5 Best Membership Website Builders in 2022

Updated May 14 2022
Ailsa Margatte
membership website builder

Disclosure: Our independent research into projects and impartial reviews is supported by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

Do you want to skip the read and get right to my top picks? The best membership website builder for most people is Squarespace.


Introduction:

The concept of exclusive content is something that has changed the game for the content creation sector. To secure an edge over the competition, many content developers and creators now offer exclusive content. Specifically, retailers offer members-only discounts and perks similar to those of membership shopping centres.

In today’s highly competitive digital world, deploying a successful membership website begins by choosing an appropriate builder that will enable site creators to properly draw in their target audience. Therefore, we present a review of the five best membership site platforms to help users make prudent decisions as to which one to use for their work.

We're also throwing membership sites examples and membership site ideas to inspire you!


What are Website Builders for Membership Sites?

A membership website may be described in a similar manner as a gated residential community. In particular, the word “gated” is the operative term as much of the content is only available to those who sign up for the privilege of enjoying it.

These are most commonly used by non-profit or cause-oriented organisations, fan clubs (if you surf onto the sites of Japanese celebrities, you’ll find that eight of every ten sites is a membership site), and professional associations. Indeed, you’ll see these quite often in websites for the medical profession wherein research papers and journals may only be accessed by those registered with the site.

Keep in mind, however, that a membership site is different from a subscription site. While all the former usually needs is for visitors to sign up, the latter calls for payment, essentially initiating a paid contract with visitors to allow them to access content and services. Look at it this way: social media sites may be considered membership sites, but streaming media platforms are subscription sites as they call for the payment of monthly fees.

Technically, any site builder may be used to create a membership site, and we are going to get down to what makes the best membership site platforms the cream of the crop.


Our List of the Best Membership Site Platforms:

Our lineup of the best membership site platforms includes a couple of old favourites along with recent players in the industry who have grabbed the attention of users, particularly those involved in the ecommerce sector. After evaluating each based on criteria and membership site ideas, our honours list for the best membership site platforms is as follows:

  1. Squarespace – visually engaging + eCommerce functionality
  2. GoDaddy – simplicity + functionality
  3. Weebly – ideal for beginners 
  4. WordPress.com– highly flexible and adaptable
  5. Wix – good all-around membership website builder

How We Chose the Best Membership Site Platforms:

Our review of the best membership website builders is based on how each of these creation platforms performed in terms of the following aspects:

  • Ease of use – Being able to set up shop almost immediately is the hallmark of a good building platform, but more so in the case of a membership website builder. Ease of use in this context also refers to how easily visitors can be able to sign up for exclusive access and subsequently log into the system;
  • Cost – Especially for those in the nascent stages of their career like writers and musicians, keeping an eye on the budget is one of the main considerations when it comes to choosing the best membership website builder. A free membership website builder is particularly desirable; while these may be riddled with ads, they are the best stepping stone or springboard for those seeking to start a membership site;
  • The number of permissible administrators – It takes more than one person to handle a membership site, especially if your entity has a considerable amount of traffic coming in. In which case, users may choose a membership website builder based on how many people may come on board to manage posts, uploads, and visitor comments;
  • Membership levels – Tier-based membership ensures that only those who sign up within certain parameters may access files or perks. The most basic would be three-tier access model where you have public (very limited), basic (access to around 50% of premium content), and premium which accords full access;
  • Payment integrations – While not all membership sites call for paid subscriptions, it still helps to work with a membership website builder that offers an extensive range of payment gateways at a user's disposal; and
  • The amount of content that can be uploaded online through your membership website builder.

Our Best Membership Site Platforms in Detail:

Squarespace

squarespace-home
squarespace-home

Overview:

If you’re looking for a platform that will enable you to implement a tiered membership structure for your website, Squarespace is the membership website builder for you. While it's an option available only for paid users, Squarespace's members-only feature allows users to offer three levels of access: free membership using one's email; recurring memberships which involve monthly, quarterly, or annual payments; and one-time membership which enables users to pay just once for lifetime access to premium content.

