LifterLMS vs. MemberPress: a comparison
When it comes to researching tools for your membership site, you may quickly become overwhelmed.
It’s challenging to make heads or tails of how these features will support your courses, what implementation will look like, and how each will support your business as you grow.
Comparing Two Popular WordPress Solutions
Over the years, we’ve tested a lot of course and membership plugins for WordPress.
When we couldn’t find a solution that would do what we needed, we dusted off our Software Engineering chops and developed AccessAlly.
And to this day, we continue to test and review the options on the market so we can share that knowledge.
In this article, we get into the nitty-gritty of LifterLMS vs. MemberPress. From features, setup, customer support, pricing, integrations, affiliate programs, and more.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of what each offers, and how they will best support your business. You’ll also find related comparisons if you’re also comparing other options.
How do LifterLMS and MemberPress Differ?
The main differences between LifterLMS and MemberPress come in their features. LifterLMS offers more LMS features.
They’re both marketed as ‘all-in-one’ membership site software, but if you choose MemberPress, you’ll need additional add-ons and integrations to match what comes natively with LifterLMS.
With LifterLMS, you may very well use integrations for your CRM and payments gateways, but you wouldn’t need additional integrations to support LMS features.
With MemberPress, it’s not uncommon for folks to purchase an LMS software or platform to work with MemberPress. Many users find themselves needing something like LearnDash if they choose MemberPress.
Online Courses Vs. Learning Management System
As mentioned, LifterLMS and MemberPress are both WordPress plugins. So when it comes to set up, design options, and e-commerce features, they’re quite similar.
MemberPress has more of a focus on membership management while LifterLMS does both member management and offers a learning management system, similar to AccessAlly.
They both allow you to manage your content with access rules, accept payments, as well as connect with the CRM you’re already using.
While both MemberPress and LifterLMS will support your online courses, MemberPress is not a full-fledged learning management system at this time.
LifterLMS however, offers the flexibility to start out slow and add more advanced features over time as your business needs them, similar to AccessAlly.
That being said, to get these features from LifterLMS, you’ll need to be on their Infinity plan (their most expensive tier) for this to make sense. We’ll get into the pricing in detail later, but this is certainly something to keep in mind.
Pricing limits on members, courses, and products
When doing your research, be sure to dig into the pricing in detail rather than taking it at face value. There may be integrations or add-ons that will add additional costs. Think about connector tools like Zapier if you plan on using multiple systems.
Look closely at the plan limitations and know exactly when (and why) you’ll have to upgrade to the next tier.
Here’s a summary of the plans LifterLMS and MemberPress have to offer:
- Individual Add-On: $199+ per year
- Universe: $360+ per year
- Infinity: $1200 per year
- Basic: $359 per year
- Plus: $599 per year
- Pro: $799 per year
- Elite: $999 per year
In addition to LifterLMS’s three paid plans, they offer a free plan, which is great for getting up and running. It’s not a long-term fit for most businesses though, because the cost of adding essential features like accepting payments quickly sets you up for an upgrade.
The Individual Add-On plan is only $199 per year. At face value, that can look really appealing, but when you dig into all the add-ons you’ll need and how much each of those costs, you can see how quickly you’ll outgrow that plan.
Their Universe Plan comes in at $360 per year. You do get access to more essential features without having to upgrade, but you’re limited in the LMS features available, among other things.
If you want the most feature options for your students that really take your membership site to a learning management system, then you’ll need to choose the highest tier of LifterLMS: The Infinity Plan at $1200 per year.
Many of the features that take LifterLMS to the next level are only available on this plan or with steep add-on costs.
The truth of it is, if you want to run a robust membership site, you’ll need the Infinity tier on LifterLMS.
For most small businesses going with MemberPress, the Plus plan, at $599 per year, will suit their needs for quite some time. On the Plus plan, you can integrate with Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net.
On the Pro and Plus plans, you’ll also have access to add-on integrations free of charge, for example, Corporate Accounts or Affiliate Royale. You also have access to integrations via Zapier.
At face value, this is a very reasonable cost to pay for your MemberPress setup. Remember that some people end up layering an LMS on top of MemberPress, which would be an additional cost. Keep in mind that MemberPress recently released a courses feature, but it’s more comparable to an online course builder, not a traditional learning management system.
And anything you’re connecting to MemberPress via Zapier or another connector tool has the potential to increase your monthly costs.
If cost is your determining factor, and you’re willing to have a simple membership site for the long haul, then MemberPress might work for you.
