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Creating online courses is one of the best ways to make money online, but finding the best online course platforms is difficult.  A simple Google search, and you’ll see dozens of reviews full of generic summaries where authors haven’t even used the platforms.

That’s NOT how this guide was created. 

This buyer’s guide has taken me 40+ hours to develop. Not only have I sold online courses for over 10 years, but I’ve also been a college professor since 2010.  More importantly, I’ve created accounts on each of the platforms, recorded walkthrough tutorials, taken screenshots of the interface, and done an in-depth analysis far beyond other guides available.


Thinkific is the best overall platform with a free plan. This is the most affordable solution with high-quality features that scale as your business does. I use this platform myself.


LearnWorlds offers the best learning experience due to its unique interactive tools like ebooks, assessments, certificates, SCORMs, surveys, and more.


Among all of the platforms on this list, Teachable has the most user-friendly dashboard and features for beginners to start building their first online course(s).


Podia is best for you if you'd like to go beyond courses and create webinars, membership communities, downloads, and more without worrying about technology.


Learndash is the best online course platform for those that are looking to host their courses and online school directly on their own Wordpress website.

In the past year alone, online courses have made over $46 billion, according to Statista. The same study indicates that the e-learning market will likely grow to $240 Billion by 2022.

When I first started my online business, I focused 100% on selling online courses.  At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer because you don’t need a large following to make a decent income, and I definitely didn’t have that.

From the start, there were some months I could make over $500, which blew me away. But since then, things have changed, you can make a lot more money, and now there are DOZENS of online course platforms available.

But what is the right online course solution for you?

Based on my decade of experience as a course creator, online entrepreneur, and college professor, I want to help make this decision easier for you, so let’s jump in.

Top 10 Course Platforms For Educators

  • Thinkific: Best Overall Online Course Platform with a Free Plan
  • LearnWorlds: Best for Selling Interactive Courses
  • Teachable: Best for Beginners
  • Podia: Best All-in-One Online Course Platform
  • LearnDash: Best WordPress LMS Plugin
  • Teachery: Best Affordable Course Platform Focused on Simplicity
  • Kartra: Best Premium All-in-One Course Platform
  • Systeme.io: Best Affordable All-in-One Online Course Platform
  • Graphy: Best Platform with Live Streaming and a Mobile App
  • Yondo: Best All-in-One Course Platform for Live Sessions

1. Thinkific

Best Overall Online Course Platform With a Free Plan (FREE or $39/month).


Thinkific is my favorite free online course platform by far to sell courses. Granted, their free plan has its limitations, but it’s a great place to begin if you don’t want to buy anything just yet.

They boast 51,000 instructors and have helped people earn $340 million.

This tool is an all-in-one solution that is extremely easy to navigate, even for complete beginners. In addition, it allows you to customize your course to match your existing brand and has a very impressive array of marketing and sales tools.

This cloud-based online course creation software lets you manage your clients, payments, course materials, integrations, and much more from the user-friendly dashboard.

Thinkific Tutorial:

Key Features:

  • Pre-Built School ThemesFor those intimidated by technology, Thinkific has themes that can be loaded with a click and completely customized to create your own look.
  • Intuitive Course Creation DashboardOffers a very easy-to-understand dashboard with visual aids to intuitively create online courses successfully.
  • Course Templates: Thinkific offers numerous templates that allow you to quickly pre-populate an outline for any course you wish to create.
  • Student Certificates: After students complete your course, they’ll be able to get a certificate validating their knowledge.
  • Order Bumps and Course Bundling: This allows instructors simple ways to quickly and easily increase their average order size.

Pros and Cons

Free planCan become expensive quickly
Substantial student analytics
Very user intuitive
Recurring payments/payment plans/memberships
Email Marketing


  • Free ($0/month): Great to test out the platform and understand how everything works. Accessibility to 1 course, 1 community, 1 administrator, 1000 students, 0% transaction fee, fully integrated e-commerce, quizzes/surveys, and email/chat support.
  • Start ($99/month): Great for those with a growing online school. This plan includes all Free plan features with accessibility to 10 courses, 1 community, 1 administrator, 2,500 students.
  • Grow ($199/month): Great for those with a medium-sized online school. This plan includes all Start plan features with accessibility to 25 courses, 3 communities, 2 administrators, 5,000 students, and phone/email support.
  • Expand ($399/month): Great for those with a large-sized online school. This plan includes all Grow plan features with accessibility to 75 courses, 10 communities, 5 administrators, 10,000 students, and priority phone support.

