How To Build a WordPress Membership Website in 2024

June 5, 2024


Some posts about membership tools on the internet just cover the add-on tools themselves. In this post, Jonathan dives deeper and gives the reader a more complete view of the entire process – from hosting, to tool selection, to promotion. Jump into this article to become more well-rounded in the subject of online memberships. 


WordPress Membership: Create and Manage Your Site with Ease

Creating a membership website using WordPress has become a popular way for businesses and creators to monetize content and build communities. With the right WordPress theme and membership plugin, you can create a membership site that offers exclusive content, online courses, and much more. The flexibility and vast options available with WordPress make it an ideal platform for building a membership site.

Table of Contents

To get started, you need a reliable WordPress hosting provider and a clear plan for your site’s content and membership levels. Whether it’s a free or paid membership, WordPress plugins can help you manage different membership options easily. Setting up a membership site involves installing WordPress, choosing a theme, and configuring membership plugins.

Once your WordPress site is live, the WordPress admin dashboard allows you to manage your content, members, and site settings effectively. Membership sites can provide a consistent income stream and foster a loyal community. With managed WordPress hosting, maintaining your site’s performance and security becomes much simpler.

Key Takeaways

What You Need to Know to Build a WordPress Membership Site

What You Need to Know to Build a WordPress Membership Site

To build a WordPress membership site, you need a clear plan and the right tools.

First, choose a WordPress hosting provider. A reliable provider ensures your site runs smoothly. Look for features like automatic updates and security.

Next, install WordPress on your hosting account. Most hosting providers offer easy setup options.

Select a WordPress theme that fits your site’s purpose. There are many themes available, both free and premium. Choose one that is responsive and user-friendly.

Install a membership plugin. This plugin will handle member registrations, payments, and content access. Some popular choices are MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, and Paid Memberships Pro.

Set up membership levels. Decide which content is available to each level. This could include free and paid memberships.

Create member pages like login, registration, and account management. These pages make the membership process smooth for users.

Add content to your site. This could include articles, videos, or courses. Use the WordPress editor to create and manage this content.

Test your site thoroughly. Ensure that the registration and payment processes work correctly, and ensure that members can access the right content.

Finally, promote your membership site. Use social media, email newsletters, and SEO to attract members. Offer special deals or free trials to encourage sign-ups.

By following these steps, you can successfully build and manage a WordPress membership site.

Building a WordPress Membership Website Has Its Advantages

Building a WordPress Membership Website Has Its Advantages

Creating a WordPress membership website offers many benefits. These include total control over your digital space, building your brand, and generating a steady income stream.



True Digital Sovereignty

With a WordPress membership website, you own and control your digital presence. This is different from social media platforms where algorithms and policies can change suddenly.

WordPress allows for full customization. You can choose themes, plugins, and features that best suit your needs. There is no need to adapt to a one-size-fits-all platform.

You also control your content. You decide what to publish and when to ensure that your website accurately reflects your goals and values.

Brand Authority

A membership website enhances your brand’s authority. Exclusive content available only to members can set you apart from competitors.

By offering high-quality, valuable content, you build trust and loyalty among your members. They are more likely to see you as an expert in your field.

You can also use custom branding. Use your logo, colors, and style to create a consistent look and feel. This reinforces your brand identity and makes your site recognizable.

Recurring Revenue

One of the biggest advantages is the potential for recurring revenue. Membership fees create a steady income stream. This can be monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Unlike one-time sales, recurring payments provide consistent cash flow. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to grow steadily.

Offering different membership levels can attract a wider audience. Some members may prefer basic access, while others might pay more for premium content. This flexibility maximizes your revenue potential.

Building a WordPress Membership Website Has Its Advantages

What Type of Hosting Do You Need?

When choosing hosting for a membership website, it’s crucial to pick a solution that ensures good performance and reliability. The right type of hosting depends on your specific needs and budget.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most budget-friendly option. It is suitable for small websites with low to moderate traffic. However, since resources are shared with other websites, it may lead to slower performance during peak times. (Not recommended.)

