Starting an eCommerce membership site is a trend these days, especially after the coronavirus outbreak, as it’s a perfect solution to gain extra income and improve the desperate economic situation.
While building a membership system is super easy with the help of various WooCommerce membership plugins, it’s always a tricky part when it comes to choosing the right plugins for your sites.
Among thousands of excellent membership plugins available out there, how can you choose the right one that fulfills your needs?
Today, to save your time and effort, we’ve researched and finally winnowed the list down to the best WooCommerce membership plugins you will need for the year to come. This article will be giving you a detailed review of the top 7 WooCommerce membership plugins in 2021.
Before we move to the most expected part, let us first walk you through the introduction of a membership site, how it works, and its advantages.
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Let’s dive in!
What is a Membership Site and How Does It Work?
When you heard of the term “membership site,” what are the first things that come to your mind? Is it something like “a private members area” or “where you have to pay a fee to access restricted information”? Not all the membership sites set fee requirements but congratulations, you’re on the right track!
A membership site, in general, is a website containing gated, exclusive content, or privileges that only members who subscribe can access and make use of. It can be paid, free, or a mix of both. As the owner, you’re the one who decides the content, as well as creating multiple membership tiers on your site. So how does a membership site work?
To make it simple, you can think of it as a gym membership. You want to step inside the gym and experience the service, first, you need to register as a paid member or for a free trial at the reception.
After becoming a member, you can enjoy basic services, such as free beverages and access to all fitness equipment. And in case you want premium services, they offer you level-up packages, including free access to the sauna, heated pool, and private coaching programs.
The membership sites work the same way. Before you get access to their content, first, you have to become a new member. And in case you wish to access special content or section, you have to subscribe or pay for the membership.
Since the term “membership site” has been cleared up, let’s have a look at why creating a membership site is a clever idea.
The Benefits of Using Membership Sites
Creating a membership site can bring lots of benefits. Below, we have summed up three main benefits that stand out:
- Control users who can access your website content
- Generate extra income
- Create loyal customers
Control Who Can Access your Website Content
Your content is an asset that can generate benefits over the years if it’s well managed and protected. Offering your content via a membership site enables you to control users accessing your site and protect your content from piracy.
Generate Extra Income
Building up a successful membership site is not a piece of cake, as it does especially take a lot of time to be set up and get running. Plus, you have to put a lot of effort to constantly release top-of-the-line content to please your subscribers. However, when it works, it is indeed the best way to generate stable recurring income.
Members pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee in consideration of access to your content, which also means you can regularly collect revenue every time you get more signups.
Let‘s do a basic calculation. For example, you charge people $20/month as their membership fee. You’ve got 25 people signing up, so in total, you’ll be earning an extra $500 per month.
And what if your member list grows up to hundreds of members or more, you will make more than $20,000 a month. What an impressive number! Most importantly, a membership site gives you a sense of freedom and flexibility. It’s something you own! You can work anywhere and take time off when you need to. And the membership revenue is more predictable and reliable. You don’t have to rely on your boss, the weather condition, or your customers to make money.
A membership site wonderfully allows you to be the boss of yourself. It can bring stability to your income and help to avoid the peaks and troughs that often come with a service-based business.
Create a Loyal Community
Besides the monetary values, a membership site also creates a community where people sharing the same interest get along.
They can interact with like-minded people, which helps to foster the relationship between members themselves. It also enables you to get to know your members better by communicating with them directly. You’re able to learn about their needs and desires to improve your content according to their taste. If your members love what you offer, they’ll stick to your site for a long time.
Moreover, building a loyal community creates great advantages, one of which is free marketing from your true members. Once they’re well acquainted with the quality of your content, they’re willing to spread the word about your sites, as well as the services and products you offer.
That is such a money-saving yet effective way to market your site. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on advertisements to drum up your business, you can focus on adding value to strengthen your tight-knit community.
Now you’ve picked up what benefits a membership site offers, you may excitedly think of hatching a membership plan in your mind.
In this article, we will be compiling a list of the top 7 WooCommerce membership plugins you may consider for your website in the upcoming year. But before hopping on the list, let’s discuss what to look for when selecting a WooCommerce membership plugin for your website.
