Wondering what the best place to host your course is? There are so many options out there: Thrivecart Learn, Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia… it’s hard to pick one! I hear you. By the end of this article, you’ll feel confident knowing which course hosting platform is the right for you.

Where to host your online course (when you want a reliable solution but you have a tight budget)
This post includes affiliate links. This means that if you click on the links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. I’m only an affiliate for tools I’ve used and recommend.

Choosing a course hosting platform is key because migrating your courses to a different platform can take a lot of time and effort. Plus, it disrupts your students’ experience a lot when you tell them to log in on a whole other platform and go through the hoops of restoring their access.

So it’s one of those things you want to take your time with so you choose wisely.

First things first, we need to address the elephant in the room…

Should you choose an all-in-one platform for your course based business?

Oof. Right off the bat, I’ll say I’m not usually a fan of all in one platforms for your business. Even though I see the benefits, I also see the risks and to me it’s not worth the risks.

The main benefits of all-in-one course platforms:

✅ Saving money by not having to purchase a dozen tools and systems separately

✅ Sparing you tech headaches and integration issues. You won’t have to integrate different tools and waste headspace figuring out the tech to make it happen.

✅ They’re easier to set up and take less time. You have to learn one tool vs multiple ones.

On the other hand, all in one solutions aren't ideal because...

❌ You’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. If the platform goes down, your entire business goes down with it. Whereas if you have certain things separate, when one goes down, the others continue functioning.

❌ Functionality is often limited or underdeveloped. It’s the definition of a jack of all trades. When a platform has to be good at many things, it often isn’t the best at anything.

There are certain areas of your business where you’re going to need a specialized platform with the power and functionality you need to run your business.

An all-in-one course platform may be the best option if you’re starting your journey as a course creator and don’t yet need all the bells and whistles, and what you truly need is just simplicity.

With that in mind… Let’s talk where to host your online courses!

Thrivecart Learn

I’m not going to leave the best for last. I highly recommend using Thrivecart Learn* if you want to host your course in a reliable platform without breaking the bank.

I’ve seen hundreds of course creators migrate their courses to Thrivecart Learn over the last year or two and I completely understand why.

It’s easy to use, integrates seamlessly with Thrivecart (duh) and the fact that it’s a one time fee and not a monthly subscription makes it a no brainer for most course creators. Especially those just starting out without a big budget.

🎁 Use my affiliate link to get ThriveCart and receive a 90-minute business & mindset breakthrough session! (email me so I know you did it)

Thrivecart Learn Pricing

ThriveCart* is a one time fee and you’ll get access to a powerful checkout tool to collect payments from your students AND the basic level of ThriveCart Learn included for free.

If you want extra features, they offer ThriveCart Learn+ for $195 more. After that? No more payments, ever! Whether you make $1 or $10 million. You don’t get penalized for growing your business.

Unlike other platforms where you have to pay $700-$1000 per year, with Thrivecart you pay less than that, just once. It makes things much easier when you don’t get hit with four figures in course hosting expenses every single year.

They also have a “pays for itself” guarantee so you’re in good hands. I’ve been using them for 5 years and couldn’t be happier.

I recently migrated my own courses to Thrivecart Learn* and I couldn’t be happier. It makes creating and promoting my courses so much easier!

A preview of my course Aligned + Confident in ThriveCart Learn

Why I recommend Thrivecart Learn:

It’s very easy to use even if you’re not techy. There aren’t a lot of customizations, settings or features which makes it as simple as it is powerful. 

You can get your course set up in an afternoon without going through a dozen Youtube videos and help docs.

It has helpful features like:

✅ Instant access vs dripping content
✅ Bundling products if you want to easily give access to bonuses with your main courses
✅ Bulk-importing students through CSV files
✅ Locking or unlocking content based on user actions like completing a module, using a coupon, enrolling within a specific timeframe, etc.
✅ Direct integration with ThriveCart for a seamless enrolling experience

These will come in handy as you grow to keep students engaged!

