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The 14 Best Membership Site Platforms in 2024

Stuck choosing membership site software? These 14 options are the best membership site platforms for 2024

By Mighty Team

June 12, 2024

20 min read

IN THIS ARTICLE

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    Membership businesses are thriving. Subscription e-commerce grew 65% in 2022 and is expected to reach $905 Billion annually by 2026.


    Translation: It’s big. And getting bigger.


    And membership sites are an accessible digital business model, whether you’re an independent creator or a brand looking for new revenue.


    Having the right membership management software will transform your business, giving you growth with almost 100% margins!



    • We‘ve seen a membership site add $40,000 in ARR with a high-ticket launch to 100 members.

    • We’ve seen a podcaster sell 5,000 seats to a $977 course in 10 days.

    • We’ve seen an entrepreneurship org. launch their branded membership app to 5,000 members.


    There’s nothing else like this!


    And great membership site platforms make it easier than ever.


    In this article, we’ll teach you how to pick the right membership platform, no matter what your membership looks like. Here are the best 14 options.


    Want to try G2's top-rated community management software for free?


    Start Your Free Trial








    ((toc))


    What is a membership site?


    A membership site is a website that offers benefits to members–whether paid or free. These benefits often include content, training, experiences, events, and/or premium offers. Creating a membership site can unlock recurring revenue through paid subscriptions or upsells.


    We’ve been big on membership sites for another reason.


    Members are special in a way that “customers” or “followers” aren’t. Members don’t just follow or purchase. Members belong.


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - OE-Discovery


    And in membership sites, we’re seeing incredible flywheel businesses that grow and scale to 6-, 7- and even 8-figures.


    Imagine…



    • Offers that sell out without any marketing or advertising.

    • Members asking for new products and services.

    • Content engines that run themselves thanks to UGC creators.


    From conversations to courses, from livestreams to events, membership sites can create awesome value for both members and Hosts.


    A membership site lets you deliver high-value content and benefits to people who pay a monthly or annual subscription. It’s a way for creators to work smarter, not harder, and scale their income potential for their digital business.


    Start Your Free Trial


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Flywheels.001


    What is a membership site platform?


    A membership site platform is the software solution for running a membership site. Most membership businesses run on dedicated applications built by third-party companies (almost nobody builds a membership site from scratch).


    Membership site platforms are out-of-the-box solutions that can handle things like member rosters and profiles, discussions and content creation, payment processing and plan creation, etc.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Optimistic - Payments


    Benefits of a membership site


    A great membership site platform can bring some amazing benefits to your brand or business:




    • Super scalable, with minimal extra work for you. Serve thousands of people at a time with only a few hours of work per week.

    • Connect members with like-minded people & growth opportunities and a focus they can’t find anywhere else.

    • Spark user-generated content to put growth on autopilot–use the same principles social media giants do

    • Bundle memberships with all sorts of goodies like events, courses, coaching, private groups, premium content, and more.


    Start Your Free Trial





    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.





    What makes a membership site platform successful?


    There was a time when a membership site meant gating your WordPress blog. Anyone remember that?


    Anyway, the rise of social media, especially Facebook Groups, gave us a new way to think about memberships. People could meet and chat with like-minded members and form friendships.


    But a Facebook group is DEFINITELY not a great place to build a business. With no payment gateways and an algorithm that makes it impossible to reach your followers (try competing with cat videos), a dedicated membership solution was in order.


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - GalaxyDAO-Join


    A good membership platform goes further than a web forum or a Facebook group, giving you the power to own 100% of your digital business. Here's what you should look for:



    • A way to bring members together & engage on content

    • Flexible content features that match your style, whether a forum, events, courses, livestreaming, chat & messaging, or polls

    • A payment gateway that lets you charge in your currency, and options to bundle and sell different kinds of content

    • A way to build your membership site and make it reflect your brand

    • Native mobile apps for every device & white-label options

    • Analytics and moderation features


    Start Your Free Trial





    14 Best membership site platforms


    1. Mighty Networks


    The best membership site platform





    Mighty Networks is the ultimate membership platform that mixes content, courses, community, and commerce–it will fuel $100+ million in memberships this year. And it’s consistently ranked the #1 community management software by G2.


    And only Mighty has people magic. It’s software designed to connect your members to each other–a mixture of native features and an AI community engine that drives exceptional member engagement.


