Top 3 Membership Plugins for WordPress

There are a LOT of membership plugins out there. I’ve tried many of them. Some were painful. Some were like having the keys to a new Ferrari.

I started building membership sites back in 2010. We started with MemberGate, which used to be one of the few decent options available.

But now there are hundreds of WordPress plugins that allow you to protect your content, take payments, and create your own membership site online.

But I don’t want you to have to test out each of these plugins on your own.

After reviewing and working with all of the major membership plugins, here are My Top 3 recommendations…


Digital Access Pass:

Digital Access Pass (also known as DAP) is an extremely powerful membership platform for WordPress. They have a rich set of features, extensive documentation, and fanatical support.

DAP allows you to sell an unlimited number of products with unlimited membership levels.

Some of the more advanced features that initially attracted me to DAP were the 1-click Upsells and Downsells, the built-in affiliate program,
advanced content dripping, and the built-in email autoresponders and broadcasts.

But EVERY platform has pros and cons. So I’m going to give you the good AND the bad.

Let’s start with what makes DAP ROCK…

Smart Content Dripping:

DAP has one of the best ‘content dripping’ capabilities.

DAP allows you to drip WordPress pages, posts, categories, PDF reports, videos, audio files, zip files, and even images! The flexibility here is endless.

You can even drip in PDF files, mp3 audio, and videos on specific days.

DAP creates 2 layers of protection. One for the file itself. And another layer for the blog post or page where your file resides.

If you wanted, you could even add a 3rd layer of protection by using a simple plugin like WP Secure Links.

DAP also allows you to restrict access by # of clicks.

DAP also allows in-page dripping. So for example, you could release 3 videos on the SAME WordPress page (but on different days).

Another cool feature is the [DAPComingSoon] tag. You can use this to tease your members about ‘What’s coming Next’. You can put this tag anywhere. On the Homepage, the sidebar, etc…

This allows you to create anticipation for the next piece of content that’s being released. (Based upon your specified drip schedule and when that user joined) This works really well for increasing retention rates.

You always want to let your members know “What’s Coming Next…”

Built-In Autoresponder:

This is the ONLY platform that has built-in autoresponder emails and broadcasts.

Not only can you drip feed your content, but you can also drip feed your emailsto go out on a pre-determined schedule.

DAP even allows you to connect with Amazon SES or SendReach for high deliverability and inexpensive send rates.

This feature saves a LOT of hassle because you no longer have to worry about integrating your autoresponder (Aweber, MailChimp, GetResponse, etc…)

You can email ALL of your active members (without having to worry about whether or not they confirmed their email).

Quick Note: If you still want to integrate with Aweber, MailChimp, or GetResponse – you can still do that.

Superior Payment Processing:

DAP has a fully featured built-in shopping cart, allowing you to process credit cards via Stripe,, or PayPal Website Payments Pro.

DAP also integrates seamlessly with Stripe, 1ShoppingCart,, Google Checkout, PayPal Standard, PayPal Express,, Premium Web Cart, Infusionsoft, Nanacast, Clickbank, JVZoo and many others. Also supports coupons and dime sales.

DAP also has a VERY powerful built-in affiliate program that lets you pay ‘per-lead’ or ‘per sale’. You can even set up 2-tier commissions for your affiliates.

One of the best things about DAP is their extensive documentation and fanatical customer support. They have some of the best support I’ve seen online. The creators (Ravi and Veena) and EXTREMELY committed to the development of their product.

They have gone the extra mile to help me with anything I need.

And for DAP – that’s the norm.

You simply will not find a more committed group of product developers online.

Now for the Cons…


After 5 years of development, the user interface for DAP looks largely the same.

Although DAP has extensive tutorials and documentation, there’s still a VERY steep learning curve. Even after 3 years of working with DAP, it still feels a bit complex.

Setting up a sales funnel with upsells and downsells is particularly tricky. I usually end the day with a headache :)

My biggest complaint would simply be ‘ease of use’. I want to be able to setup new products quickly and easily.

This is one of the core values in our business. To keep things as simple as possible.

The faster I can setup new products, the faster I’m able to launch and the more revenue we make.

For us – ease of use is a BIG deal. And it’s the reason we’re going to be migrating to MemberMouse. (A platform we’ll talk about next)

But I do NOT say this to steer you away from DAP. DAP is EXTREMELY powerful. It has an incredibly rich feature set. And some of the best support in the business.

They have just about any feature you could possibly want.

But for me – simplicity and a few extra features pushed us to MemberMouse.

Because we use DAP extensively, it needs to be a joy to use. Not just tolerable.

And for us, the user interface is simply no longer a joy to use.

