If you’re looking for the best membership site platforms for creating a monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscription website for your audience, this detailed article is for you.
Membership sites are among the most popular ways to make money online for bloggers, course creators, and knowledge entrepreneurs. Customers also prefer membership programs more than full-payment digital products because they can pay a small monthly fee to access unlimited knowledge resources.
But it’s hard to choose a membership platform for your business with so many great options.
To make your choice easier, I’ve shortlisted the best membership site builders, software, and platforms, in my opinion, along with their pricing and pros & cons.
Let’s get started.
The Best Membership Site Platforms | Features, Pricing, and Pros & Cons
The core features of all membership site platforms are similar because they all help you create and run online subscription programs. However, the difference lies in the pricing and secondary features that make your job easier when running membership sites.
It is an easy-to-use membership site builder that offers all the necessary features to build, manage, and scale online subscription programs.
You can use it to create subscription programs, sell gated content, offer limited-time content access, or sell complete online courses. In addition, it gives you full control over your content visibility, allowing you to revoke your visitors’ access to posts, pages, videos, categories, tags, feeds, communities, digital files, and more based on what memberships they belong to.
MemberPress also allows you to build and manage member-only communities and forums. You can add the community feature to your WordPress site with any popular forum platform and manage access with MemberPress.
It also integrates with all the popular email marketing and lead generation tools to help you effectively market your membership program.
For payments, you can integrate MemberPress with PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. This allows you to accept credit/debit card payments and offer multiple payment models like installments, one-time, and recurring payments.
Other valuable features include drip content delivery, discount coupons, course building & LMS features, customizable pricing pages, and compatibility with all popular WordPress themes.
Overall, MemberPress is a complete membership site-building solution for WordPress users that covers all the bases.
MemberPress Pricing and Free Trial
MemberPress offers three different annual pricing plans designed for membership sites of various sizes. Each plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
However, MemberPress does not offer a free plan or a free trial.
Here’s what its premium plans cost per year.
Basic plan @ $179/year: Ideal for beginners looking to explore the membership site model
Plus plan: $299/year: For small businesses and consultants looking to build full-scale membership sites.
Pro plan: $399/year: Perfect for advanced users with a large portfolio of sites.
Considering the features MemberPress offers, its pricing plans are pretty affordable and certainly offer value for money.
MemberSpace is a hugely popular membership site platform that allows you to turn any part of your website into members-only. You can use it to create gated content on your site with complete control.
For example, you can offer a couple of video tutorials on a topic for free and put the remaining videos behind a paywall. Or create a full-fledge membership site with user roles and different access levels.
MemberSpace is not limited to WordPress only. You can use it with many other popular CMS platforms such as Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, HubSpot, and even a custom-developed site.
You can use it to serve drip content, offer limited-time content, or create membership tiers for your customers. It also provides several conversion-boosting features such as automated email for abandoned purchases, upsells, alternatives when a product isn’t available, and reminders on failed payment.
MemberSpace only supports Stripe for payments. Once you integrate your Stripe account with MemberSpace, you can offer full, partial, and recurring payments on your membership site.
MemberSpace Pricing and Free Trial
MemberSpace does not offer a free plan.
However, you get a free 14-day trial with all three of its premium plans.
Here’s how much you need to pay for MemberSpace.
MemberSpace’s entry plan costs $25/month and offers unlimited customers with a 4% transaction fee.
Its mid-tier plan costs $50/month with all the standard features with a 2% transaction fee. There’s also no MemberSpace branding on your site in this plan.
The top-tier plan costs $100/month and is designed for established membership businesses.
Compared with some of the other options, MemberSpace is a bit more expensive. But it offers a complete membership site solution that’s designed for completely non-technical users.
3. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a powerful membership site and community-building platform that’s quite different from the other options in this list.
It allows you to create closed membership communities (both free and paid) with various audience engagement features.
For example, your members get a Facebook-style timeline to see the posts, videos, courses, and any other updates by the community admins and other authorized members.
You can launch courses, on-demand content, or hold live webinars via Zoom or YouTube Live. Mighty Networks also allows you to create mini-course communities for the members of specific courses or programs.
