Video Monetization

The Top WordPress Membership Plugins for 2024

By James Johnson
10 Min Read
joyful woman with computer creating graphic design for website connecting to WIFI

Are you a content creator looking to add paid memberships to your WordPress site?

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’m going to explore the 5 best WordPress Membership plugins of 2024 to help you make an informed decision about the future of your site.

Better still…

I’m going to share 3 super helpful options that will help you build an even more comprehensive membership platform if you feel that WordPress just isn’t cutting it.

Let’s go…

The Top 5 WordPress Membership Plugins At A Glance

Best ForCost
MemberPressadding a membership area to support existing digital productsstarting from $179.50 per year
LearnDashtext-based course creators in need of an LMS integrationstarting from $199 per year
WishList Memberbloggers looking to paywall their content for the first timestarting from $149.50 per year 
WooCommerce Membershipsecommerce businesses looking for a membership anglestarting from $199 per year
MemberMouse enterprise-level WordPress usersstarting from $199.99

Is A WordPress Membership Plugin The Right Choice For Your Paid Memberships?

The question above 👆 is one that I’d like you to keep at the front of your mind while you’re reading this article. Why?

Because even though WordPress is the world’s leading content management system (CMS), powering more than 810 million websites, it can struggle with membership sites.

See…

WordPress is built to power text-based websites that need quick performance. That means, if you’re a blogger trying to add a paywall or a membership area, you’re pretty well covered, like Search Logistics have done:

screenshot showing a membership site using WordPress as the cms

There are lots of WordPress plugins that can help you charge money, create community areas, and even launch a text-based online course. (I do recommend that you avoid a free WordPress membership plugin, though.) 

However, if your focus is video content…forget about it.

You’ll need to create a complex video hosting infrastructure, with lots of embeds, that can make managing your content and membership areas a nightmare.

Not to mention that, the more third-party plugins you add to your site, the more security concerns you’ll create that can be a nightmare for WordPress developers to fix.

If you’re going to be focused on video, I’d recommend you look for a dedicated membership platform that puts video first, like Abundance+ have chosen for their community:

screenshot showing a membership site using Uscreen as the cms

I’ve listed some of these dedicated membership platforms later in the article, so you can jump ahead to those if you click here.

The 5 Best WordPress Membership Plugins

1. MemberPress

Best for: adding a membership area to support existing digital products

Cost: starting from $179.50 per year

MemberPress wordpress plugin screenshot

MemberPress is a comprehensive WordPress membership plugin with a firm focus on digital products, providing membership areas that cater to a wide range of needs.

They offer a great solution if you offer lots of different types of standalone content — ebooks, mini-courses, etc. — and need a way to bring them together in one membership site.

You can restrict access to content based on a user’s subscription type, and set individual access for all pages, posts, and files, depending on their access level. This provides best-in-class flexibility and control. 

You can easily set up a recurring subscription business model and accept payments with PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe. And, Memberpress will integrate well with many popular marketing tools like Mailchimp and Aweber. 

Combine this with the most in-depth analytics and reporting of any of the plugins on this list, and you’ve got a really strong content for the best WordPress membership plugin.

MemberPress Key Features:

  • Content restriction: restrict access to your content based on membership levels. You can protect posts, pages, categories, tags, and even files.
  • Membership levels: create unlimited membership levels with different access rights, pricing, and subscription periods.
  • Payment gateways Integration: integrate with popular payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net.
  • Drip content: release content to members gradually over time to increase engagement and retention.
  • Course builder: includes a built-in course builder to create and manage online courses within your membership platform.

Pros of MemberPress

  • Outstanding customer support
  • Active community of helpful developers
  • Integrates well with existing marketing tools

Cons of MemberPress

  • Limited customizations
  • Restrictive licensing agreement
  • New features need to mature

2. LearnDash

Best for: text-based course creators in need of an LMS integration

Cost: starting from $199 per year

LearnDash website homepage image

LearnDash is a must-know WordPress membership plugin for any education-focused content creator. They provide a comprehensive learning management system (LMS) that integrates seamlessly with your WordPress site.

