S2Member Alternatives: Comparing S2Member to Competitors
Are you looking for a S2Member alternative for your online course or membership site?
Read our in-depth overview, comparisons of popular competitors, native software features, and pricing.
Before we dive into our S2Member comparison
We’re always curious who is behind the software reviews we read online, so we want to give you the full disclosure.
We are the creators of the AccessAlly LMS and membership plugin for WordPress. We are also affiliates for some of the tools that we review and compare on our site – meaning we may earn a commission if you buy from our recommendations.
However, we never let an affiliate incentive sway us in our reviews, it just makes it possible for us to test out these tools and dedicate time to passing our knowledge on to you. We know how overwhelming the research process can be so we want to help you make the right decision for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at s2Member and see how it stacks up, and why current users might start looking for an s2Member alternative in the first place.
Why people choose S2Member
Before we get into our list of s2Member alternatives, let’s look at why s2Member might make your list of possible plugins for your online course or membership site in the first place.
- It’s affordable: s2Member is one of the most affordable membership plugins on the market – it’s free unless you need more advanced payment integrations other than PayPal buttons. While the plugin itself isn’t widely used amongst newer membership site owners and online course creators, it does have a lot of loyal customers who learned the software when it first came to market. If you’re on a budget, it’s worth taking a look at especially if you’re a developer.
- You want a simple membership: If you’re just getting started online and you don’t need a lot of functionality beyond a basic membership site, s2Member isn’t a bad choice. However, there are newer and easier to use membership plugins on the market that will most likely save you time implementing in the long-run.
- You have a very unique use case: s2Member is very flexible, if you’re comfortable writing custom code, working with webhooks and API calls. Since it’s easily extensible through its API, it’s possible for you to create a truly custom membership site experience. Just keep in mind that the more you custom develop, the more you may need to invest down the line to maintain and update.
- You have a history with the plugin: since s2Member was one of the first membership plugins on the market, it has a lot of loyal users. If you’re one of them, it might be a good fit for you depending on the features and functionality you plan to implement.
Why people look for S2Member alternatives
If you’ve tried s2Member and found it overly complicated or you’re looking for a plugin that’s more of an all-in-one membership and LMS solution for your business, then you already know why you’re in the market for an s2Member replacement.
Here are some of the other common reasons why people look for s2Member substitutes.
- Lack of functionality: Because s2Member focuses on the membership management and content protection features for your membership site and online courses, additional plugins are usually required to add additional functionality to your site. In turn, you’re likely going to acquire additional expenses and you’re adding complexity to your tech stack. The technical integration is also more cumbersome and will require 3rd party tools in most cases or advanced knowledge of webhooks and API calls. This is where course creators and membership site owners start to break out the duct tape and look into hiring a developer to build and maintain their site.
- Dated-interface: s2Member was one of the first membership plugins to come to market, and while that could be seen as an advantage, unfortunately, that’s not the case for s2Member. It hasn’t evolved much since coming to market and leaves a lot to be desired in terms of ease of use and native features.
- Marketing Automation and CRM integration: With s2Member, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of integrations. However, your integrations tend to be more technical in nature and require you to set up API calls and webhooks to connect your CRM. Unless you’re a skilled developer, this is an added layer of complexity that could be handled more seamlessly with a more modern plugin.
- Not actively developed: While there are still bugfixes and existing feature enhancements being released, s2Member is not actively developing new features. Their main developers took on other roles in late 2018/early 2019 so the plugin hasn’t seen a lot of love in terms of evolution since that time.
One client's story about finding a S2Member Alternative
"I literally purchased and asked for refunds
to 4 other membership/course options because I couldn’t get them to do what I wanted.
I knew that AccessAlly would be amazing but I did not realize how amazing. It’s hard to explain but it’s all in the details.
For example, it serves as both a membership site and a course plugin. When I tried to use the other membership plugins, I had to figure out how to integrate them with the course plugin too.”
Compare S2Member Competitors' Pricing
s2Member’s pricing seems like a steal at first glance, but it can be a bit deceiving. With a $0 price tag, it may be hard to pass this plugin by, but if it seems too good to be true it usually is.
s2Member is, simply put, a permissions manager with limited features, but extensible via API and webhooks.
In order to process payments from customers using an order form, you’ll need to purchase the Pro version. It’s still rather affordable, but you’ll need to invest in additional add-ons for your LMS features, as well as member directories, and affiliate management if you plan to use an affiliate program to help increase sales for your membership and courses.
While the framework may be free or require a minimal investment, you could end up spending more than you initially anticipate.
Cost isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re researching membership software or LMS plugins, but it does heavily factor into the equation.
Here is the cost breakdown for some of the most commonly compared s2Member substitutes:
Includes only 3 products, and limit of 10,000 contacts
100 Products, 100,000 contacts, limited email sending
Unlimited courses and students
Additional features and groups
Plus 5% transaction fee
No transaction fees, includes bulk student enrollment
No memberships or affiliate functionality
Includes 3rd party code and embedded checkout forms
|Mighty Networks|| $280/year
Community forums only, no online courses, plus 3% transaction fee
Includes online courses, plus 2% transaction fee
|MemberPress + LearnDash|| $448/year
No course or student limits, basic functionality
Includes group licensing, affiliate functionality
Ecommerce and CRM addons included
Quizzes, groups, and social learning
Unlimited courses and students, affiliate, and bulk courses
All LMS functionality
Want more in-depth S2Member Replacement Comparisons?
Now that we’ve looked at all of the reasons why someone might choose S2Member, or switch from S2Member to another LMS solution, it’s time to compare S2Member alternatives!
In these in-depth comparison pages, you’ll see where each tool shines and where it falls short so you can make the best decision for your particular business and online teaching needs.
S2Member might be right for you if...
- You are open to a larger tech stack, and using a lot of different plugins to achieve your goals
- You’re comfortable with tech and know your way around webhooks and API calls for integrations.
- You don’t need deep CRM integration to create more personalized customer experiences, but you do need a lot of flexibility to custom code your unique use cases.
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.
We’ll start by asking you a few questions and guide you in the right direction.