A flexible, powerful, easy-to-use WordPress plugin for dividing your website into free and premium content.

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Membership Dashboard - Member Breakdown
Membership Dashboard - Statistics
Membership Members
Membership Access Levels
Membership Subscription Plans
Membership Coupons
Membership Communications
Membership URL Groups
Membership Remote Pings
Membership Payment Gateways
Membership options - General
Membership options - Pages
Membership options - Content Protection
Membership options - Media
Membership options - Configuration
Membership options - Extras


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membership allows you to easily create membership sites, such as GigaOm, Mixergy, PSD Tuts, and even The New York Times. You will be able to grant limited access to visitors and reserve premium content for paying users.

Check out Membership in action in the video below:


As a member of WPMU DEV, you have unlimited access to plugins for creating sites that charge members access to course materials, live tutorials, forums, communities, wikis, directories–or anything else you can set up on a WordPress site.

Membership is extremely user-friendly and well-documented. In under an hour you can put your best content (whether it be news, tutorials, videos, ebooks, forums, or online courses) behind a wall and begin charging visitors to access it.

If your website doesn’t offer a membership option to your visitors, you’re missing out on a lot of potential revenue. Just think what would happen if only 10% of your visitors pay you $10, $25, $100 or more every single month! This money can really add up!

What is a membership site?

A membership website is a site where visitors pay a monthly or annual fee to get access to some or all of your content. This revenue model allows you to take a WordPress site and transform it into a recurring income-generating business. In fact, this is the exact strategy behind many of the world’s most profitable websites.

Here are just some of the features of Membership:

  • Flexible membership options and a drag-and-drop interface make it easy for you to customize your own membership site to your exact specifications. Choose the length of your membership and how often your subscriptions should renew.
  • Choose to give access to all your content immediately or “drip” it out over the length of the membership.
  • Customizable levels allow you to provide some or all of your members with access to any combination of downloads, categories, pages, posts, comments, online content, videos, forums, support or anything at all you can build with WordPress.
  • Control access to any content or functionality via multiple different shortcodes.
  • Because Membership works with BuddyPress, you can create your own paid social network by controlling access to BuddyPress groups and BuddyPress blogs. You can create your own exclusive paid club or course!
  • Convert more visitors to paying members by offing a free trial of your membership and then turning it into a paid subscription after X days.
  • Charge for access to your membership site with one of the current gateways – or add your own.
  • Fully compatible with Clef security authentication. Allow your users to login securely using the Clef Wave.

Adding gateways is easy – and WPMU DEV will be adding plenty more. Here are the current gateways included with Membership:

    • Authorize.NET AIM
    • 2Checkout
    • PayPal Express
    • More coming soon, let us know which you’d like…

And, because Membership was built with WP Multisite in mind, it can transform your entire network into a fully featured, multi-tiered membership and subscription site. So you can host a variety of membership sites, for yourself or for clients!

Why is Membership so good?

When it comes to membership websites, WPMU DEV has a lot of experience.

WPMU DEV is a membership site and the largest premium plugin and theme community on the web. We’re also the same group behind the oldest (and second largest) WordPress Multisite setup on the web, Edublogs.

We’ve put all of our experience in WordPress, WordPress MultiSite and BuddyPress into Membership.

As a result, it’s simple to use, fully supported and massively flexible – Membership will meet all of your membership site needs.

Here are just some ideas of what you can create with Membership:

  1. An ‘SME’ (Subject Matter Expert) membership site. Offer resources, forums, downloads, videos, support and more around the topic you are expert in, you’ll be amazed at how valuable your knowledge and experience can be.
  2. Setting up your own membership site platform – Because Membership works great with WordPress Multisite, you can set up a network where any user can have their own membership site with ease. Plus, when you combine Membership with Pro Sites, you can make this a feature they pay for… so you can power and set up a network of cookery, or music tuition sites… with just this one plugin.
  3. Use Membership and MultiSite to run dozens of membership websites yourself… no need to worry about lots of different installations of WordPress.
  4. Create your own monetized social media network with a BuddyPress membership site. With Membership you can allow members to join for free, but require a paid upgrade to access different groups and blogs.

Need to send newsletters?

That’s great, because we have the perfect plugin for that!

In addition to our Communications feature, where you can send welcome emails and pre-expiration emails to your members. You can also send your members premium newsletters directly through our eNewsletter plugin. Cool huh!

eNewsletter is our flagship newsletter plugin. We offer integration with our Membership plugin whereby you can send out newsletters to members based upon the Access Level that they signed up with.

Premium newsletters all from your WordPress dashboard!

Membership gives you a complete flexible, powerful, easy-to-use membership site in one plugin. But, there’s more:

Because Membership is a WPMU DEV plugin, it will be continuously updated. When a new version of WordPress or BuddyPress comes along, we’ll be there for you automatically, before it’s even released! Read more about our Upgrades and Support Guarantee here!

- If you’d like to see extra features in Membership, just let us know. At WPMU DEV, we build in extra features and functionality for our members.

Download Membership today and take your websites one step further.


Get the FULL Membership Manual

We’ve put together a full walk-through complete with screenshots for you. Sit back, relax, and allow us to guide you through the all the inner-workings and advanced settings to get the exact membership site you want.

