You have a lot of platform options if you want to offer a membership program and build a community online. 

With so many choices, starting out can be overwhelming. You want to build your membership on the best platform for your needs from the beginning.

Paid Memberships Pro is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to restrict content and manage member subscriptions with recurring payments. Patreon is a hosted platform for creators to offer digital shops and paid memberships for their fans.

We’re here to help you learn more about both. We’ll compare Paid Memberships Pro and Patreon so you can make the best decision for your needs.

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Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a WordPress plugin that provides everything you need to start, grow, and serve a membership. It integrates directly into any existing WordPress website with minimal setup, making it a perfect choice even for less-savvy tech users.

Paid Memberships Pro offers a free plugin with more advanced features for growing communities available as you level up and want to expand the tools to serve your members. Paid versions come with unlimited support and Add Ons to help create an experience designed specifically for your community’s needs. Add Ons also help you kickstart membership growth.

With so much customization possible, Paid Memberships Pro is a popular choice for those selling premium content, hosting a members-only podcast or discussion space, online courses, personalized coaching, paid newsletters, and more.

Key Features of Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is flexible and easy to use, but it still lets you provide a custom membership experience right from the start.

Key PMPro features include:

  • Content Restrictions. You are familiar with using a membership program to restrict content for members, but Paid Memberships Pro has features that take things a step further. You can customize exactly how you want to restrict and roll out your content, whether that’s a drip over time to different membership levels, selling one-time access, or tailoring personalized content for individual members.
  • Easy and Diverse Payment Options. When it comes to options for users to pay, more is usually better. Paid Memberships Pro integrates with a number of popular services, including Stripe, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Paypal, and Paystack. There are also customization options to cover any scenario, from processing one-time or recurring payments to creating flexible pricing based on the parameters you set.
  • Member Management. Working with a large membership base means a lot of data. Paid Memberships Pro allows easy import or export of member lists, customization of roles among members, including administrative access, and unlimited membership levels.
  • Detailed Behavior Reporting. Paid Memberships Pro generates detailed reports about member activity, as well as sales-tracking data, all in one easy-to-navigate dashboard.

The Paid Memberships Pro User Experience

Paid Memberships Pro profiles don’t disappear after signup. Instead, users can access their account anytime and control any aspect of their membership. This feature takes a lot of work out of your hands.

With Paid Memberships Pro, users can:

  • Manage all aspects of their own profile, including custom user fields that allow you to gather additional information for your records.
  • Securely login and reset a password if necessary, without any action required on your part.
  • View their current membership status, levels, and all past invoices.
  • View their membership perks and update or cancel their memberships.

These features make the user experience smooth on Paid Memberships Pro. And it saves a lot of time as your membership base grows. You don’t have to worry anytime someone wants to update their account.

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Paid Memberships Pro Pricing

The Paid Memberships Pro plugin is free to download and will install seamlessly into your existing WordPress site. There are 34 powerful Add Ons available in the free plugin, giving you everything needed to see your membership program, from its design and launch to managing a growing membership base.

That includes unlimited restricted content and unlimited membership tiers with no cap on the number of members who can sign up. The built-in payment integrations will sync accounts and handle everything you need on that front. But as your community grows, you might be interested in adding features.

In that case, Paid Memberships Pro offers three pricing tiers. The Standard package that’s perfect for newer entrants is $247 and includes everything in the free version plus a site license, premium support, affiliate tracking, and membership address storage.

The most popular plan is $397 and includes everything above plus:

  • Two site licenses
  •  Premium support
  • Detailed tutorials to help you level up your membership offerings
  • Access to more than 50 Premium Add Ons 

There’s also an Enterprise package for those managing 50 or more sites. 

Most sites, even large, successful ones, use PMPro at no cost outside of gateway fees. Learn more about how to use PMPro for free.


Patreon is a monetization platform that provides membership services and allows creators and companies to centralize communities onto one platform. It is often used as a gathering point for like-minded customers to centralize and communicate directly with the Patreon account owner.

