8 Best Patreon Alternatives & Competitors For 2023 (Comparison)
Looking for the best crowdfunding and membership platforms like Patreon? Check out our roundup of the best Patreon alternatives.
Patreon is a super-popular membership platform that provides a neat way for content creators to collect donations from their fans and subscribers in exchange for exclusive content.
But issues with censorship and increasingly high fees have led some users to look for alternatives. Fortunately, there are a ton of great options out there.
In this post, we’ll be comparing the best Patreon alternatives on the market right now. We’ll explore their key features, discuss how they differ from Patreon, and more.
Ready? Let’s get started!
The best Patreon alternatives – summary
- Podia – Best Patreon alternative overall. Sell subscriptions, create paid communities, and sell other digital products. Zero fees on paid plans. And a limited free plan is available.
- Sellfy – A popular ecommerce platform that makes it easy to sell subscriptions, physical products, print-on-demand products, and other digital products. Incredibly easy to use.
- Buy Me A Coffee – A simple Patreon alternative that you can get started with right away. Allows you to receive donations and sell digital products. Instant payouts via Stripe. 5% fee + free to use with no features hidden behind paid plans.
#1 – Podia
Podia is our number one favorite Patreon alternative. Unlike Patreon, Podia is an all-in-one platform that you can use to build your own website, create paid communities, and sell subscriptions & other digital products—with zero transaction fees!
One of the problems with using Patreon is that you’re building your community on someone else’s platform. Not only is this bad for branding, but it also means you have limited control and no true ownership of your revenue source. And of course, you’re also subject to Patreon’s transaction fees.
That’s why Podia is a much better alternative. With Podia, you build your community and sell memberships on a website that you own.
Like Patreon, you can still use Podia to host your gated members-only content and then sell paid memberships to fans who want to support you as a creator.
But the difference is that you’ll have complete control over everything and can set your membership site up exactly the way you want it. You can set your own different plan tiers with different rewards and create as many free or paid plans as you want.
And because you own your community and membership platform, you get to keep 100% of your revenue. As long as you sign up for a paid plan, there are no transaction fees to worry about.
You can interact with your audience directly through the community feature with multimedia discussions. Members can post all text comments, images, videos, etc.
Aside from memberships, you can also sell other digital products on Podia, like online courses, digital downloads, etc.
- Sell memberships & other digital products
- Create paid communities
- Build your own creator website
- Complete control and ownership
- Integrates with Google Analytics
- No transaction fees
Paid podia plans with no transaction fees start at $33/month. They also offer a free plan with 8% transaction fees.
Read our Podia review.
#2 – Sellfy
Sellfy is a simple, easy-to-use ecommerce platform built for creators. It’s another great alternative for creators who want to collect donations and build their community through their own website instead of a third-party platform.
You can build a beautiful storefront on Sellfy in as little as 5 minutes, then customize the design to match your brand and connect it to your own domain.
Then, you can create digital subscription products and offer your fans access to exclusive content or other goodies in exchange for weekly, monthly, or yearly payments.
Aside from subscriptions, you can also sell a bunch of other product types on Sellfy, including physical and digital products, video streaming, and print-on-demand products
The print-on-demand feature is particularly useful for creators as it makes it easy to sell your own custom branded merch to your fans. All you have to do is upload designs to products in Sellfy’s fulfillment catalog and add them to your store.
You don’t have to purchase any stock upfront. Whenever someone makes a purchase, Sellfy will print the order and deliver it to the customer for you, and only then will they charge you for the product base cost & fulfillment. You set your own profit margins.
- Sell subscriptions
- Print-on-demand fulfillment
- Sell all types of products
- Video streaming
- Store builder
Paid plans that let you sell subscriptions & unlimited products start at $22/month.
Read our Sellfy review.
#3 – Buy Me A Coffee
Buy Me A Coffee is the best alternative for creators that want a simple platform for collecting donations. It’s incredibly easy to use and unlike Patreon, you can use it to accept both monthly donations and one-off donations from your audience.
The premise behind Buy Me a Coffee is gloriously simple. You just create a custom page on a subdomain (e.g. buymeacoffee.com/yourname), and your audience can visit it and buy you a coffee (make a donation) to say thanks for creating great content in a couple of clicks.
When they make a donation, they can leave a message, which you can reply to and show your appreciation. Unlike Patreon, your supporters don’t need to create an account to buy you a coffee—they just choose how many coffees to buy you (how much to donate) and make the payment in one click.
Of course, if you want to offer something in return, you can do that too. Like Patreon, you can set up membership options and share exclusive content with your supporters. You can also use the ‘Extras’ feature to sell digital products, like ebooks, Discord access, Zoom calls with you, etc.