They allow you to build comprehensive courses within your website, using a drag-and-drop builder, where you can add lessons and modules and organize them easily. Because they charge a per-site license fee, you can do this for multiple courses on just one platform.

You can drip-release content over time, to help create a sense of pace for learning, and ensure your students are engaged with quizzes and assignments. Better still, you can manually grade and provide feedback to provide a much more interactive learning experience.

LearnDash really excels in providing scalability for your business. Their plugin can cope with a high volume of students, with superb user management, and even allows you to group them to get accurate data from key demographics or learner types.

LearnDash Key Features:

  • Course creation: drag-and-drop course builder to easily create courses, add lessons, topics and organize them effectively.
  • Quizzes: advanced quizzing capabilities with various question types and custom messaging
  • Assignments: add assignments that can be manually graded with personalized feedback
  • Dynamic forums: integrate discussion forums so students can interact and discuss your course materials
  • Certificates and badges: award certificates and badges for course completion or quiz performance
  • User management: manage users and track their progress with detailed reports and user groupings

Pros of LearnDash

  • Purpose-built for educational content
  • User-friendly interface
  • Scalable to large volumes of students

Cons of LearnDash

  • Complex setup process
  • Extra integrations can cost $$$
  • User experience design feels outdated

3. WishList Member

Best for: bloggers looking to paywall their content for the first time

Cost: starting from $149.50 

WishList member wordpress plugin homepage

WishList is often overlooked as a WordPress membership plugin. But, trust me, it’s a great tool for any beginner looking to launch their first membership site.

You can start small by offering simple upsells like pay-per-post, so you can add a paywall to any piece of valuable content. Or, you can dive right in by creating multiple membership payment options with different levels of access.

There are hundreds of features you can play with — which could be a tad overwhelming for some beginners — but there’s an entire online community of users with great documentation to help you navigate any learning curves.

My favorite feature is really the ability to “protect” your content from within your page builder, so you can add a paywall without needing to navigate any complex processes.

WishList Member Key Features:

  • Unlimited membership levels: have total flexibility in the number of member accounts, levels, and price points 
  • Partial content display: create sneak peeks or bonus blocks to help promote your membership
  • Pay per post: set up individual posts that can be purchased for an additional fee
  • Multiple payment gateways: integrates with most preferred options
  • Built-in reports and statistics: access an admin dashboard that shows important stats including total members, canceled subscriptions, and sign ups for each tier

Pros of WishList Member

  • Great content protection & security 
  • Simple membership plugin to us
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of integration options

Cons of WishList Member

  • No free trial period
  • Hidden costs for advanced features
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners

4. WooCommerce Memberships

Best for: ecommerce businesses looking for a premium membership angle

Cost: starting from $199 per year

woocommerce memberships page

If you’ve built an ecommerce brand using WooCommerce and a WordPress site, then WooCommerce Memberships is a platform you need to explore.

This WordPress plugin seamlessly integrates with your current setup, and allows you to add community and exclusive content to your storefront. You can set membership tiers, restrict access, and even provide special membership pricing and discounts. 

I’d only really recommend this if you’re well-versed in WooCommerce, though. If you know your way around their setup, this is an easy place to start. But, if you’d be learning a whole new system, you might want to consider one of the other options on this list.

But, for any budding independent brand that wants to add a Red Bull-style media angle to their experience, this is an affordable plugin to help you extend your existing WordPress site.

