WordPress membership site guide

If you want to add paid memberships to your WordPress website so you can share your passion with your audience and drive revenue for your business—you’re in the right place!

When you combine the page restriction powers of Memberful with a beautifully designed WordPress site, you can easily create a dynamic membership experience!

How to build a WordPress membership site

  1. Set up a WordPress website.
  2. Install Memberful on your website.
  3. Create your Plans.
  4. Add Plan purchase links to your site.
  5. Restrict access to your members-only content.
  6. Add membership account management links.
  7. Connect to Stripe.

Some terms you should be familiar with:

Set up a WordPress website

If you're new to WordPress, check out our WordPress website quick start guide.

To start, make sure you have either a WordPress.org website with reliable, managed hosting and a great theme, or a WordPress.com hosted website (Business Plan only!) and a great theme.

Most WordPress themes are compatible with Memberful, but we recommend the Make theme if you need a theme with a page builder or Beaver Builder if you're looking for a page builder plugin.

We also recommend using an SSL certificate on your WordPress website. Memberful signs WordPress users into your WordPress website, and if you're not using SSL, that information is less secure. All our recommended WordPress hosting providers support easy SSL certificate installation.

Sign up and install Memberful on your website

Sign up for Memberful and install the Memberful WordPress plugin on your website. You can try Memberful for free for as long as you need in test payment mode.

Sign up for Memberful

You can also upgrade to our Pro plan for free in test payment mode, which will unlock many features for you. To do so, navigate to Account → Plans and billing from your Memberful dashboard.

Create your Plans

With Memberful, you can create membership plans and sell subscriptions to those Plans.

To create your membership Plan(s), log in to your Memberful dashboard, navigate to the Plans tab, and click New Plan. We recommend that you offer at least one monthly Plan and one yearly Plan.

By default, when members sign in they will be redirected to whichever page they were on before signing in. If you want members to be redirected to a different page on your site after their purchase, make sure to specify a Redirect URL in your Plan Settings.

Plans tab

Thinking of selling multiple plans? Learn how to set up Plan Groups.

There are two ways to add a Plan purchase link to your site:

Option 1: Select Buy Plan from the Memberful editor button on any WordPress page or post.

Memberful editor button

Option 2: Copy the raw HTML link from the Plan Settings page in your Memberful dashboard and paste it on your site, or use the button options provided by your WordPress theme to create a button instead of a link.

Memberful HTML Plan purchase links

Learn more about how to add Plan purchase links to your site.

Restrict access to your members-only content

Next, you'll want to restrict access to all of your members-only content using the Memberful: Restrict Access meta box found at the bottom of every page and post.

Protect WordPress content

Learn more about how to protect WordPress posts or pages with Memberful and how to protect full categories or tags

It's a good idea to give members an easy way to sign in, sign out, and manage their Memberful account.

Here are a few options to add Memberful account links to your site:

Connect to Stripe

Your Memberful account starts out in test payment mode so you can test everything before going live with Stripe payments.

To test Memberful as an end user while in test payment mode, log out of your WordPress dashboard and sign up with a different email address than the one associated with your WordPress admin account.

Useful tip: On some email services (like Google's Gmail) you can add a + sign to your email address and anything anything after it will be ignored. You can use this to create tons of unique addresses and all the emails sent to them will reach your inbox. For example, if my email is [email protected], any emails sent to [email protected] will automatically reach my inbox. You can use one of these made-up addresses to sign up as a member on Memberful.

When you’re ready to start processing orders, choose your currency and connect to your Stripe account through the Memberful dashboard: Navigate to Settings → Payment. Note: We'll automatically delete all your test orders and member accounts when you switch to live payments.

Edit Memberful email templates (optional)

Memberful sends some transactional emails to your members, such as payment receipts, credit card expiration warnings and subscription expiration reminders. To customize these emails, navigate to Customize → Email → Email Templates and edit the emails.

Integrate newsletters, forums, and courses (optional)

You can add new benefits to your membership, such as newsletters, forums and courses.

Check out our Integrations page to learn about each service, and once you've decided to use one, read its article below to learn how to set it up.

Nice work! 🎉

Now that you have a paid membership site, it's time to announce your offering to your loyal followers and solicit some feedback. This will get you selling right away. Then you can start adding some extra member benefits as you go. You may also want to:

Can't find what you're looking for? We'd love to help! 💪

Send us a message through the orange chat bubble in the lower right corner of the page. You'll hear back within a few hours Monday - Friday. 😀