13 Best Platforms to Sell Online Courses

Chipo   31

Updated on October 30, 2023

Are you on the hunt for the perfect platform to sell online courses?

Whether you’re a new instructor trying to find the best course platform for their business, or an established entrepreneur who wants to diversify their revenue streams — this guide is tailor-made for you.

Navigating the crowded market of online course builders can be tough.

So, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and narrowed your options down to 13 of the best online course platforms for businesses of all sizes.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know the right course-building platform for your business.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What to Look for in a Online Course Platform

A good rule of thumb, when considering online course platforms, is to pay attention to the following:

  • Ease of Setup and Use: Can you hop right in and start building your course, or will you need to spend hours going through tutorials?

  • Course Building Tools: Does this platform offer all the tools you need to create engaging courses? Important features include pre-built templates, multimedia options, etc.

  • Customization Options: Can you tailor your personal course hub to match your brand, or do you have to stick with what this platform gives you?

  • Integration Capabilities: Can you connect your course platform to payment gateway apps, marketing & automation tools, and more?

  • Engagement Features: Does this platform offer interactive features like assessments, discussion forums, etc.

  • Monetization Options: Do you have control over your pricing? Can you offer subscriptions, one-time payments, etc.?

  • Analytics and Reporting: Does this platform include an analytics dashboard for you to track student progress, course completion rates, and other engagement metrics?

  • Support: What do reviews say about this platform’s customer support?

  • Pricing: What is this platform’s cost structure? Does it charge transaction fees?

  • With these requirements in mind, let’s dive into the best platforms to sell online courses.

13 Best Platforms to Sell Your Online Courses (Breakdown)

This list includes 13 of the best course platforms for WordPress websites and non-WordPress users.

1. Thrive Apprentice 

Thrive Apprentice is the best online course platform for creators and business owners who want total control over their products, pricing, and promotion.

Thrive Apprentice Landing Page

Setting up with Thrive Apprentice does require WordPress hosting and a domain, but this opens a world of personalization and control:

  • Full Ownership: Unlike other platforms, you're not just renting space. You’ll have your own website, ensuring your online course business remains uniquely yours.

  • Customizable Hosting: Choose a hosting provider that fits your specific needs, guaranteeing performance and scalability tailored for you

Thrive Apprentice is known for its ease of use, smooth design features, and robust set of tools to help you build a profitable online school that provides high-quality course content.

Screenshot of Thrive Apprentice Course Dashboard

Thrive Apprentice Course Dashboard

It also makes the online course creation process fun. You can create any type of course with this tool — including cohort-based, time-limited, and self-paced.

Here’s what you can expect from using this plugin to build your online course business:

  • Drag-and-Drop Simplicity: Build unlimited courses easily, with no coding needed. Our intuitive interface saves you time and hassle.

  • Stunning Design: Wow your learners with beautiful, engaging course lessons and modules, created and customized with our library of pre-designed templates

  • Seamless Brand Alignment: Easily tweak colors, fonts, and more to match your brand identity.

  • Progress Tracking: Keep students informed and motivated with visible course progression.

  • Insightful Reporting: Understand how your courses and students perform with detailed, easy-to-understand analytics.

  • Interactive Assessments: Enhance learning and measure student progress by adding assessments to your course material.

  • Certificates and Rewards: Offer your students custom completion pages and certificates, leaving a lasting impression and celebrating their achievements.

This plugin also includes features to help you build a membership platform to streamline the enrollment process and create an engaged community of learners and subscribers.

In addition to all this, Thrive Apprentice includes a built-in Stripe integration, to allow you to collect credit card payments.

If you prefer to use a different eCommerce tool (like PayPal or WooCommerce), you do so through Thrive Automator, our free automation plugin.

You can use this same tool to connect your course platform to your email marketing platform, so you can share updates and send course-related notifications to your learners.

Thrive Apprentice isn’t just a platform to sell online courses, its a powerful tool for any business looking to generate revenue from digital products like courses, memberships, webinars, podcasts, and more.

If you are after a complete, all-in-one solution for your online course needs, Thrive Apprentice is a highly recommended choice.

You can purchase Thrive Apprentice as an individual product or as a part of our WordPress plugin bundle, Thrive Suite.

2. MemberPress

MemberPress is a powerful WordPress membership plugin that enables business owners and creators to sell premium digital products, including online courses.

MemberPress plugin

This plugin is ideal for anyone who wants to sell paid membership subscriptions alongside their courses.

You get all the tools you need to create quality online course content, including:

  • An intuitive online course builder
  • Virtual classroom functionality to enhance the learning experience 
  • Powerful content access controls to ensure your courses are available for the right students

You can use this plugin to offer free courses or include premium courses in paid subscription tiers, providing flexibility to match your business model.

MemberPress integrates with most popular payment gateway plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.

Pricing starts at $179.50 per year for the Basic Plan. To access advanced features like unlimited quizzes and certificates, the Plus Plan is required.

