Best Mailing List Plugin – Optinskin vs Hybrid Connect

Best Mailing List Plugin – Optinskin vs Hybrid Connect

Update: Hybrid Connect has been renamed to Thrive Leads for branding purposes. Read more about it here.

How many of you heard about this saying “the money is in the list”? It doesn’t matter if you are running a small blog or a huge Fortune 500 company; You need a mail list.

The process of building a good mailing list is extremely hard and the word ‘extremely’ could easily be an understatement. Regardless how hard it is, you still need to start building one.

There are so many benefits a mailing list can offer and there is no better way to explain other than showing you some lovely slides below.

WordPress is home to over 20,000 useful plugins and when it comes to finding the best mailing list plugin, there could only be two choices which are OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect.

Both of these are used by both novice and professional bloggers because they are not just normal plugins … They are REALLY top notch and either one of them are eligible to be named as the best mailing list plugin.

I am lucky (and stupid) to have bought both plugins and I know how hard it is when it comes to deciding which plugin would give you a better ROI and improving your signup rates all together.

Therefore, I hope this review will help you decide which will be the ultimate mailing list plugin that you will use on your blog.

Of course, if you are using any one of these, hit the Reply button below and tell me what you think.

This comparison is done by dividing both of these fine mailing list plugins into several categories for judging:

  1. Features
  2. Placement and integrating autoresponders
  3. Split testing ability
  4. Look and feel
  5. Price

Introduction to OptinSkin plugin

OptinSkin is created by Glen Allsopp and Graeme Boy. The plugin was developed to fulfill their own need to split-test opt-in forms quickly and easily, anywhere on a blog, to maximise conversions and make more money.

Hold on a second … did I just mentioned “Glen Allsopp”? The Glen Allsopp? Founder of ViperChill?

Yes, I certainly did!

Introduction to OptinSkin alternative – Hybrid Connect plugin

Hybrid Connect is created by Shane Melaugh and it is said to be the most advance mailing list building plugin for WordPress.

Ok, so who is Shane? If you do not know who he is, you better do … right now!

He is a renowned expert especially when it comes to marketing, traffic generation and online sales.

Note: It does sounds fun when you have two of the finest experts produced world class WordPress plugins just for us right? Yes, I felt very honored for that.

So, can Hybrid Connect stand up to it’s viral, OptinSkin … or … Can OptinSkin beat the newcomer who has nothing to lose?

OptinSkin vs Hybrid Connect

Best WordPress Mailing List Plugin
Who will be crowned the best mailing list plugin for WordPress?

Comparison #1: Features

OptinSkin features:

  1. Split testing ability (A/B testing)
  2. 20 awesome designs
  3. Fade in optin form feature
  4. Customizable colors and fonts
  5. Impressions will only counts if the optin form is visible to the reader
  6. Custom HTML and CSS codes
  7. Multiple locations for optin form placements
  8. Build in social media buttons on optin forms
  9. Able to work with all autoresponders


OptinSkin split testing settings
A partial look at OptinSkin settings and features


Hybrid Connect features:

  1. Split testing ability (A/B testing)
  2. Over 40 awesome designs
  3. Squeeze pages, lightboxes and slide in features
  4. Customizable colors and fonts
  5. Very detailed stats counter
  6. Changes can be done easily to any optin forms without codes
  7. Multiple locations for optin form placements
  8. Users can select Facebook integration and even add on webinar option on optin forms
  9. Able to work with all autoresponders


Hybrid Connect Connectors
This is what Hybrid Connect looks like on its dashboard


Advantages of OptinSkin:

  • Fade in features and build in social media sharing buttons which is absolutely great when it comes to increasing your social engagement level.
  • Option to stick the optin form to the top is a great feature for those who do not want to use a floating widget or plugin
  • Stats counter per impression which is great for obvious reasons.
  • Create custom optin forms using CSS.

Hybrid Connect has also several advantages which are:

  • More than 40 ready-made design templates compared to OptinSkin which has only 20 designs.
  • Squeeze pages, lightboxes and slide ins which are extremely valuable when it comes to increasing the conversion rate for mailing list building
  • Facebook integration where it makes sign up easier and faster.
  • Integration Webinar account with optin form offers a great advantage

My verdict: Both the mailing list plugins are equal. OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect offer users huge variety of choices and are packed with rich features to help you build your subscriber’s list. Therefore, this would actually boils down to your personal preference and needs. Due to rich features, both of these plugins are given full points for that.

