WooCommerce Subscriptions vs. Paid Memberships Pro
woocommerce subscriptions vs paid memberships pro

WooCommerce Subscriptions vs. Paid Memberships Pro: Which is better?

Selecting the perfect platform to manage subscriptions and memberships can be a major decision for businesses looking to find success with this business model. Two prominent contenders in this arena are WooCommerce Subscription and Paid Membership Pro, each offering unique features and capabilities.

But which one is the real champ? In this article, we’re going to break it down for you, plain and simple. We’ll chat about what each platform brings to the table, where they shine, and where they might fall short. 


Before we plunge into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a moment to understand the fundamentals of WooCommerce Subscriptions and Paid Membership Pro.

WooCommerce Subscriptions

WooCommerce Subscription is a plugin designed to facilitate recurring payments and subscription management within the WooCommerce framework. This means that you will essentially need two eCommerce plugins if you opt for this choice, WooCommerce and its Subscriptions extension. It empowers businesses to offer subscription-based products and services to their customers. Whether it’s monthly memberships, subscription boxes, or software licenses, WooCommerce Subscription provides a robust platform to monetize recurring revenue streams.

Paid Memberships Pro

On the other hand, Paid Membership Pro is a membership plugin tailored to create and manage membership sites on its own. It offers a suite of features for building subscription-based communities, restricting access to premium content, and monetizing membership levels. With Paid Membership Pro, businesses can customize membership plans, accept payments, and deliver exclusive benefits to their members, all within a user-friendly interface.

Feature Face-Off: wooCommerce subscriptions vs. paid memberships pro

Now that we have a basic understanding of the contenders, let’s dive into a head-to-head comparison of their features.

Subscription Management

WooCommerce Subscriptions excels in managing subscription-based payments for products and services. It provides flexible billing intervals, trial periods, and subscription synchronization with WooCommerce orders. Additionally, WooCommerce Subscription offers robust tools for subscriber management, allowing businesses to handle upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations seamlessly. However, if you require content management and restriction alongside with subscription-based payments, you will find WooCommerce Subscriptions lacking.

Paid Membership Pro, on the other hand, focuses on creating and managing membership levels. It enables businesses to define membership tiers, set access restrictions, and customize membership levels with specific privileges. It also supports subscriptions through recurring payments, options for pausing subscriptions, and trial periods. Paid Membership Pro shines in crafting membership-based communities with tailored experiences for members.

Verdict: If your business revolves around subscription-based products or services, WooCommerce Subscription is the clear winner. However, if you’re building a membership site with tiered access levels and exclusive content, Paid Membership Pro has the edge.

Payment Integration

Both WooCommerce Subscription and Paid Membership Pro support a wide range of payment gateways, allowing businesses to accept payments seamlessly. WooCommerce Subscription integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce’s native payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net, providing a familiar and secure payment experience for customers.

Paid Membership Pro offers similar payment integration capabilities, with support for popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree. Additionally, Paid Membership Pro provides extensive documentation and resources for setting up payment gateways, ensuring a smooth payment processing experience for businesses and customers alike.

Verdict: In terms of payment integration, both platforms offer robust solutions with support for popular payment gateways. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and ease of setup.

Flexibility and Customization

WooCommerce Subscription boasts a high degree of flexibility and customization, thanks to it operating on top of the WooCommerce ecosystem. Businesses can leverage a plethora of WooCommerce extensions and themes to tailor their subscription offerings, from product variations to checkout flows.

Paid Membership Pro offers a similar level of flexibility, allowing businesses to customize membership levels, pricing plans, and access restrictions. With its extensive library of add-ons and integrations, Paid Membership Pro empowers businesses to create unique membership experiences tailored to their audience.

Additionally, there’s no shortage of developers for both platforms. However, due to the popularity of WooCommerce, you’ll find a wider directory of professionals and a more extensive community around WooCommerce.

Verdict: Both platforms offer ample flexibility and customization options to suit a variety of business needs. The choice between WooCommerce Subscription and Paid Membership Pro ultimately depends on the specific requirements of your business and the level of integration with existing systems.


When it comes to pricing, WooCommerce Subscription operates on a subscription model, with pricing starting at $199 per year for a single site license. The pricing scales based on the number of sites and additional features required.

Paid Membership Pro, on the other hand, offers a free version with limited features, along with premium plans starting at $297 per year for a single site license. The pricing increases based on the number of sites and access to advanced features.

Verdict: WooCommerce Subscription may be more cost-effective for businesses with a single site, while Paid Membership Pro offers a free version for those on a tight budget.


