The wildly popular blogging platform and CMS WordPress is the host to dozens of affiliate marketing sites and blogs, but for some marketers, there is a desire to take their business to the next level by making it membership or subscription based, which means finding the WordPress membership plugin that is right for them.
While there isn't a huge market for WordPress membership plugins, there are a few that really standout as far as their capabilities and features go. Below is a list of ten of the top WordPress membership plugins available, and they range in price from totally free to about $200.
Don't let the (I assume) unintended innuendo of the plugin's name drive you away, because Magic Members is chock full of cool features that many plugins lack, and it is perfect for any type of generic membership site. Some key features include download manager, integration with Authorize.net and WorldPay and member-only RSS feeds. This plugin also supports CCBill, one of the top high-risk payment processors in the whole world. And for affiliate marketers, this Magic Members also offers another plugin called Magic Affiliate, which is fully-integrated into both Magic Members and WP E-Commerce plugins. There are many out there who argue that this is the best membership plugin on the market, and it only costs around $97.
If it's features your looking for, you may want to put MemberWing at the top of your wish list. This plugin offers very powerful file protection and full integration with TraceFusion, which allows you to find out who steals, illegally shares and distributes your premium material on the Internet. You also get forum support, a ticketing system, download protection, drip-feeding and a whole host of other features. It can even be integrated into iDevAffiliate, which is the number one affiliate management software available. MemberWing also supports way more payment processors than any of the other plugins, including PayPal, 2Checkout, ClickBank, PayDotCom, e-junkie, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, and TrialPay. Needless to say, this is a pretty cool product.
YourMembers is one of the original membership plugins for WordPress, so over the years it has been able to add new features as they pop up and it has remained consistently suitable for essential membership needs. Among the many changes that this product has made over the last year are support for a number of different payment gateways, such as Authorize.net and CCBill, the addition of a members-only RSS that allows users to choose between secure RSS tokens and basic HTTP authentication for RSS feeds and full mail integration with gateways such as MailChimp and Aweber. It also includes Pay Per View, the ability to offer fixed value, percentage or hidden package coupons with registration and the chance to create custom reigstraton/login pages. Plus, every version of this plugin comes with free support and upgrades,
so as they continue to get even better, your site can keep up. The basic
package starts at $95.
Digital Access Pass
If this plugin has one thing working against it, it's a boring name. That being said, Digital Access Pass is rich in features and has a built-in affiliate program that supports both Pay-Per-Lead and Pay-Per Sale, which is huge for affiliate marketers. It supports a bunch of common payment processors like 1ShoppingCart, ClickBank, PayPal and many more. It also does away with the need for third party shopping carts, because the plugin itself can act as the cart. Each purchase of Digital Access Pass also contains personal installation by their team. The biggest downside is that this product is so lush and powerful that it takes a while to get used to. It's really only recommended for very savvy WordPress users, or at least those who are willing to put in the time to learn how to use it.
One of the best things about s2Member is its clean and aesthetically pleasing interface. It contains most of the really important features that a user would expect from their membership plugin and is compatible with BuddyPress. Some features include the ability to delay post/page content and restrict access to different member levels per post or page. It comes with support for free subscribers and four primary membership levels, as well as an unlimited number of Custom Capability Packages, which allow users to create an unlimited number of membership packages with different capabilites and prices. Also, it's pretty cheap. A single license of the bare-bones version is actually free and the pro version is just $69. While it may not be the best membership plugin on the market, it is certainly among the most affordable and can hold its own in satisfying most owners' needs.
This is one of the hottest membership plugins on the market, and for good reason. Some of the many features available with Wishlist Member include sequential content delivery, multi-level acess, secure RSS feeds and control viewed content. They also have frequent updates so the product stays fresh by adding new features or product integration all the time. It supports all of the major payment gateways, as well as Cydec, which isn't as popular as some others. Its API makes integration super easy with both other plugins and third party services. This is one of the most complete and accessible membership plugins on the market, and should more than adequately fill any role that most sites or blogs will need.
Like YourMembers, wp-Member is pretty old school, initially launching with few features but updating over the years to keep up with competition, which makes it still a good plugin for most owners' membership needs. In fact, wp-Member is one of the few plugins that supports Google Checkout, which neither Magic Members nor Wishlist Member can claim. One of the coolest features, however, is the ability to easily customize your member registration page, which is a great way to help your site stand out and is something that many other plugins either don't offer or have yet to make as customizable and convenient as wp-Member.
This plugin is fairly new and also pretty standard, but it does present some unique features that should garner some attention from website owners and affiliate marketers. For instance, it is the only WordPress membership plugin that can be easily integrated with self-hosted or online affiliate marketing systems. Obviously, marketers should be interested in that, because they're going to want to be reaching out into these markets when starting to attempt to reel in members. It also comes with a pretty neat built-in HTML email newsletter feature, which allows you to mass email your members.
For those website or blog owners on a budget, eMember may just be for you. It's price range is very low compared to most of its competition and so, although it doesn't present any especially enticing features that you can't find in other plugins, it does provide users with a simple, cheap alternative that is capable of pulling off the basic functions of other membership plugins. So, if you don't require much, eMember may be a great fit.
As with most WordPress plugins, picking the right one for membership is mostly about knowing what your site or blog needs and which plugin can best get that done for you for the lowest price. Those who have a lot of traffic and plan on engaging a lot of members may want to consider a plugin like Digital Access Pass or MemberWing, but for most marketers, they probably don't need something that powerful, at least not yet.