Weddings, concerts, professional seminars, theme parties, sports events: whatever the event you want to organize, a lot of work awaits you to manage it all.
Between setting up a calendar, registrations, ticket sales, or even sending emails to communicate with future participants, you won't be able to sit back and relax.
On your way, another obstacle awaits you: how do you set up this whole system on WordPress?
Don't panic! You don't have to be a seasoned developer to figure out how to get there.
As is often the case, the solution rhymes with extension. Well, that's a good thing. In this new article, we present 7 essential WordPress event registration plugins to manage event registrations (and much more).
Alright, now, you're going to see much more clearly!
- Why use a plugin to manage event registrations?
- What are the characteristics of a good WordPress event registration plugin?
- Test of 7 WordPress event registration plugins
- These plugins too, could have been included here, but…
- And what about SaaS services?
- Which WordPress event registration plugin to choose?
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Why use a plugin to manage event registrations?
Well, because our dear friend WordPress doesn't have this feature natively. It already does a lot of things, but not everything.
The most “straightforward” solution is to do it manually, by getting your hands dirty. To do this, you need a minimum of knowledge in code, which can quickly turn out to be complex for a novice user.
If you have a beginner profile – but this also applies to more experienced users – using a dedicated plugin to manage event registrations remains technically more accessible.
Thanks to it, you will be able to control all your options from your dashboard, without touching the code.
You will also save precious time by being able to automate the process of creating your recurring events.
If you organize them frequently, creating a dedicated page via your content editor is of course possible, but will be very time-consuming (imagine if you have to repeat this operation several times a week, or even a day).
If you want to authorize registrations for a single event, on a one-off basis, without the need for extensive functionality, a contact form plugin such as Gravity Forms for example, can already meet your needs.
What are the characteristics of a good WordPress event registration plugin?
You've just seen how using a plugin can make your life easier. Now, find out what criteria you use to find the best WordPress event registration plugin.
First piece of advice, not very glamorous but so important: remember that a good plugin is first and foremost a plugin that meets your needs.
It's up to you to ask yourself, beforehand, what you want to accomplish with this plugin.
The advantage of the great majority of the plugins that we will present in this test is that most of them have a free version.
Our tips will help you see more clearly, but don't hesitate to try them out to get a first idea.
That being said, a plugin to register for a complete event should be able to gather the following options:
- Registration and calendar management
- Reservation form management
- Payment and ticketing management (possible purchase of tickets for your event)
- Event notification management: sending reminders through automation, confirmation emails, and even dedicated newsletters
Well, you will see below that there are few plugins that concentrate all these features. 🙂
This article focuses on event management plugins in the broadest sense. I've discarded the plugins which main functionality is to create and display a calendar on your WP site, as well as those that only allow you to make appointments and/or book time slots.
Besides, in a more general way, it seems important to me that a plugin should be:
- Easy to use and intuitive, especially to meet the expectations of a novice or inexperienced public.
- Well maintained and frequently updated, especially so as not to compromise the security of your site.
- Well coded with respect to WordPress performance and standards. For example, a plugin that is too heavy could, for example, slow down the loading time of your site, which is bad for the user experience.
- Able to adapt to the theme you are using, and other plugins you have already installed, so as not to cause conflicts that could create errors on your site.
- Responsive, meaning that it is readable on any screen used by your users (desktop, smartphone and tablet).
I hope you can see more clearly. Now, it's time to move on to the next part: a detailed test of 7 plugins.
Test of 7 WordPress event registration plugins
There are dozens of WordPress plugins for event registration, both on the official directory and on premium marketplaces like CodeCanyon.
It was impossible to test them one by one, so we made some choices. To decide, we have selected the following criteria:
- A minimum of 500 active installations for the plugins found on the official WordPress directory.
- Frequent updates: the last one had to have been done no more than nine months before writing this content.
- Rating higher than 3 stars out of 5.