I’d also like to see better reporting stats. As a membership site owner, I’d love to have a dashboard that displays:

* Daily Signups, Weekly Signups, Monthly Signups.
* Cancellations
* Lifetime Customer Value
* Cancellation Rate (Percentage)
* Daily Revenue
* Monthly Revenue
* Yearly Revenue

Now DAP does have SOME of these. But they’re not easy to read.

I would LOVE a dashboard where I could see all of my critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
in one quick glance.

Find out More about Digital Access Pass





MemberMouse is that near-perfect combination of extremely powerful features and a clean easy-to-use interface.

This scalable platform allows you to sell unlimited subscriptions and products with 1-click upsells, downsells, and even one-click purchases INSIDE your member’s area.


Protect & Drip-Feed Content:

MemberMouse allows you to easily protect WordPress pages, posts, and entire categories.

You can also drip-feed your content on a specified schedule. For each page or post, you can decide whether you want that piece of content to be released on day 1, day 2, day 5, day 10, day 20, day 30, etc…

You could feasibly have content scheduled for years in advance. It’s totally up to you.

In addition to this base level of protection, MemberMouse can automatically lock accounts who share their login with others. You can set exactly how how many different IP addresses can login to your site (using the same login credentials) during a 24-hour period.

Cool Alert: Plus, another really cool feature they have built-in is an ‘Upcoming Content’ widget that you can drag and drop into your sidebar. This will display the upcoming content (and the date it’s being released) based on when your member joined. Wickedly cool.

Elegant Payment Processing:

MemberMouse integrates seamlessly with PayPal, Stripe,, Braintree, and Clickbank.

MemberMouse also creates beautiful checkout pages right out of the box…

You can create one-time purchases, monthly memberships, free trials, paid trials, payment plans, coupons, and more.

And best of all, MemberMouse has one-click upsells and downsells to immediately increase revenue.

Maximize Lifetime Customer Value:

One of the best features within MemberMouse is that it allows you multiple options for easily increasing Lifetime Customer Value.

One of my favorites is the 1-Click Buy link that you can use INSIDE your member’s area.

For example, let’s say you have a customer who did NOT purchase the one-click upsell.

Inside the member’s area, you can dynamically show them the offer again. So that at any point in time they can purchase that additional product with just one-click (becuase their credit card is already on file). They simply click the ‘buy now’ button, which will trigger a pop-up confirming that the purchase will be charged to their card on file. They click ‘confirm’ and their credit card is instantly billed.

This makes it super easy for you to offer your existing customers additional products and value. And they never have to re-enter their credit card details.

So you could essentially have a ‘Products’ page inside your member’s area where your customers could purchase ANY of your other products with
just one-click.

Automate Customer Support:

MemberMouse has a number of features that allow you to automate common customer support tasks.

First and foremost, the ‘My Account’ page gives your customer the ability to update their billing address, contact details, username and password, cancel their account and more. Which decreases a HUGE amount of work for you.

MemberMouse also allows you to send out automated emails when a customer’s credit card is declined or payment is overdue. You can also add send out an automated email when an affiliate makes their first sale. There are an endless number of emails you can automate with ‘Push Notifications’.

This alone can easily save your hours of customer support each month.


To be honest it was hard to find cons for this platform because they’ve gone above and beyond to create an all-in-one business solution.

It’s like having the power of Infusionsoft or Nanacast, but in a much easier (more affordable) platform.

But there are a few things on my wishlist ;)

I would love to see an easy-to-use dashboard with all of the most important KPIs.

Daily Signups, Weekly Signups, Monthly Signups.
Lifetime Customer Value
Cancellation Rate (Percentage)
Daily Revenue
Monthly Revenue
Yearly Revenue

Fortunately, I’ve talked to MemberMouse, and this is something they’re currently working on and should be added within a month or two.

I’d also love to see a built-in email feature that allows you to send broadcasts and autoresponders to your members (Similar to DAP). But you can just as easily do this by integrating with MailChimp. (Which is what we’ll be doing.)


Find out More about MemberMouse



Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a Free membership platform for WordPress that you should take a serious look at.

Paid Memberships Pro allows you to setup an unlimited number of membership levels. You can do one-time payments, monthly subscriptions, free trials, paid trials, and more.

It also creates gorgeous checkout pages right out of the box…

It integrates seamlessly with Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, and

Your members can also update their billing information or cancel their account directly from their member’s area. Which then automatically cancels at the payment gateway as well. Eliminating a LOT of manual customer support.

They also have free add-ons for integrating directly with Aweber, Infusionsoft, Post Affiliate Pro, MailChimp, and the WP Affiliate Platform.

