Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress

It takes a lot of time to research and compare software.

In this side-by-side comparison of Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress, we'll share what we know about the differences in features, functionality, price, and use cases.

Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress

You may have seen Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress as two options to deliver your courses and memberships.

How do they work? How are they different? Which is best for you?

Those are great questions, and we'll help you answer them here.

We're the creators of AccessAlly, an all-in-one course builder and membership WordPress plugin.

We understand what it's like to outgrow your systems. We've been there.

The marketplace is crowded and noisy. It's hard to make heads or tails of how a plugin or platform will actually support your business.

And that's exactly why we write these comparison pages for you. You deserve an objective, fair, easy-to-digest comparison between systems. We cut the noise and get to the facts.

We'll take a close look at features, pricing, functionality, integrations, and more. We'll compare Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress, and also show them alongside AccessAlly.

You'll have the power to make the best choice for your business, even if that's not AccessAlly.

Table of Contents
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    Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress
    Compared To AccessAlly

     

    These are some of the most popular features our clients want and use. Take a look at how these features stack up.

    While you're reviewing the differences, be sure to think about your business now, and in the future. 

    AccessAlly Paid Memberships Pro MemberPress
    Protected course content
    Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments
    Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics
    Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus
    Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Keap, 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

    Deal-Breakers

    Like any good relationship, let's get the deal-breakers out of the way. Your time is precious. Let's not waste it.

    Neither Paid Memberships Pro nor MemberPress is a good option if you...

    Don't have (and don't want) a WordPress.org website.

    Wanting a plug-and-play platform with as much as possible done for you.

    Are looking for a fully integrated community or forum feature without using an integration.

    Run (or want to run) a full-fledged affiliate program.

    Want advanced LMS and course features. (What is LMS?)

    Want gamification features.

    Sell bulk licenses to teams, corporations, or other groups.

    Use Infusionsoft (now Keap Max Classic) and want a two-way integration.

    MacBook showing paid memberships pro vs. memberpress

    Pricing

    You're looking for a long-term fit so you don't have to migrate anytime soon, or hopefully ever.

    A transparent, easy-to-understand pricing structure is one of the first signs of a great company to work with.

    Confusing tier limitations, feature restrictions, and forced upgrades are red flags.

    Here's how Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress pricing looks:

    Paid Memberships Pro icon

    Paid Memberships Pro

    Free $0
    Plus $297 per year
    Unlimited $597 per year

    Must pay annually, no monthly payment options

    30-day money-back guarantee

    MemberPress Logo

    MemberPress

    Basic $249 per year
    Plus $399 per year
    Pro $549 per year

    Must pay annually, no monthly payment options

    14-day money-back guarantee

    It could work for a while. How long exactly depends on your business and goals.

    The free Paid Memberships Pro plan allows for the plugin download, access to documentation, access to 6 payment gateways, the Memberlite theme, and 19 free add-ons. 

    With the free plan, you'll be missing out on unlimited support tickets. That means if you get stuck, you'll have to figure it out on your own, or upgrade to get support. 

    You won't have access to a PMPro license key, which gives you support and updates on 1-5 sites. 

    You won't be able to use the 1 click upsell features, or advanced coupon codes. 

    When you're locked into a year with any software, it's a risk. 2020 showed us all how quickly things can change. Having the flexibility to pay monthly can help your business cash flow. 

    You can lose money if you pay for a year, then discover that your audience is more focused on courses instead of memberships.

    When you have a flexible software that allows for both, that wouldn't be an issue. But neither Paid Memberships Pro nor MemberPress has that kind of flexibility. 

    The biggest limitations to be aware of here are integrations. If you use Active Campaign, Amazon Web Services, BuddyPress, ConvertKit, Drip, Helpscout, or Zapier, you'll need to go with at least the Plus Plan.

    If you want access to Corporate Accounts, developer tools, Authorize.net, Affiliate Royale, or installs on more than 1 site, you'll need to go with either Plus or Pro on MemberPress. 

    If you're running a membership site, you'll need a customer relationship management system (CRM), a theme and page builder, site hosting, and video hosting. This is your ecosystem. It's what you need to run your business.  

    Calculate these costs, then look at your plan on either Paid Memberships Pro or MemberPress. Map out where you are today, and where you want to be in 6, 12, and/or 18 months. Look at your costs both today and in the near future. 

    Make sure they're in alignment. Avoid forced upgrades due to feature limitations. Avoid purchasing 5 or 6 systems and duct-taping them together. A simple, well-thought-out start will serve you best in the long-run. 

    Choose a system that will grow with you, not one that you will outgrow. 

    Memberships vs. Courses

    Both MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro were originally created to support memberships.

