Reviews WordPress

Restrict Content Pro Review: An Advanced WordPress Membership Plugin

Restrict Content Pro is one of the top WordPress membership plugins, but how does it stack up? Here's our full review with Pros & Cons.
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Membership programs have emerged as one of the best ways to earn income through your website. Not only are they a means to gather leads, but they also allow you to reward your loyal readers by giving them access to exclusive content that is not open to the public.

Thanks to the many plugins available, it has never been easier to integrate a membership program into your WordPress site. Among the popular subscription plugins available today, we are reviewing Restrict Content Pro, otherwise known as RCP.

The plugin is simple, yet powerful and gives your visitors an easy way to register as a member on your site. It offers an effective means to restrict content only to paid subscribers and collect payments from those that want what you offer.

Restrict Content Pro is available in both free and paid versions. Its premium version comes with a few extra features that can elevate the look, feel, and customer experience of a content-driven membership website.

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How can Restrict Content Pro Improve Your Site?

If you are a website owner, Restrict Content Pro is a valuable add-on that gives you the opportunity to add another revenue source to your platform.

Once you install this plugin, you can set up your site to include a membership program. It will provide you with the functionality to set up different membership tiers and offer your premium services only to those willing to pay.

Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro

The plugin was launched by popular developer Pippin Williamson. According to the founder, he couldn’t find a subscription plugin that met his membership requirements and thus – encouraged him to develop one himself.

The result is the complete membership management system called Restrict Content Pro. The plugin aims to provide all the fundamental features you need in a manner that is clear, concise, and easy to use.

The current version of Restrict Content Pro comes with full support for different plans as well as customization. It will allow you to set each subscription duration, price, the level of access, and more.

Below is an overview of what you can do with Restrict Content Pro

  • Manage all subscriptions right from the customer dashboard
  • Set up unlimited membership levels
  • Restrict content according to the membership level
  • Options for customers to change their subscription levels
  • Send welcome and membership emails to subscribers
  • Integration with third-party payment systems
  • Numerous built-in integrations
  • Generate reports to see earnings through subscription programs

Even at its face value, it is evident that Restrict Content Pro is much more than a mere membership plugin.

In the sections below we will discuss each of its core features in greater depth.

Restrict Content Pro Features

Some of the features on offer
Some of the features on offer

The Interface

Restrict Content Pro has done an excellent job advertising how the plugin will look on your page. The website features a number of screenshots that highlight the different pages you can create with the plugin. It gives you an overall idea of how the finished product will look and feel, similar to a demo version.

For non-members of your site, the respective pages will be limited to the registration form and a page that indicates if any content is restricted to them. It is a great way to entice your visitors to sign up in order to view the content.

The Default Registration Page
The Default Registration Page

You can set up different pages for members, such as membership details before and after subscribing, welcome pages, login page, payment page, billing cards, and more.

All these pages are in-built and will be set up when you install the plugin. But if needed, you can also create a new page by inserting the respective shortcode into any of your webpages.

It seems like Restrict Content Pro has thought of all possible scenarios related to running a successful program. The small touches such as the welcome page and error pages indicate the attention to detail in developing the project.

Customer Dashboard

Restrict Content Pro comes with a dedicated customer dashboard that gives all of your users full control over their subscriptions. They can manage their accounts from this personal area. They can see the account status and know when the plan is due for its next renewal.

Users will also be able to see any upgrade options available or steps they need to take to cancel their subscription. When needed, they can also download PDF files for each of their invoices separately or their complete history of payments.

Lastly, they can also update their personal information, such as the account name, display name, email address, and password.

Members Page
Members Page

Membership Levels

Administrators can use Restrict Content Pro to create an unlimited number of membership levels. These will be displayed on the registration page for your future members to choose from.

You can also decide what information to include in the membership details. It can vary from an optional one-time signup fee, trial period, membership duration, and the price.

One of the most attractive features is that your users can not only upgrade but also downgrade their subscription by merely paying the difference. These are in proportion with their current plan and its expiration date.

Approve Members

For those who need more control over their members, the ‘member approval’ option is a feature of high significance. This functionality is offered as an integration with the WP Approve User, allowing site administrators to regulate member registration.

This will notify you whenever a member’s account is registered. You will have the option to approve each member in gaining access to the premium content. You can also choose to disable any member account if they breach your website’s terms.

Data Reports and Exports

Not only can you manage subscriptions, but you can also export all your customer data to maintain records of it. You can import these subscription databases and payment data to other applications through CSV files you can generate from Restrict Content Pro.

There is also a complete reports page that displays a graph of your earnings through membership programs. You can view this for any specific period you set or based on different subscription levels.

