S2Member Review – Free vs. Pro

S2Member Free Wordpress Membership Site Plugin

S2Member Review – Free vs. Pro

Anyone who has investigated or compared WordPress membership website plug-ins is familiar with S2Member. The basic framework is free although there is also a Pro version for either $89 or $189 depending upon how many websites it will be used on. There is also an option to extend the one year of free support with the option to renew 12 months of support for either $19 or $29. It is important to note that the Unlimited site license is necessary for websites utilizing a WordPress multi-site network.

This includes child blogs and sub sites within the network. Additionally, the Unlimited license is not a developer license. The developers will need their clients to purchase their own single site or Unlimited site license.

Key Feature Differences between the Free and Pro Version

S2Member is an extremely feature-rich WordPress membership website plug-in. The free version is the fundamental framework the Pro version is built on which means it is updated just as often as the Pro version is. At the same time, there are certain limitations with the free version which is why many people choose to upgrade.

A key difference between the free and Pro version is third-party integration. While the free version support standard PayPal buttons, the Pro version is required for PayPal Pro integration, Stripe integration, Authorize.net integration, and ClickBank button integration.

Another key feature not available with the free version is the ability to utilize content dripping short codes. Content dripping short codes is the method used by S2Member to utilize the popular drip-feeding content strategy. In fact, a majority of short codes S2Member is known for are not available with the free version. For example, pro form short codes, customizable pro-form templates, and short code extras are only available with the Pro version.

There are also several key convenience features not available with the free version of S2Member. For example, one step registration/checkout is only available with the premium version. Additionally, the number of membership levels is limited to four with the free version whereas the paid version offers unlimited membership levels. Another popular convenience feature is remote operations API access and the ability to create coupon codes/gift codes. Both of these are only available with the Pro version of S2Member

S2Member is Phasing Out Some Integration Capabilities

In an interesting move, S2Member has decided to phase out support for some popular third party integrations. Two of the most notable third-party solutions being phased out are AliPay and ccBill. While they officially stopped advertising and featuring integration with these third-party solutions several years ago, they are now beginning to limit or eliminate assistance with existing integration for these services. While S2Member is not stripping out the integration completely, yet, future versions will be released without this integration natively supported.

The Future of S2Member

There is no arguing this premium WordPress membership site plug-in has a bright future. At the same time, the decision to phase out native integration and support for certain third-party solutions, particularly payment processors, can make it difficult for some people to determine whether or not this is the best long-term solution for their needs.

S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin Review

S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin Review

S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin Review

S2Member is considered to be one of the more comprehensive WordPress membership plugins designed specifically for the WordPress framework. In terms of website management it allows for nearly everything. One of thing to keep in mind is S2Member begins as a free plugin but there is a commercial Pro upgrade as well. For some people the free version will be enough but for serious membership sites the Pro upgrade is essential.

The Key Benefit of S2Member

If there is a single benefit that S2Member does better than nearly every other option it is the sheer number of features and setup options available. In terms of overall flexibility S2Member definitely ranks among the best. In terms of content presentation and protection S2Member has it all. This includes popular features like drip-feeding content, teaser content, upsells, short-code creation for any pricing structure and nearly every page is customizable (login/registration, email templates, member profile pages, and OTO pages).

The Key Drawback of S2Member
While all of these features are great it is also the cause of S2Member’s biggest drawback. It is definitely not the most user friendly for beginners and people who aren’t able to tweak some code as needed. There are a ton of setup options to go through so the initial setup phase for a membership site can be very time consuming the few times you use S2Member. This also makes it difficult to know exactly what options are necessary and which options are not. Many options in the setup process are worded for more technical users which can make things tricky for non-programmers as well. Fortunately the training documentation is fairly strong and comprehensive.

Free vs Pro Version of S2Member
While the free version offers a number of useful features for smaller membership sites there is a reason most S2Member fans end up purchasing the pro version. This is a quick look at key features which are only available with the Pro version.
• PayPal Pro Form Integration – including custom Thank-Page URLs
• Authorize.Net Pro Form Integration – including onsite credit card processing
• Google Wallet Integration
• ClickBank Integration
• Mass User/Member import/export capabilities
• Remote Operations API for PHP developers
• API functionality for dynamic Pro Login Widgets
• Compatibility with WordPress Multisite Blogs allowing Child Blogs
• BuddyPress support on Multisite Networks
As you can see there are some critical capabilities, especially when it comes to payment gateway integration, which only the Pro version can offer. Plus, once you spend all of the time it takes to get through the initial setup process most people will feel obligated to purchase the Pro version rather than explore other WordPress membership site plugin options.
Overall, S2Member is a strong option to consider – especially if you are comfortable tweaking code as-needed. In general the free version can’t stack up against other commercial WordPress membership plugin options; however the Pro version compares favorably to most of them.

S2Member Free
S2Member Pro Single License $69
S2Member Pro Unlimited License $129

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If you're looking for a discount coupon code for S2Member Pro, click S2Member Discount Coupon Code