Update: Some of these plugins have been updated since I wrote this but WishList is still at the top of my list. However, I’ll be revising this review before too long to update the others.
If you have an interest in starting a membership based website and don’t know where to begin the options can be daunting. I’ve been tasked with this a couple of times researched the options pretty thoroughly. All of the following options have one dependency, WordPress is the platform. Beyond that I was looking for flexibility, extensibility, a robust feature set and overall ease of use. While there are more options than what I’ve listed here, these were the WordPress membership plugins which kept coming to my attention and would likely come to yours while doing a search. If you know of more and have experience with them let us know in the comments.
#1. WishList Member: While a little pricey A total steal at $97 and definitely the best of breed among the reviewed plugins and if you are running a serious membership site it’s well worth the price. Additional features included strong member management, highly flexible membership levels, an import tool with template and broadcast e-mail/newsletter features. If you want all the bells and whistles fully integrated into your WordPress install this is the plugin for you. SPLURGE!
#2. WP-Member: Ssecond at $44.99 (converted from Euros circa 2009) this plugin has a great feature set, good member management and protection for digital downloads which can be valuable if you are trying to protect downloads like whitepapers, WordPress themes or other downloadable content. Excellent buy at that price. If you don’t need/want the email integration and import tool or if digital downloads are a big thing for your site this is a good choice. GOOD BUY
#3. Memberwing: Very good plugin but a little less robust and usage is less intuitive than those mentioned above. Comes with a free version but you have to pay if you want the payment integration. If all you are doing is protecting content but not charging for it this could work well for you. The $79.95 price to get Paypal and membership automation seems steep compared to some of the plugins above particularly when those are pretty essential features for most membership sites. Honorable mention.
#4. WP Membersite: A decent plugin but a little light on features for $47 price tag.
#5. Synergy Software Group WP Membership: A sold basic plugin but I found it to be lacking in overall features, flexibility was acceptable but not exceptional. The prices is decent at $29.97.
#6. Suma: A good basic plugin with good support for multiple payment types but a little less robust and extremely hard to justify the $199 price tag given the other options.