MemberPress Vs. WishList Member: A WordPress Plugin Comparison
Online courses and memberships are continuing to grow in popularity. Whether you’re brand new to the online course community, or you’ve been through it before, choosing the right software or platform to support your business is a big decision.
In your research, you may have found MemberPress and WishList Member as options and now you're wondering which one is best.
We’ll take a deep dive into these two software options so you can learn if one of these is best for you and your business.
The right platform or software for you will offer your must-have features, which could be something like protected content, a member's area, and the ability to process payments.
It also means the platform or software meet other criteria, for example, fitting within your budget, integrating with your current tech stack, and offering support articles and help center access when you get stuck.
Then comes your dream list: the features that you’d love to have, and ideally not pay more for, like quizzes, affiliate functionality, and bulk course enrollment.
We’ll take a look at where MemberPress and WishList Member fall in all these categories and share all the information we know about these two software options.
Table of Contents
- How Do MemberPress and WishList Member Differ?
- See How MemberPress and WishList Member Compare To AccessAlly
- In Summary
- Research Done For You
How Do MemberPress and WishList Member Differ?
MemberPress and WishList Member are both WordPress plugins that work with your WordPress website.
When it comes to MemberPress vs. WishList Member, you’ll have differences in their pricing, integrations, and how those work, learning management system features, and e-commerce functionality.
The philosophy behind both MemberPress and WishList has a very similar premise: to offer protected content on a WordPress website. They both offer integrations and add-ons so you can combine multiple systems to run a robust membership site.
In this article, we'll explore their similarities, differences, and how they compare to AccessAlly. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of which software is best for you and your business.
We’ll talk about these comparisons in detail below, but here’s an idea of what to expect:
- More affordable
- Offers more integrations
- Not as well documented
- Consistently improves
- Easier to customize design
- More expensive
- Offers fewer integrations
- Well documented
- Slower to add new features
- Can be customized with HTML and CSS
WordPress Plugin Comparisons
Since MemberPress and WishList Member are both WordPress plugins, they have a similar setup process on your website.
Let’s start with what they have in common. Both MemberPress and WishList Member offer unlimited membership levels, content protection, and membership management tools.
They each have unique dashboards and documentation to walk you through the setup. Users report that MemberPress has an intuitive setup, but there’s also a learning curve.
Quite frankly, a learning curve should be expected with any new software option. It's important to allow enough time for proper setup before any launch, and the willingness to learn a new system.
Pricing: Trials, Monthly Costs, and Features
Right out of the gate, WishList Member is more affordable than MemberPress. They both offer three pricing plans to fit your needs.
We’ll take a close look at each of their most popular plans, but know that there’s a tier below and above what we go into detail here.
Here are the details of WishList’s most popular plan:
$197 per year, renews at $147 per year:
- Allows for installation on 3 URLs you own
- Unlimited members & membership levels
- Detailed support guides & a WordPress Basics Course
- Access to their support desk & automatic updates while your subscription is active
WishList Member offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. They don’t offer any kind of trial period.
Here are MemberPress’s most popular plan details:
$399 per year for their Plus plan:
- Up to 2 sites
- Works with Authorize.net in addition to Stripe and PayPal
- Access to the Corporate Accounts add-on
- 10 additional add-ons and integrations
- Custom integrations with Zapier
Note that if you want to sell to corporate accounts or run an affiliate program, you'll have to choose this middle-tier Plus plan.
Like WishList Member, MemberPress doesn’t offer a trial period.
No matter what software or platform you use, you’ll most likely use a few integrations to get everything connected, and WishList Member and MemberPress are no different.
While integrations are great, and absolutely necessary in many scenarios, using too many integrations complicates your setup, increases your costs, and creates a greater potential for technical errors.
Some of these will be built-in while others will be through a third-party connector tool like Zapier. Whenever you’re researching which integrations you’ll be using, be sure and find out key details like:
- How they integrate (built-in or through a connector tool)
- Where you find support
- Any functionality limitations due to the integration
- The total cost
Both WishList Member and MemberPress offer a variety of integrations.
On each platform, some of these are built-in, while others are done through a third-party connector tool. A built-in integration means that you can connect the two systems on the software dashboard, rather than using a third-party connector tool like Zapier.
Let’s get into what kinds of integrations you might have with both MemberPress and WishList Member.
With MemberPress, at the bare minimum, you’ll likely integrate with a payment processor and your CRM. Be sure to check tier limitations, because, on the Basic tier, you cannot integrate with some popular CRMs like Drip, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign.
These integrations are not directly supported by MemberPress, so if you get stuck, it’s important to know in advance who you’ll need to reach out to for troubleshooting.
Here are a few known integrations for MemberPress: WP Courseware and LearnDash for learning management systems, GamiPress for gamification, and Dynamic User Directories for a user or business directory.
When it comes to WishList Member, they too integrate with email service providers like Aweber, Drip, Infusionsoft, and MailChimp, among others. These integrations are connected from your WishList Member dashboard.
