The MemberPress Story: Designed by a team of elite membership site developers, MemberPress was created to ‘fix the problems’
Before MemberPress was even an idea, our team built membership sites for clients in all kinds of industries. But we always had a tough time figuring out which software to use for which client.
The variables were endless and the functionalities painfully restricted.
Eventually, we settled on a fairly robust membership software solution. But it wasn’t a WordPress plugin, so its integrations with WordPress were severely limited.
We gave it a couple of years, then threw in the towel around 2010. We realized that – to make the membership model scalable, extendable, and attainable – we’d have to create our own membership software.
So in 2012, we built a WordPress plugin to address the problems we’d been running into for years.
MemberPress was born, and the power of online business was put in the hands of anyone with an idea – no coding required.
MemberPress is easy to use
We created MemberPress so that anyone could use it. And our efforts paid off. Our customers consistently tell us that MemberPress is the easiest membership software solution they’ve ever used.
We engineered the entire user experience for simplicity. And we haven’t stopped there. Our product team is always working to make the MemberPress experience easier, more refined, and more intuitive.
MemberPress is flexible
Despite its ease of use, MemberPress packs in a ton of features. It can do many things that lesser membership software could never touch.
For example, you get true, seamless integration with the top payment gateways for credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and other payments.
MemberPress also lets you enable automated pricing page creation, full filesystem-level protection for downloadable files, and a bunch of advanced features like Amazon Web Services integration.
It even includes a built-in course builder, MemberPress Courses, designed so anyone can use it to create and sell online courses on WordPress.
We push out regular, automatic updates
MemberPress is actively maintained and under constant development. That means your business is backed by our team’s OCD-level focus on improvement.
We’re constantly rolling out new, innovative features. And we address bug fixes and security patches on rapid fire.
Our payment gateway integrations are gold-standard
This is a biggie. And it’s often overlooked. We’ve seen membership platforms that don’t support recurring billing at all, or require you to set up low-level tech services (like CRON) on your webhost to get it working at all.
MemberPress is also fully optimized to sell memberships and create and sell online courses. It’s not a shopping cart or landing page plugin.
It’s a first-class online course, paywall, subscription, and membership software all rolled into one. And it doesn’t try to be anything else.
We’re invested in your success
Great support, education, and documentation
The MemberPress user manual has everything you need to get your site set up the way you want. And every customer gets access to two free and comprehensive video courses – Getting Started with MemberPress and WordPress 101.
If you have run into issues beyond the information in our docs and educational resources, you can always contact our fantastic support team.
We know that any product can say its support is awesome. But we’ve got proof. Just check out our testimonials.
What makes our support team truly awesome is that it’s made up of actual developers who’ve been troubleshooting membership sites for years – even decades.
Next-level marketing tools
MemberPress integrates seamlessly with top email and other automated marketing tools that boost member retention and customer outreach.
Our team also recently launched Easy Affiliate, a plugin that enables you to create and run your own affiliate/referral marketing program – right from your membership site.
MemberPress is exceptionally extendable
If you ever need custom features on your website, MemberPress can handle it with style. We have an extensive WordPress API, and our code is totally open (more on that below).
MemberPress vs Other Options
“Off-the-Shelf” vs Custom Development
After selling MemberPress for some time now, we’ve seen the huge variety of needs people have when creating a membership site.
An off-the-shelf platform is software that’s ready to use from the word go. Typically, these platforms make it fast and easy to get going, but they have functional limitations.
If you want a site with custom functions, you’re typically looking at software development from scratch. And there are lots of problems with this approach.
- Is an expensive, long-term process
- Requires a lot of unexpected footwork on your end
- Is glitchy in the beginning, because it hasn’t been used in the real world
- Requires you pay the upfront costs of maintenance and updating
That’s where MemberPress stands out…
MemberPress gives you the best of both worlds
MemberPress is a complete off-the-shelf solution. That means it’s been developed to give you everything you need to start your online business, right out of the box. Even if you have pretty unique needs.
What makes MemberPress different is that it’s an off-the-shelf solution that’s also extremely extendable and scalable. We have an extensive WordPress API, and our code is completely open.
So you get all the plug-and-play benefits of the most robust ready-to-go software out there, plus you can customize it to your heart’s content.