Most payment methods are supported, including credit, debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc. And when someone donates, you get paid straight away—no more 30-day waiting periods!
Buy Me a Coffee is free to use but takes a 5% platform fee out of your donations; you keep 95% of your earnings. This is on par with PayPal’s Lite plan but cheaper than its Pro & Premium plans.
Fun fact: Buy Me a Coffee is the platform that we use to collect donations. You can see our creator page here. And of course, if you like the content we create here at Blogging Wizard and would like to buy us a coffee, your support is always appreciated!
- One-off payments supported
- Sell digital products & memberships
- No account required to donate
- Very easy to get started
- Competitive 5% transaction fees
It’s free to sign up for Buy Me a Coffee, but a 5% platform fee will be taken out of your donations.
#4 – Ko-fi
Ko-fi is another crowdfunding platform similar to Buy Me A Coffee. You can use it as a simple tip jar or as a membership platform. They don’t charge a fee for donations/sales but they do charge for premium features that Buy Me A Coffee customers get for free.
Like Patreon, you can use Ko-fi to accept donations and memberships from your fans. You can create a Ko-fi creator page for free in under a minute. Then, set a crowdfunding goal and encourage your audience to help you reach it. Plus, you can provide incentives like exclusive supporter-only content and membership perks to incentivize people to donate.
It integrates nicely with Discord, WordPress, and Zapier, and you can even get donation alerts as you stream.
The interface is very similar to Buy Me a Coffee. But what makes Ko-fi different is that it’s one of the only platforms that is truly free. There are no signup fees and they don’t take a cut of your revenue on the free plan.
The catch is that the free plan doesn’t include premium features like memberships or the ability to sell digital downloads and physical products through your online shop.
- No transaction fees for free users
- Sell products
- Crowdfunding goals
- Donation alerts
You can use Ko-fi as a basic tip jar for free. However, if you want to unlock premium features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Gold plan, starting from $6/month or a 5% transaction fee. Gold users earn 7.2x more on average.
#5 – Kickstarter
Kickstarter is probably the most well-known crowdfunding platform in the world. It’s a good alternative to Patreon if you’re trying to raise money for one-time creative endeavors, but it doesn’t support memberships, so it’s not suitable for collecting recurrent donations.
Kickstarter works a little differently than Patreon. It’s designed for creators that need to raise money to fund a one-time project.
When you launch your campaign, you outline the project you’re trying to fund, set a funding goal, and a time frame to make it happen (e.g. within 60 days).
If your fans like the idea of your project, they can pledge money to help bring it to life. Your backers will only be charged once your project has succeeded in reaching the funding goal. But if you fail to reach your funding goal within the specified time, your backers won’t be charged and you don’t get to keep any of your donations. It’s all-or-nothing.
Another way Kickstarter differs from Patreon is that it vets crowdfunders seriously, so not just anyone can sign up. But if your campaign is accepted and is successful, it’s possible to raise huge sums of money.
Kickstarter charges 5% platform fees, which is on par with Patreon’s entry-level plan but cheaper than higher-tier plans.
- Ideal for funding one-time creative projects
- Huge user base
- Funding goals
- All-or-nothing model
It’s free to launch a campaign on Kickstarter but a 5% fee is deducted from your total funds raised, plus PayPal or Stripe payment processing fees.
#6 – Hypage
Hypage is somewhere between a link-in-bio tool and a membership platform. It’s a good alternative for social media influencers, especially Instagram. You can use it to create gated community content, set up recurring memberships, and sell to your audience directly through your link-in-bio page.
Instagram only lets creators promote one link in their account description. That’s why many Instagram creators use link-in-bio tools to create landing pages to house all their affiliate and promotional links. At its core, that’s exactly what Hypage is.
However, unlike other link-in-bio tools, Hypage also lets you take donations and requests directly through your custom landing page. You can even use it to sell recurring memberships & other products, and share members-only content through your page.
It’s a two-in-one solution that replaces both link-in-bio tools like Linktree and membership platforms like Patreon in one neat package.
And the best part? Zero transaction fees on paid plans!
- Create a link-in-bio landing page
- Connect your own domain
- Collect donations
- Offer premium gated content
- Sell digital products & memberships
You can get started with a free plan. Paid plans with premium features & no transaction fees start at $19/month.
#7 – OnlyFans
OnlyFans is the best alternative for adult content creators. It’s a subscription-based social platform where fans can support their favorite creators by purchasing a subscription that gives them access to exclusive content.