2. LearnWorlds

Best for Selling Interactive Courses (FREE Trial or $24/month)


LearnWorlds is a robust online course creation software designed to help you sell online courses with numerous interactive features. For instance, the video player and E-Book reader in the platform are interactive, providing a unique experience compared to other platforms. 

The course sales pages and payment process are optimized to get you high conversions and increase sales. Thanks to the simple drag-and-drop editor, anyone can easily create a course on this platform. No prior experience is needed. 

You get everything you need to build high-quality courses and sales pages to increase your course sales from your user-friendly dashboard, including responsive templates, interactive video functionality, and marketing automation. This software has all the tools necessary to satisfy every digital information publisher’s needs. 

LearnWorlds Tutorial

Key Features

  • Interactive Video Player and Reader: The unique feature of this course creation platform gives your students the ability to interact with the content you create.
  • Powerful Page & Site Builder: Fully customizable quick-start templates to help you create a fantastic school site or course page.
  • Multilingual Support: LearnWorlds offers excellent customer support in various languages. 
  • Assessment Engine: Advanced quizzes, exams, assignments, and more.
  • Built-in Social Media Network: You and all of your students can easily connect and communicate with each other with the internal platform. 
  • Mobile App Builder: Though there is an additional cost to this, Learnworlds allows you to create a customized mobile app to be included in your online school.

Pros and Cons

Course player allows for engaging elementsNo free plans
Substantial student analyticsFeatures can be buggy at times
Membership and course bundles
Recurring payments/payment plans/memberships
Email Marketing


Starter ($24/month): A good way to begin using the LearnWorlds platform at a low cost. One admin role, $5 fee per course sale, unlimited paid courses, site builder (3 pages), popup builder (2 popups), community, coupons, drip feed courses, and 24/5 email support.
Pro Trainer ($79/month): Starter features with five admin roles, no transaction fees, unlimited courses, landing pages, and popups, subscription and memberships, installments, customize course player and checkout pages, certificates, live courses, form builder, SCORM support, 24/7 email support.
Learning Center ($249/month): Pro trainer features plus 20 custom user roles, white label options, interactive video elements, automated reports, API support, premium onboarding, 24/7 premium support.
High Volume and Corporate (Custom Pricing): Learning Center features plus more admins, bulk enrollment, premium cloud servers, Customized Support and pricing.

3. Teachable

Best for Beginners (FREE Trial or $29/month)


Teachable is a cloud-hosted solution that offers a user-friendly course builder interface built with beginners in mind.

As a course platform, this is (statistically) the most prominent platform to create online courses on the market. They have over 100,000 instructors on the platform and have helped people just like you and me earn over $500 million.

They’ve adjusted their focus so that it accommodates beginners by specializing not only in online courses but also have put a lot of emphasis on coaching as well.

Teachable has also recently added “Discover” – a storefront for online courses on their platform, and they’re putting a lot of effort into growing it right now, which should help new course creators sell in the future.

Teachable Tutorial

Key Features

  • Emphasis on Professional Coaches: While all of the online course platforms can help with coaching professionals, Teachable goes above and beyond and offers tools unavailable in other places.
  • Focused on Launching Fast: Teachable has numerous templates and tools to get instructors with little to no web experience launched quickly.
  • Accepts Numerous Payment Methods: Accept payments in over 130 currencies with numerous payment methods.
  • Customizable Offer Types: Teachable allows instructors to use free trials, subscription payments, installments, and more for added flexibility to increase sales.
  • Helpful Selling Options: Allows instructors to sell with order bumps, bundles, memberships, upsells, coupons, and an affiliate program module.

Pros and Cons

Free planTransaction fees on cheaper plans
Allows drip contentNo webinar capability
Membership and course bundles
Recurring payments/payment plans/memberships
Email Marketing


Free ($0/month): Transaction fees of $1 + 10% of each course sale, 1 admin, 1 course, unlimited students, website builder, payment processing, and tax handling.
Basic ($29/month): Free features plus 5% transaction fees, 2 admin users, unlimited courses, custom domain, email marketing, private community launch accelerator, and email support.
Pro ($99/month): Basic features plus 0% transaction fees, 5 admins, public API, affiliate marketing, advanced reporting, live chat, and live group coaching.
Business ($250/month): Pro features plus 20 admin users, advanced theme customization, custom user roles, and bulk import student capabilities.