    This includes features like:



    • Discussion forums that handle any kind of content you want + chat & messaging

    • Rich member profiles, AI matching and conversation-starters, and unique member lists

    • Engagement everywhere with live or pre-recorded courses, livestreaming, and virtual events

    • A suite of monetization tools for selling memberships and bundles, charging in different currencies, and tracking analytics


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - FaceExplorer-Mobile-2


    Imagine software that instantly shows you what you have in common with other members. Mighty does that. Software that starts a conversation… Mighty does that.


    MN Graphics - 2024 - co-host-similarities


    And Mighty lets you build under your own brand, and is available on both web and robust native mobile apps for iOS and Android.


    You can even get Mighty on a branded app-which we’ll talk about below.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - 2024 - Livestreaming GIF


    Mighty Co-Host™ can generate a community name, a Big Purpose, a brand identity, and landing and sales pages.


    And it makes it RADICALLY EASIER to run your community, with icebreakers, application assist, automatic course outlines, and our amazing "make it better" features for your posts.


    You could be inviting your first paying members in ten minutes.


    Try it!





    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.





    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Livewell-Full


    Mighty Networks features


    Pros



    • Spaces with livestreaming, events (+RSVP), live and pre-recorded courses, discussion forums, chat & messaging, and more!

    • Sell memberships, events, courses, private groups, or bundle any of these together

    • Build your network to reflect your brand identity + choose light or dark mode

    • Mighty Co-Host™ AI features: automatically generate landing pages, a brand, community name, course outlines, and a Big Purpose.

    • Creativity-boosting tools to help with writing, posting, and conversations

    • Charge in 135 different currencies or even with token-gating

    • Constant improvement and innovation with new features

    • Versatile apps for both iOS and Android


    • Tons of free support in the Mighty Community!


    Start Your Free Trial






    "As a host, Gina Bianchini and her team LISTEN!! I'll say that again, THEY LISTEN TO THE HOSTS! So over the last 6 years they have been asking us what we want and making changes to the platform in response to what the hosts, our communities and our members need. Yeah, that's cool!" Verified G2 Review






    2. Mighty Pro


    Best for branded membership apps


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - SplashScreens


    If you love the features we talked about above, but want to build your membership on your own branded apps, then you need Mighty Pro. It takes the community-building power of Mighty, things like live and pre-recorded courses, customizable spaces, livestreaming, live events, discussion boards, member profiles, chat & messaging, and more...


    And it puts them all in your own app!


    Imagine memberships sold through your branded app in the App Store and Google Play Store.


    MN - GRaphics - 2024 - App Screens - LiveWell


    We work with you to create an awesome app your members will love. This includes the Mighty Pro team, Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses.


    Mighty is the only membership site platform that lets you start from anywhere and grow into your own branded apps--without moving your business.


    Mighty Pro also comes with Mighty Co-Host™, giving you the AI assist to make managing your community RADICALLY easier--this includes the Infinite Question Generator, unique to Pro.


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Product Apps - Green BCK


    We've built membership apps for TED, Jim Kwik, Mel Robbins, Tony Robbins, Cambridge University, and more.


    Schedule a call with us and we'll show you what we could build together!


    Book a Call


    Mighty Pro features


    Pros



    • Premium apps under your brand in the App Store and Google Play Store

    • All the Mighty features: courses, discussions, live events, livestreaming, chat & messaging, member profiles, and more

    • Work with a dedicated team of Account Executives and Community Strategists

    • Constant VIP support and proactive upgrades, before and after launch

    • Advanced analytics & reporting

    • Premium Mighty Co-Host™ features--run your community in as little as a few hours a week

    • We handle your migration from an existing platform (if applicable)


    Cons



    Book a Call


    3. Kajabi


    Comprehensive course + marketing platform


    Kajabi is a membership site builder that specializes in pre-recorded online courses. It also aggressively emphasizes marketing, so its users can market, sell, and deliver their online courses with features like email campaigns, landing pages, triggers, up and downsells, and more.


    Kajabi app


    Kajabi comes with 6 different funnels to help users get members into their courses. This gives it a strong marketing functionality and the option to connect it to emails and landing pages makes it an end-to-end solution for asynchronous courses.


    But Kajabi has some drawbacks for some users.


    First of all, one downside to Kajabi is that it’s one of the more expensive membership site platforms on the market.


