Are you looking for an honest Paid Memberships Pro review? Or can’t decide whether to use it or not on your site? Go through this article, everything will be crystal clear to you.
Paid Memberships Pro is a popular membership plugin for WordPress. It’s ideal for premium content sites, online courses, training-based memberships, clubs, associations, etc.
To this day, the plugin has been installed on over 100K sites. And, it also features a fantastic rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
So, does that mean it’s the best in the market? To find that out, we’ll review every aspect of the Paid Memberships Pro plugin starting with features, pricing, support, installation, and many more.
Alright now, tighten your seat belts as we are about to take you for a Paid Memberships Pro ride!
A. Paid Memberships Pro – An Overview
Paid Memberships Pro is a very user-friendly and powerful free WordPress membership plugin. Basically, the plugin provides you with all the tools by which you can start, manage and grow your membership site.
If you aren’t aware, then a membership site is a kind of website that provides exclusive content for its members only.
To be more specific, not registered members can’t view or access it. You need to be a registered user and log in to the site to access the content.
For an even better understanding, you might’ve used Netflix or heard of it. It’s a subscription-based streaming service that lets you explore exclusive TV shows and movies only after paying. In other words, members can only access the content.
For more information, please check our ultimate collection of popular membership site examples!
To sum up, Paid Memberships Pro is a WordPress plugin for creating membership sites. And don’t go with its name that has ‘Pro’ in it, it’s completely free. You can simply get it from the WordPress.org plugin’s directory.
Using the plugin, you can provide free memberships, recurring subscriptions, trials, one-time payments, and many more. Moreover, you can restrict posts and pages with ease based on the level of membership he/she has acquired.
And, it’s full integration with some of the most renowned payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, etc. So, you can easily sell memberships and accept payments.
Plus, you can extend the functionality of your membership site with its Paid Memberships Pro Add-Ons. In the free version, you’ll get a total of 19 addons. For more, you need to purchase its Plus or Unlimited plan.
B. Top Features of Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is jam-packed with tons of features. Keeping the features in mind, the possibility is endless when it comes to building a membership site.
Here in this section of the Paid Memberships Pro review, we’ll be providing you an insight into some of its key features.
1. Multiple Levels of Membership
Membership levels are created to build a tiered system or to distinguish different kinds of members. To be more specific, a membership level determines what types of content your member can access at what price.
With this plugin, you can create unlimited membership levels such as free memberships, trials, one-time payments, etc. Also, you can offer unique pricing and content access to each level individually.
Also, the members can tie up to one or more member levels at a time.
2. Extensive Options for Content Restriction
With Paid Memberships Pro, you have the remote to put restrictions on the content. This way, you can gate your pages, posts, categories, etc. for signed-in users only.
Using this plugin, you can also restrict custom post types, single pages, and even a portion of pages/posts. In other words, you can apply any set of access rules to your content.
Besides that, you can completely hide restricted content as well. And, you can place a message if a random visitor tries to access the protected content.
3. Content Dripping
Content dripping is a feature that lets you release content in parts rather than offering it all at once. Releasing content on a schedule means people can’t have a full bite of it at a single glance. And it’s an extremely crucial feature for retaining members for a longer duration.
For instance, you can drip the tutorial sessions on a specific date or a period just after a student registers. This way, the student will be able to access the sessions only the moment it gets dropped to them.
Paid Memberships Pro plugin allows you to drip-feed content and releases it on a schedule over the course of your membership. You can create a series (groups of posts/pages) and make your members come back again. However, this functionality comes as part of Addon. And you’ll get it in both Plus and Unlimited Membership.
4. Multiple Payment Gateway Options
The plugin works with some of the most famous payment gateways around the globe. And the name of those includes Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, Braintree, 2Checkout. Or, it also offers you a default credit card payment option.
Besides that, you can even opt for WooCommerce to sell membership levels as a product. And, this WooCommerce Integration is a completely free add-on.
5. Insightful Reports and Analytics
From the dashboard section, you’ll have a high-level view of all the ongoing membership activities. To be more specific, you’ll have an exact idea of which direction your membership site is heading towards.
