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Which WordPress membership plugin does what?

Which WordPress membership plugin does whatI’ve spent the last three years exploring WordPress membership plugins. After a lot of trial an error I accepted that premium plugins were the way to go – support and upgrades are often included. As in life, with plugins, you get what you pay for.

For a non-technical person membership sites can be a bit of a nightmare. Using a WordPress Plugin makes it easier for you to install and manage. I’ve got clients who after perfecting the membership aspect suddenly find they’ve focused so much on the setting up of the site, that they’ve completely bypassed creating great content to populate it with :). So remember, membership sites are not actually a “business-in-a-box” but something that have to be nurtured and grown over time.

At the end of this post is a free download, so read through or scroll down to find out how to grab a really useful free report that will help you start and market your membership sites.

For each membership plugin I share thoughts surrounding

  • Pricing, License use, Installation, Recurring Payments, Affiliate program, Integration, Customer Support, Training materials, CMS integration, Shopping carts, Coupons / discounting options, Drip feed ability, Forum integration, Any additional information

Premise WordPress Plugin

Over at the Social Media Toolkits we will be using Premise to deliver our membership aspect. As I mentioned on my post about WordPress landing page plugins, Premise has many superb bonuses that make it a great purchase.

  • Pricing – currently $165
  • License – multisite license. It’s actually a very generous licensing option. The preferred option is that if you are building client sites that you/they purchase their own API key in order to access customer support and educational features.
  • Installation – upload in minutes via WP dashboard and easy to add in your license key via the settings
  • Recurring Payments – yes
  • Affiliate program – yes via third party shopping carts, not built in
  • Customer Support – An extensive knowledge base showing you how to use Premise, along with the option to message customer support if your query isn’t answered in one of the videos or PDFs.
  • Training materials – Extensive training materials on the Premise website, also user made videos on You Tube.
  • CMS integration – WordPress
  • Shopping carts – Paypal standard, Braintree, ClickBank (beta), Stripe (beta) and 2checkout
  • Coupons / discounting options – Discount via a percentage is available
  • Drip feed ability – yes!
  • Forum integration – paid Vbulletin forums or bbPress integration
  • Any additional information – extensive educational material comes with the Premise membership plugin, from copywriting to graphics to interviews with successful membership owners. The Premise library is extensive and updated frequently. And of course you can create beautiful WordPress landing pages with it as well :)

Wishlist Member WordPress Plugin

Over on my Zerotoblogger membership site, I use Wishlist Member to deliver our membership options.

  • Pricing – $97 for a single site / $297 for  multiple sites (you can try the single site option and upgrade for the price difference in the first 30 days, after that upgrades to multi site will be $297. Multi sites covers multiple sites that you own and not client sites.
  • License single site and multi site, as outlined above. If you wish to purchase a developer option and install on client site you need to get in touch for a quote.
  • Installation – fast upload via the WordPress dashboard
  • Recurring payments – yes
  • Affiliate program – yes via third party integration
  • Customer Support – yes via support desk, again an extensive knowledge base, tutorials and video training section. There is also the option to upgrade to Wishlist insider (an additional payment) and get bonus plugins and other materials to boost your membership site.
  • Training materials – videos and tutorials. Again there are also lots of useful videos on You Tube showing you tips and tricks
  • CMS integration – WordPress
  • Shopping carts  – Paypal. 1shopping cart pro, Clickbank and many others
  • Coupons / discounting options – You can set up free trials and lover priced trial memberships
  • Drip feed ability – yes
  • Forum integration – Yes, Simple Press, Vanilla Forums and others are compatible, but they must be WordPress based. I hear that other options are not readily compatible.
  • Any additional information – A thriving community behind the scenes

WP eMember WordPress Plugin

eMember is a really popular plugin used by bloggers and other WordPress developers to create their membership sites. It’s strength comes from the fact that you can purchase additional plugins like the affiliate program option rather than have it all bundled together. You may also need the WP eStore plugin to fulfill the ecommerce aspects of your membership site.

  • Pricing $49.95
  • License  – multiple site license but must be purchased seperately for use on client sites
  • Installation – easy upload via the WordPress dashboard
  • Recurring Payments – not stated
  • Affiliate program integration – yes, with additional affiliate program plugin
  • Customer Support – via a forum
  • Training materials – extensive training videos and documentation
  • CMS integration – WordPress
  • Shopping carts – Paypal
  • Coupons / discounting options – not known (I couldn’t find any details relating to this)
  • Drip feed ability – auto upgrade option which can be used to drip feed content to members
  • Forum integration – BBPress 2.0+ forum plugin
  • Any additional information. I have friends who love this plugin and use it combined with the WP eStore plugin and the affiliate program. It does all of the basics you need for a membership site but there are no extras.


I don’t use Amember on any of my sites as Wishlist Member and Premise cover all my options. But if you want a membership site with a built in affiliate system then Amember will be a good option for you. Although it’s not a WordPress plugin, I’ve included it so you can make a comparison if you are looking at a membership / affiliate scheme option.

  • Pricing – $179.95
  • License – single domain only
  • Installation – assistance is required. So not actually a plugin…
  • Recurring Payments – yes
  • Affiliate program – Yes, integrated.
  • Customer Support –  email and forums
  • Training materials – A comprehensive manual
  • CMS integration – WordPress but also Drupal and other HTML based sites.
  • Shopping carts – PayPal and 2CheckOut with a possibility of  Custom Integration
  • Coupons / discounting options – coupons available date limited and lifetime coupons
  • Drip feed ability – yes via an additional plugin (an additional cost)
  • Forum integration – yes
  • Any additional information. As I mentioned above, I’ve not used Amember on my own sites, so my experience comes from client sites and as a user of Amember powered sites.

Feel free to share your experience of these plugins :)

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Sarah Arrow

Hi, I'm Sarah Arrow and I want to help you increase your visibility. It's time to stop being the world's best kept secret and step into the spotlight. I created my first blogging challenge back in 2007, and I've helped 1000's of bloggers since then increase their presence online. I've been internationally recognised as a top content marketer, Forbes and MSN list my websites as top ones, and I'm the author of many quick-start marketing guides. You can find my books on Amazon. Let me be your guide through the business blogging maze. Join the free 30 day blogging challenge and get the recognition you desire.

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