WordPress Membership Plugins – Best to choose from in 2021
How can a WordPress Membership Plugin be helpful for your website?
While many WordPress Membership Plugins exist, they tend to have different functions from one another.
The main purpose of such membership plugins is to create a user membership area, where you can setup and LMS website and have classes of students, setup E-commerce website with levels of shoppers and many more.
Membership plugins are also used for forums or social media websites, where users can have a certain rank, promotion or role with a handful of rights, assigned to the user’s rank.
What resources would I need to use WordPress Membership plugins?
In order to use WordPress membership plugins, you will need to have a good web hosting (preferably a dedicated or VPS hosting), as shared hosting might not be running so well for you.
Having users registering, logging in and logging out can dramatically slow down your website. The resources that a shared hosting has, are usually boosted, but are not enough for running WordPress membership plugins or WordPress e-commerce plugins.
A good web host, which should be in your budget, may be A2 hosting (add link).
Simply said, A2 gives you the opportunity to power up your website and heavily arm it with all kinds of plugins.
I have seen people having an inventory of 30 plugins, and still maintaining a website speed of 3.6 seconds (depending on the continent and country) in most of the European countries.
Not only should your website have a good web hosting service, but also you will need to optimize your website for high speed and serve cache.
The purpose of the caching and optimizations is to have faster loading times, and keep your website running at a smooth and nice speed.
WordPress membership plugins are not being negatively affected by such plugins, and will not have a bad impact. It is the other way around.
Serving a cached version to non-logged users and not caching the logged in users, can minimize the requests and keep the site speed at a good level.
If A2 hosting’s prices are not by your pocket, you can find a cheaper deal, from the best web hosting services.
Does the theme matter if I would like to use WordPress Membership Plugins?
To be honest, the theme does not matter in order to use any kind of membership plugins, although using a premium theme would be recommended, if you use a dedicated, VPS host or any kind of other plan, except shared hosting plans.
The other thing that I would like to point out regarding choosing themes is to think twice, before picking a Nulled, GPL or Cracked theme. These themes can only hurt your website, by inserting viruses, ads and many more.
Simply clearing it, would be possible if you have backup plugins(add link) or know how to perform a backup(add link)
So by choosing between themes, you can aim for free ones (which are better for beginners) or premium ones that give you more control over customizations.
If you feel frustrated and not sure, which theme can be good for your membership website, our list of the best free and premium WordPress themes can come in hand.
WordPress Membership Plugins
Ultimate Member – User Profile, User Registration, Login & membership plugin
Ultimate Member is by far the best amongst the other WordPress membership plugins, with it’s one and only features and integrations.
To start off, this plugin can be your time saver, as setting it up is quite easy. All you have to do is to choose the pages that will be visible for logged in or logged out users.
The plugin lets you have your own profile tab, which can be customized as per your likings. The options that you get by default are:
- Content Restriction – Depending on the niche of your website, you can setup a content restriction for some of your pages. These pages can be accessed by certain user roles, such as admins or moderators only. Another good reason to use this option is if you have an LMS website and you wish to set roles for students or roles giving discounts for customers (if you have an e-commerce website)
- Front-end user profiles – These profiles are being generated upon user registration and contain fields that the user can fill (optional). The Front-end user profiles can be customized and styled by the admins and any other role, having the right to do it.
- Customizing your BIO – Including information about yourself or what you do. There is no limit, but keeping it short and including your work, hobbies and what you like to do, is the best option. Including a backlink of your website is also possible.
- Customizable register and login forms – As an admin, you have full power to customize the register and login forms, including adding custom ones.
- Custom User Roles – If you would like to bring more magic into your website, or hold a website about an RPG game, e-commerce or anything else, creating custom user roles is the best option for you.
- Custom Form Field – As mentioned above, you can re-design your custom register and login forms, with the custom form field option. This also works for customizing the Front-end user profiles.