Patreon exists as a standalone product. Patreon takes a set percentage of the income its accounts holders generate based on the selected plan. At higher levels, Patreon also offers limited branded merchandise fulfillment services. It also allows you to decide when to charge customers, including allowing for recurring billing when a new post is released.

Basic Features of Patreon

Patreon charges a flat 8% of the income earned by creators, or 12% if they’re signed up for the Premium services. Payment on Patreon is easy, with all major payment providers supported. Currency is automatically converted to a customer’s local currency to facilitate easy international payments.

Patreon centralizes thousands of creators and companies into a single hub, with the biggest benefit being that end users only have to sign up and input their account information once. From there, it’s a low-friction process for users to subscribe to any number of creators. But this does require the user to navigate to Patreon from somewhere else before signing up for a membership.

There are a wide range of tools available to customize payment schedules. Patreon allows creators to build out any number of tiers and set their own charging schedules. While that is typically monthly, some creators charge by the release. This feature is one that PMPro doesn’t offer. So, if your posts and releases don’t come out on a regular schedule, using Patreon with this feature might be useful. Patreon also has options for one-time payments.

Patreon handles limited merch fulfillment at the Premium level. Creators can select from many items and tie fulfillment to membership levels. Patreon then fills these orders at least quarterly. Creators can also set controls on the kinds of messages they can receive from subscribers.

Patreon User Experience

The Patreon user experience is largely contained within the confines of its website. But, some integrations are possible, such as linking with the popular social media app Discord to restrict access to chat channels based on Patreon membership. Users can also reply to creators in posts made directly on Patreon.

Users can view their current and past memberships in Patreon and access their receipts. All subscriptions can be viewed and managed at a glance on a single interface. Users can adjust or cancel their subscriptions at any time.

Patreon Price Points

Patreon offers two pricing plans. The most popular is the Pro plan, where Patreon takes 8% of the overall earnings from a creator in exchange for hosting a membership database and offering unlimited subscriber tiers.

There is also the Premium plan, which costs 12% of earnings and includes everything from the Pro plan plus a dedicated partner manager, team accounts, and access to merch for members.

PMPro vs. Patreon

Paid Memberships Pro and Patreon both offer services in the membership management space. How do they stack up?

FeaturePaid Memberships ProPatreon
Cost$0 – $397, plus gateway fees8%-12% of all revenue, plus gateway fees
CustomizationFull control of your WordPress site with tens of thousands of plugins, any number of membership tiers, and customizable membership trial periods and renewal dates. Content custom-targeted toward individual members.Whatever Patreon offers on its site, plus integrations to third party sites, if available. Content restriction, unlimited number of tiers and signups, customizable merch fulfillment options available in certain plans
Data and ReportingSales and revenue trends, signup and cancellation feedback, member behavior by time and place and activity, and order managementSignup and revenue trends, exit surveys, and member behavior by time
IntegrationsWooCommerce, Discord, Mailchimp, Zapier, Social Login, BuddyBoss, bbPress, and Holler Box. View all 50+ integrations.Vimeo, Discord, Keeper, AudioMob, Crowdcast, Mailchimp, and Zapier. View more integrations.
Administrative ToolsManually add or remove members, import and export member lists, assign additional membership managers, and detailed feedback reportingManually manage user lists, import and export member lists, messaging tools, and user exit reports

Why Choose Paid Memberships Pro?

Paid Memberships Pro and Patreon both offer membership management services but exist for different users. Several factors make Paid Memberships Pro a stronger choice. Most notably, it’s free with direct and seamless integration directly into your WordPress site. Patreon excels at building communities on Patreon, but if your site is already on WordPress, you’ll miss out on that connection. 

Paid Memberships Pro brings all the features you need to create and grow a sustainable membership community to one place. Then it slides easily into your site. Paid Memberships Pro is the membership platform that grows with you. As your membership grows, the only per-member fees you’ll have to worry about are the ones from your payment processor.

Building a vibrant membership program takes time, and Paid Memberships Pro offers the easy-to-implement tools that you’ll need at every step along the way. If you’re ready to get started building your membership with Paid Memberships Pro, you can find case studies from some of our partners, and then you can head over to our pricing page and choose the right plan for you.

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