7 of the Best WordPress Email Subscription Plugins 2020

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If you want to create or grow your email list, you’ll need the help of a WordPress email subscription plugin.

Depending on what you need help with, you might just want a tool to help you create great-looking email subscribe forms that connect to your existing email marketing service. Or, you might want a more full-service plugin that can help you with literally every part of email marketing.

Either way, we have some great options for you in this post that cover all angles of email subscription. More specifically, we have seven plugins. But before we get to them, let’s quickly run over what to look for in a plugin and how you should make your decision.

What to look for in a WordPress email subscription plugin

The biggest thing to consider when choosing an email subscription plugin is what functionality you actually need:

  • Do you want a complete solution that helps you get email subscribers, manage them via lists, and send them emails?
  • Do you just want a plugin that helps you create opt-in forms that feed to your existing email marketing service (e.g. Mailchimp or AWeber)?

If you want a complete solution, you’ll want to look for features such as:

  • A subscription form builder (or integrations with opt-in form plugins)
  • List management features to segment subscribers
  • A drag-and-drop email builder, hopefully with some pre-built templates that you can start from
  • Automation options so that you can set up automatic sequences, like a weekly digest of your latest posts if you’re a blogger
  • Analytics so that you can track subscriber engagement

On the other hand, if you just need a plugin to help you create email subscribe forms, you’ll be more interested in features such as:

  • Multiple form types – e.g. popups, inline/embedded forms, notification bars, etc.
  • Detailed targeting rules to control where your forms appear
  • Detailed trigger rules to control when your forms appear
  • Analytics to track your conversion rates
  • A/B testing to optimize your forms
  • An integration with your preferred email service

Again, we’ll share both types of plugins in our list.

7 best WordPress email subscription plugins

Here are the seven plugins that we’ll be looking at:

  1. MailPoet
  2. Convert Pro
  3. Thrive Leads
  4. OptinMonster
  5. Newsletter
  6. MailOptin
  7. Jetpack

1. MailPoet

MailPoet WordPress email subscription plugin

MailPoet is an all-in-one solution for email marketing on WordPress. Without leaving your WordPress dashboard, it lets you:

  • Create forms to grow your subscribers.
  • Manage those subscribers.
  • Send them emails using a drag-and-drop email builder.

Basically, you can think of it as a complete replacement for tools like Mailchimp or AWeber, with the key difference being that you can do everything from your WordPress dashboard:

  • Create email opt-in forms or integrate with your favorite list building plugin (including many of the other plugins on this list).
  • Manage subscribers from inside your WordPress dashboard and segment them into as many lists as needed.
  • Send one-off email blasts or set up automatic sequences, like letting people subscribe to an automatic digest of your latest blog posts or WooCommerce products.
  • Reliably deliver emails via MailPoet’s built-in email sending service (no more emails going to spam!).
  • View analytics to see how your emails perform.

MailPoet pricing

MailPoet is available for free at WordPress.org. If you use the sending service, you can send unlimited emails to up to 1,000 subscribers for free.

Once you go past 1,000 subscribers, plans start at €13 per month.

MailPoet pros

  • Complete email marketing solution. You’ll be able to grow your list(s), manage subscribers, and send emails from one tool (and without leaving your WordPress dashboard). This greatly simplifies your email marketing.
  • Drag-and-drop email builder. You can easily design your own emails – no technical knowledge required. To save time, you can also start from pre-built templates.
  • Automatic sequences. You can set up automatic sequences to save time.
  • Opt-in forms. You can create your own email subscribe forms with MailPoet, including popups and slide-ins. Or, you can integrate with lots of other opt-in plugins, including several of the plugins on this list.
  • MailPoet sending service. Making sure your emails actually make it to people’s inboxes is surprisingly complex. If you use MailPoet’s bundled sending service, you never have to worry about that because MailPoet handles everything for you.

MailPoet cons

  • …complete email marketing solution (x2). While this is a pro for many people, it can also be a con if you already have an email marketing service that you love. In that case, MailPoet is going to be overkill if you just want some email signup forms.

2. Convert Pro

Convert Pro

Convert Pro is a lead generation plugin from Brainstorm Force, the same company behind the massively popular Astra WordPress theme.

Unlike MailPoet, it’s not a comprehensive email marketing tool. Instead, it’s really just focused on one thing – creating email opt-in forms to grow your subscriber counts (primarily via popups). You can then funnel those forms into your favorite email marketing service, which is what you’ll use to actually send emails and manage existing subscribers. There’s even an integration for MailPoet, if you want to combine the two.

