WooCommerce Memberships allows your customers to have one or more memberships, and these can be purchased or manually assigned by a shop admin / manager.

Memberships are activated once an order is paid for (processing or completed status) that includes a product that grants access to the membership. They can also be activated manually by a shop administrator.

If a membership is tied to a subscription, then it’s tied into all subscription actions as well:

  • If the subscription is active, the membership is active and will not expire — it stays active so long as the subscription is.
  • If the subscription is suspended, the membership is paused (which stops access to restricted content).
  • If the subscription is cancelled, the membership is cancelled.

Using WooCommerce Subscriptions can allow your customers to upgrade or downgrade their memberships as well. Please see our document on the Subscriptions integration for more details.

Managing user memberships

User Memberships can be viewed from WooCommerce > Memberships > Members. This list will include each membership on your site, so if a user has more than one membership, that user will be listed multiple times.

WooCommerce Memberships User Memberships

From this list, you can edit, pause, cancel, or delete memberships by hovering on the user’s name. You can also select multiple users to perform a bulk edit. The only bulk action available is to change the membership status for the selected individuals.

If you only want to view certain memberships, you can filter memberships by:

  1. Plan type (i.e., view only silver memberships)
  2. Memberships status (i.e., view only expired memberships)
  3. Expiration: view plans that expire today, this week, or this month

View or edit members

When you click on a member’s name or the “Edit” action, you’ll be taken to the member management screen. From here, you can edit all memberships that a user has using the tabs to switch between memberships.

WooCommerce memberships edit member

Member Details will show you static information about the member: avatar, email, name, and billing address.

WooCommerce memberships member details

Recent Activity will show you recent activity for all memberships tied to this user — status changes, notes, etc. The last 5 notes will be show, and will display which membership the activity is related to.

WooCommerce Memberships recent activity

Membership Details will show plan details and allow you to edit them. Each membership is displayed in a tabbed layout so you can switch between a user’s memberships.

WooCommerce memberships membership details

You can view or change the plan type, status, membership start date, and membership end date. The billing section will show you details on how the membership was purchased.

Membership Notes show both automatically generated member notes (such as purchase details and status changes) and manually added notes for the membership being viewed. You can read more on membership notes below.

WooCommerce Memberships membership notes

Transfer memberships

You can transfer memberships from one user on your site to another using the membership “Transfer” action. When clicked, this will prompt you to select another user for the membership, or to create a new user for the membership.

WooCommerce Memberships Transfer User Membership

When transferred, all membership data will stay the same (order data for which the membership was purchased, linked subscriptions, etc) and only the user who owns the membership changes.

User membership statuses

User Memberships can have one of several statuses to help you manage members and content access. Some statuses are used automatically when memberships are purchased, some are only used as the result of manual actions, and some tie into Subscriptions if a subscription grants access to the membership.

Active A membership is active upon purchase (processing / completed order) or when created by an administrator Yes Yes
Free Trial Only used if Subscriptions is active and a membership is tied to a subscription with a free trial; will be moved to active when the trial is over. Cannot be manually assigned Yes* Yes
Complimentary Only used for manual membership status changes; helpful to designate if a free membership has been given. Yes No
Delayed Used for memberships with a fixed start and end date before the membership has started; will allow members to see what they will have access to in the member area, but they cannot access perks yet. No Yes
Pending Cancellation Used with Subscriptions (v2.0+) and ties into the subscription’s “pending cancellation” status automatically. When a subscription is pending cancellation, the membership will be pending cancellation. Yes No
Paused 1. Admin manually pauses a membership
2. Member suspends a subscription that the membership is tied to
No Yes
Expired Used when a set-length membership runs out / expires No n/a
Cancelled Used when a member or admin cancels the membership or subscription to which the membership is tied No n/a

*If you’ve delayed content access until after the free trial, the member cannot access it in the trial period. Memberships let you determine which content is included in the trial period so you don’t have to provide access to some content while a subscription is in the trial state.

Members can renew a set-length membership if its status is ‘expired’ by re-purchasing the product that granted access or clicking “Renew” from My Account > Memberships:

WooCommerce Memberships: Renew expired membership

Notes on status changes

For the most part, membership statuses are automated. For example, when a set-length membership is purchased, the “Active” status is used automatically, and the status changes to “Expire” when the membership runs out, or “Cancelled” if the member cancels the membership.