If you have highly unique needs…
- You’ll pay much less for MemberPress customizations than you would for a full custom development
- You can get your business up and running during the development process, so you’re making money while you wait
- You won’t have to pay thousands of dollars for regular maintenance
You can use any developer you want. But we have a list of vetted partners that’ll give you an excellent place to start. Click the button to check them out.
Self-Hosted vs Hosted (AKA Decentralized vs Centralized)
MemberPress is a self-hosted (or decentralized) solution. That means you create your WordPress site (which you own), and then you pick your webhost – the place where your site will “live” online (e.g., Bluehost, Cloudways, and so on).
On the other hand, with a hosted (or centralized) membership software you create and host your site all in one place. Sounds convenient, right?
Well, before you dive into a centralized solution, you’ll want to consider a few important things…
Beware of data lock in and loss of resilience
Check the small print. When you build your online course, paywalled, or subscription-based website on a hosted, centralized platform (like Teachable or Patreon), the platform owns your data.
That means they control your customers, payments, subscriptions, and content.
For example, one of our clients years ago was using a centralized platform to host his paid membership site, and he’d employed our development services to move it. The vendor held the client’s data hostage until he paid an exorbitant fee to gain access to it.
With a decentralized, self-hosted solution like MemberPress, your site – and all its data – stays under your control. Should you need to move your site for any reason, you’ve got no problems (and no outrageous fees).
Know you’ll sacrifice control
With a hosted, centralized SaaS, you’re letting someone else manage the hosting details and, in many cases, the configuration of your site. That means you’re giving up some creative control over your site’s functions and content.
Know you’ll spend more money
Hosted solutions charge a premium, and take a cut of your profits, because they offer a convenient, one-stop-shop. It makes sense – no foul there.
And the cost may not be a huge problem for your business. You’ll be fine if you’ve got plenty of capital to support your business in the startup phase.
However, if you’re an entrepreneur launching a bootstrapped startup (like most of us), the cost of a hosted platform could really affect your ROI and slow your progress.
Know Your platform might not keep pace
When you go with a hosted solution, you’re putting all your eggs in one basket – your data, design, content… everything.
Should that basket get old and neglected, there’s nothing you can do but get a new one. But here’s where the metaphor breaks down a bit.
With a hosted platform, you can’t just grab your eggs (your data) and put them in a new basket. Because your eggs are fused with the basket. To move your website, you’ll have to deal with major inconveniences and fees. And migration may not even be possible.
A self-hosted solution like MemberPress protects your business from going down with the ship.
What makes a WordPress plugin better?
Before WordPress, we either built everything from scratch or used off-the-shelf software to build membership sites.
But these solutions were clunky and had encrypted code that made them almost impossible to customize. (Believe it or not, these software solutions are still out there!)
Well, then came WordPress.
WordPress is pretty much everywhere now, and for good reason. It’s is a super powerful (yet easy to use) content management system (CMS) that allows you to structure your website however you want – even if you’re a non-techie.
Here are just a few of the things that make WordPress the best option for your online course, paywalled, or subscription-based website.
- Unparalleled ease-of-use
- A sophisticated system for categorizing and tagging content
- A HUGE repository of free plugins
- TONS of commercial plugins (like MemberPress) that enhance its capabilities in major ways (like adding forums, social networking, custom forms, paywalling)
- Thousands of off-the-shelf themes you can use (or customize) to spin up a beautiful site in no time
Most membership sites are built around content (everything from blogs and courses to videos, communities, and podcasts). A WordPress membership plugin like MemberPress lets you lock down content in WordPress so that only paying customers can access it.
For us, creating a membership plugin for WordPress was a no-brainer!
MemberPress is your best bet
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably at least considering using a WordPress membership plugin for your new membership site. That’s awesome!
It means you’ll get all the goodness already built into WordPress, plus whatever features your membership plugin provides.
But there’s still one decision to make, because not all WordPress membership plugins are created equal.
We built MemberPress specifically because no other membership software solution worked right. Some of these solutions didn’t have the features our clients wanted, some were too complex, and some just straight up didn’t work at all.
MemberPress was made to put the power of online business in your hands, whether you’re an elite developer or just someone with a great idea.
We’ve got your back
Whatever membership site platform you end up going with, we hope you’re able to create an unbelievably successful online business.
If you found this content useful, you should definitely check out the MemberPress Blog. We keep it updated with business-boosting information and tips and tricks on the daily!