MemberPress vs. LearnDash vs. SureMembers – Which is best?

MemberPress, LearnDash and SureMembers, all three plugins are great for monetizing website content and for creating exclusive online communities.

Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses and also shine in their own right.

If you’re a content creator, developer, or course seller seeking to create a paid membership site, you’ll need a membership plugin. Not sure which one to choose?

This article will assist you in understanding each of the plugin’s capabilities and provide an unbiased opinion.

We’ll share an overview of each plugin and then dive deeper into each to help you decide which to choose.

Finally, we’ll share our verdict mentioning which plugin is best for what purpose.

By the end, you should know exactly what plugin to choose for your next project!

Why we are a trustworthy source

We are the creators of SureMembers, one of the plugins that we will discuss in this article.

We designed SureMembers because none of the other solutions did what we wanted, how we wanted it. There were too many compromises and too few integrations.

We understand that each plugin has unique features that others may not. That’s why we’ll provide a helpful summary at the end of this comparison to help you choose the best option for your needs.

As we made one of the plugins, we’re not going to tell you which to choose. Instead, we’ll provide an honest review of each and point out their strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll leave the final decision up to you.

What should a membership plugin do?

A membership plugin is essential for managing and controlling access to your website content.

It allows you to create membership levels or access groups, restrict content to paying members only, and handle recurring payments.

All key ingredients for running a successful membership website!

A membership plugin should ideally offer the following features:

Membership plugin

Having a membership plugin with these features will make it easier for you to manage your website effectively and give you the tools you need to help your business grow.

MemberPress vs. LearnDash vs. SureMembers – Overview

Overview of MemberPress

MemberPress landing page

With MemberPress, you can effortlessly craft personalized membership tiers, regulate member subscriptions and safeguard your content from unauthorized access.

Additionally, MemberPress can synchronize with email automation tools like MailChimp, along with leading payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and

MemberPress has a drip content function and comprehensive paywall features that can help build a flourishing membership site.

Key features of MemberPress:

  • Customizable checkout forms and coupons.
  • Lock menu items, posts, pages, custom post types (CPT), parts of a post or page, all templates, files/downloads and URLs.
  • Payment integration with Stripe, PayPal, and Express Checkouts (Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Pay).
  • Option to create corporate membership accounts.
  • Integrated reporting and analytics allow you to keep track of the overall performance.
  • Well-equipped paywall functions with content dripping.
  • Tax and VAT collection from checkout form using TaxJar.
  • Event and trigger integrations with Zapier and HelpScout. Other integrations include two-factor authentication, Blubrry PowerPress, BuddyPress and Google reCaptcha.
  • Create as many access rules and membership plans as you need.
  • Dedicated LMS extensions to create course websites.

Pros of MemberPress:

  • Provides reports and analytics.
  • Paywall access rules with drip-feeding content.
  • Automatic tax and VAT collection option.
  • A wide array of payment integrations.
  • Customizable coupons and checkout forms.
  • Dedicated LMS addon available.
  • Comprehensive content locking rules.

Cons of MemberPress:

  • Doesn’t include sales features like order bumps, cart abandonment, upsells and downsells.
  • Checkout form is difficult to customize.
  • No view post limit feature.
  • No dedicated dashboard.

Overview of LearnDash

LearnDash landing page

If you’re looking for a robust plugin for creating a top notch eLearning experience, LearnDash is a great option.

This dedicated learning management system is especially helpful for online coaches, instructors, and teachers.

With LearnDash, you can create a membership site that gives your students access to a wide range of resources, including videos, course materials, and assignments.

The plugin also offers quizzes and assignments to help keep students engaged throughout the learning process. It also includes built-in certificate and badge builders to help reward achievement.

Key features of LearnDash:

  • Keep students engaged with quizzes and assignments.
  • Motivate students by issuing certificates and badges.
  • Course creation wizard to create courses faster.
  • Best suited for online educators or instructors to create online eLearning websites.
  • Drip-feed lessons for dynamic course content delivery.
  • Drag and drop-based course builder.
  • Coupons and discounts features.
  • Profile dashboard to see course progression.
  • Integrates with many other popular plugins like BuddyBoss, GamiPress, The Events Calendar, EDD, MailChimp, bbPress and Slack.
  • Sell courses with one-time purchases or recurring subscriptions.
  • Event-based automated notifications such as when a student completes a milestone.
  • Tax collection features.
  • Dedicated eLearning templates.
  • Focus mode to eliminate distractions.
  • Includes native Stripe integration and integrates with WooCommerce payment gateways.

