Thinkific vs Teachable (July 2021): What’s the Best Way to Sell Online Courses?

Selling your own online course doesn't have to be scary. In fact, you don't even need to be a web designer. That's thanks to the wide variety of online sales platforms and website building tools made just for online courses. Today, we're pitting Thinkific vs Teachable to see which one might be best for your situation.

Both Thinkific and Teachable are reputable, high-powered online course building and selling platforms. There are also some other options to choose from, like the ever so popular Udemy, but Thinkific and Teachable are more similar because they're sold as “all-in-one” platforms. By this we mean that you pay a monthly fee for all of the features you need. This includes hosting, SSL certificate, and domain names. Therefore, when we look at Thinkific vs Teachable it's clear that they are quite different when compared to WooCommerce (where you have to configure your own site and hosting) or Udemy (where the system is set up for you but you don't have full control over your website).

thinkific vs teachable - teachable homepage

In general, there are many features to look for when seeking out an online course selling platform. In this article, we'll outline everything from pricing to features, and design to customer support. You'll learn about the in-depth offerings provided by both systems and have a better understanding of what you're paying for.

thinkific vs teachable - thinkific homepage

Let's get started.

Introducing Thinkific and Teachable:

Thinkific and Teachable are both high-quality hosted platforms that allow you to sell and create courses from your own location online. You can upload all kinds of content using quizzes and videos. Additionally, you can structure your courses to suit your needs, protect course content accordingly, and accept payments online.

Crucially, you don’t need any high-level coding or tech skills to get involved with Thinkific or Teachable too. These online course platforms come with an easy to use solution that allows you to get started as quickly as you like. Another important thing is that although Thinkific and Teachable come with a range of ways to get involved, including a basic plan, they’re not online marketplace.

In other words, they aren’t the same as Udemy where you pitch your courses to an existing audience. Instead, you’ll have complete control of everything from student data to pricing and beyond.

Pros and Cons of Teachable:

If you’re looking for the perfect course creators, the first step is to find out what each software solution offers. Teachable offers a lot of benefits, but it has some downsides too, for instance:

Pros 👍

  • Course builder is more user-friendly and flexible
  • iOS app included
  • Better analytics and course reporting tools
  • Well-optimized 1-step checkout
  • Support for Apple and Google pay on native gateways
  • Digital Goods VAT tax supported
  • 1-click upsells
  • Offers live chat support

Cons 👎

  • No option for live workshops
  • Basic integrations (no advanced options)
  • Transaction fees

Pros and Cons of Thinkific:

So, how does Thinkific compare?

Pros 👍

  • Beautiful looking websites created fast
  • Easy to get started for free
  • Support for advanced features like question banks
  • Inbuilt support for surveys and assignments
  • Create as many paid courses as you like
  • Powerful page and site builder
  • Zero transaction fees for all plans
  • Flexible pricing options for subscriptions
  • Bulk-sell courses and manage students easily
  • Ability to build a standalone community space

Cons 👎

  • Paid plans are quite expensive
  • No ability for live workshops
  • No course documentation to help you get started

Thinkific vs Teachable: Pricing/Fees

As our first test in the Thinkific vs Teachable comparison, we obviously want to see how much the tools cost! Most smaller businesses and entrepreneurs care quite a bit about cost savings, so it makes sense to get that out of the way.

Starting off with Thinkific, you can actually test out the core features without paying a dime. The plan looks like it's technically just for testing, so I wouldn't expect to run a store for free. That said, it's nice that you don't have to worry about a free trial ending or working with a limited set of features.  Having said that, you are able to create three courses with the free plan, so if you only decide to have a small course website, it might work!

Here's a roundup of all Thinkific pricing plans:

  • Free – $0 for all of the core features, three courses, unlimited students, quizzes and surveys, content hosting, and immediate access to your funds.
  • Basic – $49 per month for all of the features in the previous plan, unlimited courses and students, coupons, email communications with students, drip content, affiliate reporting, custom domains, email integrations, Zapier triggers, and manual student exports, and enrollment.
  • Pro – $99 per month for all of the features from the previous plan, unlimited courses and students, two site admins, five course admins, hidden and private courses, advanced pricing, memberships and bundles, advanced customizations, priority support, and certificates.
  • Premier – $499 per month for all features in previous plans, unlimited courses and students, five admin accounts, 50 course admins, a single sign in option, onboarding package, and access to growth packages from Thinkific.

The Growth Package

The growth package pricing depends on how many students you have. The first 100 students are free, but it could potentially go up to $499 per month. On the lower end, you would pay $10 per month for 200 students. The Pro Plan is required for the Growth Package.

After that, you receive things like groups, bulk emails, advanced segmentation, Public API access, webhooks, the removal of Thinkific branding, Brillium Exams integration, ActiveCampaign integration, and Infusionshot integrations.

These features could be rather valueable for adding more students to your courses. We particularly like it if you want full customization of your website with the API and webhooks.

