So you run an e-Learning website!
Most of your content must be accessible to anyone who register, right?
But what if you decide to offer premium content? The type you would want people to pay for before they can access it. I bet you don’t want that to be publicly available.
Hence you need to create some type of “gate”. Something that would restrict access to content based on different parameters.
This can be easily done through Membership plugins on WordPress. Yes, the same type of plugin that we are going to discuss today!! Coincidence? Woah!
So What Does a Membership Plugin do?
Simply put, it provides you full control over what part of content is accessible to your users. But that is just the gist of it, A membership plugin is a suite with plethora of options.
How Does it Help My e-Learning Portal?
As an e-Learning portal, your website has the ability to provide courses for your audience.
Now, you may already be selling courses on your website with the help of WooCommerce. You can even sell subscription courses.
But that doesn’t offer you the level of granularity into content management and user role assignment as much as a Membership plugin would do. You can create different membership levels, groups for users. Registered members can be updated about new courses that are published & more.
So in this article, we will discuss a few membership plugins that will help you setup your e-learning membership portal in no time.
Let’s being with the mammoths in Membership arena.
MemberPress is one of the most popular plugins in the membership category on WordPress. It’s fame is mostly attributed to its robust features and ease of use.
It offers unlimited membership levels and unlimited members. The Access Rules can be set such that only certain member roles can access the content. Armed with these rules, you can restrict access to almost every aspect of your site such as Posts, Pages, Tags, Categories etc.
Content dipping is a fairly regular feature in most membership sites, it allows you to slowly publish new content on the site and provide access to members.
The plugin gels well with several email marketing providers such as Aweber, Mailchimp etc.
Coming to the most important aspect of Membership sites – Payments. MemberPress offers support for most commonly used payment gateways like Paypal and Stripe. These two make up for most of the transactions on web, but unfortunately the only other payment gateway supported is Authorize.net.
MemberPress’ pricing options are a bit heavy on the wallet. Their Business edition rounds out to about $119 per year which is a single site license.
The multi-site license a.k.a Developer Edition comes down to around $239 per year. That being said, the price is worth what the plugin delivers.
Find out more : MemberPress
Members is a WordPress membership plugin developed by Justin Tadlock.
This is a basic plugin that was developed with the core principle of membership sites in mind. The plugin provides the two basic concepts i.e Content Locking & User Role Definition.
The Role Manager part of this plugin lets you create, edit, delete roles and capabilities of various users on your site. What is interesting is a user can be assigned several roles, These roles will allow or deny them access to certain parts of the site. User roles can be cloned easily too in order to build new roles.
Content permissions give you control over which content can be access by which role. Which means if a content is specific to only users in the role “New Subscribers” then only users with that role can access the content.
As usual, shortcodes and widgets are shipped along with it to make your user experience easier.
Even though the plugin offer all these features, it doesn’t come pre-built with Payment integration. But this can be easily fixed by installing payment gateway plugins (Members is compatible with these).
Coming to the price of this plugin. The plugin costs nothing. Yes! NOTHING! It is available for FREE on WordPress repository, no wonder it is being used by over 100,000+ users worldwide.
Check it out: Members by Justin Tadlock
WooCommerce Memberships plugin is developed by the renowned WooCommerce team, so you can trust the quality and compatibility it offers.
Rather than being just a plugin to restrict your site’s content, WooCommerce Memberships plugin is a site-wide solution for memberships. Being WooCommerce compatible means not just content, but products can also be part of your membership sites.
Here are a few striking features of Memberships plugin:
- Memberships can be sold as a product on your store.
- Memberships can be tied to products being sold, such that these memberships open up when a product is purchased.
- Send invites to people in order for them to purchase a plan.
- Drip feed content to members.
- Provide discounts on memberships and products.
- Import/Export members.
- Add notes to memberships.
The pricing structure of this plugin is a bit different as in, it doesn’t offer unlimited site licenses. The single site license costs $149. 5 site license costs $199 and 25 site license costs $249.
Find out more : WooCommerce Memberships
Paid Membership Pro
Paid Membership Pro is another plugin which offers the Free, Pro and ProPlus Model.
The free version more or less gives you an idea of how the plugin works. Not being a WooCommerce Addon, it lacks in features such as Variable Pricing etc. But fret not, since PMP comes with support for Addons.
These addons can extend the functionality of PMP to add advanced features such as Link Tracking, Affiliate program. Apart from addons, it supports various integrations with third party tools like email marketing (Aweber, Mailchimp) and CRM softwares.
Compared to other plugins, this offers a bit more freedom by supporting many payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, Braintree, 2Checkout, Cyber Source, Authorize.net etc.
Discount codes can be generated for users. This can be set to start on a particular date & configured to expire on a day. The coupon codes can even be limited to number of times it is used. The amount of granularity it offers is immense.
As I said before, the plugin has a basic free option. But the Pro Core plan costs $97 & Pro Plus plan for $197 (Unlimited sites licenses).
Checkout the plugin over at Paid Membership Pro
Digital Access Pass
DAP is one of the oldest membership plugins around.
This is the only plugin that I saw, which offers a hefty amount of Payment Gateway support. It offers support for around 20+ Payment Gateways.
It is a feature heavy plugin, but with hefty features comes steep learning curve. It might actually take some time to setup the plugin and get it working on your portal. To understand the level of customizability, let me just put this out there – there are over 70 settings to tinker with.
With DAP, you can easily link more membership levels and courses to a single user. Want more? You don’t have to manually remove each and every linked product when someone cancels their subscription.
It comes with a One-Time payment plan (but has a monthly plan too). Single site costs $167, Unlimited site around $297.
Find out more: Digital Access Pass
Over To You
That was all about Membership plugins and how they can benefit your e-Learning website. The plugins we discussed here are all popular ones being used by thousands of websites.
Which of these caught your eye? Let us know what more you are looking for in a membership plugin.
Ray Boller :
Thanks for this write-up!
Great list. Awesome post!
I used UserPlace – A complete Free WordPress Membership Plugin. Excellent plugin with great documentation, It is very nice and simply superb. It has easy settings to understand. And many free features. Great WordPress Membership Plugin. Best FREE membership plugin!