Looking for the best free WordPress membership plugin?
You’ve landed on the right page. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the best-rated free WordPress membership plugin options (and address the real elephant in the room: should you go for a free one, when you can get an excellent option at a meager price?)
Made you curious? Read on to find out more, then.
The Rise of A New Internet
We have to admit the internet is a bit broken at the moment. Rehashed content abounds, algorithms capture endless amounts of attention, and social media is equal times noisy AND empty.
In the background of a crazy internet, membership sites are rising. They give content creators more power (as opposed to remaining at the whim of algorithm changes in social media and SEO.) And on the other end of the stick, internet consumers get a chance to connect, learn valuable information, and step away from the sometimes maddening crowd of social media trends, ads, and content overload.
If you want to tap into the power of membership sites, there’s no better time than now. And so, a free WordPress membership plugin might be something you consider — especially if you’re just starting out.
Should You Go for a Free WordPress Membership Plugin?
“Free” will never cease to attract. And even more so when you’re just testing out an idea. However, before jumping on the first free WordPress site plugin you find on your first Google search, consider the following things your membership plugin should do:
Provide You With Membership Site Features
This one’s obvious. But while attractive for beginners, a free WordPress membership plugin can often be limited in terms of features and customization options. Many times, it might look like they have it all — but when you dive right in and get ready to build and launch your membership site, you learn that a free WordPress membership plugin can be a tad too limiting.
Be Compatible With Your Theme
It doesn’t matter if free or paid, a membership plugin MUST be compatible with your theme. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the time and resources to customize it and make sure it fits within your theme — which is a far more complicated issue, particularly with a lot of WordPress plugins that need a bit of coding knowledge to look and work as expected.
Allow You to Customize
Content is king. But it’s not the only thing that matters when it comes to membership sites. As a general rule, a free WordPress membership plugin won’t allow for a lot of customization. Their features are fixed, and it can be a challenge to customize them into something unique.
Provide Technical Support
No matter how easy to use a plugin may be, you might still need some technical support — which is particularly valuable if you’re not a WordPress developer, a free WordPress membership plugin usually doesn’t come with hands-on support, so that’s something to consider.
Allow You to Scale
You may think you just want to test things out — and that’s fine. It’s easy to see why you might want to choose one of the free WordPress membership plugin options for the moment.
However, think of what happens if your membership site is a success: how will you scale? Unfortunately, most free WordPress membership site plugins are just fine for very small communities — the moment you want to scale, however, it becomes a huge pain to migrate from a free to a paid plugin.
Don’t get this the wrong way. Free membership plugins have their place and can be a great way to test the waters — but don’t forget to consider their limitations before jumping in.
Top 7 Free WordPress Membership Plugin Options + 1 Easy, Affordable One
Alright, say a free WordPress membership plugin is what you want. Here’re the 6 free ones that might help your cause:
Simple Membership is a free membership plugin that allows you to create user profiles, restrict content access and build a community right in the back end of your WordPress site. They have a rating of 4.5 stars from 331 users.
- Content protection
- User management
Simple Membership is free to download and use, but they do offer a few add-ons for those who need more features.
WP Private Content Plus
WP Private Content Plus is another free WordPress membership plugin that allows you to create and manage private content for members. They have a rating of 3.5/5 stars from 40 users.
- Content protection according to different categories
- Integration with User Profiles
- Private pages for User Profiles
WP Private Content Plus also offers a Premium version, but it is worth mentioning most of the features included there are related to content restriction, more than anything else.
Restrict User Access
Restrict User Access has a score of 4.3/5 from 88 users and is one of the better-known free WordPress membership plugins.
Some of the features that come with the $0 price tag include:
- User roles
- Access conditions for content restriction
- Restricting content from a selected list of other plugins (like WooCommerce)
Restrict User Access also has paid bundle versions that start at $99.
WP-Members is one of the more comprehensive free WordPress membership site plugins. It has a score of 4.6/5 stars from 214 users.
- Post and page content restriction
- Limiting menu items to logged-in users
- User login, registration, and profile that integrate into your theme
WP-Members also offers a pro bundle that costs between $125 and $599.
s2Member is one of the more popular free WordPress membership plugins. They have a rating of 4/5 stars from 210 users.
Some of their features include:
- Member user levels
- Membership content protection
- Member file protection
Restrict Content is another free WordPress membership site plugin, with a rating of 3.2/5 stars from 80+ people in WordPress.
Their free version includes a good range of features, such as:
- Content restriction
- Membership levels
- Member dashboard
They also have a Pro version, with more features, priced in three different levels, between $99 and $249.
Bonus: Ultimate Membership Pro
Ultimate Membership Pro isn’t a free WordPress membership plugin. However, it’s pretty inexpensive — for $70 (as a one-time fee), you get the premium treatment:
- Predefined templates
- 9 payment services to choose from
- 41 add-ons included in this price
- 45+ email notification templates
- 10 integrated email marketing services
…And pretty much everything you need to make your membership site more than functional, but profitable too. After all, your goal with this membership site is to build a community and eventually generate revenue as well — right? You may be in the market for a free WordPress membership site, but do consider what happens when you start scaling: will you still be able to rely on your free plugin, or will it be more troublesome to move to a paid solution, down the line? That’s something to consider.