No complex integrations needed to make sure when people pay they get the right access. Thrivecart’s checkouts will handle the payment AND the enrolling. All you need to do is sit back and see your students enroll and get access seamlessly.

It doesn’t have any limits of any kind in the number of students you can enroll, the courses and digital products you can create, number products you can sell, or anything else.

The downside of Thrivecart Learn:

It doesn’t host the videos for you. Now, before you give up on it altogether, let me say something. It’s okay if Thrivecart Learn doesn’t host the videos for you. You can use a video hosting solution like Vimeo, Loom.com or Bunny.net.

Even with an annual plan of $200, it’s still FAR from the $1000 pricetag of other platforms that do host the videos for you. So you’re still saving a lot of money in comparison.

After the first set up fees, you’ll have a course hosting solution for under $300 every year. That’s the price of only two months in some of the other course hosting platforms.

Get ThriveCart here (affiliate link) and get my 90 minute breakthrough coaching session bonus.


This is a powerful option if you have the budget for it. It’s pricey but (allegedly) easy to use. The main reason I recommend it (beyond its good reputation) is that I love it as a student.

The courses I’ve taken that were on Kajabi were easy to navigate, looked clean and uncluttered. A treat on the eyes!

It may be more affordable if you use it as an “all in one” platform for your website, course hosting platform and email marketing too.

Kajabi Pricing

Kajabi is on the pricey side of course hosting platforms with their (new) cheapest plan starting at $69/mo which is still quite prohibitive for budding course creators that aren’t making consistent sales.

The other plans that have more features are a bigger investment ranging between $199-$399 per month. Committing to a monthly subscription of this size can put a strain on your budget and your business if you’re not well established yet.

If you have the budget for it and want a platform that’s easy to use, looks clean and can be used as an all-in-one platform, Kajabi may be the perfect fit for you.

Why I recommend Kajabi

It looks beautiful from a student stand point, which is going to be key in helping your students finish your course. If your course is hard to navigate, they won’t keep up with it.

You can create stunning sales pages with its editor (or buy a template from Amanda over at Launch In Style* – Use code: DREAMINGSUNDAY to get 15% off!) that really do your course justice. Not every course platform offers good sales page editors *cough* Teachable *cough* so it’s a nice change of pace.

Using it as an all-in-one platform could be a good option to save money and spare yourself headaches trying to integrate a dozen tools. Just keep in mind that if Kajabi goes down, so does your business.

Unlike Thrivecart Learn and Thrive Apprentice, Kajabi does host the videos for you so you won’t have to pay extra to host the videos. The video player also looks elegant and works smoothly, again… *cough* Teachable *cough*.

The downside of Kajabi

For me, the biggest issue with Kajabi is that it comes with too many limitations given its price. On the cheapest plan, which is $69/mo (so not that cheap), you can only have 1 product. The next plan goes up to $149/mo and offers 3 products.

As a course creator, 3 products will limit you tremendously. If you have one course, and two bonuses, boom! You’ve used up your three products and can’t create anything else. Uh…

Their checkout systems don’t seem too advanced and often look cluttered. Order bumps, upsells, and downsells don’t have too much customizability so it’s hard to make them compelling.

Thrive Apprentice

This is the tool I used for a few years before migrating to ThriveCart Learn to host my courses and digital products.

Thrive Apprentice* is a great option if you want to host your courses on your own WordPress website instead of using a third party platform.

Thrive Apprentice is a WordPress plugin that allows you to have your own course hosting platform on your website. It’s a part of the Thrive Themes suite of plugins for WordPress.

⚠ Important: Even though they share part of the name, ThriveCart and Thrive Apprentice aren’t the same nor are they owned by the same company.

Thrive Apprentice pricing

Although it’s not a one time fee like Thrivecart Learn, Thrive Apprentice is still on the affordable side for a course hosting solution. You get a discount on the first year, getting it for just $199 (the price of a single month on Kajabi).

The renewal goes up to $399/year after the initial year. And with another $150 to host your videos on Vimeo, the total per year is still well under the $1000 pricetag of other platforms.

