17+ Best Online Course Platforms 2020 (Reviews & Guide)

The online course industry is booming right now.

With the influx of people working from home, people are more willing than ever to pay for high-quality online courses from independent creators.

If you are skilled in some area, you can easily monetize that skill by starting a course where you teach everything you know.

It’s actually a lot easier to do so than you’d think. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a good online course platform.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing a bunch of different platforms that make it super easy to create, launch, and market your course.

I’ll be rating each one based on features, user reviews, support, and pricing.

Let’s begin!

What Are Online Course Platforms?

Essentially, they are just websites that provide software for creating a course. This includes individual lessons, modules, quizzes, tests, and even certificates of completion.

These platforms also allow you to set a price for your course and collect payments from students. Most of these platforms provide ways to market your course as well.

It’s important to note that not all platforms behave alike. There are different types, each filling a different need. Here are the main types I’ll be covering in this article:

  • Software to create and sell an online course – These platforms allow you to create and host a course without the need for other tools (like your own website). If you want to create and sell your own online course, choosing one of these platforms is probably your best option.
  • Course creation plugin for WordPress – If you already have a WordPress website and want to launch a course on your site using a plugin, that’s where this type of platform comes in handy.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) – These are fully-featured platforms for creating digital classes. If you’re a company that needs to create corporate training or any college or school that offers classes online, an LMS is what you’d want to use.
  • Online learning platforms – Think Udemy or Skillshare. These are sites that offer a wide range of courses from many different instructors. These platforms are good if you don’t want to do much marketing, since all the courses on these sites are available to a very large audience right off the bat. The downside with these platforms is that you don’t have nearly as much control.

Best Online Course Platforms At a Glance

Platform Description
Thinkific Top Choice Overall
Teachable Best Design
Podia Easiest to Use
LearnWorlds Best Course Features
Teachery Best Pricing Plans
Kajabi Best All-in-One Platform
CourseCraft Most Intuitive Course Builder
Ruzuku Beginner-Friendly with Many Features

the best online learning platforms

The best course-building platforms give you all the tools you’ll need to be successful. This includes an easy-to-use course builder, an integrated LMS, e-commerce functionality, and a member’s area for your students.

Overall, the best course platforms are Thinkific, Teachable, Podia, LearnWorlds, Teachery, and Kajabi. I’ll review and compare each of these (and several other platforms) below.

1. Thinkific

Top Choice Overall

Thinkific website homepage

Thinkific is a modern, beautifully-designed platform for creating online courses. Thinkific has rapidly grown in popularity, in part due to their superior platform, and their glowing customer reviews.

Thinkific has a robust set of features, making it the perfect platform to use for building out any e-course. 

You can get started with Thinkific by signing up for the One Month Free Trial of the Pro plan (their most popular plan). The Pro plan offers unlimited courses and students, membership capabilities, certificates, custom pages and design, advanced course pricing options so you can offer subscriptions, payment plans, free courses, etc., and quite a bit more.

Once you’ve signed up, you can begin creating your course right away. Thinkific makes it very easy to customize your course just the way you want it.

Here’s a look at Thinkific’s drag-and-drop course creator:

Thinkific drag and drop course creator

When it comes time to launch your course, you will need a website. Thankfully, Thinkific has an easy-to-use website builder that doesn’t require any coding knowledge.

The site builder comes with a bunch of pre-made templates you can choose from to create your site.

You can edit all the aspects to your liking, and with the Pro plan, you have the option to change the HTML and CSS. You also have the option to put your site on a custom domain that doesn’t include thinkific.com in the URL.

Here’s a look at Thinkific’s site builder:

Thinkific website builder

As I mentioned previously, Thinkific allows you to choose your own pricing structure for your course. The pricing options include subscriptions, free, one-time payments, payment plans, and more.

One of Thinkific’s best features is that when someone purchases your course, you are paid immediately. Additionally, you can accept all different credit cards as well as PayPal, and sell your course in 100+ different currencies.