    If you're looking for basic content restrictions features, both MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro (and AccessAlly, for that matter), have you covered.

    If you want to run a course on PaidMemebrshipsPro, you'll be using an LMS plugin and integration. A lot of Paid Memberships Pro users integrate with LearnDash to create courses and provide LMS features.

    MemberPress recently released its Courses add-on. It allows you to create courses in addition to your memberships.

    With the add-on, MemberPress provides basic course features. These include lessons, modules, and basic progress tracking. If you want other LMS features, you'll be looking for a third-party plugin and integration.

    For example, MemberPress doesn't support quizzes natively, but it can be achieved using a third-party, paid plugin and integration.

    In fact, it's not uncommon for MemberPress uses to outgrow these basic LMS features. We've heard of many users integrating MemberPress and LearnDash to get the features they desire.

    Use caution when adding this complexity to your setup. It may come across as clunky to your users. You may find yourself with extra tech headaches on your hands.

    We've had people migrate over to AccessAlly from Paid Memberships Pro and MemberPress. One major reason for these migrations is that they were using multiple systems to complete what AccessAlly can do alone. 

    For example, they started offering one simple membership. Then they saw their users wanted individual courses. When they couldn't do that with Paid Memberships Pro or MemberPress, they integrated something like LearnDash to make it happen. 

    Then they were accepting payments on multiple platforms. Users potentially had two different logins. The courses looked different than the memberships... See the duct tape? 

    Moving away from a duct tape solution can stall your business growth for months. It takes time, attention, details, and hard work to migrate. Avoid it if at all possible. 

    Through the Courses add-on, you'll have access to a drag-and-drop editor for your courses via something called Classroom Editor.

    When you toggle this classroom feature on, it takes care of structure, format, and design elements for you. 

    There are customization options, but they take care of the majority through this feature. 

    If you want a flow that's outside of the standard Classroom Editor setup, you'll need to toggle that feature off and custom code your flow.

    This is a nice feature if you want all your courses to look and feel the same way as everyone else who's using this feature. 

    It gets sticky if you want to change that though. You'll find yourself hiring a developer to write custom code for your flow. If it breaks, you're left with that sticky mess on your hands. You're potentially spending lots of time, money, and headaches trying to fix something that shouldn't be that complicated in the first place. 

    With AccessAlly, you don't have to use an add-on to create courses. The course wizard handles all of your course and membership site-building with a simple, clean interface. 

    If you have a custom flow in mind, that's fine too. No coding required to make that happen. You'll just use the power of tagging to control access. 

    Our LMS features run deep. You can also setup a custom flow with prerequisites, required completion before moving on, and detailed progress tracking that your users can see. 

    You can choose to keep the setup super simple or get jiggy with it. It's totally up to you. 

    "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

    Bozhidar Batev Image for testimonials

    Theme, Page Builders, and Design

    Paid Memberships Pro works with a variety of themes.

    However, they have their own theme available to plugin owners, Memberlite. Memberlite comes with templates but has customization features to make the design yours.

    Using these Memberlite templates, you can change fonts and color options.

    If you use page builders, like Beaver Builder, you'll run into conflicts with shortcodes, membership levels, and more.

    MemberPress also works with a variety of themes. MemberPress has partnerships with themes that have created templates. Again, these templates are customizable to some extent. They make it easier to get up and running quickly.

    Divi, Academy Pro, and Kallyas are among the partnerships.

    MemberPress takes the edge here. Because they work with well-liked page builders, like Beaver Builder, design is much easier.

    Member Directories

    MemberPress doesn't have a member directory feature. You can purchase additional plugins and use an integration to make the two systems work together.

    Paid Memberships Pro does offer a member directory add-on. It can be public-facing or private to your members.

    The customization is done directly with HTML code using shortcodes. There's no way to use a drag-and-drop builder for easier customization.

    So, when you're building your directory, your shortcode could end up looking something like this: <br>[pmpro_member_directory levels="1,4" show_avatar="false" show_email="false"]<br>.

    Be aware of the limitations that exist, and how you'll be building your directory before checking this box.

    Member Diorectory Examples

    One of the things I like most about #AccessAlly is that @NathLussier has thought about the entire lifecycle of supporting clients when you’re selling online courses or #membership sites. It’s not just content protection, it’s also about the offers.

    Most solutions are great about monthly billing (like @memberpress and @lifterlms) but when you realize you need multiple offers (2, 3 & 4 payment options), things get tricker. AccessAlly is great about supporting installment payments.

    While #AccessAlly doesn’t have the hooks available to it that @lifterlms does, it is a complete solution for courses. If you’re a developer, you might be better served with @lifterlms but if you’re a business owner, what @NathLussier has created is amazing.