What to Look for When Selecting a WooCommerce Membership Plugin
Choosing the right plugins for your website is pretty similar to going shopping in the supermarket. It is in the ocean of plugins of the same functionalities, you must narrow the list down to pick the most suitable to your needs. There are four aspects that you need to concentrate on when evaluating a plugin:
- Ease of installation and use
- Compatibility with your site and existing plugins
Ease of Installation and Use
Both beginners and developers would prefer the simple to use options. There’re always plugins that offer tons of striking features that you never need for your site. Similarly, there’s also a plugin that offers a basic feature yet helps to run your site effectively.
Whatever type of membership site you want to build, choose a plugin which provides easy to use settings and configurations. You should also consider picking a plugin offering the specific features which you might need later on when your site grows.
Compatibility with Your Site and Existing Plugins
Incompatible plugins often result in website performance problems. You need to choose a plugin that is compatible with the existing theme to avoid conflict. Before you decide to buy a plugin, test its compatibility with other plugins on a local WordPress install first.
A lot of membership plugins come with different sets of features, in which some of them may not meet your requirements. So to choose the right plugins, here are some of the most important features to look for:
- Member management
- Content drip functionality
- Support for forums and live chats
- Recurring subscriptions
- Support for multiple payment getaways
Another deciding factor in choosing a membership plugin is pricing, as it affects the cost you spend on running your site.
Normally, you‘ll have two types of pricing plans to consider: one-time payment and recurring-payments (monthly or yearly basis). You should carefully weigh the features and value that you’ll get for the price.
You’ve equipped yourself with relevant knowledge of choosing the right plugins, now it’s time to discover the best plugins that help build your membership site.
Below is the complete review of the top 7 WooCommerce membership plugins in 2021, including their key features, pros and cons, and pricing.
Note: Check out the plugin comparison table in the “Plugin Comparison” part if you want a quick overview of the top 7 WooCommerce membership plugins.
- YITH WooCommerce Membership
- Restrict Content Pro
- Paid Member Subscriptions
- WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace
- Ultimate Member
- Plugin Comparison
YITH WooCommerce Membership (Starting at $99.99 per Year)
YITH WooCommerce Membership is a premium plugin that allows you to ensure a seamless buying experience for all customers by offering various membership plans, independent payments, and content release management. It’s designed to simplify the hassles related to managing reserved products for members only.
- Creating multiple membership plans for your site.
- Setting the expiry date for each membership.
- Easily editing contents of various plans.
- Interlinking multiple membership plans.
- Sharing freely accessible content for registered members.
- Viewing the complete history of users’ membership plans.
- Providing a quick contact widget.
- Customizing email notifications.
- Displaying redirect messages when a non-member tries to access members-only content.
- $99 for a single website.
- $199 for a 6-site license.
- $249 for a 30-site license for a year.
- It works well with pages, posts, products, videos, and other WooCommerce files.
- There is a demo site to see how the membership works.
- The pricing is reasonable.
- It lacks a free trial and there’s no free plan at all.
- The recurring payment isn’t available in the core plugin. You need to purchase YITH WooCommerce Subscription worth $99 to include that functionality.
Restrict Content Pro (Starting at $99 per Year)
The second candidate in this list is Restrict Content Pro. It is a feature-rich membership plugin that has everything you need to create a membership site. As the name says it all, Restrict Content Pro is a content-restricting plugin, but it also includes membership management and subscription packages.
- Creating unlimited subscription packages.
- Providing embers management dashboard.
- Offering multiple payment gateways including PayPal and Stripe.
- Creating different levels of membership plans. The plan starts from the free or trial version, then gradually moves to premium by increasing the price as well as the amount of content and features.
- Offering scalable membership plans. Members can switch to a higher plan or drop to a lower plan by making up for the difference.
- Exporting CSVs for members and payment lists.
- Sending out automatic emails for all important notifications such as payment, expiry of membership, new member registration, etc.
- Creating discount codes and special offers for members.
- $99/ year for Personal.
- $149/ year for Plus.
- $249/ year for Professional.
- $499 (one-time payment) for Ultimate.
- There’s a free version.
- The settings are quite intuitive and user friendly.
- It’s integrated with multiple payment gateways.
- It receives excellent support from developers and the community.
- It works with WooCommerce and other third-party plugins.
- You’re unable to drip content with the core plugin.
- There’s no built-in affiliate system.
- The Professional option is a bit costly compared to other plugins.
