13 best online course platforms for creators
Find the best online course platforms to build engaging e-learning products and grow your online business.
You’ve got an idea for a fabulous online course. Now you just need a place to build it.
With an online course platform, you can design your course, add media like videos and images, and even include interactive elements like quizzes and course completion certificates. You can also create sales pages, accept payments, and manage your students all in one place.
In this guide, we’ll cover what to look for when choosing course software and 13 of the best online course platforms for creators, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.
All pricing is accurate at the time of writing but is subject to change over time.
No time to read? Sign up for Podia and start building your online course today!
Features to look for when choosing an online course platform
Before we dive in, here are some factors to consider when choosing an online course tool for your business.
All-in-one: All-in-one platforms allow you to run your entire business in one place. They include features like built-in email marketing , affiliate management , and online communities , streamlining your business and eliminating the need for pricey additional software.
Unlimited: Businesses change over time, and that’s a good thing. Using platforms that let you sell unlimited courses means you won’t have to worry about outgrowing your e-learning software as your products evolve.
Multiple file types: You shouldn’t be limited by the type of media you can include in your course. Look for platforms that make it possible to add video, audio, text, and embedded modules.
Creator support: Don’t go it alone. Prioritize online teaching platforms with accessible customer support and resources like live chat, discussion forums, knowledge bases, and video tutorials to help you on your journey.
Price: Most creators have a limited budget, so choosing an affordable platform is key. You don’t need to pay for the most expensive product available when budget-friendly options get the job done.
Also, keep an eye out for transaction fees that eat away at your bottom line. Fees are normal on free plans, but we recommend choosing a platform that lets you upgrade to remove transaction fees when your income grows.
With these factors in mind, here are 13 tools to help you build and sell your course.
13 best online course platforms for creators and entrepreneurs
Podia is an all-in-one platform where you can sell online courses , build a website, run your community , and offer digital downloads, coaching , and webinars . You can also do email marketing , manage your affiliate program , and message your customers from one dashboard.
Start by drafting your course content and growing your email list on Podia’s free plan . When you’re ready to launch, upgrade to a Mover or Shaker plan to sell as many courses as you like with unlimited content hosting.
Building a course on Podia is a breeze. You can add text, videos, audio files, quizzes, coaching sessions, and file downloads to your lessons and modules.
With Podia, you can also embed elements from 1900+ sources, including YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Spotify, Google Slides, TikTok, Instagram, GitHub, and Google Forms.
Once you’ve added your course material, use Podia’s beginner-friendly page builder to design a course website or sales page for your offer. If you need help, Podia offers best-in-class chat and email support every day of the week.
According to professional bladesmith Ben Abbot , “I’ve always dreamed of creating online classes that help bladesmiths of all skill levels improve their craft. Podia has helped make that possible through their incredibly straightforward and powerful platform.”
What are Podia’s features?
Sell unlimited courses, coaching, and digital downloads on all paid plans
Intuitive website builder with the ability to connect a custom domain
Conversion-optimized embeddable checkout
Payment integrations with Stripe and PayPal
Coupons, payment plans, and subscriptions
Access to the supportive Podia Creator Community
Podia pros: Podia has a free plan where you can build your website, set up a community, and draft your online course before opening your wallet. Podia’s paid plans include unlimited courses and content hosting. Courses can be pre-launched or sold as bundles, and you can format your material into a cohort, drip, or self-paced program.
Podia scores 90.91 out of 100 on the Creator Friendliness Index . Creator-friendly platforms offer resources, pricing structures, and policies that empower creators — giving you more control over how you run your business. Podia doesn’t charge transaction fees on any paid plans.
Podia cons: Podia is a turnkey solution, so if you prefer to build your course and website from scratch with the help of a developer, it won’t be the best fit.
How much does Podia cost?
Podia has a free forever plan and two paid plans .
Free (8% transaction fee)
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform where you can sell courses, downloads, coaching, podcasts, memberships, and communities. You’ll also get email marketing tools, sales funnels , and affiliate management.
Kajabi includes templates for self-study, drip, and membership courses. You can add as many modules and lessons as you like with videos, assessments, audio files, text, and downloadable content. If you get stuck, you can reach Kajabi support through live chat or email.
What are Kajabi’s features?
Unlimited website and content hosting
Upsells, coupons, subscriptions, and payment plans
Abandoned cart recovery
Course insights and analytics
Email broadcasts, campaigns, pipelines, automations, and sequences
Payment gateways: Stripe and PayPal
Creator friendliness score: 68.83/100
Kajabi pros: Kajabi has a pipeline tool that allows you to make advanced sales funnels. There are also website templates you can use to jumpstart your creativity. Kajabi doesn’t charge transaction fees on any of their paid plans.
