These days, leveraging the subscription business model is both a trendy move and a profitable one — assuming it’s done strategically with a focus on recurring revenue and long-term retention. One of the key parts of successfully starting a subscription business, especially a membership-based one is choosing the right platform to use as your tech foundation — getting started on the right foot is key to making sure you can allocate your time and resources towards scaling, rather than putting out fires!

A top subscription management platform will allow you to manage all your key business functions all in one place. In a subscription and membership context, the key features to look out for are:

  • Recurring payments and recurring billing functionality
  • Inventory management and shipping integration
  • The ability to create membership products
  • Subscription product management with a secure customer area
  • Mobile-optimized checkouts, websites, and widgets
  • Seamless automation of recurring customer communication
  • Multiple supported payment gateways
  • Flexible dunning features

While WordPress has earned its reputation as a stellar blog management platform with almost infinite extensibility, it’s a bit different for people wanting to launch a membership site or other kind of subscription business. WordPress plugins are a dime a dozen, and often of variable quality. Here’s 3 main points to consider before you make a decision.

WordPress membership plugins and other subscription plugins are externally-developed extensions that can be installed into your WordPress setup. There’s a huge range of options, from one-trick-pony plugins that only provide a single specific solution, like adding a paywall to members-only articles, to plugins offering a huge suite of functionality.

🔥 Why do you need plugins, anyway?
Wordpress’ ecosystem is plugin-heavy, particularly for subscription and membership businesses, as it’s not a platform specifically built for them - or any kind of ecommerce for that matter. That's the key reason WordPress subscription plugins exist to begin with.

Even so, that’s not to say that WordPress can’t be used for ecommerce purposes — just make sure you consider these 3 key points before you dive in!

With so many WordPress plugins out there on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That being said, there’s 3 key points that apply to almost any WordPress plugin out there — don’t forget them while you’re doing your research!

  1. WordPress membership and subscription plugins are created by third parties. Each plugin is developed at a certain rate, and not all of them have been tested with the latest version of WordPress. To maximize stability while reducing the risk of bugs, errors and server downtime, an all-in-one platform is normally a more efficient solution.
  2. WordPress membership plugins are more common than plugins for physical subscriptions. It makes sense that a platform originally dedicated to written content has more solutions for selling memberships and other digital products rather than physical boxes — if you’re planning on offering both, it might be worth looking elsewhere.
  3. Each subscription plugin comes with its own set of costs. WordPress is completely free, outside of hosting costs. This is often not the case for their plugins. According to our research, a plugin-heavy setup can cost 6 times as much as a more streamlined approach where everything is managed through a single platform.

On WordPress’ official plugin database, there’s 51 pages of matches for the term ‘membership’ alone. Within all the fluff, however, are a few that may be contenders for the title of best WordPress membership plugin. Keep reading to discover our top picks!

While there’s no official Subbly WordPress plugin, you can easily integrate the Subbly checkout and cart function into your existing WordPress site. This gives you access to all the key features, from upsells to coupon codes, right there on your page. Configuration is done via Subbly, and is super simple. We’ve written a full guide to connecting Subbly and WordPress here.

Key features

  • Embeddable checkout available on all plan tiers
  • Support for multiple payment gateways
  • Branding and visuals are customizable
  • Unlimited products (managed on Subbly, not WordPress)
  • 14 day free trial

Pricing details

  • Starting at $14/month

WooCommerce is a globally popular open-source WordPress subscription ecommerce plugin. The plugin contains a wealth of built-in tools and features to help you create an ecommerce website, optimize your cart experience, sell subscriptions and memberships, and scale your store. Additional plugins to handle tax, shipping, and payment processing are available from WooCommerce as well.

Key features:

  • Supports custom themes
  • Modular product blocks for creating enticing pages
  • Sell physical and digital goods including instant downloads
  • Accept payments from all over the world (requires WooCommerce Payments plugin)
  • Sync with carriers including UPS and FedEx (requires WooCommerce Shipping plugin)


  • WooCommerce’s subscription plugin is free to use.
  • Additional WooCommerce plugins needed for basic subscription functionality, like WooCommerce Payments, charge a transaction fee starting at 2.9% + 30¢ per purchase from a US debit card, plus an additional 1% for foreign cards.