You also get various types of posts like polls, native video, audio, etc., to engage your audience effectively.
Your Mighty Networks community exists on your custom domain, where you can customize its look & feel according to your brand identity.
For now, Might Networks only supports Stripe payments and allows you to offer full, partial, and recurring payments to your customers.
MightyNetworks Pricing and Free Trial
Mighty Networks offers three different premium plans that all come with a free 14-day trial period.
However, it doesn’t offer a free plan.
Here’s what you need to pay as a customer.
If you only want to create a membership community (free or paid), The Community Plan, priced at $23/month (billed annually), is the right fit for you.
But if you also want to sell online courses along with several advanced integrations and marketing features, The Business Plan, priced at $81/month (billed annually), is the better option.
Overall, Mighty Networks is a powerful but slightly expensive community and membership site platform with several advanced features and capabilities.
4. Wild Apricot
Wild Apricot is a world-class membership platform designed for enterprises, large businesses, bloggers, and content creators.
It’s not just a membership platform but a complete learning management system (LMS) that allows you to create, manage, and sell monthly subscription plans and online courses.
It comes with a drag & drop website builder to help you create websites, landing pages, and other essential site pages like check-out, about, etc.
To help you market your membership program, Wild Apricot comes with integrated email marketing features. You can use them to send email campaigns and configure automated responses to member emails.
Wild Apricot also offers comprehensive event management features to help you create and manage events for your members.
You can accept member payments with Stripe, PayPal, and Square. Plus, you get a complete invoicing solution with your account that automates your recurring invoices.
Overall, Wild Apricot is a solid membership site platform, especially for organizations and established businesses.
Wild Apricot Pricing and Free Trial
Wild Apricot offers eight different subscription plans for various business types. Its free plan allows up to 50 customers and some basic features. But to enable e-commerce features, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Here’s what you get with different Wild Apricot subscription plans.
The premium plans come with a website builder, email marketing features, and popular payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, etc.
All plans come with a free 30-day trial.
Kajabi is an all-in-one online course and membership site platform that allows you to create, sell, manage, and market high-quality membership programs.
It comes with a wide range of membership features such as a drag & drop website builder, a landing page creator, several responsive website themes, and comprehensive member management.
Kajabi’s core strength is its simplification of membership programs even for non-technical users with zero coding knowledge.
It gives you ready-to-use sales and marketing funnels for various business types, including membership sites. Once you select the membership site template, Kajabi gives you a series of pages, opt-in forms, landing pages, and course pages. Then, you only need to add your content and start selling your program.
Kajabi also comes with robust email marketing and automation features. For example, it allows you to automatically segment your members based on behavior and engagement and assign tags for better organization. Similarly, you can run automated email campaigns and sequences for user engagement and product launches.
For better member management, Kajabi allows you to design various member roles and access slabs. This helps you market your program to different target audiences and diversify your income.
Kajabi supports PayPal and Stripe for payments. With Stripe, you can also enable recurring payments and installments.
Overall, Kajabi is a feature-rich membership platform that allows you to run membership programs and market them more effectively.
Kajabi Pricing and Free Trial
Kajabi offers three different premium plans that include membership sites and online course features along with robust sales and marketing capabilities.
Each premium plan comes with a 14-day free trial. However, Kajabi doesn’t offer a free plan.
Here’s what Kajabi’s premium plans cost (billed annually.)
The Basic plan offers 3 products (online courses or membership programs) and three Pipelines (sales funnels.) You also get unlimited landing pages and emails and up to 10K email contacts.
The Growth and Pro plans are designed for established course creators and large membership programs with thousands of customers. Both plans allow unlimited marketing emails, webinars, advanced automation, the ability to remove Kajabi branding.
Kartra is a specialized membership platform packed with content creation, user management, and advanced marketing features. It’s an all-in-one membership platform that allows you to host online courses and run customized membership programs.
You can use Kartra to sell online courses, digital downloads, or multiple membership programs. It comes with a drag & drop website builder and several responsive website themes using which you can create landing pages and course websites.