Meaning, you can check sales and revenue reports and even filter the data by membership level and period (day, month, year). Also, you can keep an eye on membership signups, expirations, and cancellations based on day, month, or year.
Paid Memberships Pro also keeps the track of member visits, views, and logins by day, week, month, year, etc. Besides that, you’ll have a report that showcases all the members, and you can sort by level, start date, expiration, etc.
The dashboard also gives you insights into all the orders for new and recurring payments.
6. Tons of Integrations
The plugin works perfectly with other popular WordPress plugins as well. So, you can connect your membership site with these integration plugins to enhance the user experience.
The list of those integrations looks like this: WooCommerce, Mailchimp, Zapier, BuddyPress, bbPress, AWeber, GetResponse, and many more. You can explore the full list of integrations from here.
7. Includes 75 Add-Ons
The best part is, you also have an option to extend the core plugin with 75 addons. Now, the plugin itself comes up with the basic functionalities that may not be sufficient for you. In that case, you can use these addons for the extra amount of features.
Altogether, 19 addons you’ll get for free. And for others, you need to purchase the Plus or Unlimited Plan. These add-ons add functionalities such as payment gateways, content dripping, advertising, and many more.
To learn more about its features, you should check out its Features page on its original website.
C. Getting Started with Paid Memberships Pro
Alright then, now in this review section, let’s check out the installation process of Paid Memberships Pro.
Here, we’ll be showing you how to install both the free and paid versions. And after following us, you’ll be able to do it on your own.
Installing the Paid Memberships Pro Plugin
The first thing is you’ve to log in to your WordPress dashboard. As you might know, you can only install any free plugin right from your WordPress dashboard.
So, head into Plugins > Add New from your WordPress dashboard.
With that, you’ll be redirected to another page. Afterward, search for Paid Memberships Pro, once it appears, click on the ‘Install Now’ button.
After a while, an Activate button pops up, you need to click on that. The moment you do that, the plugin gets successfully activated on your WordPress website.
For more details, you can check out our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
D. How to Create a Membership Site with Paid Memberships Pro?
So, here we’re now! In this section of the review, we’ll be creating our first membership site with the use of Paid Memberships Pro. So, let’s check out how to do it, and we’ll be guiding you step by step.
Step 1: Create a New Membership Level
Now let’s continue from where we left in the previous section of the Paid Memberships Pro review. So, after activating the plugin, we’re first going to create your membership level or plan.
First of all, you’ve to navigate to Memberships > Dashboard.
Then, there you’ll see a link named ‘Create a Membership Level’, click on that.
Afterward, it’ll ask you to fill out the information such as the Name of the membership, Description, Billing Details, etc.
If you want to create a free membership level, then skip the billing details section. Meaning, you need to leave any billing amount fields empty. Initial Payment must be set to $0 as this is the amount that’ll be charged at the checkout.
Also, you can use the ‘Initial Payment’ field to gather a one-time payment for a membership level. Or instead, you can charge higher money at first before starting your recurring subscription.
To give you a better idea of it, let’s first put the Initial Payment to $200 and save it by clicking on the Save Level button.
Now, you’ll see the membership level has a total cost of $200.
Let’s see another scenario where you want to receive $200 at first and think to gradually decrease it to a $50 per month subscription after receiving the initial payment.
To do this, you’ve to put the Initial Payment to $200 then click on the Recurring Subscription check box.
Thereafter, set the Billing Amount field to $50 once per month.
Again, save the level by clicking on the Save Level button. Now, you can see the cost of the membership will be $200 now. And then $50 per month.
Now, let’s understand other available labels more deeply. This way, you’ll have no confusion when it comes to creating a new membership level.
- Billing Cycle Limit: With it, you can collect a specific number of recurring subscriptions for a period of time.
- Custom Trial: It allows you to set up a trial period for your membership. You can simply enter the amount that you like to charge for the trial. And that too with the duration.
- Other Settings: From here, you’ll be able to disable any new signups, add an expiration date for the membership level.
- Content Settings: You can select the post categories that you like to allocate to the membership level.
In this way, you can set up the membership level. Now, you can simply click on the Save Level button once you’re done.
Step 2: Setting up Membership Pages
The next step is to generate the Membership pages. For that, once again you’ve to navigate to Memberships > Dashboard.
