What's the difference between protected content and Membership Plugin

What's the difference between protected content and Membership Plugin?

When to use which one?


  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi BePresence,

    Hope you're well?

    They are both designed to do the exact same job.

    Protected content was original going to be Membership 4.0, but as development continued and the whole rewrite progressed, it became extremely difficult to enable membership access rules and subscriptions etc to be ported over into the new membership 4.0 due to the re-factor to make membership more easier to use and less complicated for users to setup. Therefore it was decided to change it to a completely new plugin.

    The current membership plugin will eventually be deprecated in time, maybe a year or so from now, so will be kept updated with bugfixes, but no new features.

    Protected content is still new, so some of the abilities of membership are not present, such as multisite protection when network activated. But overall they are designed for the same job, they just do it differently.

    Hope this helps

  • James Farmer
    • CEO (of WPMU DEV, honest)

    Just thought I'd clarify - The 'Membership' plugin won't necessarily be depreciated, it offers a different approach and logic (and a bunch of features) that Protected Content doesn't... it may be limited in new feature development, but that's no biggie as it already has a gazillion features :slight_smile:

    It's true that it started out as membership 4.0, but it quickly became evident that it was *much* more - a whole different plugin in fact.

    This plugin has been designed, as Vaughn says, to make offering protected content incredibly easy - and that's pretty much it, for super high level complexity Membership may well still tick your boxes.

  • Ken J
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Is there a simple feature comparison list we can view? I am ready to enable one of these plugins for a new site I am working on, and would like to make an educated choice. I suspect that BePresence and I are not the only ones confused by their similarity in the plugin list.


  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi Ken,

    there isn't an actual feature comparison list. Both plugins list features on their project pages tho.



    My best advice would be to install one and try it, then try the other. But if I was trying to decide which to use, having used membership & protected content, I would choose protected content if i'm just starting out because it is a lot easier to configure & use than membership.

    Granted if you have used membership plugin for a long time, protected content may seem more complex to setup than membership, but that's only because you are so used to membership, Protected content in my opinion is a lot more intuitive and easier to setup. They do the same job, but very differently.

    In my opinion, I would try the protected content plugin as it's a new site, not with any bias, but i actually prefer protected content personally over membership for it's ease of use & the way it works.

    Hope this helps

    • Vinod Dalvi
      • WP Unicorn

      Hi David,

      You can activate the protected content plugin network wide but there are no additional Network Admin settings for this plugin.... Yet. This will simply
      activate it on every website where you can configure it for those sites to create membership for the particular site.

      Vinod Dalvi

  • simon88
    • Flash Drive

    With the membership Plugin I was able to create User levels And Plans which were Applied to every blog with the plugin activated in a multisite Environment.

    Is this possible with the Protected content plugin, Too?

    What Kind of multisite Features / settings are planed for the protected content plugin And when can we expect them?

    thank You very much!

  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi Simon,

    currently Protected content does not support the global network features that membership has, however this is currently being worked on and will definitely be included in a future release, however at this current time I can't give any ETA on this.

    Hope this helps

  • Abaloo
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Can Membership and Protected Content be installed on the same site and not interfere with each other?

    We have Membership on a site currently, and want more control over protected content. Can I install Protected Content and Membership - leaving the membership levels and purchasing to Membership as it already is - and only control the access to content with Protected Content?

  • Vaughan
    • Support/SLS MockingJay

    Hi Abaloo,

    It's not recommended to install & use both as they both do the same job, but differently, and you will certainly run into issues if you restrict access to pages in membership, and then have different rules in protected content, you could inevitably cause redirect loops and other conflicts with protection rules.

    Besides, protected content does not link with membership, so whilst you could keep your existing levels & subscriptions in membership, protected content would not see any of those and you'd have to do everything manually, also as I mentioned previously, the rules and way that each plugin logically works, this would most likely create many conflicts.

    Hope this helps

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