WooCommerce Memberships Key Features:

  • Linkable membership plans: create membership plans that can be linked to your ecommerce products 
  • Member discounts: offer special pricing and discounts to members.
  • Member areas: provide a dedicated area where members can manage their accounts and access exclusive content.
  • Integration with WooCommerce Subscriptions: sell recurring member subscriptions with the option for free trials and the ability to upgrade or downgrade membership levels.
  • User management: track member activity and progress with detailed reports and user groupings.
  • Dynamic forums: enable discussion forum areas for members to interact and engage

Pros of WooCommerce Memberships

  • Familiar interface for WooCommerce users
  • Easy to integrate with your eCommerce brand
  • Integrates well with payment platforms
  • Focus on online community areas

Cons of WooCommerce Memberships

  • Course features are less refined than other plugins
  • Heavy plugin could slow down your site
  • Limited number of marketing integrations

5. MemberMouse

Best for: enterprise-level WordPress users

Cost: starting from $199.99

screenshot of the membermouse homepage

MemberMouse is a robust plugin that aims to help people build long-term scalable businesses by selling memberships and digital products. 

Their plugin is targeted at an enterprise level audience, which comes with a slightly more hefty price tag. However, there are some powerful features that can make it worth the extra outlay, if you’re serious about growth.

For example, MemberMouse is the only plugin on this list that offers Smart Tags. An impressive tool that changes content dynamically based on a user’s previous behavior and membership status. That means each member gets a more personalized experience, which is a real selling point.

MemberMouse’s Key Features

  1. Membership management: create multiple membership levels and bundles, each with unique sets or privileges and price points.
  2. Subscription focus: prioritizes recurring billing with flexible payment scheduling for members.
  3. Content protection: enterprise-level encryption and security to keep your content safe
  4. SmartTags: unique and dynamic content display that also supports your marketing automations to really personalize the experience
  5. Integrations: compatible with a variety of third-party services

Pros of MemberMouse

  • Growth-focused with supporting tools
  • SmartTags can be a game changer
  • Advanced analytics

Cons of MemberMouse

  • Higher initial cost
  • Very complex platform
  • Often needs the support of WordPress developers

But, What If You Don’t Want To DIY Your Membership Site?

Let’s face it.

As a content creator you have to wear a lot of different hats. It’s stressful juggling everything you need to do on a day-to-day basis. Do you really want to add DIY-ing an entire site with membership tools and WordPress plugins to that list?

Probably not.

Trust me, I get it. I spent the first few years of my online career with WordPress workarounds and DIY sites that never really got me or my business! 

If that feels like you, then can I recommend using a purpose-built membership platform that will let you build your entire site, and make sure your content shines?

Here are 3 of the best membership site platforms to consider…

1. Uscreen

Best for: video-focused membership site owners

Cost: starting from $149/month + $1.99 per paid member, per month

uscreen wordpress plugin alternative example

Uscreen is an all-in-one membership platform built for video creators. We’ve helped creators earn $150+ million each year! 

With Uscreen, you can easily create a paid membership site that supports on-demand video, a customizable library, live streaming, and a dedicated community space. By the time you’re set up, you’ll have your own Netflix-style membership product that will keep members hooked! 

Creators have used Uscreen to build online courses and memberships around fitness, yoga, entertainment, lifestyle, and faith-based content.

Better still, it supports a wide range of monetization options including subscriptions, pay-per-view, and one-time purchases to make sure every piece of content earns you money!

And if you’re looking to level up your membership in the long term, Uscreen offers branded membership apps so members can stream your video content from their favorite devices, like their phone or on their Smart TV.

Uscreen’s Key Features:

  • Built-in community: Features user-generated content, posts with video integration, interactive challenges, an AI content creation assistant, and a channel-based feed to boost engagement.
  • Viewer experience: Offers customizable playlists, content filtering, auto-play, and template collections to enhance user viewing.
  • Live streaming: Supports streaming on any device, live chat, pay-per-view, donations, and a live streaming calendar for better interaction and monetization.
  • Marketing tools: A no-code website builder, APIs, email marketing, lead generation, audience nurturing, and win-back strategies with a free trial offer.