Score: OptinSkin (10/10) – Hybrid Connect (10/10)

Winner: Draw

Comparison #2 – Placement and integrating autoresponders

Setting up an optin form using OptinSkin is extremely easy and integrating with any autoresponder is really a brief. No codes needed and all you need to do is to link both of them together.

For the record, I did not believe it was THAT easy and I decided to try it out (signing up using my secondary email) and it works! Amazing right?


OptinSkin is known as the best mailing list plugin for WordPress
OptinSkin placement settings


OptinSkin offers easy optin form placement such as:

  • After post
  • Before post
  • Below first paragraph
  • Floated right of second paragraph
  • Custom locations
  • Below selected paragraph number
  • Pop up after selected number of pixels


Hybrid Connect is said to be the most advance mailing list plugin for WordPress
Hybrid Connect offers many features such as shortcode, widget areas, lightboxes, slide ins and squeeze pages


Setting up Hybrid Connect is also easy. All you need to do is to select the type of template or skin, change the words that appear, add in the your autoresponder codes and you are basically done. Just like OptinSkin, you can change anything from layout to font colours.

When it comes to optin form placements, Hybrid Connect does exactly what OptinSkin is offering with a little twist; The ability to add squeeze pages, lightboxes and slide ins.

Note: OptinSkin wins if you love simplicity and speed of setting up an optin form but Hybrid Connect is given that extra 1 point due to the extra features it has.

Score: OptinSkin (8/10) – Hybrid Connect (9/10)

Winner: Hybrid Connect

Comparison #3 – Split testing features

Ask any Internet Marketer and they will tell you that split testing is a must. So, if you are not doing any split testing, you are missing something out … BIG TIME!

Both OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect offers split testing features but what makes them so different?


Optinskin offers split testing for Internet Marketers
This is Optinskin split testing stats counter



To enable split testing, you need to place two or more optin forms on the same location and enable the split testing option. Results will be shown is a very simple layout which allows you to compare the results in one glance as seen above.

This is a great tool that shows which optin form is giving you the best conversion rate and when it comes to building a mailing list, this is extremely valuable.


Hybrid Connect offers automatic split testing features
Hybrid Connect split testing stats are more complete and organized compared to OptinSkin

Hybrid Connect:

This plugin works in a very unique way compared to OptinSkin. You need to create an optin form first and then, enable the split test feature.

Hold on … doesn’t that sounds the same?

The starting part is the same (duh) but here’s where everything goes differently. You can start and stop the split testing features with just a click of a button as seen on the image above.

Compared to OptinSkin, everything is started automatically as soon as you create it.

It does sounds easy compared to OptinSkin but here’s the down side of Hybrid Connect; Stopping the split testing means that you need to choose a winner. Selecting the winner and the less productivity form will automatically be deleted.

In terms of automation, Hybrid Connect certainly does a great job but the fact that it couldn’t save a copy of the less performing optin form is a rather disappointing feature for me.

Due of this, I would rather go for more ‘manual’ and give an extra credit to Glenn’s mailing list plugin, OptinSkin.

Score: OptinSkin (9/10) – Hybrid Connect (8/10)

Winner: OptinSkin

Comparison #4 – Look and feel

Generally, both the plugins are offering super dupper (stunning) skins which are absolutely great. Allow me to share some indepth review in terms of their themes and skins provided.

What I love about OptinSkin are:

  1. OptinSkin themes or skins are very lightweight which helps in website loading speed
  2. The skins looks professional and clean (I am a huge fan of simple things in life)
  3. Built in skins are awesome which doesn’t need any additional configuration or customization


OptinSkin integrates well with many auto responder services
OptinSkin offers quick and easy autoresponder setup without any codes needed (plus integrates well with many autoresponders)


What I love about Hybrid Connect are:

  1. Hybrid Connects offer a huge variety of themes to choose from (more than 40 for Christ’s sake)
  2. There are themes which fit well for every location on the blog page
  3. Built in themes can easily be customized from the types of button used to the font colour


Connecting autoresponders with Hybrid Connect is easy
You can integrate Hybrid Connect with autoresponders by copy-pasting the right codes


So, what I didn’t like about OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect? Do they really have their downsides?