Thinkific Features

Here are some of Thinkific’s noteworthy features:

  • You can add any content type to your course (you aren’t limited to just text or video content)
  • Discussion forums for your course
  • When someone buys your course, you’re paid immediately
  • You can offer free trials of your course
  • You can add an affiliate program to your course to incentivize people to promote it for you
  • Integrations with many different tools
  • Compatible with existing websites
  • Optimized for all device types/sizes
  • Track student progress
  • Provide students with certificates of completion

Thinkific Pricing

Thinkific has four main pricing plans.

Free – The Free plan is perfect if you need to create a course on a budget. It doesn’t come with all the features, but it’s quite a bit better than most free plans offered by other course creation software tools.

One huge perk of the free plan is that there are no transaction fees. So you can sell your course and keep every dime. Most online course platforms take a cut, especially on free plans.

If you want to take Thinkific for a test drive and launch a course on a budget, I recommend going with the free plan.

Basic ($49/mo, or $39/mo if paying annually) – The Basic plan comes with several important features that the free plan lacks. You can create unlimited courses, coupons for your course, a custom domain, email marketing integrations, and Zapier triggers. You also have the ability to email your students, and the option to allow affiliates to promote your course.

I recommend the Basic plan for launching a standard online course that includes most of the features you could ever want.

Pro ($99/mo, or $79/mo if paying annually) – This is Thinkific’s most popular plan, and it makes sense why. You get all the same features as in Basic, as well as the ability to price your course however you want, memberships, bundling courses, certificates of completion, communities, assignments, advanced customization, and priority support. 

I recommend the Pro plan for creating a fully-featured course that doesn’t put any limits on you, the course creator. If you want to take the Pro plan for a spin and see all the features in action, sign up for the One Month Free Trial.

The neat thing about the Pro plan which I haven’t mentioned yet is the option to sign up for an add-on called the Growth Package. The Growth Package is only available to people on the Pro plan, and it unlocks a bunch more features. I’ll cover it in more detail after I talk about the fourth pricing plan below.

Premier ($499/mo, or $399/mo if paying annually) – The Premier plan is designed for advanced customers who want access to all of Thinkific’s features. With this plan, you can create up to 5 site admin accounts and have up to 50 course admins/authors. You also get single sign on (SSO), email white labeling, an onboarding call, training, a launch preparedness review, and access to the entire Growth Package for a flat fee.

I recommend the Premier plan if you want to build an online education empire, want to add a bunch of administrators to your course, or have need of the advanced features like single sign on or email white labeling.

Growth Package – If you are on the Pro (or Premier) plan, you can access the Growth Package. It’s free for up to 100 students, and then $0.10/per additional student (capping at a maximum of $400/mo). 

The Growth Package offers some very important additional features, which are listed below:

  • Public API
  • The ability to remove all Thinkific branding from your course and website
  • Send bulk emails to your students from the Thinkific dashboard
  • Webhooks
  • Ability to build communities around your content
  • Advanced segmentation
  • Groups
  • Import students from a database or a different platform
  • Bulk enroll students
  • Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, and Brillium exams integrations
  • Zapier actions

Plus – Plus is Thinkific’s LMS solution for fast-growing companies. The Plus pricing is not publicly available, so if you want to get a quote you’ll have to contact Thinkific. 

The Plus plan gives you access to every single feature available within Thinkific, and provides extras such as advanced security, white glove service, and zero limitations on things like course administrators and site admins. 

This plan is used by well-known companies such as HootSuite and Later.

Overall, Thinkific is my #1 recommendation for entrepreneurs and creators looking to sell an online course. You can sign up for the One Month Free Trial of the Pro plan and get started today by using my link below.

Try Thinkific

2. Teachable

Best Design

Teachable website homepage

My second overall pick is Teachable.

Teachable has arguably the largest presence in the e-course industry, and is used by more than 100,000 creators.

Where Teachable shines is easy-of-use and marketing.

Building an online course isn’t incredibly difficult, but it’s not a walk in the park either. You have to be somewhat of a techie to work it all out.

Teachable turns course-building into a very smooth process, mitigating much of the frustrations you may face using a different platform. Though if you consider yourself tech-savvy, any of the platforms on this list should be simple enough.

As far as marketing is concerned, Teachable offers a ton of different integration options, and makes it very easy to do email marketing along with your course. The checkout page is also optimized for conversions, and you have the option to add up-sells to the “thank you” page.