Pros of LearnDash:

  • Great for creating online courses.
  • Student profile dashboards.
  • Create certificates, quizzes and badges.
  • Drip-feed and content lock features.
  • Predesigned eLearning templates.
  • Drag and drop course builder.
  • Automated emails.
  • Integration with popular platforms.

Cons of LearnDash:

  • Limited functionality for a general membership website as it is mainly intended to create course websites.
  • No free version.
  • No view post limit option.

Overview of SureMembers

SureMembers landing page

SureMembers is a highly customizable WordPress membership plugin. It enables you to create, manage and sell memberships on your website effortlessly.

It’s a great tool for building online communities and integrates with platforms like BuddyBoss to help create a thriving collective.

You can also extend your membership site to create an eLearning website using learning management systems like TutorLMS, LifterLMS and LearnDash.

With SureMembers, you can protect pages, posts and all types of multimedia content, ensuring that only subscribed members can access them.

Key features of SureMembers:

  • Restrict the access to pages, posts, templates, custom post types even the entire website.
  • Create paywalls, access groups and access rules with an intuitive interface.
  • Create rules for drip feeding content.
  • Restrict site menu.
  • Show excerpts of locked content.
  • Set automatic expiration rules for subscription plans.
  • Payment gateway integrations with Stripe, PayPal, and Express Checkouts (Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Pay) via SureCart. It also supports all WooCommerce payment gateways.
  • Create and lock courses with LMS integration.
  • Integrations with page builders like Elementor, Divi and Spectra.
  • Customizable checkout forms with sales tax and VAT collection features using TaxJar.
  • HoneyPot and Google reCaptcha version 3 to stop spam.
  • Event and trigger-based automatic email-sending feature.
  • Exclusive features like order bump, cart recovery and advanced reporting via SureCart.
  • Events and trigger-based automation with SureTriggers that helps connect with other platforms.

Pros of SureMembers:

  • Minimalist user interface for membership management.
  • Supports drip feeding.
  • Set automatic expiration rules for memberships.
  • Full control to lock web pages, posts, menu items, templates even custom post types.
  • Integrate with other platforms to create courses.
  • Integrate with other platforms to create an interactive community.
  • Automated email tools.
  • Advanced marketing analytics like order bump and cart recovery.
  • Dedicated tax and VAT collection feature.

Cons of SureMembers:

  • It’s a new plugin with not much of a track record as yet.
  • No view post limit feature.
  • No free version available. (But has a 30-day money-back guarantee!)

Three popular membership plugins compared

Now, let’s dig deeper into each of these membership website plugins so you can decide which is right for you.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Setup and management

This section will break down each of the plugin’s setup and overall management methods.

MemberPress – Includes reporting and analytics but lacks a dedicated dashboard

MemberPress is a great membership plugin. But it does lack a dedicated dashboard where the site administrator can see a rundown of the site.

However, it comes up with a great looking reporting and analytics feature, detailed with all the transactional data. You will need to navigate an extra level to get to that though.

Here’s what the reporting screen looks like.

reports and analytics - memberpress

You’ll be able to generate custom reports by specifying a custom time range (monthly, yearly and all-time basis). You’ll also be able to see transaction data based on factors such as:

  • Pending.
  • Failed.
  • Refunded.
  • Completed.
  • Tax collected.
  • Total net income.

LearnDash – Reports with limited features and a plain overview dashboard

Though LearnDash provides an overview dashboard out of the box, it’s not filled with data and analytics.

It’s just a plain dashboard that links to their knowledge base, news and support.

LearnDash overview dashboard

Even their reporting is not detailed with a graphical representation of data. The report section only allows the admin to download user data in CSV format and only shows chronological transaction history.

You can extend the functionalities of the reporting feature with paid addons though.

SureMembers – Use a native dashboard via SureCart

SureMembers works in tandem with SureCart, a free eCommerce platform designed to sell digital products.

SureCart will handle all the transactional data that takes place within SureMembers. You’ll get to know every piece of information in one place using the SureCart dashboard.

Here’s what the dashboard of SureMembers (or SureCart) will look like.

SureCart or SureMembers dashboard

The SureMembers dashboard will show you the graphs for the following data:

  • Revenue amount
  • Number of orders
  • Average value
  • Recent orders

It also places some quick links to take necessary actions.

Setup and management – Verdict

All three plugins offer simple setup and some form of dashboard. However, one plugin makes it easier than the others, although it requires SureCart as well as SureMembers.

It’s an extra plugin you need to install but it’s free and can provide valuable insight into how your website is performing. It also uses the same navigation and style, so there’s no learning curve.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Automation options

Automation options help you exert minimal effort while still getting maximum work done.