And another add-on that allows you to drip-feed content.

Plus, they’ve got some of the best reporting stats of ANY platform I’ve seen.


Paid Memerships Pro does not have some of the advanced features that you’ll find in premium plugins.

You can’t do 1-click upsells and downsells.

But honestly if you don’t need the more advanced features, Paid Memberships Pro is killer. Plus it’s 100% free!

It’s extremely powerful, easy to setup and feature packed.


Find out More about Paid Memberships Pro



[uds-pricing-table name=”membership-plugins-compared”]

59 thoughts on “Top 3 Membership Plugins for WordPress”

  1. What a great resource, Kim! Thanks for saving the rest of us frustrating hours (not to mention headaches) trying to find the perfect platform.

    I really appreciate all of your extremely helpful emails/blog posts!

  2. Thanks for this in-depth review Kim, I found it extremely helpful. I’ve been thinking about starting a membership site, and you’ve given me the confidence to pursue it immediately … well, more accurately, you’ve removed my biggest procrastination excuse :) Thanks for sharing your expertise! … Donna

  3. Kim,
    your analysis is brilliant! …It could not have been more timely for me.
    Your generosity is to a fault :)

    I was just going through the pain of sorting through a membership script to use on one of my sites..I was surprised, however that Wish List Member did not appear among your top 3.
    Any thoughts on that?

    You’re simply the best!

    Much love

    • Hey Desmond!

      Great to hear from you :)

      We’ve used Wishlist Member extensively in the past and it’s a solid platform.

      However, when you compare it to the features and ease of use of Paid Memberships Pro – I think PMP wins hands down.

      Plus, it’s free unless you want to add on the year of support.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      – Kim

    • Hey Kim & Desmond

      Thanks for this comparison article.

      I’m already a user of wishlist member and very happy, but I only have a single license. I plan on creating a couple more gated membership/ecourse on other sites so it’s a good idea to see what else is out there.

      Even if you don’t utilize WLM actual plugin, you should take a look at their Insider membership catered to creating a membership site, plus they have additional bonus plugins (free w/membership) that you can add to make your site even more robust. The information alone is good. FYI: I have no affiliate with them so this is just from my experience.



      Optimizepress 2.0 has a membership plugin…have you checked it out. They have drip feed, and in addition to the levels, they have something called “club” that you you can add to any of the levels and have that as a paid “Add-on”. Have you gotten a chance to play around with it, and do you recommend it? I have to review their explanation video, or check out their FAQ to learn more about the “club” part of their plugin cause I’m quite confused.

      Thanks for the info on MemberMouse.

      • Hi Danielle!

        We’ve used Wishlist Member extensively. Great platform.

        But we prefer MemberMouse or Paid Memberships Pro simply because of how
        easy they are to use.

        With that said, Wishlist Member is definitely a VERY solid platform.

        But these are our 3 favorites.

        Some of it just comes down to personal preference. And what features
        your specific business needs.



  4. Huge fan of all your work, Kim. Recently purchased your traffic course (I actually had your old one). So much value, it has inspired me to pack more content into everything I do as well as increased our traffic. Improving membership site will have to wait while I work through these other modules though:)

  5. Hi Kim I’ve been researching for a long time membership plugins for WordPress and I never heard of these three. I’m reading your review now after quickly scanning this post. I read you know about Whishlist Member so it’s interesting to know you found one you think is better. Kim can you please tell me have you heard of insta-member dot com/launch/ I read some other review about insta-member and the review said it was better than Whislist Member.Correction: I have read about Paid Membership Pro, I just forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me as now I can add it to me list of ones to choose. My choices are 1 Inst-Member 2 Paid Membership Pro 3 Whishlist Member.

    • Hey Patrick!

      InstaMember is one of the few that I haven’t used personally so I really can’t comment there.

      But, with a membership platform you want to make doubly sure that it’s highly supported.

      By that I mean you want to go with a company that’s been around for years and has a top-notch
      support team that can help you as needed. This is core software that runs a critical function
      in your business. So it’s definitely not a place where you should skimp. You want to go with
      someone who is proven and solid.

  6. Great resource list, as always, Kim! I tried DAP last year and found that it conflicted with cache plugins. Therefore, I recommend if someone does use DAP, they may want to consider installing it on a separate WP install. That way their main site can still run the cache plugins for site speed, etc.

  7. Hey Kim,
    Awesome post! And very timely for me as I’m building a membership site now. A couple of questions for clarification. So does Paid Membership Pro does NOT integrate with JVZoo or Clickbank, correct? And Member Mouse does NOT integrate with JVZoo?

    Thanks and keep the awesome content coming!