Kajabi cons: Kajabi is one of the more expensive online course platforms for creators, and there’s no free plan. There are also strict limits to how many products you can create and how many active users you can enroll on all plans.
Kajabi’s product and customer limits:
Basic: 3 products, 3 funnels, 1,000 active members
Growth: 15 products, 15 funnels, 10,000 active members
Pro: 100 products, 100 funnels, 20,000 active members
According to our 900+ creator survey , creators sell an average of 10.95 products. This means many would have to use Kajabi’s higher-priced Growth plan or Pro plan.
How much does Kajabi cost?
Thinkific is an online course creation tool where users can offer self-study courses, live lessons, video trainings, and cohort programs. You can build a website or storefront for your business, and there are templates to help you get started.
Within the course builder, Thinkific creators can add downloadable content, quizzes, surveys, and voice-over powerpoints. Higher-tier plans let you enable prerequisite lessons and require students to finish modules in the correct order.
Thinkific also offers a free plan where you can create one course and set up your website. The free plan doesn’t have transaction fees, and all plans allow unlimited students. Should you need help, Thinkific offers phone and email support.
What are Thinkific’s features?
Sell courses, bundles, and memberships
Unlimited video and content hosting on all plans
Students can leave course reviews
Exam integrations on higher plans
Course compliance tools
Creator friendliness score: 87.01/100
Thinkific pros: With Thinkific, you can sell unlimited courses and host unlimited content on all paid plans. You can connect tools from the Thinkific app store for more functionality if you need additional features.
Thinkific cons: Thinkific is a popular online course option, but there’s not an easy way to sell other digital products like downloads, ebooks, and coaching sessions. Also, some desirable features like memberships, basic communities, product bundles, payment plans, and subscriptions are only available on the pricey Pro plan and above.
How much does Thinkific cost?
Free (No transaction fees)
Teachable users can sell courses and coaching packages to their audience. There are over 100K creators on the platform.
Teachable’s free plan includes one course and unlimited students. Paid plans come with unlimited self-paced courses, cohort courses, coaching products, and video bandwidth. There are course design templates to help you get started, and you can add quizzes, videos, audio, text, and custom CSS within your course modules.
Teachable support is available by email on all plans. Live chat support is available on the professional plan and above.
What are Teachable’s features?
Unlimited courses and coaching on paid plans
Course completion certificates, quizzes, and lecture comments
Free trials, subscriptions, memberships, and payment plans
Build a custom storefront and sales pages for your courses
Affiliate center with automatic payouts
Basic email marketing features
Creator friendliness score: 77.92/100
Teachable pros: Teachable offers course compliance tools like lesson order enforcement to ensure students move through your material in the correct manner. There are also integrated affiliate tools and a student referral feature.
Teachable cons: Teachable doesn’t come with a built-in community feature. If you want a community for your course participants, you’ll need to connect third-party software for an additional cost. Teachable also charges steep transaction fees on the free and Basic plans.
How much does Teachable cost?
Free plan: ($1 + 10% transaction fee on paid products)
Basic: $39/month (5% transaction fee)
With LearnWorlds , you can build and sell online courses, memberships, and mobile learning apps. LearnWorlds comes with content hosting and unique video editing tools to make your courses stand out.
Creators can add video transcripts, overlay buttons, and links. Students can highlight and take notes within the course viewer, and instructors can add assessments, randomized tests, and course completion certificates. LearnWorlds support is available through email, phone, a ticketing system, and live chat.
What are LearnWorlds’ features?
Sell courses, memberships, subscriptions, and product bundles
Build your own website
Integrated video editing tools and transcripts
Mobile app (for an additional fee)
Unlimited SCORMs / HTML5
Creator friendliness score: 76.62/100
LearnWorlds pros: LearnWorlds users can manage affiliates, create memberships, and run promotions for their courses. You can also create a white-label iOS or Android app for an additional fee.
LearnWorlds cons: LearnWorlds is heavily geared towards course creators, so this might not be the best fit if you offer digital downloads, webinars, coaching, or communities.
On the LearnWorlds Starter plan, you can only offer paid courses (no free courses), and LearnWorlds charges a $5 fee per course sale. You can create a simple website, but you’re restricted to three pages. You’ll need the $99 per month Pro Trainer plan to get more features.
How much does LearnWorlds cost?
Starter: $29/month (+$5 fee per course sale)
Pro Trainer: $99/month
Learning Center: $299/month
Learning Center + Mobile App: $598/month
LearnDash is a WordPress learning management system (LMS) plugin with a drag-and-drop course builder and many customization options to build your learning experience.
