Best membership site platform? Kajabi Pricing vs. Wordpress Plugin Hell

Looking into Kajabi pricing? Want to compare Kajabi's prices to a suite of membership tools on Wordpress? You're in the right place. 

I used Wordpress and Woocommerce for 5 years before finally giving up on it and moving to Kajabi. 

In this post, I'm going to explain why I made the decision to transition from Wordpress to Kajabi, how much Kajabi costs (and whether Kajabi's prices are justified), and why I think moving to Kajabi was one of the best decisions I ever made. 


If you prefer a video version of this article, check out this video. If not, keep scrolling down!



Some background on my Wordpress site 

I was running a pretty complex Wordpress site.

It had Wordpress, Woocommerce, a learner management system (LMS) called Sensei / Woocommerce Paid Courses, multiple Woocommerce extensions (like Woomembership, Woocommerce Subscriptions, AffiliateWP, Gravity Forms, Smart Offers, AutomateWoo, etc. etc.). 

And I had a premium WYSIWYG drag and drop editor that I really liked 92% of the time (the other 8% of the time it had hidden bugs that would only appear when I really wanted to get something done). 

And I had a plugin to integrate the site with a separate MailChimp account.

And I had premium high speed hosting to handle the over 100,000 visitors the site was getting every month. 


If you've run a membership site on Woocommerce and Wordpress, all of that sounds pretty familiar to you. And I'm glad you're here.

If you haven't run a membership site on Wordpress and that long list of plugins made your head spin a little, don't worry. That should make your head spin. And I'm glad you're here. 


Is Wordpress really cheaper than Kajabi pricing? At one point, yes.

If you have a dream of making money teaching people something valuable on your website, you may not have a lot of money right now. And you're probably a little afraid to commit much money to the project. 

That's fine.

At that point, Wordpress might make a lot of sense. You're just testing the waters, so to speak. 

Maybe you just want to spend some time blogging and see if you can generate interest and build an audience. 

Wordpress, at its most basic, is perfect for that. And your commitment in terms of dollars will be low. Wordpress is free. You cannot beat free. Kajabi cannot compete with free.

 Even if Kajabi were $1/month, it couldn't compete with free. 


You don't have much traffic, so you can get cheap web hosting for a couple dollars a month. 

You're blogging. Good! GREAT. Congratulations on taking some steps forward! 

In this case, when your needs are limited and your budget is small. Wordpress is definitely cheaper. At that point, Wordpress is probably better than Kajabi. 

But a time will come when Kajabi is worth the extra cost over Wordpress.

And at some point, Wordpress becomes MORE expensive than Kajabi, and that's when things change. Kajabi becomes a lot better than Wordpress. 


When is Kajabi worth the money? 

Look, Kajabi isn't cheap. But at a certain point, Kajabi becomes completely worth its price. And that's not marketing hype.

I'm speaking from experience.

Days of heartburn type of experience. 

...I...can't...stand...updating...all...these...Wordpress plugins...AGAIN.


Since you're here, I'm going to assume that you have plans of having a membership site of some kind. That's the biggest reason you would want to be looking at Kajabi.

When you have a big audience coming to your site, you want your site to work. You want things to just work so you can focus on making great content. 

You do not want to worry that things will randomly break and waste your time. You don't want site malfunctions to stand between your audience and your content! 

And that's where Wordpress loses to Kajabi. 

Kajabi is better than Wordpress when you start factoring in all the headaches that come with a complex Wordpress installation. 

And, believe it or not, Kajabi pricing is CHEAPER than a Wordpress-based membership site with all the Wordpress plugins and other things you need... 


Comparing Kajabi Prices with Wordpress - REAL world situations 


Think about this scenario...


You have an audience. You even have your own Wordpress LMS setup with paying members and everything! You're making some money. Maybe it's a $1000 a month. Maybe it's $2000 a month. The business is viable...things are going well! 


Now, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to spend all your time clicking through multiple screens to try to get one opt-in to integrate with three different Wordpress plugins or other services? 
  • Do you want to have to contact a Wordpress plugin developer once every quarter to try to figure out why something broke during the last update? This will only involve a few days of email back and forth...
  • Do you want to get locked into a Wordpress system so complex that you can never hope to train someone else to help you manage it all?
  • Do you want to wake up one morning and discover that two of your Wordpress plugins are incompatible and that after two hours of mucking around, you still can't fix it...
  • Do you want to create and implement a software update process for ALL your themes and plugins? Your Wordpress update process will require you do all updates on a staging site, then run rigorous tests on multiple pages, sales funnels, and opt-ins to ensure 100% functionality?  
  • Do you want to watch your update process still occasionally fail you because you forgot that you need to check something else that you didn't even imagine could break during a Wordpress plugin update? This will result in at least a couple hours every time to fix the problem...if it's even fixable. 
  • Do you want to hire a Wordpress developer to try to fix and/or prevent these things from happening at a cost of $100-1000+ per month? 
  • Do you want to continuously need to pay more and more for hosting to try to keep the site running smoothly? Oh, you didn't know Woocommerce, Wordpress membership plugins, and any kind of Wordpress LMS will become a bigger resource hog over time? Too bad! That'll still cost you! 


I didn't have to search my imagination for those scenarios.

Those are all real experiences I had trying to keep my Wordpress site working! 

If any two of those sounds like too much headache for, imagine having to deal with ALL of them. 

Seriously. Imagine it. Because that's what you'll have to deal with. 

I'm so busy fixing my Wordpress site and plugins...I don't even have time to be a different image! Gawd, my chest...


