Tools & Resources
We’re frequently asked for our favourite tools and resources for building membership sites. You’ll find our recommendations below.
WordPress Membership Plugins
MemberPress – the plugin we use for our own membership. Read our review here.
Paid Memberships Pro – a sturdy free plugin extendable through extensive add-ons. Read our review here.
MemberMouse – MemberMouse has some features, like one-click upsells, not available in other options.
Memberium – great option for Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign based memberships
AccessAlly – stylish option for Infusionsoft, Ontraport, Drip or ActiveCampaign based memberships
Woo Memberships – selling multiple different products is easy with WooCommerce and Woo Memberships. Read our review here.
Restrict Content Pro – a lightweight option that is great for simple sites, those needing group memberships or for developers to extend.
Digital Access Pass – one of the longest running membership plugins on the market and includes it’s own shopping cart, affiliate program and more.
s2Member Pro – a longstanding plugin with an extensive free option. Read our review here.
Wishlist Member – more payment integrations than any other option. Read our review here.
WordPress Course Plugins
LifterLMS – an easy to set up free LMS plugin with inbuilt membership function and stylish course pages.
WPCourseware – a lightweight LMS that can be added to any site and integrates with most membership plugin.
LearnDash – the LMS heavyweight and feature rich, excellent if you want a really full featured course or courses.
eLearnCommerce – a unique accordion style layout to courses to keep things simple and streamlined.
Alternative Membership Systems
Simplero – one of the best all-in-one systems for creating your website, courses, membership and more
MemberSpace – the market-leading membership plugin for Squarespace and also works with Wix, Weebly, Webflow, Jekyll and Custom HTML sites
Kajabi – an all-in-one hosted platform for all your website, marketing and digital product needs
Thinkific – a great hosted option for courses, with the ability to work for memberships too
Themes & Page Builders
Memberoni – a WordPress theme specifically designed with memberships in mind by us. Only available to Academy subscribers.
Divi – very flexible theme with inbuilt page builder that can be used for most kinds of sites.
Thrive Themes – marketing focused themes and an excellent content builder plugin for creating landing pages.
Boss Theme – purely focused on BuddyPress and ideal for a community based site.
BeaverBuilder – can be used for creating your entire site or just for landing pages.
OptimizePress – landing pages, a theme, membership plugin. You can create your whole membership with OP.
GeneratePress – a great lightweight theme with both a free and premium version.
Elementor – an easy to use page builder plugin with both a free and premium version available
Mighty Networks – a great option for creating your own community and social network, also includes course features.
IP.Board – an excellent forum software that we personally use for the Academy community.
Vimeo – our preferred video hosting service, with options for restricting playback to only your members
Bonjoro – a great tool for sending personal videos to your members and subscribers
WPFusion – a powerful tool for collecting your membership plugin to other software such as your CRM.
AffiliateWP – our favourite affiliate plugin which offers a great core plugin and add-ons for additional features.
Captivate – hands down the best podcast hosting service on the market
LiveChat – an great addition to your sales page, particularly during a launch.
Intercom – on-site app messaging, great for membership sites and onboarding.
Gravity Forms – far more than just forms! Can also be used for quizzes, payments, conditional content and more.
WP Rocket – the best WordPress caching plugin on the market, and the “secret sauce” behind how this website is so speedy
Social Learner – a theme and plugin set specifically for combining LearnDash or Sensei with BuddyPress.
BackupBuddy – it’s vital to keep your membership site backed up!
WooCommerce – a great ecommerce store for selling all kind of products – physical, digital or membership.
Easy Digital Downloads – excellent for adding a lightweight store selling digital downloads only.
Clickfunnels – can be used for creating your whole sales funnel.
ActiveCampaign – powerful automations, tagging and our personal choice.
Mailchimp – a good starter option (but not great if you want multiple lead magnets)
Convertkit – a good middle ground between Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign
Drip – a powerful alternative to ActiveCampaign, made by the creator of LeadPages
Behind the Membership by Callie Willows and Mike Morrison
Member Machine by Callie Willows and Mike Morrison
The Membership Economy by Robbie Kellman Baxter
The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow
Buzzing Communities by Richard Millington
Subscription Marketing by Anne H Janzer
Hooked by Nir Eyal
You can also read about the essential books we recommend membership site owners read in this post.
Disclaimer: Some of the above links are affiliate links which may result in us receiving a small commission if you purchase through them. This does not alter the price that you pay!