Paid Memberships Pro is a fantastic WordPress plugin that lets you create a paid membership area on your website. Don’t let the ‘PRO’ part of the name fool you; the plugin is free to download from the official WordPress plugin directory.
You can create as many membership levels as you like using the plugin. You can charge members a one off payment for joining your site. You can also setup a recurring subscription on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. There is an option to add a trial period for members too.
New sign ups can be automatically be set to expire after a set period too, which is useful if you want your membership to only last a set amount of time.
You can set your own pages for things like billing, checkout, confirmation, invoice etc. Alternatively, you can let the plugin generate these pages for you.
The plugin allows you to accept payments using PayPal Express, PayPal Website Payments Pro or Authorize.net. You can test everything is working correctly by ensuring the payment setup is in a test environment.
You can modify the name and email address of the email that is sent to members. You can also modify the appearance of the email that is sent. Unfortunately, you cannot do this through the plugin options area. Instead, you have to add add an email_header.html and email_footer.html template to your theme directory and modify them accordingly.
The plugin has a few additional features that you may find useful. You can customise the message to logged in non-members and logged out members and those who are trying to view private content through your RSS feed. Advertising can be hidden from members if you want. You can also choose to only show advertising to certain certain membership levels.
On sign up you can require users to agree to your terms and conditions before they can become a member and you can use recaptcha to reduce spam too.
Another useful feature is the option of giving discounts to visitors using discount codes. You can set the start date nd end date for each discount and the number of times a discount code can be used.
I was incredibly impressed with what Paid Memberships Pro can do. There are not many free membership plugins that offer that offer this many features. Whilst the plugin is free to download, in order to view the plugin documentation, member only articles and get access to the developer support forums, you need to upgrade and pay $19 per month.
I encourage you to try it out if you are thinking of adding a paid membership area to your website :)