Squarespace also has features that enable members to create exclusive on- and offline events, as well as libraries for downloads.

Membership Sites Examples and Membership Site Ideas – Made by Squarespace

membership-website-builder

https://www.gilbertsgazelles.com/ – As one of our membership sites examples made by Squarespace. Olympian Gilbert Tuhaboyne’s website for athletic training is proof that membership sites can go farther than one’s desktop, laptop, and mobile device.

Maybe you can lift inspiration and membership site ideas from this site! For instance, the members-only section offers training sessions for athletes of different age groups and athletic abilities. He uses his Squarespace membership site to organise offline training sessions for Gilbert’s Gazelles athletic programme.

Features:

  • Drag and drop membership website builder with built-in ecommerce capabilities;
  • An extensive variety of templates for various industries and interests;
  • Built-in site customisation modules;
  • Cloud-based hosting; and
  • Mobile-responsive sites

Pricing:

This best membership site platform offers a free trial for twelve days;

However, if you want to upgrade to better features, subscription cost runs:

squarespace-pricing
squarespace-pricing

Interested in Squarespace – one of the best membership site platforms? Read through their terms of service before you commit.

>> Give Squarespace a try <<


GoDaddy

godaddy-website-builder-home
godaddy-website-builder-home

Overview:

GoDaddy’s site builder is rather basic, but it does get the job done. This platform makes use of artificial intelligence to create a truly intuitive site building experience for users, but crafting a members-only area for a GoDaddy site can get cumbersome as users need to add member details individually. Nevertheless, it’s a great choice for those who are offering membership on a relatively smaller scale as it offers a variety of tools like newsletter creation.

Features:

  • Easy to master drag and drop website builder with AI functionality for greater ease of use;
  • Ecommerce and SEO tool suites;
  • Social media integration feature; and
  • Comprehensive site analytics

Membership Sites Examples and Membership Site Ideas – Made with GoDaddy

membership-website-builder
css-grcoup-fitness-home

https://cssgroupfitness.com/– Consider this site as one of your membership site ideas. CSS Group Fitness offers exclusive training packages and personalised regimens for those signing on to their website. The members-only area features a calendar of various activities held virtually that only registered members may log into.

Pricing:

Price range will set subscribers back:

Godaddy pricing
Godaddy pricing

This puts GoDaddy in the position of being the most cost-friendly site-building option available. Still, don't forget to read their terms of service before subscribing.

>> Give GoDaddy a try <<


Weebly

weebly-websites-home-browser
weebly-websites-home-browser

Overview:

Weebly’s membership site creation feature is the latest innovation added to its growing arsenal of useful tools and site creation solutions. Pro sites can have up to 100 members at any given time, while those on business plans may open membership to an unlimited number of visitors. Among the tools built into the feature are a streamlined login panel, as well as group and page management solutions.

Features:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop website builder;
  • In-platform applications marketplace for third-party integrations;
  • SSL certificate; and
  • Cloud-based hosting

Membership Sites Examples and Membership Site Ideas – Made with Weebly

membership-website-builder
our-table-home

https://www.ourtable.us/ – As one of our membership websites examples, Our Table is a community-driven farm to table initiative that aims to improve food systems in a bid to get people to eat healthier and more sustainably. Among the perks offered to members are discounts at the site’s online grocery store, access to online lectures, and the ability to interact with those actively speaking for sustainable farming and gastronomy.

Pricing:

Offers a free-to-use site-building plan, but keep in mind that this will be limited in terms of storage and functionality.

Standard rates and pricing packages are as follows:

weebly-pricing
weebly-pricing

Read through their terms of service before you commit.

>> Give Weebly a try <<


WordPress

wordpress-com-home
wordpress-com-home

Overview:

If it’s technical flexibility you’re after, the extensive range of plugins that WordPress offers for the creation of membership sites will certainly be up your alley. These enable users to create a WordPress membership site with loads of options, including member directories for associations, community websites, school or general education sites, and even news sites offering paid / premium content.