If you go with Teachable, I recommend signing up for the Pro plan ($99/mo), since this is the cheapest plan that doesn’t charge any transaction fees. More details on pricing can be found below.

Teachable Features

As I said, Teachable is easy to use and has great marketing features available. Here are some other features Teachable is known for:

  • The design of courses and websites is simple, yet beautiful. They are well-optimized for converting visitors into paying students.
  • Detailed reports on metrics such as student progress and revenue earned
  • Easily communicate with your students within the course or through email
  • You can build your entire site right on Teachable, complete with your own domain name
  • Teachable has an app, so your students can take courses on the go

Teachable Pricing

Teachable offers four different plans:

Free – The Free plan comes with a decent amount of features, but limits you to 10 students. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee of $1 + 10% on every sale.

One neat thing is that you can create an unlimited number of courses on the Free plan. You also have access to instant payments even on the Free plan.

Basic ($39/mo, or $29/mo if paying annually) – With the Basic plan, there are no limits on the number of students you can have. There’s still a transaction fee, but it’s quite a bit lower at 5%.

With the Basic plan, you can create a custom domain for your course, create coupon codes, and integrate email marketing and third-party apps.

Pro ($119/mo, or $99/mo if paying annually) – The Pro plan offers zero transaction fees, so you can keep every bit of money you earn from selling your courses.

It also comes with graded quizzes, more advanced reports on various metrics, a website void of Teachable’s branding, and the ability to offer certificates of completion to your students. And, you can let other people promote your course through affiliate marketing.

Business ($299/mo, or $249/mo if paying annually) – In addition to the features from the Pro plan, the Business plan gives you full control over the customization of your course, the option to bulk-import students, set up custom user roles and group coaching calls, and add up to 20 admin-level users to your course.

If you want to build your course on tried-and-true software, Teachable is your best option. Start your course today and take advantage of 0% transaction fees by using my link below.

Try Teachable

3. Podia

Easiest to Use

Podia website homepage

Podia has gained in popularity over the last couple years, and is now used by more than 20,000 creators.

What sets Podia apart from all the other platforms is ease-of-use. Yeah, pretty much all the platforms I’m reviewing are relatively easy to use, but Podia takes it to another level.

This is to the benefit of first-time, non-tech savvy course creators, but it comes at a cost. Though the design is slick, customization options are lacking. The design is simplistic, and all you can do to change it is editing a few features such as colors and font. There’s also just one default template with which you can build your course.

So if you want a unique look for your course, I’d recommend going with another platform. If design doesn’t matter, Podia is a great option.

Another difference between Podia and its competitors is that when you sign up, you can select from three different options: Membership, Online Course, and Digital Download. That’s right, Podia isn’t just for creating courses. If you want to sell a downloadable item or even a membership, you can do so in Podia. In fact, you can use all three options if you want.

One thing to note is that Podia doesn’t offer some key features other course-building tools do such as graded quizzes and certificates of completion.

Podia has two pricing plans, which I’ll cover in more detail below. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial to see Podia in action for yourself.

Podia Features

These are some of the best features Podia has to offer:

  • No transaction fees
  • Custom domain
  • Instant payouts when someone buys your course, product, or membership
  • You can track student progress
  • Great email marketing options
  • Lots of integration options (including Zapier)
  • Excellent customer support via live chat

Podia Pricing

Podia keeps it simple with their pricing. There are two plans you can choose from. Mover is the cheapest, and lacks only a few features. Shaker includes every feature Podia has to offer.

Here’s a look at the plans and everything they include:

Podia pricing plans

If you are looking for a simple, super easy-to-use platform to build your course, go with Podia. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial of either plan using my link below.

Try Podia

4. LearnWorlds

Best Course Features

LearnWorlds website homepage

LearnWorlds is a great platform for building engaging, truly interactive online courses.

In fact, that’s what sets LearnWorlds apart from the other platforms on this list. With LearnWorlds, you can add quizzes, notes and other elements right within course videos and text documents. This is an incredibly important feature for making professional courses.

LearnWorlds also offers social networking capabilities for your students, a feature most other platforms lack. Everything is fully white label as well, meaning students won’t see any of LearnWorlds’ branding.

