Quite often I get the request to build membership sites. Now, with the release of Buddypress, it is a part of nearly every project I do. There are many flavors of WordPress plugins out there that do a decent job of providing a workable solution, but most of them are encrypted and poorly supported, riddled with poor code, or just so inflexible that it is hard to tailor them for a real world solution. Not only that, but almost NONE of them are compatible with a Buddypress environment. I have found one other, but it used an independent registration process and a separate login for paid members. Ewww.
Finally, finally, someone has done an clean job developing a membership solution for WordPress, and Buddypress. S2 Member aka “subscriber to member” is a newer plugin developed by Primo Themes (a division of Web Sharks). It is the most robust membership plugin that I have seen, and the only membership plugin I know of that is extensible. To me, as a developer, this plugin is a dream because it provides a really solid foundation, and puts all the tools and hooks I need to be able to work out any solution my clients need (which is the same reason why I LOVE WordPress).
What I like about S2 Member:
- It uses the native processes WordPress and Buddypress use for registration. One of the biggest pitfalls most other plugins make, is they monkey with the registration process (which is usually why they don’t work with Buddypress).
- Uses WordPress’ database tables for a seamless integration. Many of the other membership plugins use their own database tables to store information, which is not ideal when you start adding other features (and other plugins) to your site
- Provides several PHP conditionals you can use in template files. Some of the other plugins also do, but they don’t provide as many to work with.
- Integrates with any existing Affiliate software that supports pixel tracking (all the ones worth using), which also makes it easy to integrate with Google Analytics. Most of the other membership plugins want you to use their “affiliates” plugin as well, so they don’t leave the door open for you to use anything you want/need.
- It isn’t encrypted. Most of the premium membership plugins are, and you are stuck with their support team (in my experience, usually poor support) for any issues you need to fix/debugging you need to do.
- It’s FREE. The only plugins that compare to S2 Members feature set are $150+
S2 Member, especially for me, is a dream come true. Thanks to the team at Primo Themes for making my life easier, especially Jason!