I’ve studied, read up and compared many different membership plugins. I have personally tried MemberPress, MemberMouse, and DAP (still using MemberPress and DAP currently). Here is a basic summary of why I think MemberPress is best.
For those wondering about my membership site. I basically sell access to 3rd-party hosted videos, downloadable videos & ebooks, and a members-only forum.
Time to read the reviews!
***EDIT: I’ve updated this review to reflect their current progress.
MemberPress is coded the best, makes the most sense, very clean and easy to use. You can figure things out without even reading the manual very much. The pricing is very fair and affordable at only $129/year no matter how many members you have! Some people may complain that it’s ugly but it isn’t. It’s simply un-styled which means you need a designer to assign some CSS styling to make it beautiful…and even then…it’s just fine even out of the box. I found it to be an absolute pleasure to use and so glad I gave it a try.
It’s fast, coded beautifully, gives you almost all the features anybody could need, and a pleasure to use.
It installs easily, and you can almost guess on your own where to look to find certain options or settings. The tutorials are short and you can get up and running very quickly. It has all the features you need and none of the ones that you never use (but will distract you). You will have fun making money with this plugin. The others will leave you in development phase forever, I feel.
2018 update – their design is getting cleaner and more beautiful, as has their website and branding. They’re working harder to improve the plugin without making it bloated. I LOVE their progress!!! I’ve since contacted their support for help on many things and have yet to be disappointed. Very fast replies and even multiple replies per business day. Their price has even gone up from $99 to $129/year and I’m not surprised.
- Unofficial MemberPress Facebook group – lots of free help and ideas on here!
My affiliate link: www.memberpress.com
MemberMouse is pretty much considered the industry standard. And 3 years ago, it became the ultimate premium membership plugin for Wordpress sites. If you had the money and wanted a really polished product, you would simply get MemberMouse and that was that. The only reason why anybody else would want to try another plugin was simply to save money. MemberMouse isn’t cheap, it starts at $20/month and quickly becomes $40/month and it keeps going up depending on the number of subscribers you have. This can be costly if you’re taking on many FREE-level or TRIAL-level subscribers.
But as time passed, MemberMouse started to show it’s inflexibility. It’s advantages in being extremely full-featured and polished made it large and cumbersome to work with. The backend panel is full of a billion features and not easy to setup if you all want is to offer a few simple options. MemberMouse is great if you want to offer many different memberships at varying price-points for varying customer segments. But if you’re trying to start out simple, MemberMouse feels like total overkill.
2018 update – I haven’t used their latest version but I feel their development is stagnant. Not much new features and I doubt the plugin was improved much.
DigitalAccessPass (DAP) Review
DAP is what I’ve been using to sell e-products for the last 5 years and I have to say that I’ve outgrown it. It performs very well and functions very quickly but is really terribly designed. The backend interface is not intuitive and setting things up and searching for where you have to go to make changes or edit settings can be a pain in the butt. Sure, you get used to it after a while and 5 years ago, it was the best option for me. Today, this is no longer the case. I find it to be somewhat expensive, lacking in features, comes with a small number of bugs, ugly in appearance, and with lackluster support and documentation.
I was very happy with it for the past 5 years but I’m glad to have moved on to much better plugins out there. If I could complain about where DAP annoys me the most, I would say that it isn’t intuitive to use. You have to LEARN how to use it and REMEMBER how to use it. I also feel it’s not coded well and not coded in the “WordPress way”.
It didn’t play nicely with CloudFlare, some transactions did not fully process because the user’s last name had an accent letter or space or other “special character”, protected content items still showed up in search results (possibly search plugin’s fault), some coupons just didn’t work for some reason. I also got hacked through my DAP plugin, and learned from my programmer that it wasn’t coded optimally to prevent this. DAP may claim to have all the features but the bottom line is that it seems dated in comparison to the competition.
To be fair to DAP, it still does one thing well…which is it allows you to checkout super-fast without redirecting you to checkout pages. If you use their cart plugin, you can even have the credit-card form right on your sales page. So this way you can have a very minimal appearance in the front-end but still a full-featured system in the back-end.
