WooCommerce: Which Subscriptions Plugin Should You Buy?

Setting up a recurring revenue stream is one of the hottest ecommerce money-making strategies. And there is no doubt that, no matter whether you sell cakes, audio books, services, rentals, there is always room for a “subscription” product.

Think about selling a product once, and then seeing automatic renewal orders come through. And where the customers’ credit card is automatically charged. Yes, this can be done with a “WooCommerce Subscriptions” plugin.

Though, it comes at a cost (besides, it’s a subscription you have to purchase from a WooCommerce plugin developer to guarantee on-going bug fixing, support and maintenance!), with the reason being you can’t really code such a delicate functionality on your own (with a snippet for example). Subscription plugins are about money, revenue, automatic charge operations, tokens, error handling, retrials and other complex things – at this stage you have no other choice than purchasing an out-of-the-box solution: a reliable WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.

The hard part here is deciding which subscription plugin is the best fit for you as a user and for your WooCommerce store. You also need to consider things such as integration, compatibility, UX, payment gateways, support (my favorite), code quality, functionality roadmap, maintenance, long-term reliability and – also – price.

This ultimate review guide goes through my top 3 choices. From $49 to $199, you have a full range of products, and each one offers the same exact thing: recurring payments.

So, what’s the difference? Which one should you pick?

1. Subscriptio – WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin by RightPress ($69 + $56 $24/year)

This is a very popular CodeCanyon product with 7,000+ sales.

This plugin was stuck at Version 3.0.6 since 18 September 2020, so definitely a no-go, but recently they released version 3.0.7 (6 October 2021) so that’s a good sign that the plugin is back in business.

Though, you need to be careful with your choice; it’s way less expensive than WooCommerce.com or YITH equivalents, but support and development are vital and you can’t afford to pick a subscriptions plugin that won’t be updated for another year. Feel free to leave a comment in case you’re using this product and you find it awesome, so that I can get some real feedback.

Let’s see what you get for this little price:

  • Turn simple & variable products into subscriptions
  • Two built-in payment gateway extensions (Stripe and PayPal Express)
  • Works with all WooCommerce payment gateway extensions if they integrate with Subscriptio
  • Set any billing cycle length and max length
  • Charge a one-off signup fee
  • Configure a trial period
  • Let customers paused, resume and cancel subscriptions
  • Purchase multiple subscriptions at once
  • Subscription management tools for customers
  • Admin subscription management area
  • Sell online memberships with recurring changes (requires additional extension)
  • Lots of hooks available for developers
  • And more…

What’s super important is therefore the payment gateway integration: if you’re ok using the built-in Stripe and PayPal Express (this requires approval from PayPal, so check that out first) gateways, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you need to check with your payment gateway if they are compatible with Subscriptio, which could be a bummer.

Also, if you’re building a membership site, you also need to purchase RightPress’ Membership plugin, so you need to consider that too. To be honest, the same applies to its competitors, so this is not a key feature.

Wrapping up, RP Subscription plugin is a good choice when you plan on using this plugin alone. If you need to build a more complex system with several other plugins and need the whole system to work well, you’d probably do better at choosing YITH or WooCommerce.com solutions.

2. YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin by YITH (€199.99/year)

If you’ve purchased other plugins from YITH, you know they’re one of the top WooCommerce Plugins sellers (together with WooCommerce.com of course). And if you haven’t, you probably heard of them anyway as you tested one of their free WooCommerce plugins on WordPress.org.

Either way, YITH sells 180+ WooCommerce premium plugins, and of course “YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions” is one of them. They claim to have 2,200,000+ customers as of today, and I’m pretty sure that’s correct because I personally know the founders. Their team is made of 50+ people and they’re all focused on WooCommerce development and in-house support.

But let’s move to the plugin review and see what you can get for €199/year:

  1. compatible with YITH and WooCommerce PayPal/Stripe and more
  2. no new product types: simply add “subscription” to existing simple / variable / etc. products subscription
  3. customers can pause / upgrade / downgrade / cancel / resume via “My Account”
  4. subscription can come with a free trial and sign-up fee
  5. automatic email notifications
  6. new coupon discounts: sign-up fee or recurring
  7. automatic retry if renewal credit card payment fails (3 times)
  8. add multiple subscription products to Cart
  9. admin can manage subscriptions
  10. important integrations: WPML, YITH WooCommerce Memberships and all other YITH plugins such as Affiliates, Multi Vendor, Add-Ons, etc.

Of course, this plugin is untested with other non-YITH payment methods e.g. Authorize or Braintree, so the best is always to contact YITH. Your chances are if you’re going to stick to the Stripe + PayPal combo, this is an excellent solution.