MemberPress (Starting at $249 per Year)
MemberPress is known for its easy setups and numerous integrations. People call it an “all-in-one” plugin as it allows you to effortlessly create, manage, and track memberships as well as selling downloadable products.
- Providing simple payment options configuration.
- Being integrated with some of the most popular email marketing tools like MailChimp and AWeber.
- Creating unlimited membership levels.
- Offering flexible coupon functionality.
- Offering multiple payment gateways including PayPal and Stripe.
- Creating multiple pricing plans and customizing pricing pages.
- Creating a member-only area for discussion and sharing ideas.
- Setting access rules for all types of content. You have total control over what content is visible, who can see them, and for how long users can access it.
- Including the affiliate program in the MemberPress Pro version.
- Basic: $249/ year for 1 site.
- Plus: $399/ year for 2 sites.
- Pro: $559/ year for 5 sites, includes Affiliate Royale plugin, a plugin that allows you to create an affiliate program.
- It has an easy setup.
- It’s integrated with numerous email marketing services and other tools.
- It allows you to create as many membership levels as you want.
- All plans come with a 14-day refund policy, which gives you time to test and decide if you like it.
- The pricing might be too high for something simpler and cheaper.
- No lifetime purchase option.
MemberMouse (Starting at $29 per Month)
MemberMouse is another ideal pick on this list, which allows you to sell any kind of product on your site, from memberships to physical goods. The most wonderful thing about this feature-rich plugin is that everything is built-in from the start, which is best suited for those who are particularly not tech-savvy.
- Restricting access to your content to specific member groups.
- Restricting content by posts, pages, custom post types, and categories.
- Creating multiple tiers of memberships and bundles.
- Creating self-service checkout pages.
- Dripping out the restricted content.
- Stopping account sharing. Accounts can be automatically locked if the software detects that many users are accessing content from one account.
- Being integrated with six payment gateways, such as Stripe, PayPal, Braintree (by PayPal), Authorize.net, Sticky.io, ClickBank.
- Being supported by four popular email marketing services, such as MailChimp, GetResponse AWeber, Drip, Active Campaign, and iContact.
- Offering detailed reporting tools that help to calculate sales, customer lifetime value, etc.
- Providing CRM tools to track member info, activity, transaction history.
- Builder – $29 per month for up to 5,000 members.
- Advanced – $79 per month for up to 50,000 members and more features.
- Premium – $199 per month for up to 100,000 members and all features.
- There’s a 14-day free trial.
- The plugin boasts its advanced features and it’s easy for non-developers to use.
- The API is available which developers can use to extend its functionality.
- It’s not an economical option.
- You only get the phone and email support when you buy the premium plan.
- MemberMouse is not GPL licensed, which means you can’t edit some codes as you can do with other GPL-licensed membership plugins. If you’re a developer, this is something you should bear in mind.
Paid Member Subscriptions – Free (Starting at $69 per Year for Premium)
The list can’t be completed without mentioning the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin. It is one of the best plugins for WooCommerce that enables you to build a fully functional membership site quickly and easily. What makes this plugin stand apart from other competitors is its ease of use and powerful features.
- Managing unlimited members.
- Restricting product viewing and purchasing.
- Restricting access to your site content by post, page, tags, or categories.
- Scheduling the content to be released automatically at certain times.
- Creating Login, Register, and Account pages by using shortcodes.
- Create unlimited subscription plans.
- Accepting payments from PayPal and Stripe.
- Including the “prevent account sharing” feature to stop your members from sharing their accounts with others from different locations at the same time.
- Providing fully customizable email templates.
- Exporting members’ data to a CSV file.
When it comes to pricing, there are two plans available:
- The “Hobbyist” plan costs $69/year for a single site only.
- The “Pro” version costs $149 for one year of updates along with unlimited sites and extra add-ons.
- It’s easy to set up.
- There’s a free version available which offers lots of features.
- The pricing is reasonable.
- If you want to get access to payment platforms like Stripe or Paypal Pro, you have to pay for the Pro plan.
WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace – Free ( many Prices for Premium)
Good news for you! WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace is a free WooCommerce plugin. Using this plugin, you can easily create a free or paid subscription membership for your multi-vendor marketplace.
- Supporting different payment options such as Free, PayPal, Bank Transfer, and Stripe.