For me, everything good thing has their bad part and thus, a review is not complete without any downsides and here goes.

Disadvantages of OptinSkin:

  • Mobile view or mobile responsive doesn’t always work well and at times, it might look distorted (happens to larger optin forms only)
  • Doing a new optin form would require some CSS knowledge

Disadvantages of Hybrid Connect:

  • This mailing list plugin has the chance to break (not working properly) especially when there’s an update such as WordPress 3.6, Genesis 2.0 and HTML5. As much as this is very common for WordPress plugins, I have high expectations for premium plugins to push an update immediately after any new releases or updates.
  • Hybrid Connect codes could be affected by minification (done by plugin cache) and website themes which could distort the layout.

Score: OptinSkin (9/10) – Hybrid Connect (9/10)

Winner: Draw

Comparison #5 – Price

This comparison could probably weigh the most especially pricing is always an issue for all of us.

OptinSkin currently selling at $67 for unlimited usage while Hybrid Connect has three different options; Single site usage at $49, multi site usage at $67 and professional package at $147 (after 25% discount).

Now there are two ways you can see this:

  1. OptinSkin is a better deal since one price for unlimited usage
  2. Hybrid Connect would be a better deal if you are running just one website only

Personally, I would choose OptinSkin since the one price for unlimited usage is an extremely good deal in my books.

Besides that, OptinSkin is offering a full 60 days money back guarantee compared to Hybrid Connect which offers only 30 days money back guarantee.

Therefore, OptinSkin plugin gets the one point for the last comparison done.

Score: OptinSkin (10/10) – Hybrid Connect (9/10)

Winner: OptinSkin

The best mailing list plugin for WordPress – My take

Let’s see how both OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect score in this comparisons, shall we?

Features – Draw

Placement and integration with autoresponders – Hybrid Connect

Split testing ability – OptinSkin

Look and feel – Draw

Price – OptinSkin

When it comes to points, OptinSkin scored extra one point compared to Hybrid Connect in my review and yes, this is a pretty darn close battle I would say!

Personally, both OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect are great mailing list plugins which you won’t go wrong with.

However, getting OptinSkin could be actually much easier on your wallet since it is a all-in-one package regardless for single or multiple sites.

Furthermore, I really love easy setting up (and a plugin that doesn’t affect my website load speed) which made me choosing OptinSkin over Hybrid Connect.

So, how about you? Do you have any experience with any of these plugins?

Wait! Hold on a second!

Not using any of them or still deciding? You can check both the plugins out using the links below:

OptinSkin – Must-try and probably the best mailing list plugin for bloggers

Want to give some love to Shane’s plugin instead? Click here –> Hybrid Connect – The most advance mailing list plugin for WordPress

48 thoughts on “Best Mailing List Plugin – Optinskin vs Hybrid Connect”

    • Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for dropping by. List building is very important and the above is on my experience only. I had a hard time deciding between OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect which (at the end) I got both of them now. Great in separate ways and therefore, which is your cup of tea? 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

  1. Hey Reginald,

    Awesome comparison and review, I really enjoyed all the information and details you provided in this post!

    I have personally only experience with Optin Skin which I really like, though I am not using it currently on my site. It definitely makes a lot of things easier and especially the fact that I can split test different forms and see how they perform.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Keep up the good work,

    • Hi Navid,

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad you liked it.

      Yes, OptinSkin does make things easier especially when you are trying to build a fast mailing list. Hybrid Connect is okay but setting up could be a bit of the hassle. Shane was aware of this and each part of the setup comes with at least one video tutorial.

      And the size of the plugin (Hybrid Connect) is like 11mb on zip! Insane huge 🙂

      Have a great weekend mate.

  2. Great review of both of these plugins. I have never heard of Optinskin but it sounds amazing.

    I currently use Hybrid Connect and you right…placing the optin boxes is extremely simple. I need to take the time to improve my squeeze page.

    This is something that I have been meaning to do. After reading your post it reminds me that I need to take the time to do it.

    Thanks for this review. I am sure that it will definitely help anyone who is looking for a new plugin.