4. Podia

Best All-in-One Online Course Platform (FREE Trial or $39/month)


Podia is the first platform on this list that truly has all of the tools you need to not only build an online school and sell courses but also to effectively grow an online business from the ground up.

As a course platform, Podia allows you to host a webinar, create downloadable content, establish a membership community, and even offer live chat for easy communication with your students to increase student engagement.

But the real benefit of Podia is that it has all of the tools other platforms do but includes access to a webinar platform, which is an extremely powerful tool when used effectively.

Key Features

  • Webinars: Allows users to run webinars in addition to online courses.
  • Coaching and Consultations: Podia has a special area for instructors to run individual consultations with students.
  • Locked Content: Grant or remove access to content in your course management system for any particular student. 
  • Email List Marketing: Podia has powerful built-in features like email marketing automation.
  • Live Chat: Allows users to support their customers with live chat capabilities.

Pros and Cons

Have coaching module and allows embed from calendlyDoes not host videos directly, it relies on embeds.
Allows for Webinars, which is lacking in most optionsStudent engagement analytics lacking
Allows live chat, which is rare in other platformsRelies on a Google Analytics Integration


Free ($0/month): Transaction fees of 8% of each course sale, full website, email marketing, live chat, community capabilities with the ability to offer 1 download and coaching product.
Mover ($33/month): Free features plus no transaction fees and unlimited downloads, coaching, and courses.
Shaker ($75/month): Mover features plus unlimited webinars and an affiliate platform.
Earthquaker ($250/month): Shaker features plus priority support, onboarding calls, and a monthly creator call.

5. LearnDash

Best WordPress LMS plugin for Businesses and Solo Course Creators ($199/year)

LearnDash is the most popular LMS WordPress plugin on the market right now. It’s great for anyone who wants a course platform that allows them to run everything from their WordPress dashboard. With this self-hosted tool, you will quickly set up and run your courses and have complete control over the creation and customization process. 

This powerful tool doesn’t have the limits of other hosted alternatives. You get an intelligent course builder with course completion badges and certificates. It integrates with countless plugins, and no technical skills are needed to get everything done. As a WordPress plugin, it’s hard to top the functionality that LearnDash offers.

If you’ve already been using WordPress, navigating this online course creation software will be a breeze. 

The LearnDash WordPress Plugin is best for instructors already using WordPress and who want complete control over every aspect of their course business, including customization, branding, and customer information. In addition, Learndash has many add-ons, like the “Instructor Role” plugin created by WisdmLabs.

The instructor role that this plugin creates allows you to enable multiple instructors for your website and create online schools/courses with various teachers like Udemy and other course marketplaces.

Key Features

  • Course Awards: You can award anyone who passes a quiz successfully. 
  • Advanced Quiz: The software lets you create complex quizzes and assessments.
  • Course Progression: Prevent students from advancing until they’ve completed previous lessons/quizzes and learning modules.
  • Learner Progress: Keep track of learners’ progress via the sleek profile area.
  • White-Labeling – You can white-label all materials to your own business. 
  • Unlimited Courses – Because this is a WordPress plugin, there’s never a limit on the courses you can host.

Pros and Cons

Full Integration With WordPressHave to Host Your Own Video
Ability to measure all student engagementDesign Limitations
Full customization Steep Learning curve
Feature-rich platform
Strong and Supportive community


WordPress Plugin ($199/year): This is the full plugin that allows you to create and manage online courses directly on your website. They have their pricing broken down by 1 site for $199, 10 sites for $399, and unlimited for $799 per year.
Learndash Cloud ($29/month): This allows you to create a website directly on the Learndash platform and manage it there.

6. Teachery

Best Online Course Software for Those on a Budget (FREE TRIAL or $49/month)

Teachery is one of the newest platforms in my comparison, and it’s worth including. Teachery is an excellent choice for beginners because they purposely limit the confusing functionality/design that other platforms include. Plus, they also have zero transaction fees, which is always positive.