- Viewing the memberships and managing details of users on the membership dashboards.
- Setting the different commission structure for each membership plan.
- Allowing to disable a plan at any time.
- Assigning different Capability modules for each membership level.
- Supporting multiple languages.
They have two plans: lifetime plans – pay only once and regular plans – recurring payment.
You can check the detailed price here.
- It offers an easy to use and visual frontend.
- There’s a live demo for you to experience.
- It works with all popular marketplace add-ons, such as WC Marketplace, WC Vendors and WC Vendors PRO, Dokan Lite and Dokan PRO, WooCommerce Product Vendors.
- The pricing is quite reasonable.
- It’s best suited for both one-time and recurring membership.
- It has a great support system.
- There’s no demo for the premium plugins.
Ultimate Member- Free ($299 per Year for Access to All Extensions)
If you’re looking for an economical option to launch your membership site, Ultimate Member is a great choice! It’s best known as a free, comprehensive yet lightweight user profile and membership plugin, which offers beginner-friendly settings and configuration. It enables your users to sign up and become members of your site without hassles.
- Creating a profile for each user.
- Creating multiple user roles and giving each role its permissions and capabilities.
- Offering a user-friendly, drag, and drop form builder.
- Customizing form field with conditional logic and user roles.
- Restricting content to users logged in or out.
- Sending notification emails to users when they create or delete, deactivate an account, reset the password, etc.
- Showing author posts & comments on user profiles.
- Allowing members to easily manage their accounts directly from the front-end.
- The core plugin is free.
- The “Extension Pass” plan costs $249 per year.
- The “Extension + Theme Pass” plan costs $299 per year.
All the plans come with a 100% no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee.
- It’s free to install and use, and some of the extensions are available for free as well.
- The plugin comes with a 30-day refund policy.
- The customer support is top-notch, with a support forum, getting started guide, and contact information for any queries.
- There’s no demo for the premium plugins, so you don’t have an exact idea of how they work.
Here is a plugin comparison table that we’ve summarized which gives you a general view of the top 7 plugins.
|YITH WooCommerce Membership
|Restrict Content Pro
|Paid Member Subscription
|WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace
|Unlimited membership creation
|Restricted content dripping
|No content dripping with the core plugin.
|Not very intuitive
|Super simple and clean
|Clean, simple and user-friendly for both members and administrators
|Beautifully-designed and extremely intuitive.
|Demo/ Free trial
|14-day free trial
|Demo and 14-day free trial
|Demo and free trial
|Multiple payment gateways
(English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch)
|English and Spanish
|Yes (English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Russian, Czech, Arabic, Bulgarian)
|Account sharing prevention
|Starting at $99.99/ year
|Starting at $99/ year
|Starting at $249/ year
|Starting at $29/ month
|Free (Starting at $69/ year for Premium)
|Free (many prices for Premium)
|Free ($299/ year for access to all extensions)
|One time payment. (no recurring payment with the core plugin)
|Recurring payment for Persona, Plus, and Professional Plan. One-time payment for Ultimate.
|No lifetime payment.
|No lifetime payment.
|No lifetime payment.
|Both one-time and recurring payment are supported.
|No lifetime payment.
We’ve walked you through the review of the 7 best WooCommerce membership site plugins for 2021. It’s obvious that although they’re all well-rounded, there is no one-size-fits-all best plugin.
In general, all of the options above share similarities in helping you to create, manage, and customize your membership sites. The main differences lie in advanced features and pricing.
Among them, we’ve found that MemberPress is the most comprehensive and easy to use solution. If you’re on a budget and looking for simplicity, the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin is worth considering.
For the best combination of price, features, and flexibility, Restrict Content Pro is such an ideal option. If you don’t care about GPL and want to opt for a plugin with a ton of built-in features, you may be happy with MemberMouse.
In case you search for a money-saving yet feature-rich plugin with top-notch customer support, Ultimate Member won’t break the bank. For your multi-vendor marketplace option, WooCommerce Memberships for Multivendor Marketplace is no doubt the perfect choice.
Lastly, choosing YITH WooCommerce Membership if you want a powerful plugin that fully integrates with WooCommerce. One more thing, no matter what your membership site is about, you must ensure at any cost that it offers something valuable to your customers.
Have you ever built a WooCommerce membership site? Which of the plugins above will you go for?