13 best Patreon alternatives for creators (Pricing & features)
Earning a living as a creator can be tough, but luckily, there are more monetization opportunities today than ever before.
You can sell courses and coaching about your area of expertise, create communities to foster connections, and even set up a virtual tip jar so fans can support you directly, often in exchange for exclusive content.
If that last option piqued your interest, you might have heard of a platform called Patreon.
Patreon is a website where YouTubers, bloggers, podcasters, gamers, artists, musicians, and other content creators can monetize their audience through recurring subscriptions.
Followers pay a monthly fee to support creators they enjoy, and they may even get access to bonus content that’s behind a paywall, should the creator choose to provide this.
But even though Patreon is a big name in the business, it’s not the only tool that empowers creators to earn a living through recurring payments.
Let’s look at some Patreon pros and cons and 13 unique Patreon alternatives to help you choose the best fit for your creator business.
Note: All pricing is accurate at the time of writing, but this is subject to change over time.
Patreon pros and cons
Ease of use: The Patreon membership platform makes it easy for creators to set up a brand page, add membership tiers, and start earning money quickly.
Free to get started: Patreon is free to use. Creators pay a transaction fee for each subscription they receive.
- Lite: 5% transaction fee (Includes a creator page, one payment tier, and communication tools)
- Pro: 8% transaction fee (Includes multiple membership tiers, events, workshops, special offers, app integrations, and analytics)
- Premium: 12% transaction fee (Includes team accounts and merchandise for memberships)
Name recognition: Patreon is a big name in the industry, so there’s a chance your followers are already familiar with how it works. This can be an advantage since you won’t need to explain the subscription model to new members.
But just because Patreon is well-known doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Here are some Patreon downsides to consider:
No free tiers: You can’t create a free membership tier with Patreon. Followers can only interact with you on the platform if they pay for a monthly subscription.
For this reason, Patreon doesn’t work well for creators who want to connect with their entire audience or create a community around their products or niche.
Limited community interactions: On Patreon, creators can share content and announcements with their audiences, but it’s difficult for audience members to interact with one another.
There’s no patron-to-patron messaging, and followers can’t make their own posts to start conversations. Simply put, Patreons’ structure drastically limits the way followers can converse and connect.
No one-time donations: Patreon doesn’t let creators accept one-time donations. Only recurring subscriptions are permitted. This can be tricky since some people want to donate with less commitment.
High transaction fees: While it might not seem like a high percentage, 5% - 12% transaction fees can add up over time.
Say you’re a creator on the Patreon Pro plan paying 8% in transaction fees on each purchase.
- If you earn $1,000 per month, you’ll pay $80 in monthly transaction fees.
- If you earn $5,000 per month, you’ll pay $400 in monthly transaction fees.
- If you earn $10,000 per month, you’ll pay $800 in monthly transaction fees.
And this is in addition to payment processing fees. For creators who accept payments in USD, Patreon charges 2.9% + $0.30 for payments over $3 and 5% + $0.10 for payments under $3.
It’s important to calculate how much a “free” platform really costs you to determine if it’s the best fit for your business.
You may need additional software to run your business: Patreon isn’t an all-in-one platform. You’ll need to use other tools for email marketing, building your website, and running a community forum for your patrons. The cost of these tools can add up quickly.
Additionally, Patreon doesn’t host videos, so you’ll need to embed them via a third-party tool like Vimeo or YouTube, which adds another step to your creator workflow.
Integrations are required to sell digital products on Patreon: Want to offer your supporters an exclusive PDF, ebook, or digital download? You’ll need to use Patreon’s integration with Sellfy, which starts at $29/month. This means that you’ll have additional costs and another platform to manage.
31.42% of creators feel that it’s essential to have a central place for all their creative work. If you currently sell digital products or hope to in the future, having an all-in-one platform means you won’t have to log into–and pay for–a thousand different accounts to run your business.
You’re creating a business under the Patreon brand, not your own: When you build an audience on Patreon, they’re in control. Patreon branding is on each creator page, and the platform can change the rules, tools, and fee structure at any time.
Also, Patreon actively recommends other creators to your fans on the platform, which takes them off your page.
Should you decide that Patreon isn’t the right fit for you, here are 13 alternatives to try.
13 best Patreon alternatives
Podia is an all-in-one platform for running your online business. It has a powerful community membership feature, and you can also sell courses, digital downloads, coaching, and webinars.
