I’m starting a membership section on my site and I had a lot to choose from when it came to membership plugins. The top two plugins on my list were MemberPress and Restrict Content Pro by Pippin Williamson.
First let me say that this was such a hard decision to make, but I finally made it and I’ll tell you why by comparing the two.
My Ultimate Goal
My plan is very simple. I want to sell premium tutorials, themes, plugins, and courses. I want basic members to only have access to the tutorials and premium members would have access to everything. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG!
I read a great article by Chris Lema titled Content Dripping: WordPress Sequential Delivery is Easy with Premise. Premise aside, he stated:
People are signing up, logging in, downloading all your content, and then asking for their money back – because it’s easy to do.
He’s absolutely right. Unfortunately, when people see an opportunity they take it, and why wouldn’t they. In the internet world of bootstrapping, we all want as much as we can for as much as we can afford.
This is why pricing becomes such an essential part of membership sites. If you price wrong, you lose and the users win. If you price right, then everyone wins!
So in essence my pricing has to be spot on. This means if I have a premium membership of $39 where you get everything, many people will sign up, download, and cancel. All my work, for $39, ouch. On the flip side, if I charge $99/mo or $199/mo, I’m not sure how effective that will be. I may go a long time without a sign up…
A few other hurdles:
- How do I include products that sell individually, but are free for members?
- How do I manage plugin/theme updates?
- How would users pay?
- How much am I willing to invest?
- How easy/difficult is it to set up?
So now I need the solutions.
Restrict Content Pro vs MemberPress
I’ve used Restrict Content Pro before and it’s incredibly easy to set up. I like this plugin a lot. It does exactly what it says, restricts the content so that you can have a membership site.
I’ve never used MemberPress but I’ve been in contact with their support (which is very speedy) and they’ve been clarifying a lot of my concerns.
So let’s see which one solved my problems…
Unfortunately, RCP (Restrict Content Pro) doesn’t do this on its own. I’d need another plugin called Easy Digital Downloads to sell products and an addition add-on to offer discounts to members. I’m familiar with EDD so it wouldn’t be too bad but I just think that having a checkout for products and a separate checkout for members would be too much. I would have to set up a gateway for EDD and one for RCP. I’d set up the EDD store, then set up the membership separately. It just seemed like too much work. I want these two things to work together.
MemberPress allows you to do this. You would set up the digital download as a product with a lifetime membership. They pay one price, they own the product. If they’re members, you can include that product at a different price under a new membership. So my “Premium” members would be able to download it for free, and other members or fly-by-nighters, can purchase the products on their own.
I didn’t really find a clear solution to this issue with MemberPress. I’m sure a user can log in and download the latest version, but it doesn’t have that same pizzazz as auto updates.
If I used Easy Digital Downloads though, I can use an additional licensing add-on. That would enable me to create licenses for my products, enable updates, and even have them expire if I wanted. Full control over my themes and plugins!
I love Stripe! That’s my preference. It’s incredibly easy to use, goes right to my account, and is just awesome!
With RCP you would need to buy the Stripe Add-on, MemberPress comes with it. I would love if these came with the ability to use Mijireh.com, this way I could avoid getting an SSL and paying extra for a dedicated IP address. But they don’t.
Anytime I have to purchase something I alway ask myself, will I make the money back and how long will it take?
Here’s the breakdown:
MemberPress = $99/year for one site. Which is all I need.
RCP = $42 + EDD (Free) + $15 for RCP EDD Discounts + $20 Stripe Gateway + $82 for Licensing Add-on. So that’s a total of $149/year for updates/support.
I finally got to try out MemberPress after purchasing it, so I’m adding this section a bit late. With that said, MemberPress is not easy at all.
I thought I would be able to easily add products and private sections but after messing around with it for about a month, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t use it. It’s not intuitive and simple things become very cumbersome with the rule system. I’ll get more into it on a separate post.
RCP on the other hand is incredibly easy to set up. I’ve done it before and it works seamlessly with your posts.
- MemberPress includes content dripping, RCP does not.
- MemberPress allows you to set up an initial payment, then monthly. RCP will soon be able to do this.
- RCP may be easier to theme (based on my use of it and EDD),
but I can’t say for sure ifMemberPress isn’t.
I’m going with MemberPress. Main reasons are I can have one plugin that does everything including selling products and handling the memberships. Also, I can set up the initial payment which means I can keep the monthly cost low and still offer everything without scaring users away.
I changed my mind about MemberPress simply because the easiest of tasks was just taking way too long to accomplish. Not only that, but I kept running into bug after bug which kept pushing my membership site back more and more (which is why it still isn’t up!!)
With that said, I am going to be using Restrict Content Pro. It’s easy to set up, I used it before, and Pippin will be helping with creating an add-on to create a one-time set up fee along with the monthly fee, which is something that was heavily swaying my decision.
Did I miss anything? Something you’d like to add? Feel free to comment below!