They too offer integrations for other features, such as iDevAffiliate for an affiliate program, WPCourseware for an LMS, and BuddyBoss for a forum. They offer many more through Zapier.
If you have a very specific setup with platforms you’re already using, WishList Member offers more integrations than MemberPress, so that might be a better option for you.
If you need a payment integration other than Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net (which we'll get into detail a bit later in this article), then again, WishList Member might be a better option.
Both MemberPress and WishList Member work with a variety of themes and page builders. If you want to avoid using any CSS or HTML, then MemberPress is a better option for you. If you don’t mind using code and style settings to customize the look of your site, then WishList Member may be your ticket.
MemberPress works with most themes, especially the most popular ones. They have add-ons for Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi. These add-ons allow you to protect content within the specific blocks, modules, or rows of these builders. If you use those to build your pages, MemberPress could be a great option for you.
MemberPress shines with their ‘pretty pricing page’ templates. These templates make it easy to get your pricing pages up quickly with little design effort. On these templates, you can sort the order of your products, change copy, and change the look and feel on most themes or page builders.
WishList Member markets maximum customization on your site with no limitation in design, redirects, or functionality. If you’re a developer, or you have one on staff, then you truly can customize WishList Member just how you imagine. If you aren’t comfortable with HTML and CSS, but you want a fully customized WishList Member membership site, you’ll need to budget for a designer and developer.
WishList Member tries to work with as many themes and page builders as possible, but they haven’t tested all of them. If you already have a theme up and running on your site, be sure to check for compatibility with WishList Member.
Both MemberPress and WishList Member have great design flexibility. If you’re comfortable with code and you have a very specific design idea, WishList Member is a good fit for you. If you want to customize the look and feel of your site, aren’t comfortable with code, and want templates for pricing pages, then MemberPress is a better fit for you.
If you’re looking for a course builder that allows full design flexibility, take a look at our showcase page to see what’s possible when you choose AccessAlly instead.
Both WishList Member and MemberPress have similar customer support options. They both have documentation for setup and feature implementation.
WishList Member is less documented than MemberPress in that it has fewer support articles. WishList Member offers support articles on general setup, but less specific use cases and feature implementations.
They do have a support desk where you can submit help tickets if you cannot find what you’re looking for in the support center. They don’t set a response time expectation, but they do have office hours posted: Monday through Friday 9 am - 5 pm Eastern Time.
MemberPress has a getting started guide which is a great tool to work through and build that foundational knowledge. They too offer a knowledge base, and their articles get more detailed than WishList Member’s. They have basic feature implementation, and also do a great job detailing use cases for their features.
If you choose MemberPress or WishList Member, you need to be comfortable looking for answers and testing on your own. If you prefer, hands-on help and super responsive support consider alternatives for both WishList Member and MemberPress.
What matters most to LMS users in 2021?
We’ve all felt the physical, social, mental, and emotional toll that 2020 left on us as individuals, business owners, and the impacts it’s had on our businesses.
Now, in 2021, when we can adapt not only as individuals but as business owners, we can thrive, even in the face of unprecedented times.
What’s most important to you right now?
If you’re exploring online products, courses, programs, or memberships online for the first time, you’re going to have questions. With the right software and support, you can get up and running quickly and give your clients exactly what they’re wanting.
So, now, in 2021, keep adaptability in mind. Think about how to best support your clients. Create engaging products to not only enhance their knowledge but make it a fun environment they look forward to logging into every day.
MemberPress recently released a Courses add-on feature that allows you to utilize some learning reinforcement features in your courses.
Through the Courses add-on, 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, so 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.
Similarly, if you want to offer these learning reinforcements on WishList Members, you’ll need to add an LMS software or platform to achieve them.
If quizzes, progress tracking, tests, course completion certificates, and video bookmarking are important to you, neither of these will meet your needs without additional integrations and add-ons.
Pro Tip: AccessAlly’s built-in LMS features include quizzes, homework submissions, and private notes, progress tracking, and certificates of completion.
These advanced learning reinforcements help your students become engaged in the learning process, which makes for a better learning experience, leading to long-term, happy students, and ultimately more sales.
When it comes to accepting payments for your online materials, you’ll need to connect a payment processor to both MemberPress and WishList Member. This is a standard expectation, and most businesses use Stripe or PayPal to accept these payments.
Both WishList Member and MemberPress have built-in integrations for Stripe and PayPal.
MemberPress works with Stripe, PayPal Payments Standard, Authorize.net, PayPal Express Checkout, and offline payments entered either manually or automatically. Be sure to check tier restrictions.
Remember, with MemberPress you can get pricing page templates that make setup easier. They also offer flexible coupons so you can offer limited-time promotions, limit the number of purchases, or set a universal end date.
WishList Member has more payment processor options, but again, with all the options it may become overwhelming to choose.
Sometimes it’s best to stick to what your customers are used to seeing on order forms and shopping carts, so Stripe and PayPal integrations do the trick.