From there, you’ve to click on the Generate Membership Pages link.
It offers two options when it comes to generating membership pages i.e. Generate Pages For Me and Create Pages Manually.
With the first option selected, Paid Memberships Pro will automatically set up these pages for you. And you can edit them too as per your needs later on. So, now click on Generate Pages For Me button.
Once you do that, you’ll see the required pages generated by the plugin for your membership site. You can also edit or view these pages by clicking on the respective buttons.
The moment you’re done go ahead and click on the Save Settings button.
However, if you want to customize the default appearance of the Paid Memberships Pro pages on your own, then you can do it using custom CSS files or PHP templates. Here’s the link to the templates available on its site.
Step 3: Payment Gateway and Security
If you’re about to charge for your membership, then a payment gateway is a must. So, let’s check how to set up a payment gateway using the plugin.
First of all, go to Memberships > Settings.
So, if you’ve followed the previous 2 steps simultaneously then automatically a link will appear. You just have to click on that link named ‘Set up your SSL certificate and payment gateway’.
With that, you’ll see various options and settings, so let’s discuss what are these.
At the top, you’ll see Choose a Gateway where you need to select a Payment Gateway and click on it.
Here, you’ll find many payment gateway options that you can choose from. Choose a payment gateway that is supported in your region. To be more specific, what currency is valid in your situated location.
The documentation will be helpful for you to decide whether or not Stripe will work for you. It’ll come in handy as it provides a brief overview related to the supported countries, currencies, etc.
For this tutorial, we’ll be using a popular payment gateway, Stripe.
Now, once you select the payment gateway (that is right for you) you’ll see new settings open up. And that lets you fill up payment information that’s specific to your chosen payment gateway.
In this example, we’ve chosen Stripe. And if you’ve chosen that too, then you’ll need a Publishable and Secret Key.
How to Connect with Stripe Using Stripe API Keys?
To generate the API keys, you can follow this guide. Once you get both of the keys you’ve to just paste it right there on the relevant fields.
Alright then, now you can click on the Connect with Stripe button.
With that, you’ll be redirected to another page. From there, you can simply click on Skip this form as we’ve already created an account.
After that, you’ll see a Test Mode: Connected status.
This will connect your site from Stripe in the test mode.
Similarly, you need to set up the webhook URL to fully integrate with Stripe. To do that, you can follow this documentation.
Step 4: Email Settings
So far, we’ve created a membership level, set up pages, and payment gateway. Here, we’ll be looking at email settings. Now let’s talk about how to get this done.
Start by navigating to Memberships > Settings.
There you’ll see an Email Settings option, click on it.
Once you see it by yourself, the From Email field is set by default to your WordPress domain name.
You can change your email address so that it displays to your members correctly. Secondly, there’s the Name field which is also set by default.
Next up is Only Filter PMPro Emails. If unchecked all the emails will be from the WordPress and the plugin’s local dev environment URL. And, it’s best to leave as unchecked.
Now, you can save your settings by clicking Save All Settings button.
In the next section, there is Email Deliverability. If you’re facing any sort of problem with email delivery from the server, then you can view the troubleshooting guide. Also, as an alternative Paid Memberships Pro is recently integrated into SendWP.
You can simply connect by clicking on Connect to SendWP button.
And lastly, we’ve Other Email Settings. If you put a tick on it, then a default WordPress notification email will be sent to your members.
It’s better to leave it unchecked because members will automatically receive an email confirmation after checkout.
Now, go ahead and save the settings by clicking Save All Settings button.
Step 5: Advanced Settings
We’ve come to almost the end of the setup process. The plugin also consists of the Advanced Settings section for additional features. And we’ll be covering that here, so let’s dive into it.
First and foremost, head into Memberships > Settings.
Now select the Advanced tab.
1. Restrict Dashboard Access
There, you’ll see a bunch of options and we’ll be discussing each one from top to bottom. First of all, lies the Restrict Dashboard Access section.
You can tick the WordPress Dashboard box if you want to block all users with subscriber roles from accessing the dashboard. Similarly, you can hide the WordPress Toolbar from all users with the subscriber role by checking it.
