**UPDATE: I respect the opinions of everyone and I understand that other people may have had more positive experiences with MemberPress. I’ve recently been notified that MP now has a refund policy of 14 days. The plugin is still not my cup of tea, but feel free to check it out and hopefully your experience will be better then mine.
I recently wrote a post comparing what I figured would be the top two membership plugins, Restrict Content Pro and MemberPress. I’ve used Restrict Content Pro before and liked it, but MemberPress seemed to be a bit more robust and inline with what I needed.
After purchasing and trying to get it work on my site, the unfortunate truth is that I’m very disappointed.
First I’ll start with why I was so excited to use MemberPress. I’ve searched Google to find out what the “awesome” membership plugins for WordPress were. I found a bunch of them like Premise, WishList, Amember, etc., but the one that really grabbed my attention was MemberPress. I saw an article (actually a few articles) by Chris Lema and figured, OK, this should be good.
MemberPress allows you to sell digital products, memberships, creates a nice pricing plan page, and so much more. So what could go wrong?
Make sure you want it, because once you buy it, it’s yours.
First, I’d like to point out that there is no 30 day trial / money-back guarantee, or anything like that. So once you purchase it, that’s it, it’s yours for one year. It even says in their terms that there are no refunds, which should’ve been a flag for me, but I didn’t realize it at the time.
After messing around with MemberPress for about 28 days, less than a month, I asked for my money back. The response was “no”. According to them they solved the multiple issues that I was having so they didn’t see a reason why I should get my money back. So what issues was I having?
Rules, rules, and more rules!
I guess the concept of having rules to control your site isn’t a bad one, until you literally need to have a rule for every little thing.
You see, MemberPress works its entire system with rules. You create a product, which is just a page that explains what you want to sell, whether it’s a membership or a digital product. Then you have to create rules for that product.
Using the word “product” gets very confusing. You see, if you want to create a “Silver” membership, and sell a digital eBook, they would both have their own separate entries as products. So now you’ll have 2 products, one being a membership, and the other being a digital good.
Once set up, you would go into youre rules tab and set a rule for “Silver” product. So anything in the “Silver” category will be blocked, unless they have a membership. If you have a Custom Post Type that you want accessible through “Silver” then you make another rule for that CPT, and so on.
The digital products are a bit different. You would have to set up a rule for access to anything in relation to that product, similar to a membership. You’ll also have to set up a rule for the file that you would like the product to link to.
Now adding the digital product is as simple as just uploading it to your media library, or anywhere for that matter. (I use the term “simple” very loosely because it took me an enormous amount of time to figure out that that was all I had to do.) Once it’s uploaded, you have to get the URI of that file, and make a new rule for it.
Still with me?
You can probably see how someone who may have 10 – 15 digital products, plus membership levels can easily get disorganized. There would be so many rules and products all piled together. Very annoying and very very cumbersome.
I spent a good week or two trying to figure out the system and get it working. The issue was that whenever I added a rule to a post category, all of my posts were blocked! All of them! I’d have to remove the rule in order to get it working again. So adding rules to categories just wasn’t working.
When I brought it to support, they gave me a new version to install. A BETA version. My site is not in production, it’s launched, why give me a beta version?
In any case, I installed the beta version and it fixed the category issue…
Adding Digital Products
I just touched on this in the last section but wow, what a process. I’m pretty good at figuring things out. I figure things out all the time. On the MemberPress site, it clearly states that you can add digital products, so why don’t I see this anywhere when I installed the plugin?
In conjunction with all the rules that have to be added, adding digital products is anything but intuitive. I just couldn’t get it. I kept asking myself, where do I put the file that I want the user to download? There wasn’t any specific spot.
After speaking with support, I found out, you can put the file anywhere, you just have to set up a rule that blocks the file from freely being downloaded. You also have to set up a rule so that people can access the file through a download page that you should create, or a forum.
The beta version they sent me had a box where I could redirect the user to a download page (I think, I didn’t get far enough to test that out), then with shortcodes, block access to certain downloads. It was just more and more rules. I’d spent almost an entire month trying to set up a membership section and a product, and it just wasn’t working.
I added the rule to protect my product from being downloaded but I was still able to access the product with no issues at all. So once again, the rules weren’t working. When I contacted support for a third time (the second was to help me figure out how to add digital products) I was told that my hosting is caching the file so MemberPress can’t block access to it. I’d have to speak to my host to tell them not to cache the file.
At this point I was pretty much done. Additionally, just before the digital file thing happened, I logged into my account only to see that since I was using a beta version, my license was not working (although I was told it was still active but just not displaying on the front end), this was not reassuring.
The Final Straw
After about a month of trying to get memberships to work on my site, dealing with support 3 – 4 times, and not being able to figure out the bulk of what I thought the plugin could do, I realized that this product just wasn’t for me.
I felt that if I continued to use it, I would continue to see more issues, more delays on my own work, and I just wasn’t comfortable with that.
So I asked for my money back. I wrote a kind email to support saying I had nothing but issues since the time I purchased it and I wasn’t happy with the plugin. This is the response I received:
“As per our refund policy we cannot offer a refund simply because you no longer wish to use the plugin.”
I love how they just disregarded all my issues and summed it up as “simply because you no longer wish to use the plugin.” If everything worked as brilliantly as their website, and other articles on the internet have said, I wouldn’t be asking for my money back. I was sucked in by all the hype, but honest truth is…this plugin sucked.
It’s not like I just woke up one morning and said “Hey, I want my money back from MemberPress, simply because, I just don’t want to use the plugin anymore”.
It was a pain in the ass from the beginning, I didn’t even own it for 30 days and was still denied my money back. I couldn’t add digital products. I was give a beta version still in production to put on my live site. I wasn’t even a d*ck about it!
So my final thought is, don’t get MemberPress. Until they get all the bugs and kinks worked out, it’s nothing but a giant headache, and will probably cause more stress for you in the future. Maybe some of you have had better experiences, but I just wasn’t happy with it.
Here’s a brief overview of my emails from the time I bought it until a few days ago when I threw in the towel…