11 Best WordPress Paywall Plugins (Free and Paid Options)

wordpress paywall plugins facebook

At mmosites, we have extensive experience with various website monetization tools, including paywall plugins, membership software, and more. We’ve experimented with everything from simple plugins to complex solutions, and we’ve learned that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to paywalls.

Benefits of the Right Paywall Plugin

A well-chosen paywall plugin can help you monetize your content by managing access to specific pieces of content. It’s also useful for collecting leads and growing your email list.

Top Paywall Plugins for WordPress

In this article, we will review the top paywall plugins for WordPress, including both free and paid options, to help you find the perfect fit for your site.

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Quick Picks: The Best Paywall Plugins for WordPress

What Are WordPress Paywall Plugins, And Why Do You Need One?

A WordPress paywall plugin allows you to monetize your content by restricting access to certain posts or pages until users make a payment or subscribe to a membership plan.

While there are many similarities between paywall and membership plugins, the primary difference is that membership plugins can offer a variety of features in their plans, such as private communities, courses, training programs, live events, and discounts. On the other hand, paywall plugins primarily restrict access to gated content.

Think of sites like Medium.com, the New York Times, and Patreon, which allow users to access premium content through subscriptions.

The New York Times
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Why Do You Need WordPress Paywall Plugins?

Some paywall sites charge by individual post, while others allow you to access all content after paying an upfront fee.

Reasons to Use WordPress Paywall Plugins:

  1. Monetize Premium Content: Save your best content for loyal paying customers.
  2. Grow Your Email List: Require users to create an account to access premium content, helping to expand your email list.

Use Cases for Paywalls:

  • Content creators and podcasters can gate their most valuable media content for paying customers.
  • Digital publishers like online newspapers or magazines can restrict access to premium articles.
  • Course creators can offer premium tutorials and educational content.
  • Photographers and artists can sell access to artwork, digital downloads, or high-resolution images.
  • Freelancers or agencies can charge fees for access to premium resources, like templates or support.

A paywall is a versatile tool for monetizing your content, ensuring you get paid for the valuable information you provide. It’s also an effective way to grow your email list by requiring account creation for access to premium content.

Why Trust mmosites?

At mmosites, we bring over 16 years of experience in creating WordPress websites, monetizing content, and online marketing. When testing plugins for our reviews, we try them on real websites, focusing on unique features, pros, and cons.

For more details, see our editorial process.

1. MemberPress

MemberPress website
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MemberPress is the top paywall plugin available, enabling you to sell exclusive members-only content. It comes with a wealth of features that allow you to build a paywall on your WordPress site, manage content and memberships, and receive recurring payments.

As the site owner, you control the content access rules. You can set up content dripping based on specific time periods and access expirations. This scheduling helps improve customer retention, as subscribers must stay onboard to continue accessing content.

In addition, you can create various membership levels. Users can choose the plan they want to join, each with its unique content, pricing, and features. This flexibility allows you to develop membership plans tailored to different audiences, which can help increase sales.

For instance, within the MemberPress settings, you can define how many pages a visitor can view without a subscription.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Integrates with numerous third-party apps like Drip, Constant Contact, Stripe, and PayPal
  • Full control over content restriction and membership levels

Cons:

  • The free version is limited; the Pro version offers advanced features such as subscription billing, digital downloads, and content dripping

Why We Recommend MemberPress: Setting up and restricting specific posts, pages, categories, and files to paying members is straightforward with MemberPress. You can even restrict content based on account signups, not just paid subscriptions. In our experience, no other paywall plugin matches MemberPress in terms of features and flexibility.

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This is a fantastic way for new visitors to experience your content and get a preview of what they can expect from your premium offerings.

Additionally, you can set various rules for content access. For example, you can gate content based on tags, categories, and other taxonomies.

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For more details about the capabilities of this plugin, check out our comprehensive MemberPress review.

Pros:

  • MemberPress is user-friendly.
  • It integrates seamlessly with numerous third-party apps, such as Drip, Constant Contact, Stripe, PayPal, and more.
  • You have complete control over how to restrict content and establish membership levels.

Cons:

  • While MemberPress provides a free version with basic content restriction features, the Pro version includes more advanced functionalities like subscription billing, digital downloads, content dripping, and additional features.

Why We Recommend Using MemberPress:

With MemberPress, setting up and restricting specific posts, pages, categories, and files for paying members is straightforward. You can even restrict content based on account signups rather than just paid subscriptions. From our experience and testing, we haven’t found another paywall plugin that matches the feature set of MemberPress.

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2. MemberMouse

Membermouse
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MemberMouse is one of the most user-friendly paywall plugins available. It allows you to sell protected content and products. One of the standout features of this software is the variety of options to maximize sales, including one-click upsells, free and paid trials, and members-only pricing.