Uscreen Pros

  • ✅ Sell one-off content or paid member subscriptions
  • ✅ Built-in community space and marketing features
  • ✅ Customize your own private membership site
  • ✅ Mix and match with live-streaming and on-demand hosting
  • ✅ Integration with existing payment and subscription management tools 
  • ✅ 24/7 creator support for you and your online community

Uscreen Cons 

  • ❌ No assessment, progress tracking, and certification features
  • ❌ No standalone video hosting
  • ❌ Unable to embed videos to your WordPress website

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

2. Circle

Best for: creators who put an emphasis on community over content

Cost: starting from $99 per month

example of circle.so product

Circle is a great option if your main goal of finding a WordPress membership plugin was to add a thriving community to your website.

Built by people who used to work at Teachable, their platform has a firm grounding in online content, with lots of easy-to-use features to progress people through courses and digital products. However, where it really comes into its own is in the community spaces.

Circle makes it easy to build safe and engaging online spaces, where people can interact on topics about your niche. If your content is what brings them in, it’s these spaces that will have them sticking around.

Circle’s Key Features:

  • Course builder: Create and manage online courses natively
  • Event features: organize and manage online events with your community
  • Brand customization: customize your community feed and spaces to match your branding
  • Flexible monetization: monetize using subscription memberships or one-off access to content

Circle Pros

  • ✅ Excellent engagement tools
  • ✅ Can handle text and video content
  • ✅ Flexible branding options
  • ✅ Solid user management features

Circle Cons 

  • ❌ Limited support options (especially for international customers) 
  • ❌ Restrictive user experience customizations
  • ❌ Basic analytics data

3. Mighty Networks

Best for: creators looking for a basic mix of membership and content features

Cost: starting from $41 per month

mighty networks homepage example

Mighty Networks is a well-established membership site builder. They’ve been around for a long time, and have a great reputation! 

They sit somewhere between Uscreen and Circle on the spectrum, giving equal space for both content and community. This does mean there’s some compromise on content or community features, you might find enough of a mix here to satisfy what you’re looking for.

Mighty Networks’ Key Features

  • Mobile integration: engage members with on-the-go mobile apps.
  • Community content: use live streams, events, and interactive features to boost retention and interaction.
  • Customizable content spaces: tailor your content into specific ‘Spaces’ and ‘Collections’ for easy navigation.
  • Diverse monetization options: easily manage membership payments or one-off content sales
  • Full branding control: customize everything about your membership site’s appearance

Mighty Networks Pros

  • ✅ Easy customization 
  • ✅ Mobile-ready
  • ✅ Great for testing monetization options
  • ✅ Low initial price point

Mighty Networks Cons 

  • ❌ Only supports Stripe payments
  • ❌ Basic content management features
  • ❌ Higher-than-normal transaction fees

Wrapping This Up…

Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of which WordPress membership plugin is right for you. And, provided some food for thought about other platforms you could use.

If you feel like Uscreen might be the right option for building your membership site, you can sign up for a free trial below! 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

FAQs

What is a WordPress membership plugin?

A WordPress membership plugin is a third-party application that connects to your WordPress website. It adds the functionality to the backend of your website that you’d typically find in standalone membership platforms, such as:

Content restriction
Community areas
Membership tiers
Subscription pricing options
Drip-fed content

You can manage all of these from within your WordPress dashboard, meaning you don’t need to migrate to another content management system or platform.

Can you sell subscriptions on WordPress?

Yes. You will need a third-party plugin, like MemberPress or WooCommerce Memberships, to do this. These will allow you to connect with external payment gateways such as PayPal or Stripe to set up recurring payments. This may come at an additional cost for using the plugin, as well as transaction fees.

How long does it take to build a membership website?

How long it takes to build a membership website depends on the platform or content management system you use to do it. If you want to build on a CMS like WordPress or Drupal, it will take longer because you’ll need to build a website first and then add membership plugins. You can make this process quicker by using a purpose built membership site platform, like Uscreen, that has the infrastructure and content management systems in place.