You can also purchase Thrive Apprentice* as part of Thrive Suite*, which includes all of their wordpress plugins for $499 the first year and $799 the rest (and comes with a few online courses to help you grow your business). I personally use Thrive Suite on some of my websites and love all the functionality it gives me.

Why I recommend Thrive Apprentice

Pricing aside, having the chance to have your course hosted on your website is incredible. It’s fully customizable so you can make your course platform look however you want and have it match your branding.

You don’t have ANY limits of any kind in the number of courses, coaching or digital products you want to create, number of students you can have, or anything else. You don’t get penalized for growing, which is something I value immensely.

It has a lot of integrations so you won’t have a hard time trying to connect your different tools. It has a direct integration with ThriveCart, so you can use its checkout systems and enroll your students in Thrive Apprentice with ease.

thrive apprentice preview - where to host your course

Preview of my course Thriving Artist Blueprint in Thrive Apprentice

The downside of Thrive Apprentice

The customizability can be a double edged sword because you can spend days working on the design and tinkering with it until it’s “perfect”. That time could be better spent elsewhere. So be mindful of that.

Not hosting the videos for you is another downside, but like I said earlier, even with $150 extra for that, it’s still cheaper than other course platforms.

Lastly, the deal breaker for many will be the fact that it’s a wordpress plugin. So if you don’t have a WordPress website, you won’t be able to use it.

Other platforms to host your course

I shared a lot about the tools I mainly recommend. I want to talk a little bit about other options I haven’t explored as much, or that I know are popular but I don’t quite recommend.


I recommend Thinkific mainly to new course creators that need to start their course creation journey with the lowest budget ever. Thinkific offers a free plan with no strings attached for one course.

So you can easily get your first course out there and start driving sales and making money without having to spend a single cent on a course hosting platform. 

Once you’re ready to grow, you can upgrade to a different plan or switch to a different course hosting provider.

One great benefit of Thinkific is that they have zero transaction fees on their plans and they have affordable options available.

The downside to Thinkific is that you may end up needing “add-ons” that will make your wallet bleed unnecessarily. Furthermore, they are making a few changes to the no-transaction-fees policy that could result in more expenses for you.


An interesting option for many who need an all in one solution but don’t have the budget to use Kajabi yet. It lets you sell your courses, have a website, a blog, a community, and an email marketing platform.

It has a free plan and other affordable plan options with limitations that all include transaction fees. You have to purchase the most expensive plan to remove all transaction fees, but even then it’s under $100 per month.

Podia is a good option if you need an affordable all-in-one solution or you want a course platform that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.


This one is among the most popular course hosting platforms you’ll find and they’ve been around for many years. Most of the six and seven figure entrepreneurs I worked with hosted their courses here.

However, I just can’t bring myself to recommend it to budding course creators because it’s way overpriced for what it is. 

In the last couple of years, they’ve made changes to the platform that made it harder to use, less intuitive, and visually less appealing. The worst of all was their decision to switch video hosting platforms. The new video player is outright ugly and hard to use.

At the same time, they’ve been increasing the prices even on existing members while adding limits to number of courses you can host, using lower quality video hosting, and overcomplicating the user interface. 

I can’t recommend you use Teachable, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Upping prices, adding limits and lowering quality of service? Instant nope 👎

Over to you - Which course hosting platform is the right for you?

I’ve shared pros, cons and personal experiences with many of the online course hosting platforms. Overall, if I had to choose a course platform for my business again, I would go with Thrivecart Learn. My second option would still be Thrive Apprentice, which is what I used for years before migrating to Thrivecart Learn.

Review the benefits and downsides of each, and then check if they fit your budget before making a decision.

As a final recommendation: if you’re a new course creator and you don’t have a course ready yet, or you haven’t yet made your first sale – don’t invest in an expensive platform. 

Host your course on a platform that’s affordable so you can focus on making sales instead of worrying how you’re going to make ends meet with your business expenses.

Ready to create your online course without the overwhelm?