18 real life membership site examples to inspire you

Are you a developer looking for inspiration to create a membership website for your client? Or maybe you’re a fitness trainer, planning to add memberships to your existing website, but you don’t know where to start.

If so, what you need is some real life examples of membership sites to give you a good idea of the most important features. And then you can choose a suitable tool and start building your website.

In this article, we’ll share 18 membership websites that are highly successful. Each one showcases different approaches and features that make them unique.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what makes a great membership site and which features you can use for inspiration from the best websites out there.

So let’s get started!

What is a membership website?

A membership website is an online platform that provides special content, services and benefits just for its registered members.

To access the site’s restricted areas or premium features, users usually create an account or pay a small fee to become members.

Having a membership site is a great way to share educational resources, connect with others in community forums, access premium content and take online courses.

18 best membership site examples

From online streaming platforms to famous newspapers, our list covers top membership websites from all genres.

Let’s cut to the chase and share the list of successful membership website examples with you:

  1. YouTube Premium
  2. Netflix
  3. Amazon Prime Video
  4. Linkedin Learning
  5. Spotify
  6. Apple Music
  7. Patreon
  8. The New York Times
  9. Medium
  10. Adobe Creative Cloud
  11. 40 Aprons
  12. Skillshare
  13. Codecademy
  14. Coursera
  15. Canva
  16. Shutterstock
  17. Book Riot
  18. Mark Manson

Let’s dive in:

1. YouTube Premium

YouTube is the most popular video streaming platform in the world. Since it’s free, it makes its money from ads. The ads are often intrusive, interrupting the viewing experience.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium is a membership service that offers ad-free videos, background playback, picture in picture mode and the ability to download videos for offline viewing.

The takeaway from YouTube’s premium membership is the seamless integration with the existing YouTube platform. Users can easily transition from the free version to the premium experience with no disruption.

2. Netflix

Netflix is a popular streaming service that serves a slightly different purpose than YouTube. This members-only website offers movies, TV shows and original content in return for a fee. You can’t view any content for free except for trailers.

According to Statista, Netflix had around 232.5 million paid subscribers worldwide.


Netflix membership allows access to a vast library of content and enjoys unlimited streaming on multiple devices simultaneously.

Netflix is also known for its personalized recommendations and user-friendly interface. The platform suggests content to each of its users based on their watch history which ensures a great experience for everyone.

3. Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is a subscription-based streaming service offered by Amazon. Being an Amazon Prime member, you have access to a variety of content, including well-known films, TV shows and documentaries.

Amazon Prime Video

The ability to download specific movies and watch them later without an internet connection is one of the benefits only available to members. You can play streaming on multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.

Prime also offers personalized recommendations based on users’ viewing habits and tastes, allowing users to find new programs and films they would like. Through the platform’s user community, you can create watchlists, rate material, and participate in discussions.

4. Linkedin Learning

Linkedin Learning is an online learning platform from LinkedIn, the most popular social media platform for working professionals. It offers a range of courses and tutorials on a number of professional topics.

LinkedIn Learning

It’s a perfect example of how to monetize a community with membership. The extensive library of high-quality courses perfectly compliments the platform, since the members are professionals who are likely to look for opportunities to improve their skills.

Users can also showcase their completed courses on their Linkedin profiles, which can help them get the next job as many potential employers are also on LinkedIn.

5. Spotify

Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming platform with 515 million users, including 210 million subscribers. It provides access to millions of songs, podcasts and audio content from indie musicians to chart toppers.


With a Spotify membership, you can download music, enjoy songs without ads and have an uninterrupted listening experience thanks to unlimited skips.

The user-generated playlist feature enables you to make, share, and even collaborate with others to foster a sense of community. Membership also provides added benefits like offline music which is a neat feature.

6. Apple Music

Apple Music is a music streaming service that requires a monthly membership. As a member, you will have access to a vast library of music, which includes millions of songs from many different genres and artists.

Apple Music

Members have access to song downloads for offline listening, on-demand music streaming, and the ability to create personalized playlists. Exclusive releases, live radio stations and unique content including documentaries and concert films are all available on the site.

