11 Online Course Platform Tier List

Vinod Pandey

The online course platform tier list. Today, I'm gonna be talking about the various online course platforms, and I'm gonna be ranking them from A tier, which is the best, to F tier, which is the worst. I am gonna be talking about these online platforms from the perspective of someone who's thinking of making a course, but I will also mention them from the perspective of someone who might be thinking of taking a course as well. 

I thought I would make this post because I've used a ton of these platforms. I also have friends that have used these platforms and I just recently came out with a course and I used a particular platform that I thought was amazing. And I've used this platform both from the perspective of a course creator as well as a viewer. But there are other platforms out there that may be better for you depending on what you need. 

Online Course Platform Tier List

Table of Contents

1. Skool 

So the first platform I want to talk about on this list is going to be Skool. And this is a platform that was started by a person named Sam Ovens. Now, Sam Ovens is well known for creating the Consulting Accelerator, which is a super famous course, probably like tens of thousands of people took, including myself. And it is a fantastic course. And he basically got people a ton of results. 

Then I guess he got tired of selling courses and he decided to start a SaaS product called and that's what he did, he started Skool. And Skool is basically if the show The Office had a love child with a TED Talk. That is the realm of enlightenment that we're about to dive into when we're talking about this product. 

Now, of course, you can host a course on Skool just like any other product on this list, but what makes Skool so special is three different things. 

  • First, it's simplicity. 
  • Second, the fact that it is group-focused. 
  • Three, the fact that it gamifies the process of having a group that actually interacts with the program. 

And I'm going to break down each of these things. 

Skool is incredibly simple. 

You basically don't even have to have instructions to use it. It's ridiculously simple. The school team is truly a master of user interface and user design because a lot of the hosting platforms are ridiculously complex and you have to constantly call customer support and you have to constantly look up their FAQ. 

But with Skool, I haven't had to do it a single time. And it's Simple from the perspective of the creator and also very simple from the perspective of the viewer. 

It is group-focused

So one thing that anyone who is experienced in the creator economy will tell you, especially people who have been selling courses, is people get much, much better results if the course has a group attached to it. 

The problem with all the other software on this list is you usually have to use multiple different software in order to do this. So you have the course hosted on one platform and then you have the group hosted on a different platform. So there's a huge disconnect. On Skool, they're both hosted in the same place. 

Skool gamifies interaction

So you can actually reward people with tiers for interacting with each other and helping each other out. So basically you have these different tiers where people can unlock different rewards and you can set those rewards to be anything that you want. 

For instance, maybe there are some free templates or maybe some kind of masterclass that you did a year ago that's just been sitting there doing nothing. Or if they get to a high enough level, maybe they get a one-on-one or a group call from you. 

Having an engaged group is not only going to increase your customer satisfaction, but it's also going to decrease the amount of people who request a refund. And it's going to increase the amount of people who buy your other products. 

So if you have like an upsell on top of your basic product, it's going to increase that massively. On top of it, it makes managing your community so much easier because you don't really have to have a bunch of people hired to interact in the groups because people just answer everyone else's questions. So that saves you a massive amount of time, effort, and money. 

And to be honest with you, I think one of the most valuable things anyone can buy is access to a big group of people who are trying to do the same exact thing as you are. And just an example of this is everybody knows how to get fit, right? Literally everybody. 

You can watch a few YouTube videos and you know how to lose weight or to get fit. But lots of people hire personal trainers, and lots of people spend tons of money on different group fitness sessions. The reason for that is that it's so much easier to do something or to learn something if you're doing it with a bunch of other people because human beings are social animals. 

On top of that, you get to network with people, get more accountability, teach newer people, and get mentored by people who are a little bit above you. You can even compete a little bit with people who are on your level. 

Hence, it really adds a social aspect to taking a course or a coaching program that really is just going to increase the results that your clients get, and over the last year or so, I have seen countless creators switch from all of the other platforms and like save tons of money because they were probably spending like a thousand dollars a month on all these different types of software and then just switch everything to Skool. 

Also Read: Best 24 Remote Job Tier List

2. Teachable

Now, the second one on the list I wanna talk about is Teachable. So this is a really common one. And one of the things I really like about Teachable is for some reason, it has kind of a... good vibe to it like it doesn't have an internet marketer-type vibe. Whereas something like ClickFunnels, for instance, definitely does. So it has more of a legit feel to it. 