Additionally, you can restrict content access by protecting specific pages and posts and auto-locking shared accounts. Similar to MemberPress, MemberMouse enables you to implement custom content dripping schedules and create multiple membership levels. Overall, you have complete control over content restriction and dripping.

membermouse-drip-content
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You can set a specific content drip schedule based on the membership level. This encourages subscribers to continue renewing their memberships.

Additionally, you can create login forms so users can easily sign in at any time once they’ve become members. MemberMouse generates custom HTML for each login form.

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You can integrate the HTML into a custom sales or landing page created with a page builder plugin like SeedProd.

For an in-depth look at the features, read our detailed MemberMouse review.

Pros:

  • Sell paywall subscriptions and physical products effortlessly.
  • Seamlessly integrate with popular email marketing services and payment gateways.
  • Easily embed the login form on any page of your site, including the home page and landing pages.

Cons:

  • No free version is available, and pricing starts at $199.50 per year.

Why We Recommend MemberMouse: We suggest MemberMouse for larger and enterprise-level companies due to its advanced features. It’s ideal for creating paywalls, membership sites, and physical product sales.

3. WishList Member

WishList Member
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WishList Member is a powerful paywall plugin designed to help you sell premium content on your site.

This plugin offers granular control over who can access your content and when. It automatically manages access based on membership levels, allowing you to create an unlimited number of member tiers.

A standout feature is the ability to automate content distribution by scheduling posts to go live at specific times. The “sneak peek” feature is particularly noteworthy, as it shows snippets of gated content to entice readers and drive conversions.

WishList Member is among the few plugins that offer a Pay-per-Post feature, letting users pay for individual posts. This allows you to set different price points for each post based on its value.

One of the best aspects of WishList Member is its extensive range of integrations. It supports numerous payment providers, email marketing services, and marketing automation tools. For instance, if you’re a course creator or coach, you can integrate it with LearnDash or FunnelKit Automations to build a backend sales funnel for high-ticket programs.

Pros:

  • Sneak peeks of content to encourage sign-ups.
  • Extensive library of integrations.
  • Flexible content gating options, including membership levels and pay-per-post.

Cons:

  • The interface can be complex for beginners.

Why We Recommend Using WishList Member: At $147 for a single license, WishList Member is one of the more affordable paid membership plugins. With its robust features, it provides complete control over your paywall at a reasonable price.

4. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro
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Paid Memberships Pro demonstrates that an effective paywall doesn’t require an expensive plugin. The free version alone allows you to secure your content and charge recurring subscriptions.

With the free version, you have access to 28 different types of content restrictions, such as:

  • Limited access to a specific number of page views before hitting the paywall
  • Sneak peeks or completely hidden restricted content
  • Drip feed access based on a schedule
  • Directories for viewing other member profiles
  • Personalized content based on membership level

The paid version offers even more control and advanced features. In our testing, we were highly impressed with Paid Memberships Pro’s extensive capabilities, available upon upgrading.

Paid plans include premium customization options, allowing you to tailor your paywall site to your exact needs. For example, you can add a progress bar to show how much content a user has consumed or redirect members upon logout based on their membership level.

Additionally, the paid version includes numerous addons such as Google Analytics and eCommerce tracking, premium support, advanced checkout page customizations, and more.

Pros:

  • Supports popular payment gateways.
  • Provides site performance metrics, including revenue and sales reports.
  • Allows users to purchase single-category access, one-time access, or individual content.

Cons:

  • The plugin lacks a built-in feature for selectively enabling or disabling specific user actions. For instance, you might want users to self-upgrade but disable self-cancellations.

Why We Recommend Using Paid Memberships Pro: The free version of Paid Memberships Pro is sufficient to create a paywall in WordPress. For those wanting to enhance the checkout experience, accept donations, or access other advanced features, upgrading to the Pro version is a great option.

5. Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads
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Thrive Leads is a powerful list-building solution designed to convert website visitors into email subscribers. It boasts a range of features, including pop-up lightboxes, sticky and floating bars, in-line forms, and even a content lock with a paywall.

The plugin features an intuitive drag-and-drop visual editor, making it easy to create custom opt-in forms. Additionally, it offers a variety of professionally-designed templates to match your specific needs and offers.

A standout feature of Thrive Leads is the flexibility to gate your content either through an email opt-in or by collecting payments, providing versatile options for growing your subscriber list and monetizing your content.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop visual editor.
  • A wide selection of professionally-designed templates.
  • Flexible content gating through email opt-in or payment collection.
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Content Lock
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If you want to set up a paywall for your premium content, you’ll need to add a link to your checkout page and use a WordPress payment plugin such as WooCommerce.

Thrive Leads is available as a standalone plugin subscription or as part of the Thrive Suite. For instance, with Thrive Apprentice, you can easily set up a paywall and charge visitors for access to your membership site.