With Podia, you get email, affiliate marketing, and customer messaging tools. You can also build your website on Podia, complete with unlimited sales pages.
Like Patreon, Podia lets you share exclusive content with subscribers in exchange for a monthly membership fee.
For example, Podia creators Johnathan and Ashley Longneck from Tiny Shiny Home give supporters behind-the-scenes updates in exchange for their contribution, which can range from $3 to $50 per month. Higher-tier participants also get access to valuable digital products.
Podia communities also go a step further by encouraging members to interact with one another. Your followers can easily connect by sharing their own posts, discussion threads, comments, and likes, resulting in a more engaging community experience.
Another big perk of Podia is that you can create free and paid membership communities to keep your entire audience in one place.
By including a free tier, you can provide value and stay connected with everyone, regardless of payment status. When you have an announcement, you can let your fanbase know without depending on unreliable social media algorithms.
For example, the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show moved from Patreon to Podia because they wanted to make a community with free and paid options.
“We tried Patreon, but they wouldn’t allow free members. And we wanted everyone in one place,” they explained.
Now, the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show can easily alert all followers of new YouTube videos and brand updates. They can also bundle courses and ebooks with their community membership tiers so subscribers get everything in one convenient location.
Simply put, you can do way more than receive tips from fans.
Finally, Podia creators also don’t pay transaction fees on paid plans, meaning your rates won’t increase as your community grows.
- Free and paid online communities
- Sell online courses, digital downloads, coaching, and webinars
- Email marketing, affiliate marketing, and customer chat features
- Full website and sales page builder
- Bundle products with different membership tiers
- Accept payments through PayPal and Stripe
- Choose your preferred currency
- Industry-leading creator-friendly support
- Embeddable checkout
- Dozens of integrations like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Zapier, and Facebook Pixel
- Free (8% transaction fee)
- Mover: $39/month
- Shaker: $89/month
- Earthquaker $199/month
Learn more about how Podia compares to Patreon.
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2. Buy Me a Coffee
Buy Me a Coffee is a simple way for fans to make one-time or recurring donations to creators they appreciate. Supporters can send small monetary gifts, or “cups of coffee,” to their favorite artists, makers, and entrepreneurs.
Fans don’t need to create an account to contribute, and creators can choose whether or not to give away exclusive content.
Buy Me a Coffee also gives creators a way to sell “extras,” which can be digital products like ebooks, Zoom calls, or community access.
Buy Me a Coffee features:
- Accept one-off payments or recurring subscriptions
- Basic email marketing tools to contact supporters
- Instant payouts for creators
- Fans can pay by card, UPI, Apple Pay, or Google Pay
- Sell digital content and extra products in addition to receiving donations
- You own your list and supporter information
Buy Me a Coffee benefits:
Creators using Buy Me a Coffee can accept single donations in addition to monthly and yearly subscription plans. Creators can also create memberships and sell extra content to increase their earnings.
Buy Me a Coffee downsides:
Buy Me a Coffee is a simple tool without many bells and whistles. You’ll get a creator page to share your story and add content, but customization options are limited. There’s no way to sell online courses, and there isn’t a built-in community feature where supporters can connect.
Buy Me a Coffee pricing:
- Free to use
- The platform keeps a 5% transaction fee
Ko-fi makes it easy to receive tips and donations from your following. You can also create a shop to sell digital products, physical products, memberships, custom commissions, or other fan requests.
If you have an existing website or blog, you can add a Ko-fi widget to your site to make it easy for fans to donate. If you’re a streamer, you can add custom Ko-fi donation alerts to your feed.
You can even run crowdfunding campaigns through the Ko-fi goals feature to help you raise money for bigger creative projects.
- Receive one-time or recurring tips and donations from your following
- Sell digital products, memberships, and physical products
- Allow fans to request custom commissions
- Direct messages with customers
- No transaction fees on donations
Ko-fi doesn’t charge fees on the donations creators receive. In addition to receiving tips, you can also sell products and services all in one place. You can give rewards to your supporters, share posts, and integrate with services like Discord and Zapier.
Making a Ko-fi creator page is free, but your customization options are limited. The platform doesn’t come with full website functionality or the ability to run a collaborative community. Also, creators can’t set a default price for donations unless they’re on the Gold plan.