It gives you complete control over your content with features like drip content, download prohibition, video controls lock, gated content, etc.
Kartra’s other major strengths are its marketing and sales features that allow you to quickly attract relevant users and convert them into leads and customers.
For example, it has one of the best sales funnel builders in the online course platform industry. It allows you to create completely automated funnels that consist of multiple landing pages, email sequences, videos, and opt-ins.
Plus, it has a complete email marketing system integrated with its landing pages, products, content, etc. So you can easily track user activity, run tailored campaigns, and add behavioral tags to various users.
Kartra’s video player is another hugely impressive feature that allows you to add in-video CTAs, use annotations, and track user activity.
Overall, Kartra is a hugely impressive membership solution for growing eLearning businesses and entrepreneurs with large audiences.
Kartra Pricing and Free Trial
Kartra offers four different paid subscription plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 25% discount on annual billing.
But there’s no free plan or free trial.
You can, however, get a 7-day trial for $1 for any of Kartra’s paid plans.
Let’s take a close look at what Kartra’s premium plans offer.
The Starter plan costs you $79/month on annual billing and offers basic course creation, marketing, and sales features. It allows up to 2500 leads, 15000 emails per month, 50GB bandwidth, and up to 20 products for one custom domain.
It’s a good option if you’re a total beginner. However, if you want to experience Kartra’s full range of features, go for the Silver plan.
It allows up to 12,500 leads for three custom domains. Everything else, like emails, videos, bandwidth, funnels, products, etc., is unlimited.
At $149/month, that’s a pretty good deal.
Established eLearning businesses with large subscriber pools can also explore the Gold and Platinum plans for more flexibility.
Thinkific is another hugely popular platform for selling online courses, membership sites, and digital downloads. You can use it to create closed monthly subscription groups, drip content courses, or ongoing training programs.
Thinkific’s strength lies in its intuitive user experience and beginner-friendly features designed to allow non-technical users to sell memberships and courses online.
It supports courses and lessons in various content forms like videos, audio files, PDFs, webinars, etc.
Plus, it offers different student evaluation features such as surveys, mandatory/optional assignments, and various types of quizzes. Similarly, you can award course completion certificates to encourage and motivate successful students.
To improve content engagement, you can enable mandatory video completion and disable video downloads.
Thinkific doesn’t have the marketing features of Kartra or Kajabi, but it’s still among the leading membership management platforms because of its superior course creation features and intuitive user interface.
Thinkific Pricing and Free Trial
Thinkific is among the few online course and membership platforms that offer a free plan. However, you’ll need to upgrade to its Pro plan to enable memberships and recurring payments.
Each premium plan comes with a 30-day free trial during which you can explore the features and decide if it’s the right choice for your business.
The Pro and Premier plans cost $79/month and $399/month, respectively, which is higher than many other options in this article.
However, if you’re already selling courses and want to start a membership community or wish to offer a world-class learning experience to your students, Thinkific is an excellent option.
Teachable is a leading online course, and membership platform that has helped over 100K entrepreneurs make $500+ million since 2015.
It is similar to Thinkific in product style and is among the top membership platforms in terms of course creation features and simplicity.
With Teachable, you can create complete membership programs that consist of course bundles or separate courses. In addition, you can design learning paths for your students and evaluate them with quizzes, assignments, and surveys.
Once you create a membership program, you can provide your customers full access to your content or enable drip content on a schedule or based on student activity.
You also get a robust drag & drop website builder to create high-quality, responsive websites and landing pages for your membership programs.
Teachable doesn’t have many native marketing features like Kajabi or Kartra. But it integrates with all the leading email marketing and lead generation tools and other marketing and business apps.
It also offers comprehensive user management features using which you can provide content access to different student categories.
Teachable Pricing and Free Trial
Teachable doesn’t offer a free plan, but its premium plans come with a 14-day trial that allows you to explore the product.
Here’s what its premium plans cost.
