Top 6 Membership Plugins for WordPress 2021

Are you on the hunt for the best WordPress membership plugin in 2021, and want to make sure you make the smart choice?

Chris Badgett gained access to his first membership site in 2008 as a member. It was a productivity course comprised of a series of videos protected on some WordPress pages by a WordPress membership plugin called Wishlist Member. Since then, the membership plugin industry sure has evolved a lot in the past 13 years. Now there are so many options. And many WordPress membership plugins are very different in terms of what they offer.

Perhaps you’re struggling with one of these WordPress membership plugin decision challenges…

  • There’s too many WordPress membership plugins out there, and that’s overwhelming
  • There’s all these different confusing technical terms around these membership plugins
  • You’re concerned you may choose an underpowered feature incomplete membership plugin that causes you to build a “software frankenstein” of a website

We’re going to help you choose the best membership plugin for your project so you can…

  • Move forward confidently with the best membership plugin in 2021 for your specific needs
  • Understand all the key terms around the WordPress membership plugin ecosystem
  • Avoid choosing an outdated feature incomplete membership plugin that isn’t really designed for what you’re trying to do.

The 6 key principles to select the best membership plugin for your website…

1) The top WordPress membership plugins in 2021 are LifterLMS, Paid Memberships Pro, MemberPress, WooCommerce Members, Restrict Content Pro, and Wishlist Member

2) If you will be offering online courses in your membership, then you’ll want a membership plugin that includes a robust course creation tool and full featured learning management system (LMS) like LifterLMS.

3) If you will be offering online community, then you’ll want to control access to the social community on the WordPress website with the membership plugin. They all pretty much do this, but LifterLMS has built in social learning community features included so you don’t have to add a separate social community plugin or send members away to distracting Facebook Groups.

4) If your membership includes private coaching features in some or all of the plans, then you’ll want to control access to the private content and conversation between the coach and the client. LifterLMS does exactly this with their Private Areas add-on.

5) All the membership plugins mentioned provide payment features. Make sure the membership plugin you choose can support the business and payment model you want to accomplish.

6) All membership plugins restrict access to certain pieces of content. This is a fundamental membership plugin feature.

We built LifterLMS in 2014 because at that time we were building custom training based membership sites for niche experts and there were no solid WordPress membership plugins available that combined membership site, learning management system features, ecommerce systems, and engagement features. When you choose LifterLMS, you are choosing the most customizable powerful feature-complete membership site platform tool available for WordPress.

There’s a myth in WordPress that there’s a plugin for everything so you can just bolt on whatever you need when the time comes.

“It’s better to begin with the end in mind, and pick the most customizable feature complete solution to build your membership on.”

Chris Badgett

If you are just building an association, organization website, or simple online member directory that has a membership fee, you can still use a traditional membership plugin for that. If you are building a training based membership site in 2021 and beyond, then use a WordPress LMS plugin that has membership features built in like LifterLMS.