With LearnDash, you can create courses with prerequisites, drip content, memberships, and subscriptions. You can also send automated notifications to students, enable course discussion forums, and award certificates to successful students.
Courses can be subscription-based, memberships, or one-time purchases. If you need to get in touch, you can connect with LearnDash customer support Monday through Friday.
What are LearnDash’s features?
WordPress LMS plugin
Enroll unlimited students and sell unlimited courses
Works with most WordPress themes
One-time purchases, subscriptions, memberships, course bundles, and bulk licenses
Student incentives, quizzes, certifications, and evaluations
Send students notifications
LearnDash pros: LearnDash offers student engagement tools like quizzes, leaderboards, gamification, and assignments. LearnDash doesn’t take any transaction fees, and you can use the plugin with most WordPress themes, making it highly customizable.
LearnDash cons: LearnDash must be used with WordPress, and WordPress has a steep learning curve. You may need to work with a website developer to get your course looking exactly the way you want, and website hosting , domain registration , themes, and plugins can get expensive fast.
When you sell online courses on WordPress , you’re responsible for maintaining all the pieces. If something breaks, you’ll need to collaborate with many different support teams, which can be tedious and inefficient.
How much does LearnDash cost?
Costs of hosting your WordPress website and domain registration
Uscreen is video membership software with course creation features and community tools. It’s best for creators with an extensive library of video content they want to house in one location.
All Uscreen users get a high-quality video player, website, and unlimited streaming bandwidth. To create courses, you can tag your videos by topic and arrange them in a catalog. You can offer one-time purchases, tiered subscriptions, free trials, and rentals on all plans.
Uscreen users can access customer support via email.
What are Uscreen’s features?
Build a membership site for your video content
Create your own website and app
Uscreen pros: Since Uscreen is a video CMS tool, it’s a good option if you have a lot of video content you need to distribute on a regular basis. Unlike social media platforms , Uscreen allows you to create custom sales pages and checkout pages for your video collections.
Uscreen cons: Uscreen is on the pricey side, and there’s no free plan. It’s only a good fit for video-based courses, so if you offer other products like downloads, live coaching, and interactive communities, it’s better to use a different tool.
How much does Uscreen cost?
Basic: $99/month + $0.99 per subscriber
Growth: $199/month + $0.85 per subscriber
Uscreen Plus: Custom pricing (This plan includes the white-label mobile app and TV streaming app)
#8 Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is an online community platform where you can sell courses on the higher-tiered Business plan. Business plan users can sell unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students. You can also create dedicated course communities and release your content on a drip schedule.
In addition to courses, Mighty Networks has advanced community features like live streams, personalized feeds, member profiles, direct messaging, virtual events, and calendar functionality. Mighty Networks customers can access support through a ticketing system or the “Host Help” button.
What are Mighty Network’s features?
Create unlimited courses on the Business plan and up
Communities can have unlimited members and moderators
Group and private chat messaging
Creator support community
Member referral program
Creator friendliness score: 59.74/100
Mighty Networks pros: With Mighty Networks, you can create courses with a community element. Mighty Networks supports video courses, drip courses, and livestreaming, and you can add unlimited instructors or moderators.
Mighty Networks cons: Mighty Networks is, first and foremost, a community platform. There’s no built-in way to sell services like coaching or digital downloads. There are storage limitations on the Community and Business plans and transaction fees on all tiers.
Also, you can only export a list of your members and their email addresses on the Business plan, making it difficult to migrate from Mighty Networks to a new platform.
How much does Mighty Networks cost?
Community plan: $39/month (3% transaction fee)
Business plan: $119/month (2% transaction fee)
Mighty Pro: Custom pricing
#9 Academy of Mine
An all-in-one solution for online training, Academy of Mine is a platform that lets you create, sell, and market your online course using your own white-label platform. It’s a good choice if you work in the B2B space and need to sell bulk licenses to one customer.
According to their website, Academy of Mine is often used for:
Professional training and certifications
Support for Academy of Mine users is available through email and a ticketing system.
What are the Academy of Mine features?
Sell self-paced courses with quizzes, surveys, and assessments
Create sales and marketing pages
Customized branding and website builder
Bulk import and export features
Flexible ecommerce reporting and analytics
Academy of Mine pros: Academy of Mine works well for developing corporate or team business training programs. You can create self-paced or live courses and set up your website.
Academy of Mine cons: Academy of Mine is an expensive option designed for big businesses, not individual creators. There are also limits on storage space and monthly active users.
How much does Academy of Mine cost?
Enterprise: Custom pricing
Teachery is simple but effective software made for course creators, by course creators. It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, but it’s a straightforward option if you only want to launch an online course business.