With a few clicks, you can enable subscriptions and start collecting recurring, automated revenue from your customers.

Here’s how you create a subscription product with YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions:

Simply tick “subscription” to turn any WooCommerce product into a recurring revenue generator

And once you add the subscription product to Cart, here’s the Checkout order review section:

Checkout scenario when a YITH subscription is added to cart

Customer will see this under “My Account”:

Subscription recap under “My Account” > View Subscription when a YITH subscription is purchased

Admin will see this in the dashboard:

Summary of all YITH subscriptions as seen from the store admin @ WordPress Dashboard

To conclude this review, this product is working, is fully supported, YITH is usually open to change requests and if you want to integrate this with other YITH plugins this is your best choice.

Now you have no more excuses not to have recurring revenue in your WooCommerce store!

3. Official WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin by WooCommerce ($199/year)

Whatever Prospress codes, you can rely on it. Prospress is the developer, while WooCommerce.com is the marketplace where “WooCommerce Subscriptions” is sold. And this means whatever third party plugin is sold on the official marketplace, this has to pass several code reviews and stick to WooCommerce standards.

So this is good. And together with YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions, they are the 2 most reliable subscriptions plugins out there when building complex websites.

Let’s see now how this WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin compares to YITH (I will use the same list ordering as above) and what else you get for $199/year:

  1. compatible with PayPal/Stripe and any other WooCommerce official payment gateway plugin, as long as payment provider is compatible with recurring payments
  2. new product types (unlike YITH): simple subscription / variable subscription
  3. customers can pause / upgrade / downgrade / cancel / resume via “My Account”
  4. subscription can come with a free trial and sign-up fee
  5. automatic email notifications
  6. new coupon discounts: sign-up fee or recurring
  7. automatic retry if renewal credit card payment fails
  8. add multiple subscription products to Cart
  9. admin can manage subscriptions
  10. important integrations: possibly all WooCommerce official plugins
  11. bonus: synchronized payments: you can decide to charge all subscribers on the e.g. 1st of the month, no matter when they purchased (pro-rate payments also available)

Prospress documentation is excellent and I was able to find these handy screenshots. Here’s how you add a new subscription product:

In this case, unlike YITH, you have to change “product type” to “simple subscription” or “variable subscription”

The Checkout and My Account pages will look very similar to YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions. Finally, the admin can manage subscriptions from their dashboard:

Managing WooCommerce subscriptions from the store owner dashboard

So, YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions and Prospress’ WooCommerce Subscriptions plugins are very similar, and I’d say the level of support is equally good (again, it depends on your previous and personal experience of course).

As usual you have to consider current and future integrations when picking YITH vs WooCommerce and also remember that YITH and Prospress will continue to develop their best-seller plugin in case you need a new feature or have a specific request.

It’s like choosing Pepsi or Coke, at the end the product functionality is the same – so you have to pick your choice based on your store setup, personal experience and particular needs.

Best of luck 🙂

Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza.

9 thoughts on “WooCommerce: Which Subscriptions Plugin Should You Buy?

  1. Which membership plugin you use (if any) should also be a consideration when choosing a subscription plugin since there can be some overlap between the two. If you use Yith memberships, you will find better compatibility and more comprehensive support if you stay with Yith for subscriptions. Same with Woo memberships and subscriptions.

  2. Please help. In Woo Commerce Subscritions we have a 24 week subscription (6 recurring payments) for a bundled product –online course and 4 boxes of shakes ( 2 flavor options; chocolate or vanilla). We want customer to be able to change their flavor preferences before the next recurring billing without making any other changes. Our problem is that when we allow customer to make changes to how 4 boxes are flavored ie from 4 chocolate 0 vanilla to 2 choc an2 vanilla, the system makes customer end up doing this thru checkout. Here is our problem–this checkout genertes a NEW Order which is then emailed to the drop shipper BEFORE the recurring payment takes place in essence triggering free product sent to customer AND the same NEW order sent to customer when credit card is charged at proper billing time. How do we enable customer to be able to change product mix in the subscription without triggering a checkout in woo commerce?

    1. Hi John, I’d ask the plugin developers in this case

  3. Just wanted to mention that there’s an add on plugin now that was officially added to the Woo marketplace called “all products for subscriptions” that allows existing products to be turned into subscriptions. I didn’t know the Yith plugin already allowed this though – probably would have gone that route if I’d known!

    1. Thanks a mill!

      1. Yes, but be aware that with this Addon (there is also a second one that does this feature) it is not possible to give free trials. (there is also a second addon on the Woo Marketplace Subscription Enhancer, that does this feature — transfer existign products in subsciptions –but it also lacks free trials)

  4. Thank U !

    1. Welcome!

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