Launching an online course is one of the best ways to monetize your skills, knowledge, and expertise online.
The best online course platforms make it easy to create and build your online course, manage your community, and streamline the end-to-end process.
Here at Visualize Value, we've designed and launched a host of online courses, including Build Once, Sell Twice, How To Visualize Value, and Compound Content which have been sold thousands of times online, driving millions of dollars in revenue.
And with the e-learning market set to hit $325 billion in 2025, there has never been a better time to package your unique expertise into online courses that drive passive income online.
Top 8 Best online course platforms to create online courses
We've researched and tested the top 8 online course platforms to create and sell online, so that you can make a quick and easy decision on which platform offers you the best fit.
Mighty Networks - best for building online communities
Thinkific - best all-in-one platform
Kajabi - best for creating course on autopilot
Teachable - best price point for all-in-one platform
Podia - best for fast set up
Learnworlds - best for creating an online school
Xperiencify - best for course gamification
- Udemy - best course marketplace for hands-off course creators
Focused Look At The Best Online Course Platforms
Mighty Networks - build and scale communities
If you are looking to build, manage, and scale an online community around a handful of flexible online courses, then Mighty Networks is the perfect solution.
Full disclosure, Visualize Value uses Mighty Networks to run all of our online courses, including Build Once, Sell Twice, Compound Content, How To Visualize Value, and The Permissionless Apprentice.
Check out our dedicated Mighty Networks review.
The features we like:
Flexible lesson formats - you maintain complete control when it comes to designing your online course, it's easy to used mixed media like video, imagery, and audio
Member segmentation - we can split our members and the way we communicate with them by training program, this is handy because it means each member has a curated epxerience
Shared newsfeeds - when you purchase a Visualize Value course, you don't just get access to the course leaning material, you get access to our community. The community has become our strongest asset
iOS native mobile app - Mighty Network has a mobile app which means our community can access our course content on the go
Content management + privacy configuration - we can deliver content outside of our curriculum, making it easier to communicate with our audience
Community management - it's easy to communicate with members via direct message, or within comment threads throughout the curriculum. It's possible to set up livestreaming, live meetings, group chats, and every member gets their own profile (so they can promote themselves to the community)
- Multicurrency support and flexible payments - we convert our customers on Shopify, but it's also possible to use Might Networks to convert customers. They offer customers the opportunity to checkout using 100s of currencies, and you decide to charge a one-time fee, or set up recurring payments
Mighty Networks Pricing:
Mighty Networks offers three different pricing tiers:
Community Plan - $33 per month billed annually, or $39 billed monthly
Business Plan - $99 per month billed annually, or $119 billed monthly
- Mighty Pro - bespoke
If you're looking to build a paid community then you can settle for the $33 option to get started, but if you want to access the ability to build online courses, integrate with your wider tech stack, and collect useful insight data on your customers, then we'd recommend the Business Plan (that's what we use here at Visualize Value).
Thinkific - all-in-one solution built to scale
Thinkific is one of the best all-in-one solutions in the course creation space.
Their platform is already being used by over 50,000+ course creators, who have collectively launched 100 million courses, driving over $650 million.
If you're looking for a flexible, all-in-one solution then you can't go too far wrong.
The features we like:
Easy website builder - if you don't have coding skills, and want to run your front-end website on the same platform as your online course, then you have the option
Course creation - Thinkific offers an easy to use course builders, with mixed media support. It's possible to set up live lessons, scheduled classes, and completion certificates
Community management - like Mighty Networks, you have most of the tools you need to manage a community, including flexible spaces, individual member profiles, as well as, mentions, reactions, and comment threads
Integrated payment gateways - there is a seamless, integrated check out experience for customers. It's possible to set up one-time or recurring payments, and customers get access to multicurrency support, and a host of popular payment methods
Tools to grow and scale - additional features include offer bumps, bulk selling (for businesses or groups), white-labelled environments, and unlimited admins. These are all handy features as you start to grow your online course business
- Enterprise solution - if you're ready to go to the next level, then you can access Thinkific Plus - used by Samsung, HBO, and Intel, the enterprise option offers advanced CSS customization, API access, tiered pricing, and Salesforce integration
Thinkific offers 3 paid plans to help you scale your online course business.
