Skip to:

Paid membership and subscription plugins

  • con



    I just wanted to share my experiences with paid membership plugins here.

    I have spent a couple of days looking now and have ended up with the free s2member plugin. Along the way I tried wp-wave and the plugins found at WPMU DEV. The two latter were a disappointement (as were all “premium” or commercial plugs I have tried so far) and I wish I would not have spent the money. But let me start from the beginning.

    As it stands now there are no (or very little) methods on how to differentiate user accounts. WordPress has user roles which define who can do what but this is still far from being suitable for monetization.

    My personal wishlist of base requirements for the ideal membership plugin looks as follows:

    1. a free membership is possible.

    2. admin may define paid membership categories.

    3. users may upgrade any time from free to paid membership.

    4. users are granted a trial period when signing up / upgrading to a paid plan.

    5. admin may restrict access to content depending on the membership.

    6. admin may restrict access to features depending on membership.

    7. admin may limit ressources (i.e. disk space, number of groups) depending on membership.

    I understand that especially the last two points on my list are not easily achieved at all and true enough: After 2 weeks of research I have found no plugin (Commercial or not) that can cater to all my needs. Even more so I have come to the conclusion that every time I compare commercial plugins with open source ones, the open source ones usually win, but thats another story.

    To cut to the chase:

    s2member has in my opinion the best set of features that neither a wp-wave nor WPMU DEV plugins can top. I think that the plugins on WPMU DEV are just presented nicely, but for each plugin that is presented there you can find an open source one that does exactly the same (or better, no offense).

    My solution for now?

    I will use s2member to offer two paid memberships in the future each with a 30-day free trial period. The first one is paid monthly, the second is paid annualy offering a 17% discount. Both have the same set of features since I for now see no other proper way of setting up paid memberships. The drawback is that people who want to sign up need a paypal account with a credit card since s2member uses the subscription type payments.

    I hope you find this information useful if you are also trying to implement paid memberships on your site.

Viewing 21 replies - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)

  • Boone Gorges


    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences – I bet this’ll be helpful for a lot of folks out there.



    The dev of s2members is even thinking about adding subscriptions for groups, which would be just what I needed. Until then I’m gonna code myself a basic substitute…




    why not having “public groups” as being freely availabe for your members and having “private groups” set-up as only being accessable with paid user-subscription ?

    Unfortunately, the useability and privacy of “private groups” is currently not very well designed, but might improve with the next version of BP 1.3



    I have to agree with conschneider…This is one amazing plugin to expand upon.. The plugin author really likes BuddyPress and I think some amazing things can be done combining them. I’m working on a list of features I would like to see for BuddyPress, and I’m planning to make a donation to the author with the feature requests. If you are interested and would like to see certain features added, post them here or contact me.. I’m not the wealthiest person, so if anyone wants to chip in and would like to see certain features developed, this is the time to do it :)



    Thanks for your thoughts on this topic conschneider, I agree that there’s a lot of things left to do in that space. Especially along with subscriptions there should be a possibility to define the user roles down to every single cap on the bp install. That’s what I’m waiting for and if anyone is trying to do that, you’ll have all my support (along with a small donation).



    @ conschneider

    S2 Member looks like a great plugin.

    I have to disagree with you about WPMUDEV though. Their plugins are amongst the best in the business.

    My membership with WPMUDEV has saved me thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of development costs.

    If only I found them sooner. I run a paid membership with the Supporter plugin which integrates with dozens of other plugins.

    They will have a membership plugin real soon as well.

    Thanks for the info @conschneider, it proved very useful for me.




    As I said above, no offense meant. This is just my personal experience and not a professional review.

    Take what you can use and ditch the rest.

    P.S. s2member got updated recently and the changelog now says that it allows free membership that can be upgraded by the users anytime. Sounds good to me.




    The most obvious is group subscription/filtering I think. Basically, that someone can pay to get access to a private group. That would be a pretty killer feature.

    I also think he should provide some pass through variables in the payment buttons. So, he could add a hidden variable to the buttons for groupid=”1234″ and then after the payment is processed, that ID would be sent to the “welcome page” where you could welcome them to that specific group. You could do the same thing for userid and make that userid a friend once they’ve paid.



    What would be really amazing is if it gets extended so that a user could pay to access multiple groups, one at a time.

    We hold conferences, where when it’s finished there are handouts, video’s, audio files, etc. A person registers for the conference, they gain access to the group so they have access to the docs.

    Then down the road they register for another conference, and gain access to that group as well.

    I’ve been playing with the 4 level system, but so far have not figured out how to do the part above. I’m pretty sure that it’s already possible or will be someday.