The Enterprise Plan from Thinkific

High-volume users and large companies most likely fall into the Enterprise category. Some companies that use Thinkific include Intuit, Samsung, and Hootsuite, whether it be for internal training courses or helping out customers.

The Enterprise solution is a completely customizable plan, so you have to contact the sales team at Thinkific to see what can be done for your brand.

Onto Teachable Pricing

Now that we have a good take on what you would have to pay for Thinkific, let's dive into the Teachable pricing plans.

  • Basic – $29 per month ($39 paid monthly) for all base features, 5% transaction fees, instant payouts, two admin users, product support, course creation training, custom domains, coupon codes, drip content, integrated affiliate marketing, email marketing, and other third-party integrations.
  • Professional – $99 per month ($119 paid monthly) for everything in the previous plan, but with no transaction fees. You also gain access to instant payouts, five admin users, priority customer support, graded quizzes, advanced customization, advanced reports, an unbranded site, completion certificates, and course compliance.
  • Business – $249 per month ($299 paid monthly) for everything in the previous plan, 100 admin users, priority support, manual student importing, custom user roles, and bulk enrollments. You also still get the instant payouts and no transaction fees with this plan.

So, which one is the better value? It looks like the lower tier pricing plan from Teachable is more desirable for companies just getting started. The features definitely vary between platforms, so some of the more unique features may press you to choose one over the other. But on the surface, Teachable appears to be a better deal in general.

Winner: Teachable

Thinkific vs Teachable: Overall Feature-sets

When looking at Teachable, it's packed with excellent features. You also get the advantage of unlimited courses and students for all plans. That being said, Thinkific is no slouch. In fact, Thinkific has more unique packages and integrations for companies that are looking for an advanced course building and selling tool.

From designing your course pages to quickly uploading media like images and videos, you have plenty of features to play around with in Thinkific. I especially like the fact that you can connect items like Google Docs and Articulate. With both platforms, you should know that all of your website content is hosted for you. This means there's no need to go out and install something like WordPress on a host.

Moving on now, let's explore some of our favorite features from Thinkific: 

  • Quick customization tools for branding your website and matching courses to your brand.
  • Instant uploading and support for video, text, quizzes, discussions, Google Docs, and more.
  • You can add downloads to all of your courses.
  • Support for both private and hidden courses.
  • Prerequisite lessons for people to take prior to signing up for a class.
  • Tools for building a complete membership website.
  • Drip content to slowly reveal lessons as users move through your courses.
  • Options for multiple instructors.
  • Cohorts.
  • Expiring and evergeeen content.
  • Themes made for a wide variety of industries.
  • A beautiful drag and drop builder for all experience levels.
  • The option to utilize your own unique domain name.
  • Full access to CSS and HTML areas–allowing for the ultimate customization.
  • Membership and subscription site tools.
  • Coupons and promotions.
  • Instant payment from over 100 currencies.
  • Affiliate tools.
  • Email marketing integrations.
  • Advanced data tracking.
  • Integrations with thousands of marketing and business apps.

As you can see, Thinkific has a nice list of features for you to sink your teeth into. Some of them are rather unique, such as the integrations and amazing themes.

Now, let's switch over to Teachable to see what features look most appealing:

  • Options to add all sorts of media like audio, PDF files, and videos.
  • Import all of your media from places like OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
  • Build your entire site through Teachable or integrate it with your current website.
  • Teachable has a drag and drop builder with some initial templates to work with.
  • Access to the site code for advanced customization.
  • Sales landing pages for improving your conversions.
  • The option to connect your own domain to the website.
  • Support for a wide variety of languages.
  • Quizzes and completion certificates to evaluate and reward students.
  • A full discussion forum for students to chat with each other and ask questions.
  • Tools for collecting student feedback through surveys and Google Forms.
  • Integrations for things like email marketing and customer support.
  • Segmentation options for your student list.
  • Promotions and coupons.
  • Advanced pricing.
  • A built-in affiliate program to reward those who refer others to your courses.
  • Support for up over 130 currencies around the world. You can also accept all major credit cards and PayPal.
  • An area to incorporate conversion pixels for tracking.
  • Excellent stats and insights to learn about your students and where they come from.

Disregarding which of these features come with which pricing plan, it's clear that both Thinkific and Teachable have loads of features for you to utilize when selling courses online. They both have promotions and coupons, integrations for email marketing, and support for many types of media and content.

Membership and affiliate tools come in both platforms, and you can access CSS and HTML code in either.

I do believe that the overall Thinkific design is better, but let's save that for the next section. As for the features when comparing Thinkific vs Teachable, it's close to a tie, but we'll give the edge to Teachable because of its beautifully crafted sales pages. These are essential for when users click through your Facebook or Google ads, so it's nice that you don't have to go out and pay for a separate landing page platform.

Winner: Teachable (but not by much)

Thinkific vs Teachable: Design

As we mentioned in the section above, Thinkific and Teachable each provide CSS and HTML file access. This means that you or a developer can go into the files and adjust or add your own code. This is an incredible freedom for site designers, since you can brand your website the way you want and potentially change just about any style, font, or item location.

