S2Member - Reliable Plugin to Setup Your Membership Website (Review 2021)

S2Member - Reliable Plugin to Setup Your Membership Website (Review 2021)

WordPress has many purposes, starting from personal websites, online stores, and also membership websites. A membership website is a part of an online business where only members who subscribe to it can access the content inside. You can set up the membership as a paid, free, or a mix of both to your visitors. To build this specific website, you need some additional features that allow you to set up a membership system. 

In WordPress, there are several membership service providers that you can choose from. Here, we will review one of the oldest membership WordPress plugins, S2Member.

Getting Started

S2Member is one of the oldest membership plugins for WordPress. With this plugin, you can create membership or subscription websites easily. It includes all features you need to create an unlimited membership label, tiered membership, set up subscription plans, accept payments and create a multi-layered membership website. 

Not only that, but 2Member is also a feature-rich plugin. It offers unlimited membership tiers, multiple payment gateway options, endless customization options, content protection, and so many more. Moreover, you get various integration with other providers and plugins. Also, you can store your data locally or use S2Member’s integration with Amazon to store your data on the cloud. 

There is both a free and a paid Pro version available. The free plugin only includes the basic features but has enough to let you set up basic memberships and accept PayPal payments. On the other hand, the Pro version offers more features such as additional payment gateways, more membership tiers, and content dripping. 

What Are The Features of S2Member?

S2Member offers tons of features that make this plugin powerful and flexible. Here are the most notable features of S2Member:

  • Content Restriction Options

S2Member provides flexible and customizable content restriction and protection. You can use this to restrict downloads, access to videos and files, customization options for login screens, email templates, welcome screens, and a lot more. These options help to ensure that your paid content can’t be shared with unauthorized users. 

  • Unlimited Membership Level & Tiers

S2Member allows you to add an unlimited number of levels to your membership website. This will help to organize your memberships’ services, such as setting up different access, pricing, and features for each membership label.

The unlimited membership levels are available in the Pro version. But you still get 4 membership levels in the free version. 

  • One Step Registration & Checkout

In the Pro version, the S2Member forms module merges the registration and checkout process into a single step. This will make the process easy and help you convert more potential customers to subscribers. 

  • Content Dripping

This Pro feature allows you to offer a steady flow of content to your subscribers over time. You can set the content flow at your desired pace. With this you can prevent the membership cancellations of your users as this keeps someone from registering once, downloading everything, and not canceling the membership. 

  • Extensive Library of Shortcodes

S2Member provides you with a vast number of shortcodes to help you protect your content through the membership tier. These shortcodes are so easy to use because all you need to do is just copy & paste the shortcodes. 

  • Account Sharing Restriction

In the Pro version, S2Member can monitor the login information to identify simultaneous logins from the same username. This feature helps to prevent the members to do account sharing.

  • Brute Force Login Protection

S2Member blocks brute force login attacks and blocks unauthorized users. This will prevent your users from breaking into your member-only content. 

  • Customizable Email Template

You can create custom emails for your members with S2Member Pro. It allows you to customize the subject, body, and recipient lists. Moreover, it provides a replacement code so that you can easily insert a customer’s name, email address, transaction ID, item descriptions, and etc. 

  • Anti Spam Security

S2Member is pre-integrated with Google’s ReCaptcha service. This feature prevents spam bots from registering for your membership. 

  • Payment Gateway Integration

Many major payment providers are integrated with S2Member. Therefore, it eases the members to do payments for your website.

The free version only integrates with PayPal payments. Meanwhile, the S2Member Pro version integrates with all major payment providers, including Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net, ClickBank, and many more. 

  • Email Integration

S2Member has integrated with several email service providers such as MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, and so on.

All these include the double opt-in checkbox, custom merge fields, automatic list transitioning, and automatic profile sync.

In addition, S2Member also comes with event-driven API notifications via email or through HTTP communications. 

  • Other Plugins Integration

S2Member is so rich with integration. It has integration with other popular plugins, such as bbPress and BuddyPress. Not only that, but it also integrates with caching plugins like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and others. 