Apple Music integrates seamlessly with all Apple products, including iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and even Android devices. It also helps you sync playlists, explore your music library across multiple devices, and operate their gadgets hands-free using Siri.

7. Patreon

Patreon is a membership website that allows creators to receive payments or donations from fans. Creators can offer members exclusive content, early releases and behind-the-scenes materials to add extra value.

Since the platform launched in 2013, over 250,000 creators have used it to generate more than $2 billion in revenue.


Being an online creator can often be financially unsustainable and we like how Patreon gives the opportunity to monetize your work.

As for monetization, Patreon is very flexible. You can charge a one-time fee, offer recurring payments and choose the payment schedule as you prefer.

Learn how to start a fan site like Patreon with WordPress and SureMembers.

8. The New York Times

The New York Times was one of the first newspapers to adopt digital subscriptions to provide access to its extensive range of news articles, reports and multimedia content.

The New York Times

With a membership to The New York Times, users can access all the editorials and exclusive content.

When you want to read the New York Times, you can only read a certain amount, leaving you wanting more. This is a paywall in action and it’s an effective way to promote the membership in a content-based website.

It’s very easy to add a paywall on your membership website using SureMembers.

9. Medium

Medium is a platform aimed at creators looking for broader audiences eager to hear their stories and ideas.


By joining Medium, you get access to a huge list of fantastic articles from independent content creators.

Medium’s membership helps its creators directly, as it shares the earnings with the content creators. They also add a paywall to the locked stories (creators can decide which stories they want to protect) and you can only read 3 locked stories a month.

10. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe is the company behind some of the most popular design and motion graphics software in the world, including Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, Premiere Pro and others.

Adobe Creative Cloud

The Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service offers access to all these industry-leading software needed for graphic design, photo editing, video production or web development combined into one package deal.

This means you won’t have to worry about purchasing any of your media software separately.

11. 40Aprons

40Aprons is a great platform that provides members with genuinely healthy recipes and meal plans alongside cooking tips.


By becoming a member of 40 Aprons, you can explore new horizons outside of your normal cooking realm. Although it does have exclusive content, the emphasis at 40Aprons remains on providing specialized knowledge catering to its members’ needs.

Members receive support plus personalized recommendations from other food enthusiasts within the website’s vibrant community setting.

12. Skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning platform that offers courses on almost all topics, ranging from creative arts, design, business and more.


It’s a learning community, meaning anyone can watch video lessons, create projects and teach a class. Skillshare membership allows you to unlock new skills and find a like-minded community of learners.

It helps content creators to earn money for their content. They get their fair share of the earnings, as they get paid based on the watch time of their courses.

13. Codecademy

Like Skillshare, Codecademy is another online learning platform, albeit with a different focus. It only includes subjects like coding and programming.


Codecademy membership allows you to access highly engaging coding courses, practice the exercises and get project-level experience with many programming languages.

According to Prnewswire, Codecademy courses are frequently accessed by students in 190 different countries.

It has adopted an interactive learning approach, which allows users to write and test code directly within the platform. Since most of their learners are actually looking for a job, they provide a certificate on the premium plan, which is a nice incentive to upgrade.

14. Coursera

Coursera is another highly popular online education platform that works differently than most other learning platforms. It collaborates with globally acclaimed universities and institutions to offer specialized courses and tutorials.


With a Coursera membership, you can enroll in courses across various disciplines, earn certificates and even pursue full-time online Bachelor and Masters degrees.

It gives access to an impressive 7000+ courses taken by top universities worldwide. The best thing about Coursera is the quality, which is simply world-class.

15. Canva

Canva is a cloud-based graphic design platform that makes design easy with a range of tools and templates for creating stunning graphics materials.


Membership allows you to access a huge selection of design templates, collaborate with team members and enjoy additional offerings like premium stock photos and visuals.

Canva has grown prominently over the last decade mainly due to its user-friendly interface and the huge library of ready-made design resources.

16. Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a membership site providing stock photography and video and has one of the largest collections of high-quality visual content.


With a Shutterstock membership, you can access and download images, videos, music tracks and other media assets to use in projects.

The great thing about Shutterstock is that they have assets for all forms of multimedia. Thanks to the comprehensive library, you can find the perfect visual asset in a single place, saving a lot of time.