We have seen small businesses make the mistake of going with something like MemberPress but then finding themselves in need of lots of integrations which blows their monthly costs out of the water.
What AccessAlly Customers Are Saying...
"AccessAlly Really Is The Best On The Market!
When I was planning a complete rebrand of my program the e-Course Launch Formula I looked at pretty much everything on the market as I had some very specific needs.
The reason I chose AccessAlly was because it integrates seamlessly with Infusionsoft, has some awesome learning management functionality like checklists and also has the potential to become a membership hub for my business with multiple programs in the one place.
I’ve used other Infusionsoft specific platforms but this really is the best on the market. My team has also successfully added a great membership directory for my students to find and connect with potential affiliates and contributors for their e-Course. I am so glad that I picked AccessAlly and my students are over the moon at what it offers for their learning experience!”
– Kathryn Hocking, kathrynhocking.com
"I Found AccessAlly In September After Struggling With MemberPress + LearnDash For 3 Months.
I didn’t know anything about AccessAlly or how to use it.
It’s one month since my launch and I’ve made almost $19K in revenue, which is awesome!”
– Bozhidar Batev
Onboarding and Customer Support
LifterLMS does a great job of explaining what kind of support is available, both pre-purchase and after your purchase.
LifterLMS offers presale phone consultations, Q&A webinars, and chat and email before you purchase. They also offer product demo calls which can be really nice if you have specific setup questions.
Once you install the plugin and dive into your setup, you can contact their support desk via email if you hit any roadblocks. They also provide robust help documentation within their knowledge base, training courses, and webinars.
You’ll have access to their getting started guides, video tutorials, and live onboarding calls. They offer a weekly office hour mastermind so you can get answers to your questions.
MemberPress has a thorough knowledge base with well-documented, up-to-date articles. Once you’ve purchased MemberPress, you can submit support tickets. They offer a Getting Started guide for new users, which is a great way to build the foundational knowledge you’ll need to effectively use the software.
LifterLMS has more pre-sale resources marketed and available than MemberPress does.
All in all, both are well-documented. If you want more hands-on support, then LifterLMS may be a better fit for you. If you’re okay figuring things out on your own, and using the support ticket system when you get stuck, then MemberPress will do the trick.
Integrations, Add-Ons, and Connector Tools
LifterLMS integrates directly with MailChimp and ConvertKit on the upper tiers. There’s an additional cost involved if you want those integrations on the lower tier.
They also offer integrations through Zapier. These integrations and add-ons aren’t directly through the platform, but instead Zapier allows the two systems to pass information back and forth via a webhook.
Zapier and LifterLMS can work both ways in the sense that events that happen in LifterLMS can trigger events in other apps. Also, events that happen in other apps can trigger events in LifterLMS.
When we think of communication between systems, it can be one-way or two-way. Two-way is always the most desirable because the two can communicate seamlessly back and forth. Even though Zapier provides zaps both ways, it’s essentially a duct-taped solution for two-way communication. It can become a complicated setup the more systems you have communicating in this way.
Although these integrations sound appealing and certainly are necessary for some circumstances, they add complexity to your setup and potential for errors. The fewer integrations you can use, the better.
Add-ons and integrations are part of MemberPress’s business model. They provide the basic setup for your membership area, then you use these extensions to build out your vision.
If you want to use as few integrations as possible, then MemberPress is not for you.
MemberPress has a whole marketplace of add-ons, some of which are paid and others free. A lot of these integrations aren’t available on the Basic plan though. For example, if you want to integrate with Drip, ConvertKit, or ActiveCampaign, you’ll need at least the Plus plan.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between a built-in integration and an add-on integration.
PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, bbPress, and Blubrry PowerPress, for example, are all built-in integrations. This means you can connect the two systems from your MemberPress dashboard, without using an add-on or third-party tool like Zapier.
This type of built-in integration is preferable because it’s better supported by MemberPress, they may even help you troubleshoot issues. If you’re using something like Zapier to connect the two systems, you’re potentially caught in a triangle of ‘it’s not us, ask them’ when it comes to resolving your issue.
No matter which software you choose, know ahead of time which integrations you’ll be using, how they’ll be connected, and where to find support when you run into issues.
Looking for something that integrates both ways?
Marketing automation tools are here to stay.
Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.
It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.
Learning reinforcements: quizzes, progress tracking, homework, and certificates
There’s no doubt that features like quizzes, assignments, task lists, progress tracking, and more help students stay engaged and have higher learning retention rates.