  8. Hey Kim,
    Great post as always. I especially love the easy-to-read comparison table. Now I know who to turn to if I ever decide to go the membership route.

    I would like to implore others not to buy SendReach. Support is horrible, features are always being stripped or changed, and their impossible TOS restrict its users rather than give them freedom.
    Keep up the awesome work!

  9. Hi Kim,

    As always, great value comes forth whenever your fingers hit the keyboard.

    You might want to look into Andrew Hunter’s MemberSonic. He is fanatical about upgrading, and gives excellent support.

    Best to you.


    • Hi Jerry!

      MemberSonic looks solid :)

      For us though we look for a number of key features (integration with Stripe
      and 1-click upsells and downsells which allow us to double lifetime customer

      – Kim

  10. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for this awesome assemment! I just have one question. In your option MemberMouse beats Wishlist Member? I am about to make a decision on which one to use.



    • Hi Allen!

      Thanks for your comment :)

      Yes – I would choose MemberMouse over Wishlist Member.

      MemberMouse has much more advanced features and it’s easier to use.

      With MemberMouse you can do 1-click upsells and downsells along
      with 1-click purchases INSIDE the member’s area itself.

      There really isn’t any other platform right now that’s as powerful
      as MemberMouse.

      Hope this helps!

      Feel free to let me know any other questions you might have.

      – Kim

  11. Great comparison study Kim, I have actually used Paid Memberships Pro and you are spot on, just brilliant value in the true spirit of the old Internet! Another paid option is Wishlist which is also very good, but at $97 per site a little steep; also S2 Member another free option which is quite complex to use another steep learning curve, but certainly works out of the box.
    Great stuff.

  12. Great comparison of the plugins. Have you found anything that allows you to have member-only forums? Last time I checked I couldn’t find anything that integrated with membership software without the need for new logins.

  13. Thanks for the detailed info Kim. Choosing the right plugin or platform for a membership site is critical because it is so hard, and sometimes impossible, to switch later on. I had an active site using aMember and after a few years I looked into moving to a new option, but decided to stay with aMember because I didn’t want to go through the transition process.

    Member Mouse is definitely an awesome plugin. You said it really well about Member Mouse being a great combination of powerful features and ease of use. Definitely a great option.

    Restrict Content Pro is also an excellent option for many membership sites. It’s intentionally simple and not quite as feature-rich as some of the other options, but it’s reliable, easy to use, and affordable.

    I currently use Cart66 on one of my sites because it includes functionality for both a traditional e-commerce site as well as membership. It’s not perfect for either, but it’s the best combination of both that I have found.

  14. Hi Kim,

    The last two or three days I was just thinking about creating my first membership site, and did a quick research on WP membership plugins and… I stopped. There were simply too many of them, and it would have taken me days or even weeks to research and test many of them. So you have saved me a lot of time and I thank you for that.

    Good luck,

  15. Good reviews Kim

    I have recently taken a look at member mouse myself and have just changed over from my old platform to member mouse as it does look very good.

    I’m still in the process of setting up member mouse and changing things over and there was one thing which I have found which I’m not too happy about.

    I have joined up for the 2 week free trial and then I was going to pay the $19.95 per month plan.

    After going through all the admin area it doesn’t look like you can’t get any stat reports for traffic, sales, conversions, epc etc (or I can’t find it) all you get is logs which is pretty worthless.

    The other thing which I’m not too happy about is that in order to benefit from the really powerful stats like lifetime customer value and retention rate etc then you need to buy either the $99, $299 or the $599 per month package.

    The main reason why I joined member mouse was to get those stats because they are the most important and it now looks like you can’t them unless you pay at least $99 per month which is pretty bad and very misleading.

    Perhaps you should of mentioned this in your review because otherwise a lot of people are going to get disappointed as I am after joining up and seeing that you have to pay a lot more.

    I may be wrong but this is what I can see from my account anyway.


    Paul Nicholls

    • Hey Paul,

      They’re coming out with more complete reporting stats this month so stay tuned :)

      But the power and ease of use of this platform alone makes it well worth it for me.

      You won’t find anything else out there like it. I’ve searched for many years :)

      We did decide to stay with DAP though for the Marketing Lab because there were too
      many hurdles to change it over. We would have had to give all of our members new
      passwords. So there we still run DAP and love it. It’s a VERY powerful platform.
      Just not nearly the same ease of use compared to MemberMouse.

      There are no perfect platforms :) They all have their pros and cons.

      – Kim

    • …and customer support is usually a minimum of 24 hours before you get a short and useless email back asking you another question rather than actually looking into the problem.

