Best WooCommerce Subscriptions Alternative: Paid Member Subscriptions, a More Affordable and Complete Solution

Last Updated: 28/11/23

Are you looking to sell subscription products on your WooCommerce site?

One of the most popular ways to sell subscription products in WooCommerce is by using the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin. It lets you create WooCommerce products with recurring payments as a way to offer subscriptions to your customers.

While this is an official extension from WooCommerce, it’s quite expensive, especially for small businesses that want to create their first membership site. Instead, we recommend using a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative like Paid Member Subscriptions.

In this article, we’ll introduce a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative – Paid Member Subscriptions – and see how it stacks up in terms of features and functionality. We’ll also explain how you can use the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin to set up a membership site.

Reasons for using WooCommerce Subscriptions alternatives

The WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is the official WooCommerce extension that lets your customers subscribe to products with recurring payments.

WooCommerce Subscriptions

The plugin lets you manually upgrade and downgrade subscription plans directly from the WordPress admin dashboard. In addition to this, WooCommerce Subscriptions offers detailed reports and analytics to help you keep track of your membership site’s performance.

While it’s a great plugin that adds subscription functionality to your WooCommerce site, it lacks in a few key areas.

For starters, it’s not very user-friendly and isn’t recommended for non-tech-savvy users. On top of this, you have to manually create important membership pages such as the subscription registration page or the members account login page yourself either using blocks or code. Finally, the plugin comes with limited content restriction options that are essential for any subscription or membership site.

One of the major reasons why most users look for a WooCommerce Subscription alternative is the high price point. The license will set you back $199 per year which is a lot considering the features it offers.

The best WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative: Paid Member Subscriptions

The Paid Member Subscriptions plugin is the best WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative that lets you create a full-fledged subscription site within a few minutes.

Paid Member Subscriptions Pro

The easiest way to create and sell subscriptions on your WordPress membership site.

Get Paid Member Subscriptions

Compared to WooCommerce Subscriptions, Paid Member Subscriptions is much easier to use, even if this is your first time creating a membership site. Most of the important membership pages are automatically created for you using shortcodes or, now with recent updates, Gutenberg blocks. This makes the process of setting up a membership site in WooCommerce or WordPress incredibly easy.

Another standout feature of the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin is that it offers extensive content restriction settings that are easy to set up. Each page containing members-only content can be restricted within a few clicks using a meta box below the page or post. Compared to WooCommerce Subscriptions, this is a big jump as it only offers limited content restriction options.

The best part about Paid Member Subscriptions is that it offers multiple price tiers as well as a free version. This can be the perfect scalable solution for small businesses that are just starting out.

How to set up a membership site using Paid Member Subscriptions

Here, we’ll show you how to set up a membership site in WooCommerce using a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative.

For this, you will need a WordPress site with the WooCommerce plugin installed. In addition to this, you’ll also need the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin to create a subscription plan and protect members-only content on your site.

Step #1: Get the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin

Get the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin and install it on your WooCommerce site. Once you purchase the plugin, you will receive an email containing the license key and the download link for the plugin’s ZIP file. Or you can download it directly from your account page on Make sure to download both the main plugin and the pro extension.

Paid Member Subscriptions download

Navigate to Plugins → Add New from the WordPress admin dashboard.

After uploading the plugin (both .zip files, one by one) to your WooCommerce site, click on the Install Now button and then Activate this plugin link to continue. With the plugin installed on your site, it’s time to activate the license key. For this, navigate to Paid Member Subscriptions → Register Version and paste the license key given to you at the time of purchase.

Click on the Activate License button to continue.

Step #2: Create a subscription plan

Now that the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin is installed and activated on your site, it’s time to start creating a subscription plan. To do this, navigate to Paid Member Subscriptions → Subscription Plans and click on the Add New button.

New subscription plan

This will take you to the subscription plan creation page.

Subscription plan details

For starters, give your subscription plan a suitable name and add a description explaining what members can get from joining.

Subscription plan details

You can also change the Subscription Type from Regular to Group if you want to offer a subscription plan to organizations and brands that want to purchase “seats” instead of a single subscription.

Subscription plan details

Now, set the duration period and the price of your subscription plan. Paid Member Subscription also lets you create a fixed period subscription plan by checking the Fixed Membership field. This will disable the Duration field and display an Expiration Date field to specify when the subscription plan period ends.

Sign up fee

Using the Sign-up Fee field, you can charge a small fee upfront from subscribers when they sign up. This is great if you’re also using the Free Trial field to specify a “charge-free” time for users so they can test out the subscription plan before they get charged the full amount of the subscription fee. Subscribers will have to pay the sign-up fee as soon as they submit the subscription registration form. This can be useful for preventing any spam submissions or users abusing the free trial period.

