Want to build an online business that brings in big money every month and offers unlimited growth potential? Then you need a membership site.

Building a successful membership site is the key to the two magic words in online entrepreneurship – recurring revenue. With established membership sites bringing in six to seven-figures a year in recurring revenue, there has never been a better time to get started.

There are a lot of platforms you can use to meet these numbers, with Memberful a key player in the sector. The Memberful platform offers a range of tools and integrations to support a membership-based website – whatever niche you’re in. But, Memberful is not without its downsides.

Take a closer look at what you can expect with Memberful in this 2024 guide, including a rundown of alternatives. This will help you find the right platform to supercharge your membership base and get that golden recurring revenue rolling in.

What is a Membership Site?

A membership site offers digital content and services that people pay to access. The content can be anything, including online courses, videos, podcasts, coaching, communities, eBooks and guides.

You can find membership sites in all niches. What successful sites have in common is that they offer value and produce regular content that's worth paying for.

If you can do this well, your earning potential is sky-high, as demonstrated by a 2022 report from Membership Geeks:

membership geeks stats

Need more inspiration? The global digital subscription economy grew from $650 billion in 2020 to a projected $1.5 trillion in 2025.

subscription economy
Source: Statista

These numbers prove that there’s still plenty of mileage in creating and selling great digital content online.

The key to unlocking the full revenue potential of selling memberships is building an audience in your niche. 

The most successful membership sites are built by leveraging a large following of fans, a portion of which are happy to keep paying for the value on offer.

Memberships vs. Subscriptions

So, are memberships and subscriptions the same? Yes and no.  

The basic aim is the same – get people to sign up for access to your content. 

However, there are a few differences:

Community building: Memberships are often more focused on bringing people into a community or club. There’s a FOMO (fear of missing out) aspect to memberships, making them feel exclusive.

Access: Subscriptions tend to focus on giving your audience access to certain paid content. However, memberships focus more on exclusive benefits and providing a more personalized experience.

Pricing: The pricing structure of subscriptions often includes more options in terms of tiers and plans. Memberships may have one single fee charged, giving access to a defined set of benefits.

One term to know when it comes to memberships and subscriptions is churn rate – this is the number of people who cancel. When it comes to churn rate, the lower the better (4% or less is considered good). 

Memberships can encourage people to stick around because they feel part of a community, making it more personal than a formal subscription. For example, here’s what Memberful partner Relay FM offers as part of its membership:

replay fm membership

Relay FM members also gain access to exclusive podcast episodes. Overall, Relay has built a separate offering for members, adding value and encouraging people to pay for its premium content.

When it comes to building your membership website, there are lots of platforms to help – such as Memberful.

Want to monetize your digital product with memberships? Whop brings you all the tools, resources and support you need to take your online business stratospheric.

How Does Memberful Work?


Memberful is a flexible management platform designed to let you build and grow a membership website. The platform can be integrated with an existing website. It also offers full hosting if you want to set up a whole new site on its platform. 

What Types of Content Does Memberful Support?

You can create, integrate and monetize all kinds of content through Memberful. For example, the platform supports:

  • Creating a members-only community by connecting to Discord/Discourse
  • Setting up a paid newsletter
  • Launching a paid podcast 
  • Add paid memberships to your existing WordPress website
  • Creating a membership website filled with paid-for content

Memberful integrates with a lot of third-party services and offers a range of marketing options, including Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp:

full managed memberful

How Do You Use Memberful?

Once you sign up to Memberful, everything is controlled through the dashboard. From here, you can integrate or set up your website, manage your content, and set your monetization options.

memberful dashboard

If you want to create a website from scratch using Memberful’s hosting and tools, there is a separate section for this. From here, you’re able to add pages that your visitors can access for free, or you can put all (or some) of the content behind a paywall for members only.

Memberful has set up a demo to give you an idea of what a hosted site looks like on its platform:

hip bean

As you can see, it’s a bit more basic than a full website hosted elsewhere but it does give you streamlined access to all the Memberful monetization tools.

If you already have a WordPress site, you can add Memberful as a plug-in to integrate all its features:

connecting memberful

How Do You Monetize With Memberful?

Memberful offers plenty of ways to monetize your content. You can give your audience the option of signing up for annual, weekly or quarterly membership or subscription plans. Fixed, one-time payments and group subscriptions can also be offered. 

memberful sub

This flexibility lets you tailor your offering to your audience and also test out different options to see what gets the most traction.

With Memberful, you also get the flexibility to set up multiple options within your dashboard to create tiered memberships or a mix of free and paid-for content. 

When it comes to price, you are free to charge what you want for memberships. There is also a “let members choose what to pay” option – this can be a good way to get a sense of the value your audience sees in your content.

Through the Memberful dashboard, you can also keep track of your growth as you attract paying members and the revenue starts flowing, with a range of metrics and analytics.

All payments are handled through Memberful, with users required to open a Stripe account to process members’ credit card payments. 

