The Best CMS for Membership Site Owners (…And Why It Matters!)

From safeguarding user information to seamless content management, your choice of CMS carries a lot of weight. Find out why WordPress is the most recommended and best CMS for membership sites.

You've got a great idea for a membership site and you're ready to get it off the ground. The first thing on your to-do list is to pick the right content management system (CMS) to act as the backbone of your website.

Starting a subscription site from scratch can be tough, especially if you're not a coder. That's why some users opt for platforms that offer built-in membership features.

But be careful – these platforms can lock you into a rigid structure that can’t grow with your business.

Fear not! There's a user-friendly, feature-packed, sturdy, and highly adaptable option that's a hit among website creators, and doesn't require any coding skills.

We’re talking about WordPress, the #1 CMS that powers over 800 million websites, and counting!

WordPress is by far the best CMS for membership sites when paired with a great membership plugin like WishList Member.

And you’re about to find out why!

Let’s hop to it.

What To Look For in a CMS for Membership Sites

Making the best choice for your business

A content management system (CMS) is your website's control center. It's where you create, edit, and manage all your content without needing a degree in computer science.

But when it comes to membership sites, you need a CMS that does more than just the basics. Here's what to look for:

User Experience (UX)

Both you and your members should find your site’s front and back end easy to navigate, with intuitive layouts and responsive design.

For admins, great UX means it’s easy, and even downright enjoyable to add new content to your site, manage user accounts, and switch up your strategy.

If you’re nervous about adding or editing things in the backend, you simply won’t be able to be the responsive membership site owner you have the potential to be!

For your members, great user experience is critical for their acquisition and retention. Their experience from registration to login to accessing paywalled content should be seamless.

There’s no excuse for glitchy sites with such great options out there.


Membership sites deal with sensitive stuff like user info and credit card details. You need a CMS that's got your back with top-notch security features.

Payment Processing

Whether it's recurring payments, upgrades, or refunds, handling money should be a breeze.

Content Access Management

Your CMS should easily manage a growing library of exclusive goodies and offer flexible ways to put them behind a paywall.


As your member count rises, your CMS should be able to keep up and adapt to your growing needs and ever-changing business goals. Scalability impacts everything else on the list above!

The more members you have, the more you will demand your CMS to uphold things like security and payment processing. You need a CMS that can withstand the pressure!

Why WordPress is the Best Membership Site CMS

WordPress homepage 2023

WordPress started off as a simple blogging tool but quickly grew into a versatile CMS that can handle just about anything you throw at it.

With the right add-ons, you can transform WordPress into a membership site, set up an online shop, or even showcase a digital portfolio. Here are five reasons why it's awesome:

1. Flexibility Galore

Most off-the-shelf platforms box you in. You can't add new features easily, and messing with the code is usually a no-go.

WordPress is different. It's open-source, which means you can tweak it to your heart's content. And if you're not a coder, no worries! There are tons of themes to pick from that'll make your site look great.

But the Real Magic? Plugins.

These little add-ons can do everything from boosting your SEO to setting up an affiliate program. Whether it's email marketing or creating custom forms, there's a plugin for that.

Simply put, WordPress gives you the freedom to build the site you've always dreamed of.

​​2. Easy to Learn and Use

If you're new to the world of CMSs, WordPress is your best bet. Unlike other platforms like Drupal or Joomla, WordPress is designed with the beginner in mind.

Many hosting services offer one-click WordPress installations, so you're just a click away from logging into your new dashboard.

The admin area is straightforward, with an intuitive built-in updates management system to keep your tools up-to-date and secure.

And if you're not comfortable with coding, that's okay! Most themes and plugins are beginner-friendly, and there are great and extensive resources like WPBeginner to help you out.

3. Keeps Your Site Safe and Sound

Security is an important feature of your CMS

Security is a big deal, especially when you're handling sensitive user and payment information. WordPress is continually updated to patch potential security vulnerabilities.

Many hosting services even offer automatic updates as part of their package.

