Membership Pro VS Protected Content

Membership Pro VS Protected Content: Which system is better for our needs?

We have a membership group of about 200 members, not expecting very many more than this at any one time.

While we have two or three small areas of the website which we would like to restrict to members only, we are primarily looking for a membership management solution.

We would like members to pay by credit card (Authorize.net), on an annual basis, with no automated recurring option.

Rather than automatically recurring subscriptions, we would like to alert expiring members and invite them to subscribe again manually for another year.

Ideally, we would like to send reminders approximately 30 days, 15 days, 7 days, before membership expiration, and possibly at least one reminder after expiration of membership.

Content-wise, we want paid members to have access to only two or three small areas of pages inside our website, with the rest of the website being publicly available.

However, we need five different membership cost levels, such as Regular, Student, Senior, etc. -- but any paid member of any level, would have access all protected areas.

Throughout your website, I see comments by your staff that the Protected Content plug-in is a better solution, with more features, while being more simple to implement than the Membership Pro plugin.

So my question is: given my above requirements, which plug-in do you think will be the better option for us?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

  • Tyler Postle

    Hey Kenneth,

    Hope you're doing well today! Thanks for the question.

    I would go with Protected Content in this case.

    You will need to create 5 memberships, 1 for each cost level then protect the same content on all of them.

    You will have more protect options with Protected Content as well and can assign user roles/user role capabilities to memberships which you may or may want to do.

    Ideally, we would like to send reminders approximately 30 days, 15 days, 7 days, before membership expiration, and possibly at least one reminder after expiration of membership.

    If you activate the "Additional Automated messages" add-on via: Protected Content > Add-ons.

    Then you will be able to send 1 email before the membership finishes, you can choose how many days and also 1 after the membership finishes. Adding in more emails before would require further customization but we can add that to the feature request list :slight_smile:

    Authorize.net is supported by both plugins so no problems there.

    Protected Content has a lot more shortcodes as well for displaying dynamic membership info to your users. The account page is more indepth and allows you to display invoices in their account.

    Hope this helps Kenneth! If you have any further questions just let us know.

    All the best,
    Tyler

  • Tyler Postle

    Hey Kenneth,

    Thanks for your reply! Right, Membership requires the subscription to be set to "Serial" if you want to be able to renew it early. So a combination of PayPal single payments and a serial subscription works to allow mid-subscription renewals.

    Which won't work for you in this case since you're wanting to use Authorize.net, with that you will need to wait until the end of the subscription and then renew.

    I'm checking Protected Content and it looks like it will be similar, if they cancel then they can renew to extend it. Cancelling doesn't actually end the membership, it will still be good until the time it was paid for, but it just allows you to renew and extend it :slight_smile:

    I'm going to flag renewal all in one function as a feature request though and see if we can get that added in a future version.

    In the meantime, let us know if you have any further questions!

    All the best,
    Tyler

  • KennethFeldman

    Thanks Tyler.

    +1 for that feature. But I wouldn't even call this a feature, I'd call it a necessity.

    Using PayPal for payment is such an amateur way to take payments (and their crappy UI is absolutely confounding to many people). Direct credit card in the website is the only professional way to go in my opinion.

    I can not imagine how making the subscriber wait until the exact moment their subscription runs out, or requiring them to unsubscribe and resubscribe would do anything but drive (re)subscriptions down.

    As a subscriber to many licensed or membership sites myself, I would be annoyed at that.

    Making it super easy to retain paying members, and especially the ones who want to resubscribe early, has to be a fundamental requirement for any membership system (and any payment gateway, especially the most professional one!).

    If I have to use Paypal to get this with your system, I may have to look elsewhere.

    Thanks again for your help on this topic.

  • KennethFeldman

    Okay, RANT over. :slight_smile:

    I have to get this working, so I enabled PayPal, and changed the subscription to Serial.

    Now I see the RENEW button.

    Question: I have set up a Welcome email to be sent upon new subscription. But it comes "from" Wordpress (wordpress@domain.com). This is confusing, and we need to update the "from" to be ORGANIZATION_NAME (members@domain.com).

    I believe the same issue occurs with the reminders.

    How do I adjust this?

    Thanks!

  • KennethFeldman

    Asking again, because I'm still unclear:

    What I need is for users to subscribe for 1 year, non-auto-renewing (any gateway at this point, but would prefer Authorize.net, or at least PayPal standard).

    Members need to be reminded via email in advance of the end date, and invited to buy another year of access -- and they need to be able to renew prior to end date of current subscription.

    From what I can gather, I can not actually get this set of conditions with Membership Pro.

    I've been told that members can resubscribe early, but only if they cancel first (and makes no sense to the customer) -- only then would they be able to add an additional year.

    And if I use SERIAL/PayPale Single, (as I was suggested to do by previous support) then members can renew early, but if they don't pay to renew, their membership/access renews automatically anyway for free. (Why would that ever be something that anyone wants?)

    And no matter what, the Membership Pro reminder emails are not working anyway (a different ticket submitted here).

    BOTTOM LINE this for me? Will the Protected Content Plugin get me what I'm trying to do? I'm certainly ready to set up a new test account to try out the Protected Content, but would just like to know.

    Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.

  • Tyler Postle

    Hey Kenneth,

    Thanks for your reply, so I've just spoken with the developer of Protected Content on this and this is being put on the road map :slight_smile: I don't know exactly when it will be added, but he also thinks members should be able to renew early - it makes a lot of sense.

    This feature likely won't be added to Membership though - so it would be a good idea to switch over to Protected Content for when it does get released. PC is a re-written version of Membership Pro, future development is focused on PC; however, we still maintain Membership Pro as many members aren't ready to make the switch yet and are happy with it as-is.

    So, to answer your question more directly - Protected Content won't give you what you want it to right now, but will in a future version :slight_smile:

    If you have further questions just let me know.

    All the best,
    Tyler

  • KennethFeldman

    Thanks Tyler,

    Yes, I've already installed PC on a copy of my site. Seems much simpler. I like what I see for now.

    Given that, I'd be okay if the additional messaging works, and we can send a reminder to users before expiration date. We can explain that they need to CANCEL/RENEW for now.

    QUESTION: I need to import about 160 users, and will need to change their expiration date to align with the subscriptions that they already have through another service. Is there a way to set that on import? Or Through a UI? or must I do it via PhPMyAdmin in the database?

    Thanks again!

  • Jude

    Hi there @KennethFeldman

    Just chipping in here to help resolve this ticket.

    QUESTION: I need to import about 160 users, and will need to change their expiration date to align with the subscriptions that they already have through another service. Is there a way to set that on import? Or Through a UI? or must I do it via PhPMyAdmin in the database?

    PC has an import tool that can automate the import process for you. It can be found under Protected Content > Settings > Import Tool .

    The expiration date cannot be specified via the admin. You'll need to run a simple SQL query to do the same.

    Cheers
    Jude

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