View your earnings report from the WordPress dashboard
View your earnings report from the WordPress dashboard

Discount Codes

Restrict Content Pro has made it possible for you to provide flexible membership plans based on your business. For instance, discount codes are one of the components that are more appealing to eCommerce stores.

This allows you to offer special promotional codes to your potential customers so they can get a discount while registering on your site. Site administrators can create these discount codes from the admin interface.

You can also choose between a percentage discount or a flat rate discount. Every discount code includes the name, unique code, description, maximum number of uses, and the start/expiry dates.

Discount codes are an extremely useful feature if you are partnering with other businesses or brands.  In doing so, you should have access to a much wider audience.

Create discounts & Coupon codes
Create discounts & Coupon codes

Subscription Updates Through Emails

Restrict Content Pro has gone one step further to ensure that you are able to provide your members with a seamless user experience while engaging with your platform. The plugin comes with automated email settings as well as email templates. You can set this up so that emails are delivered to customers at different intervals.

As a site administrator, you can configure your members to receive emails when they subscribe for a membership, cancellation, expiry, or payment notifications.

Integrations and Add-ons

Restrict Content Pro is undoubtedly a fully-fledged plugin that covers all aspects of a membership plugin. However, the platform also offers a plethora of integrations and side-plugins to stretch its functionalities to a whole new level.

Payment Gateway Integrations

Payment processing systems go hand-in-hand with a successful membership site. Restrict Content Pro gives you the option to integrate several payment systems available, making your site more accessible to all of your clients.

Here is a list of popular payment merchants available on Restrict Content Pro.

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • net
  • Braintree
  • 2Checkout
Payment Gateways
Payment Gateways

WooCommerce Integration

Restrict Content Pro offers smooth integration with WooCommerce, allowing you to control who can view and buy products. You can restrict the products based on membership levels or even by category.

There is also a dedicated WooCommerce member discount add-on – which is great for running promotions or special offers. You can do this via your WooCommerce store by adding a coupon and by choosing which subscription levels are eligible to receive the discount.

Add-ons

When it comes to add-ons, Restrict Content Pro gives you access to both free and paid versions of a number of add-ons. The Pro add-ons are available only with the Pro and Ultimate license plans, which we will discuss in more detail later.

There are also third-party add-ons created by other popular plugin developers that work well for Restrict Content Pro users.

Currently, there are over 30 add-ons that let you extend the functional capability of Restrict Content Pro. These add-ons help you transform your membership site to suit the nature of your business.

The ones we particularly like are:

  • Limited Quantity Available: Enables you to limit the number of sales for a specific subscription level. Once the number has been reached, the level will be deactivated or hidden from new subscribers.
  • Email Subscriptions: Allows your subscribers to add themselves to your MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, or MailPoet email list depending on which plugin you use. The option will be given during the registration process and also while upgrading.
  • bbPress: Offers restricted access to your forums and communities to paid subscribers only.
  • WP Job Manager: Limits the job listings and postings only to members with paid subscriptions.
  • Restrict Past Content: Enables you to create subscription levels and restrict their access to content that was published on or after their joining date.
  • Site Creation: Combines the power of Restrict Content Pro and WordPress to give your members the option to create their own site. If their membership expires, it will also automatically disable access across all sites.
  • Custom Redirects: Set up the URL that will redirect your members after registering on your site and login in. This can be configured separately for each subscription level. For instance, you can create more premium pages to send to your most valuable subscribers.
  • Restriction Timelock: Allows you to set a date in the future in which the content will remain unrestricted. This is a great feature to give free access for a limited time, such as trial periods.
  • Restriction Timeouts: Lets you specify a date after which any restrictions on the subscription will be removed, making the content accessible to members of the public.
  • Drip Content: Release content based on schedules rather than on a subscription basis.

Apart from its basic tools, some of the advanced features such as CSV import are available only through paid plugins. Depending on the nature of your business, you can choose one that will allow you to offer the best service and user experience to your members.

As you can see, these add-ons increase the flexibility of Restrict Content Pro and enable you to create a bespoke solution that serves your site’s requirements.

Some of the Pro Addons available
Some of the Pro Addons available

Customizable and Developer-Friendly Design

While you do not need coding knowledge to make the best of Restrict Content Pro, the plugin can still be tweaked to make it unique for your site’s specific needs. Restrict Content Pro is highly developer-friendly and flexible, making further modifications possible.

Restrict Content Pro will integrate with your WordPress site no matter what theme you use. As we mentioned above, the theme is minimalistic and straightforward.

In case you need to modify a built-in template file, this is also possible. You can make additional customizations to the display and layouts of registration forms, account pages, and more.

Membership Management With Restrict Content Pro

Now, let us get into how you can manage your memberships with Restrict Content Pro. The intuitive admin interface allows you to manage and monitor all your memberships right from the dashboard.