On top of that, there are specialized security plugins like Jetpack that add an extra layer of protection against common threats.

Just remember to follow best practices like using strong passwords and keeping your plugins updated.

4. All the Membership Tools You Need

The WordPress community is bustling with developers creating plugins for almost every functionality you can think of.

Our WishList Member plugin, for example, allows you to create a members-only area, drip exclusive content, and much more.

It offers features like member registration, user access control, and easy payment processing.

It also offers its very own course builder packed with essential LMS features, CourseCure.

5. Easy on the Wallet

Budget is often a concern for small businesses and solopreneurs. WordPress is a cost-effective solution.

Hosting services like HostGator offer packages starting at just $3.75 per month, often including a free domain for the first year.

While you may need to invest in premium themes or plugins as you grow, these costs are usually much lower than what you'd pay for similar features on other platforms.

Pairing WordPress with WishList Member For Your Membership Site

WordPress CMS + WishList Member

When it comes to membership site plugins, WishList Member has stood the test of time. It's the original membership site plugin that has continually evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of membership site owners.

But don't let its age fool you – WishList Member is as cutting-edge as they come, packed with features designed to help you grow your business.

Why WishList Member is a Game-Changer

Ease of Use

WishList Member is designed to be user-friendly. You don't need to be a tech wizard to set up your membership site.

With its intuitive interface, you can easily manage members, create different membership levels, and set up content protection – all from one dashboard.

Flexible Membership Options

One of the standout features of WishList Member is its flexibility. Whether you want to offer free trials, recurring subscriptions, or one-time payments, WishList Member has got you covered.

This flexibility allows you to experiment with different pricing models to see what resonates most with your audience.

Content Dripping

Keep your members engaged by releasing content over time. WishList Member's content dripping feature ensures that your members always have something new to look forward to, increasing retention rates.

Robust Security Features

Security is paramount, and WishList Member takes it seriously. The plugin offers multiple layers of protection to keep your content and member data safe. This peace of mind allows you to focus on what you do best – growing your business.

Integrated Course Builder: CourseCure

CourseCure Single Lesson

WishList Member goes beyond basic membership features by offering its very own course builder, CourseCure.

This built-in LMS allows you to create and manage courses without needing an additional plugin, making it a one-stop-shop for all your membership site needs.

WishList Member is a comprehensive membership site solution that empowers you to build, manage, and grow a successful membership business.

With its rich feature set and user-friendly interface, WishList Member and WordPress together make for a powerful combination that's hard to beat.

Your Path to a Thriving Membership Site Starts Here

Choosing the right CMS for your membership site is a decision that will have a lasting impact on your business.

As we've discussed, WordPress stands out as the most versatile, secure, and user-friendly option available.

When paired with a powerful plugin like WishList Member you're laying the foundation for a thriving online community on your membership site.

From its ease of use to its robust security features, WordPress offers everything you need to get started.

Plus, with the added capabilities of WishList Member, you can easily manage members, offer flexible payment options, and even build courses right within your site.

It's a combination that offers both power and simplicity, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to create a successful membership site.

So, are you ready to turn that great idea into a booming membership site? The universe has aligned, the tools are ready, and your audience is waiting.

Go ahead, take that leap and make your membership site dreams a reality today!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Fernando

    Thank you for this article, it helped me a lot.

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"We’ve tried a couple of other membership tools that were part of packages that we’d invested in. But nothing can compare to WishList Member. I know that there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that people have been building over the years. But when it comes to customization, if you use WordPress, you can’t touch this. Obviously, I’m super biased, but we’ve made millions of dollars because of this product."
Tristan Truscott
Satori Method
I have moved [WishList Member] into my top list of options for people. The new WishList Member packs a punch! And the price for WishList Member makes it a fantastic offer.
Chris Lema
WishList Member integrates with the tools I use TODAY. And they’re so eager to integrate with tools that are coming out. It’s amazing how they do it actually. If I was going to be buying a membership plugin, today… for me, I would go with WishList Member.
Adam Preiser