Incentives and Discounts

In addition to the membership options, Memberful offers a whole host of incentives and tools to help you grow your audience and maximize the revenue from your content:

Landing page: Build your audience and membership base by creating a teasing landing page featuring a log-in, which encourages people to sign up. 

Free registration: Enable this option to give visitors a no-obligation look at your content before you ask them to pay for access. This also lets you build your email list.

Coupons: Incentivize sign-ups by offering a discount code that visitors can apply to get a cheap membership. You control the length of time and amount of discount offered.

Gift purchases: Set up the ability for people to buy a membership to your site as a gift for someone else by generating a purchase link that you can add to your site.

Referrals: Let people who love your content help you grow your audience by enabling a referral program that generates an affiliate-style link.

Retention discounts: Persuade people who want to cancel their membership to stick around by offering a code-free discount applied during checkout.

Memberful Pricing: How Much Does it Cost?

So, now you know how Memberful works, the next question is how much of your revenue will the platform take.

memberful pricing

Unlike some platforms which have tiered plans, Memberful currently has just one monthly price of $49 (so, $588 a year). Memberful works on a rolling monthly basis – you can cancel anytime. Once you hit over $1m in annual revenue, you can get a discount.

It’s important to understand that you will also be charged a 4.9% transaction fee for each successful member sign-up – not a small amount when you’re building your membership base.

What’s more, to use Memberful, you have no choice but to connect to Stripe, which has its own fees attached for payment processing. These vary but start at 2.9% (plus 30¢) for each successful card charge, with additional fees for overseas payments.

Is There a Way to Try Memberful for Free? 

Yes, but here’s where it gets a bit tricky…

Memberful has what it calls “test mode”, which lets you use the platform at no cost. This is not a free trial. You can set up or integrate your website and get everything going before Memberful charges you anything.

It’s only once you sign up your first paid member that the $49 monthly fee (plus transaction charges) will apply. 

The test mode includes providing you with some dummy credit card numbers that work with Stripe, allowing you to try out the membership sign-up process. 

Want a membership platform without the monthly fee? Keep more of your revenue with Whop, with just 3% charged on sales

What are Memberful’s Limitations?

Memberful has a high G2 review rating of 4.4/5, but the number of reviews is limited.

Customer support, ease of use, easy integrations, easy setup and quick response are big pluses for the platform. However, for all its great features, there are some negatives to using Memberful. 

Source: G2
Source: G2

Issues raised by users include clunky and complex integrations, email issues and limited analytics. 

Payment options are also limited, with Memberful currently only supporting Stripe as a processor. Among other things, this means that Memberful is unable to support payments from users in countries where Stripe is unavailable. 

memberful payment

However, maybe the biggest drawback of Memberful is the cost. When the transaction and Stripe fees are added on, it takes quite a bite out of your profit. 

As you scale, this becomes less of an issue. However, when you’re building your online business, the more $$ you can save the better.

Want to sell memberships online? Make it happen in seven easy steps for creators

The Best Memberful Alternatives

Don’t think Memberful is your only choice for monetizing your digital content. 

Selling digital stuff is big business and there are lots of solutions out there for building an audience and making money online. Here are just three Memberful alternatives to consider:

1. 🏆Whop


Whop is one of the leading alternatives to Memberful. The big advantage is that the social commerce platform supports selling all kinds of digital products, giving you endless options to build an audience and monetize your content. From online courses to member-only communities, ebooks, premium content, webinars, coaching, and more, you can do it all with Whop. Even better, it’s free to use, with just a 3% fee applied to purchases.

2. Patreon


Patreon is a community-building membership platform. Compared to some other platforms, it has a more casual vibe, with subscribers encouraged to support their favorite artists and creators by paying a fee to access their content. You can start for free, with the Pro and Premium plans charged at 8% or 12% of the income you earn on the site.

Fun fact: Patreon acquired Memberful in 2018

3. Podia


Podia is another “all-in-one” platform for selling digital products like courses. You can get started for free but to access all the features, you’ll want to get a paid plan. These range from $9 to $89 if paid monthly (less if paying for a full year). Transaction fees of 8% or 5% per sale also apply if taking one of the cheaper plans.

So which is the best? Well, while all the platforms have their advantages, if you want to launch and grow an online business selling any kind of digital content or service, we recommend… 

Making Money Selling Memberships With Whop

When it comes to making money online, we believe in the concept of “free and flexible”. We want to see you succeed, not skim your profits through hefty monthly plans and eye-watering transaction fees.

If you want to monetize digital products with a membership scheme, you can find your audience here. There are millions of people out there hungry for great products and content. Whether you’re starting out or moving up, Whop is your one-stop shop for building an online business. From courses to reselling communities, premium trading services to sports betting groups, we can help you to cash in.

You can sell access to any digital product and service, all right here on Whop. The opportunities are limitless. So, what’s stopping you?