What makes OnlyFans different from Patreon is its liberal content policies, which allow creators to sell content that might not meet Patreon’s community guidelines. That includes adult-only content.
As such, OnlyFans has become very popular amongst adult content creators, and the platform’s top earners make millions of dollars every month.
- Functions as a social platform
- Creators can interact with fans
- Liberal content policies
- Ideal for adult content creators
- Large user base (high discoverability)
It’s free to sign up for OnlyFans but the platform takes 20% of your subscription revenue.
#8 – Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a powerful community platform that lets you sell access to online communities, as well as content like online courses and livestreams.
Unlike Patreon, Mighty Network lets you build a paid community on your own platform with 100% ownership and total control. It’s used by some of the biggest YouTubers, including Drew Binsky, Adriene Mishler, and more.
Mighty Networks also offers some advanced community-focused features that you don’t get on other platforms. For example, the innovative Mighty Effect™ technology personalizes your member’s experiences by populating their feed with the most relevant topics, groups, members, products, etc.
- Mighty Effect personalization technology
- Welcome & Discovery sections for new members
- Unlimited members and moderators on all plans
- Complete ownership over your community
- Native course builder
- Rich member profiles
- Livestreaming & native video uploads
- Integrated analytics
Plans start at $33/month with no additional transaction fees. A free trial is available.
The pros & cons of Patreon
Let’s look at why Patreon may not necessarily be the best option for every creator. Like all platforms, it has its share of pros and cons. Here are the main ones you should know about.
- Easy monetization for creators. If you’re an established influencer or creator with a lot of passionate fans, Patreon offers an easy way to monetize your audience via crowdfunding campaigns.
- No upfront costs. Unlike some other platforms, Patreon doesn’t charge a monthly fee, so you can launch your page for free. Patreon takes their cut out of your monthly income on the backend.
- Recurring revenue model. Patreon works on a subscription model. Patrons commit to regular monthly payments, so you can have a reliable monthly income instead of having to rely on one-time donations.
- Communication tools. With Patreon, you can set up your own members-only community and interact directly with your patrons through the platform. You can also give them access to exclusive content and more.
- Flexible membership options and funding goals. With Patreon, you can set up multiple membership tiers with different perks depending on how much your patrons pledge.
- Diverse creator base. Patreon is suitable for many types of creators, including YouTubers, streamers, musicians, podcasters, artists, and writers.
- Connect to your WordPress site. Patreon has a WordPress plugin which can be installed on your website so you can make the most out of collecting Patreons.
- No built-in marketing tools. If you don’t already have an existing audience or community to monetize, it can be hard to build one on Patreon. It doesn’t offer much in terms of promotional tools and projects have low discoverability.
- Censorship. Patreon ran into some controversy a few years back when it banned accounts that it claimed broke its community guidelines, which prohibit hate speech. However, some conservative commentators consider these bans to be an attack on free speech and have accused the platform of political bias. They later went on to ban an NGO account that was raising money for the Ukrainian army.
- Uncapped fees. Patreon takes a percentage of your income (either 5%, 8%, or 12% depending on the plan you sign up for), rather than a fixed fee. This means that high-earners could potentially pay out hundreds of dollars per month in fees.
- Subscriptions-only. Patreon isn’t set up for one-off payments, and being forced to sign up for a recurring monthly subscription may deter many would-be supporters from donating.
- Less control and ownership. Patreon is a third-party platform that you don’t own. As such, you won’t have as much control or ownership as you would if you built your community on your own website.
- Bad for branding. If you use Patreon, your audience will be going to Patreon for your own content instead of your own branded website.
Choosing the best Patreon alternative
That concludes our roundup of the best Patreon alternatives. Hopefully, you found something that’s a good fit for your audience on this list.
If you’re still not sure which platform to use, here’s a quick reminder of our top three recommendations (you can’t go wrong with any of them):
- Podia is the overall best Patreon alternative for most creators. You can use it to build your own paid community website and sell memberships plus other digital content with no fees (on paid plans).
- Sellfy is another powerful ecommerce platform that you can use to create and sell subscriptions. It’s specifically for creators and comes with a few features that other platforms lack, like built-in print-on-demand fulfillment.
- Buy Me a Coffee is the best free Patreon alternative if you just want an easy way to receive donations. You can create your own page in a few clicks, then start collecting donations and selling digital products—with instant Stripe payouts.
If you’re still unsure then either try out a tools free plan or one of their free trials.
We hope you found this post useful.
If you’re looking for more ways to sell online, you may want to check out our posts on online course platforms, online subscription platforms, or the best digital products to sell online.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.