2. Message Settings
Secondly, there are Message Settings. From here, you can change the message if you want to for Logged-in Non-members, Logged-out Users, and RSS Feed.
For instance, it displays in the following manner: This content is for free members only. And following that you’ll see a link that says join now.
3. Content Settings
Next up we’ve Content Settings.
Now for Filter searches and archives if you select a ‘Yes’ then the posts or pages that are visible for members will disappear for non-members. In the same way, a ‘No’ means non-members can view restricted posts and pages.
There’s another one called Show Excerpts to Non-Members. The key here is showing excerpts is a great way to lure your non-members to sign up. Thereby setting a ‘Yes’ as an option is better here.
4. Checkout Settings
Now, let’s explore Checkout Settings. And inside there, the first one is Require Terms of Service on signups.
If you want terms of service on signups then you can select a sample page. This way, a member has to tick the checkbox next to the terms of service to complete the checkout.
For more detailed information you can check out this blog: create a terms and conditions page for a membership site.
Also, you can Use reCAPTCHA on your checkout page if you want to. By choosing ‘Yes’ you can do that for free memberships only or all memberships.
If you select either ‘Free memberships only’ or ‘All memberships’ then you’ll see a couple of more options will appear. (You can ignore this portion if you’ve selected ‘No’).
There, you need to fill out things like the site key and secret key. And this varies depending on the reCAPTCHA version you’ve chosen.
You can follow this documentation for generating reCAPTCHA site and secret keys. And for knowing the advanced settings in detail, here’s a link to its documentation as well.
E. Knowing the User Interface of Paid Memberships Pro
Before moving ahead in this review, let’s take a deep insight into the user interface of the Paid Memberships Pro. The plugin comes with an easy-to-use dashboard by which you’ll have access to pretty much everything.
Soon after activating the plugin a menu named Memberships will appear. If you click on it, then you’ll see a sub-menu item labeled as Dashboard. In this section, we’ll be showing you all the tabs the plugin provides:
Here, you’ll see all the links related to the initials setups, other settings, etc. To be more specific you can manage all your memberships activities from here. It also features a welcome message along with the plugin news and updates.
Furthermore, you can view membership stats, order details, recent member data, etc. These stats are crucial to view the exact status of your membership site.
It reveals all the member’s details alongside old members, expired members, canceled members, and all users. Also, you can export these data to a CSV file.
It lets you view membership orders, full user details, membership level, status, payment, etc. Moreover, you also have an option of searching the orders and exporting these data to a CSV file.
From here, you’ve access to the following reports, Visits/Views/Logins, Sales and Revenue, and lastly Membership Stats.
This option allows you to configure various settings. And these settings are membership levels, discount codes, pages, payment gateway, security, email, advanced, etc.
6. Add Ons
Here, you can see all the 75 add ons that the Paid Memberships Pro provides along with their type and description. These add-ons come in handy for adding an extra amount of functionalities to your membership site.
You can provide your support license key from here. The license key is situated in either your membership email receipt or Membership Account.
F. Paid Memberships Pro – Support Options
Now in this review section, let’s see Paid Memberships Pro support as it’s equally important.
Yes, PM Pro is an easy-to-use plugin, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get stuck at all. The support team comes into play whenever you need help while using the plugin.
In Paid Memberships Pro, you require a free membership to gain access to all of the documentation.
To open a ticket in the Member Support Area, you’re required either a Plus or Unlimited Membership.
It basically means premium support is only offered for Plus and Unlimited Members.
A free member can go through the core plugin documentation, add-on documentation, and blogs. Also, you can check out YouTube videos as well. For more detailed information, you can visit their Support page.
If you’ve any pre-sales questions or general inquiries, then you can fill out the contact form on its website. With that being said, let’s move forward on the next section of the Paid Memberships Pro review.
G. Paid Memberships Pro – Pricing Plans
By far, you might have already come to know that Paid Memberships Pro is a freemium plugin from this review. This means that it comes in both free as well as premium versions. You can download the free version of this plugin from the official WordPress.org plugin directory.
Honestly speaking, the free version is enough for you to create a stunning membership site. You can put content restrictions, add unlimited membership levels, and pretty much anything. Also, you’ll get 19 addons for free.