Let’s look at each plugin to understand how good they are at automation.

As websites tend to use email so much, let’s concentrate on email automation.

MemberPress automation

MemberPress provides a wide range of email notifications for the admin and customers.

For example, it sends emails when a user:

  • Signs up on your website
  • Purchases a membership plan,
  • Cancels, upgrades or downgrades subscription plans.
MemberPress email automation

Currently, MemberPress supports 13 events when the system can trigger an email.

LearnDash automation

LearnDash also offers a few email automation triggers for the admin and users, but has only a limited number of events.

LearnDash offers emails for the events such as:

  • Course purchase
  • Group purchase
  • New user registration
  • Purchase invoice
LearnDash email automation

SureMembers automation

SureMembers not only automates email events but it also automates other events like when a user signs up on another website.

You can create and automate events using SureTriggers, a free automation platform for WordPress. It integrates seamlessly into SureMembers, providing full access to multiple automations.

SureMembers support the email triggers for the following events:

  • Order confirmation emails.
  • Free order emails.
  • Refund emails.
  • Subscription renewal emails.
  • Subscription cancellation notifications.
  • Subscription reminder notifications.
  • Recovery reminder notifications.
  • Abandoned cart emails.
SureCart email automations

SureMembers leads the race with a whopping 22 email events and triggers.

Automation options – Verdict

When you put memberpress vs learndash head to head, they compare well. Each offers a series of email automation tools to get basic jobs done.

But again, SureMembers comes out ahead. It can perform all those email automations and links with SureTriggers that offers unlimited scope to automate many core tasks.

SureTriggers isn’t free, but considering how much you can do with it, you may find it a worthwhile investment.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Ease of use

Now, let’s get an overall idea of how each solution helps you manage membership levels and access rules.

Membership levels and access rules are important to protect and monetize your website content.

You can have as many membership levels as you need and charge accordingly. Access rules determine what content each tier can access and when.

MemberPress – Great for protecting general website content

MemberPress has all the basic options to create membership levels. It includes setting pricing, specifying who can buy membership, whether membership is exempt from tax or not, and customizing the payment method for each membership level.

You can also use custom fields to customize the registration form.

MemberPress - adding rules

You can set all the rules from the Rules section to protect your premium content. You’ll also find conditional rules to grant users with particular attributes access.

You can set conditions for the access of website content based on:

  • Membership
  • Member
  • Role
  • Capability
  • Free members
  • Paid members.
MemberPress access rules

It’s also possible to create courses and monetize them with a separate addon, which might be a little expensive.

LearnDash – Good tool for creating courses with limited access rules

Being a course builder, LearnDash lets you create unlimited courses that you can hide behind paywalls.

To do so, you can just set a recurring fee or make it a one time deal.

LearnDash course builder

You’ll also have the option to offer courses for free or you can make the courses’ status Closed so only you can manually enroll students.

LearnDash course settings

However, you won’t be able to create membership levels or access groups with LearnDash. You’ll need a plugin for that.

SureMembers – Good for beginners to build memberships and course websites

SureMembers not only helps to create a membership website, it also allows you to integrate with free learning management systems to create paid courses.

The plugin can integrate with free learning management systems like TutorLMS, LifterLMS and LearnDash.

With SureMembers, you can create membership levels and set access rules on the same page, which makes everything really easy, even for beginners.

suremembers access groups

The page has the options to give an access group (membership level) name and set access rules to protect website content.

Other important features include:

  • Redirection rules
  • Membership expiration rules
  • User sync
  • Priority rules for groups.

You can also schedule your content using the drip feed option on the same page.

Ease of use – Verdict

Each membership plugin is relatively easy to use and set up. MemberPress is ahead of LearnDash in terms of setting up membership levels and access groups though.

SureMembers also lets you create and control groups, access levels and content to a more granular level.

This control over content was one of the reasons we created the plugin, so we would hope it excels here!

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Community building

If you are wondering about building a community, this section is for you.

By community based memberships, we mean that the users not only will buy the subscriptions but also will be able to interact with each other.

We’ve broken down the three platforms to determine which one is best to create a peer membership website.

MemberPress – Not a good option to create an interactive community

With MemberPress, you can only create membership levels. It does not provide any option for people to interact with each other.

If you want to build a private forum for discussion or want your users to connect and send messages to each other, MemberPress is probably not the best option.

You can do it, but you’ll need to set up a separate forum and link the two together. Not the most seamless experience.

LearnDash – A good solution to creating a community learning experience

With LearnDash, you’ll be able to assign a group leader who can supervise learners of the same group. This makes LearnDash a good fit for corporate training and classrooms.