Download it here! pdf

Please also see Recent Changes at the bottom of this page.

Video Tutorial

Check out our introductory video to help get you started with Membership.

You can watch the entire series in this playlist on YouTube.

Select the “Playlist” at the bottom of the video frame for more videos, or choose the videos from this list here:

  1. Tutorial Overview
  2. Front-End Interface
  3. Initial Setup
  4. Dashboard Overview
  5. General Settings
  6. Content Protection
  7. Downloads and Media Protection
  8. Membership Admins and Extras
  9. Payment Gateways
  10. Access Levels
  11. Subscription Plans
  12. Account Management
  13. Coupon Codes
  14. Messages and Communications
  15. Protecting URL Groups
  16. Remote Pings
  17. Conclusion and Thank You

Building a Membership Site

The WPMU DEV Membership plugin makes it very easy to create and manage a membership site for both free and paid subscribers. Whilst the plugin handles a lot of the work, you will need to spend some time thinking through the structure of your site and how you want to set-up and categorise your content before installing and activating the Membership plugin. The purpose of these instructions are to guide you through some of the important (or even just desirable) steps, and get you up and running (and making money) as quickly and painlessly as possible.

What is a membership site

A membership site can take many guises, from Gigaom Pro which protects long articles and research, through to Izzy videowhich protects individual videos. In all cases though, a membership site contains a minimum of two levels of content:

  1. Free (or teaser) content, which is accessible to everyone and is used to entice potential new members into subscribing (and also help with SEO)
  2. Members only content, which is only accessible to those who have an active (paid or free) subscription to the site.

These instructions guide you through using standard WordPress categories to mark posts / content as being accessible to either free users or members only. They then go into some of the more advanced features that allow you to protect individual uploads and distinct sections of a post’s content.


NOTE: If you have the Lite version of Membership installed, please deactivate and uninstall that version before installing the premium version. The settings are stored in the database so you won’t lose setting information.

To install:

Start by reading the Installing Plugins section in our comprehensive WordPress and WordPress Multisite Manual if you are new to WordPress.

  1. Download the plugin file.
  2. Unzip the file into a folder on your hard drive.
  3. Upload the /membership/ folder and all its contents to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your site.
  4. Login to your admin panel for WordPress or Multisite and activate the plugin:
  • On regular WordPress installs – visit Plugins and Activate the plugin.
  • For WordPress Multisite installs – Activate it site-by-site in Plugins in the site admin dashboard (say if you wanted to make it a Pro Sites premium plugin), or visit Network Admin » Plugins and Network Activate the plugin.

Important note regarding default ‘admin’ account:

For security, the membership plugin is set up to provide it’s membership options to the admin who activates the plugin.  For many reasons, you may be using an account other than ‘admin’ this can be changed with a simple constants, please review our 60+ page manual for further information.

Note regarding Admins and Super Admins

Admin and Super Admin users who have privileges to edit Membership settings see the site as it is, without any restrictions applied. Content will not be hidden from them and shortcodes will appear un-rendered. In order to properly test membership levels, it’s best to use another browser and log into the site as a user with the membership level being tested.

Note regarding PayPal Express Payment Gateways

If you have selected PayPal Express as a payment gateway, know that their API imposes limits as to how you can configure the access level periods when setting up your subscription plans.

  • If you select “days” in the right-hand dropdown, the number you select can be no more than 90.
  • If you select “weeks” in the right-hand dropdown, the number you select can be no more than 52.
  • If you select “months” in the right-hand dropdown, the number you select can be no more than 24.
  • If you select “years” in the right-hand dropdown, the number you select can be no more than 5.

Note regarding database repair

If your database table structure gets somehow corrupted after installing or updating plugins or themes, or even your WordPress, Membership will prompt you to check and/or repair your database.

Before doing so, it is highly recommended to make a backup of your database. If you do not already have a backup solution in place, perhaps consider installing our Snapshot plugin now.

Note regarding BuddyPress installs

If you are running BuddyPress on your site, it’s best to ensure that the BuddyPress “Register” page option is set to “None”, or a different page than the Membership registration page, to avoid conflicts.

Note regarding URL Groups, custom post types & regex

Regular expressions can be used in the URL Groups feature to target specific types of URLs. This can be very handy when you want to include/exclude any custom post types or taxonomies.

For example, if you wanted to target all posts of a specified taxonomy in a custom post type, you could use:*

There is one thing to look out for though: if you include a regular expression like the one below, it would match every URL on the site:[a-z0-9-].*/

To prevent that, your regex should be followed by a “$” to indicate the end of the match string like so:[a-z0-9-].*/$


In addition to the shortcodes you find on the Access Level page, and from the admin options area, you also have these:

[subscriptiontitle subscription="2"] – The title of the subscription.
[subscriptiondetails subscription="2"] – The Subscription plan details.
[subscriptionprice subscription="2"] – The subscription plan price.
[subscriptionbutton subscription="2"]  - And the subscription plan button

Replace the number with the ID of the subscription.

Recent Changes

Please note that in the latest version of Membership, the admin permissions settings have been moved to Users > All Users. This change is to help ensure that all user information and settings are accessible from the same place. Please keep this in mind when reviewing the PDF manual or tutorial videos.

Membership Admin Permissions

Admin permissions are edited under Users > All Users.

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