  16. Great post Kim! I’m at a bit of a crossroads in business at the moment, after a rocky year or so, i’m tentatively coming back into internet marketing, i do a few websites for local businesses but i’m just trading time for money, not good, so i’m torn between niche/review site marketing, web design and online marketing combined, (been looking at your Marketing Lab V impressive)or try to build membership sites, so this was a great post to come across.


    Kind regards, Paul

  17. Hi Kim!
    I just found this post on membership sites.Great timing!
    You must have been drinking that psychic coffee again…!
    Going to give Member Mouse a spin and see how it works for a internet marketing site and then for my fitness club after that!
    Will become an affiliate of yours me thinks…
    You are one in a million!
    Many thanks

  18. Hi Kim,

    I’m fairly new around here, but what an amazing place! Your post was super timely, because I’ve been working on a new venture and have been evaluating a lot if tools. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting. Your chart just saved me hours of analysis!

    Off to explore more…

  19. Wow Kim! This is an awesome list here. I have never heard of most of those on the list.

    Membership sites are at the back bone of more online entrepreneurs businesses, than we know.

    Thanks for the list. I will check out Paid Memberships Pro!!

    Thanks again Kim!

  20. Hi Kim. Very useful post. I’ve been researching some membership plugins, and this post comes at a perfect time.

    I’m also curios about Stripe. Do you happen to have made a post about Stripe?

    Thanks again for sharing.

    • Hi Ángel,

      I don’t have any specific posts about Stripe but we use it extensively
      and LOVE it! We’re also using it with my dad’s membership site which
      already has over 130+ members :)

      The great thing about Stripe is that it’s super easy to get started
      and has very low fees. Win-Win.



  21. Hey Kim, what are your thoughts about s2member? One of my (older) friends used too help script that membership plugin, and as you put it, it’s almost like they give you the keys to a new Ferrari. Thanks for this list & information. You write incredible blog posts, and it really makes you stand out. I recently posted one of your PDF’s in a Facebook group, for people to refer back too.

  22. Kim, Are you still using MemberMouse? I noticed on your other site(s) that you are using Optimize Press? Which do you prefer?

  23. Awesome report. I learned about member mouse and its now second on my list! after InstaMember… Definitely it was worth reading this and other blogs and reports about membership sites to learn that DAP is complex and not the one to go for a first member ship site project. Love it but not the right time for me. PMPro is on my list. But something I dont know what it its makes me stay away…

  24. Hello Kim. I wanted to hear your opinion. My website went live about a year ago. I host a fantasy football advice site, and I offer my expertise in this field. The plan was to prove my expertise in the first year, build my reputation and following, then offer a paid subscription service in year two. Everything went well, now I narrowing my membership selection down, but I’m not sure which direction to go in. After research and reading your piece here, It seems like ‘Paid Memberships Pro’ is the one for me.

    The question I have is, my premium content is published once a year, and it really only amounts to one article, therefore one sale. I will offer yearly subscription plans, but the content included is separate from the premium article that I mentioned above. I don’t plan on the subscriptions being as popular as the premium article. Do you have any advice to offer? Thank you dearly in advance!

  25. Thank you Kim. I have been reading and reading and I read this, came away with a clear call to action and a summary of the options. Many thanks

  26. Thanks for including Paid Memberships Pro in this list, and thanks for the nice things you say about it. I am curious what “advanced features” you feel we lack compared to the “premium” plugins featured.

    I think it’s normal for people to assume that because PMPro is free that it is less featured than the other options, but that’s not really the case. We’ve been developing the plugin for years now and the code base and our free addons are for the most part as extensive as other options. We simply choose not to charge for our software. I understand why people might think this, but we’re trying to combat the image that PMPro is a “budget” options vs the others when really we are trying to build a universal membership platform the same way WordPress has built a universal blogging platform.

  27. I’;m having big issues with performance. I’m hosting membermouse with Bluehost and each is pointing the finger at each other — anyone pick who’s to blame for poor load time and up time?

    • HI, I know you posted this comment 2 years ago though your post is relative to me right now. I use Bluehost and I’m thinking of merging my membership access across to Member Mouse. Would love your feedback as to whether managed to get these two “working together”. Thank you

  28. Membermouse support is abysmal. They take a day to respond then some guy called Elliot says,

    “Looks like you have a problem. Have you checked your settings? Hope this helps”

    DAP usually takes action within a couple of hours and actually gives you HELP.

    Yes, Membermouse is easier and if you NEVER have a problem, it’s maybe better, not sure, but if you have problems, and you will, DAP will actually help you, Membermouse will take a day to give you a bullshit response that is useless.

    Good luck with your migration.


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