WordPress is one of the most used CMSs. It started its journey to make blogging easier, started to appeal to much wider areas with the support of its developer audience. Although I have tried Drupal, Joomla and a few less popular content management systems, I prefer to use the WordPress infrastructure in all my projects if possible.
Even if I create a membership site, I would still prefer WordPress. The reason for this is, at most of the times, plugins that you say “It would be great if there was a plugin like this” are indeed available for WP. In other words, WordPress is a very accurate choice in terms of saving time for the webmaster as well as making it more accessible in terms of technical knowledge.
Of course, as in every major plugin category, we come across paid and free options. I personally think that completely free or so called “freemium” plugins will work for you.
Paid plugins allow you to do much more detailed work.
If I were to create a site related to membership, I would first reach a certain user audience with free options, then I would consider paid options to get a higher conversion from this audience. Start small, then grow.
The answer to this question is quite clear to mention what kind of criteria we pay attention to in creating our list. The scope of the features offered by the plugins, whether the plugins are really free, the number of downloads, the number of active installations, and the users’ vote on the plugins.
WordPress Membership Plugins ComparedMost Popular: Buddypress
I found it appropriate to introduce the most comprehensive plugin at first. Our plugin is called Buddypress.
Buddypress is such a comprehensive plugin. Just as Woocommerce is a must for e-commerce, Buddypress is by far the most popular plugin for membership and social media functions.
By making necessary arrangements on WordPress with the Buddypress plugin, it is even possible to create sites that resemble social media sites.
Similar to Woocommerce, there are some plugins that this plugin is compatible with and that will take it to higher levels. This can allow you to make very specific websites.
However, here we wanted to tell you what you can do by just installing Buddypress, that is, without an extra plugin besides Buddypress. A small search made by typing buddypress on the Themeforest.net site will actually see how many different areas it can serve you when combined with the right plugins. If you wish, you can take a look at how BuddyPress can be customized in more detail by going to the link I have given.
Let’s list the main functions included in Buddypress:
User profiles contain the information of the people who have registered on your site. You can determine what information you request from our users during registration. Besides, not every member has the same membership type. For example, let’s say you are a website that sells e-books. Thanks to the Buddypress member management module, you can give members access to the books you want.
You can send messages to members on the site or users can also chat with each other by messaging. So if we go through the example of Facebook, private messages and the wall concept come to your site by default with Buddypress.
Again, with the Buddypress plugin I gave above, you can even prevent non-members from viewing your home page.
If you wish, you or your users can create various groups in BuddyPress and join any group they want. In this way, registered members will be able to freely create content on your site.
Just like social media sites, a flow of members’ activities can be seen on WordPress sites with the Buddypress plugin.
Members registered on your site are free to add each other as friends. This is actually a useful feature in that your website is not only a platform where you provide information to people, but also includes social elements.
Similar to Instagram, Twitter and similar social media sites, you will receive notifications on Buddypress when you receive a friendship request from any member or when you receive a comment on a post you post on your “wall”.
The users who are logged in to the site can view the aforementioned notifications in the upper menu section, and the necessary updates can be obtained via e-mail depending on the selection.
If you are going to use Buddypress, it will be an important advantage for you if the WordPress theme you use is compatible with this plugin. We can say that some WordPress themes cause visual problems, although they do not conflict with Buddypress. Of course, you can deal with these problems yourself with CSS editing or consider using a new theme.
Let me leave a small tip: If you use another plugin called bbpress with Buddypress, you can turn your site into a full-fledged social forum. Because bbpress plugin enables you to have Forum experience in WordPress environment.
WordPress Member Only ContentWP Members Membership Plugin
This plugin is much simpler than Buddypress. If what you need is a simple extension that does not overwhelm your system, WP Members is exactly what you are looking for.
Let’s summarize what you can do with this plugin:
- You can grant access of some pages to existing members and disable the access of some pages. For example, if we go through the e-book site example again, you can grant the download page access of the e-books that were purchased, but the download pages of the books that have not been purchased yet will be inaccessible for this user.
- You can make people subscribe to your site by filling in the information you want.
- There is a component that allows users to log into the system from your home page.
- The plugin will notify you by sending an e-mail when a new member is registered on your site. I want to make a small note here, make sure your WordPress mail settings are set correctly.
- Thanks to the shortcodes offered by the plugin, you can install the function you want on the page you want. In other words, if you define a page such as siteaddress.com/loginhere and place a short code on that page, you will have a new login page.
Membership Subscription Plugin for WordPress
With this plugin, you can make some pages accessible to some users and disable other pages from their access. In addition to the plugin I reviewed above, Paid Memberships Pro plugin also has an integration for receiving payments via Stripe or PayPal. So, if you are selling any digital service, you don’t have to deal with getting paid. You have the chance to get paid automatically without creating an additional page.
It acts as a subscription plugin in that manner.
Another nice feature is that, it allows you to export / report as you wish. I need to mention that it is a completely open source plugin. With this plugin, it is also possible to export the data of the people registered on your site.
Now let’s talk about the paid option:
How to add auto subscription to WordPress?AmemberPRO
I will talk about the AMemberPRO plugin that I have seen being used on many sites.
If I had created a site with an income model based on membership, I think I would prefer this plugin. The only reason for this is that the plugin is very simple and can fully perform the necessary functions.
- This plugin has two perks. The first is that the screen seen by your site member or customer is simple. The other is payment tracking in the background, member privileges, etc. very simple control and tracking of complex details.
- The plugin allows you to create as many types of membership as you want. There is no limit.
- There is an option to release content step by step. So let’s say you are selling a lesson online: first lesson on the first day, second lesson on the second, etc. It is possible to share data on a schedule.
- Stripe, Paypal etc. It can work with all popular payment systems.
- Member management is very easy.
- There are features such as automatic membership management & access freeze on the expiration date of the membership, which will eliminate your need to follow up.