While this is great for simplicity, it does limit the overall functionality.

Their most considerable differentiation from other platforms is they are highly beginner-friendly and help novice course creators get something up and start selling online courses to their audience quickly and easily.

A few nice things about Teachery are that they have no monthly fee, the platform is straightforward and intuitive, and uploading is simple, with unlimited courses and files allowed in your courses. 

Key Features

  • Unlimited Courses, Lessons, and Students: Unlike most other platforms that require membership upgrades for unlimited courses, Teachery lets you do this right out of the box.
  • No Transaction Fees: One of the greatest things about Teachery is its simple cost structure with no transaction fees.
  • Drip Content: Ability to create drip-style courses to allow students to learn in a paced environment
  • Affiliate Program: Teachery has a built-in affiliate program area to help you sell more courses.
  • Comments and Communities: Allows users to support a community with Disqus integration.


Monthly Plan ($49/month): Unlimited courses, students, landing pages, affiliate program, email provider integrations, analytics integration, promo codes, upsells/bundles, drip lesson scheduling, no transaction fees.
Yearly Plan ($470/year): Same as the monthly plan with a 20% discount.

7. Kartra

Best Premium All-in-One Online Course Platform ($1 14-DAY TRIAL or $99/month)


Kartra is one of the best online course platforms because it doesn’t just stop at courses. With Kartra, you have so much functionality at your fingertips, including checkouts, the ability to create a membership site, and you can even host your own affiliate program. This is why it’s the best online course platform for those who intend to create a true community.

I feel that this platform is beneficial for those that are not simply looking to create courses but want to grow a business beyond the simplicity of a course platform. When you use this platform, you’ll be able to use advanced tools and functionality for marketing your course, along with being an administrator. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read my in-depth Kartra review here.

Key Features 

  • Internal Checkout Platform: Kartra allows users to checkout using software that they’ve built which eliminates the need for a third-party integration.
  • Kartra Pages: This function gives users the ability to easily launch high-converting landing page, which should increase your ability to collect emails and get visitors to take action.
  • Funnels and Campaigns: Having the ability to run different funnels and campaigns is extremely valuable as it will allow you to control the path users take in an effort to convert them to students.
  • Memberships: With this all-in-one platform, you can go far beyond one or two courses. They allow you to create a membership site.
  • Helpdesk: Assisting students with tech problems is more common than you think. The platform has a helpdesk component as part of it’s core offering to assist with that.
  • Additional Integrations and API’s: While Kartra has plenty of amazing functions, they understand you may want to work with other platforms you’re familiar with. So, they offer integrations with hundreds of other platforms.

8. Systeme.io

Best Affordable Platform For Those Looking to Build a Business. (FREE or $27/month)


Systeme.io is an all-in-one marketing software that has everything an entrepreneur needs to start and run their online business or be successful when trying to sell online courses.

Launched in 2018, it has steadily grown to 5000+ users who depend on its multiple features to run online businesses smoothly.

On the dashboard, you can find the funnel builder, email marketing tool, marketing automation tools, and much more. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read my in-depth Systeme.io review here.

Key Features:

  • Funnel Builder: This software allows you to build sales funnels and landing pages in under a minute with the powerful page builder.
  • Email Marketing: Systeme has a powerful email autoresponder built into it. With it, you can send email newsletters, set up email campaigns, and send unlimited emails.
  • Product Selling: You can connect your Paypal or Stripe account and sell your products. You can also add upsells, downsells and order bumps to your sales funnel.
  • Migration: Free migration from other platforms with a paid plan.
  • Multimedia Courses: You can include video, audio, PDF, images, text etc. in your courses.

9. Graphy

Best Platform With a Mobile Application ($999 Onboarding fee & 10% of each course sale)

No list of web-based course creation platforms would be complete without Graphy. Their all-inclusive solution provides a plethora of features for you to create an online course from scratch and market it beyond your existing network through their in-built marketing tools.

Even if you know very little about web development or coding, the no-code branded websites and apps that Graphy provides will be very helpful. They make delivery of online content as easy as pie.

Currently, this online course creation platform boasts over 30,000 creators who make over $50 Million in revenue yearly, it’s newer than some other platforms on this list but I think it’s poised to become an industry leader in no time.  With a user-friendly dashboard and advanced instructor functionality, Graphy serves both new and existing instructors in the education economy.