Convert Pro pricing

All Convert Pro plans let you use the plugin on unlimited WordPress sites. You have two options:

  • One-year license – $99
  • Lifetime license – $399

Convert Pro pros

  • Affordable pricing for multiple sites. Because your purchase lets you use the plugin on unlimited sites, Convert Pro offers great value for people with multiple WordPress sites.
  • Drag-and-drop editor. You can design your opt-in forms using a visual editor and/or start from pre-built templates.
  • Excellent targeting rules. As far as native WordPress email opt-in plugins go, Convert Pro has one of the better sets of targeting rules that you’ll find.

Convert Pro cons

  • Just a list building plugin. You’ll still need a third-party email marketing service.
  • No free version

3. Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a premium plugin that, as the name suggests, is focused on helping you generate leads.

It helps you create all different kinds of opt-in forms that connect directly to your favorite email marketing service (including MailPoet). However, you will need that third-party service to actually send your emails – Thrive Leads just helps you with the “subscriber” part. You’ll get lots of different form types such as:

  • Popups
  • Inline forms
  • Welcome mats
  • Full-screen fillers
  • Two-step opt-ins
  • Slide-ins
  • Widgets
  • Etc.

You can find pre-made templates for your forms and customize them using a visual, drag-and-drop. You can then optimize your designs using built-in analytics and A/B testing, which helps you find the variants that get you the most subscribers.

Thrive Leads pricing

Thrive Leads starts from $67 for use on a single site.

Thrive Leads pros

  • Lots of opt-in types. From popups to inline forms, welcome mats, slide-ins, and more…you have a lot of options.
  • Drag-and-drop opt-in builder. Thrive Leads has an excellent visual builder that’s based on the developer’s page builder plugin. It goes a step beyond a lot of other tools’ builders.

Thrive Leads cons

  • Lacking in some targeting rules. Thrive Leads doesn’t have as many targeting rules as tools like Convert Pro (previous) or OptinMonster (next).
  • No free version.

4. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a premium software-as-a-service (SaaS) that helps you get more email subscribers. The SaaS part means that it’s not specific to WordPress. However, OptinMonster does have a dedicated WordPress plugin to connect the two.

Like the previous two plugins, OptinMonster only helps you collect email subscribers – it doesn’t help you manage them or send them emails. You’ll need an email marketing service for that – OptinMonster has built-in integrations for all of the big names (including MailPoet).

You can choose from different types of opt-ins (like popups vs notification bars) and you’ll get a super detailed set of targeting and trigger rules to control them.

When it comes to targeting rules and personalization, OptinMonster is probably the strongest tool on this list. Getting the most from those rules requires some knowledge and experimentation. However, it’s worth using them because you can boost your forms’ conversion rates (which means more email subscribers!).

OptinMonster pricing

OptinMonster’s plans start at $108 per year. However, each plan has different features, page view limits, and website limits, so you’ll want to check out the pricing page to find the right plan for your needs.

OptinMonster pros

  • Super detailed targeting rules. If you’re willing to take the time to dig into all these rules, they can help you add a lot of personalization to your opt-in forms (which means higher conversion rates).
  • eCommerce-specific targeting rules. This ties with the point above, but if you have an eCommerce store you get some really great rules that let you target by conditions such as the items that are in a shopper’s cart.
  • Super detailed trigger rules. In addition to those targeting rules, you also get lots of trigger rules to control when your popups appear. For example, exit intent.

OptinMonster cons

  • Just a list building plugin. You’ll still need your own third-party email marketing service to actually manage your subscribers and send them emails.
  • Can be expensive. Because it’s a SaaS tool, OptinMonster’s recurring subscription can add up, especially if you need to use it on multiple sites, have a lot of traffic, or want access to advanced features such as A/B testing.
  • No free version.

5. Newsletter

Newsletter

Newsletter is a popular email subscription plugin that shares a lot of similarities with MailPoet. That is, it offers a comprehensive solution for WordPress email marketing where, without leaving your WordPress dashboard, you’ll be able to create opt-in forms, manage subscribers, and send emails using a drag-and-drop editor.

If you’re willing to pay for the premium version, you also get the option to set up automatic sequences (vs. just sending one-off email blasts in the free version). For example, you can send welcome emails or an automatic digest of your latest blog posts. The premium version also adds more detailed analytics and reporting options, as well as some integrations with third-party opt-in tools.

One thing to note is that, in order to reliably deliver your emails, you’ll need the help of a third-party sending service such as SendGrid or Mailgun.

Newsletter pricing

The core Newsletter plugin is available for free at WordPress.org. If you want access to the premium add-ons, plans start at $92.

If you don’t send a lot of emails, you can probably get by with a free SMTP sending service. However, if you’re sending more than ~300 emails per day, you might need to also pay extra for your sending service.

Newsletter pros

  • Complete email marketing solution. Like MailPoet, Newsletter lets you manage pretty much your entire email marketing operation without leaving your WordPress dashboard.
  • Drag-and-drop builder. Design your emails using drag-and-drop.
  • Automatic emails (paid). Send automatic welcome emails, new post digests, etc.
  • Opt-in forms. Create your own basic opt-in forms or integrate with other opt-in plugins (with the paid version and its integrations).