The best thing is that the premium plans are also not that costly either. So, you can also opt for higher plans if you’ve got a budget and a requirement.
You can check the pricing details on its Pricing page available on its original website.
As shown in the image above, it all together comes up in 3 memberships:
- Free: Free (Documentation, 6 Payment Gateways, Memberlite Theme, 19 Free Add ons)
- Plus: $297/year (All the above features + 65 Plus Add ons + Unlimited Support Tickets + Advanced Code Recipes + Support and Updates for 1 to 5 sites)
- Unlimited: $597/year (Includes the features of both memberships + Support and Updates for unlimited sites)
With any of the Plus or Unlimited plans, you’ll have access to a total of 70 addons along with unlimited support tickets.
You can upgrade to the higher memberships without any worry because the plugin also has a refund policy. Didn’t find the plugin impressive after using it? Within 30 days, you can receive a full refund. Plus and Unlimited Membership offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
H. Pros and Cons of Paid Memberships Pro
A matter of fact is that perfection doesn’t exist at all. And this rule applies in this plugin’s case as well. Paid Memberships Pro has both strengths and flaws that we’ll discuss here in this review.
Pros of Paid Memberships Pro
- Unlimited membership levels with various pricing options.
- Features bulks of add-ons and integrations.
- Offers Memberlite Theme as well.
- Integrates with 6 highly-rated payment gateways
- Detailed analytics and reports.
- Frequent updates.
Cons of Paid Memberships Pro
- Purchasing individual addons isn’t possible.
- Video hosting isn’t supported.
- Some of the documentation and videos require a higher level of membership.
I. Paid Memberships Pro Alternatives and Competitors
Obviously, the PM Pro has more pros than cons. And its benefits overshadow the weakness. But that doesn’t guarantee everyone is going to love the plugin wholeheartedly.
In that case, there are other equally good membership plugins out there. So, take a sneak peek at them in this section of Paid Memberships Pro review.
MemberPress is one of the most highly reputed all-in-one free membership plugins of WordPress. Alongside building membership sites, you can accept credit cards safely, sell online courses, and many more with this plugin.
It allows you to start charging your non-members for accessing your content. Membership also integrates with some of the renowned services like Stripe, PayPal, Mailchimp, etc.
ARMember is a user-friendly WordPress membership plugin that comes up with a tailor-made design. It’s a complete bundle that provides member-only content, flexible payment options, member management, and many more.
With it, you can schedule the release of your content according to the membership category. Also, the plugin works well with any of the best WordPress themes.
ARMember comes up in $59 from the CodeCanyon marketplace. Plus, it also has a free version in the WordPress.org directory.
Want to learn more about this great WordPress membership plugin? If that’s a yes, then check our detailed article on the ARMember review.
3. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is one of the most extensible membership solutions of WordPress. The plugin allows you to create an unlimited number of subscription packages. And it includes free, trial, and premium subscriptions.
Moreover, you can have a look at all the active members, pending members, expired members, canceled members, etc. Similar to PM Pro, you can see the bigger picture of your membership site with overall reports.
J. Is it Worth Using in 2022? – Our Verdict
After all the analysis and talkings from different angles in this Paid Memberships Pro review, the main agenda now is, is it worth using? We say a definite yes! To be honest, the free version is way too awesome compared to other membership plugins.
The number of addons you’ll get for free i.e. 19 impresses us the most. Plus, you can create unlimited membership levels. And, you’ll have extensive options for content restriction.
The beauty of all is, you’ll have an exact idea of how your membership site is doing from the plugin’s dashboard. However, on the flip side, the price tag might be a concern for you if you’re an owner of a small website.
If that’s not the case, then we say an even bigger yes. The Plus and Unlimited Membership is a complete gamechanger! So, just go ahead and grab the plugin blindfolded.
And that’s a wrap! So, in this article, we’ve given the Paid Memberships Pro review. We hope you liked it!
All right then, now you’ve seen the bigger picture of Paid Memberships Pro. The team of Stranger Studious has done a commendable job by making it a feature-rich plugin. Not only the plugin’s developers have put on features as a priority. But it equally has spent the energy on the design portion as well.
So, we feel this is the right place to begin, manage and grow your membership site.
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