- Drag & Drop Form Builder – The Drag & Drop Form builder is used for people who have no coding skills and experience. Even the coding experts nowadays prefer to use Drag & Dropping. This is the most preferred option for SEO experts, as they have more time concentrating on SEO, SEM, SERPS.
- Show author posts & comments on user profiles – Upon commenting, posting a text or picture, this option lets users’ feed to be shown on their dashboard or homepage (as per customization). Amongst the best WordPress membership plugins, this is widely preferred as with this option included, you can create a website just like FaceBook.
Paid Extensions for User Membership
- User notes – User notes allows users to create public, private and friends only notes
- Profile tabs – Profile tabs gives the power to owner to add custom tabs to the profile pages of the users
- User bookmarks – User bookmarks allows users to bookmark products, content and comments from your website
- Unsplash – Unsplash allows users to choose cover and profile photos from their original website
- Private content – Private content allows users to lock content and set it visible f
- User tags – User tags, lets users add tags to their profiles, such as their hobbies (musician, football player, book lover etc.) or skills (website designer or developer etc.)
- Social Activity – Social Activity gives the users the option, to set their own activity, while logging into your website
- WooCoommerce – WooCommerce is by far the best e-commerce plugin, which can be integrated with User Membership and allow users to register and do shopping in a better way.
- Private messages – Private Messages gives the opportunity to users, to chat between themselves.
- Followers – Followers is another great plugin, which can be integrated with UM. It simply lets registered users to follow each other. Just like Instagram.
- Real-time Notifications – Real-time Notifications is by far the best integration plugin, as it gives you the option to send notifications regarding new content, product etc.
Free Extensions for Ultimate Member
- JobsBoardWP – JobsBoardWP lets you integrate this plugin along with Ultimate member, unleashing the function to create your own jobs board based website
- ForumWP – ForumWP lets you create a Forum based website, which gives the opportunity for your users to ask questions and receive answers
- Terms & Conditions – Terms & Conditions gives the function, when members register on your website, to read your T&C before and check the mark, before registering
- Google reCaptcha – Google re-Captcha is a must for every website and mostly desired, as before registering, users have to check a mark. This option proves to Google and your website that no spam is involved.
- Online users – Online users is a simple plugin, which can be shown in each place, that you would like to through simple shortcodes. It simply displays how many users are currently being online on your website
Memberships – Membership & User Role editor plugin
Memberships is another great part of our WordPress Membership Plugins, although its functions are quite different from the other ones
The idea of this plugin is to create a user role based plugin, by assigning one or more roles to a certain user or group.
With this plugin you can lock or restrict content from certain users, while demanding from them to have some kind of action.
This action can be liking the post, sharing it or by just fulfilling a consent that you have read and understood the Terms of Service.
The next great feature of Memberships is that you can make yourself private and give exclusive access to users, which are paying a monthly or yearly subscription.
Extensions for Memberships
- Role Hierarchy – Role Hierarchy creates a hierarchical level by reading the user permissions and rank, displaying them from top (administrator, owner of the website) to bottom (default user, customer)
- ACF Integration – Creates custom capabilities for the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin for managing with the Members plugin.
- EDD Integration – Integrates the Easy Digital Downloads plugin capabilities into the Members plugin’s role manager.
- GiveWP Integration – Integrates the GiveWP and GiveWP Recurring Donations plugin capabilities into the Members plugin’s role manager.
- Meta Box Integration – Integrates the Meta Box plugin capabilities into the Members plugin’s role manager.
- WooCommerce – WooCommerce is the world’s leading e-commerce plugin amongst the best wordpress membership plugins, which enables you to create your own shopping website.
LMS by LifterLMS – Online Course, Membership & Learning Management System Plugin for WordPress
LMS by LifterLMS is a one and only, all in one LMS (also known as Learning Machine Server), user membership and e-commerce plugin.
By using Lifter LMS you do not need any other plugin for membership or e-commerce, as the plugin has everything included in it. The main purpose of this is simple.