    • Hi Susan,

      OptinSkin had been in this market for sometime now. The dev is Glenn and that’s why he doesn’t do that much promotion as Shane does. His name is like … up there in the charts every week!

      Hybrid Connect is great and served me for almost 3 months or so but with the recent updates, even an internal update on their end wasn’t able to solve the problem I was facing. At times, I does wonder if I am unique (or terribly unlucky) 😉

      Either way, I still love Hybrid Connect in some ways and I wish I could run both at the same time. Okay, I could but I wouldn’t want to kill my load time for that. Haha!

      Glad it worked out for you and thanks for commenting Susan.

  3. Great Comparison Reginald.
    I use Hybrid Connect, MBP Subscribers magnet and I have also tried a lot of other plugins but believe me, I have found Hybrid Connect to work well for me.
    The Plugin has a lot of cool features and designs which most list building plugins dont have.. I dont think you mentioned the Webinar Integration feature in HC.

    • Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for dropping by. How have you been mate?

      Oh my … thank you for reminding me on the webinar! Totally went out of my mind. Maybe because I don’t use that. Will add it up shortly after this.

      Glad to hear that HC is working well for you. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who faced issued on HC. Haha!

      Have a great day and take care Joseph.

    • Hi Jitendra,

      Thanks for the kind words. I am a huge plugin junkie and always finding ways to find good ones. Well, these two are one of the best i ever seen and experienced.

      So kudos to both the devs. Hope this simple comparison will help others to decide which plugin to use best.

  4. Hello Reginald,
    You really do know how to run a review. i did love how you make up the post…

    I have never used optinskin before, because i am still using feedburner with my simple hand codding and i’d say it is converting awesomely.
    At some point in time i did almost used it on my blog but then i did not see enough reviews to convinced me. But your post is indeed convincing 🙂

    Nice article Reginald, do have a blessed week ahead 🙂

    • HI Babanature,

      Thank you for the kind words mate.

      Feedburner is okay and I used it for sometime before. Not bad honestly speaking. Feedburner works easier with OptinSkin compared to Hybrid Connect the last time I checked though.

      Anyway, good to hear that you are converting well. Who knows, one day you might want to invest into these plugins 😀

      Have a great week ahead too Babanature.

  5. Hey Reginald,

    Great insight on the two optin plugins. I personally have been using optinskin. I do need to slap myself for not doing split testing! I’m leaving money on the table.

    The one thing I didn’t like about the optinskin, is so far I see that it doesn’t work well with all blog themes. I have to manually put in the code for my optins in order for them to show up. But other than that, it works like a charm.

    thanks for sharing your opinions on these two plugins!

    • Hi Sherman,

      Thank you for that! You got to do split testing soon mate 🙂

      Actually, nearly all plugins won’t work perfectly with all blog themes. Most developers could only test it on most blogs but again, errors could happen. I experienced that with both OptinSkin and Hybrid Connect in the past too. Thankfully, I am able to sort out those issues. Big phew right?

      See you around and thanks for dropping by!

  6. An excellent and very in-depth review. I use Hybrid Connect and I am a big fan. I have not used Opt-in Skin so I cannot comment on that plugin, but it looks good, too.

    I saw the guys from Contest Domination have a new plugin that Neil Patel tested and increased his opt-ins big time. I cannot think of the name at the moment, but it looks to be really good at conversions.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for dropping by mate! Glad you find Hybrid Connect working well for you.

      I read about it somewhere too but I can’t remember where I did. Anyway, let me scout on that and maybe (who knows), I might just do another write up on that.

      See you around and thanks for your kind words.

  7. Thanks for the useful comparison…Every single person in the world who has internet access has an email address (well mostly), building an email list is one of the cheapest and most cost-effective solutions for keeping in touch with people.

    • Hi Daisy,

      Thanks for the comment. It is a great way to keep your readers coming back for more and that’s for sure. Also, it is a good way to share information and build more readership as well.

      Hope you like the comparison 😉

  8. Hi Reginald,

    This is a great review and indeed a wonderful breakdown about this two plugins. Building mailing list with plugins is often the easiest way for bloggers to build their mailing list without must stress except the settings

  9. Hi Reginald.. Nice comparison between optinskin and hybrid connect mailing list plugins.. I can see a Pinterest button on hovering mouse on the images over here in this blog, can you please let me know what plugin you use for that.. Thank you.