Free - no upfront cost, limited feature set, 1 admin, but ability to get off the ground
Basic - $39 per month billed annually, or $49 billed monthly
Pro - $79 per month billed annually, or $99 billed monthly
- Premier - $399 per month billed annually, or $499 billed monthly
The basic plan will give you most of what you need to get off the ground, including the ability to create your course, and run on a custom domain. For advanced features like offering subscription payments, or offering hidden courses you need to sign up for the Pro/Premier plans.
Kajabi - autopilot in one place
Kajabi is one of the best established players in the online course platform space.
To date, over 100,000 businesses have launched courses on Kajabi, driving over $3.9 billion in course sales.
Kajabi makes it easy to autopilot your online course business in one place, offering tools to create, grow, and manage your online course centrally. They also offer a 3 month trial period costing just $99, so that you can get set up and start selling, before moving onto their standard payment plans.
The features we like:
Multiple product options - Kajabi runs Thinkific close from a competitive standpoint, not only can you launch online courses, but you can also launch coaching programs, memberships, podcasts, and paid communities, meaning you can grow beyond your online course business
Custom domains - it's easy to set up a custom domain, and you can launch a website to promote your online course with Kajabi's codeless website builder
Flexible landing pages - don't just rely on your website to sell your products, Kajabi also offers flexible templates for launching dedicated landing pages. This helps convert traffic from social media, and paid media campaigns
Funnels - there are a host of pre-built marketing funnels set up within the Kajabi platform, this makes it a seamless process to start collecting data, and sending out email campaigns to convert more customers
Analytics - Kajabi also takes care of your analytics tracking sales, visits, and page level insights on your traffic and sales performance
Integrated payments - there is a Stripe/Paypal integration for smooth customer checkout
- Advanced features - as you scale your online course business, Kajabi offers you the ability to launch an affiliate program, and mobile app so that your customers can consume content on the go, and share your course to drive referral income
Basic: $119 per month billed annually, or $149 billed monthly
Growth: $199 per month billed annually, or $159 billed monthly
- Pro: $319 per month billed annually, or $399 billed monthly
The best way to trial Kajabi is to take advantage of their 3 month introductory offer - offering 3 months for $99. Once you are happy you've made the right choice, you can transition onto the Basic plan which gets you the same level of access as the Growth, and Pro plans, without access to the affiliate marketing tools 24/7 support, or the ability to remove Kajabi's branding.
Once you hit a certain level of activity in selling your online course (over 1,000 active customers or the requirement to use more than 3 products) you will need to upgrade.
Teachable - smaller startup costs
Teachable is a direct competitor to Thinkific and Kajabi.
Like Kajabi, there are over 100,000 business running online courses on the Teachable platform, and to date those courses have driven over $1 billion in revenue.
Teachable allows you to launch your first online course for free, taking a cut of the transaction fee until you're ready to move onto their paid plans. This is a great way to test your online course, before you're ready to fully commit.
The features we like:
Seamless set up - drag and drop website/page builders to help you create a high converting, winning website, and sales funnel upfront
Free to get off the ground - not everyone is ready to start paying $100 per month to trial an online course software. Teachable is free to use until you're ready to justify the more advanced features accessible via the Basic, Pro, and Business packages
Advanced conversion tools - you can launch discounts, special coupons, order bumps, upsells and different membership structures when promoting your online course. We've found this useful via Shopify when promoting our own courses (especially around holiday periods like Black Friday)
Manage community - you have all the tools to manage your community under one roof. This includes comments, quizzes and completion certificates
Connect to your existing tech stack - Teachable connect to Mailchimp, Zapier, Convertkit, Google Analytics and other parts of your tech stack. This makes it easy to manage customers, and to drive more sales
Accept payments from 130 countries - customers can checkout seamlessly using their favorite payment methods (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal etc). Teachable also offers you the option to set up subscription payments, free trials, and installments. It's useful to have this flexibility as you scale
All-in-one solution - there are some handy tools that allow you to track your traffic, and sales performance, manage your taxes, and to discover how your audience is engaging with your course
Advanced features - like Thinkific, and Kajabi you can access advanced features like affiliate marketing programs to engage your existing audience to drive more sales
- Award winning support
Free: 1-10% transaction fee, free until you're ready to upgrade
Basic: $39 per month billed annually, or $29 billed monthly
Pro: $119 per month billed annually, or $99 billed monthly
- Business: $299 per month billed annually, or $249 billed monthly
We'd definitely recommend checking out Teachable if you are considering Thinkific, or Kajabi. The paid plans are more cost effective, and there is a free trial option to get you off the ground.