And so people feel more comfortable buying courses from it for whatever reason. The price varies from zero to $199 per month, depending on what features you want. Now, this is another platform that I have personally used. I actually use this to host my first-ever course. That was the College 101 course. 

It was a pretty good experience using Teachable. It is relatively simple, although nowhere near as simple as Skool, but it's definitely a lot simpler than something like ClickFunnels or Kajabi. For some reason, I had a lot of trouble when it came to making multiple accounts because I had some accounts where I actually bought other people's stuff on Teachable. 

And then I have an account where, of course, I am the course creator myself. And for some reason, there's a lot of glitches whenever I switch back and forth. And I'm not really sure why, but it's mostly just a minor annoyance. I just have to use different browsers for that. But yeah, Teachable is pretty good. I'll go ahead and put it into the B tier. 

3. Udemy

The next one on the list I'm going to talk about is Udemy. And this is a platform that's kind of known for lower prices. So you're probably not going to be selling a thousand or two thousand dollar course on Udemy typically the courses range from 19 to 100 dollars. 

They also often run promos on different courses on Udemy and you get a percentage of the cut when somebody buys a course. The fact that you don't have much control over pricing really limits your freedom and flexibility. 

Now there are still people who absolutely crush it on Udemy usually these are the types of people who make tons and tons of courses. Because making just one course, chances are you're not going to be absolutely crushing it on here. 

Now, one of the upsides of using Udemy is they do a lot of marketing for you. So customers will log on to Udemy and it'll actually show them a bunch of different courses. And if your course rates really well, you might end up on the homepage, and they can do a lot of marketing for you. Also, if people search for certain things, your course might show up. 

And again, they do the marketing for you. So this might be a good option for you if you have absolutely zero following or you don't have a very good marketing strategy in place. But it is a pretty bad option for the course creator when it comes to scaling your business. So with that being said, a lot of people do get started on Udemy when they're selling a course. And it does tend to be pretty good for the viewer because viewers are able to get access to high-quality courses at a lower price. 

Now, you don't have a lot of the other options that you'd have with something like Skool where you have kind of a group. Also, you have like a calendar directly on Skool where people can see when the next call is. It doesn't have a lot of options like that. And it really just limits you in terms of what you can do. So this is truly purely just a course platform. 

You're not going to be able to do anything else. And that limits the value that you can give the viewer. So overall, I'm going to put Udemy into the D tier. 

4. Kajabi

Next on the list is going to be Kajabi. Now, one of the great things about Kajabi is it is another one that's kind of like an all-in-one type platform. So it's kind of like a Swiss army knife for online course creators. And it starts at $149 a month and goes up to $399 a month. 

So it does take care of a lot of the problems that you might have. Now, a few years ago, Kajabi was kind of marketed as a cheaper version of ClickFunnels because ClickFunnels did get pretty expensive. But now Kajabi kind of costs around the same as ClickFunnels. 

So it no longer has that as a competitive advantage. And it's also relatively difficult and complicated to use. But overall, I do know a of creators that still use Kajabi to host their online course. And so I'll put this one into the B tier. 

5. Skillshare

Next, let's talk about Skillshare. Now, Skillshare is something that I really like as a viewer. I found a lot of value from it. And one thing that's cool about Skillshare is it's actually paid by the month. And sometimes they'll have promos where you can get it for like 10 bucks a month. 

But I think typically it's $32 a month or $168 a year, but make sure you look that up. But yeah, like I said, as a viewer, I really love Skillshare because I take all kinds of different random classes on there and I've had a subscription on there for like two years. But as a course creator, I don't really like it as much. 

  • For one, Skillshare recently announced that they're cutting a lot of the revenue from course creators. So it's not as lucrative to do sponsorships and affiliate deals or host your course on Skillshare as it was before. 
  • And two, it never really was all that profitable in the first place because you're basically paid per minute that people watch. 

So it's always gonna be more profitable to create like a higher ticket course or even a higher ticket coaching program because instead of having to get thousands of customers, you only have to get dozens or hundreds. Overall, I'm going to give Skillshare a D-tier ranking. 

6. Thinkific

The next one on the list is going to be Thinkific. Now Thinkific is pretty good. You can actually start for free and it goes up to $149 a month. And for a lot of beginner course creators, this tends to be a pretty good one. 

In fact, I know a guy who teaches other people how to create courses and Thinkific is the platform that he recommends. So overall, Thinkific is pretty good. I'll put it into the B tier. 