    S2Member is a fantastic plugin



    I’m pretty new to Buddypress but thinking about implementing S2Member as well. It looks very good but one thing I’m trying to do is allow my premium members to display more information about themselves than free members.

    I think I might be able to restrict free members from accessing a certain field group in their profile so that they just can’t submit the particular details such as Location and Occupation but that seems a little messy.

    I’m trying to setup a directory based site for Alternative Therapists such as Reflexologists, Nutritional Therapists, Accupunctuists, Yoga Teachers, etc, etc. I’m doing it for a client and she really likes the idea of having a social network side to the site as well because the therapists will be interested in networking with eachother and their potential clients (free members) will also be able to find them and ask questions or just read what they have to say.

    Unfortunately, however, because the search functionality in Buddypress seems quite limited not only is it difficult to narrow down a search for a particuar kind of therapist in a particular location, but it also doesn’t seem possible using S2Member to show only premium members.

    I’m thinking I might either have to scrap the idea of using Buddypress or else integrate separate directory pages but if I do that it probably won’t be very easy to tie their details for each system together.

    Sorry for the long post – but said it was best to explain it fully to see if anyone has any experience of trying to do something similar or has any good advice.



    Looking at S2 after running through the paid options and finding it the best available plugin out there. I’m wondering if anyone has experience using it with a site already running the Members plugin which allows fairly granular control of user role access?

    I’d like to monkey about with the S2 role definitions from the Members side of things but I’m wondering if that will just muck things up. Interested in any experiences others may have had with this.

    Jodie Thompson


    What would everyone suggest for a client who uses one shopping cart? Still stick with S2?



    So, I am using WishList Member which is a fantastic membership management plugin for WordPress. It’s been working wonderfully for my online course; but being a recent BP convert and seeing a cool BP plugin, ScholarPress, I thought I’d convert the site to a WP/BP site with the added functions in BP.

    I’m not certain how the heck I can get the two to work together. Any ideas? Other than moving to this S2 plugin?

    Hi Guys

    Anyone aware of a very, very simple paid membership that works with BP? Don’t need it to take control of any content (restrictions etc) just need anyone who registers to fill in th BP reg form, get sent to PayPal and come back as a registered user…

    Thanks in advance



    @kitecom: s2Member definitely allows you to do that. It does take a little work to set it up, but it’s free, and I’m really impressed with it, and with the support forums.



    I’ve been trying to send a message to @Travel-Junkie but the BP site won’t let me, so here goes – @Travel-Junkie mentioned he was going to make a custom mod/hack to S2Member to get it to protect groups – did you ever get that to work? I had S2Member working with a bit of code in my functions.php file and it was AWESOME, till the BP 1.5 upgrade, and now it doesn’t work. I think they’re tired of me too, because although the customer support has heretofore been very VERY good, they finally just told me it was a custom hack and S2Member wasn’t designed for groups or group protection. Bleh. I must say that also there are some other functions that aren’t working as of late and the help has been a bit overtaxed, probably because of the overall generally good quality of the plugin. But I wouldn’t really recommend it at this time for specifically protecting BP groups, just since I haven’t been able to get a solution to what WAS working from either the folks at S2Member *or* the forums. I finally resorted to posting a request for a custom PAID job to fix this, it’s maddening. S2Member doesn’t currently protect my groups, doesn’t populate the correct end date in subscriptions, so really, all it’s doing is redirecting users to a different URL if they’re not logged in.

    The help forum has been pretty overwhelmed the last couple of days, I’ve been checking daily trying to solve my own issues :(

    This is my opinion only and my sole experience.

    I did try the membership plug from wpmu and it got on my nerves. The learning curve is WAaaaaYYYY!!! to big and it takes forever to make it work. Also the costumer support Is really bad, specially if you live in the US. The hour differentials are way to extreme and if you need “fast help”, believe me, you won`t get it.

    I did got my full refund and use the money to buy some books to see if I could build my own plugs.

    I`ll be trying the s2members today, I`ll get back with my results.

    God Bless and Happy BuddyPressing!!!

    @javi1024 about to install the s2Member on the buddypress… want to make paid membership… what was your experience?

    Just quickly commenting to stay up to date on this thread. I’m also interested in having paid and free memberships to BuddyPress.

    Has everyone been using s2Member?

    The thread is over two years old! Many people use s2 member for one reason or another, it works well depending on what you want to do. If you have a specific question start a new thread on it.

Viewing 21 replies - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • The topic ‘Paid membership and subscription plugins’ is closed to new replies.
Skip to toolbar