Newsletter cons

  • …complete email marketing solution (x2). As we detailed with MailPoet, this can also be a con if you already have an email marketing service that you love. In that case, you really just need an opt-in plugin.
  • No built-in sending service. Unlike MailPoet, Newsletter doesn’t include its own sending service, though it is compatible with virtually all WordPress SMTP plugins.

6. MailOptin

MailOptin

MailOptin is an email subscription plugin with two core functions, depending on which version you purchase:

  • Lead Generation – create opt-in forms and popups to grow your email subscriber lists.
  • Email Automation – create automatic email campaigns (like a digest of your latest posts) and deliver them via your preferred email marketing service.

There’s also a free version at WordPress.org, though the free version is much more focused on the lead generation side of things.

With the lead generation features, you can:

  • Create a variety of different opt-in forms that connect to your favorite email marketing service (including MailPoet).
  • Start from pre-made templates and customize everything using a visual editor.
  • Use targeting and trigger rules to control when your opt-in forms appear.

With the email automation features, you can use a visual builder to set up automatic and event-triggered emails, like new post notifications or a weekly digest of your latest blog posts.

One thing to note is that, even with the email automation features, you still need a separate email marketing service to send those emails. MailOptin lets you create and manage emails from your WordPress dashboard, but it requires the integration with those third-party tools because it can’t manage subscribers or send emails by itself.

MailOptin pricing

MailOptin has a limited free version at WordPress.org that you can use to create simple opt-in forms. To access more lead generation features, you can purchase the Standard license for $79.

If you want access to the email automation features, you’ll need the Pro version for $199.

MailOptin pros

  • Stellar list building options. MailOptin has lots of different form types and targeting rules to help you get more email subscribers.
  • Email creation tool. You can create email sequences from inside your WordPress dashboard, which is convenient.
  • Lots of integrations. Including a MailPoet integration.

MailOptin cons

  • No email sending/subscriber management. You still need a third-party email service even with the email automation features.

7. Jetpack

Jetpack Subscriptions

Jetpack is a popular “all in one” plugin from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com and WooCommerce. It does a lot of different things but, for this post, we’re interested in the Jetpack Subscriptions feature.

This feature gives your visitors an option to subscribe to receive email notifications for your latest content. They can choose to receive emails immediately, daily, or in a weekly digest.

It’s super simple and free, but it’s important to understand that that is literally all it does. You cannot send your own emails to subscribers or change the design – it’s just notifications for your latest posts.

You can check out our full Jetpack Subscriptions tutorial if you want to see how it works.

Jetpack pricing

The Subscriptions feature is available on the free Jetpack plan.

Jetpack pros

  • Super simple. This feature is easy to set up and Jetpack does all the work to reliably send the notification emails.
  • Different frequencies. Each subscriber can choose a different frequency according to their preferences.
  • Easy subscribe. You can add a subscribe checkbox to your comment form that makes it easy for people to subscribe to notifications as part of leaving a comment (or you can create a dedicated form).
  • 100% free. Everything is free (forever).

Jetpack cons

  • No custom emails. You cannot send your own emails – it’s only the automated post notifications.
  • No customization. You can’t customize the design/content of the notification emails.
  • Limited subscriber management. Your options for managing your email list are nowhere near what you’d get with a full email marketing tool.

Which is the best WordPress email subscription plugin?

In the end, there’s no single best WordPress email subscription plugin – it all depends on your needs and budget.

Obviously, we think that MailPoet is the best plugin for most people – otherwise we wouldn’t be making it!

However, if you already have an email marketing service and you love its feature set, you might not need MailPoet’s comprehensive approach to WordPress email marketing. Instead, you might just want a tool to help you create conversion-optimized opt-in forms to get more email subscribers.

If that sounds like you, some great starting points are Convert Pro or Thrive Leads if you’re on a budget. 

Or, if you’re willing to invest your money, OptinMonster can also be a great option. You’ll just also want to make sure you’re willing to invest your time in taking advantage of all those advanced personalization tools. If you’re not going to use those advanced rules, you might as well save some money with one of the other options.

The nice thing is that all of those opt-in plugins also offer seamless integrations with MailPoet. So, if you decide that you’d rather be able to manage and send all of your emails right from your WordPress dashboard at some point in the future, you can always switch over to MailPoet and still keep using all of your opt-in forms.

Finally, while all these plugins give you the tools to start collecting email subscribers, you’ll need to follow some best practices to make sure you get the most from your efforts. To help you do that, we have several detailed posts you should check out:

Still have any questions about the best WordPress email subscription plugin for your situation? Let us know in the comments section!