LearnDash - A good solution to creating cohort based learning experience

LearnDash is a great option for building a community learning environment as you can assign a group leader to monitor progression.

SureMembers – Great for creating a private community based learning environment

Though SureMembers does not have a native option to create a cohort based learning experience, it integrates with social network builder plugins like BuddyBoss.

You can effortlessly create a private community and allow your users to communicate with each other and share their thoughts in a group or forum.

Community building – Verdict

This time when you compare LearnDash vs MemberPress, it’s LearnDash that comes out on top. It has the most interactions and community tools of all three plugins.

While it is possible for you to create communities in SureMembers, you’ll need to use a third-party plugin to do it.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Payment options

You need to carefully examine each plugin to determine whether it has the payment gateways your members are likely to use.

For example, we recommend having at least one credit card payment collection option and an express checkout option.

Some people prefer the security of using a credit card. Express checkouts can help reduce friction for returning customers.

We think both are very useful in conversion.

Plus, adding new ways of payment like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Pay can be a cherry on top.

MemberPress payment options

MemberPress can allow you to use popular payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal and

MemberPress payment options

As a bonus, it also packs an express checkout option via PayPal Standard so you don’t have to worry about friction for returning customers.

You can also use the Stripe gateway to collect payments from Apple Pay and Google Pay wallets. There’s an offline transfer method too.

LearnDash payment options

LearnDash has native Stripe payment gateway support along with other popular gateways like PayPal, and RazorPay.

LearnDash payment options

It also comes with other integrations like ThriveCart. It does not provide any native solution to receive payments from services like Apple Pay or Google Pay though.

SureMembers – Balance between payment options

SureMembers also has two popular online payment gateways in Stripe and PayPal to receive payments from credit cards.

Plus, it also allows payments using manual offline gateways like bank account transfers.

SureMembers - payment options

The best part is that it packs an express checkout option that will help you recover abandoned carts.

There’s also a way to receive payments through digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Amazon Pay.

Payment options – Verdict

For pure payment options, MemberPress wins out. It has the most options covering most user requirements.

LearnDash falls behind a little even though most payment gateways are covered.

SureMembers needs SureCart to accept payments and covers most gateways. It also has the option for extra sales tools like upsells, cross sells and abandoned cart recovery.

Overall, we would say SureMembers wins this one even if it does need SureCart to deliver it!

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Order bumps and upsells

Order bumps and upsells are very important marketing features to maximize revenue.

An order bump is where you add related products or services to a purchase. For example, a set of supplementary coursework in addition to the main course.

An upsell is where you offer a more expensive version of what’s in the cart. For example, offering a course with one-on-one tuition as opposed to a pre-recorded video course.

MemberPress – No native order bump, upsell and down sell option

Unfortunately, MemberPress does not come with any native features to upsell courses or membership plans.

You can add them with a paid extension though.

LearnDash – No native order bump, upsell and downsell option

Though LearnDash has a myriad of features, it does not natively support order bumps, upsells and down sells.

Like MemberPress, you can add the feature with a paid addon.

SureMembers – Amazing marketing tools like order bumps, upsells and down sells

With SureMembers and SureCart, you can not only maximize your sales using order bumps and upselling options but also see analytics.

SureMembers - Amazing marketing tools like order bumps

If you’re using WooCommerce with SureMembers, you can also use the WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery tool to recover abandoned carts.

Order bumps and upsells – Verdict

SureMembers is a clear winner here. Using the free SureCart plugin, it has upsell, cross sell, cart abandonment, reports, analytics and a whole lot more.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Integrations

Integrations lets you expand your membership website by linking it to other services.

For example, linking to an email service to send welcome emails or integrating the admin dashboard with Slack to provide real-time notifications.

MemberPress integration

MemberPress has a staggering 102 addons and integrations with other platforms. You may need to buy different pricing plans to access them though.

MemberPress Integration

These come at a price, so it’s entirely up to you how you build your membership website.

You can also use the Zapier integration to connect with other applications or platforms.

LearnDash integration

LearnDash has a total of 35 integrations, 25 of which are premium and the others are free.

Despite being a course builder, LearnDash can also be scaled up to add membership functionalities using addons and integrations with other plugins.

LearnDash Integration

It integrates with WooCommerce, The Events Calendar, BuddyBoss, and EDD. Some popular addons include Reports for LearnDash, Private Messaging for LearnDash and LearnDash Gradebook.

SureMembers integration

SureMembers has some built-in integrations, especially with learning management systems such as LifterLMS or LearnDash.

SureMember uses SureTriggers to simplify and automate the integration processes using IFTTT (If This, Then That) logic.