LearnWorlds is also known for having great customer support.

All of these premium features do come at a steep price, although there are cheaper plans available (that don’t include interactivity and other unique features). LearnWorlds offers a 30-day free trial on all their plans, so you’ll have plenty of time to figure out if their unique features are worth the cost or not.

One negative aspect of LearnWorlds is that the checkout page people will see when signing up for your course is not well-optimized for conversions. It works just fine, but it’s not as smooth and nice looking as Teachable’s, for example.

LearnWorlds Features

Besides the interactivity, social networking, and other features mentioned above, LearnWorlds also offers:

  • Fully customizable sales and landing pages
  • Support for digital downloads
  • Custom domain name for your course
  • Question banks and online tests
  • Tons of integration options
  • Built-in affiliate management so other people can promote your course

LearnWorlds Pricing

LearnWorlds offers three different pricing plans: Starter, Pro Trainer, and Learning Center. There’s also a plan for High volume & Corporate that offers even more features.

Here’s the breakdown of their pricing plans and the features each plan includes:

LearnWorlds pricing plans

LearnWorlds is the best platform for building a course that includes interactive elements within assignments. If you need interactivity in your course, sign up for a 30-day free trial of the Learning Center plan with my link below.

Try LearnWorlds

5. Teachery

Best Pricing Plans

Teachery website homepage

Teachery isn’t as well-known as some of the platforms on this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth looking into.

Teachery was started by course creators, so they are able to really understand your needs. The rhetoric Teachery uses is very down-to-earth and entertaining. The company is super friendly.

Teachery isn’t quite as feature-packed as some online course platforms, but they do offer enough functionality for most people’s needs.

Where Teachery shines is their pricing plans. They only offer two plans: Monthly and Yearly. Both plans includes every feature, and have a 2-week free trial.

Teachery Features

Here’s the list of features available in Teachery:

Teachery feature list

It should also be mentioned that the design of courses built with Teachery is quite good-looking compared with a lot of other platforms.

Teachery Pricing

As mentioned, Teachery only offers two pricing plans. You can either pay monthly for $49/mo, or yearly for $470/year. Both the Monthly and Yearly plans gives you access to all of Teachery’s features. There are no free plans available, but there is a 2-week free trial you can take advantage of.

If you want to create an aesthetically-pleasing course and don’t want to deal with the hassle of picking the right plan, Teachery is for you. You can start exploring Teachery’s features with a 2-week free trial through my link below.

Try Teachery

6. Kajabi

Best All-in-One Platform

Kajabi website homepage

Kajabi is one of the better-known online course platforms, and is used by some familiar names.

Unlike other platforms where you oftentimes need to integrate 3rd-party apps to make everything work, Kajabi is an all-in-one platform meaning they have all the functionality you’d ever need built right in. As I’ll get into however, there are some important features missing.

Kajabi does a great job handling the sales and marketing side of online courses. It’s optimized for conversions, and makes it easy to create beautiful checkout and landing pages.

There are a few major drawbacks with Kajabi that you should be aware of. 

First, they are very pricey – the cheapest plan starts at $149/mo ($119/mo if paying annually). And if you want common features like affiliate marketing capabilities and white labeling of your course, you’ll need to upgrade to the Growth plan which costs $50 more per month. You can’t even edit the code unless you’re on the Pro plan, which starts at $319/mo.

They do have a 28-day free trial, so you can take Kajabi for a test drive before paying a steep price.

Second, the website editor in Kajabi is not user-friendly. So if you don’t have excellent tech skills, you’ll likely find it confusing and difficult to use.

Third, you can’t offer your students certificates of completion.

Kajabi Features

Here are Kajabi’s other notable features aside from the ones I mentioned above:

  • Wide range of pre-made templates to choose from
  • Custom domain for your website/course
  • Different payment options for students
  • Has a mobile app

Kajabi Pricing

Here’s a screenshot of the pricing plans Kajabi offers:

Kajabi pricing plans

Kajabi is a great option if you want to avoid the headache of integrating other apps to make your course work. You can sign up and get a 28-day free trial through my link below.

Try Kajabi

7. CourseCraft

Most Intuitive Course Builder

CourseCraft website homepage

CourseCraft is designed to be super straightforward and intuitive. 

