedules for the same content.

Personalized Content Display – Boost engagement and sales by showing personalized content to different users. For instance, you can present distinct course overviews or login forms to visitors and members.

Comprehensive Reporting – Gain valuable insights into student behavior and course performance through Thrive Apprentice’s advanced reporting engine.

Cons of Thrive Apprentice Plugin

No Native Payment Support – While Thrive Apprentice doesn’t include built-in payment capabilities, you can easily connect it with a checkout plugin like WooCommerce to accept online payments.

Limited Integrations – Although Thrive Apprentice integrates smoothly with many popular apps, it may not cover all popular tools and WordPress plugins.

Pricing: Thrive Apprentice starts at $147/year. You can also access Thrive’s complete suite of plugins, including Thrive Quiz Builder and Thrive Architect, starting from $299/year.

In conclusion, Thrive Apprentice stands as a potent and user-friendly membership plugin, offering comprehensive solutions for safeguarding and selling various digital content, particularly online courses. With its wealth of features and intuitive interface, Thrive Apprentice presents a compelling option for your WordPress membership and course building needs.

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3. Easy Digital Downloads: The Ultimate eCommerce Plugin for Selling Digital Products

Easy Digital Downloads stands tall as one of the top eCommerce plugins, perfectly suited for selling digital products with its user-friendly interface and seamless recurring payment capabilities.

Pros of Easy Digital Downloads WordPress Plugin

Versatile Product Selling – Seamlessly sell any digital product in WordPress, ranging from eBooks, PDFs, audio files, to videos and more, using Easy Digital Downloads.

Built-in Shopping Cart – Enhance customer convenience with its built-in shopping cart system, allowing smooth multiple downloads purchase. Boost conversions with custom discount codes.

Accept Recurring Payments – Enjoy the flexibility of accepting one-time payments or effortlessly setting up automatic recurring payments for products, spanning daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.

Unlimited File Downloads – Provide unlimited file downloads for customers or restrict access based on time and/or download attempts, ensuring content control.

Diverse Payment Methods – Easy Digital Downloads enables credit card payments from leading gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Braintree, without additional monthly fees.

Extensive Addons – Extend site functionality with a wide array of addons, including Purchase Rewards, Wish Lists, Multi Currency, Conditional Emails, and more.

Cons of Using Easy Digital Downloads Plugin

Limited Membership Features – While you can sell ‘members-only’ digital products, you can’t hide WordPress posts and pages from non-members using this plugin.

Limited Integrations – Although Easy Digital Downloads integrates smoothly with popular tools like AffiliateWP, it may lack some integrations with other sought-after services.

Pricing: The Personal plan starts at $99.50/year for a single site license, offering 1 year of support and updates.

Easy Digital Downloads takes the lead as the go-to plugin for creating membership sites specializing in digital product sales. It boasts a built-in shopping cart system, recurring payment options, and an extensive library of addons to fuel your business growth. With its intuitive features and ease of use, Easy Digital Downloads stands as an unparalleled solution for seamlessly selling digital products on your WordPress website.

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4. MemberMouse: The Powerful WordPress Membership Plugin for Protecting Content and Boosting Revenue

MemberMouse is an impressive and versatile membership plugin for WordPress, offering advanced features to safeguard your content, sell products, create courses, and maximize your revenue.

Pros of Using MemberMouse WordPress Plugin
Dynamic Content Protection – With MemberMouse SmartTags, you can effortlessly display personalized content based on member attributes, without any coding required. This provides complete control over content protection and display on your site.

Advanced Reporting Suite – Keep track of crucial business metrics such as lifetime customer value, retention rates, member engagement, and more with ease.

1-Click Purchase Links – Enhance user experience with 1-click upsells and cross-sells, enabling members to make purchases without re-entering credit card information.

Free & Paid Memberships – Attract new users to your membership site with a smart marketing strategy by offering both free and paid membership options.

Overdue Payment Handling – Worried about missing out on revenue due to overdue payments? Fear not, as MemberMouse automatically handles them for you.

Built-in Push Notifications – Stay connected with your members using built-in push notifications. Send timely messages to specific WordPress user roles, like new member added, membership cancelled, payment received, and more.

Cons of Using MemberMouse Plugin

Limited Design Options – MemberMouse’s design options depend on your WordPress theme, which may limit customization choices.

Limited Integrations – Although MemberMouse integrates smoothly with popular payment gateways and email service providers, it offers fewer integrations compared to some other membership plugins.

Pricing: Choose from the Basic Plan starting at $199.50/year, the Plus Plan starting at $299.50/year, or the Pro Plan starting at $399.50/year.

MemberMouse proves to be a potent membership plugin, especially for ambitious businesses aiming for growth. Once set up, it’s fully capable of powering even the largest membership sites, providing an excellent solution for content protection and revenue optimization.

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5. WishList Member: The Flexible WordPress Plugin for Protecting Members-Only Content

WishList Member is a feature-rich WordPress membership plugin that offers powerful tools to safeguard exclusive content for your members, along with seamless integrations.

Pros of Using WishList Member WordPress Plugin

Unlimited Membership Levels – You have the freedom to create as many membership levels as you need, including free memberships, premium subscriptions, or pay-per-post content.

One-Click Content Protection – With a simple click in the WordPress editor, you can quickly set your pages or posts to be accessible only to members.

Drip, Schedule, and Archive – Easily drip content to new members, schedule posts to go live, and archive content to encourage continuous subscriptions.

Sneak Peeks – Attract non-members with enticing ‘sneak peek’ snippets of your content, encouraging them to sign up and see what they’re missing.

Built-in Course Features – WishList Member includes CourseCure, a built-in course builder that simplifies the creation of lessons, quizzes, and certificates.

Payment Gateways – Accept payments effortlessly with support for over 20 popular payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, WooCommerce, 2CheckOut,, and more.

Cons of Using WishList Member Plugin

Fewer Integrations – While WishList Member integrates smoothly with many popular payment services, it offers fewer integrations with other marketing tools.

Overwhelming Amount of Options – Beginners may find the abundance of membership features and options in WishList Member a bit overwhelming.

Pricing: Choose from plans starting at $149.50/year for a single site license, including unlimited members, membership levels, and courses with CourseCure.

WishList Member proves to be a robust plugin for creating members-only content on your WordPress site. With its advanced features and straightforward integrations, it’s an ideal choice to level up your membership site.

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