8 Best Free WordPress Membership Plugins

8 Best Free WordPress Membership Plugins

One of the things I like about WordPress is how versatile it is. In my experience using WordPress, I’ve created e-commerce websites using WooCommerce, member websites using Ultimate member and simple blogs just using the native WordPress functionality. But I’ll share my top 7 best free WordPress membership plugins and why I like them.

Utimate member banner

The Best: WP Member

The best free WordPress Membership plugin is WP Member. Their amount of features, integrations to other plugins and tools, agility and drag-and-drop form builder makes it the best, in my opinion.

Luckily there are a lot of different WordPress Membership plugins for different use cases. It’s super important you choose the plugin which has the most features you need, but let me dive more into that.

What’s important when choosing a Free WordPress Membership Plugin?

There are a number of things which are essential when choosing your free WordPress Membership plugin. I would still say the most important is the features, but you also need to look at if the plugin is staying updated, has a future and has great support.

Plugin last updated

If you’re about to install a plugin and see it hasn’t been updated in more than a year, then think twice about doing it. There are multiple issues with this. The author has maybe left the plugin and is no longer developing it. On top of this then, not updating a plugin imposes a security risk as WordPress continues to develop, and the plugin will fall behind. You can read my complete list of tips to choose the right plugin.

Plugin last updated

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Membership plugin features

This is the single most crucial step for you to get right. Your use case is completely different from other businesses. You need to ensure the plugin has all the features you need for your WordPress membership website.

For instance, if you’re using Stripe or Paddle to handle your payments, ensure the plugin integrates with your payment provider. On top of this, make sure it handles subscriptions if your membership runs on subscriptions. Your payment provider supports subscriptions, but the plugin needs to be able to do so as well, so you have a connection from your payment provider to your plugin.

Next up could be a prioritisation system. If your members can have different plans, pay different subscription fees to get access to different types of content.

The last point is integrations. If you’re using a mail system, Zapier or maybe even Elementor for your WordPress website, then remember to check if the plugin supports all of this. Make a list of the applications you’re using that you want the membership plugin to integrate with, and then start checking one by one.

You can find information about the features in the WordPress plugin description or on their website.

A premium version of the plugin

If a plugin has a premium version, it means the plugin has revenue which results in a brighter future. It’s so important when choosing a plugin that you believe in the team behind the plugin.

It’s not alpha omega for the plugin to have a premium version, but it’s a plus since it ensures the plugin is not a hobby/side project but a business.

Plugin reviews

The reviews of each plugin tell you what other people think of the plugin. Take these with a grain of salt, some times the reviews can be off because the plugin doesn’t suit their use case. But often, it’s a great help in understanding what people think about the plugin, and if there are issues you need to be aware of.

plugin reviews

Plugin support

The plugin support is essential to notice as well. If you get stuck using the plugin you have questions or suggestions for improvements, and then it’s essential the plugin has rapid support. The longer the answer time, the longer you’re stuck with your business.

You can get an idea of the plugin support via the reviews, but also the plugin support that each WordPress plugin has. Scim through the threads and see if the plugin author is active and answers the threads within 48 hours. It’s a good indicator.

plugin support

Here are the best Free WordPress Membership Plugins

Now let’s get into the plugins. I’ve tested more than 15 plugins for this article, and I found these 8 plugins to be appealing to me and a general need I can imagine having when you’re running a WordPress Membership website.

Obviously, some of them have limitations as they’re all free, but I believe you can get started with a membership website using all 8, and when you grow your membership website, then you can upgrade to a premium version down the line.

First of I’ve made a table comparing the 8 free WordPress Membership plugins, so you can easily see them side by side, and below the table, I’ll go more in-depth.

 Last updatedPremium versionReviewsSupportIntegrations
Ultimate MemberWithin a month4.4
Simple MembershipWithin a month 4.5
Paid Memberships ProWithin a month4.3
WP-MembersWithin a month 4.6 
s2Member4 Months ago4
ARMemberWithin a month4.1
Membership & Content RestrictionWithin a month4.7
Restrict User Access4 Months ago4.3  

1. Ultimate Member

Ultimate member website
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Developer-friendly documentation, drag-and-drop form builder & Content restriction.

Ultimate Member has been downloaded more than 200.000 times, making it one of the most popular membership plugins.

You get the ability to easily lock content for certain members depending on their pricing plan. This is genius if you’re selling a course, trying to build a community or having special discounts for specific member groups.

It integrates with your WooCommerce subscriptions providing even more value to your setup. The more plug-and-play a plugin is, the better for you in the long run.

On top of this, they have an advanced form builder where you simply drag and drop your fields into the forms, and you can even set up conditions on the fields depending on the user plan or similar filtering.

2. Simple Membership

WP Simple Member
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Premium version: No
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Unlimited membership levels, free and paid memberships and a developer API.

What I really like about simple membership is how agile it is. You have a bunch of features widely spread, and it works very well.

There are both upsides and downsides to Simple Membership not having a paid plan. The upside is you get full access to all features without any prompts for limited access.

