To choose the best platform to sell online courses and memberships – you’ll need to consider your own needs, your budget, and how any of our Thinkific alternatives align with your goals.
You wouldn’t want to make a costly mistake you’re gonna regret later down the road.
We shall take a detailed look at the features, pros, and cons, and the pricing plans for each of our 5 SOLID best Thinkific competitors for online courses…
In the market today so you can discover the option that will make your online course as successful as it can be.
Let’s do it!
Want to jump straight to the answer? the best overall alternative to Thinkific is PODIA platform. It has everything you need for selling memberships and digital downloads. If you’re in for a WordPress option, then LearnDash is the best.
Now the complete list…
5 Best Thinkific Alternatives and Competitors 2021
Here the online course and membership site hosting platform that you replace with Thinkific:
Podia is the first on our list of best Thinkific alternatives. And also happens to be our choice pick.
Where Podia truly excels as a platform is for the entrepreneur who is running a full and diversified business, or plans to someday.
Podia is a tool for building online courses, but also has capabilities for building a sophisticated membership website for selling digital downloads and products like ebooks, audio files, or videos.
Features of Podia:
When you sign into Podia, you’ll see an simple dashboard with buttons for creating a membership website, an online course, or a digital download.
When you click to create an online course, you’re taking to the course creation dashboard. Then there are simple buttons for creating new sections to your course, files, links, texts, or quizzes.
The visual editor is dynamic and allows you to easily customize the course.
You can use Podia with a custom domain, you can host free or paid online courses, you can track student progress, and you can even use custom branding for your store.
One of the more important features with Podia is that it offers unlimited bandwidth. No worrying about file size. (like a few I’ve seen).
As for marketing features, you can create both upsells and coupons plus a few nice marketing functionalities.
The upsell feature is available in all the plans Podia offers. Coupons have the ability to be normal, timed, or limited use.
If you purchase the Podia Shaker plan you can embed the checkout form on your own website. This means you can offer single page checkout, meaning the customer doesn’t have to leave your website to complete the payment process.
As for integrations, you can use most mailing list services with Podia, including ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and ConvertKit.
The Pros of Podia:
- If you have a big business, you can use it Podia for everything.
- Instant Payouts
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- No transaction fees
- Email marketing integrations
- Easy to use dashboard
The Cons of Podia:
- There aren’t a lot of payment gateway options
- The customization and design options are a bit limited compared to some other platforms
Podia offers a free 14-day trial. They also have a live demo on their website so you can get a tour of the platform.
Podia online course creator has two pricing plans, called Mover and Shaker.
The Mover plan costs $39 monthly and the Shaker plan costs $79 monthly. If you choose to pay annually, you get two free months, which represents a savings of $78 for the Mover plan and $158 for the Shaker plan.
With the Shaker, you get everything offered in the Mover plan, but also gets Memberships site, a blog, offsite buy buttons (which means an embed code so you can install the checkout process on your own website), the ability to create your own affiliate marketing program (which may be a part of your marketing strategy for your course) and the ability to install third-party codes, like a Facebook Pixel.
Some of the other platforms, like Thinkific would charge you 5% transaction fees, but that is not something you have to worry about on Podia.
Podia is a fairly affordable option, especially if you plan to take advantage of some of the other features, like a storefront that Podia offers.
The Teachable platform is a very popular choice. It’s a great option if your course is fairly simple to layout, but you need a lot of marketing and selling features for your course.
Teachable is the only Thinkific free alternative on our list. Although the free plan is incredibly limited, but the aim is just to take the platform on a test drive.
Features of Teachable
When you get into the Teachable dashboard, you can create “sections” and “lectures”. The section is the topic, and then the lectures are any kind of learning materials on the topic, like video, audio files, PDF documents, and images.
You can create quizzes for your courses. The quizzes are fairly simple in terms of features; you won’t find advanced features like question banks.
There are “course compliance” settings, which means you can make sure students have to complete some of the lectures or quizzes (actions) before they are able to move onto other areas of the course.
There is an easy to use Power Editor with templates for your sales pages, and the ability to create custom ones. There is a drag and drop page builder.
Teachable has a fair number of integrations, such as MailChimp, Zapier, etc.
Teachable allows you to do upsells, manage a referral program for your course, and bundle up your online courses.
The Pros of Teachable:
- This is a strong option for beginners
- They have a free option you can get started with
- Options for upsells
- It’s easy to use
The Cons of Teachable:
- There are transaction fees for lower plan
- If you need a lot of complicated features for your course, this isn’t the best option. The online courses are simple and without a lot of heavy customization options.