7. LearnDash

Next is going to be LearnDash. Now the interesting thing about this one is you can actually integrate it into your website. So you can actually host your course on your website without having to be like a software development genius. Then LearnDash basically ranges from about 199 to $799 per year. That is a massive range. 

Now, I've honestly heard kind of mixed reviews from friends who have used this one. A lot of people who host their courses on their website just go ahead and hire a professional developer. But if you don't have the money to do that, this could be a good option for you. So, therefore, I'm going to put this one into the C tier. 

8. Podia

The next one on the list is going to be Podia. Now, this is another one that is kind of like a Swiss army knife. And to be honest with you, this one is the Skool's closest competitor. And they also focus on communities, which is a very smart thing to do, in my opinion. 

This one ranges from free to $75 per month. Now, the big difference between Podia and Skool, in my opinion, is two different things. 

  • For one, it's definitely not easy to use. 
  • And for two, they don't really incorporate gamification in the same way that school does. 

So overall, I'm gonna have to give this one a D-tier ranking. 

9. LearnWorlds

Next on the list is going to be Learnworlds. Now this one is similar to Podia as well as Skool, but they do incorporate gamification. With that being said, it's a lot more difficult to use than Skool. Like there's a serious learning curve for beginners, tons of different features that you can use. 

I think that things like that honestly just get away from the important things when it comes to hosting an online course. And those important things are of course just delivering results to your students. So if it's difficult for you to use and difficult potentially for your students to use, that's gonna get in the way of you delivering them results. So for that reason, I'll put this one into the D tier. 

10. ThriveCart

The next one on the list is going to be ThriveCart. And this is another one that kind of integrates almost everything. However, it is quite expensive. So it's $495 or $690 for the pro plan. So that's a lot of money to commit upfront. 

Now, one thing that Thrive Bump really kind of prides itself on is one-click order bumps. And that is basically where you have like product. And then on the same page, you can just click a single button and that will upsell them to a different product. 

And for some reason, a lot of the other platforms either don't have this or you have to install some sort of other thing in order to do it, or you can do it, but it's just really janky. And I'm not really sure why that is because one-click order bumps are awesome. 

But with that being said, this one is very complicated to use. There's a ton of different features. It also has a very high initial investment. So for that reason, I'm going to put it into the C tier. And this one is basically exactly what it sounds like. It's more of a group or membership-type platform. 

Again, I think that's pretty smart because I do think that is where the online course, and online coach ecosystem is heading towards because you just get way more value out of a product if it has a group attached to it. But it's much more difficult to use and it does have a limited amount of customization. But with that being said, it's about $99 per month. So overall, I'm gonna put this one into the C tier. 

11. Kartra

Next, let's talk about one of my favorites, which is Kartra. Kartra I've used as a student, So as a viewer, I've used it as an affiliate and I looked into it as a course platform and I almost ended up using it to host my most recent course. 

Now I really like Kartra because it combines all the features and it does it in a really good way. So you can do email marketing on Kartra, you can do landing pages, and you can host your course platform. There are a lot of things that you can do. 

Some of my friends use Kartra and they absolutely swear by it. But with that being said, it does have a pretty big learning curve. So it's not the easiest to use. Now the price ranges from $99 to $429 per month if you go for the yearly plan. And if you go with monthly, it's $119 to $549 per month. 

Now they do have an extensive library of templates that you can use and different funnel mapping tools. They also have really good personalized automation. They have a responsive customer journey, they also have an affiliate feature that you can very easily use and that's something that I was actually looking for when I was trying to choose these different platforms. 

I wanted one where I could easily give other people affiliate links and I also wanted one where I could easily get affiliate links from other people in case there's a course that I want to promote and the Kartra system is really good for that. So overall I would put this one into B tier and I would probably put it as the second-best one on the list behind the Skool. 

Wrapping Up

So yeah I did a ton of research on these different platforms when I was choosing which one I wanted to host my course on. So I just thought I would kind of give you guys all that research for free. Of course, these different platforms might be right for you depending on your particular situation. 

With that being said I think Skool is phenomenal. They're just getting better and better every day because they're the newest platform out of all of these and people are absolutely crushing it with their results on Skool, some people like to double their revenue just by going to Skool. 

I think one of the big reasons is because of the simplicity as well as the gamification features. So yeah, check out Skool if you want. 


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