Why Should I Use S2Member?

Complete Features

Opting to S2Member means that you get a complete package of features to start your membership website. S2Member has features like multi-layered membership tiers, content restriction options, one-step registration & checkout, and dripping content. 

Moreover, it provides you advanced protection for your website with brute force login protection, account sharing restriction, and customizable shortcodes. 

Flexible Setup

You can create your membership websites according to your wishes with S2Member. S2Member has custom capabilities that allow you to custom the shortcode system, login & registration pages, welcome screens, forms, content restriction, download restriction, content drip, membership email, and a whole lot more.

This flexibility brings complexity with it but with it, you could create a truly representative membership website. 

Rich Integration

No need to bother with accessibility as S2Member is integrated with many services. Those are payment gateways (Paypal, Authorize.net, ClickBank, etc) and email providers (MailChimp, Aweber, GetResponse, etc). 

In addition, it integrates with other WordPress plugins, such as bbPress, BuddyPress, WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and others.

You can promote your website to social media with BuddyPress and control forum access for your membership with bbPress. Also as for MailChimp, you can integrate with the built-in email list features of the plugin to leverage leads and provide regular email updates, newsletters, or other content to your mailing list. 

Offers Great Features for Free

Unlike other common service providers, S2Member offers a free version that is actually really useful. Even though it doesn’t get the full features compared to the Pro version, you still get the basic and useful one. The free version is enough to let you set up basic memberships with 4 levels of membership and accept PayPal payments. 

Lifetime Service

The licenses for S2Member Pro are one-time payments. This means there’s no recurring cost and updates will always be free. Unlikely with some other plugins where you only have a year of updates. 

Is S2Member Free?

Yes, S2Member has a free plugin that you can use without paying anything. It still provides all basic needs to create membership websites, such as PayPal integration, full content restriction options, security options, mailing list & plugin integration, security certificate, API compatibility, and access to the source code.

However, if you need advanced features like unlimited membership levels, anti-spam, or content dripping, then you should upgrade to the S2Member Pro version.

How Much Is S2Member?

Besides the free plugin, S2Member also provides Pro services. There are 2 types of S2Member Pro version: types of plans that you can choose from:

Pro – Single Site

  • Costs $89
  • One time payment (not recurring)

Pro – Unlimited Site

  • Costs $189
  • One time payment (not recurring)

The Pro version provides you with all the advanced and useful features of S2Member. It includes the features in the Free version plus :

  • Single site license
  • One step registration and checkout
  • Unlimited membership levels
  • Advanced form and registration forms
  • Content dripping
  • Anti-spam feature
  • Login monitoring
  • Extra shortcodes and member controls 

Unlike many WordPress plugins, you only pay once for S2Member Pro versions rather than annually. So just pay once and use it for a lifetime including free updates. 

How to Install S2Member?

You can install the S2Member plugin directly from your WordPress dashboard. Here is the initial setup:

  • Log into your WordPress dashboard and select Plugins.
  • Select Add New and search for S2Member.
  • Select Install and then Activate.

How to Use S2Member?

https://youtu.be/bhUos6quqxA
https://youtu.be/avBBYLVRipE

S2Member Youtube Channel

S2Member Knowledge Base

Pros

  • Has a great free version
  • Flexible customization
  • Robust features
  • Has a big source of documentation 
  • Rich integration
  •  One-payment plan for a lifetime 

Cons

  • Can be too complex
  • UI interface is not so friendly
  • Complicated setup wizard 

Conclusion

S2Member is a feature-rich and flexible membership plugin for WordPress. It provides you with many useful features to build a membership website. If you are still on your first try then you can use the S2Member free version as it has the basic features to create a membership website. For more advanced features, you can opt for the Pro version. Even though it may seem pricey, you pay it once in a lifetime as it provides you with free updates without an annual subscription.

Some reviewers say that it is complicated to use on the first try, but don’t worry. As S2Member has a long run in the business, there are a wide community and documentation to help you get used to S2Member. 

References

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