It doesn’t offer all the fancy features a lot of course platforms come with, but it has enough to fully cover most people’s needs.

Lots of reviewers mention how easy CourseCraft is to use. The course editor just makes sense – it doesn’t require much experimenting to figure out all the buttons and settings.

There are some limitations to CourseCraft you should be aware of. You can’t add surveys or exams, and there are no certificates of completion. 

CourseCraft also has transaction fees amounting to 9% on the Free plan and 5% on the Club plan. There are no fees on the Society plan, which costs $47/mo if paying annually. The Society plan is CourseCraft’s best plan, and includes all the features. It’s also significantly cheaper than most other course builders.

CourseCraft Features

These are CourseCraft’s main features:

  • Connect with PayPal or Stripe and receive instant payouts
  • Schedule lessons to be released on a particular date or a certain number of days after enrollment
  • Integrate and embed within your existing website
  • You can sell add-ons in your course
  • White label front end, so you can make courses fit your brand
  • Promo codes for your courses

CourseCraft Pricing

CourseCraft offers three different plans: Free, Club, and Society. These plans are considerably more affordable than most other platforms can offer. Here’s a look at the three plans, and what’s included in each:

CourseCraft pricing plans

If you want to get your course up and running as quickly as possible and don’t want to deal with a major learning curve, CourseCraft is your best option. You can sign up for any of their plans using my link below.

Try CourseCraft

8. Ruzuku

Beginner-Friendly with Many Features

Ruzuku website homepage

Ruzuku claims they make it “ridiculously easy to teach online”. 

Ruzuku is known for it’s balance between being easy-to-use yet feature-filled. Customer support is another area in which Ruzuku excels.

A user-friendly course creator is Ruzuku’s primary selling point, although Teachable and Podia are arguably better in this regard. Another neat feature is webinars. In Ruzuku’s two top plans, you can run an unlimited number of webinars that include recordings, presentations, and live chat.

All of Ruzuku’s plans come with a 0% transaction fee, unlimited courses, and unlimited students.

Ruzuku also offers integrations with PayPal and Stripe for payments, and Mailchimp for email marketing.

Perhaps the biggest drawbacks with Ruzuku are steep prices and limited customization options, especially for the all-important sales page.

Ruzuku Features

Here’s a look at the most popular features available within Ruzuku:

Ruzuku feature list

Ruzuku Pricing

Ruzuku offers three pricing plans: Bootstrapper, Up-and-Comer, and University. There’s a 14-day free trial available for any of the plans. Here’s a screenshot showing the main features each plan includes:

Ruzuku pricing plans

If you want a beginner-friendly course builder that offers a wide range of features, definitely consider Ruzuku. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial and give Ruzuku a test run with my link below.

Try Ruzuku

So there you have it, those are the best online course platforms.

Next, I’ll be providing brief reviews of the best course plugins for WordPress, the best fully-fledged LMSes for schools and corporations, and the best learning platforms.

Best Course-Building Plugins for WordPress

Say you want to integrate a course right within your WordPress site, and don’t want to deal with a separate online course building tool. In this case, you’ll want to use a plugin.

Here are the best options:


Best All-Around LMS Plugin for WordPress

AccessAlly website homepage

AccessAlly comes with a huge suite of features, especially given that it’s just a WordPress plugin. 

With AccessAlly, you can turn WordPress pages into beautifully-designed course pages. You can add gamification to your courses, allow affiliates to promote your course, and view detailed progress reports.

AccessAlly offers as many (and in some cases even more) features as any other course platform.

The one complaint some people have is that the checkout page doesn’t have a great design, which can hurt conversion rates.

AccessAlly offers two main plans: Essentials and Pro. They also have In-House Training available if that’s something you or your company needs.

You can view all the features available and see a breakdown of the pricing plans with my link below.

Try AccessAlly


Best Free WordPress LMS

LifterLMS website homepage

At it’s core, LifterLMS is a free WordPress plugin for creating online courses. 

Included in the free version are a ton of useful features. In fact, most people could get by just fine simply using the free plugin. Some of the most exciting features include certificates of completion, drip-fed content, custom emails based on a student’s activity, and the ability to add an unlimited number of lessons with quizzes and assignments. 