If you want an effective, engaging learning environment, choose a software (or the correct plan) that will let you use all these features throughout your courses, programs, and memberships.
LifterLMS has more advanced learning reinforcement features available compared to MemberPress. Be careful though, because if you haven’t chosen the Infinity Plan, you’ll find yourself paying a high monthly fee to get these valuable features.
LifterLMS offers quizzes, quiz timers, prerequisites, student dashboards, discussion areas, achievement badges, and certificates.
If you’re on the Infinity Plan (or paying to get these add-ons), you can use advanced quizzing systems that allow for multiple quiz question types, like fill in the blank, short and long answer, file uploads, and custom code among other features.
MemberPress recently released a courses add-on feature that allows you to utilize some learning reinforcement features in your courses. This add-on is an extension to the core plugin, not an additional integration.
Through MemberPress Courses you’ll get a visual course builder, progress tracking, and a sales feature. The sales feature enables redirects if a user doesn’t have access to a certain piece of content, you can easily redirect to a sales page or order form.
If you want to offer quizzes, tests, certificates, or other learning reinforcements, you’ll need to use an add-on integration for another learning management system, like LearnDash.
If these learning reinforcements are an important part of your content, we’d recommend choosing a different software that comes with these features natively.
The last thing you want is a duct-taped solution that doesn’t look and feel seamless to your users. This can be distracting and have the opposite effect that you’re looking for.
Membership site and course design flexibility
When it comes to design flexibility, both LifterLMS and MemberPress work similarly and offer very comparable features.
Since they’re both WordPress plugins, they work with your theme.
LifterLMS also has its own theme, LaunchPad, which you’ll get on the Infinity plan, or you can pay an additional cost on the lower plans. If you’d rather use a different WordPress theme, LifterLMS works with most of them.
Similarly, MemberPress works with a lot of WordPress themes and even offers add-ons for some of the most popular page builders like Elementor, BeaverBuilder, and Divi.
When we talk about comparing software to a platform, design flexibility is an upvote for software. Since MemberPress and LifterLMS are WordPress plugins that work with your theme, you have freedom in your design. If you want to custom code everything to your heart’s content, you can do that with both of these plugins.
Both LifterLMS and MemberPress have templates that you can use to get you started. If you’d rather have a little design help (rather than custom coding everything), both MemberPress and LifterLMS have options for you.
MemberPress is known for its pretty pricing pages. You can sort the order of your products, change copy, and change the look and feel of those out-of-the-box layouts. If you don’t have a specific order form design you’re attached to, then these pretty pricing pages are a great advantage for you. You also won’t have to use CSS or HTML when setting them up, which can be a nice perk.
MemberPress takes a slight edge here because they’re known for their pricing page designs, but both of these plugin options are pretty similar in their design flexibility features.
If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you
Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.
Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.
Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.
Selling Group Access to Teams via Umbrella Accounts
Bulk course enrollment can be a powerful selling tool so you can offer your content to businesses, communities, schools, and other groups easily. With a fully automated bulk course enrollment feature, you can sell a group of licenses to a team leader. Then, each team leader has the power to assign their licenses to team members.
The team leaders have a beautifully designed, intuitive dashboard so they can see their team members’ progress, communicate with them directly, purchase more licenses, and more. All this can happen with no extra time or energy from you or your team.
MemberPress does have an add-on called Corporate Accounts that’s available on the Plus and Pro plans.
The MemberPress Corporate Accounts add-on enables you to specify a membership with a parent and any number of child or sub-accounts. For example, if you have a corporate user and they need a membership that allows them to sign up their employees. Or if your membership is for a parent and their children need to be associated with their account.
With LifterLMS, you can create a duct-taped solution through their voucher system. Through this system, you could provide voucher codes to a business and allow team members to sign up using their code.
What’s lacking here is the team management feature. There’s no dashboard or team connection with the voucher system.
It’s also not scalable in the way that a fully automated team feature will be. These vouchers are created on an as-needed basis. You can’t have one order form that will purchase a certain number of licenses over and over again. They have to register with their voucher. The team leader doesn’t know if their vouchers have been used – only the admin can see it on the back end.
So if bulk course enrollment is an important feature for you, then choosing MemberPress’s Corporate Accounts add-on may be the best option for you.
Handling Payments via E-Commerce Options
LifterLMS and MemberPress offer similar e-commerce features. Both can accept credit card payments, either one-time, payment plans, or subscription payments.