Teachable course platform has three main pricing plans. Plus, a hidden free plan allows you to get started until you reach 10 students. On the free plan – you will be charged a transaction fee for each course you sell.
The three plans are: Basic ($29 a month, when billed annually); Professional ($99 a month, when billed annually); and Business ($249 a month, when billed annually).
You get unlimited courses and students on all paid plans.
Our third feature on this Thinkific alternative list is the Kajabi course hosting platform.
You can use Kajabi as a simple or complicated LMS (Learning Management System) for hosting your online entirely on it.
But most people who use and love Kajabi are also using it for its many other features, which is why they choose this pricier platform.
Funnels, landing pages, webinar, email and lots more.
Features of Kajabi:
This is a platform where you can sell your online course, but can also sell recurring membership programs and digital products.
With their Basic plan (and everything above it) you can set up webinars and online events, quizzes and surveys, and automations. There are templates for easily setting up your course (and other aspects of your website).
With the Basic plan, you can have 1,000 active members with some limitations, but unlimited marketing emails and landing pages.
While on a more advanced plan, you can have 10,000 or 20,000 members.
The advanced plans also come with more features, like the ability to create your own affiliate program for your course, and the ability to remove the Kajabi Branding from your course.
Pros of Kajabi:
- It’s a full content management system for your online business
- A drag and drop site builder with 17 templates
- Has a funnel option
- You can create upsells and coupons
- Mailing list integrations with services like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and others
Cons of Kajabi:
- It’s more expensive than other Thinkific alternatives
- You have limited options for customization for the design of your course
- The emphasis is more on the marketing tools they offer you than on learning tools for your course. This may be a bigger issue if you want diverse course materials, especially at this price point
Kajabi has a free trial option so you can see if it’s the right option for you.
It has three payment plan options, which a discount on each if you pay annually versus monthly.
The three plans are: Basic (which costs $119 a month when billed annually, or $149 monthly); Growth (which costs $159 a month if billed annually, or $199 if billed monthly); and Pro (which costs $319 a month if billed annually, or $399 when billed annually).
Two of the most important reasons to step up from the Basic plan to the Growth plan are that the Growth plan allows 10 admin users (while Basic allows 1).
The Growth plan allows you to remove the Kajabi branding from your course and set up your own affiliate portal for selling your course.
We actually did a head-to-head comparison of Kartra vs Thinkific here.
I almost didn’t add Kartra to this Thinkific alternatives list – because Kartra is on another world totally.
Kartra is your best option for an all-in-one platform solution.
You can use this marketing solution for e-commerce, membership sites, affiliate programs, digital downloads, helpdesk, scheduling, forms, email marketing, and the main stuff…
…building sales funnels.
This platform has all your features covered if you’re looking for a robust system for your online business.
Features of Kartra:
One of the most interesting features Kartra offers is their funnels and campaigns option.
You can create a multi-page funnel to help you visualize how you will convert your site visitors into leads, into customers, and then into frequent and loyal customers.
You can schedule and book appointment sessions with its calendar feature.
There is also a Helpdesk so you can provide your customers with support ticketing and live chat.
Checkout forms and lead pages are easy to create with templates and customization options.
You can manage your affiliates for your course or other products you’re selling on your website.
Kartra has a robust catalog of features for building full and complete course websites for your customers in the long term.
Finally, the inbuilt Kartra membership and course builder matches up with other alternatives to Thinkific on this list.
You can find out more about Kartra course builder & Memberships at https://home.kartra.com/feature-memberships
The Pros of Kartra:
- An all-in-one marketing platform and online course creation service
- Easy email marketing integration
- Drag and drop options for site building and funnel building
The Cons of Kartra:
- It’s difficult to change the time zone in the dashboard, so everything is always set to EST for sending emails or notifications to students
- It’s pricier than most options, especially as your business grows
- It can take a while to learn the system for building funnels
Kartra separates their pricing into four plans, known as Starter, Silver, Gold, and Premium.
You receive a 25% discount on any plan that is purchased annually. Their monthly prices are $99 monthly for Starter, $199 monthly for Silver, $299 monthly for Gold, and $499 monthly for Platinum.
Their starter package allows you to have one custom domain, send 15,000 emails a month, and host 100 pages on your website.
You can also sell 20 products and build two membership sites. As you move up through the plans, you can have unlimited amounts of these various features.
Are you looking for a learning management system that works well with WordPress?
Then LearnDash is probably going to be the best alternative to Thinkic to look at for your online courses.
LearnDash is currently the leading course creation tool for WordPress. And has quite a bunch of features if you want to all your stuff done within WP.
