S2Member vs. Wishlist Member
There are a lot of options to consider when choosing a membership plugin for a WordPress website. Two popular options which are often compared are S2Member and Wishlist Member. The biggest flaw of most membership site plugin comparisons is they focus solely on one type of membership site. Instead of focusing on specific uses, this comparison provides an overall look at the potential effectiveness and versatility of each plugin.
- Core Framework
At the most basic level, every WordPress membership site plugin is only as good as its core architecture. Better architecture not only provides a stronger base but also increases the long-term potential and extensibility of the plugin. When looking only at the core coding there is no doubt Wishlist Member is a better solution. Not only is it more mature, meaning the core code has had more time to be developed and improved, but it doesn’t sacrifice user-friendliness to achieve this. S2Member features a robust, stable core framework but unfortunately the “do it all” approach means most people will need to do some tweaking to get exactly what they want.
- Flexibility (Including 3rd Party Integration)
Flexibility means different things to different webmasters but when you include built-in options as well as 3rd party integration it is easy to see the big picture of what flexibility really is. Most people would argue WIshlist Member offers greater flexibility because there are so many 3rd party applications that can be integrated in it. At the same time S2Member boasts a massive amount of built-in features which limits the need for a lot of 3rd party integration.
- Best Option for People Comfortable Tweaking Code
For people comfortable with tweaking the code their membership plugin S2Member is the obvious winner. A majority of the Wishlist Member code is encrypted which makes do-it-yourself tweaking nearly impossible in most regards. S2Member has a fairly clean design which makes tweaking the code easy. Plus, none of the core code is encrypted. If you want more control of the base code then S2Member is the clear winner in this regard.
Anytime you are choosing a key piece of software for your membership site documentation and support must be considered. Many people are Wishlist Member has better support because the 3rd party plugins are extremely well supported. At the same time actual Wishlist Member support is ideal. While you get access to extremely knowledgeable support staff the process is often more time consuming than it needs to be. Some of this stems from trying to work with the encrypted code. S2Member doesn’t have amazing support but it is still very strong and the included documentation more than compensates for any perceived weaknesses.
- Overall Ease of Use
For anyone wanting a powerful WordPress plugin with minimal hassle Wishlist Member is a safe bet. S2Member is equally strong but the sheer amount of options during the setup process can make it is a little difficult to use out of the box. On the other hand, once you are used to the setup process S2Member becomes nearly as easy to use as Wishlist Member.
Overall Wishlist Member Has a Slight Edge
Both of these WordPress plugins are extremely powerful and worthy of consideration. All things being nearly equal the maturity of Wishlist Member gives it a slight edge. This doesn’t mean it is the right choice for every situation as both options have strengths and weaknesses to consider.
Single License: $69
Unlimited License: $129
Single License: $97
3-User License: $194
Unlimited License: $297