You can test out all of the Graphy core features with any of their plans. The Launch plan requires a $199 onboarding fee, but all other plans have very reasonable rates and are priced primarily on a percentage of each course sale. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read my in-depth Graphy review here.

Key Features:

  • Personalized Learning: Uses machine learning algorithms to personalize the learning experience for each individual user.
  • Interactive Content: Offers interactive and engaging content, including quizzes, video lessons, and live sessions.
  • Content Security: Has a substantial emphasis on content security to make sure videos/materials aren’t downloaded.

10. Yondo 

Best for Selling Live Sessions (14-Day FREE Trial then $69/month paid Annually)

Yondo is an all-in-one video platform that allows you to easily create and sell online video courses from your own branded online store. Sell your courses alongside your On-Demand Online Video, Webinars, Online Group Classes, and Live 1-To-1 Video Consultations.  

The platform takes the pain out of every step of the customer journey.  Customers will be able to purchase your online courses from your eCommerce site and video landing pages. With the ability to sell your courses as one-off purchases, time-based rentals, and even subscription memberships, Yondo allows you to customize the way you sell your online courses. The platform is completely browser-based and mobile-friendly, meaning customers can take your courses anywhere! 

Key Features:

  • Video Conferencing: Yondo includes a built-in video conferencing platform, allowing users to host live webinars and interact with students in real time.
  • Marketing Tools: Yondo offers a variety of marketing tools to help users promote their courses and grow their audience, including email marketing and social media integration.
  • Multi-language Support: Yondo supports multiple languages, making it accessible to a global audience.

11. Samelane

Best for Large Companies (Starts at €2.5/user/month)

Samelane is a learning management system (LMS) that supports companies in digital transformation and process optimization. Get the most out of employee, partner, and vendor training. 

The platform supports large companies, especially those that cooperate with numerous business partners, franchises, and vendors, who must undergo training before performing their roles. It allows you to create extensive training processes, including events, e-learning courses, and augmented reality training, and to automate onboarding and knowledge sharing. In addition, you can track user progress and KPI implementation through competency assessment surveys and detailed reports.

Key Features:

  • Great Customer Care: Samelane is known for having great customer service, which is very helpful when you’re in the midst of building out courses in a large organization.
  • Fully Integrated LMS: Has a full LMS suite allowing admins to build and customize whatever solution works perfectly for them.
  • Track User KPI’s: Allows for admins to get deep insight into the students in courses with robust analytics.

12. Digital Course Hive

Best Women-Owned Online Course Builder (Free trial and then $49/month).

Digital Course Hive

The Digital Course Hive is one of the best platforms to use if you want to stand out from your competition. It is the only drag-and-drop online course builder on the market, perfect for creating custom courses and memberships that will set you apart. 

This all-in-one system allows you to build websites, funnels, courses, and memberships all under one roof. You can also manage your calendar, send emails and automation, and even sell physical products. It is truly an all-in-one system.

Key Features:

  • Email Automation: Allows users to collect and setup email autoresponders for students in an effort to help facilitate the learning process.
  • Ability to Sell Physical Products: A very unique perk of Digital Course Hive is that you’re able to manage and sell physical products with their platform.
  • Calendar Sharing and Management: Allows instructors to create and share their calendar with students to keep up with live lecture times and consulting opportunities.

13. Pinlearn

Best Live Video Tutoring Course Platform. (FREE or $399 Lifetime)

A versatile eLearning platform builder with built-in features to sell not only self-paced courses but also take 1-to-1 live classes and group webinars. Sell on your own, invite other tutors on your platform, or do both.

Pinlearn is a one-stop solution to all your eLearning business needs. Whether you want to sell self-paced courses, earn from live video lectures, or monetize group webinars, Pinlearn supports them all on a single platform.

It’s an eLearning marketplace solution. You can sell not only your courses but can also allow other tutors to sign-up and sell their courses and classes. All tutors get a dedicated Tutor Dashboard on the front end to manage their profile, courses, classes, appointments, students, and earnings.

The platform gives everything a tutor needs for creating courses, hosting webinars, and taking 1-on-1 lectures via video conferencing. The integrated session recording option makes it even easier to save live lectures for future reference.

