Protected Content vs Membership Pro


Today we use Membership Pro to our “Extranet” (No payment just to control who sees what). We have about 4-5 pages with public access (FAQ, Start-page, contact, login guide etc.) and the rest have 2 levels of users. (VIP and CTOs)

When we upgrade this fall (New server, new theme, some new plugins), should we maybe consider to go over to the Protected Content plug in? We have about 1300 (EU) + 700 (Ibero) + 1200 (US) users today

Is there a PRO / CON list on this 2 together?

I think the Membership Pro could be difficult to handle some time. Like adding new pages to keep the security, stop public RSS access, stop query like /?print=pdf )

Do you have any better suggestions? We are open to suggestions…

All the best

Magnus Jahrl

Online Manager – Europe

  • Michelle Shull
    • DEV MAN’s Apprentice

    Hi Magnus! Happy Sunday!

    Here’s my take:

    Protected Content Pros

    1. Easy to use and set up. (Without reading the manual, I was able to set up Protected Content on my site in a fraction of the time it took me to set up Membership.)

    2. Better control over different types of content, like custom post types, BuddyPress, bbPress, and more.

    3. Very intuitive UI, leading to a smoother user experience on both the admin and member sides.

    4. No more remote pings, which are kind of a nightmare, to integrate with MailChimp

    Protect Content Cons

    1. Not quite as robust as Membership, specifically when it comes to negative v. positive rules.

    2. Harder to manage the visitor experience.

    3. Currently, it’s not possible to import your Membership subscriptions directly to Protected Content, so that would involve some additional set up for your already enrolled members with active subscriptions.

    Membership Pros

    1. Can do more complex content protection, when a simple option isn’t robust enough.

    2. Easier to control the experience for non-logged in users, for example with Membership you can set things so only visitors can see them.

    Membership Cons

    1. Takes a while to fully understand how it works.

    2. Set up can be complex and time consuming.

    3. It’s possible to lock yourself out of your site.

    4. While we’re still planning on supporting Membership for at least another year, there’s a chance it may be retired and replaced with Protected Content after that year.

    Both plugins will take ongoing work as your site content changes, but here Protected Content wins for being simpler to manage than Membership.

    We’re still actively developing Membership alongside Protected Content, so there will still be features added and bugs fixed for the foreseeable future.

    Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions if this doesn’t help clear up your decision!

  • Julius
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    @michelle Since you write (in Membership Cons #4) that in a year or so Membership Plugin may be replaced completely by Protected Content Plugin, for users that start a new membership site now (like me…:wink: it may be smarter to start right away with Protected Content Plugin?

    Would you agree?

    Could we expect in future that some key features of Membership Plugin (like for example to set things so only visitors can see them) may be implemented in Protected Content Plugin some day?

  • Tyler Postle
    • CGO

    Hey Julius,

    Hope you’re doing well today and thanks for your question!

    Things have actually changed a little bit now and at the moment there is no plan to discontinue Membership, we’ll be running them both side by side; however, new features for Membership will be very limited while focus is on Protected Content.

    Great point on content only visitors could see. That’s one I never really thought of. I am marking this as a feature request so the developer is aware :slight_smile: thanks for bringing it up.

    Let us know if you have any further questions in the meantime!

    All the best,


  • aristath
    • Recruit

    Hello there @douglas, I hope you’re well today!

    As far as I know this in not in the roadmap for Membership.

    However we’ve seen quite a lot of people that want to migrate from Membership to Protected Content, so we are currently working on an importer tool that will allow you to use Protected Content instead of Membership. :slight_smile:



  • Kilmanagh
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    On this topic. I am just looking for something simple. Pages/post and parts of content (using short codes) to be able to show guests only something, show logged in members something that guests can not see. Perhaps maybe a content that a defined level can see/access. Shortcodes would be essential and the ability to automatically make someone a member when logged in. Which of these two would be the best for that. Or do neither of them perform these functions?

  • Philipp Stracker
    • The Crimson Coder

    Hi Kilmanagh,

    we’re releasing a new version of Protected Content in a few days that’s amazingly simple to use.

    It also offers guest-level protection (displaying content only to logged-out users).

    Content that is defined as guest level is not visible for logged-in users.

    The plugin cannot assign a membership to logged in users automatically, but I can provide you with a 5-line code snippet to solve this if you like.

    Protecting pages, posts, shortcodes and even custom URLs is not only possible but actually fun! (at least for me, as I was developing most of it :wink:

    So I definitely recommend you to hang on a few days until the update is out and then give it a shot!

    Thanks, Philipp

  • Michelle Shull
    • DEV MAN’s Apprentice

    Hi Jason!

    The CoursePress dashboard is separate, it can easily run alongside of Protected Content. For logging in, everyone usually goes to the same place, wp-login, so that link shouldn’t be affected.

    Additionally, there have been a few changes to Protected Content since my original post, you can now import your Membership members quickly and easily, so switching between the two plugins in much, much simpler.

    Thanks for your question!

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