LearnDash is actually a WordPress plugin.
It will allow you to convert your site into a platform for your online course. To install LearnDash and use the dashboard, you will go to the “plugins” section of your WordPress dashboard, as you would with any other plugin.
If you already have WordPress experience and are comfortable with creating landing pages on your website, you’ll be comfortable with LearnDash, since you create new pages the same way you normally would on WordPress.
LearnDash will blend in with your current WordPress theme, so it should be fairly easy to keep your website’s existing branding with a few touches here and there.
Once installed, you will see “LearnDash LMS” in the menu on your dashboard below the settings.
LearnDash then offers you features for dynamic forums, advanced quizzes, and creating sections and lectures.
In the lectures, you can add your course content to the lectures.
Please note that if you have video content for your online course, you will want to upload that to another service, like Vimeo, so that your web site will load faster.
You can add a course-specific forum to your site.
LearnDash offers a gradebook so you can track your students’ progress.
One downside here is that there are no marketing tools included with LearnDash.
There are also no coupons or discount features, but you can add other plugins to add these features to your site.
LearnDash lets you integrate either PayPal or Stripe for payment collection.
Every package comes with advanced quizzing features, email notifications, drip-feed lessons, and the ability to award your students with certificates for a job well done.
The Pros of LearnDash:
- You have a lot of freedom to add other plugins and get the site how you want it
- This is a more affordable option
- If you already have a WordPress website you want to keep, this is the easiest way to add online courses to your current design
The Cons of LearnDash:
- You will probably need to install other plugins to make LearnDash be exactly what you want it to be
- More plugins equal slow loading times
- It comes with fewer features on its own
LearnDash has three pricing plans. They are all lifetime licenses with one year of support.
They offer a Basic Package for $159, a Plus Package for $189, and a Pro Package for $329.
They do not offer a free trial period. However, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and have a demo site template you can experiment with prior to purchasing.
Extra Thinkific Alternatives – Worthy Mentions
Below two other competition options you might also want to consider:
Just like the Kartra platform – ClickFunnels is a complete sales funnel builder with tons of marketing-oriented features like:
- Affiliate center
- Inbuilt email and automation platform
- Shopping cart
- Webinar system
- Membership & course hosting solution
But due to the fact that the ClickFunnels course creation platform happens to be so basic – we didn’t include it in our top Thinkific alternatives.
Kartra on its own has more membership site features and competes against other special platform.
But still, if you want to create and launch your funnels in minutes and have a basic membership site – then you might want to consider ClickFunnels.
It comes with a 14day trial with a starting paid plan of $97/mo.
Ruzuku is another awesome online course platform that has almost everything you need to create and sell courses and online subscriptions.
Apart from building and creating your online courses on Ruzuku – you can also use it in managing tutoring processes and some student engagement features also found on Kajabi on Podia.
However, some of the drastic drawbacks of Ruzuku are:
- Limited customization option
- Support is only via email
- No marketing features
- No sales funnel and landing page feature
The pricing starts at $99/mo and comes with a 14day trial. Kinda expensive in my opinion.
Why You May Consider a Thinkific Alternative
First of all, Thinkific is a great course and membership building platform which has all the features needed to get expert started in creating their course.
But it’s obviously clear that Thinkific isn’t the best overall learning management solution out there. And there are some of its competitors you might want to consider.
That’s the reason we had to come up with all the options above.
Meanwhile, one of the most common issues Thinkific are as follows:
- Thinkific has no marketing feature
- It doesn’t provide its own inbuilt email and automation tool (Huge one!)
- There are no live chat for swift customer support
- The page builder is limited in functionality especially in customization
Though it comes with a free plan with great limitations, plus giving up 10% of every sale you make. But that doesn’t make much sense to me. I’d rather keep all my profits to myself.
So, considering a Thinkific alternative would be the best option.
Final Thoughts on Best Thinkific Alternatives
“So, what’s better than Thinkific?”
Well, we all have different needs and different goals. Like type of course, payment type, marketing goals, funnels, etc.
But if you want a good and better alternative to Thinkific – then I highly recommend going with Podia. It’s it the best in terms of:
- Affordability (reasonably priced)
- Marketing-rich features (funnels, upsells and coupons, etc.)
- Student management
- Wide range of integrations
- Payment plans
If you’re after a WordPress Thinkific alternative then considering LearnDash to flow with your existing website isn’t a bad idea.
Else, Podia would definitely be a deal-breaker and the perfect Thinkific replacement to create courses.
See the complete Podia pricing plans and options here or click the below button to get your free trial.