LifterLMS works with Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.Net. With LifterLMS, be sure to check your tier limitations. If you’re on the Basic plan, you could find yourself paying up to $100 a month for each integration!
MemberPress works with Stripe, PayPal Payments Standard, Authorize.net, and PayPal Express Checkout.
One thing to note with MemberPress is that the back-end infrastructure for subscription plans isn’t very intuitive or easy to manage. You’ll also have limitations when it comes to customizing your order forms or invoices generated via Stripe.
LifterLMS takes a slight edge here because of the layout of the backend payment management. If you know you want to use WooCommerce, then LifterLMS is the better solution for you as well. If you’re wanting these features from LifterLMS, budget for the Infinity plan to support you.
Options for an Affiliate Management System
Neither LifterLMS nor MemberPress has a native affiliate management system. With both though, you can accomplish this with add-ons and integrations.
Both LifterLMS and MemberPress work well with Affiliate WP and iDevAffiliate. In addition to those two, MemberPress works with Post Affiliate Pro and WP Affiliate Manager.
As with any integration, it’s important to know your final costs, where you’ll need to go to get support when you run into issues, and how well the software supports the integration.
When you run an affiliate program, there are benefits to choosing a software that offers these features natively, without needing an add-on or integration. When you have high-profile, valuable affiliates promoting your work, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find what they’re looking for.
Having an intuitive and beautifully designed dashboard where they can see their commissions, clicks, find marketing materials, and more is key to the program’s success.
While this can be accomplished with an integration, your back end will be duct-taped together. You may be looking in one system to find out who’s an affiliate, and another to communicate with them and share materials.
On a foundational level as well, it’s important to realize that you’ll be asking two systems to work together seamlessly to support a very important (and lucrative) part of your business.
The last thing you want is for details to fall through the cracks, communication to get lost, or worse, your affiliates can’t find what they’re looking for and give up promoting your content altogether.
If you run a robust affiliate marketing program, seriously consider choosing a different software that can run your affiliate program all under one roof.
Your workflow on LifterLMS vs. MemberPress:
- Download, install and activate the LifterLMS plugin on your WordPress website
- Download the LifterLMS helper, install and activate
- Set up the design of your website using a WordPress theme
- Create your course catalog to show visitors your available courses
- Create your membership catalog where visitors can see your available memberships
- Connect your payment processor
- Set up your student dashboard
- Integrate with your payment processor
- Design your order forms
- Add additional learning reinforcements like quizzes, assignments, create certificates, and more
- Install the WordPress plugin on your membership site.
- Research, purchase and install an additional plugin integration for your email marketing system (if there is one)
- Research, purchase and install additional WordPress plugins or integrations for advanced course features, an order forms plugin, member directory plugin, and/or an advanced affiliate program management plugin.
- Create membership levels and WordPress pages or custom post types one at a time.
- Manually create menus for your membership site.
- Customize the look and feel of the built-in emails that MemberPress sends
- Start adding content to your membership site
See How LifterLMS and MemberPress Features Compare
We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership and LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package, you’ll see where LifterLMS and MemberPress fall short or shine in comparison:
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics||with add-on|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps|
|Cart abandonment automation|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts|
|Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles|
|Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking|
|Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes|
|Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting|
Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!
If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options.
We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:
The true cost of LifterLMS vs MemberPress
The true cost of LifterLMS comes if you don’t choose the Infinity bundle, because you’ll find yourself paying for add-on after add-on to get the setup you desire.
The true cost of MemberPress is that even though it’s marketed as an all-in-one software, it’s not a true LMS. You may find yourself purchasing an additional tool, like LearnDash to achieve what you really want.
LifterLMS might be right for you if...
- You’re looking for a membership and LMS plugin all-in-one
- You’re already using a WordPress website and looking for a WordPress plugin
- You don’t mind using a third-party tool to connect your course with your CRM
- You have a need for more advanced quiz functionality
MemberPress might be right for you if...
- You simply want restrict content and not a fully functioning learning management system
- You won’t need a two-way integration with your CRM to allow for customized experiences
- You’re comfortable with purchasing, setting up, and maintaining multiple add-ons, integrations, and plugins
Didn’t find an answer to your question? Just reach out to us, we’re happy to help!
Do you have comparisons to other platforms and plugins?
Yes, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Here are some options to consider:
Can I see examples of AccessAlly sites?
You can find videos and case studies with screenshots and descriptions of how people are using AccessAlly on our showcase page here.
Can I talk to someone about my project?
Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we’re here to help!
We can help you sort out all of the different options. We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too.