- Ko-fi Free: 0% fee on donations, 5% fee on memberships, shop sales, and commissions
- Ko-fi Gold: $6/month, no transaction fees
TipSnaps is a tool for monetizing your social media audience. The app focuses on creating diverse and inclusive spaces for creators to share their work.
Earn a living from your content through recurring memberships, donations, and paid private messaging. You can also give fans access to an exclusive video and image feed behind a paywall. Fans can even create tip pools to request custom content from their favorite makers.
- Weekly payouts if you meet the $150 threshold
- No location restrictions
- Monthly membership subscriptions or one-time payments
TipSnaps is geared toward social media influencers who are tired of dealing with finicky algorithms. Creators can monetize their fan base by offering page subscriptions, private messaging, and special content in exchange for tips.
You must have at least 5,000 social media followers to be approved as a creator on TipSnaps. If you hope to run an online community or sell products, courses, and services, you’ll need to use additional tools.
- Free to use as a creator
- The platform keeps 10% as their commission fee
With Tipeee, creators can set up a brand page where followers can see announcements, offer donations, and receive exclusive rewards for giving certain amounts.
Supporters can send creators one-time tips, recurring monthly membership payments, or an automated tip each time new content is posted. If someone donates enough to receive an extra reward, Tipeee will automatically deliver the file to them.
Streamers can take advantage of TipeeeStream, a unique version of Tipeee for gamers. You can create rewards, customize your stream with donation alerts, and set earning goals.
- Based in Europe
- The platform has been around since 2013
- Accept one-time tips, per month tips, and per content tips
- TipeeeStream designed specifically for gamers with extra customizations
With Tipeee, you get a creator page where you can keep fans up to date with your business and receive donations. You can also set goals with a specific outcome for your fans to encourage more support.
Creator pages have prominent Tipeee branding, which could be distracting from your content. While tippers can leave comments, there’s no community area, and interactions between members are limited.
You won’t get a storefront or a complete website, so you’ll need additional tools if you plan to sell digital products and services.
- Tipeee: 8% commission
- TipeeeStream: 8% + transaction fees per subscriber
With Kickstarter, creators can make a campaign to fund a goal in a specific time frame. Goals can fund virtual or physical creative projects like releasing an album, filming a documentary, or launching a new product.
Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If you raise your goal amount within your target timeframe, you can keep the money. If you don’t meet your goal, you won’t receive the funds, and the money is returned to your donors.
At the end of your campaign, you must produce the item promised. Kickstarter isn’t great for earning long-term recurring income, nor is it a way to raise money for daily expenses. Instead, it’s better for crowdfunding one big project on a clear timeline.
- Designed just for creators
- You can give away prizes or rewards at different levels to incentivize donors
- Great for startups who are fundraising for a big goal or project
- Discover page so new fans can find your work
Kickstarter is ideal for creators who need to obtain a large chunk of money upfront to create their work. People come to Kickstarter to discover new products, so you could get more exposure than if you tried to fundraise independently.
Kickstarter campaigns aren’t suitable for creators who want to earn ongoing passive income from supporters. When launching a big project, creators need to be strategic about their goal since they won’t receive any funding if they don’t hit their target.
- Kickstarter keeps 5% as commission if a project is fully funded
- 3-5% processing fee
Like Kickstarter, Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform where creators can bring ideas to life.
Indiegogo focuses on new and innovative projects. As you browse through their explore tab, you’ll see projects like animated films, vegan meat substitutes, and self-published memoirs.
On Indiegogo, creators have several different payout options. You can run a one-time project where you only get paid if you reach your target, a one-time project where you get paid no matter how much you earn, and you can also collect and receive payments continuously.
- Crowdfunding platform
- Three payout options, including a way to receive ongoing funds
- There’s a Discover page where new supporters can see your project
Creators can accept ongoing payouts or a lump payout at campaign completion. People come to the platform looking for cool projects to fund, so there’s a chance new backers will discover you organically.
The platform focuses on physical products you’ll make and distribute, so it’s a different use case from Patreon. Indiegogo is goal-based, so it wouldn’t be suitable for a creator who wants to earn recurring income while working on ongoing creative pursuits.
- Free to launch a campaign
- 5% fee and transaction fee
Memberful is a WordPress plugin that lets creators build a membership community on their own website. Patreon owns Memberful, but this tool has advanced customization options for creators who want more control.