To add features such as the ability to accept payments (very important!), you’ll need to purchase an add-on. Individual add-ons start at $99/year. You can also purchase a bundle at a nice discount.

The biggest drawback with LifterLMS is the expensive add-ons. However, most people could get by with just a payment integration add-on and the free core.

Try LifterLMS


Easy-to-Use WordPress LMS

LearnDash website homepage

LearnDash is a very popular LMS for WordPress, and is known for it’s easy-to-use course builder.

One of the features LearnDash has that most other course builders don’t is a focus mode setting for your students. Other than that, LearnDash is fully-featured and includes everything you’d expect in a good course builder.

Where LearnDash lacks is in the design of some of its features. It also is not an all-in-one solution, meaning you’ll need to use other services for a shopping cart and membership feature.

LearnDash is quite pricey, starting at $159/month for the cheapest plan. You can view all of LearnDash’s features and pricing plans by clicking my link below.

Try LearnDash


Best Customer Service

Coursecats website homepage

Coursecats is renowned for their focus on providing excellent customer service. When you first sign up, you can take advantage of their concierge service in which they set up all of the technical aspects of your site – such as hosting, pointing your domain, and installing a theme.

Coursecats also has a great design both for the end-user and the admin. You can create beautiful landing pages and a video series page designed to get people to convert. Coursecats also works as a membership plugin, meaning you won’t have to download a third-party solution to lock content from non-members.

Coursecats costs $59/month or $497/year. Both plans include every feature. Currently, Coursecats is offering a 60-day free trial for either plan. 

Try Coursecats

Next, I’ll be sharing a list of the top learning management systems.

Most of the online course platforms I shared in the first section of this article are full LMSes, but the ones I’ll be reviewing here have specifically positioned themselves for schools and businesses, not so much for individual entrepreneurs.

Best Learning Management Systems

Following is a list of the best learning management systems for businesses and schools of all sizes.


TalentLMS website homepage

TalentLMS is a very powerful learning management system, with tons of useful features.

Certifications, gamification, videoconferencing, SCORM and xAPI, learning paths, and e-commerce are just a sampling of the features provided by TalentLMS.

There are multiple pricing plans available, starting with a limited free plan. You can view all the details and features included with each plan by clicking my link below.

Try TalentLMS


Tovuti website homepage

Tovuti is an award-winning LMS software, offering a wide range of useful features.

Tovuti makes it easy to author your courses without the need for third-party tools. You can also build interactive video content, meaning your students can take quizzes and perform other actions right within a video lesson.

Another neat feature is that Tovuti can publish mobile apps for your course under your brand name. There are dozens more features I could mention, but I suggest you head over to Tovuti’s website and browse through the features yourself. You can do so by clicking my link below.

Try Tovuti

Academy of Mine

Academy of Mine website homepage

Academy of Mine is one of the best fully-featured LMSes on the market today. 

Academy of Mine offers course-building software that can handle any type of content, course marketing pages, live virtual training, and flexible e-commerce options.

With Academy of Mine, you can create everything you’d need for an online course – including a website and landing pages, which are completely white label.

Pricing starts at $9,997/year. You can visit Academy of Mine’s website and view all of the features available by clicking the link below.

Try Academy of Mine


Northpass website homepage

Northpass is a highly-rated LMS used by the likes of Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft. 

Northpass’ focus is to provide an excellent learning experience for today’s fast-moving gig economy. They’ve built their product with simplicity in mind, offering only the features companies actually need and not adding any fluff.

The course interface is white-labeled and can be customized to fit your brand.

Try Northpass

While these LMSes are specifically meant for companies looking for a way to create employee training courses, there are several online course platforms that are considerably cheaper that could get the job done as well.

Specifically, Thinkific comes to mind. Lots of large companies use Thinkific for their courses since it offers just about every feature you could ever want in an LMS.

That’s why Thinkific is still my top recommendation for building an online course. It is an excellent platform for entrepreneurs or “edupreneurs” looking to create and sell a course, AND for companies looking to create training for their employees.