WishList integrates with PayPal Payments Standard, Recurly, Infusionsoft/Keap, Premium Web Cart, Red Oak Cart, 1ShoppingCart (API), Stripe, PayPal Payments Pro, eWay, JVZoo, Pin Payments, SamCart, Thrive Cart, PayPal Express Checkout, UltraCart, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, ClickBank, and Cydec.
It’s important to note that WishList Member has three different levels of payment integration: full, generic, and simple. Full integration is the most desirable with a payment processor. Full integration means that if a member cancels their payment in the online payment provider, it will communicate with WishList Member and cancel as well.
A generic or simple integration is more technically difficult to set up, and doesn't offer the communication between the two systems as a full integration does.
If you already use a payment processor other than Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net, then WishList Member might be a good option for you.
When it comes to selling online, you want flexibility in pricing your products. For example, you may have products priced at one-time payments, payment plans, or subscription plans. You may want to offer a trial period, either free or paid. And think about coupon codes and discounts.
With WishList Member, the payment processor processes the payments, so you’re limited to its offerings when it comes to pricing structures like these. Be sure and check your preferred payment processor before deciding on WishList Member.
For example, if you're using WooCommerce, Stripe, or PayPal with WishList Member, they allow one-time payments or recurring subscriptions.
WishList Member doesn’t offer coupon functionality, nor do they offer trial period options. These are real limitations that can cap the growth of your business and be a roadblock to you.
With MemberPress, they do offer coupon features and offer specific articles on how to set up either paid or free trails.
So, while WishList Member does offer more payment processor integrations, MemberPress has more desirable features for your order forms and e-commerce needs.
Alternatively, choosing a platform or software with these features natively, will keep your setup simple and offer the best experience for your customers.
The last thing you want to do is add unnecessary complexity (or multiple integrations) to get your checkout experience to work properly. Aim to make it simple, intuitive, and familiar for your customers.
Bulk Course Enrollment
A fully automated and integrated bulk course enrollment feature allows you to sell your content to a business, community, church, school, or other groups on one order form.
Then the team leader has the power to assign their allotted number of licenses to team members.
Beyond that, the team leader can see their members’ progress, communicate with them, leave comments or provide direction on assignments, or otherwise manage their team.
Being able to sell your courses this way allows you to expand your reach and even consider packaging your offerings in a different way to fit this market. Even if you don’t start out offering bulk course enrollment, you may very well want to in the future.
MemberPress offers an add-on called Corporate Accounts that allows you to sell your content in bulk to a team leader, then allows that team leader to assign sub-accounts. This add-on is included in the Plus and Pro plans.
WishList Member does have a bulk enrollment feature to enroll students from a CSV file. But there’s no true team feature, with a team leader and member relationship.
As mentioned they offer a lot of integration options, so a bulk course enrollment feature could probably be accomplished using something like Zapier.
If you know you want to offer bulk course enrollment, then MemberPress is the best option for you between these two.
AccessAlly gives you the power to sell a package of licenses to your courses and content. This becomes a powerful selling tool for corporate training, schools, families, and other groups.
Design a member management dashboard so team leaders can add team members, see their progress, purchase more licenses, use custom operations to kick off automations, and more.
Ownership and Extensibility
Both WishList Member and MemberPress have been around for quite some time. In fact, WishList Member was the first to the marketplace and has been around for 15+ years. They certainly know membership sites.
In 2020 they released a new version that was basically a rebuild of their old software. That says quite a bit about a company. That they’re willing to adapt to the marketplace, that they listen to their customers, and they make changes.
MemberPress is slower to make updates than WishList Member has been. That being said, MemberPress does offer a place for folks to submit feature requests, even if they haven’t purchased the software yet.
With either option, you’re looking at two reputable companies. The choice is really in how their features, pricing structure, and customer support will work for you and your business.
Your workflow on MemberPress vs. WishList Member:
- 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
- Install the WishList Member plugin on your WordPress Site
- Integrate with your payment processor(s)
- Create all your order form through each payment processor
- Connect your CRM to WishList Member through a built-in integration or Zapier
- Use the Getting Started Wizard to add levels
- Configure your level settings and requirements
- Create a dashboard page
- Start adding content to your levels
See How MemberPress and WishList Member Compare To AccessAlly
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. Below you can see where MemberPress and WishList Member 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|
The True Cost of MemberPress vs. WishList Member
The true cost for both of these software options are in all the integrations you’ll need.
While the costs may look appealing upfront, with both these choices you’re going to have additional costs with each integration.
Not to mention all the added complexity to your setup.
You could choose a different software that has these features you need, like true LMS features, bulk course enrollment, and affiliate functionality natively, without needing to use add-ons or integrations.
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
WishList Member Might Be Right For You If...
- You’re already using WordPress for your website
- You don’t mind using HTML and CSS to customize the look and feel of your site
- You’re willing to use quite a few integrations and add-ons to make your setup work
- You don’t have complex pricing structures
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