The downside is that the developers are not creating an income for the plugin, so the willingness to continue the development can be down-prioritised at any given time.

That said, it’s one of the more user-friendly plugins to use, and they support multiple different languages as well.

So if you just want to make sure you get a plugin with all the features you need, then this is it.

3. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro website
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Integrates with all the popular payment gateways, extensive developer support and full reports on your data.

Paid Memberships Pro is a super popular Membership plugin for WordPress. With more than 100.000 downloads, it speaks for itself and for a good reason.

Paid Memberships Pro is completely open-source and very developer-friendly. It’s perfect if you want to make a custom setup or build your own features around the plugin.

That said, you will still be able to use the plugin and make a beautiful membership website with zero coding knowledge.

Paid Memberships Pro opens up all the general features you need to run a member website, with tonnes of integrations, features and the ability to manage thousands of members with ease.

4. WP-Members

WP Members
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Custom data fields for profiles, email notifications and approval flow for new users.

WP-Members is another plugin with no premium plan. This gives you access to all features, but at risk, the developer will stop supporting it.

There is no real support for the plugin unless you pay USD 59 for the premium support. The documentation is where you will find all your answers to avoid paying the yearly fee.

One feature which really stands out is the approval flow. You can set it up, so you need to approve each user on registration before they get access to your restricted content. This is great both to keep bots out and also if you want to control how many users you let in every day.

On top of this, if you’re a developer or just know a little PHP, then you can take advantage of the more than 120 actions and hooks to integrate it further into your other plugins and applications.

5. s2Member

s2Member website
  • Rating: 4
  • Premium version: No
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Protect file downloads, tracking software and email notifications.

If design and feel are important to you, then skip this one, the design is very outdated, yet the functionality is top-notch.

You have all the standard features to restrict content for certain members, file downloads and much more.

But features that stand out are their affiliate program/tracking software, their email notifications and the feature to protect files.

It’s not often you get this amount of features in a free plugin. But you also get custom redirects after login and so much more. So, to sum up, if you don’t care about the design in your WordPress admin area, then this is a great plugin.

6. ARMember

armember website
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Membership setup wizard, front-end pages for members and email notifications with templates.

ARMember is a newer plugin, but with a beautiful website for their plugin. They have both a free version and a premium paid solution.

ARMember tries to position itself as a more unique membership plugin. They’re still working their way through the masses, as their reviews are a bit mixed, but they’re getting there slowly.

They have a lot of great features like brute force security, payment gateway integrations and integrations to subscription platforms.

They seem very innovative, and even though they don’t have as many features as some of the other plugins, then they’re doing it in their way.

7. Membership & Content Restriction

Membership Content Restriction
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: Yes
  • Main Features: Discount codes, Hierarchical subscription plans and free trial/sign-ups.

This is, again, a different plugin for your members’ WordPress website. Here you get unique modules such as discount modules and the ability to run trials.

On top of this, then, you get export management, reports on the activity from your members and a full-blown integration to WooCommerce.

There are a lot of small features that make it simpler for your members and improve the experience of using your website. Such as automatic sign-in, subscription integrations and much more.

8. Restrict User Access

Restrict User Access
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Premium version: Yes
  • Integrations: No
  • Main Features: Support custom post types and integration to bbPress and BuddyPress.

Don’t get fooled by the name, and this plugin can do so much more than just restrict user access. You can make custom links for your users, redirect unauthorised users to specific pages and much more.

With Restrict User Access, you get a plugin that makes it possible to completely customise the experience for you and your members. All pages and posts.

On top of this, then, you get automation. One could be on every purchase of a specific product, and something needs to happen with the member. Level up, email or something third.

You can restrict parts of content using shortcodes, and then they have a super-friendly developer API.


Choosing your free membership WordPress plugin ultimately comes down to 2 things. Does it have the features you’re looking for, and is it a developer-friendly or no-code type of plugin?

These 2 factors are important to ensure you choose the right plugin for your use case. If you have just a little coding knowledge, then you can really create some amazing WordPress membership websites using these plugins.

If you just want a plug-and-play, simple membership WordPress plugin. Then any of these will do.


What is the easiest WordPress membership plugin?

The easiest WordPress membership plugin to use is Simple Membership. It comes with the name, but you get all the basic functionality, and you do also get extensive functionality, but in an easy way to use.

How do I create a free WordPress membership site?

Setting up a completely free WordPress membership website can be tricky because of the hosting. You can easily find a plugin and design for free, but the hosting is complex, and I wouldn’t recommend you find a free host as it will bite you in the end on performance.

What is the difference between woocommerce subscription and membership?

The main difference is giving access to content based on their membership. WooCommerce subscription is just for payments every month, whereas a membership plugins gives you access to put members in boxes and show different content to each one of them.

Is there a free version of Memberpress?

No, there is not. But there are a lot of great alternatives, such as Ultimate member, Simple Membership and Paid Memberships Pro. All of these have extensive functionality and are free to use.

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