Pros:

  • A wide variety of opt-in templates to choose from.
  • Ability to embed the content lock anywhere on your website.
  • Intuitive and user-friendly plugin.

Cons:

  • Requires a separate plugin to collect payments.

Why We Recommend Using Thrive Leads: Integrating your paywall plugin with other marketing and lead generation tools can be challenging. Thrive Leads stands out because, with the Thrive Suite, you get everything you need to attract and convert new customers without having to switch between multiple plugins.

6. OptinMonster

OptinMonster
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OptinMonster stands out as our top choice for lead generation software, ideal for driving more traffic to your site and expanding your email list.

One of its notable features is content locking for in-line campaigns, where forms are already integrated into the page. This function can either hide your gated content until a user signs up or blur the content to encourage sign-ups.

This approach helps ensure that only subscribers can access your premium content, thereby increasing your lead generation efficiency.

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Once the user enters their email, the gated content will appear, granting them access to your exclusive material.

Furthermore, similar to Thrive Leads, it enables you to craft engaging lead generation campaigns like lightbox popups, slide-in scroll boxes, and fullscreen welcome mats.

Pros:

  • Effective Email List Growth: It’s an excellent method for expanding your email list.
  • Diverse Templates and Lead Generation Types: There are numerous templates and lead generation options available.
  • Customizable Content Control: You can hide or blur content on the page to suit your preferences.

Cons:

  • No Payment Processing for Paywalls: It doesn’t support payments for gated content.

Why We Recommend Using OptinMonster: If you’re seeking a solution to hide content until users subscribe to your email list, OptinMonster is an excellent choice. While it’s not a traditional paywall, it serves as a fantastic tool for lead generation.

7. AccessAlly

AccessAlly
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AccessAlly is a powerful learning management system (LMS) plugin crafted for coaches, trainers, and creators to sell their digital products.

What sets AccessAlly apart from other platforms is its all-in-one approach, specifically designed to assist online coaches in creating impressive learning experiences. The platform enables you to offer online courses, memberships, certifications, high-end coaching programs, communities, and books. Additionally, it provides templates for each of these offerings, eliminating the need to start from scratch.

AccessAlly templates
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After testing AccessAlly ourselves, we were impressed by the control it offers for protecting content. With access tags, you can easily upload and secure files like PDFs, MP3s, and more.

As a course creator, you can restrict content based on membership level or specific courses. This is managed through tags and materials, ensuring that only paying members can access certain content.

Additionally, AccessAlly’s content protection feature allows you to remove restricted content from Google search results, preventing unauthorized users from discovering your paywalled materials.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive Platform: You can house all your digital products, memberships, communities, and gated content in one place.
  • Seamless Integration: It integrates with tools like CRM apps and email marketing services.
  • Engagement through Gamification: Users can earn points for completing tasks, keeping them engaged.

Cons:

Why We Recommend Using AccessAlly: AccessAlly is a robust plugin ideal for content creators and online coaches. It enables you to protect gated content and segment it into different membership tiers. Additionally, it supports built-in recurring payments via Stripe and PayPal.

8. Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro
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Restrict Content Pro is a WordPress paywall plugin that enables you to restrict content using various methods such as tags, content categories, membership status, and WordPress user roles.

We appreciate that Restrict Content Pro allows members to manage their accounts effortlessly. They can view their account status and membership expiration date, upgrade or cancel their memberships, and access their complete payment history and past invoices.

Additionally, you can send automated, customizable emails to your subscribers. The plugin offers various tags to personalize your emails, including first and last names, expiration dates, coupon codes, and more.

While a free version is available, the Pro version offers advanced features. Detailed reporting on your paywall site’s earnings is essential for success, and the plugin provides this. You can even offer free trial subscriptions, allowing potential buyers to experience a membership before committing.

Pros:

  • Free Trials: You can offer free trials to boost sales.
  • WooCommerce Integration: The plugin integrates with WooCommerce, allowing you to restrict product purchases based on membership levels.
  • Diverse Restriction Options: There are numerous options for content restriction.

Cons:

  • Content Dripping: This feature is only available as an add-on in the Pro version.

Why We Recommend Using Restrict Content Pro: Restrict Content Pro offers a comprehensive customer dashboard that empowers users to manage their memberships. Additionally, it provides excellent premium features at an affordable price point.

9. aMemberPro

aMemberPro
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aMember Pro is a straightforward, user-friendly paywall plugin that grants you complete control over which content is available to the public.

Similar to other plugins on our list, you can create unlimited member levels. This feature allows you to sell and restrict content based on different price points and subscription terms.

The plugin enables you to build a members-only area, ensuring that every piece of content is accessible solely to members, keeping non-paid users unaware of what’s inside.

