Best WordPress Membership Plugins 2018

It can be difficult to build a membership site on WordPress.  WordPress was not really designed for the complexities of membership sites, and so a lot of the functionality needs to be retrofit or modified in some way. 

Luckily a lot of developers are up to the challenge, and they have built excellent plugins that do everything you need.  And you have several different options depending on what you are looking to do.

In this article, we take a look at the best plugins and engines for building a membership site.  Once you have picked a plugin, you will also need a theme -- if the plugin doesn't come with it -- so you should check out our related themes as well (click on the link below).  There's some overlap between the two roundups, because many of the plugins and themes come together in a package, but there are also some differences.

Related:

Looking for themes for a membership site? Check out Best WordPress Membership Site Themes

Okay...here's the roundup of our choices of the best membership plugins:

 

Pros Cons

is SEO optimized

integrates with social media

includes multiple layouts

is mobile friendly

is highly reviewed

may require setup support

Boss is a plugin/engine as well as a theme that works in tandem with BuddyPress to create the ultimate membership site.

There really is no better way to build a membership site than by using Boss.  Boss builds on BuddyPress to include everything you need to build a members-only community.  Boss even includes multiple levels of membership, and paid membership via Stripe, Braintree, Paypal, 2Checkout, and more.  And you can do it all without any code.

Boss has so many customizations and options, it's possible to build any site you want.  Some examples: an online learning membership site, a Facebook-like site, and even an Instagram-like site.

While it may take a bit of configuration work, Boss is the best way to do membership hands down. 

Pros Cons

offers free suppport

is popular

custom widgets

may require setup support

This plugin is Ultimate Membership Pro, and it provides everything you need to build a great membership site.  Some of the included features: multiple levels, free and paid membership, access restrictions, multi payments, recurring payments, and even a trial.

If you are looking for a plugin to handle memberships, this is the one for you.  Membership Pro is tailored toward more advanced users, so you may need setup support for it. Ultimate Membership Pro has a large user base, so it is easy to get help and support. 

Along with Boss, this is one of the best membership plugins available, and there's no doubt you'll love it.

Pros Cons

is SEO optimized

has a drag and drop builder

is skinable

may require additional plugins

has many options, making configuration complicated

Aardvark is a membership engine/plugin/theme that can be used to build membership-based dating sites, e-Learning sites, directories, communities, stores, and social networks.  In the package are user management and store integration.  You an do paid memberships with additional software.

Aardvark includes several themes as well, so you can design the look and feel of your membership site without buying another package.

Pros Cons

has many customization options

may require setup support

The UltimateMember plugin is another great plugin for building membership functionality into WordPress.  And the best part is it's FREE.

It includes a comprehensive registration and loing system, including permissions and rules, as well as member directories and profile pages, a form builder, and email templates. This is an excellent way to get your membership site working, although you may need to upgrade later.  The company sells plugins including social login, private messaging, and more for $25 a pop.

One drawback: It doesn't include a method for charging for membership.  

Pros Cons

has many customization options

is for advanced users

is highly reviewed

complicated to install

Paid Memberships Pro is the original paid membership plugin/engine. If you want paid memberships in most plugins or themes, you'll probably need to install PMP.  You'll want a good theme to go along with PMP -- you can download the free Memberlite theme, or find a compatible theme here.

PMP has all of the features you need for paid memberships, although it can be a bit tricky to set up.  And it's FREE, although you will have to pay if you want support.

This is the best choice for you if you're very skilled with WordPress and want to build something custom -- or if you want to add paid memberships to another membership engine.

Pros Cons

provides built in search

supports Adsense

is SEO optimized

has a 1-click install process

is highly reviewed

is easy to use

more expensive than average

Although all of the options above are great, they can be complicated to set up and manage.  More importantly, they also may not fit your requirements exactly.  

Do you want something special in your membership site? Need a higher level of security or different permissions?  Or do you simply want someone to build your membership solution for you?

Surprisingly, it's easy and cheap to get a custom solution for a membership WordPress site.  We found a Fiverr seller who will build you a custom membership site (or add membership functionality to your current site) starting at $80.  That's right -- for only a few dollars more than you would spend on the themes above, you can get a customized membership site.

Now, depending on your level of expertise with WordPress -- as well as many other factors -- you may or may not want someone to build the solution for you.  But there's no doubt it's worth looking into this as an option...and with such high reviews, it may be the solution for you.

Other Themes To Check Out

The themes below didn't make our list because they don't directly fit the topic, but they definitely warrant a look.

Pros Cons

has many options, making configuration complicated

If you're looking to build a forum based membership site, this is for you.  This theme/plugin provides all of the functionality you need for a forum with membership.  

Pros Cons

provides built in search

has many customization options

is SEO optimized

integrates with social media

includes multiple layouts

is for advanced users

may require setup support

QAEngine is designed for building a question-and-answer oriented membership site. It offers all of the needed functionality for a membership site, as it allows users to pay to access certain functionality, it includes badges and points, and it provides polls and other interactive content. 

Pros Cons

is SEO optimized

has map integration

offers multiple color choices

is skinable

offers free suppport

is easy to use

may require setup support

This plugin/theme is called ClassifiedEngine.  If you're looking to build a membership site that allows people to pay to post content, this is perfect for you.

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