When a subscription membership is purchased, the status will be “Free trial” if a trial exists, or “Active” if no trial exists. Membership status changes will automatically change with the subscription status.

There are some actions you should be aware of that will trigger status changes.

  • When an order that contained a membership product is marked refunded (the order status is changed to “Refunded”), then the membership purchased in that order will be cancelled.
  • When an order is trashed that contains a membership product, the membership purchased in that order will be cancelled.
  • If a subscription is cancelled or trashed that has a membership tied to it, then the membership tied to that subscription will be cancelled.
  • If a subscription is suspended that has a membership tied to it, then the membership tied to that subscription will be paused.

Membership notes

Membership notes work very similar to WooCommerce order notes, and allow you to track information about, and changes to, user memberships.

Some notes are automatically generated — membership purchases and status changes will generate notes for record keeping.

You can add notes manually to track membership details (i.e., spoke with customer on June 1), or can opt to send the note to the member by clicking “Notify Member”.

These notes can help you track why changes were made (i.e., why the status was changed to “complimentary”), or give you a quick way to get in touch with a specific member.

Notes emailed to a member will have a purple background instead of the default gray to indicate they were sent to the member:

WooCommerce Memberships membership notes

Manually creating user memberships

You can manually create a membership for a customer or any WordPress user in a few steps by going to WooCommerce > Memberships > Members.

First, click the “Add Members” button next to the “Members” title:

WooCommerce Memberships manually add member 1

You can enter the name (or username) of the user for whom you’d like to add a membership. This will search for the user, and you can select the appropriate user from the list. Or, you can opt to create a new user for this membership:

WooCommerce Memberships add new member, step 1

Once you’ve selected the user or entered the details for the new user, click “Add Member”:

WooCommerce Memberships add new member, step 2

You can now edit the details of the membership, such as the plan and expiration date.

WooCommerce memberships edit member

Granting access for previous purchases

If you’d like to grant access to customers who have purchased a particular product before Memberships was activated, you can do so with our previous purchase import. As an aside, if you use the Groups plugin on your site, you can also import members from Groups (please view our Groups integration document for help).

Here’s an overview of how the process works:

  • Let’s assume a Silver membership is purchasable via the “Monthly Snack Box” product.
  • You’d like to grant memberships to customers who purchased this “Monthly Snack Box” already before it also granted access to the membership or before the Memberships plugin was installed.
  • By following this routine, Memberships will search for any processing or completed orders that contain the “Monthly Snack Box” product and grant access to this customer.
  • If the customer already has access to the membership, or the purchase was a guest purchase, the order / customer is skipped.
  • Any new memberships created from this process will also have expiration dates (if your membership expires) and respect dripping rules. The import date is considered day 1 of the membership, not the purchase date.

Grant Previous Purchase Access

Go to the Membership Plan you’d like to grant access to under WooCommerce > Memberships > Membership Plans. When you click on the plan to edit it, be sure that all products are already assigned to grant access to the membership. The import process will check orders for these products to grant access.

Click “Grant Access” next to “Existing purchases” to begin this workflow.

WooCommerce Memberships grant access

You’ll see a notice that informs you of the following:

  • If this membership exists already for the customer, a new one will not be created.
  • If a customer has purchased this product, but does not yet have a membership, one will be created and will use the expiration length, etc., included in the plan.
  • If the membership can be purchased via a subscription, only active subscribers with this subscription will have a membership created.

WooCommerce Memberships grant retroactive access

Clicking “Grant access” will begin the import.

WooCommerce memberships access granted

You’ll be notified of the number of imported members as soon as the import completes.

Important notes

Here are a few behaviors of which you should be aware while using this import wizard.

  • When users are imported, the membership plan’s settings will be respected in terms of content access and expiration. For example, if a membership is valid for one year, and the member is imported from a previous purchase, then the membership will expire one year after the import date.
  • Membership plans will not be created if the user already has access to a plan.
  • Large imports: If your site is importing a large number of members from previous purchases (i.e., over 2000 users), this process may take some time to complete. You must leave your browser window open to complete this import; closing the window will halt its progress.