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What’s the Best Membership Plugin to Use for a Free Membership Site?

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In this session we talk about what the best membership plugin is to use for a free membership site. We discuss the use of Members plugin which is a system that assigns a user role to a user when they register and controls access to the content based on their registered user role. We also talk about WP eMember although it is more suited to a paid membership website.

Video Transcript

Rick:  Okay so you had a question about WP eMember, WP eStore?

Member:  Yes. Is that still the set of tools that you would use to develop a membership site with a store?

Rick:  It depends on what is controlling the  membership. So if you are charging a fee and if you want them to pay the fee and based on that payment, they are a member for a certain period of time or they have access to certain material then yes. If it’s like a homeowner’s association where everybody you know, nobody pays a fee to be part of the membership but… and there’s no expiration like that then no. So depends on what…

Member:  What do you use for the free membership?

Rick:  Well, if it’s a free membership without expiration then I would use the plugin Members which is on the WordPress repository.

Member:  That’s Justin Tadlock’s?

Rick:  Exactly.

Member:  Got it, okay. And why would you like it better than the eMember one?

Rick:  Well, it’s just because eMembers you know, it’s primarily focused on managing content access based on what people have purchased. And if there’s not a purchasing component, you don’t need to worry about any of that. All you need to have is a system that assigns a user role to a user when they register and then controls access to the content based on their registered user role. That’s a simpler plugin. It doesn’t require as much processing and that kind of stuff.

Member:  Okay then a follow up question, if I may. Can I use.. what I have in mind is a membership site where the memberships are free and they never expire. And the members will be in different groups and there will be a group leader for each group. And the individual members should be allowed to upload. Does that complicate the issue?

Rick:  No, it doesn’t actually. In fact, it makes it easier… I mean, that’s another reason why Members would be a better plugin for it because Members can match to custom user roles and you can just add a custom capability like can upload media or something like that to the user. You may not know this but WordPress has a very extensive system of roles and capabilities. And really, it has a big system of capabilities that it assigns to various roles. And a role is essentially a collection or is a designation for a collection of capabilities. And so you can always add those capabilities to any user role that you want and that’s something that you can do inside of that Members plugin. So it’s… again, since it’s not… Members is really focused on WordPress users and controlling access and activity based on their user role. And so it’s much more efficient and that kind of thing.

Member:  Thank you. You just saved $50.

Rick:  Yeah well you know, WP eMember is a great plug in. It really is but it’s a great plugin because it manages the financial transactions so well. Once you take the financial transaction out of the equation then you really don’t need something like that.

Member:  Okay, I was over-complicating myself. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Rick:  You’re welcome. Have a good day.

Member:  You too. Bye.

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