Paid Memberships Pro vs MemberPress
Are you tired of trying to find the best WordPress membership plugin?
Maybe you've compared this to that, over and over again, but you're still left feeling unsure which WordPress membership plugin is best for your membership site and courses.
In this WordPress plugin comparison, we'll share what we know about MemberPress vs PaidMembershipsPro (PMP).
We'll take a look at pricing, structure, setup, and features.
Both MemberPress and PaidMembershipsPro are WordPress membership plugins created to support membership sites on your WordPress website.
With either of these WordPress plugins, you can create membership levels on your membership website.
Both allow you to drip content, restrict access, and offer paid memberships.
Side by Side Membership Plugin Feature Comparisons
These are some of the most popular features membership site owners want and use. Take a look at how these membership plugins stack up for your online content.
While you're reviewing the differences, be sure to think about your business now, and in the future.
|Protect and restrict content|
|Built-in Recurring payments through Stripe and/or PayPal|
|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|
Talk to a Kind Human Who really Know Her Stuff
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She'll answer your questions and tell you honestly if AccessAlly is a good fit.
We want you to find the right solution, even if that's not AccessAlly!
Like any good relationship, let's get the deal-breakers out of the way. Your time is precious. Let's not waste it.
Neither of these 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.
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 the pricing comparison for these two membership plugins:
Plus $297 per year
Unlimited $597 per year
Must pay annually, no monthly payment options
30-day money-back guarantee
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 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 limitation to be aware of here is with integrations.
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 PaidMembershipsPro were originally created to support memberships.
If you're looking for basic content restrictions features, both MemberPress and PaidMembershipsPro (and AccessAlly), have you covered.
If you want to run a course on PaidMemebrshipsPro, you'll be using an LMS plugin and integration.
A lot of PaidMemebrshipsPro 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, it provides basic course features like lessons, modules, and simple progress tracking.
If you want other LMS features, you'll be looking for a third-party plugin and integration.
For example, the Courses add-on doesn't support quizzes. However, 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.
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 from both of these membership plugins. 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 didn't have the features they wanted through the plugin, 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 MemberPress's 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 Offerings 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 is required to make that happen. You'll just use the power of tagging to control access.
Our LMS features run deep. You can also set up 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!"
Theme, Page Builders, and Design
PaidMembershipsPro 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. It has partnerships with Divi, Academy Pro, and Kallyas. Those themes have created specific templates you can use to get up and running quickly.
Again, these templates are customizable to some extent. They make it easier to get up and running quickly.
MemberPress takes the edge here. Because they work with well-liked page builders, like Beaver Builder, design is much easier.
If you're unsure of what theme to choose, reference this guide on how to choose the best theme for your membership site.
You get the AccessAlly theme for free with your AccessAlly license.
That means you can get up and running quicker than ever, all with a beautiful, custom, branded design.
MemberPress doesn't have a member directory feature. You can purchase additional WordPress plugins and use an integration to make the software work together.
PaidMembershipsPro 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.
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.
Both of these plugins are very similar in their e-commerce features.
Your deciding factor may very well be which payment gateways you use.
PaidMemebrshipsPro 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 (recurring payments, a one-time payment, payment plans, deposit + payment plan, etc.)?
- Where do you want to manage the payments (payment gateway platform, or within the WordPress membership plugin you choose)?
- What payment gateways do you want to use?
Both plugins can support coupon codes, promotions, and trial periods. The setup of these features depends on your payment gateways.
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.
MemberPress provides basic learning reinforcement features through its Courses add-on.
PMP 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.
Create a lasting learning experience.
With AccessAlly, you get:
video and audio bookmarketing
And that's just the start.
Affiliate Marketing Programs
PaidMembershipsPro offers basic affiliate tracking through an add-on. With it, you can manually add affiliates and connect them to a membership level on your membership site.
You won't be able to design a custom dashboard for them, which can be a drawback.
Affiliate 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 WordPress plugins if you need more.
MemberPress doesn't offer any native affiliate program management features. You'll be using a third-party integration with another WordPress plugin, like Affiliate Royale to run your program.
With AccessAlly, all these affiliate features are built-in.
Your workflow on Each Of These
WordPress Membership Plugins
- Set up your WordPress site with your favorite customizable theme or install the PMPro theme.
- Install the WordPress membership plugin on your membership site.
- Sign up for a Zapier account to integrate this WordPress plugin with your CRM or install an add-on.
- Integrate with your payment gateways or install an additional WordPress plugin for payment features like recurring payments or multiple payment features.
- Create your membership site pages using Custom Post types and restrict access.
- Set up any content dripping within your email marketing automation system.
- Install any additional add-ons or WordPress plugins for LMS features, member directories, affiliate marketing, and gamification.
- Add your content to your membership site.
- 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
Of These Two:
Which WordPress Membership Plugin Should You Use?
PaidMembershipsPro 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 on 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 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
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