    • Hi Shirinivas,

      Thanks for commenting and appreciate that. Hope you liked it 🙂

      As for your question, copy this code and paste on your footer:
      script type=”text/javascript” data-pin-hover=”true” src=”//”>’ at both ends of the code.

      Hope this helps.

  10. Thanks for this in depth review. However, having nothing but bad experience with Shane and his stuff I have to admit HybridConnect can in no way compete against OptinSkin. HC is really a pain in the ass, has massive flaws and slows down your site extremely.

    I had problems (on a real standard blog) that it appears and disappears, interferes with other plugins (e. g. one time both, Shanes HybridConnect and Shanes WP Sharely have simply vanished over night without any change) and the backend is pure pain. Yeah, nice tutorial but what sense does that make if it takes seconds (up to 10) to load the interface, everytime I save I get back to the overview and sometimes the tabs in the backend are not accessible at all. What you also didn’t mention is that the plugin is not really WP standard compliant in the way it handles backend access to its features.

    In no way would I recommend HybridConnect to anyone, stick with Glen’s OptinSkin ini which you by the way can create your own templates, is way better from my experience. I would really stay away from IM Impact plugins as they tend to slow down (major issue if you have lots of traffic) and the support is really nice but not very helpful.

    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your feedback on Hybrid Connect. I have been using HC for some months now and back before WP 3.8, I had some issues with it, especially when WordPress get updated. Then I accidentally found a solution that works for me every time which is clearing my cache (using W3TC) and if that doesn’t work, a deactivate – active HC works pretty well.

      I know Shane and his team are working hard on it to resolved and since the last 2 updates, every thing been working pretty A-okay for me.

      Now about OptinSkin. I used it on my other blogs and by default, it looks great (no developer here). However, I noticed some loading issues when you have really a lot of those ‘skins’ activated on your site. At least, it happened to me so badly especially with the awesome fonts. Even using premium WordPress hosting, the fonts created some sort of slow loading. Nonetheless, still love their ‘final outlook’.

      Personally, I go with HC as even though it could have some ups and downs from time to time, I have no issue with their loading speed. Guess I have more luck with HC than OS 🙂

      Thanks for your feedback again.

  11. I have been using Optin Skin and I think its a piece of trash. None of the skins is working properly and every time it messes up the design of the skin. It also conflicts with my wordpress theme and messes around with my design. Also if you use it you have to reload the plugin to make new adjustments. Maybe it is my theme (eleven40 pro.)?

    • Hi Jochgem,

      Thanks for commenting and sorry to hear that. Through all my experience with Genesis with both Hybrid Connect and OptinSkin, they work perfectly well in all child themes.

      However, if it doesn’t work for you, have you contacted Glenn on that? I know for once, their support usually responds within 24 hours.

      To be honest, first time hearing such and don’t see that issue with my client sites as well. My best advise would be contact the support for more information.

      Hope this helps man!

  12. I was wondering if your opinion of these two products had changed since publishing this blog post more than a year ago…

    Although in the review that you gave the win to OptinSkin over Hybrid Connect, I noticed that the mailing list optin form at the top of the pages on your website were all made with Hybrid Connect.

    Is there a reason why in the end you decided to go with Hybrid Connect rather than OptinSkin? Ease of use perhaps? Some other reason?

    Thanks you.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thanks for the comment. Basically I would say both are really good. Consider this; Hybrid Connect is made for easier modifications (changing of colours etc using button and settings). OptinSkin is really powerful but it takes a little customization to make it stand out from the crowd. And a little means using codes which I am really bad in.

      Depending on what you really need, Hybrid Connect and OptinSkin are both very good choices. OptinMonster is another cool one I use on my business blogs. The exit intent is great but comes with a price.

      Hope this helps!

  13. Hi Reginald,

    Thanks for the comparison between these two. Have any experience with OptinMonster? I see a lot of people using that plugin, so I’m wondering how it compares with these two.

    I need to make a decision soon, as I’ve already spent enough time researching this. Looks like there are tradeoffs either way.

    For now I’m thinking of trying out Hybrid Connect. Can always get a refund if I find any major loading issues.



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