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting offers more control and resources than shared hosting. It provides better performance and flexibility, making it a good choice for growing websites. This option balances cost and performance well.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting involves leasing an entire server for your website. It offers maximum performance, security, and customization. This type of hosting is ideal for large membership sites with high traffic but comes at a higher cost.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is tailored specifically for WordPress websites. It includes services like automatic updates, backups, and enhanced security. This type of hosting frees you from managing technical details and is perfect for those who want a hassle-free experience.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting uses multiple servers to balance the load and maximize uptime. It is highly scalable, making it suitable for websites with variable traffic. Payment is usually based on usage, which can be cost-effective for sites with fluctuating demand.


  • Scalability: Choose a hosting plan that can grow with your site’s needs.
  • Security: Ensure the hosting provider offers strong security measures.
  • Support: Look for providers offering 24/7 support.

Selecting the right type of hosting plays a critical role in the success of your membership website.

Should You Use a LMS or Membership Plugin?

What Type of Hosting Do You Need?

Choosing between a Learning Management System (LMS) and a membership plugin depends on your specific needs. This section provides a detailed look at ease of use, payment processing options, email functionality, security, performance tracking, and future-proofing.


LMS platforms are often built with educators and course creators in mind. They typically come with predefined templates and drag-and-drop features.

Membership plugins offer flexibility and customization. These plugins let you control access to content, set different membership levels, and integrate with various themes.

Both options require some learning, but LMS platforms can be simpler for those focusing on online courses, while membership plugins might be better for varied content types.

Best Payment Processing Options

LMS platforms often integrate with common payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe. They may also offer built-in options to streamline transactions.

Membership plugins generally support a wider variety of payment processors, including digital wallets, bank transfers, and recurring billing.

For those needing complex payment systems, membership plugins might offer more flexibility. Yet, for straightforward course payments, an LMS could be sufficient.

Best Email Functionality

LMS platforms usually provide basic email features like course notifications and reminders, which are built to keep students engaged.

Membership plugins can integrate with major email marketing services, providing advanced features like drip campaigns and member segmentation.

Membership plugins offer more robust solutions for those who depend heavily on email marketing. An LMS will often suffice for simple email needs.


Security is crucial for any membership or course site. LMS platforms have built-in security features to protect course content and user data.

Membership plugins also emphasize security, with options for two-factor authentication, secure payment processing, and content protection.

Both options are secure, but ensuring regular updates and backups is essential. Consider plugins and services that specialize in security for added peace of mind.

Performance Tracking

LMS platforms excel in performance tracking, offering detailed reports on student progress, quiz results, and course completion rates.

Membership plugins might not be as robust in tracking educational metrics. They often focus more on user activity and content access.

An LMS provides more specialized tracking for educational sites, while membership plugins can deliver sufficient insights for community-based or mixed-content sites.

Future Proofing

LMS platforms are designed with education in mind and are regularly updated to include new teaching tools and methods.

Membership plugins are versatile and adaptable, often supporting a broad range of site types and future functionalities.

Consider your site’s long-term goals. If education is the focus, an LMS can grow with you. For diverse content needs, membership plugins offer greater flexibility.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial for the success of any membership website built with WordPress. It helps improve the site’s visibility on search engines, driving more organic traffic.


Using relevant keywords is essential. These should be naturally included in your titles, headings, and content.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions summarizing the page content can increase click-through rates. They should be clear, concise, and contain the main keyword.

Alt Text and Images

Images should have descriptive alt text. This helps search engines understand the content and improves accessibility.

Mobile-Friendly Design

Ensure the WordPress theme is responsive. A mobile-friendly site ranks better on search engines.

Fast Loading Speed

The site’s loading speed affects rankings. Use caching plugins and optimized images to enhance speed.

Internal Links

Use internal links to connect related content on your site. This keeps visitors engaged and helps search engines find more of your content.

Quality Content

High-quality, original content is key. It should be engaging, informative, and regularly updated.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack can help you optimize your site. They provide tools for managing keywords, meta descriptions, and more.


Building backlinks from reputable sites can boost your site’s authority. Guest posting and creating shareable content can help gain these links.

Secure Website

A secure site with HTTPS is favored by search engines and users. Ensure your WordPress hosting provides a secure environment.

Focusing on these areas will help improve the SEO of your WordPress membership site.

What Are Some of The Leading Choices?

Choosing the right membership plugin for your WordPress site is vital. Each option has unique features that cater to different needs.


LifterLMS is known for its robust features for creating and managing online courses. It includes tools for quizzes, course tracking, and content drip. Users can create multimedia lessons and even integrate with eCommerce plugins. LifterLMS also supports memberships, so you can manage who has access to what content.

