top of page

Paywall Plugins Vs Subscription Management Platforms

Updated: Jan 29

The “plugin vs platform debate” is one that most paywall seekers have sparked. But first, let’s understand what they both offer, what they have in common, and their differences. They both offer an effective content-gating solution to an ongoing content monetization problem, however, navigating these tools will be entirely different. Paywall plugins and subscription management platforms both will provide you with a paywall but they do not offer the same user experience and will not deliver the same results.

What Is a Paywall Plugin?

Paywall plugins, like any software plugin, are add-ons to existing software that enables your website to attain a set of attributes without altering the host’s primary features. They provide simple, static, and standardized content-gating options for digital publishers wishing to monetize their content. Besides being simple, paywall plugins cannot stand alone and require being supported by hosting software like WordPress. While paywall plugins offer effective short-term solutions that might get the job done, they, however, have some considerable drawbacks and are not recommended as long-term solutions. 

What Is a Subscription Management Platform?

Subscription management platforms are designed for businesses that sell digital memberships, subscription boxes, magazines, newspapers, video content, digital content, and everything in between. Subscription management platforms give you access to features like identity management, billing, registration, authorization, paywalls, data analytics, shipping, and so much more. With a platform, you are operating from a single source of truth rather than managing several different plugins. A quality subscription management platform will allow you to design, edit and control the entire subscription process.

Pros of Paywall Plugins:

  1. Does not take much time to implement. A paywall plugin can be installed in a matter of minutes on content management systems like WordPress and Drupal.

  2. Some plugins enable search engines to crawl your website, which can be very useful for your SEO strategy.

  3. Most paywall plugins are standardized and fairly easy to use. Below is an example of this:

The Cons of Paywall Plugins:

  1. They do not support any control over the user interface, paywalls or user flows and are quite limited when it comes to what you can customize.

  2. Extremely limited segmentation and targeting capabilities.

  3. Identity management is not available with plugins. Paywall plugins are simply for gating content. A user will not be able to create an account and manage all aspects of his or her subscription through a plugin.

  4. Plugins offer limited data analytics and forecasting tools.

  5. Does not support any marketing features or insights.

  6. Can be faulty and easier to penetrate.

  7. Relies on other platforms to perform which can hinder your site speed.

  8. Plugins do not provide any customer support.

  9. Plugins do not support auto-renewals and hinder long-term growth strategies.

The Pros of Using Subscription Management Platform:

  1. It offers complete customizability on everything from user flows to paywalls.

  2. Provides you with an ecosystem that supports identity management. Your users can sign-up or register and navigate a complete dashboard that is designed to make them stay.

  3. Supports account management and pro-services. You’ll have access to a team of experts that will guide you through challenges like integrations and migrations.

  4. Supports dynamic paywall settings and advanced segmentation, you can set your paywalls to target certain customers based on their location, language, behaviors, and more.

  5. Some subscription management platforms like Pelcro for instance, offer tools that enable publishers to create marketing campaigns to advertise and promote their product offerings. Check it out here.

Cons of Using a Subscription Management Platform:

  1. The setup, integration, and migration process may take some time, especially if you have requested heavy customization before going live.

  2. Can be expensive to get started.

  3. Some platforms may not make sense for small publishers and businesses.

  4. Some platforms may require coding expertise to get around their platform and use it to its full potential.

Ready to Try Pelcro’s Subscription Management Platform?

Here at Pelcro, our goal is to transform your business into a profitable subscription business that keeps users coming back for more. To learn more about how to improve your subscriber experience and paywalls using our all-in-one platform, book a demo now and get an exclusive one-on-one product tour, or get started with your free trial right away and see for yourself!


bottom of page