I don’t care what your reason is. FREE membership plugins are a bad idea and here’s why.
Inevitable software lock-in
If only I got a nickel for every time someone told me they wanted a free membership plugin just to see if their business idea would work and then they’d upgrade to a paid plugin later.
Except only…you lose (in the long-run) regardless if your business succeeds or not. If your business succeeds, you pay a lot of money in the long run to convert to a real membership plugin. Not only is it oh so painful for you but also annoying as heck for customers. Maybe links change and things look different; integrations have to be reconnected. It’s all such a hassle. Not to mention, expensive as heck (if you’re tech-savvy enough to manage at all).
Free plugins usually aren’t as good. Features and functions are a mess. The UI is all over the place making it take so much longer to setup. They’re so damn clumsy and keep running into “premium feature only” areas. Next thing you know, you’re installing 6 other free plugins and hacking together a Frankenstein membership site.
What if your membership business fails? Ha, well instead of paying only $200 to find out right away…you end up wasting time building crap for 6 months to reach the same failing point. OUCH!
Next time you want to use a free membership plugin, just don’t…ok?
Are all free membership plugins totally useless?
No. I suppose if all you need is a simple membership login, ok then fine. But I think you’ll inevitably grow to need something more. And another feature. And then another feature. And after 12 features later, you realize you should have went with a paid plugin in the first place.
If you got a couple hundred/thousand members already and still can’t afford a paid plugin, I think your website idea needs work.
My favorite membership plugin?