- Intuitive and easy to use.
Events Manager (freemium)
Active installations: 100,000+
We start this selection with Events Manager.
With more than 100,000 active installations, this plugin already has a large fan base, which is often synonymous with quality.
As its description on the official directory indicates, it is a “full-featured event registration plugin for WordPress based on the principles of flexibility, reliability and powerful features!”.
Once the plugin is installed, one appreciates having a clear interface, with setting options that are not too overloaded.
Thanks to this plugin, you benefit from the free version of basic features such as:
- The creation of events
- The booking management by the site administrator but also by the user, who can cancel his reservation at any time.
- The possibility to create a login form for your members to log in to make a reservation.
- Sending emails to confirm/decline/cancel the reservation. The webmaster can customize them as he/she wishes.
- The possible use of Google Maps to show where your events are taking place.
I also liked the possibility to display a calendar, as well as a search form to find an event more easily. Well done to this WordPress event registration plugin!
The free version is already quite complete, but it doesn't provide any functionality for making payments.
This is what the Pro version of the plugin offers (PayPal, Authorize.net and offline payments), but that's not all.
You will also be able to benefit from personalized booking forms, propose promo codes on your events, or even quick support via private forums.
Price of the premium plugin: $75 for a use on 1 site.
WP Event Manager (freemium)
Active installations: 10,000+
The second plugin of this test highlights its lightness (to take care of the loading time of your pages), but also its ease of use.
It is this last point that caught our attention. In use, we can say that promises are kept.
You will also be able to take advantage of basic features such as:
- The event creation.
- The possibility to add your event from the front-end interface of the plugin.
- A very powerful search bar for your events with many filters.
- The possibility to make basic settings on your event thanks to an insert at the bottom of the page of your content editor:
The nice little extra? A configuration wizard is available as soon as the plugin is activated, to help us better understand it.
Advanced functionalities are then available through about twenty paid add-ons available per unit starting at $39.
These are the ones that allow you to have a complete event management system, but all this will have a rather high cost, inevitably.
These modules will allow you to set up a ticket sales system for your events, to display a list of your future events in the form of a calendar, or to send email notifications.
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Event Espresso 4 Decaf (freemium)
Active installations: 2,000+
Would you like to take a coffee break? Wait, let me be clear: let's rather talk about a well decaffeinated espresso break with this new rather confidential plugin (2,000 active installations), but quite efficient.
We appreciate having many essential features from the free version:
- You can of course add an event.
- You have access to all the contacts registered for your event.
- The management functionalities are rather advanced: you can, for example, set and modify the text of the emails sent by default (payment received, refund, registration, invoice, etc.), design registration forms for your event.
- You can display a Google Maps.
- It is even possible to activate payments via PayPal Express.
Alos, the color codes on your administration interface help you better visualize some information about your events, messages, etc.
The free version is already promising, but it is logically limited compared to the premium version (hence its name, by the way: it is decaffeinated 🙂 ).
For more caffeine, go to the Pro offer, called Event Espresso. Thanks to it, you will benefit from additional options such as additional payment methods (e.g. PayPal Pro), customizable email templates, or dedicated support.
There is even a SaaS (Software as a Service) version of this plugin, called Event Smart. This means that this tool can also be used without going through WordPress, by connecting you to a dedicated platform directly online.
Price of the premium plugin: from $79.95 for use on 1 site.
The Events Calendar (freemium)
Active installations: 800,000+
The Events Calendar is an ultra-popular event management solution (800,000+ active installations) that will allow you to create the events of your choice in a simple way.
Your visitors will be able to view the list of your upcoming events via a calendar, while filtering the results by date or keyword.
You will be able to give details about the event itself (date, time, price, website, Google Maps etc.), but also about the organizer (name, phone, email, website).
If you are interested, we have written a dedicated tutorial on WPMarmite's blog about this plugin.