Paid Memberships Pro is a full-featured suite of tools for entrepreneurs looking to start a membership site. Designed for content, courses, members-only products, paid newsletters, boxes and more, Paid Memberships Pro allows you to configure access to specific products and pages, manage membership information, accept payments, and more!

Key features:

  • Create members-only content
  • Unlimited membership tiers and pricing variants
  • Free memberships
  • Stripe and PayPal integration
  • API and Zapier integration
  • Fully open-source


  • Free: $0/year, includes 33 Free Add Ons
  • Standard: $247/year, includes premium support, advanced customization, and 20 Standard Add Ons
  • Plus: $ 397/year, includes a 2 site license and 29 Plus Add Ons
  • Builder: $697/year, includes 5 site licenses and all available Add Ons

ProfilePress is an intuitive and powerful WordPress subscription plugin with a focus on membership models. It allows users to accept one-time and recurring payments using a variety of payment gateways, sell digital products and downloads, and create user profiles, member directories, registration forms, and more with no code.

Key features:

  • Anti-spam registration functionality
  • Multiple payment processor options
  • Create coupons
  • Drag-and-drop form builder
  • Customizable templates
  • Paywalls and content restrictions


  • Lite version: Free WordPress membership plugin with limited functionality and a 2% Stripe fee
  • Standard: $149/year for 1 site and basic functionality
  • Plus: $299/year for 2 sites and additional functionality
  • Agency: $499/year for unlimited sites additional functionality

Simple Membership is a flexible and straightforward WordPress membership plugin that allows you to offer free and premium content directly on your site. This subscription plugin supports free and paid memberships, unlimited membership tiers, and API access. Subscription payments are accepted through PayPal and Stripe.

Key features:

  • Unlimited membership levels
  • User-friendly UX on gated pages
  • PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree integration
  • Membership payment tracking
  • Developer API


  • Simple Membership is completely free to use. Transaction fees from payment gateways may apply.

Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress membership plugin that, as the name suggests, only supports digital downloads. With unlimited products and transactions, no listing fees, and flexible recurring billing options, it’s a great option if you’re only looking to offer subscription services like digital subscriptions.

Key features:

  • Full-featured shopping cart
  • Supports PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Link by Stripe
  • Customer management features
  • Ecommerce metrics reports
  • Allows you to offer discount codes
  • Compatible with all themes


  • Personal: $99.50/year — does not include subscriptions
  • Extended: $199.50/year, includes subscriptions and additional functionality including multi-currency support
  • Professional: $299.50/year, includes further additional functionality including recommended products
  • All Access Pass: $499.50/year, includes access to all current and future features

Congratulations on making it to the end of our list of the top WordPress subscription ecommerce and membership plugins currently on the market!

🔥 Pro tip
Remember — it’s important to make sure you’ve got a solid foundation to accept recurring payments and implement recurring billing if you want your subscription business to be a success. Generally speaking, there’s a lot to be said about prioritizing stability and ensuring that you’ve got less room for error. Choosing your tech stack is one of the variables that you have 100% control over, so why not make it as streamlined as possible from day one?

Check out the WordPress plugin database and have a look for yourself — you won’t find a single plugin that matches the functionality of an all-in-one platform like Subbly. It’s not just WordPress, either. Shopify subscription apps, BigCommerce subscription apps, Magento subscription plugins… you’ll find the same lack of features!

Here’s what our merchants have to say!

With help from Subbly’s support team, it was easy to migrate to Subbly from a WordPress site, powered by Shopify and Bold, and it’s been great so far — our MRR is already up 13%!” — Jill Lodato, Founder of Kids Baking Club

Subbly is the best tool for subscription boxes out there. After considering WordPress, Shopify, and Cratejoy, I chose Subbly, a one-stop-shop that doesn’t charge crazy fees, and gives you everything you need at your fingertips. I highly recommend them!” — Marina Lyubarsky, Founder of booklub box

“We built a sub platform for The Keeper Box from the ground up. Why do I tell you this? Because we switched to Subbly because it does IT ALL and phenomenally well – it’s an incredible system for subscription-based businesses.” — Alex Fleck, Founder of The Keeper Box

Try Subbly today and see the difference – your first 14 days are on us!

By Zaki Gulamani
Editor-In-Chief at Subbly