Once you have downloaded and activated Restrict Content Pro, you can proceed to the ‘Settings’ tab to set up the different pages and subscriptions.

Page Selection

By default, Restrict Content Pro comes with a number of pages automatically created upon installation.

These are:

  • Registration page: with registration and login form
  • Success page: where customers are redirected after registration
  • Account page: with information of user account and subscription plan
  • Edit Profile page: enabling members to edit their personal information
  • Update Billing Card page: Gives the option to update billing card details

It is possible to edit or change the above pages, but make sure that the right shortcode is in the post box.

Multiple Memberships

When selected, this option will allow your members to have more than one active subscription at a time. All steps, such as signing up, renewal, upgrading, or downgrading, will be possible for all memberships regardless of whether they are already a member or not.

This is an interesting feature if you have different services on your website. After all, your users can hold multiple memberships that give them access to each and every service you wish to offer.

Enable Auto Renewals

Decide whether or not to enable auto-renewals for subscriptions. Alternatively, you can also leave it to the customer to decide whether they want this option turned off or not.

Content Restriction Message

Configure what message will be displayed to customers and members when they try to view content that is not accessible to them.

Emails

Here you can configure the different emails to be sent out to your members. Compose the subject as well as the email body for each email type.

Invoice

Design your own invoice by filling in the relevant details such as the company logo, name, address, and other contact information.

Payments

Choose your desired payment gateway(s) by entering your API information.

Membership Levels

Membership levels are how Restrict Content Pro sets different subscription programs and what content is attainable in each level. Depending on your business model, you can define the number of subscription levels and their respective roles.

You can create a different subscription level under Restrict > Subscription Levels.

Membership Levels
Membership Levels

Here you can set:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Access Level
  • Duration
  • Price
  • Signup Fee
  • Status
  • User Role

You can also manually add subscribers to specific plans. And if multiple memberships is turned on, you can add a customer to more than one level.

Access Levels

This is a Restrict Content Pro feature that allows you to create different ‘access levels’ within each membership level. You can set it between 1 to 10, and is defined as a tiered system.

This means that any account with an access level can see all content available to the corresponding level or lower. You can assign all your content a certain access level in the restriction options.

In other words – when a user signs up, what they are authorized to see will depend on the access level assigned to their subscription.

Restricting Site Content

This particular feature is potentially one of the most notable offered by Restrict Content Pro. After all, the reason you download this plugin is to restrict content in different ways:

  • Restrict Content based on posts, pages, or custom posts types
  • Restrict content by category
  • Restrict a segment of a post
  • Restrict content in template files

As you can see, there is more than one way to decide how your content should be restricted. It lets you control the visibility of your content in a highly flexible manner.

You can set this for a group of posts or manage restrictions individually. Once the plugin is set up, you can create your content as usual, and select the membership tier you want before saving your post.

Test Your Restrictions

Previewing how your site works after all the configuration stage will help you address potential complications. Restrict Content Pro has also enabled a sandbox mode, which allows you to run a few tests.

You can register with a test account, provide a test payment, and experience the customer journey.

This option is available at Restrict > Settings > Payments > Sandbox Mode

Who can Benefit from Restrict Content Pro?

Reading through the different features offered by Restrict Content Pro should give you an overall idea of how you can benefit from this plugin.

But, if you are considering a membership program and still wondering how to strategize this, Restrict Content Pro has come with a few use-cases that can help clear the mist.

Group Accounts

The plugin is a great choice for corporations, schools, and groups that need to give access to multiple logins. You can combine the Group Accounts add-on with Restrict Content Pro to set up multi-member accounts.

This enables organizers to register with a single account, and then allow other individual members of their respective groups to signup on their site.

Member Blogs

By using the Site Creation add-on, Restrict Content Pro allows paid subscribers to create their own websites within your network. This operates much like your very own CMS platform.

For instance, WordPress is a CMS where you can sign up as a customer, and then give access to other members. Businesses such as blogging sites and hosting services can go for this approach.

Club Memberships

Club Membership comes with multiple opportunities to enhance your Restrict Content Pro experience. For example, the plugin allows you to give member-access and receive benefits in terms of shopping discounts and more.

You can also give them exclusive access to download media assets and offer one-time deals.

Cooperatives

Business organizations and cooperatives can set up different member access areas where users can access content only based on their clearances.

Job Boards

You can either opt for the free MailChimp add-on or any other email list add-on to create a domain that keeps your subscribers posted about new mailing opportunities.

You can decide who gets access to what jobs based on the type of membership and access level. Another useful add-on here is the WP Job Manager that allows you to set up a premium job board with ease.

Magazine Subscriptions

This allows your subscribers to avail of magazine content published only after their subscription date. You also can take advantage of email options and add-ons to build a solid relationship with your readers.