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What distinguishes aMember Pro is its multi-language support, allowing you to easily translate your content into any of its 22 supported languages.

In addition to this, you get advanced features like flexible signup forms with automatic password generation and a built-in affiliate program. The affiliate program is an excellent way to encourage subscribers to promote your memberships.

Pros:

  • Affiliate Program Creation: You can establish your own affiliate program, similar to AffiliateWP.
  • Customizable Checkout Process: The checkout process allows extensive customization, including flexible signup forms, fallback payment processors, coupon codes, and more.
  • Granular Access Control: The plugin offers detailed access control for your paywall site.

Cons:

  • No Free Version: There is no free version available.
  • Outdated Interface: The interface appears outdated.

Why We Recommend Using aMember Pro: This is a robust plugin offering extensive customization. You have full control over scheduled content drips, membership levels, and the type of content you want to restrict.

10. LearnDash

LearnDash
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LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin that enables you to create unlimited online courses, quizzes, and lessons. With its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, you can set up backend courses effortlessly without needing any coding skills.

This plugin is ideal for anyone looking to sell courses on their WordPress site, offering much more than a simple paywall solution.

It includes comprehensive course builder tools that allow you to design branded course content. For instance, users can only access the next module once they’ve completed the previous one, providing structured guidance for more efficient learning.

Online learning can quickly become monotonous, but LearnDash excels at keeping users engaged with your material. You can add private forums, create membership quizzes, issue user badges, and even award certifications upon course completion.

Pros:

  • Unlimited Courses: Create an unlimited number of online courses, quizzes, and lessons.
  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: Set up courses easily without writing any code.
  • Engagement Tools: Add private forums, quizzes, badges, and certifications to keep users engaged.

Cons:

  • Complex Initial Setup: The extensive features might require a steep learning curve initially.

Why We Recommend Using LearnDash: LearnDash is an excellent plugin for creating and selling online courses. It offers robust tools for structured learning, comprehensive course-building capabilities, and features designed to keep learners engaged.

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You can establish content restriction rules, requiring students to accumulate a specific number of points by completing quizzes or reading previous articles in a series.

For more details, explore our comprehensive LearnDash review.

Pros:

  • Ideal for selling online courses.
  • Abundant gamification elements to engage users.
  • Flexible content access control.

Cons:

  • Designed specifically for courses, not just as a paywall.

Why We Recommend Using LearnDash:

We recommend LearnDash because it offers a more interactive approach compared to traditional paywall sites. Instead of merely restricting content, LearnDash includes features like progress bars, gamification elements, and awards. These elements significantly enhance user engagement and foster customer loyalty.

11. WooCommerce Memberships

WooCommerce Memberships
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WooCommerce Memberships: Elevate Your Online Store with Exclusive Access

WooCommerce Memberships is an essential plugin addon for WooCommerce store owners, enabling the restriction of services, products, and content to registered users only.

This plugin uniquely integrates your shop, content, and memberships, offering special access to paid members. This approach helps foster a close-knit community and enhances loyalty.

For instance, you can send members exclusive gifts along with unique content. This adds substantial perks to each membership plan, surpassing what a basic paywall plugin provides. You can even offer free shipping to paid members.

Like other paywall plugins, WooCommerce Memberships allows you to drip content, meaning customers must be members for a set period before accessing specific pages or posts.

Additionally, WooCommerce Memberships offers advanced control options. You can restrict product viewing to members only, allowing them to view your best products. This feature is particularly effective if you use an auction plugin for limited inventory sales.

Restrict products in WooCommerce Memberships
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Pros:

  • You have numerous control options, including the ability to restrict viewing of specific content and products.
  • The add-on allows you to offer free trials.
  • You can schedule drip content delivery.

Cons:

  • It is only available for WooCommerce store owners.

Why We Recommend Using WooCommerce Memberships:

WooCommerce Memberships provide an excellent way to gate content for store visitors. When customers pay to become members, they enjoy extra perks that are hard to find elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paywall Plugins

Can I put a paywall on WordPress?

Yes, you need a paywall plugin that allows you to restrict access to content by page, post, category, URL, and more. Visitors must complete an action, such as creating an account or becoming a paid member, to view the restricted content.

What is the best paywall plugin for WordPress?

The best paywall plugin is MemberPress. It offers robust access control, allowing you to restrict content as needed. Additionally, you can drip content to members over time and sell online courses, offering a more interactive learning experience.

What is the best free paywall plugin for WordPress?

Paid Memberships Pro is the best free paywall plugin. It offers extensive content restriction options, providing granular control, and supports recurring payments.

We hope this article helped you find the best paywall plugin for WordPress. You may also want to check out our ultimate guide to creating a WordPress membership site and our list of essential WordPress plugins and tools for business sites.

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