Key Features:

  • Live Video Conferencing: Schedule and host live lectures in private and group modes using an integrated video conferencing tool, calendar, and event manager. 
  • Dedicated Dashboards: Dedicated dashboards for the admin, tutors, and students to manage their respective profiles, data, and associated workflows.
  • Detailed Analytics: Analytics and report generation for respective users for associated data, events, transactions, earnings, and many more.
  • Marketing Tools: Integrated multiple marketing tools for SEO, adverts, promotions, notifications, and communications with the users.

14. TrainerCentral

Best Online Training Platform Capabilities (Free or $20/month)

TrainerCentral empowers online trainers with a comprehensive DIY tool kit with end-to-end services to set up their online business. Online trainers can build their own website, upload course videos, create course structures, host live classrooms, manage learner-trainer communications, handle payments and subscriptions, and much more on one unified platform. The platform’s integration flexibility and intuitiveness make it the best choice for online trainers looking to launch or scale their teaching brand.

Key Features:

  • Host Live Classrooms: If an instructor is looking to offer live courses, this platform allows you to do that at scale.
  • Subscription Management: The ability to subscribe users to monthly memberships.

15. FreshLearn

All-In-One Creator’s Platform with a Free Plan (FREE or $25/ month)

FreshLearn is a robust upcoming platform for you to commence your online journey as a creator. You can get started by signing up for their absolutely free plan without having to punch in your card details.

Sporting an exponential growth curve within a very short span of time, they boast a family of 11,500+ creators.

This all-in-one platform comprises a user-friendly dashboard that lets you create and sell a number of digital products. These include on-demand and cohort-based courses, digital downloads, and live masterclasses, which you can customize your online learning platform with.

Plus, you can access some of the top-notch and advanced features to help you market your courses and engage your learners in an outstanding manner.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive: Most users of the platform indicate that it’s very intuitive and simple to understand.
  • Responsive to Instructors: As a company, they listen closely to their users and are willing to adjust/modify the platform as it grows to accommodate their needs.
  • Representatives to Help Create Courses: Customer supports goes above and beyond and will meet with instructors individually to help setup their schools.

16. Academy of Mine

Complete LMS E-Learning Platform For B2B And Corporate Entities ($499/month).

Academy of Mine

Academy of Mine allows you to create your very own customized learning management system. It’s ideal for professional development, continuing education, and certifications, as well as B2B training.

This makes it one of the best online course platforms for B2B, as you’ll be able to white-label all your courses to match your brand and use courses to train teams if needed. The software allows you to build a fully-fledged website so you can host and market your online training program from one convenient place. 

This learning management system is customizable and scalable. Its user-friendly interface makes it great for beginners and expert marketers alike. It’s also easy to share your expertise and knowledge with your students. This online course creation software is undoubtedly among the best ways for businesses and educators to market their online courses. 

Key Features

  • Integrated Website: Get a new fully-integrated site or connect your own.
  • Interactive Content: Engage students with interactive video, PDF, and PPT content.
  • Customized Features: Customize the different features to suit your specific needs.
  • Self-Paced Courses: Learners can complete courses at their own pace. 
  • 3rd-Party Integrations: Academy of Mine software integrates easily with other tools.

17. Kajabi

Best Premium Online Course Platform For Professionals ($119/month)


Kajabi is a one of the best online course platforms with powerful features like automation to help you create and sell your online courses more effectively. The platform is a complete cloud-based system and has multiple customizable site themes that you can use to create beautiful and unique courses for online learning.

Thanks to the different levels of features, this tool is perfect for both beginners and advanced users alike. The user-friendly dashboard is ideal for non-technical users. Thanks to the drag-and-drop feature, you’ll be able to get your customized digital courses (or digital downloads) up and running without the need for any special design skills. 

If it’s your first time making online courses, Kajabi’s marketing suite of tools will give you the advantage you need to get your knowledge in front of your target audience. 

Key Features

  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: Allows you to build good-looking pages with no coding skills. 
  • Multiple Site Pages: Create as many pages as you like for your static site using their page builder.
  • Live Event Capability: Kajabi has a great function that allows you to add live events.
  • 24/7 Technical Support: Users receive customer support around the clock. 
  • Powerful Email Integration: The software has an in-built email marketing solution.