The more plugins you have, the more resources it will have to use. The more resources you use, the slower your website will load (simple logic).
Agencies and freelancers love Lifter LMS, because it does not need a professional to setup this plugin.
The main purpose of this plugin is to create and sell your own video courses to the users, who are paying a monthly or annual subscription.
The plugin comes up with
- Multi-media videos – Upload videos in MP4, AVI and any other format of your likings, as this plugin supports almost all of the video formats, which are available.
- Quizzes – Make your content more exciting with integrating quizzes, for which your members can pay an extra amount and as reward, you can grant them a better role (if they had great results)
- Course builder – The course builders lets you build your own design of the course, and helps you out on the UI and UX, which is critical for the visitor, which can convert into a customer in the future.
- Course tracks – Course tracks lets you save all the videos, that you had paid for and keep them for lifetime
- Lesson downloads – This function simply lets you to download each of the lessons that had been given to your user role. This options is widely preferred due to users travelling and watching the videos on their phones or computers.
- Forum Integrations – Integrating LMS by LifterLMS with a Forum is highly recommended, as users can spend more time on your website asking questions and receiving answers.
- Student Dashboard – Make your website more interactive and interesting for the user, with a pre-built student’s dashboard. Simply this integration allows the users to save their videos, edit their information and interact with other users on your website
- Certificates – With this integration, you can award your users with certificates upon good result.
- Badges – Award users with badges upon actions or passing exams.
- Chat – Lets users to chat between each other
WP-Members – Membership plugin
WP members is slightly different from the other membership plugins. This plugin aims to create a whole new level based on spam protection and better user registration.
Aside from some of the functions that it has in common with the other plugins, WP-Members has the option to put new user registrations on hold and until they were approved.
Another good option that this plugin has, is the creation of post excerpts automatically.
WP-Members’ other functions are quite the same as the previously mentioned wordpress membership plugins in our list.
You can simply lock users and restrict access to some of the content pages. Assign roles your users based on levels or subscription, which leads them to unlocking more content.
And the best saved for the last – You can track the logged in users, as where they visit, and what action is being done, as long as their presence is based on your website.
- Invite Codes – set up invitation codes to restrict registration to only those with a valide invite code.
- MailChimp Integration – add MailChimp list subscription to your registation form.
- Memberships for WooCommerce – Sell memberships through WooCommerce.
- PayPal Subscriptions – Sell restricted content access through PayPal.
- Security – adds a number of security features to the plugin such as preventing concurrent logins, registration form honey pot (spam blocker), require passwords be changed on first use, require passwords to be changed after defined period of time, require strong passwords, block registration by IP and email, restrict specified usernames from being registered.
- Text Editor – Adds an editor to the WP-Members admin panel to easily customize all user facing strings in the plugin.
WP User Manager – User Profile Builder & Membership
WP User Manager is a highly customizable user management plugin, which lets you have better styled user membership experience.
Simply the main functions of this plugin are nearly as the same, as the other wordpress membership plugins, but WP User Manager lets you have better user experience and works more liteweight, if compared with the other membership plugins.
The main functions of this plugin as mentioned above are styling based. Simply it gives you a 9 out of 10 styling of each user form, content form, comments and avatar.
The best part of WP User Manager is that you can create your own register and login form, without the knowledge of coding or headache with options.
WP User Manager comes up with:
- Frontend forms – Easily to customize forms for the user panel, which increases the sustainability of users on your website.
- Custom email notifications – A very simple and non-spammy way to send emails, which are made through their drag & drop builder, in order to increase the returning visitors or customers.
- Custom Avatars – Control over the avatar, which will be displayed on user profile, if no picture was set. These avatars are also being displayed while commenting on the website or forum (if one was integrated).
- Content Restriction – Restrict the content for users, which do not meet a certain criteria upon rank, or expired subscription.
