On my quest to get a modern checkout experience, plus proper email management - I think I have found a pretty good solution.
Keep s2member (or alternatively OptimizeMember) for content protection - but modernize the whole user experience by moving to MemberPress and Thrivecart for Checkout.
I'm still in the testing phase - and there are quite a few obstacles - but I will start to write down here how to transfer your site with active subscriptions over to Memberpress for the user side and keep s2member doing what it does best - protecting content but get rid of s2member where is simply lacks - selling content and managing memberships.
You will need s2member pro or OptimizeMember I guess - for the Export User feature - as Memberpress crashes on activation if you feed it with s2member created users. There is some bug on Memberpress side of things I guess (at least if you have thousands of active users) but you will need to import quite a few stuff anyhow.
Why move away from s2member for checkout and user management?
not well polished
lots of bugs relating to subscription payments
countless bugs that lead to users not properly demoted
Proform checkout User Interface that looks like it's from the 90s IMHO and confuses users so much I have over 50% dropouts here (vs 10% on paypal standard payment button) - of which around 30% come back to checkout via paypal instead of Stripe (effectively losing me around 20% turnover!). I have logged this data over 2 years now and really need a better solution than s2 pro can deliver.
Customer Complaints because of wrongly demoted accounts - and so on.
Very good and quick support (this goes for OPM, ThriveCart and MemberPress - but never got good support at s2. This forum is basically all there is).
Requirements to buy:
1. S2member Pro if you have existing users. If you don't have existing users - or very little yet - then s2member standard will do fine.
2. ThriveCart - 599 USD - Optional - but if you want to have the ultimate checkout experience - go for it. Memberpress is clearly better than s2 here IMHO - but not up to the same standards as ThriveCart
3. MemberPress Plus - 212USD first Year using WPBGNR coupon (I guess if you only have 1 website the cheaper plan will do), then I'm not sure how much they charge for renewal? I guess 50% of 249USD per year.
NOTE: This will only work if you do not require CCAPS or sell single posts/pages. In this case I have no clue how to proceed. I'm pretty sure it will work if all you need are membership levels. If the 10 by s2member pro are not enough - first migrate to OptimizeMember which supports up to 99 membership levels I think. I only have one membership level - meaning either someone is a premium user, or not (well he gets demoted to subscriber - and can renew for less money) - and Non Premium Users/Guests. I do have various pricing plans however depending how long you will have access to your account - subscription and fixed term - all of this should be supported.
Procedure - do this on a test site first - backups should be standard anyhow and backup during your setup so you can quickly go back in case!
1. Remove all users via SQL query: DELETE wu FROM
wp_users wu INNER JOIN wp_usermeta ON wu.ID = wp_usermeta.user_id WHERE meta_key = 'wp_capabilities' AND meta_value NOT LIKE '%administrator%'
EDIT - this step is not needed - I only needed it because Memberpress loads 3rd party scripts to import users - and those scripts were blocked by my Content Security Policy (never thought an importer loads third party content so I did not check the console on activating the plugin - and simply reloading the page those bugs do not show in the console anymore).
2. Install MemberPress Plus, plus the Migration/Importer Plugin, plus the User Roles Plugin.
Notes: The Migration/Importer plugin will be used to reimport your users with the proper payments/Memberships as expected by Memberpress Plus.
The User Roles Plugin will be used to automatically add the corresponding s2member level to each user/also newly sold ones so you do not have to rebuild your whole website for Memberpress. I still think s2member is at least as good in this point as Memberpress (s2member seems more dev friendly here using lots of shortcodes, while Memberpress is more beginner friendly with User interfaces to block content, while still also allowing shortcodes but not so nice if / then commands as can be configured with s2member).
3. Import users - guides are e.g. here:
to be continued.
Detailed steps for me:
2. Go through all the settings and set them up properly, creating the new checkout pages, membership levels and so on.
Sadly there is no export function. So this will take 1-XX hours depending on complexity of your site. (on your test page you may deactivate all emails the first time you try to reimport your users (if you have a couple thousands and do a two step approach with in the first step only running through a couple of tests users - then in second importing all past users on test page - then in third step actually doing all the imports on your live page.
--I'm not so sure yet how to handle Paypal IPN and duplicator for IPN.
--I'm not sure how to best clean up the UserMETA tables. Basically there are three options - manually, by deleting s2member and before deactiving the safeguards (you can directly afterwards install it again in order to have the content protection running again - and membership roles reactivated), by actually deleting the full usermeta table (note you lock yourself out too this way. If you have ftp access to your site - which you should it's easy to create a new admin login however. However I'm not sure what happens to comments and if they are properly reattributed later.