With SureTriggers, you can integrate as many platforms or applications as you want.

SureMembers Integration

Since SureMembers works with SureCart, an eCommerce platform, it will perfectly use SureCart’s all features to act like a fully-fledged eCommerce plugin.

Integrations – Verdict

We would call this one a draw across the board. Each membership plugin has lots of scope for integrating it with other services.

The only difference is how it happens. Some integrations will be free while others will cost money. As we will all use different integrations, that’s not something we can use in a verdict.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Pricing

If we want to analyze a solution’s real value, we must consider pricing. In this section, let’s analyze each of the plugin’s costs.

MemberPress pricing

MemberPress pricing

The cheapest plan (Basic) starts from $179.50/year for 1 site. The most popular Plus plan starts from $299.50/year. The highest priced tier (Pro) costs $319.60/year for 5 sites.

If you are a professional blogger or a podcaster creating many valuable resources, the Plus pricing tier may make most sense as it has marketing integration and podcast options.

But if you are selling your content in European countries, you may like the Pro pricing plan as it uses Taxjar to calculate and collect sales tax and VAT automatically.

LearnDash pricing

LearnDash pricing

LearnDash’s basic pricing starts from $199/year. However, if you choose the Unlimited plan, the pricing soars up to $799/year, which can be a decent deal if you run a busy agency.

They also have another plan which starts from $24 per month if you pay it annually. You also get hosting, which is great if you’re setting up your website for the first time.

Unfortunately, you may still pay for some premium extensions which can be quite expensive.

SureMembers pricing

SureMembers pricing

SureMembers costs from just $69/year which is the lowest of all three membership plugins.

Even the Pro (basic) plan includes all the required integrations and premium features.

If you are a professional course creator with multiple domains, the Business plan ($99/year) might be the perfect fit for you considering you can use it on 5 sites.

If you’re handling more clients, the Agency plan priced at $149/year might be more suitable for your needs.

Pricing – Verdict

This is a clear win for SureMembers. It’s cheaper and requires fewer paid addons.

Considering how close each offering is, we consider SureMembers offers amazing value.

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Miscellaneous

Now, let’s compare some miscellaneous aspects of each plugin. These are all minor but often important aspects of running a membership website that don’t really warrant their own description.

Reports and analytics✅(Via paid addon)
View post limit
Manual addition of members
Customer satisfaction rate4.5 (Trustpilot)4.8 (WISDMLABS)4.9 (Web reviews)

Miscellaneous – Verdict

We would say this miscellaneous section is a tie between all three membership plugins.

They all offer reporting, manual addition of members and score well in reviews. None offer view post limits, which is about as close to a tie as you can get!

MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers – Which is best?

Now, it’s time to get to know which membership plugin is best for what.

Honestly, all three solutions are great options but they do have ideal use cases.

MemberPress is best for flexibility

MemberPress is a popular membership plugin with a proven track record.

It has all the necessary features to lock content, and with some paid addons, you can add more functionality.

It is highly customizable with a lot of premium addons. For example, you can also build courses through its paid course builder addon.

The registration forms and checkout forms are highly customizable too. Using an automatic tax calculation system, you can also collect tax and VAT from the checkout form.

However, getting a single addon might force you to upgrade or downgrade your plan, which can increase the cost quite a lot.

LearnDash is best for creating courses and interactive communities

If you are an instructor or teacher who wants to create courses for students, LearnDash could be the best option.

You can easily create courses and assign group leaders to supervise students. There are also badges, certificates and other interactive features.

You can use a paid addon to extend the functionality of LearnDash to allow the students to message each other or add a forum to increase the sense of community.

However, to create a general membership website, LearnDash might not be ideal as you’ll have to install other plugins, which may cost extra.

SureMembers is best for beginners and affordability

If you are looking for a beginner-friendly, affordable solution with all the important features you need, SureMembers can help.

If you get the basic plan, you’ll still get the premium features at an affordable price.

Apart from locking and monetizing regular website content, It’s also scalable with LMS integrations and community builder plugins.

Its checkout form is super customizable that can handle tax and VAT collection features with advanced marketing tools and analytics.

We built SureMembers to be as easy to use as possible, which is why we recommend it for new users. It’s also cheaper than the competition, making it doubly accessible.

Final thoughts

We hope you found value in this MemberPress vs LearnDash vs SureMembers head to head, we know we did!

Even though we are the creators of one of these membership plugins, we have tried to be as unbiased as possible in our review.

We have tried to be balanced, truthful and approach them from your perspective. We hope we succeeded!

Which membership plugin will you choose and why? Tell us about it in the comments!

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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