Very efficient, The Events Calendar is nevertheless limited in its free version. I hesitated quite a bit before including it in this selection. What tipped the balance were its complementary modules, which somehow allow it to be transformed into a more complete management solution.
For example, the plugin Event Tickets (free, and which can also work alone, without The Events Calendar), allows you to set up a ticketing and RSVP system.
FYI, RSVP is short for “Please respond”. Here, it refers to an option to help the webmaster get confirmations of response (yes or no) to an event from attendees.
Note about it: the plugin is not very well rated (3.5 stars out of 5) and some users have reported bugs (it can happen) and an ineffective support.
Event Tickets has a more complete premium version, called Event Tickets Plus (starting at $99 for a use on 1 site). It integrates with WooCommerce and allows for example to “unlock” customized registration fields, advanced widgets, while having access to premium support.
Besides that, The Events Calendar also has a Pro version, as well as other Premium modules such as:
- Community Submissions (starting at $89 for use on 1 site), to allow your users to add events to your calendar.
- Virtual Events (starting at $69 for a use on 1 site), which allows for example the integration to an online video conferencing tool like Zoom.
Price of the premium plugin: from $99 for a use on 1 site.
Active installations: 500+
We continue this selection with EventPrime. With its 500 active installations, it's a little one in this test, but you'll see that it can look down on the other plugins without any problem.
I've already noticed its excellent ratings left by users. It has an overall score of 5/5, which is the best total for this test.
Even if we have to put this score in perspective (only 10 people “only” gave their opinion), it already says something positive about this plugin.
As for the rest, it's almost flawless. The free version is very interesting and very complete, with the following basic options:
- Possibility to set up online payment once your event is created, with PayPal (Stripe is also available, but in the paid version).
- You can customize the notification emails that will be sent to registrants (e.g. after registration, after payment, to request a new password, etc.).
- You can add the location to your events via Google Maps integration, allow social sharing via Facebook, or integrate a Google calendar to add an event.
- It is possible to allow the user to submit the event of his choice on your site (with your approval) from the front-end interface.
- You have access to a list of all registered users.
The little extra of this plugin? I would say it is its intuitiveness. To create an event, you just have to click on the day of your choice in a calendar, then fill in a few fields in a pop-up window.
The Premium version of the plugin offers 14 additional modules that expand the creative possibilities. For example, you will be able to:
- Create and activate promo codes for your events.
- Link the plugin to the Stripe payment gateway.
- Set up recurring events according to your own settings.
Price of the premium plugin: from $39 for a use on 1 site.
After presenting you 5 freemium plugins, time for the premium! We start with a must-have: EventON.
This is simply the plugin to manage an event/create an advanced calendar that is the most sold on the CodeCanyon platform.
At the time of writing, it had over 53,000 sales. So it's hard to miss.
With EventPrime, you discovered just beforehand that the quality of a plugin was not always correlated with the number of users.
So, can you really do without EventON to manage your event registrations on WordPress?
There are a lot of settings, which doesn't make it easy to get used to them:
Let's just say that you don't start off on the best basis with this plugin, which has rather tended to put me off.
When you manage to understand how it works (it takes time), the features are still interesting:
- The design of the calendar, very colorful, is one of the most successful of this selection, and you can choose between different types of presentation: with images, without images, with text bubbles, with thumbnails, etc.
You can activate PayPal to allow your users to make a payment to attend your events (they will be redirected to the PayPal site for this).
You can add a Google Maps to your event, social network sharing buttons, similar events, etc.
The presentation of virtual events is very advanced: EventON integrates for example with Zoom and allows you to save the content of your virtual events so that you can then make them available to participants.
To make it an even more complete tool, the plugin developer also sells nearly 40 add-ons (!), ranging from $15 to $331.50.
Some offer RSVP for your WordPress site, others will help you set up a reservation system, or even a ticketing system.
EventON price: $25.