    It (#AccessAlly) isn’t really a plugin. It’s a business in a box. Much like @lifterlms - they both work hard to deliver a total solution for customers.

    Among all the #WordPress plugins out there, #AccessAlly may be the only one that thinks about billing in a way that matches the industry as it works today. That’s because @NathLussier is super sharp. Check it out.

    Chris Lema

    Chris Lema

    E-Commerce Features

    Paid Memberships Pro and MemberPress are very similar in the e-commerce functionality.

    Your deciding factor may very well be which payment gateway you use.

    MemberPress works with: Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net.

    Paid Memberships Pro works with: Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, CyberSource, 2checkout, or PayFast. 

    Do a bit more research for your specific setup here. Consider the following questions: What types of payments will you accept? Where do you want to manage the payments? What payment gateway(s) do you want to use?

    Both MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro can support coupon codes, promotions, and trial periods. The setup of those features depends on your payment gateway.

    CRM Integrations

    Integrations

    Almost certainly, you'll integrate with your CRM. The depth of that integration will determine the uniqueness of your membership site.

    The more in-depth the integration, the better experience you can create on your membership site.

    MemberPress can work with ActiveCampaign, AWeber, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, Drip, GetResponse, MailChimp, MailPoet, and Mailster.

    Be aware that there can be multiple add-ons to integrate different features of the CRM. For example, there are two separate add-ons for ActiveCampaign tags vs. lists.

    Paid Memberships Pro works with AWeber, Infusionsoft, and MailChimp.

    Both of these are one-way integrations. Simply put, they share information from one system to another, but not back and forth.

    Other integrations may be possible using a third-party connector tool like Zapier.

    Community and Forums

    Neither Paid Memberships Pro nor MemberPress offers a full-fledged community feature within the membership site.

    These can be achieved using integrations, such as bbPress.

    GIF showing scrolling quiz results

    Learning Reinforcements

    MemberPress provides basic learning reinforcement features through its Courses add-on.

    Paid Memberships Pro doesn't have extensive learning reinforcements. Its focus is on memberships. It was not designed with course creators in mind.

    If you want advanced learning reinforcement features, plan on using an LMS plugin integration, like LearnDash.

    Affiliate Marketing Programs

    Paid Memberships Pro offers basic affiliate tracking through an add-on. With it, you can manually add affiliates and connect them to a membership level.

    You won't be able to design a custom dashboard for them. These dashboards can become a bustle of activity for your affiliates. They'd be able to log in and see their stats, find images and copy, and see important launch dates.

    PMP's add-on works for the most basic of affiliate programs. They do offer other integrations with third-party companies if you need more.

    MemberPress doesn't offer any native affiliate program management features. You'll be using a third party, like Affiliate Royale to run your program.

    With AccessAlly, all these affiliate features are built-in.

    Two devices showing affiliate options for PMP and MemberPress

    Your workflow on
    Paid Memberships Pro vs. MemberPress

    white Paid Memberships Pro logo
    1. Set up your WordPress site with your favorite customizable theme or install the Paid Memberships Pro theme.
    2. Install the Paid Memberships Pro plugin on your WordPress membership site.
    3. Sign up for a Zapier account to integrate Paid Memberships Pro with your CRM or install an add-on.
    4. Integrate your payment processor or install an add-on or plugin for e-commerce features.
    5. Create your membership site pages and set your permissions.
    6. Set up your course automation within your marketing automation system.
    7. Install any additional add-ons or plugins for LMS features, member directories, affiliate marketing, and gamification.
    8. Add your content to your membership site.
    memberpress logo
    1. Install the plugin on your WordPress membership site
    2. Install an add-on for your CRM (if there is one)
    3. Install your 3rd-party LMS plugin, order form plugin, member directory plugin, etc.
    4. Set up your different plugins to make sure they work together
    5. Create membership levels and WordPress pages one at a time, manually create your menus
    6. Customize look and feel of the built-in emails that MemberPress sends
    7. Start adding content to your site

    The Real Question:
    Should You Use Paid Memberships Pro or MemberPress?

    Paid Memberships Pro logo

    Paid Memberships Pro might be right for you if…

    • You have a simple recurring membership you want to run, and don't plan to offer any online courses
    • You don't need deep integration with your CRM or prefer not to follow up differently with people based on their actions in your membership site
    • You're comfortable with the "more plugins and add-ons" philosophy and maintaining them all
    • You're comfortable working with custom code to hack your setup for more advanced funcationality
    MemberPress logo

    MemberPress might be right for you if…

    • You simply want protected 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

    Schedule a live demo to see how AccessAlly

    Hi, I'm Kimberly

    I'd love to learn more about your goals and answer your questions about how AccessAlly can help you get there. Book a demo today!

    Kimberly Gosney