Common questions about WooCommerce subscriptions answered

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WooCommerce is a great ecommerce plugin to facilitate sales through your website. But what will you do if you want to collect recurring payments? For this, you can use WooCommerce subscriptions.

WooCommerce Subscriptions is a WordPress subscription plugin that can let you sell digital as well as physical goods on a recurring basis. This is just like you subscribe to a magazine, you subscribe to a fortnight magazine and you’ll be charged once on a monthly/yearly basis, and it will be delivered to your doorstep every fortnight. This is how subscription with WooCommerce product will work.

WooCommerce subscriptions works with WooCommerce. So to include its features into your website, you will first need to install the free WooCommerce plugin. Well, this plugin is an all-purpose ecommerce plugin that lets you sell physical as well as downloadable products. All you need to do is create a product and choose it’s type – Virtual/downloadable. You can create products like tickets, course, etc and sell them on recurring basis using WooCommerce subscriptions plugin.

What kind of websites can I create using this subscription plugin?

With this plugin you can create subscription based websites. A website with any purpose that needs subscription facility can be created using this plugin.

Examples of what you can create with WooCommerce subscriptions

  • A store website that delivers products and services at a fixed period, repetitively
  • A health magazine website that delivers a magazine every two weeks
  • An online training website that allows free trial for 10 days and then charges subscription fees for 10 months
  • A membership website that renews the membership automatically at the end of membership duration

These are some of the most basic examples of what you can create with WooCommerce and WooCommerce subscriptions. You can always try to use the potential of the plugin for your innovative ideas.

Difference between WooCommerce subscriptions and membership?

Sometimes you may get confused between membership and subscription. The difference between membership and subscription is quite unclear, but their meanings are completely different from each other.

WooCommerce has these two very useful products namely – WooCommerce Membership and WooCommerce subscriptions and they are absolutely unrelated to each other.

WooCommerce Membership

As the name states, it is a membership plugin. The membership refers to the membership for your website. As in, the access to part of the website. Lets understand it with an example-

We have a lots of websites that sells WordPress themes and plugins. Most of such themes offer a club membership where the user can pay a certain fee and get access to all their themes(or a group of certain themes). Membership fee may be one time, or yearly fee. So, the membership subscription allows the users, the access to a part of the website for a fixed duration and lets them download their themes.

So, membership is all about “access“. WooCommerce membership subscription is a way to restrict your content for general audience and allowing the access to the registered members only.

For membership that is renewed at a fixed duration, there WooCommerce Membership subscription that works with WooCommerce subscriptions to accept recurring subscription fee at the end of each Membership duration.

WooCommerce Subscriptions

As with membership, subscription has nothing to do with access control. It is all about the products and services that the users would like to buy repeatedly at fixed interval. WooCommerce subscriptions lets you add products/services that you want to provide on subscription basis. The idea of subscription is to accept recurring payments, at a fixed interval!

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Works with PayPal??

One of the most common question regarding WooCommerce subscriptions is whether it is compatible with PayPal payment gateway. The reason people prefer PayPal is that, according to a statistics, more than 192 million people worldwide use PayPal and it is one of the simplest to use and most reliable payment options.

Yes! WooCommerce subscriptions plugin works with PayPal. It basically works with all the payment gateways compatible with WooCommerce.

Can WooCommerce subscriptions handle Variable Products?

This WordPress subscriptions allows variable subscriptions. Variable subscription is just like providing variable products on your website. The following example will explain this better.


When you subscribe to a product or a service, you are likely to receive a discount when you subscribe for a larger duration. For instance – The monthly charge for a service is $150, for 3 months it is $400($50 less), for 6 months it is $800 ($100 discount) and for a year it is $1600 ($200 off). This is the best example for a variable subscription plan. The service/product remains the same, but you can choose the variable of plan that you want to subscribe.

Another such example simple product variation – Suppose you subscribing a product that has size or weight variation. So you can set different subscription price for each variation of the product.

In practical world, variable subscription is more useful than simple subscription. And the good news is, WooCommerce subscriptions has the easiest provision for presenting such “variable” situations for your products in a way that is also easy for users to understand and respond to.

It makes it easy for you, as a store manager, to express your product variations and charge different for them, and at the same time, the buyers can subscribe to the selected variation of your product/service, just like they do for simple products.

How will the recurring payment in WordPress work?

One of the most common questions about WooCommerce Subscriptions is –  Does it bill automatically or will it just notify the visitors to come to your site and pay manually for their subscriptions?

When the user has made a payment for a subscription using a payment gateway that supports automatic recurring payments, they will be billed automatically. This means that the subscription will be renewed without their intervention. However, at any point, if the user’s request to change this for manual payments, you can change that.

What are the Supported Payment gateways?

The WooCommerce subscriptions plugin works with every payment gateway supported by WooCommerce. The plugin allows you to install the desired payment gateway from the wide range of available plugins. There are some payment gateways that allow recurring payment collection. So, you can choose the payment gateway based on how you want to accept the payments.

How does it support Free trials??

If you want a product or a system that provides free trial for a definite period like one week, or a month before the users sign up for the subscription, WooCommerce subscriptions lets you do that very easily.

For example, the user will be granted a free trail period of 15 days after which, he will be charged a sign up fee of $20 and then his subscription will be active for $180 per month.

Sending emails regarding subscriptions

It is important to keep the users notified of what is happening with their subscriptions. Emails are the best way to stay in touch and keep the users notified.

WooCommerce subscriptions has an automated email system that sends a subscriber an email notice on the registered email address. This emailing system sends emails on the following 3 occasions.

  1. When the subscription is renewed
  2. user subscription is cancelled
  3. Subscription is upgraded

However, there’s no way to send a reminder a few days before the renewal date. You’ll have to use another plugin to do so.


WooCommerce subscriptions provides you with the most convenient way to sell your products/services on repetitive basis. It is really easy to use and manage. The plugin lets you create products and services with/without variations that you can allow your users to subscribe. Even from the users’ perspective, it is quite easy to understand as well as subscribe with such websites. Moreover, you can choose and integrate the payment gateway of your choice.

These were some of the most common questions that might confuse a user who want to use this plugin for creating a website with subscription facility. WooCommerce Subscriptions is one of the best WooCommmerce add-on to create ecommerce websites with subscriptions. Here are a few WooCommerce subscriptions alternatives that you try for your subscription based websites.

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One thought on “Common questions about WooCommerce subscriptions answered

  1. Hey, I was wondering if it’s possible to limit to a one trial per customer? I mean, every customer can subscribe but if they can create more than one subscription it will make sense for them to skip the trial instead of doing a trial every time they subscribe.

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