17. Book Riot

Book Riot is a membership website dedicated to books, reading and literary culture. They have become one of the most buzzing communities of bibliophiles.

Book Riot

Since Book Riot has a passionate and engaged community of book lovers, they launched a subscription service to find out about upcoming book releases.

It’s a nice little perk that goes perfectly with the platform and its audience.

18. Mark Manson

Mark Manson offers a membership program for his audience on his website. With a Mark Manson membership, you can access exclusive articles, videos and courses related to personal growth and life advice.

Mark Manson

Since he has a devoted audience who already likes his writing, he found a way to monetize that through membership.

This is a very good approach to membership sites and it works because members get the personalized feeling that they want.

What makes a membership website successful?

Now that you have had the chance to check out some of the most popular membership websites, you may have some ideas about how you want to approach yours.

Let’s help you on that path with some proven strategies to make your membership website successful.

1. Ease of use

One of the most important criteria for the success of a membership website is how user-friendly it is.

Visitors should be able to quickly navigate the website, find the content they need and understand how to sign up for the service.

A positive user experience is helped by a user-friendly interface, clear instructions and easy navigation. A good membership website also makes sure that the sign-up process is quick and easy!

2. Professional website design

The success of a membership website is also influenced by the appearance and professionalism of the design. In addition to grabbing visitors’ attention, a well-designed website creates credibility.

A clean layout, eye-catching images and recognizable branding components are all characteristics of a professional design.

3. Limited membership plans

One of the best practices that most successful membership websites follow is offering a small selection of membership plans.

You can make it easier for potential members to make a decision by restricting the choices to a maximum of three plans. With too many options, users may become overwhelmed and unable to make decisions.

You can also present each plan with clear advantages and disadvantages. It’s simpler to select the plan that best suits our requirements when you clearly communicate the advantages and features of each plan.

4. Offer trials, discounts and coupons

Providing trials, discounts and coupons is another effective strategy to attract new members and encourage conversion.

Offering a trial period allows potential members to experience the value of the membership before committing to a full subscription.

Discounts and coupons can incentivize users to take action and join the membership site. These promotional offers create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, driving membership sign-ups and increasing user engagement.

5. Multiple payment options

Providing a variety of payment options is crucial if you want to create a successful membership website.

Not everyone uses the same method of payment and not all payment methods are available everywhere. The more payment options you provide, the more people you can offer your service.

Membership sites that serve a wider range of payment options are likely to get more success than those that do not. Potential members also gain trust and confidence when seeing that you try to cater to their needs.

6. Support

Dependable and timely service is a must to grow a membership website. Members should have quick access to support whenever they run into problems or have inquiries about their membership.

It’s important to give members accessible ways to contact assistance, such as email, live chat and a dedicated support ticket system. If the support staff is responsive and competent, it’s proven to improve member satisfaction and retention.

Frequently asked questions about membership websites

Here are some common questions that people often ask about membership websites.

How much does a membership website cost?

A membership website cost depends on different things including the price of your domain name and hosting package. Website design costs like hiring a developer or using any premium theme and template.

The price of a membership plugin is the last point. If you choose SureMembers as your membership plugin, a single website will cost you $99 per year.

Is WordPress good for membership sites?

Yes, WordPress is good for membership sites because it’s open source and comes with tons of themes and plugins, many of which are specifically designed for membership functionality.

What is the difference between a subscription and a membership website?

The difference between a subscription and a membership is that a membership website offers extra benefits and features outside of the subscription model like community elements and personalized content. A subscription website involves recurring fees for access to content or services.

Learn more about subscription vs membership.

Wrapping up

No matter what type of product or service you provide, membership is a great way to monetize it.

That is why membership websites are growing at an unprecedented rate, with the average subscription billing vendor growing 30–50%+ annually.

We hope you’ve found the 18 real-world membership sites examples we’ve covered in this post to be a great source of inspiration for your own membership website.

To build your online membership website, we encourage you to try SureMembers, a WordPress plugin made to streamline membership site operations and make the process of creating and operating easier.

You can easily protect premium content, provide users with membership plans and assure secure payment methods while also getting dedicated support.

So why wait? Start your journey today!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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