    But the bigger problem is this. Kajabi’s tools for building a community around a course are limited. Kajabi once had a forum feature, which wasn’t great. Kajabi recently bought the platform Vibely to try to fix this. The result is Kajabi Community 2.0, which adds more community options, including live meetups which gives Kajabi a livestream feature.


    This sounds good. But while Community 2.0 is a big improvement on Kajabi's old community feature, it's still not much more than a web forum. It doesn't offer the flexibility of a Mighty Network, and is missing Spaces that include courses, activity feeds, chat, events, webpages, discovery, leaderboards, and more. Mighty runs a course and community in the same Space, while in Kajabi course and community are two separate products with separate logins.


    Kajabi even runs its Kajabi Heros group on Facebook instead of its platform.


    Kajabi Community 2.0


    Kajabi's focus is primarily asynchronous content. It does well with pre-recorded courses.


    Kajabi 2.0 - app screens


    All this means that Kajabi has the best features for marketing a course, but is missing a ton of community-building features for a versatile membership site.


    Kajabi features


    Pros



    • Powerful marketing engine built-in with emails, campaigns, landing pages, and up- and down-sells

    • Connect it to emails and landing customized landing pages

    • Solid LMS for asynchronous (pre-recorded) courses

    • Charge in different currencies

    • AI features for course creation

    • Good mobile apps for every device


    Cons



    • Very expensive

    • Limited community functions & Kajabi 2.0 needs a separate login

    • Kajabi doesn't do native branded apps. If you outgrow Kajabi, you'll have to migrate somewhere else.


    4. Wild Apricot


    Membership site platform for nonprofits


    Wild Apricot is a membership site platform that caters to membership-based non-profits. The platform uses cloud-based technology to give you membership management options, so your work can go with you no matter where you are.


    Wild Apricot - In Person Event


    If you’re someone who is running a nonprofit organization or a national association, Wild Apricot has developed drag-and-drop tools for creating a website, database management for membership data, and integrated email. Users can also integrate payments and manage virtual events.


    Wild Apricot - In Person Event


    Another benefit of using Wild Apricot as a membership site platform is that their software easily integrates with pre-existing systems at your company. It comes with a robust emailing system that can link with your contact list and send out auto-confirmation emails, as well as reminders to your members. On top of that, it has advanced database search capabilities, target emailing campaign functionality, and the ability to track the analytics of your emailing campaigns.


    The platform is missing advanced, dedicated community spaces where members can connect and collaborate, as well as features like online courses, livestreaming, and AI options.


    Finally, as you can see from the photos, Wild Apricot is quite dated as a membership platform. Many of the features are useful for nonprofits and associations, but the UX is clunky. Everything works, but the website templates are tired. This means great functionality for member management, but member-facing features–while clean and professional–aren’t going to wow anyone.


    Wild Apricot features


    Pros



    • Good member management & database features

    • Integrated email and payments

    • Website builder + local websites (for national organizations)

    • E-commerce integration for an online store

    • Live event management


    Cons



    • Outdated design

    • Limited community features & no courses


    5. Teachable


    The best membership site platform for ONLY online courses


    Teachable - Course Image 2


    Teachable has gained a reputation as a membership site platform for creators and entrepreneurs to run pre-recorded courses. Teachable has an emphasis on multimedia-based content. And with its membership site platform, users can create multimedia lectures, video lessons, offer online coaching sessions, and more.


    Teachable course image


    Another important feature for any membership site platform is either providing native features for people to utilize (which is the better option) or having third-party integration support. Teachable allows for a plethora of integrations on their platform, and that also means they have a wide variety of currencies that they support.


    Teachable only works well for those who want pre-recorded courses. It's missing the depth of features to run live courses, and it can't be used for a robust membership community.


    Finally, Teachable DOES NOT have an Android App, meaning the 65% of users who use Android devices can't access your course.


    Teachable features


    Pros



    • Good asynchronous LMS

    • Landing page builder that’s easy to use + templates

    • Good marketing options with landing pages, coupons, and affiliate programs

    • Email and tracking built-in with tons of integration choices

    • Flexible monetization options


    Cons



    • No community functions at all (missing discussion forums, native livestreaming, live events, etc)

    • Doesn't work well for a cohort course

    • 10% transaction fees on the “free” course

    • No Android apps


    6. Memberful


    The best membership site WordPress plugin


    If you’re a creator or entrepreneur who already has an existing website, you might be turned off from transitioning to a full-on membership site platform. While we think that transition is most definitely worth it in the long run, using a plugin like Memberful is an option.


    memberful


    Memberful is a decent membership site platform that can integrate with a pre-existing WordPress website. It makes it possible to sell courses, a basic community, and digital and physical goods.