Wordpress vs. Kajabi costs ||  Headaches vs. simplicity

Kajabi likes to tell you that it simplifies a lot of stuff for you. Kajabi says you don't need all the Wordpress plugins and integrated services if you just use their system.

That sounded too good to be true when I started doing my research.

I was extremely skeptical when I saw the claims. 

When I am skeptical, I start looking for evidence. I couldn't find any body's REAL numbers on plugins and performance versus Kajabi.

All I found were people saying "Kajabi is awesome!" These were people dropping affiliate links left and right and who obviously had limited experience with the actual system. 

And then I found general statements about how Kajabi was easier to use and was worth it...but nothing concrete to back it up. 

 This made me hesitate. I didn't want to commit to moving to Kajabi from Wordpress without more information.

So I decided to look at my own Wordpress costs versus Kajabi pricing...

Let me break down some REAL numbers for you. 


The cost of Wordpress Plugins before switching to Kajabi

I made a list of every paid plugin my site was using. This includes the Woocommerce extensions, drag and drop editor, Mailchimp integrations, AutomateWoo, Affiliate stuff, LMS, Gravity Forms, etc. etc. etc. 

Goal #1: Save money on my website. Goal #2: Learn to write with my right hand. Goal #3: Finally catch up on all those Wordpress plugin updates.


I had what was necessary. I didn't have a ton of other bells and whistles. I'm a cheapskate by nature, and that meant I would use plugins when I needed them - when I thought their functionality would pay for themselves. 

I ended up with 12 paid premium plugins that I absolutely had to have. I had a couple others that added extra expense, but I left them out of my cost comparison because they weren't 100% necessary if I was being ruthless. 

How much do all the plugin's on a fully functional membership site cost to run on Wordpress?


My total cost of Wordpress Plugins every year: $1621.


That breaks down to $135 per month. 


That's the plugins alone! 


That's $135 per month NOT including developer fees to fix problems. 

That's $135 per month NOT including the countless hours I lost every year due to Wordpress update issues. 

That's $135 per month NOT including the stressed out days I'd be stomping around the house or office agitated beyond words by yet another malfunction. 


If I valued my time at ONLY $50 an hour and we assumed only forty Wordpress headache hours in the entire year, it would add another $2000 to the year in Wordpress costs (or $166/month). 

That would bring the total cost to $301/month for the Wordpress plugin nightmare that so many people suffer through. 

But with Kajabi I do not have ANY of the headaches of Wordpress plugin Hell. 



Kajabi pricing is definitely worth the cost when compared to a complex Wordpress membership site

Do the math with me. 

Even with Kajabi's most expensive plan right now, I'm coming out ahead - even when I'm valuing my time at only $50/hour.

  • I don't have to do updates.
  • I don't have to worry about plugins being incompatible or becoming incompatible. 
  • And the nuts and bolts of the system are far more simple and easy to navigate. 
  • I don't lose sleep over the whole system crashing. 

The site works. Period. 



Straightforward cost comparison of Kajabi's Pricing vs. Wordpress Plugin Hell

On the most expensive Kajabi plan, it's $319/month (paid annually). You can also pay monthly. That would be $399/month. 

My conservative cost estimate of using and managing Wordpress Plugins ONLY was about $300/month. That's excluding hosting costs and email marketing.

So Kajabi at its most expensive Pro tier is an extra $20-$100 for peace of mind AND streamlined functionality (so I get more done faster). 

Kajabi at its Growth tier is $159/month paid annually or $199/month paid monthly. 

Either way, Kajabi pricing comes out either cheaper than the Wordpress plugins or very close to the same cost.

And we haven't even factored in the OTHER costs of running a Wordpress site - like the hosting and email marketing services...

If we factor in the costs of hosting and other email marketing services to work with a Wordpress site, Kajabi EASILY wins. 


It's a no-brainer, honey. Let's pay less money for Kajabi so we have more free time to smile at strangers at the swimming pool. 


Pay Kajabi Prices or Wordpress's Crazy Costs: an easy business decision

Do you want your time sucked away by plugin headaches when you could be using your time to create content and market your courses?

Do you want to spend more money to get less functionality and a higher chance of site breakdown?

When I look at the numbers and the amount of time I'm personally saving, I know I made the right choice. 


Does that mean you should choose Kajabi over Wordpress?

When comparing Kajabi to Wordpress plugin Hell, you should do the math for yourself. 

Do you plan to use a learner management system or some kind of paid membership system? Do you want integrated email service with your Wordpress install? Do you want opt-ins and other marketing tools to work seamlessly with your ecommerce system? 

Find out what all those wordpress plugins and marketing tools cost.

And don't just go with the super cheapo version of those plugins in your calculation. As your site grows, you will end up purchasing the good stuff. 

Then ask: What is the time AND dollar cost of fixing problems with Wordpress plugins? 

I know I made the mistake early on of thinking, "psh, it can't be THAT bad."

Let me tell you, it gets bad. 

If you've been mucking around with Wordpress already, you can just whip out a spreadsheet and figure it out for yourself. You'll be flabbergasted. 

If you're just starting with Wordpress, these might seem like concerns that are far off in the future. But at some point they will be in your face!

And if you're 100% committed to building a site that converts and educates without killing you with headaches and chest pains, I'm confident you'll love Kajabi. 

After you do the math for yourself, I invite you to enjoy a free trial of Kajabi. That's how I got started, and I'm glad I did. 


You want more? Well, comparing Kajabi's Prices and Wordpress Costs isn't finished yet.

This post only talked about Kajabi vs. Wordpress plugin Hell...

Running a membership site on Wordpress isn't just about the plugins. There are other costs too. 


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