I’ve covered online course platforms, WordPress LMS plugins, and complete LMS solutions. But this article wouldn’t be complete without also mentioning the top online learning platforms. So, here they are:

Best Learning Platforms to Sell a Course

Most of us don’t have large audiences we can sell a course to. If that’s the case for you, creating a course on one of the platforms I reviewed above won’t get you very far.

So what can you do?

You can upload your course to an online learning platform that lists a bunch of courses anyone can take. These platforms are also known as massive open online courses (MOOCs).

People looking to learn a new skill will turn to one of these online learning platforms and search for a course. They can then browse through all the courses on that topic and pick the one they want to take.

This is a perfect way to get your course in front of a bunch of eyeballs if you lack a following.

The downside with these platforms is that they get a hefty slice of your earnings, and your competitors are listed right next to your listing.

So if you have any sort of audience or know online marketing, I’d recommend going with one of the online course platforms I listed above. But if you’re starting from scratch with no experience in marketing and no audience, your best bet would be to upload your course to one of the learning platforms below. 

Here are the online learning platforms I recommend:


Skillshare website homepage

Perhaps you’ve seen an ad for Skillshare, or you’re already a member. Skillshare has a huge market presence and millions of people have signed up.

Skillshare is not only a great platform for students, it’s also an excellent place to sell a course.

Anyone can become an instructor on Skillshare if they have talent and can teach well. As an instructor, you earn money when people watch or enroll in your class, and when a student of yours signs up for Skillshare Premium.

The top instructors on Skillshare earn more than $100,000/year teaching skills such as productivity, illustration, and even game design.

Skillshare helps you with every step of creating and uploading your course. 

Adding a course to Skillshare is free. Skillshare makes money by charging students a fee to access all the courses. So as an instructor, you don’t have to pay a dime.

Try Skillshare


Udemy website homepage

Udemy is the largest and probably the best known online learning platform, with over 100,000 online courses and 50 million students.

You can sign up as an instructor and add your course(s) once you’ve been approved.

Note that courses must be a total of at least 30 minutes in length and have at least five lectures.

Since Udemy has the largest audience, they’re a great option for selling an online course. But, there are some drawbacks you should be aware of.

Although it’s free to add a course to Udemy, they charge a 50% revenue share for students who found your course through a search engine, and a 75% share for enrollments resulting from paid search marketing. If you refer someone to your course through an instructor coupon, Udemy only takes a 3% cut.

Another disadvantage is that the Udemy platform is incredibly competitive. It’s hard to get your course to stand out among more established courses.

Despite these cons, people are still finding a lot of success with Udemy.

One great thing about Udemy is that they frequently run huge discounts on courses. As an instructor, you can opt-in to these promotions. Doing so will help your course stand out and reach a much larger audience.

Overall, Udemy is a great platform to use for selling an online course to a potentially massive audience.

Try Udemy

And there you have it, those are the two best online learning platforms.

There are a ton more that offer great courses, such as LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lydia), Coursera, edX, KhanAcademy, Treehouse, and Udacity.

So why weren’t they included in my list?

Well, these platforms are geared more for students. It’s quite difficult to become an instructor, and impossible on some. Most of these platforms only have up to a few hundred instructors, who are from top universities and companies. They aren’t geared for independent entrepreneurs looking to sell an online course.


In this article, I covered the best online course software and showed you where to sell online courses. 

Hopefully I’ve helped you narrow down your search.

Like I said earlier, I would highly recommend you go with Thinkific if you want to build and sell an online course. They have a feature-rich free plan available, and pretty much every feature you could ever want in the Pro plan.

Wishing you great success in creating your course!

3 thoughts on “17+ Best Online Course Platforms 2020 (Reviews & Guide)”

  1. This is a nice comparison article that helps to highlight the overall category & pros and cons of each ??. Though one thing I noticed is that the drip info for CourseCraft isn’t correct — CourseCraft does offer drip lesson scheduling in all their price plans. Just FYI.

  2. Hi Max,
    I must say all the platforms look very promising as per the feature and ease of use. I am the spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an online platform for transcription course. And, I wish I would have known about these platforms earlier as we had to go to an agency to get our website build.
    The free plan option of ‘Thinkific’ caught my attention. Great Job.

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