- Passwords Management – Forget about the old way, where you if you would like a custom set password by WordPress to be something like “as90239riwdf”. This plugin lets you to choose between words only, words with text and also works with upper and lowercase.
- Custom fields editor – This feature gives you the ability to add, edit or even remove the field, which came pre-built with the plugin. You can re-design them as you wish, without no restriction.
- Custom Redirects – The custom redirects feature, lets you redirect a certain role of users from locked content, to a proper one.
- Woocommerce – Woocommerce is by far the best e-commerce plugin and perfect for integration on any of the wordpress membership plugins. Even as a premium feature, Woo and WP User Manager are one of the best combos that you should go for.
- User Verification – User verification simply lets users register and await a confirmation email, in order to activate their accounts and start browsing through content. This feature helps in reducing spam.
- Groups – The groups feature lets the users create their own group communities and invite members, for a better experience, which increases the sustainability in the website.
- Social Login & Registration – The social login & registration gives the users an option to login with their google or facebook account, without the need of registering and awaiting confirmation email for their account.
- Mailchimp – Mailchimp is a newsletter plugin, which can be integrated with 500+ plugins and offers exclusive support for its premium users. Keep in mind that a free version of mailchimp exists, but is limited and the functionality is not pretty much good
- WPML – WPML (also known as WordPress MultiLingual) is a translational plugin, which can save tons of time with just a click of a button and setting of some options. What this plugin does is to translate content and even posts in almost all of the languages.
- Delete account – Delete account gives the user, which is not happy with his account, the option to delete it. Deleting an account can permanently erase all of the info and wipe out the database.
Simple Membership is unlike the other mentioned WordPress Membership Plugins, as its main purpose is to restrict and hide content from users that are not registered on your website.
The main idea of such a plugin is to trigger user registrations and escalate the time staying on your website, while also reducing spam.
With restricting contain and encouraging people to register on your website, you are skyrocketing the results and overall actions that are being done.
Having the social login, can also decrease the chances of being spammed or attacked by unknown IP addresses, but keep in mind that everything is possible in this “world of websites”.
Simple Membership gives you the opportunity to have unlimited membership levels and this means, that you can go on and create all kinds of memberships, which can be unique and different from other websites.
Although you have the unlimited roles opportunity, you should try not to include the same user permissions for same membership role. If you have the idea to create a role like E-Boy and E-Girl, then this would be alright. Same goes for Twitch Streamer and YouTube Vlogger or Even Website Blogger.
Those roles can have their own mountain of levels to climb while paying or having those roles acquired for free.
Simple Membership works really way and it is designed especially to server PayPal or Stripe, so you can have your premium subscription set or even donations, which lead to granting a new membership role.
Simple Membership features
- Payments log – The payments log, lets you track the payments that were made by the users, while buying a subscription.
- PayPal smart membership button – This is a special designed feature that lets the users, instantly purchase the subscription through the PayPal smart button.
- Email Activation / Email Confirmation – Also like the other wordpress membership plugins, Simple Membership has the email activation feature. This feature simply lets visitors upon registering, to have to go and activate their account through an email, which is received on their inbox.
- Developer API – As the other plugins are not including the developer API, so the plugin can be configured more by a website developer, Simple Membership has it. This API lets you use actions and hooks, for better user experience (also known as UI)
- Member login widget on Sidebar – As every WordPress theme lets you add its custom widgets, Simple Membership has their own widget that you can include in your own WordPress sidebar and show the members registered.
More features from Simple Membership
- Comments on your protected posts will also be protected automatically.
- There is an option to enable debug logging so you can troubleshoot membership payment related issues easily (if any).
- Option to show a custom message for user roles, which have locked content.
- Ability to protect posts partially for different roles.
- Send emails to users, which are registered.
- Customizable password reset for members.
- Option to use Google reCAPTCHA on your member registration form.
- Option to use reCAPTCHA on your member login and password reset form.
- Option to redirect members after a successful login.
- Option to redirect members after a successful registration.
- Option to redirect members after logging out.