Features:

  • CMS site creator / editor;
  • Integrated news and blogging function;
  • Post scheduling feature;
  • Responsive web design;
  • Extensive selection of functional plugins; and
  • Numerous aesthetic / design options for this website builder membership site.

Membership Sites Examples and Membership Site Ideas – Made with WordPress

membership-website-builder
quotescover-home

https://quotescover.com/ – This simple but elegant QuotesCover members-only site caters to the needs of creatives and design professionals who want to convert text into dazzling images they can deploy on their websites or social media accounts. While a number of tools may be used by the general browsing public, the more specialised solutions and a wider range to templates and palettes may only be accessed by registered members.

Pricing:

Free to use version available, but take note that the functionality and features included are considerably less than what you would get with a paid subscription.

Standard rates and pricing packages are as follows:

wordpress-com-plans-pricing
wordpress-com-plans-pricing

Be sure to check out their service terms before you subscribe.

>> Give WordPress a try <<


Wix

wix-home

Overview:

The world's favourite basic site builder offers the most extensive range of tools for creating the best possible membership website. As a membership website builder, Wix enables users to give those signing up for their own sites carte blanche to customise their accounts, aside from the provision of exclusive access to specialised content.

However, the bulk of functionality may only be accessed by those with a premium / paid account. Nevertheless, upgrading your Wix membership site ought to be seen as an investment. This applies particularly to those who offer educational modules online, as well as intellectual property like recordings and publications.

Membership Sites Examples and Membership Site Ideas – Made by Wix

membership-website-builder
elevated-home

https://elevateducation.com/ – Educators are among the most stressed people at the moment, and ElevatED, a membership site developed by Natia Lopez, Monique F. Achu, and Diane Nathaniel goes a long way when it comes to helping teachers take care of themselves and keep burnout at bay. Members-only content includes one-on-one counselling, live online lectures, group coaching programmes, and comprehensive training for teachers.

Features:

  • WIX ADI site builder;
  • Conventional drag-and-drop builder;
  • SEO tool suite to help students find the site faster; and
  • Extensive range of third-party integrations

Pricing:

Offers a free to use edition for those on a tight budget;

Standard rates and pricing packages are as follows:

restaurant-website-creator
wix-pricing

Do your diligence and read their terms of use before committing.

>> Give Wix a try <<


Conclusion and Recommendations:

In closing, we would like to recommend our top five membership website builders to the following target markets:

  1. Squarespace, being an ecommerce-centric builder, is the best choice we offer for the creation and deployment of premium content;
  2. GoDaddy is the builder for those who need to create a quick and easy members-only zone for their websites;
  3. Weebly, on the other hand,  as seen from our membership sites examples, is best for those who want to keep things simple and manageable; and finally
  4. WordPress is the best option for those who want flexibility in terms of the tools and plugins they wish to use to create their membership sites.
  5. As seen on our membership sites examples, Wix is a good all-around membership website builder and would appeal to both amateur and professional site creators;

As with all our reviews, each of the best membership site platforms has been vetted by our experts. Nevertheless, we recommend that you shop around for membership site ideas and consider a wide range of membership sites examples to see which one works best for your specific site creation requirements.


FAQ:

Which best membership site platforms works best for creatives?

That would be Squarespace as it serves as a great gallery and blogging platform from which artists and authors can share their work.

Is it possible to get multiple options for a membership site app for my site builder?

While most of our choices have the membership site creator built into their respective UIs, the open-source nature of WordPress opens up a number of opportunities, as it offers the most extensive range of plugins for the purpose.


That's all for now:

If you've read all the way through this best membership website builder guide, we are thankful. We hope you can now answer the question of what is the best membership site platforms for you! We have a large collection of articles, guides, and comparison reviews of eCommerce solutions, web hosting providers, website builders, and more! Feel free to check them out;

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