The Renewal dropdown menu lets you specify subscription renewal options. You can either let your subscribers choose to opt-in for automatic renewal, force automatic subscription renewal until the user cancels, or completely disable automatic renewal and force users to subscribe themselves manually again when the subscription period ends.

Additionally, the User Role dropdown menu lets you assign a user role to customers or users when they purchase the subscription plan. When you’re ready, make sure to click on the Save Subscription button to continue.

Step #3: Create a WooCommerce subscription product (Optional)

On top of adding a subscription plan to your site, you can also create a WooCommerce subscription product using Paid Member Subscriptions. While this can be useful for selling subscription products on WooCommerce, it isn’t essential if you only want to offer subscription plan registration on your site.

To do this, navigate to Paid Member Subscriptions → Settings and click on the WooCommerce Integration tab from the top.

WooCommerce subscriptions alternative

Scroll down to the Product Memberships section and check the Activate product subscriptions checkbox. This will let you link a WooCommerce subscription product with a subscription plan. Once you’re done, click on the Save Settings button to continue.

Now, navigate to Products → Add New and create your WooCommerce subscription product.

WooCommerce subscription product

Under the Product data metabox, click on the Subscription Plan tab and select the subscription plan we created earlier using the dropdown menu. Click on the Publish button to continue.

WooCommerce subscriptions preview

This will allow customers to purchase the subscription plan directly from your online store. However, for the WooCommerce subscription product to work properly, you will need to disable orders without an account so all customers have to register an account before they can checkout from your WooCommerce site. For this, navigate to WooCommerce → Settings and click on the Accounts & Privacy tab from the top.

Accounts and privacy settings

Make sure to disable the Allow customers to place orders without an account checkbox and enable the Allow customers to create an account during checkout field. Doing so will ensure that the WooCommerce subscription product functionality works properly on your site. Click on the Save changes button to continue.

For more information on this, you can go over our guide on how to set up recurring orders in WooCommerce.

Step #4: Create important membership pages

Next, we can start setting up important membership pages. This is very easy to do with Paid Member Subscriptions. You can use the integrated Gutenberg blocks to quickly create fully optimized membership pages within a few clicks.

To get started, navigate to Pages → Add New and give your subscription registration page a suitable title.

PMS Gutenberg blocks

Click on the “+” icon to add a new Gutenberg Block and select the PMS Register block.

Subscription registration for

This will automatically create a new subscription registration form for you. This is great for quickly setting up professional-looking membership pages. In addition to this, you can also choose which subscription plans will be displayed or offered on the registration form using the block settings tab on the left. Once you’re ready, click on the Publish button to continue.

Similarly, you can also set up other membership pages such as the “My Account” page or the “Membership Login” page using Paid Member Subscriptions Gutenberg blocks. Once you have all pages set up with the Gutenberg blocks, navigate to Paid Member Subscriptions → Settings and scroll down to the Membership Pages section.

General settings tab

Select the pages that have either the PMS shortcodes or Gutenberg blocks using the dropdown menus and click on the Save Settings button to continue.

Step #5: Protect membership content

Now that everything is set up for your membership site, it’s time to start protecting members-only content on your site. All you need to do is navigate to the post or page’s edit screen and scroll down to the Content Restriction meta box.

Content restriction settings

Select Logged In Users and your subscription plan using the Display For section. This will only display the selected post or page to users who have subscribed to your membership plan.

Content restriction options

You can also set up the content restriction rule so that users who have not subscribed yet will be redirected to the subscription registration page. Simply select Redirect using the Type of Restriction radio buttons and then the Enable Custom Redirect URL checkbox. This will let you paste the subscription registration form URL so all unauthorized users will be redirected to subscribe or pay first before they can view the exclusive content. Click on the Update button once you’re done.


While WooCommerce Subscriptions is a great plugin that does the job, other alternatives like Paid Member Subscriptions offer the same features (and more) at a better price.

Paid Member Subscriptions make it easy for anyone to create a professional, full-fledged membership site within minutes. In addition to automatic membership page creation functionally, you also have robust content restriction features.

You can download the plugin for free at, or choose one of the premium plans for full membership features.

Paid Member Subscriptions Pro

The easiest way to create and sell subscriptions on your WordPress membership site.

Get Paid Member Subscriptions

Are you looking for a WooCommerce Subscriptions alternative plugin? What are some of the features that are most important for you? Let us know in the comments box below.

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