2018 update – it has since improved their design aesthetic but not necessarily the user interface. Things are still organized the same but looks “prettier”. I still hate the look but I understand why they won’t change…they don’t want to upset existing users so I’ll have to respect their decision to keep things the same. I do wish DAP would upgrade their php code so I can use their plugin with php 7.2. Right now, DAP barely runs on php 7.0 and even then it still spits out a ton of errors. This is highly unacceptable and especially not made for large companies with thousands of traffic and purchases. Anyway, just my 2 cents. I still have 2 sites with thousands of users on DAP and can’t wait to migrate away soon enough.
What about the others?
There’s WooCommerce Memberships/Subscriptions. There’s PaidMembershipsPRO, Restrict Content Pro (RCP), Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), aMember, Zippy, and many others. I would say many of them are either poorly coded or not as full-featured, or a bit clunky to use. Part of this has to do with that they they were originally written as a content paywall system, or download management system, or as an email dripping sales system. Nowadays, all these features are combined into what is called in the modern day as a “membership plugin”.
I think a big problem was that many of them were written a long time ago and kept adding to the existing code rather than rewriting from scratch. It felt like an old car hauling today’s features instead of having it built inside. These other options can be very good if they offer only what you need and you don’t actually want a bigger, more complicated, costlier option. But for me, MemberPress simply wins in its overall functionality, ease-of-use, and scalability.
When you switched from DAP to MemberPress, how did you keep your current monthly members? In other words, if I were using DAP as a membership site (dripping new content to my members), and if they were being redirected over to PayPal each month for the payment, then back to our site (via DAP) to get the content, how would my customers make the switch to a new membership-site plugin?
Hi Anne, actually I didn’t have any recurring customers on the DAP sites. All of them were single-payment customers only. But I do believe you CAN keep your customer recurring payment while migrating them to MemberPress…you’ll need a good developer to work that out and could still be a hassle. At the very least, you could start putting the new customers on MP.
Thank youfor taking the time to write this review! It’s very helpful.
Thank you for this review. Loads of great info, especially re your frustrating experiences with DAP. I am between MemberPress and DAP. I love the email features in DAP – very important for me, as I have large lists, and it sounds as if sending to lists is free under DAP. Is that right? Please confirm (or the opposite).
Second question: Can one have 2 membership plugins – on different subsites, for the different features?
If you want to run any serious membership site, you should not even consider DAP. MemberPress is the easy winner. MemberPress can easily integrate with a 3rd party email service of your choice. You can have different membership plugins if you like although I think it’s a silly waste of time and extra management. Doesn’t make sense at all. DAP doesn’t have any real unique feature to make it a worthwhile choice over MemberPress.
You should try their trial side-by-side and see for yourself. DAP is extremely outdated.
Wow! I’ve been seriously searching for a non-biased review of DAP and Memberpress and I’m so glad I found this.
Hi, very insightful ! I currently have DAP with over 6000 free and premium students on our learning platform and we just keep getting bugs. So was considering moving to MemberPress. I feel that their support is crappy, they always say that it is the other plugin’s fault etc…
Anyways, I wanted to know how you can migrate the students from DAP to MemberPress. DAP is not handling the payments on our site, we use Thrivecart for that and Active Campaign for emails. Any insights ?
It’s a totally different animal but since we’ve already done it before…we already know all the obstacles. Me and our senior developer seriously thought of making a DAP-to-MemberPress migration plugin. Hahaha. MemberPress does integrate with Active Campaign so that should be easy to re-connect without export/import. As for Thrivecart, you probably won’t need that anymore as MemberPress can checkout without any issues….unless there’s something specific you want via Thrivecart.
As for everything else…just a matter of mapping data and importing over the products (aka “memberships) and their permissions, users and their transactions. There are going to be some weird scenarios where certain users don’t get copied over because of some reason (I forget right now). But anyway, it’s totally possible and totally worth it. EDD and RCP are also valid options. I just prefer MemberPress because I’m so damn happy with it. It actually feels like a WordPress plugin!