3. MemberMouse

MemberMouse is another powerful membership plugin for WordPress. This plugin includes a built-in learning management system known as Courses for MemberMouse.

Courses for MemberMouse provides the standard features you need to create solid online courses – a drag-and-drop builder, “Classroom Mode” for focused e-learning, online quizzes, and reasonable access controls.

Like Thrive Apprentice, Courses for MemberMouse has drip functionality, allowing you to use a custom schedule to release lessons.

Pricing for this plugin starts at $199.50 per year for the Basic Plan. But for quiz functionality, you’ll have to purchase a higher-tiered plan, starting at $299.50 per year.

4. LearnDash

LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin.

This plugin helps creators build a professional, online course platform & sell their new courses quickly.

LearnDash features a user-friendly course builder that enables you to build courses that include sections, lessons, topics, assignments, and quizzes.

With support for lesson drip-feeding, LearnDash allows for the paced delivery of content over time.

You can use add-ons like UpSells for LearnDash, to get your audience to purchase more of your courses.

This plugin also integrates with numerous third-party applications, including WooCommerce, bbPress, Slack, and many others.

Pricing for a LearnDash subscription starts from $199 per year, for one site.

5. WishList Member

WishList Member is a membership plugin for WordPress, and CourseCure is their LMS plugin. 

CourseCure is a great option for anyone who already uses WishList Member for their membership site and would like to add courses to their product offerings. 

This add-on provides the standard features one needs to build a solid online course, including:

  • Intuitive course builder
  • Online quizzes
  • Flexible access control

CourseCure also includes a variety of gamification features like a points system and badges.

WishList Member only offers two pricing plans, with the most inexpensive starting at $149.50 per year.

6. Teachable

Teachable is a hosted online course platform that enables you to create and sell courses without needing to build a separate website

This platform is known for its ease of use, built-in payments platform, and its powerful marketing features. You can create your own sales pages to promote your courses, create your own affiliate program, and more.

However, this platform is more expensive than Thrive Apprentice, MemberPress, and even LearnDash.

Pricing starts from $29 per month for a basic plan. On this plan, you’ll be charged a 5% transaction fee for every course sale. To remove this fee, you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro plan ($99 per month).

7. Thinkific

Thinkific is another hosted online course platform and shares a lot of similarities with Teachable.

Thinkific features a drag-and-drop visual course builder that allows for easy building. You can include a variety of media in your courses, including video.

In addition to its standard course features, you can create multiple subscription tiers, and landing pages, and build a membership platform for your learners.

Thinkific does have a free plan that lets you create a maximum of three courses. Their paid plans start from $99 per month.

8. LifterLMS

LifterLMS is a comprehensive WordPress LMS plugin, ideal for entrepreneurs, educators, and small businesses aiming to create engaging online courses. 


With this plugin, not only can you create individual courses, but you can even create an entire online school.

LifterLMS provides a user-friendly course builder to create audio, video, or text-based lessons. It supports multiple choice quizzes as part of its online courses, and you can add them to any lesson or use them to lock progress until completed. 

But if you want to add advanced online course features, you’ll have to pay for the highest LifterLMS pricing tier costing $1,200 per year – which is extremely inconvenient for business owners who are building on a budget. 

9. Tutor LMS

Tutor LMS is another well-known WordPress LMS plugin.

TutorLMS plugin

Tutor LMS has a free plugin with basic features and a premium plan that offers advanced features like certificates, reports, drip content, and more.

Pricing for Tutor LMS’ premium plans starts at $199 per year. 

10. Kajabi

Kajabi is a high-end online course platform that helps established businesses and educators sell premium courses.

This platform features an advanced course builder, in-depth reporting, and built-in SEO optimization to help your courses show up in search engine results.

It also provides powerful themes — and a website builder — for your online course website & sales pages, the ability to sell digital products, a customizable checkout, and blogging functionality.

If you want to take your marketing to the next level, you can use this tool’s sales funnel builder to get more of your audience (from social media, search engines and your email list) to purchase your courses.

Pricing starts from $149 per month for their basic plan. Every plan includes 0% transaction fees.

11. Udemy

Udemy is a popular online learning platform that allows independent instructors to create and sell courses to a wide audience. 

Udemy boasts millions of students worldwide, offering a massive audience for course creators.

The platform provides a straightforward interface for building courses, which can include video, text, PDFs, and quizzes.

You have the freedom to create courses on a variety of topics and control over the course structure, content, and pricing. But be aware that Udemy runs frequent discounts, which impact your earnings.

There is no fee to sell courses on Udemy. Instructors are paid according to a revenue share model.

12. Podia

Podia is an all-in-one platform that enables digital creators and business owners to sell courses, membership subscriptions, and other digital products.

Podia provides all the tools required to help you build a clean online course website and start selling as soon as possible.

This platform also offers features for online coaches – a booking system for coaching sessions, built-in integrations with popular scheduling tools, live streaming functionality and more.