Because Memberful is a WordPress add-on, you can combine it with plugins and other software for additional functionality.
For example, you can integrate with LearnDash to sell courses alongside your membership features. You can also connect with Discord or Discourse to create a community area.
- Payment options: one time, pay what you like, monthly membership
- Offer free trials, gift subscriptions, and group subscription services
- Built-in paid newsletters and emails
- Private podcast feature
Memberful works well for WordPress creators who want to house all their content on their own website. Memberful also makes it possible to sell podcast memberships, paid email newsletters, and digital or physical products.
Memberful is only suitable for creators who are comfortable using WordPress. You’ll need to pay for web hosting and your domain, as well as additional themes, apps, and plugins to make your site function the way you want.
If you don’t enjoy tinkering with websites, you may need to hire a web designer to ensure your site runs smoothly. You’ll also be responsible for troubleshooting any WordPress issues that arise. This could get expensive and complicated if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.
- Starter plan: Free + 10% transaction fee
- Pro plan: $25/month + 4.9% transaction fee
- Premium plan: $100/month + 4.9% transaction fee
- Additional costs:
- WordPress website hosting
- Domain registration fees
- Cost of add-on plugins and integrations
9. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is an online community platform where creators can connect with their audience members. Membership communities can be free or paid, and you can charge one-time fees or recurring subscriptions.
Both Patreon and Mighty Networks allow you to earn ongoing income from your audience, but the platforms function in different ways.
With Patreon, fans join to support you and possibly get content or perks in return. With Mighty Networks, members join for access to the community you’ve created, which includes interacting with other members, discussion forums, and other engaging activities.
Mighty Networks features:
- Build a community membership
- Create and sell courses on higher-tiered plans
- Members can comment, interact, and message each other
- Host events and live streams in the community
- Native video hosting
Mighty Networks benefits:
On Mighty Networks, you can create free or paid communities for your followers. Community members have more opportunities to talk to each other than they would with Patreon, and you can offer them resources, private areas, and events.
Mighty Networks downsides:
Mighty Networks doesn’t have a free plan, and they charge transaction fees in addition to monthly rates. It’s built for creators who want to run an active community, so this wouldn’t be the right fit for someone seeking passive recurring income or donations.
Mighty Networks pricing:
- Free trial: (5% transaction fee)
- Community plan: $39/month (3% transaction fee)
- Business plan: $119/month (2% transaction fee)
- Mighty Pro: Custom pricing
Contribee is a simple platform where creators can receive tips from fans. There’s just one plan for creators, and supporters can make donations, contribute monthly, or pay per post.
Creators can set different tiers and give away high-value videos and content in exchange for support. Creators can also generate QR codes to share their Contribee page on the go.
On top of that, Contribee doesn’t take any fees from creators. Fans pay the platform fees on their end, so you get to keep everything you earn.
- One-time payments
- Pay per post
- Instant payouts
- Create a QR code to promote your membership anywhere
- No fees for creators
With Contribee, fans can choose from several payment structures. The pay-per-post feature allows creators to sell premium content like podcast episodes, informational videos, or long-form articles.
Creator pages come with Contribee branding and limited customizations. If you want a full website or shop for your work, you’ll need another tool. Contribee also lacks email marketing features and community functionality, making it difficult to connect with your audience.
- Free for creators
Hy.page is technically a link in bio tool, but creators can also accept donations and run membership programs for followers. It works well for social media personalities who want to monetize their following.
With Hy.page, you can sell digital products, receive tips from fans, build a membership area, and charge for premium content. Hy.page handles file delivery and allows your followers to submit custom requests in exchange for donations.
- Build a landing page for your business
- Take donations and requests
- Create posts behind a paywall and set up your own membership site
- Collect signups for your email list
- Accept payments through PayPal and Stripe
With Hy.page, there are no transaction fees on paid plans. You own your data, and you can use a custom domain to host your page. Hy.pages can be used for bio links, making this a good option for social media influencers.
Hy.page doesn’t include a complete website or the ability to sell services. While you can get basic link-in-bio functionality on the free plan, the paid plans are the only way to access monetization features like donations, product sales, and memberships.
- Pro: $19/month (includes monetization features like products, donations, and requests)
- Enterprise $39/month (includes the ability to sell memberships and subscriptions)
SubscribeStar is membership software where creators can offer tiered subscriptions for their fans. Creators can build a SubscribeStar page and share content like files, ebooks, videos, images, articles, and audio.