18. iSpring Market

Best For Simplicity and Functionality. (FREE TRIAL or $77/month)

iSpring Market

iSpring Market is an extremely easy-to-use but full-featured platform that allows you to set up an online course marketplace in a couple of clicks, upload learning materials in a flash, and start selling courses right away.

With an intuitive course builder, you can combine various types of content in any type of format into structured online courses. Unlike many other platforms, iSpring also supports interactive SCORM courses, quizzes, and role-plays built with an authoring tool.

iSpring Market has a great analytics engine. You can not only monitor your revenue data but also keep track of learner progress and results that can help you see what needs to be improved in a course to increase profits. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read my in-depth iSpring Market review here.

Key Features

  • Course Authoring Tools: iSpring Market provides a range of tools for creating interactive and engaging course content, including quizzes, video lessons, and multimedia content. 
  • Mobile Optimization: Optimized for mobile devices, allowing users to access courses on the go.

How to Choose the Right Course Platform

While all of the options in this post can be helpful to those looking to start an online school, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to look for when trying to find the right fit. With so many options available, it should come as no surprise that there are many options to consider when choosing the best online course platform for your business.

Understanding Different Online Course Solutions

While “online course platform” is an all-encompassing term, it’s important to understand that there are many different options for those that are looking to become a course creator and start teaching online. Some are better designed for schools or organizations, while others are great for businesses or individuals. Let’s examine each of them to better understand the options.

Dedicated Platforms

For 98% of people reading this post, this is exactly what you want. These are platforms that are solely dedicated to helping you create courses and your own online school with a built-in website builder. This includes my top recommendation Thinkific as well as Learnworlds, Teachable, and Teachery.

All-in-One Platforms

These are platforms that go beyond simple course creation tools. With platforms like this, you’ll be able to create online classes but also run webinars, develop email sequences, and more. These include Podia, Kartra, Systeme.io, Yondo, and Kajabi.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are ideal options for anyone who wants to keep all of their course content within WordPress, and these are for folks who likely already have their own website. This includes Learndash.

Enterprise LMS Platforms

These are learning management systems that would be used to help businesses roll out training materials to their staff or sell courses online at scale and are less focused on individual small course creators. This includes Academy of Mine.

Online Learning Platforms

These platforms are affordable online course marketplaces where students can go to learn skills while on a budget. They typically have hundreds or even thousands of instructors and an established student base but aren’t the best for teaching because you don’t have full control of your student information and pricing. These include Udemy, Codegym, Skillshare, Coursera, and Linkedin Learning. If you’d like to learn more about these, you can read my in-depth online learning platform post here.

Marketing & Selling Courses

All online course platforms come with marketing features & sales tools such as email autoresponders, webinar functionality, online community management, or affiliate program management to help you more efficiently create and sell online courses

Student Management

What features does the online course software offer to manage your students? Can you easily create a course curriculum? Is it easy to stay in touch with students and engage them? Keep in mind that it’s easier to sell online courses than it is to engage the students regularly.

Instructor Design

When you create your online school pages or develop a course, you want a platform that makes the experience as easy as possible so you can focus on what really matters, the content. When you are selecting an online course platform, make sure you pay extra attention to the user experience and choose one that makes content development easy and the interface intuitive.


Is the online course platform affordable, or does it require significant investment upfront? Does it allow you to create unlimited courses? Remember, this is a business and you need to evaluate the ROI of any online teaching platforms you consider using.

Established Reputation

To choose the best online course platforms, you need to consider their reputation and make sure that they have tons of positive reviews from real users to build your online course website.

Technical Support

This is vitally important for you and your students. Choose a platform that has a responsive and knowledgeable technical support team. This is especially important in the beginning while you try to build your course website and input course content.

3rd-Party Integrations

Most online course platforms have 3rd-party integrations to other software and services, including student information systems, payment gateways, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and other platforms to improve your student experience. Before buying, make sure your online course platform works with the tools you like.

Other Instructor Monetization Ideas

If you’ve read through this guide and decided that creating an online course isn’t for you, that’s okay.

While I’d tell anyone who’s overwhelmed by the online course process to take a deep breath and focus on one step at a time, I understand that it’s not for everyone. If this sounds like you, I wanted to make a section to help you understand there are many other ways to monetize your knowledge online, and below is a list of ideas to help.