    Since Memberful is built to work best on WordPress websites (although it can work in a more limited capacity on others), you’ll get various integration options. You can monetize your membership through Stripe, create transactional emails, utilize a custom domain, accept different currencies, and much more.


    Memberful- uses


    Memberful lets you create special promotions, discounts, and coupons, to boost sales throughout the year.


    Memberful features


    Pros



    • WordPress-based membership platform (or hosted)

    • Sell courses, forum access, digital & physical products

    • Optimized checkout and analytics


    Cons



    • Limited community function

    • WordPress plugins are always complicated & change the feel of your site

    • No native apps





    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.





    7. Patreon


    Best for building a group of supporting fans


    Patreon-levels


    While it takes a TOTALLY different approach to building a membership business, Patreon is a sort of a membership site too. Although fairly limited in features like community options, creating courses, etc., it CAN be a good place to help members of your audience support you if you’re a creator.


    But there does come a point with Patreon where, if you’re looking to give your members perks like an active community or an app, you probably want to just start from scratch with a different membership platform. We talked about this question in this post.


    Patreon cost


    The other serious issue with Patreon is that it works on a percentage-based fee. The platform will take anywhere from 5-12% of your revenue. Imagine selling $5,000 in monthly memberships, only to have Patreon take $250-600 each month. That's a seriously high cost, and for this reason, you're probably better off choosing a flat-fee platform.


    Patreon is a good membership site platform if you're a creator looking to raise support from your biggest fans. If you're running a thriving membership business, you'll outgrow it fast.


    Patreon features


    Pros



    • Easily sell memberships to your fans

    • Patreon is well-known and easy-to-use

    • Great for a patronage monetary model


    Cons



    • Limited features for building a real membership business (it's missing native options like a community platform)

    • Very few creators make it work by itself--usually requires integrations with other platforms

    • Expensive transaction fees means that growing costs you


    8. BuddyBoss


    Best alternative WordPress plugin


    Buddy Boss


    We talked above about Memberful, but if you’ve got an existing WordPress site you’re looking to add a membership feature to, BuddyBoss is another option.


    A relaunch of the older plugin, BuddyPress, BuddyBoss helps you add things like online forums or private groups to your WordPress-run membership site. It also integrates with Learndash to gate online courses if you want to provide these for your members.


    BuddyBoss features


    Pros



    • Gated content

    • WordPress focused

    • Integrated with Learndash (an LMS)

    • Create profiles and groups


    Cons



    • WordPress plugins are always limited

    • Requires complex integrations to get basic features (e.g. an LMS)

    • Expect to require some coding knowledge to get it running smoothly

    • Expensive (for what you get)


    9. Podia


    Podia allows users to create and sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships. It comes build with some basic features such as webinar and community functions, plus the option to link a community to a course specifically.


    Podia email campaigns


    The best thing about Podia is probably its drag-and-drop website builder. In fact, Podia started as a membership platform, but it’s leaned hard into websites. It takes care of hosting so that you can create content and blog posts on the site. This includes templates to build from and customization options–and you can spin your blog into a newsletter.


    The rest of Podia is simple, in both good and bad ways. It’s easy to use, and its vision to integrate websites and products is great. But Podia doesn’t have a ton of flexibility for design. The digital product options are underdeveloped, and the community engine is fairly simple.


    Podia is a useful membership site builder. But it’s a jack of all trades and master of none. It checks a lot of boxes as an “all-in-one”, but each of the features are pretty basic by themselves. If you want a website builder first with an alternative to Kajabi, Podia is a good membership site option.


    Podia features


    Pros



    • Drag and drop website builder with templates and design options

    • Sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships

    • Integrated email

    • Basic discussion forum


    Cons



    • No mobile app

    • Limited community features compared to others


    10. Bettermode


    Bettermode (formerly known as Tribe) is a white-label customer community builder that can be added to a company website, giving the ability to create forums for discussion, ask questions, and share content. As a membership platform, it has a bunch of different templates to choose from.


    Discussions can be organized into different Spaces, collections, or tags by interest, making it a good membership site platform for a company that wants a customer service forum. And with the customization power to include or exclude spaces, blocks, “Explore” sections, it has some useful flexibility to match what your brand needs.