With that said, both the Free and Basic plans charge you a cut of your course selling fee (1-10% on the Free plan, and 5% on the Basic plan). If you're selling your courses for $99 it quickly pays to move onto the Pro plan with zero transaction fees - which is aligned with the other platforms.
Podia - cost-effective and built to get set up fast
If you are looking to get set up fast, then Podia is a great option.
There is a website builder with pre-built templates, the ability to launch tones of different products (including courses, digital products, webinars etc), and an excellent community management engine.
Like Teachable, there is a Free plan which allows you to get set up and start selling without paying a monthly fee, and the option to remove transaction fees starts at just $33 per month.
If you're just starting to dip your toes in the online course creation platform space, Podia is a solid option.
The features we like:
Sell your work in any format - the great thing about Podia is that you are not restricted to just launching online courses. There is the option to monetize your community, or sell one-time digital products like eBooks, audiobooks, PDFs, cheat sheets, and checklists
Manage community - if you're looking to grow a community around your online course, then you have everything you need under one roof - dedicated community profiles, ability to moderate comments, comment threads, member news feeds, and the ability to segment audience by training program
Flexible course management - you can host unlimited files and videos throughout your course program, including the ability to offer tiered payment plans, and upsells. Podia also offers advanced features like member quizzes, and drip content to drive engagement
Custom website builder - it's really easy to get setup on Podia. There is an easy to customize website builder that makes it easy to launch content and landing pages (without restrictions). There is also the option to integrate Podia with the rest of your tech stack via Zapier or directly (on the payment side you can use Stripe/Paypal)
- Affiliate program - like Thinkific, Teachable, and Kojabi, Podia also offers you the option to launch an affiliate program (setting up custom commission plans, and public/invite options)
Free: 8% transaction fee, free until you're ready to upgrade
Mover: $39 per month billed annually, or $33 billed monthly, no transaction fees
Shaker: $89 per month billed annually, or $75 billed monthly
- Earthquaker: $199 per month billed annually, or $169 billed monthly
The great thing about Podia is that it's free to get off the ground, and when you're ready to move onto the payment plan, you get a lot for your money with the Mover option.
The Mover plan allows you to launch unlimited courses, and coaching plans, operate your website without restrictions, and access email marketing capability. When you need the ability to launch an affiliate program, or access priority support, you can upgrade to the Shaker plan and beyond.
Learnworlds - build an online school and launch your own app
If you need the ability to scale with advanced features, then Learnworlds is definitely worth considering.
Not only can you launch online courses, but Learnworlds is built to fully support online schools and large corporates - there really isn't a feature that we've already mentioned that is not accessible on the Learnworlds online learning platform.
There is also a competitive pricing plan, it's just $29 per month to get started, and when you're ready the $99 plan gets you everything you need to be able to scale your business.