Unlike Thinkific, Teachable offers membership site features in all its subscription plans. The difference is in transaction fees (5% in the Basic plan, none for the higher plans). Plus, the higher tiers offer features such as quizzes, unbranded websites, and custom user roles.
But even the Basic plan is sufficient to create a successful membership program with Teachable.
Zenler is another all-in-one online course and membership site platform that allows you to create high-quality courses and subscription programs.
It is an ideal Kajabi and Kartra alternative because of its robust membership site features and advanced marketing and automation capabilities.
With Zenler, you can create gated content and members-only subscription programs that contain different online courses, learning tracks, and stand-alone video/audio/PDF lessons.
It’s an intuitive product with excellent user experience and numerous options for creating and marketing courses and memberships.
Zenler also comes with a complete email marketing and funnel building suite. You can create email sequences and funnels from scratch or use pre-designed funnel templates for various business goals.
Plus, you get robust member management features to assign different user roles, tag members and enable or disable content access individually or in groups.
Overall, Zenler is a powerful membership site product ideal for growing and scaling large subscription programs.
NewZenler Pricing And Free Trial
Zenler offers two premium plans that both include membership features. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
But there’s no free plan or free trial.
Here’s what the premium plans offer.
Both plans have all the core course creation and admin features. The main difference is in the marketing features. For example, the Pro plan allows up to 100 funnels and 100K emails/month, while the Premium plan has unlimited funnels and up to 500K emails/month. Similarly, the Pro plan allows 500 automations, while the Premium plan offers unlimited automations.
Overall, Zenler offers immense value for money and is a complete membership site management and marketing platform for serious eLearning professionals.
Wix is not a conventional membership site builder or online course platform. Instead, it’s a leading CMS and website builder that also comes with the option to add a members area to your site.
Then why use Wix for a membership program?
Because it can help you create stunningly beautiful websites, landing pages, blog pages, and any custom content pages on your membership site.
Plus, it allows you to accept full and recurring customer payments with PayPal, Stripe, AliPay, and more.
Once you create a members area on your Wix site, you can create content pages with videos, text, audio, PDFs, and other content types.
You can also integrate your site with leading email marketing tools and marketing and business apps.
Wix Pricing and Free Trial
Wix offers three premium eCommerce subscription plans with payment integration. However, membership and subscription features are not available in Business Basic, the lowest tier plan.
At $25/month, you can create a fully responsive Wix membership site integrated with leading payment services and other content features.
It’s not an ideal solution for hosting a subscription plan, but still worth exploring if you’re not looking for a specialized membership site platform.
Podia is the last membership site platform on our list. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive than the other options we’ve discussed so far.
In fact, I personally rate it among the best membership site platforms because of its value for money. Podia is a robust eLearning platform that offers tons of content creation and membership site features.
Plus, it offers an impressive email marketing and automation suite that allows you to market and sell your membership programs effectively without needing to invest in a third-party email service.
Podia allows you to host unlimited customers and create unlimited membership plans. In addition, you can create as many user roles as you want and assign different content access levels.
For content creation, you can use videos, audio files, digital downloads, text lessons, and images.
Overall, Podia is a complete membership solution for small-medium-sized subscription programs.
Podia Pricing and Free Trial
Podia offers a free 14-day trial on all three of its premium subscription plans. However, membership features are not available in the Mover plan.
To start a membership site with Podia, you’ll need to sign up for its Shaker plan that costs $79/month.
It comes with unlimited customers and courses along with product bundles, upsells, course certificates, and quizzes.
Plus, it also provides you an affiliate management platform to recruit affiliates for your membership program.
Best Membership Site Platforms And Software | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which membership plugin is best?
It depends on your business goals, but MemberPress, Kajabi, Kartra, and MemberSpace are all great options.
How do I create a membership website for free?
You can create a free membership site with Thinkific and Wild Apricot.
How do I create a paid membership site?
You can create a paid membership site with any leading membership site platform like Mighty Networks, Kajabi, MemberSpace, or Teachable.
How much does it cost to create a membership website?
You can easily start a high-quality membership site for as low as $25 with Wix and Mighty Networks.
By Jawad Khan for Learning Revolution