SubscribeStar makes it easy to schedule posts in advance to stay organized and save time. Creators can also access analytics and audience statistics to learn more about their following.
- Set earning goals and get followers excited about reaching them
- Request a payout every 14 days as long as you’ve met the payout threshold
- Trust period to prevent content skimming
- Direct messaging with followers
SubscribeStar has a simple pricing structure with a flat 5% fee. Creators and fans can also converse using the built-in chat feature.
SubscribeStar doesn’t have a community feature. To create this, you’ll need to integrate with a third-party tool. SubscribeStar also doesn’t host your videos for you, so you’ll need to embed them using a tool like YouTube or Vimeo.
- 5% transaction fee
- Must have at least five subscribers to cash out payments
Liberapay is an open-source platform for accepting recurring donations. Fans can choose how much they want to give and if they want their donation to occur weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Creators aren’t expected to provide anything in return. By default, donations are public-facing, so everyone can see the amount creators earn per week.
Since Liberapay is an open-source tool without live support, it’s best for people with some technical know-how.
- Free, nonprofit, open-source software
- For donations only, not memberships where content is exchanged
- No transaction fees
If you need a way to receive donations without fuss, Liberapay fits the bill. It also works well for developers who need an open-sourced tool that’s free to use.
When you make an account on Liberapay, you’ll get a very basic profile page to raise funds. If you want to create a stylish sales page or full website, you’ll need to use other tools. You’ll also need additional software to sell products and communicate with followers.
Find the right Patreon alternative for you
What are the best free Patreon alternatives?
The following platforms have a free plan (usually with transaction fees):
- Buy Me a Coffee
What’s the best Patreon alternative for writers?
Podia makes it easy for writers to sell their work and build a community. For example, author Valerie Biel uses Podia to sell courses and resources about independent publishing, audiobook creation, and other topics useful for writers.
If you’re a writer funding an individual book or series, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are also suitable for raising money quickly.
What’s the best Patreon alternative for crowdfunding?
Speaking of crowdfunding, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are ideal for larger projects. Ko-fi and Tipeee are best for small-scale projects since you can set goals and receive fan contributions.
What’s the best Patreon alternative for artists?
Podia is an excellent Patreon alternative for artists since you can create an entire website to showcase your work and connect with supporters through built-in email newsletters and communities.
For example, artist Tara Leaver uses Podia to run her art membership, which includes courses, monthly art inspiration, and an interactive community.
Ko-fi is another good Patreon alternative for artists because fans can pay for custom commissions directly on the platform.
What’s the best Patreon alternative for podcasters?
Podcasters can sell subscriptions with Memberful. You can offer free trials, manage multiple podcast feeds, and even gift podcast subscriptions to others.
Hy.page is another option for podcasters since you can sell audio files directly from your link in bio or add them to a gated membership area for a recurring cost.
What are the best alternatives to Patreon for musicians?
With Podia, you can sell audio files or create a community area where fans can follow your work. Podia also works well for musicians who teach others their craft. For example, classical pianist Joseph D’Amico of Flex Lessons uses Podia to sell virtual piano lessons and memberships.
“Until you have a big treasure trove of content ready, Podia will let you sell courses and products one at a time really inexpensively, and you can have a free community,” Joseph explains.
If you need help funding a stand-alone album or tour, a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a good choice.
What are the best Patreon alternatives for streamers and gamers?
TipeeeStream was specifically designed for streamers. You can monetize your channel, receive tips, fund goals, and display notifications over your streaming feed.
For Twitch users, Ko-fi has an integration where you can show stream alerts, add a goal overlay, and get notifications when you receive a new donation.
What’s the best all-in-one Patreon alternative?
Podia makes it easy to run free or paid online communities where members can interact and enjoy premium content. Like with Patreon, Podia creators can accept recurring subscriptions or donations and provide resources in return.
Should you choose to go beyond memberships, you won’t need to connect dozens of extra tools. You can build a website and sell products like courses, downloads, and coaching with Podia.
As the cherry on top, there are no transaction fees on paid Podia plans.
Ultimately, you get much more flexibility with how you structure your business. No matter how you choose to expand your brand in the future, we’re here to help make it a reality.