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Which Third-Party Platform Should you Host your Online Course On?

Written by
Sandrine
Online Courses

Which Third-Party Platform Should you Host your Online Course On?

If you’re working on an online course, one of your big questions is most likely: which platform should I choose to host my course? 

You need a platform that looks the part, is straightforward to use and has all the features you might need. 

The first thing to consider is whether to host it on your own website, or on a third party site. 

Let’s take a look at the benefits of hosting on third-party platforms (and which ones are the best!) 

When you’re just starting out, choosing an external platform to host your course on is a smart idea. 

If you’re not sure what’s going to happen, whether your course will sell or not, or if you simply don’t want to invest time and money in your own platform just yet, third party sites such as the ones mentioned below might be the best option.

When you’re looking at different platforms, keep in mind the features or extras your course, membership, or digital product needs, and choose accordingly.

1. Hosting an Online Course on Teachable

Website: teachable.com 

Offers a free plan: Yes! 

You can create and host your course, make a sales page and a thank you page, enrol new students and start earning an income from your course on the free plan. 

Or you can upgrade to one of the paid plans to allow multiple admins, coupon codes, dripping course content, affiliate marketing and integrated emails. 

Lowest price (July 2019): around €26 per month (if billed annually.) Depending on which pricing plan you choose, you may also be charged transaction fees for every purchase. 

What’s great about Teachable: 

  • You can use the free plan to set everything up, then switch to a paid plan once students are enrolling (and paying) and you want the extra features.
  • The user experience is great; both the signup process and the courses themselves look good and are easy to use. 
  • Teachable takes care of everything (if you want them to); they’ll pay out to affiliates and authors directly, so you don’t need to worry about that. 

Example of a course hosted with Teachable: the first version of my Course Creation MasterPlan (which teaches you all about creating, marketing and launching a course!). https://sandco.teachable.com/p/course-creation-master-plan 

2. Hosting an Online Course on Thinkific

Website: thinkific.com 

Offers a free plan: Yes! You can have up to 3 courses for free (less than Teachable, who offer unlimited courses for free.) 

As with Teachable, you need a paid plan to unlock extra features - like dripping the course content, affiliates, or integrations. 

Lowest price (July 2019): around €44 per month, when billed annually. 

What’s great about Thinkific: 

  • Thinkific offers lots of options for student notifications. For instance, you can tell Thinkific to remind your students they haven’t finished a lesson yet. 
  • You only pay transaction fees for third party payment processors (like Paypal or Stripe); Thinkific doesn’t charge you extra.  

Example of a course hosted with Thinkific: Sew With Alicia. 

https://sewwithalicia.thinkific.com/ 

3. Online Courses, Memberships and Products on Membervault

Website: membervault.co

Offers a free version: Yes! It’s “forever free”, as long as you have less than 50 users and maximum 3 products. 

Lowest paid plan (July 2019): around €35 per month

What’s great about MemberVault: 

  • It’s really easy to see everything on offer in the blink of an eye.
  • That forever free plan! What’s not to love? Ok, it’s got its limits - but with over 50 users, you’ll have the income to pay for MemberVault. 
  • MemberVault has built-in gamification - you can follow your students’ progress really easily. 
  • It doesn’t limit you to courses, or to products that are hosted on Membervault; you can easily integrate it with your email service provider to promote your lead magnets, use it as a place to store your free resources, etc.

This is a link to my own MemberVault: it used to host multiple courses, different types of resources (free and paid), lead magnets, and people could even schedule a discovery call or (paid) strategy sessions with me through MemberVault. Clients also have the option to sign up and get access to EVERYTHING in my Vault for free. (at the time of reviewing this article, some of the products have been taken down for rebranding. Please bear with us!)

4. The All-In-One Platform: Kajabi

Website: kajabi.com

Offers a free version: Not really - there’s a free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee - but no way to actually run your courses for free. 

Lowest price (July 2019): around €106 per month (if billed annually). 

What’s great about Kajabi: 

  • Honestly? The most impressive thing about Kajabi is their fan base. Everyone I know who went with Kajabi stays with Kajabi - and LOVES it. 
  • No additional transaction fees when students sign up. You just pay whatever you're paying your payment processor.
  • It has MUCH more than just course hosting. It includes email marketing, webinars & events, and so many ways to customise your courses.

Which platform do you want to try out?

Hopefully this quick comparison was helpful and answered some of your questions about where to host your course. But keep in mind, there is no wrong choice here, it just depends on where you’re at.

Once you’ve figured out where you’ll host your course, you’ll need to decide on a sales strategy - take a look at this article to help you with that.

Which of these hosting sites are you most drawn to? Do you have an online course or membership yet, or maybe an idea for one you’d like to set up? I’d love to know what it’s all about and how you’re helping your clients with it!

Or maybe you’re already hosting courses, but want to change platforms because your current one doesn’t offer you all the features you need?

Let us know which third-party hosting platform you’re using or are planning to use, what your experience is with it, and if we’ve missed any top sites out, drop us a message in the comments below!