Events Schedule – WordPress Events Calendar Plugin (premium)
Now it's time for Events Schedule, the second premium plugin of this test. With more than 7,000 sales, it is less popular than its predecessor.
What can you expect with it? Here are the two main features:
- A “Schedule builder”, i.e. an event builder on your back office. For example, you can choose among 13 different styles and can define your display colors. On the other hand, there is no real-time visual preview.
- A booking feature that integrates to WooCommerce so you can sell tickets for your events directly on your website.
Apart from that, I appreciated not being under tons of setting options.
Price of Events Schedule: $39.
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These plugins too, could have been included here, but…
As my tests progressed, I discarded several plugins that I had initially selected in my starting list.
I'll explain why, but keep in mind that they are not necessarily without interest for you.
Take advantage of this opportunity to see if they may be of interest to you.
To begin with, Events Made Easy was a great look, but I was put off by its endless menu of settings:
If you're inclined to overlook it, you could still be seduced by the multiplicity of options, impressive from the free version.
It is possible to support “events, member and location management, RSVP reservation, multiple payment gateways (Paypal, 2Checkout, FirstData, Mollie and others) and OpenStreetMap integration”.
Same thing with Quick Event Manager (3,000+ active installations), which did not make me want to go any further, with its very busy interface:
Let's continue with RSVP and Event Management Plugin (4 000+ active installations), a very useful plugin, but which is only used to send an email to the participants of your event, so that they confirm or not their presence (your contacts must be added manually or via an Excel file).
Only the Pro version (starting at $89/year for use on 1 site) also allows you to create and manage an event.
On its side, Amelia is primarily intended for setting up an appointment system, even if you can also create events. Its interface is clean and intuitive, but it is very limited in its free version.
The My Calendar plugin, on the other hand, first allows you to add events within a very basic calendar. It is still possible to sell tickets associated with the event of your choice with an additional plugin called My Tickets.
Event Organiser is a plugin which primary function is to add events to a calendar.
It is possible to customize it quite finely thanks to custom fields, but it requires a minimum of technical knowledge to take advantage of it.
To manage registrations, you will have to use the premium version, very complete (from $50 for a use on 1 site). For example, it allows you to sell tickets for the event of your choice.
Finally, if you like simplicity, you will love Simple Event Management (Sugar Calendar). The free version of this plugin will help you list events in a calendar in two clicks.
You'll be able to enter a title, a location, a start and end date, but that's about all you'll be able to do.
For further customization (selling tickets for example), turn to one of the premium versions (starting at $29/year).
And what about SaaS services?
Although this article is about the plugins that allow you to manage event registrations on WordPress, I also wanted to talk briefly about some SaaS services that can also do the job, without necessarily being more expensive than the premium versions presented throughout these lines.
Of course, a SaaS solution means that you no longer use WordPress to manage your events: a third-party software will take care of that for you.
By the way, there are a number of strong players on the market. Among them, I could mention:
- Eventbrite. This tool even has a few dedicated WordPress plugins, especially for importing events created with Eventbrite into your site.
Eventbrite also integrates with the mastodon The Events Calendar, which even has an associated plugin called Eventbrite Tickets.
- Weezevent, an online ticketing and registration solution. It even offers its own WordPress plugin to help event organizers sell tickets on their site.
Which WordPress event registration plugin to choose?
That's the end of this test of WordPress event registration plugins.
In overall, you should remember two things:
- Event registration/management plugins are mostly quite complex to handle for a beginner.
- None of them concentrates in a single version all the options that seem important to us (remember the beginning of the article). To have access to a complete system with registrant, ticketing and reminder management, you will have to opt either for the premium version of a plugin or for additional add-ons.
Personally, considering the features offered and the ease of use, the two plugins that appealed to me the most are EventPrime and Event Espresso 4 Decaf.
To know if you should use them, check beforehand that your needs are in adequacy with their options (this will not necessarily be the case).
Do you use this type of plugin? Tell us all about it in the comments.
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