Podia does have a free plan, but it’s very limited compared to the paid plans and also charges an 8% transaction fee on each purchase.

13. LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is another all-in-one online course platform that helps course creators create, sell, and promote their digital products.

This platform has all the tools you need to build a course, including a course builder, exam & quiz functionality, drip-feed courses, and more.

LearnWorlds also provides built-in marketing tools, including landing pages, affiliate marketing management, and an eBook page builder to help you promote your courses and attract more learners.

Advanced users and large-scale course creators can even use this tool to create a custom iOS app for mobile users.

Pricing starts from $24 per month for the LearnWorlds Starter plan.

The Best Platform for Online Courses: Thrive Apprentice

While all 13 of the online course platforms we’ve reviewed today are great choices, one plugin stands out among the rest: Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice Landing Page

Thrive Apprentice offers the perfect balance of course-building tools and design flexibility. 

This plugin lets you create beautiful, professional-looking courses on your WordPress website. It offers powerful customization options in its user-friendly builder, ideal for beginner and advanced users alike.

In addition to its course builder, Thrive Apprentice offers advanced student engagement tools like assessments, resources, certificates, and more. 

You have the freedom to create any type of course you want – from hidden, premium courses (reserved for a select few) to time-limited courses (ideal for free trials or cohort-based courses).

And compared to most options in this list, Thrive Apprentice’s pricing is a steal. 

You won’t find another premium online course platform plugin like this, for the price we offer, anywhere else.

FAQs: Best Platforms to Sell Online Courses

Q: What is the best place to sell my course?

A: We recommend using Thrive Apprentice or MemberPress to sell your online courses.

Q: What is the best way to market an online course?

A: You’ll need multiple strategies to successfully market your online course. We recommend leveraging social media, content marketing, and email marketing to get your course in front of your target audience. If you have the budget (and know-how), you should also give paid advertising on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn a try.

Q: What is an online course marketplace?

A: Simply put, an online course marketplace is a digital platform where creators can create, host, and sell their online courses. Most marketplaces provide a pre-built audience, giving creators a chance to get their digital products in front of a large set of eyes. To entice educators and business owners into joining their creator base, some platforms offer paid incentives — rewards for referrals, paid ads vouchers, and more.

Popular marketplaces include Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera.

Build Your First Online Course Today

Now that you're equipped with the knowledge to choose the online course platform for your needs, it's time to start building your online course. 

For more guidance on using Thrive Apprentice, check out these helpful step-by-step tutorials:

With all of this useful info at your disposal, there's just one thing left to do: Get Thrive Apprentice today!

by Chipo  October 30, 2023


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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Leave a Comment

  • I think Thrive Apprentice is great, but I use Podia for a few reasons. First, Podia also has a community feature, which I like. I wish it did more or you could have multiple communities, but even Thinkific scaled back on that a little. Secondly, I like that people doing their courses aren’t impacting the performance of my site. I offload all of that.

    The big downside is that almost every course platform has a website builder that wants to be your main site. I don’t want that at all. Podia does allow me to embed the checkout, so I can easily create sales and landing pages using Thrive and just put a button to buy the course through Podia.

  • Very comprehensive list. I’m currently considering a move into the world of l&d and will review some of these sites to use in my pitch when developing courses for businesses.

  • This article provides an extensive and well-structured guide for anyone looking to venture into the world of online course creation and sales. The breakdown of what to look for in an online course platform is particularly beneficial, offering clear and concise criteria that can help both newcomers and seasoned course creators make informed decisions. The detailed overview of the 13 platforms is a valuable resource, offering a one-stop comparison that saves readers from having to conduct this research independently.

    One area for improvement could be the inclusion of real-world user experiences or case studies. While the technical details and features of each platform are thoroughly covered, insights from actual users about their experiences with these platforms could add a layer of practical understanding. This could include aspects like customer service responsiveness, real-time challenges faced while using these platforms, or success stories of courses that thrived using these tools.

    Additionally, a deeper dive into the pricing models of these platforms would be beneficial. While the article mentions the importance of considering the cost structure, specific pricing details or comparisons could help readers make more financially informed choices.

    Overall, the article is a well-rounded, informative piece that is sure to be an invaluable resource for anyone in the e-learning field

  • Thank you for this amazing article, I’ve been looking for such platforms to sell online courses and you suggested many good ones, awesome!

  • I have mostly just post tutorials of my Hobby on facebook and other social media platforms. I feel like I’m about to start making more organized courses and take it to the next level and this seems perfect!

  • Using Tutor LMS, and it’s solid! Easy to navigate, customize, and the analytics are a game-changer. It’s my go-to for hassle-free online course creation. Highly recommend!

  • Instead of publishing training on platforms such as Udemy, you can create your own WordPress education website with plugins such as Thrive Apprentice, LifterLMS or Tutor LMS. However, you can reach more potential customers with platforms such as Udemy.

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