The features we like:
Unlimited courses and 100s templates - there are over 400 templates accessible within the platform, meaning it's easy to create a beautiful website to market your course
Community management - community members can create their own profiles, and access comment threads, and spaces to communicate with you and other members. There is also the option to run quizzes, assignments and exams which can engage members
Sales tools - there is a powerful mix of coupon, and upsell features which is helpful when you're looking to promote special incentives to your audience
Multilingual UI - if you need the ability to launch your course in more than one language, Learnworlds has an excellent option to facilitate this
Analytics and conversion tracking - there is a built in analytics engine which means you can track your course performance over time. It's also possible to implement conversion tracking to understand how your paid media channels are converting (across Meta, and Adwords)
- Branded Mobile app - you can launch your own branded mobile app with Learnworlds. Offer your customers a branded app to learn on the go, and maintain full control over functionality, look and feel, and how you communicate within app via the Learnworlds dashboard
Starter: $29 per month billed annually, or $24 billed monthly, $5 course sale fee
Pro Trainer: $99 per month billed annually, or $79 billed monthly
Learning Center: $299 per month billed annually, or $249 billed monthly
- High volume and Coroporate Options available
The Learnworlds starter plan provides you with a lot of what you need to get off the ground at a cost effective price point. There is a transaction fee, but this is capped at $5 which is easier to swallow than some of the transaction fees on other platforms.
The great thing about Learnworlds is that you can scale your usage as and when required. The Pro Trainer plan has everything you need to run a multi-million dollar course business, and if you need to go to the next level, the Learning Center, and High Volume plans are there to accomodate with dedicated customer support and advanced features.
Xperiencify - gamifying the online course experience
Xperiencify is the best course platform out there for those looking to gamify the experience.
Unlike Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, and the others, Xperiencify pays specific attention to the fact that only 3% of those who purchase an online course actually go on to complete it.
This is a big problem for course creators who are looking to engage audiences and sell additional courses over time.
Xperiencify aims to solve this problem by providing a number of custom features like points, self destructing content, locked modules, and time-restricted content.
If you care deeply about people actually completing your courses, Xperiencify is the option for you.
The features we like:
The table stakes are covered - when it comes to building online courses, Xperiencify have you covered. Utilise video, and mixed media to guide your students, and track activity via Xperienficy's analytics and CRM systems
Gamification - access advanced gamification features to encourage course completion. This includes leaderboards, badges, rewards, and content trackers). Implement unique features like points, easter eggs, countdowns, bespoke celebrations
Added features - further gamification features include time restricted content, locked modules, self-destructing content, and use it, or lose it course material. This forces action from your students, and increases engagement
Advanced content drip - for advanced students, you can continually drip additional content to ensure that they are remaining engaged while other students play catch up
Page builders - access page blocks and custom page building features to design landing pages that work for you. Xperiencify has pre-built opt in pages, sales funnels, and sales pages you can leverage to increase conversion and order value
- Community management - you can also launch private rooms, forums, parties, and popup chat features to engage with your audience. There is also additional functionality to create custom welcome messaging
Launch: $49 per month billed annually, or $42 billed monthly
Growth: $149 per month billed annually, or $117 billed monthly, 0% transaction fees
- Enterprise: $500 per month+
Unlike other platforms which provide a free experience before you move onto a paid plan, Xperincify starts at $49 per month - though you can build your course for free, before you publish it. If you care about advanced features, the Enterprise plan includes concierge onboarding, unlimited admins, high security environment (SOC 2), advanced customer support, 2TB storage, and the ability to completely customize user experience.
Online Course Marketplaces
Unlike the course creation platforms that we have reviewed, Udemy is an online course marketplace that allows you to access their already huge audience of active students.
At the time of writing, Udemy has over 40 million students already signed up the platform, with a network of over 65,000 active instructors.
The great thing about Udemy is that a lot of the heavy lifting is already taken care of. It's easy to get signed up, and to use the wide range of features available for creating your course. Once you're set up, you can optimize your listing to start getting visibility in Udemy's search - from there, you're away.
What you lose with Udemy is the ability to independently build your brand, and the audience on your dedicated platform. Offering courses on Udemy would never work for Visualize Value because we care about owning the end-to-end experience, but for those who are not interested in building a brand, or worrying about generating audience, it's a great option.
- Udemy is free to list on, but you pay a revenue share on course sales. At the time of writing, Udemy charges 3% on course sales made using Instructor coupons, and 63% revenue share on all other course sales. On top of this, you also pay transaction fees charged by Paypal, Payoneer and other methods
What is an online course platform?
Online course platforms are technologies that carry out all of the heavy lifting associated with launching your own online course.