    Tribe- screenshot


    Bettermode doesn't do paid memberships, and it's missing some of the community-building features of other membership platforms. It doesn’t have features like connecting members by location or online courses. This means it's not the right choice for someone building a membership business. But it is still a solid membership site platform for corporate users adding a forum to their website.


    Bettermode features


    Pros



    • Community forum with custom spaces

    • Analytics, moderation tools, and search

    • Integrates with a corporate website


    Cons



    • No payments of any kind

    • No mobile apps


    11. Substack


    Substack - Discover


    Substack is a little different from the other membership site platforms on this list. It offers a different type of membership: subscriptions for newsletters.


    A creator, often a writer, will create a subscription newsletter that members can subscribe to and receive value in their inbox. As traditional journalism has collapsed in the last few years, Substack has been a really important option for freelance journalists to build and monetize their audience for their work.


    Substack is strange because it's a decent membership site platform, but a mediocre email platform. It's missing features that MailChimp or ConvertKit have when it comes to segmenting your audience. And with these two adding monetization options, Substack's place as the newsletter boss might be limited.


    But for now, it's a great place to create a paid newsletter, share it with the world, and collect payments.


    Try our newsletter name generator here!


    Substack features


    Pros



    • Great for monetizing a newsletter

    • Can build an audience

    • Charge in different currencies


    Cons



    • 10% cut on all payments

    • No real community features beyond a newsletter


    12. Discourse


    Discourse is a membership site platform that is based around an online forum, giving the ability to create discussion boards, moderate and respond to posts, and get notifications about new content.


    Discourse- Snip


    Although it’s marketed as free, and the code is open-source on GitHub, most people would have to pay for hosting and potentially a developer to get it up and running. But Discourse gives you a basic membership site.


    Discourse features


    Pros



    • Online forum with some decent features

    • Feels like a reddit or Quora

    • Open-source software


    Cons



    • Limited UX

    • No features other than a forum

    • "Open source" requires coding knowledge OR hiring an expert


    13. Kartra


    Kartra -


    Kartra is an online CRM platform that can be used to build a membership business. It lets you host online courses, build pretty comprehensive marketing campaigns, and build landing pages, video marketing, forms, and complex sales funnels. It also has email marketing and surveys to reach people at scale, and a calendar for scheduling 1:1s.


    Kartra has a specific membership site tool for drag-and-drop site builders and templates to work off.


    Kartra could be considered a good alternative to Kajabi (like Podia) in its features. It’s strongest in courses and marketing and weak in community and engagement tools. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any mobile apps.


    Kartra features


    Pros



    • Good CRM functionality for memberships

    • Online course platform

    • Strong marketing features, build landing pages and funnels

    • Booking calendar (for coaches)


    Cons



    • Bad UX design on the backend

    • Weak community features

    • Extremely expensive

    • No mobile apps


    14. AccessAlly


    Last but not least, we’ll round out this list with one last WordPress plug-in, for those of you still on WordPress. AccessAlly is another option for selling memberships and digital products on WordPress, and it has an LMS built into it that works well for online learning. It gives your students lots of features to track their progress, things like quizzes and video bookmarks, and works well for WordPress.


    But it’s expensive, and since there are all-in-one solutions that give you everything and more for cheaper, without needing any other integrations, most users would probably be better opting to build off WordPress. But if you’re a diehard WordPress user with a course to create, AccessAlly might be a good option.


    AccessAlly features


    Pros



    • "All-in-one" WordPress plugin

    • Brings together memberships, digital products, and an LMS

    • Good course features like quizzes and bookmarks


    Cons



    • Expensive

    • Limited community features





    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.





    Ready to build a membership site?


    MN - Graphics - 2024 - Livewell-Discovery


    If you're looking for the perfect membership site platform to bring members together with a TON of native features, come build with Mighty. You can mix courses, content, community, and commerce, and it's the only platform that lets you upgrade to a native mobile app as you grow.


    And if you want a TOTALLY custom-built experience, complete with YOUR apps for both iOS and Android, we do that too. Check out Mighty Pro.


    If you’re ready to create your own membership site, for free, right now, check out the platform. You can use it for 14 days, no credit card required.

    Ready to start your membership site?

    Start Your Own Mighty Network Today!No credit card required.

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