Start a Blog

I know, I know. Starting a blog seems like a very time-consuming and intimidating process and odds are that you don’t know how to code. That’s okay, believe it or not….neither do I. And I’ve made quite a career doing this. If you’re not sure where to start, consider reading my post that explains how to start a blog or take one of my free courses.

Launch a Youtube Channel

Blogs aren’t the only way to build your own community online. For those that feel more comfortable in front of a camera, you can create a Youtube channel. Not only do popular Youtubers make a lot of money on the platform, but it’s something you should consider because there are so many ways to make money you’ve probably never thought of. Not only that, but you’ll be able to grow your own community and (maybe) come back to selling courses later!

Host and Promote Webinars

While not as popular as some other ways of making money online, using webinar hosting software to sell your services, consulting, or even a product is another great way to make money online. While this also requires someone to be comfortable in front of a camera, it’s certainly an option for those who think they’ll enjoy it.

Start a Podcast

Years ago podcasting wasn’t too popular and was started by a select few who had a dream of hosting their own show. Nowadays, things have changed drastically and there are hundreds, if not thousands of shows on nearly every topic you can think of. This is great for those that don’t want to be in front of the camera. Simply choose a podcast hosting platform, record yourself speaking into a mic, and launch. Like the other options listed, there are plenty of ways to make money with a podcast once you have an established following.

Build an Email Newsletter

Of all the options listed here, this is one of the most unsexy suggestions. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. Many folks don’t know that email marketing is extremely lucrative if done correctly. For this option, you need to choose email marketing software and become well-versed in copywriting to keep your content both interesting and enjoyable to read.


Considering how many online course platforms there are, many folks have questions about the specifics of the platforms. I’ll do my best to answer those here and update the section with new questions as they come.

What is the Best Platform to Create Online Courses?

In my personal opinion, the best platform to create online courses is Thinkific. While I’ve explained why in great detail above, I’d say the key thing that sets them apart is that their free plan offers great functionality and they do an awesome job supporting instructors as they grow.

How to Create Your Own Online Course?

Aside from choosing the best online course platform, learning how to create your own online course is an entirely different process. It starts out with creating a course outline, but there are numerous other steps including choosing the right topic, confirming demand, establishing learning outcomes, developing course content, and assessing student success. I’d recommend you read my guide on creating an online course for beginners to better understand what’s needed.

How do I Sell Online Courses?

While creating an online course is important, it’s much more important to sell copies of the course to grow your business. Whether you choose to sell courses from your own website or a platform listed above, without doing this, you’re unlikely to continue being an edupreneur.

Summary And Top Picks

Now that I’ve given you an in-depth explanation of the best online course platforms to start your own online course business, I hope that you’re able to better understand which one will fit your teaching style.

Before you commit to any single online course platform, make sure you understand its course creation capabilities, how they help you market and sell online courses, how the platform supports instructors, and what student management capabilities there are.

While these factors alone won’t sell courses for you, they’re instrumental in being a successful online course instructor.

Here is my List of the Best Online Course Platforms


Thinkific is the best overall platform with a free plan. This is the most affordable solution with high-quality features that scale as your business does. I use this platform myself.


LearnWorlds offers the best learning experience due to its unique interactive tools like ebooks, assessments, certificates, SCORMs, surveys, and more.


Among all of the platforms on this list, Teachable has the most user-friendly dashboard and features for beginners to start building their first online course(s).


Podia is best for you if you'd like to go beyond courses and create webinars, membership communities, downloads, and more without worrying about technology.


Learndash is the best online course platform for those that are looking to host their courses and online school directly on their own Wordpress website.

Creating and selling online courses is a great way to leverage your knowledge and skills to create a profitable business.

While there’s no shortage of online education platforms available for instructors, choosing from the best online course platforms is just the beginning. Once you’ve chosen one, it’s time to dive in and begin sharing your knowledge with the world.

  • Thanks for organizing this blog post! Very helpful and useful information for educators or soon to be educators, especially at the strategy formation stage of their online adventures. It’s also helpful for those in need of a quick overview of the core tools/platforms to focus on right now, in order to customize their own toolkit for educator success.

  • This blog is so informative, you helped guide me to a decision on which platform to use for my first online course. I appreciate your help greatly. Thanks Ron!!!!

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