In terms of design and aesthetics, WooCommerce Subscription has no real design features of its own and depends on what you can set up based on the elements of the WooCommerce platform, and your existing themes and templates. 

Paid Membership Pro offers a range of design customization options, allowing businesses to create visually appealing membership levels, registration forms, and account pages. Paid Membership Pro provides greater flexibility in design customization, specifically for memberships or subscription packages. 

However, with both options, getting the desired look and user experience may require additional development resources, premium themes, or design work.

Verdict: Both platforms offer design customization capabilities and flexibility in design customization, with Paid Memberships Pro providing a more integrated design experience.

Other Features

Beyond subscription and membership management, both WooCommerce Subscription and Paid Membership Pro offer additional features to enhance the functionality of e-commerce sites.

WooCommerce Subscription includes features such as subscription analytics, renewal reminders, and customizable email notifications. It also integrates with popular third-party services for marketing automation, customer relationship management, and accounting.

Paid Membership Pro offers features such as content restriction, exclusive member communities and content dripping, which allows businesses to release premium content gradually over time and build gated communities online. It also includes built-in affiliate tracking, allowing businesses to incentivize referrals and track affiliate commissions.

Verdict: The choice between WooCommerce Subscription and Paid Membership Pro depends on the specific additional features required for your business. If you have a product or service-based business, WooCommerce subscriptions will suffice. On the other hand, if you are selling gated content, exclusive communities, events and courses, with different levels of access, PMPro is the way to go.

Best Use Cases for WooCommerce Subscriptions

Subscription-Based Products

 WooCommerce Subscription is the go-to choice for businesses offering products or services on a subscription basis. Whether it’s a monthly box of goodies, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, or access to premium content, WooCommerce Subscription provides robust tools for managing recurring payments and subscriber relationships.

Current WooCommerce Users

For businesses already leveraging the power of WooCommerce for their e-commerce operations, WooCommerce Subscription serves as a seamless addition to incorporate subscription-based offerings. Whether you’re selling physical goods, digital downloads, or services, adding subscription options can enhance customer retention and generate recurring revenue streams.

Digital Downloads and Software Licenses

Businesses in the digital space, such as software companies or digital content creators, can leverage WooCommerce Subscription to sell access to digital downloads or software licenses on a subscription basis. This allows for predictable revenue streams and ongoing customer engagement.

Service Providers Selling Subscription Plans

With WooCommerce Subscription, service providers can offer monthly plans. For example, a therapist can sell a monthly subscription including one weekly session. Service businesses can also offer tiered subscription plans with additional perks. Whether it’s a basic, standard, or premium plan, businesses can tailor subscription offerings to cater to different customer segments and monetize their products or services more effectively.

Best Use Cases for Paid Membership Pro

Membership Communities 

Paid Membership Pro is an excellent choice for businesses looking to create membership communities with exclusive content, forums, or networking opportunities. Whether it’s a professional association, an online course platform, or a niche community, Paid Membership Pro provides the tools to build and monetize membership sites with ease.

Restricted Content Access

Businesses seeking to monetize premium content or gated resources can leverage Paid Membership Pro to restrict access to members only. Whether it’s articles, videos, webinars, or downloadable resources, Paid Membership Pro allows businesses to create tiered membership levels with varying degrees of access.

Online Courses

Paid Membership Pro is well-suited for businesses in the education and online learning space. Whether you’re offering online courses, tutorials, or training programs, Paid Membership Pro enables businesses to create structured learning experiences with tiered membership levels, progress tracking, and member-only content.

Coaches and Experts

Businesses offering professional expertise or coaching programs can utilize Paid Membership Pro to create membership tiers with access to exclusive resources, discounts, or personalized support. This allows businesses to monetize their expertise and build ongoing relationships with clients.

Making A Choice: WooCommerce subscriptions vs. Paid Memberships Pro

A straightforward way to select the right plugin for your website is to know what you need. The growing pile of plugins means that several meet your requirements, and a lot look attractive but don’t cut it. 

Make a list of the features and functions you need the plugin to carry out, and let that list guide your choice. It is usually best to make that list short and all-encompassing because adding too many plugins could bloat your website. 

WooCommerce subscriptions vs. Paid Memberships Pro

The most important condition for selecting plugins is their compatibility with your purpose. WooCommerce Subscriptions and Paid Membership Pro are equally excellent options for subscription-based websites. 

WooCommerce is a top-tier eCommerce plugin, making it an excellent option when creating a website that consolidates subscriptions with other commercial ventures. In contrast, Paid Membership Pro is the ultimate plugin for memberships and subscription tiers. 

By understanding the unique strengths of each option and aligning them with your business needs, you can make an informed decision that drives success in the dynamic world of e-commerce.

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