Teachery features a course builder with two templates. Within your lessons and modules, you can embed video, audio, and slide presentations. You can create unlimited payment, sales, and email capture pages to promote your course. You can reach the Teachery support team via email.
What are Teachery’s features?
Unlimited courses, lessons, and students
Sell memberships and bundle products
Create sales pages and landing pages
Integrations with Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Zapier
Free, one-time, recurring payments
Teachery pros: Teachery is a white-label course platform that you can customize to suit your branding and style. They have two straightforward payment plans that include all platform features.
Teachery cons: Teachery is not optimized for selling digital downloads or services. There’s no community feature, and they don’t provide video or audio hosting, so you’ll need to embed videos from third-party providers like YouTube and Vimeo.
How much does Teachery cost?
Monthly plan: $49/month
Annual plan: $470/year
Ruzuku is a learning management system that lets you build an engaging online course with student forums and Q&A areas. With Ruzuku, you can teach either live, evergreen, or self-directed online courses with an interactive student dashboard.
In addition to unlimited video, audio, and content hosting, you can also offer teleconferences, webinars , and video broadcasts. Ruzuku customer support is available by email and phone on an appointment basis.
What are Ruzuku’s features?
Participants can have social profiles, bios, and photos in the course community
Copy a previous course to run it multiple times
Email announcements to course participants
Subscriptions or one-time payments
Course completion data
FAQ forum area and student discussions
Ruzuku pros: Ruzuku gets good reviews for their customer support, and they have comprehensive training courses, tutorials, help docs, and a Facebook group. You can use Ruzuku to create unlimited courses, and all plans come with video and audio hosting.
Ruzuku cons: Ruzuku is not ideal if you offer digital downloads, communities, or coaching and consulting services. While sending email announcements is possible, there are no advanced email marketing features. The platform also lacks a full website builder.
How much does Ruzuku cost?
Free: (Limited to 5 students)
Udemy is an online course marketplace where creators can sell to a wide audience. You can upload your own course videos and set your price, but your product must meet Udemy’s quality requirements. Udemy offers email support as well as a community where instructors can get questions answered.
While some creators like selling on course marketplaces like Udemy for greater audience reach, an aggressive revenue-sharing plan can mean lower earnings for instructors.
User-friendly course builder and uploader
Learners can leave course reviews
Built-in marketing tools
Instructors can be included in site-wide deals to boost enrollment
Creator friendliness score: 52.78/100
Udemy pros: Udemy promotes your courses on its platform, so your marketing can be more hands-off. Udemy is also an established site with name recognition and a large existing audience, making it easier for students to discover you organically.
Udemy cons: On Udemy, you have less control over your content, branding, and income. You don’t own your audience, and you can’t migrate your student list off of the platform in the future. Also, you can’t run cohort courses, live courses, or membership courses.
How much does Udemy cost?
It’s free to join Udemy as a creator, but you’ll be part of Udemy’s revenue-sharing plan.
Revenue sharing plan:
The instructor keeps 97% when the student uses the instructor’s referral code
The instructor keeps 37% if no referral code is used
Skillshare is an online learning platform where instructors can upload video courses and make money through royalties. You don’t set a price for your courses and don’t have to do as much marketing, but you may earn less than if you sell your program independently.
Students pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to all courses on the platform, and teachers earn money based on how many minutes students watch their videos. Teachers can also earn by referring students to Skillshare. Creators can access support via email.
What are Skillshare’s features?
Earn money through royalties or the Skillshare affiliate program
Creators can be discovered by students already using the platform
Upload one class every seven days
Create video lessons
Creator friendliness score: 44.78/100
Skillshare pros: Because Skillshare is an online learning library, there’s less marketing required on your end. Skillshare already has a built-in audience, which may mean more eyes on your classes. It’s also free for creators to get started.
Skillshare cons: When students watch your lessons on Skillshare, you don’t own your audience. You can’t build an email list of your students, nor can you contact them again in the future.
All lessons must meet Skillshare’s guidelines, which means you have less creative control over your work. There isn’t a community feature, and you can’t sell digital downloads, live cohort courses, memberships, or other formats beyond video lectures.
How much does Skillshare cost?
Free for creators
Choosing the best online course platform for your creative business
Creating online courses can be a great way to expand your business and spread your knowledge. When choosing the best online learning platform, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the platform all-in-one so I can manage my business in one place?
Does the platform limit the number of products I can create?
Is it easy to contact support if I need help?
Can my course include video, audio, text, and other types of content?
Is the price reasonable for this stage in my business?
Your skills and experiences are valuable. By creating an online course, you’ll be well on your way to sharing your passion with others. Happy teaching!