Contracts and Support

It is becoming increasingly common for platforms to offer services only to those with specific subscription plans., Restrict Content Pro fits right into this slot by enabling support access for your premium subscribers alone. This is possible by hiding certain documentation content or pages from free users.

Private Communities

There is nothing better than Restrict Content Pro giving you all the control you need in regulating private communities or forums.

You can decide who has the authority to read or write comments and who can view exclusive discussions too. The best add-on for this is arguably bbPress – which is a market leader in facilitating private communities.

Restrict Content Pro Pricing

There are several plans offered by Restrict Content Pro, which we outline below.

The Free Version

Though we are reviewing Restrict Content Pro here, it is essential to mention that a free version of this plugin does exist. Known as Restrict Content, the free product is available from WordPress.org and does feature many of the core functionalities that we have discussed today.

You still get the main elements, such as registration forms and restricting content based on posts and categories. However, the exclusive features that make Restrict Content Pro more attractive – such as the unlimited membership levels, discount codes, email support, and some of the member management features, are missing.

You will also have access to fewer premium add-ons. The free plugin is decent; however, it does not offer a full-fledged membership plugin when you consider what the Pro version offers. If you are looking for premium benefits, you have to choose from one of the following paid plans.

Restrict Content Pro Pricing options
Restrict Content Pro Pricing options

Personal

  • Priced at $99 per year
  • Single site installation
  • Comes with 13 official free add-ons
  • Receives all plugin updates
  • Email support

Plus

  • Priced at $149 per year
  • Available for five sites
  • Comes with 13 official free add-ons
  • All other features of Personal Plan included

Professional

  • Priced at $249 per year
  • Available for unlimited sites
  • Comes with 13 official free add-ons
  • Includes 18 Pro add-ons
  • All other features of Personal Plan included

Ultimate

  • Priced at $499 as a one-time payment
  • Available for unlimited sites
  • Comes with 13 official free add-ons
  • Includes 18 Pro add-ons
  • All features of Personal Plan included

Both Professional and Ultimate plans also include unlimited plugin updates and support.

Apart from the Restrict Content Pro plans discussed above, there is no means to purchase any add-ons separately. As such, you will need to figure out which license option comes with all the add-ons you are looking for. This might be of a disadvantage to you if you do not want too many add-ons.

On the other hand, you can also look at it as a benefit as you get the features of both the plugin and the add-ons through a single license purchase.

There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee, no-questions-asked. So you have not one, but two ways of figuring out whether the plugin is a match for your business.

Support and Documentation

As most of the functionalities are configured by shortcodes, the Restrict Content Pro team has made it a point to provide documentation for every step along the way.

The documentation is available through iThemes Help Center. You can find detailed and comprehensive step-by-step instructions right from how to install the plugin to how to set up membership levels.

You can also contact the support team by submitting a ticket. However, there is no phone number or email address mentioned on the site.

Restrict Content Pro Review: The Verdict?

This plugin has managed to build an excellent reputation in the online space, not least because it was created by well-known developer Pippin Williamson. While this adds to the backend quality, Restrict Content Pro has also made the front end equally good.

It is continuously evolving and has made strides to accommodate new features. It is beginner-friendly, simple to use, and comes with dozens of functionality. Where it truly stands out is in the list of add-ons and integrations available.

That said, the plans are flexible enough for you to choose an option that is aligned with your business needs. Ultimately, if you are looking for a plugin that allows you to restrict content, then Restrict Content Pro is worth considering

Restrict Content Pro deserves a top-notch rating for factors such as ease of use and integration with other add-ons. It has increased the value of the product to a great extent. The documentation offering is another area where the plugin has got things right, making it comprehensive for both beginners as well as advanced developers.

It has also managed to include most of the commonly-used payment gateways. At the moment, few other WordPress plugins in the market offer the same value for money as Restrict Content Pro. Though it might seem expensive for a beginner, there are plenty of benefits to reap.

In short, Restrict Content Pro is an excellent way to make sure that your visitors acknowledge the effort that you have put into content creation or any other service. It gives you a more refined level of control over your site. In our eyes, Restrict Content Pro is one of the best, if not, the best WordPress membership plugin.

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Restrict Content Pro

9

Features

9.0/10

Price

9.0/10

Support

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Pros

  • Well-built and efficient interface
  • Unlimited membership levels
  • Integration with multiple third-party platforms
  • Free and paid add-ons
  • Excellent and thorough documentation

Cons

  • Few core features are available only through add-ons

Kane holds a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Finance, a Master's Degree in Financial Investigation and he is currently engaged in a Doctorate - researching financial crime in the virtual economy. With a keen passion for research, he currently writes for a variety of publications within the Financial and Technology industries. kane@circlo.io