This includes creating the course itself, marketing and selling courses, providing marketing tools to take care of members, and enabling connections with your existing tech stack (for example your ecommerce, email marketing, and CRM platforms).
The best online course platforms also offer advanced functionality to help you convert more customers and drive average order value.
This means smooth checkout processes for customers, tools to stretch customer spend (coupons, order bumps, and upsells), as well as access to affiliate marketing tools, traffic engagement insights, fraud prevention, and automated payouts.
Types of online course platforms
There are broadly two main types of online course platforms.
- Online Course Marketplaces
- Course Creation Software
Course marketplaces (for example Udemy) allow you to build and sell online courses directly on existing marketplaces.
This means you can access existing audiences, utilize course creation frameworks, and take advantage of marketing campaigns that are constantly driving new traffic to the marketplace on your behalf.
On the flip side, course creation software provides you with all of the tools you need to launch your own online course but place the onus on your to promote your course and build your own audience.
How to choose the best online course platform?
Where to build
The first thing to decide is where you want to build and sell online courses.
Online course marketplaces can be a great option if you are not interested in building your own brand, or audience. Udemy, one of the leading course marketplaces has over 65,000 instructors on theie platform, and a vying audience of 35,000,000+ learners already accessing courses.
If you're already operating, or plan to operate your own brand then a more suitable option is to create and sell courses using one of the following platforms. Here at Visualize Value, we build audiences via social media and search marketing, convert customers via Shopify, and deliver our course content using Mighty Networks.
We like this option because we stay in control of the end-to-end process, and any audience we build is ours to engage with further.
What you plan to sell
Some of the best online course platforms offer the option to set up additional products, beyond simply online courses.
This includes the ability to create one-time product offerings like PDFs, cheat sheets, and paid podcasts. If you plan to sell different products in the future, it's worth future-proofing.
Each of the platforms we tested has the ability to set up front-end websites to promote your online course, but some are better than others at integrating with other promotion tools in your tech stack - for example, email marketing software, and social media tools.
If you are selling courses directly on your online course platform, we'd also recommend looking at whether the course platform offers the ability to stretch AOV with tools to discount, offer coupons, push upsells, bumps, and memberships.
Platform price differs by course platform.
The best course platforms offer an introductory free plan (or 30 day free trial), so that you can get your course off the ground without running into monthly fees before your making sales.
This isn't always the case though. Some of the platforms on our list have an introductory monthly fee to get started, and others take a sizeable share of your sale price if you're not on a paid plan.
Setup, onboarding, and scale
Think about whether you'll need help to get set up on your chose platform.
Some of the course platforms out there offer 24/7 support, thorough documentation, and even onboarding support. Others just leave you to work on your own.
Likewise, only a handful offer enterprise solutions that give you the ability to scale. This includes access to multiple admins, technical resource, and fully customizable CMS.
Finally, each of the course platforms that we reviewed had a slightly different feature set. Some are best for growing and managing online communities, some are designed as online learning platforms similar to an online school, and others focus heavily on specific use cases like course gamification.
Ensure that you pick an online course platform that does everything you need, whether that is ensuring your customers get access to the payment gateways they care about, or that you can engage with members in the way you envisage, it pays to get this right upfront.
Start building your online course
It's time to start moving.
There are tones of options when it comes to picking the best online learning platform to launch your courses.
Start by running through the key features of each, and try using some of the course builders on free-to-start platforms like Teachable to see if you gel with them.
Once you're ready to go, think through the end-to-end experience. How will you deliver your content? How will you manage and engage with your audience? How will you promote to students and sell courses? These are all questions you need to answer to turn your knowledge, expertise, and skills into passive income on the internet.
We have some great courses to get you started. We've sold thousands of online courses, and have tones of 5-star reviews. Steal from us, learn from us, and use the techniques we've implemented to develop your own winning strategy.
Related reviews of other digital tools
- Mighty Networks review
- Online community software
- Link tracking tools
- Email marketing software
- Ecommerce platforms for small businesses
- Online course platforms
- Chatbot builders
- SEO tools
- Online selling sites
Visualize Value Online Courses