WooCommerce: Which “Subscriptions” Plugin Should You Buy? [2019]

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 ($49)

This is a very popular CodeCanyon product with 6,000+ sales. Finally, after two years, RightPress published version 2.3.9 in August 2019, which means they’re back in business.

Initially I had discarded this plugin exactly for that reason (a well developed plugin should be updated almost each time WooCommerce is updated), but now it seems the plugin is finally worth a trial.

Give it a go and let me know if it works properly, so that I can add more information here such as screenshots and features.

2. YITH WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin by YITH (€99)

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 93,097 customers as of today, and I’m pretty sure that’s correct. Their team is made of 30+ 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 €99/year (or, you can join the YITH club and use all their WooCommerce plugins on 25 sites for €250/year):

  1. compatible with PayPal/Stripe
  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. WooCommerce Subscriptions Plugin by Prospress ($199)

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 (well, unless RightPress releases a new version – in that case it would be 3).

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

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as a 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.

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