Prices Free | Earth Bundle $149.50 | Universe Bundle $249.50 | Infinity Bundle $749.50


LearnDash is another top choice for online courses. It features a course builder, advanced quizzes, and drip-feed content. What sets LearnDash apart is its focus on course management and learner engagement, including certificates, badges, and forums. It’s compatible with a wide range of WordPress themes and plugins.

Prices $199 | $399 | $799


TutorLMS offers a detailed course builder, lesson management, and quiz creation. This highly customizable plugin integrates with various WordPress themes. TutorLMS supports front-end course creation, making it easier for instructors to create and manage content. Additionally, it offers analytics to track course progress and performance.

Prices Free | individual $199 | Business $399 | Agency $799

Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro specializes in subscription management. It allows you to create multiple membership levels, restricting access to specific content. The plugin supports recurring payments and integrates with various payment gateways. It’s highly customizable, with add-ons for extra features like email marketing and analytics.

Prices individual $199 | Business $399 | Agency $799

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro focuses on content restriction and membership management. It enables you to create unlimited subscription levels. You can control access to posts, pages, and custom post types, providing a seamless experience for members. It also integrates with popular payment gateways and offers detailed reports for better management.

Prices $99 | $149 | $249


MemberSpace offers easy membership management with a focus on flexibility. It allows you to lock access to any part of your website, create membership tiers, and set up custom sign-up forms. MemberSpace integrates with various tools like email marketing services and payment processors, making it a versatile option for any site.

Prices $39/month + 5% fee

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I create a membership website using WordPress in 2024?

A: To create a membership website with WordPress in 2024, you will need to select a suitable WordPress theme designed for membership sites and utilize membership plugins to manage user subscriptions and access levels.

Q: What are the steps to build a WordPress membership website?

A: The steps to build a WordPress membership website include selecting a WordPress theme compatible with membership features, installing necessary plugins, setting up membership levels and subscription plans, creating member-only content, and testing the registration and login processes.

Q: Which are the popular WordPress membership plugins for building a membership site?

A: Some popular WordPress membership plugins for building a membership site include MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, Restrict Content Pro, and WooCommerce Memberships.

Q: Can I make money online with a WordPress membership website?

A: Yes, you can make money online with a WordPress membership website by offering valuable content or services to your members through paid subscriptions or one-time fees.

Q: What is the best way to use WordPress to create a membership site?

A: The best way to use WordPress to create a membership site is to choose a reliable membership plugin, customize your site with the necessary features, offer compelling content to attract members, and regularly engage with your community.

Q: Are there specific WordPress themes designed for creating membership websites?

A: Yes, there are specific WordPress themes designed for creating membership websites. These themes come with built-in features to support membership functionality, user registrations, and content restrictions for non-members.

Q: How can I set up a business website with membership features using WordPress?

A: To set up a business website with membership features using WordPress, you can select a business-oriented WordPress theme, integrate a suitable membership plugin, create exclusive member-only content, and implement payment gateways for subscriptions.

Q: What are the essential plugins for a WordPress membership website in 2024?

A: Essential plugins for a WordPress membership website in 2024 include a membership plugin for user management, a payment gateway plugin for collecting subscription fees, a content restriction plugin for limiting access, and a security plugin to protect member data.

Final Thoughts

Creating a membership site using WordPress is a practical way to monetize content and engage with an audience.

WordPress offers a variety of themes and plugins designed specifically for membership sites. Users can choose the level of customization they need, from simple setups to more advanced features.

Key Steps to Success:

  1. Choose a Reliable WordPress Hosting Provider that ensures speed and security.
  2. Select a Suitable Theme: Enhances user experience and site performance.
  3. Install Membership Plugins: Manage users, content restrictions, and payments.

Tips For Building a Membership Site:

  • Use Managed WordPress Hosting: Professional help to maintain your site’s health.
  • Opt for Premium Plugins: Higher quality and better support.
  • Regular Backups and Security: Protects your data and member information.

WordPress’ flexibility allows site owners to offer multiple membership levels, catering to different user needs and price points.

By using WordPress, individuals can build scalable and secure membership sites suited to various purposes, from online courses to exclusive content.

How To Build a WordPress Membership Website in 2024 was last modified: by