In addition, the default site designs from both platforms look clean, modern, and easy enough for beginners to use. Therefore, you can take advantage of the design tools from both, whether you're an experienced designer or a beginner. It's also nice to know that you at least have the option to hire a designer to modify site files.

Both platforms come with access to things like free hosting and your own SSL certificate for your course content. Additionally, there’s a team that takes advantage of crucial things like backup, security, maintenance and updating your courses for you. You can even unlock free subdomains for your website or use custom domains if you prefer.

Both Thinkific and Teachable offer the optimize to customize the language or site text for your website too. However, each option comes with different ways to upsell and cross-sell your content.

Yes, we enjoy the sales pages from Teachable, but the design area is where Thinkific really excels. Teachable has a base website template that pretty much all of its users start with. You can change the design a bit by uploading your images, adding a logo, and adjusting the colors. It also has a drag and drop builder for ease of use.

However, Thinkific takes it to the next level with a large collection of beautiful templates. Do you plan on selling fitness courses? There's a theme just for that. What about a course on blogging for revenue? That's provided as well!

Thinkific is always adding new templates for you to choose from, but the library looks pretty useful right now for a wide range of industries and products. Combine that with the drag and drop builder, the options for your own domain name and full access to site files and you've found an option with some of the best design tools in the business.

Winner: Thinkific

Thinkific vs Teachable: Website Themes and Page Builders

Let’s take a closer look at what you might be able to get from Thinkific and Teachable. For instance, Thinkific has a theme library included which comes with a range of themes to choose from. There are also various styles available for the themes that you explore. As soon as you select a theme style, you can add it straight to your website without an issue.

On the other hand, Teachable doesn’t provide the same kind of site theme experience. There is a default template to consider, and all of the websites that build on Teachable use that technology. There’s also a theme are where you can upload customization elements according to the needs of your site. For instance, you can define the color and font of your website and update your logo.

The default theme in Teachable is excellent for delivering a modern and sleek experience. The problem here is that there aren’t enough choices for your site themes. If you’re an advanced user, Thinkific will allow you to modify some code in the back-end of the website. However, Teachable doesn’t give you the same power to import themes. You can use the power editor to modify the code of everything from the homepage of your learning platform to the checkout page, however.

From a page building perspective, both Thinkific and Teachable have drag and drop page builder solutions which you can use to create virtually any kind of page you can imagine. Designed to help you make your courses and bundles stand out, these tools can create everything from sales pages to home pages and more.

You can add different kinds of elements to your pages and drag and drop the elements wherever you choose. Additionally, both of the page building tools have live editors included where you’ll be able to see the changes made on your website in real time. However, there is some significant difference between the two builders. Even the language on the pages is very different. For instance, if you want to create a module for something like your testimonials, you’ll need to use Sections on Thinkific.

Thinkific’s sections also come with plenty of extra elements to choose from, including a countdown timer and lead capture forms. On the other hand, Teachable is lacking these page block options. Although you can add various modules to your site there’s a lot less to choose from.

Another point to consider is that Teachable doesn’t give you as many options for customization to make your website stand out. Thinkific has a lot more freedom built in so you can create the site that really conveys the inner essence of your brand.

One significant plus side for the Teachable page builder is that you can have multiple sales pages that you can use to sell and advertise the same course. This is useful for creating various custom sales pages for campaigns. You can even do some of your own split testing if you prefer.

Thinkific vs Teachable: Blogging and White Labeling

If you want your online learning solution to stand out, then you need more than just a range of payment plans and plugins. You need a way to show your value upfront. That’s why many companies add blogging and branding to their business plan.

Teachable allows you to create a blog on its platform, which means you can create blog post, add text and images, and have a very basic blog up and running in a matter of minutes. However, a blog built on Teachable isn’t fully functional. It’s not as powerful or flexible as a Squarespace or WordPress blog. Additionally, you can’t customize anything on the blog either.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Teachable doesn’t seem to be focused on enhancing their blogging capabilities any time soon. We haven’t seen a lot of evidence of Teachable updating the blog customization options lately.

From a white labeling perspective, the good news is that both of these platforms allow you to sell your digital products under your own brand. That means that when you’re creating membership sites, or updating your payment gateway, you can create something that suits your brand.

Both Teachable.com and Thinkific allow you to remove the branding that they have on their sites already and add your own logos and content. However, even if you use a custom domain, it’s worth noting that the signup pages on Teachable still belong to Teachable.

When it comes to creating a website that allows you to make the most of strategies like content marketing and brand building, Thinkific is a clear winner over Teachable. There are better site themes to choose from, and a more powerful page builder to consider too. This makes creating your own unique websites as quick and simple as possible. You can build your sales pages and so on through the Teachable platform too.

Thinkific vs Teachable: SEO and Marketing

Building an online learning platform that showcases your thought leadership and distinct branding components is just the first step. Once you build your site, you also need to think about how you’re going to attract as many customers to you as possible. Both of these sites allow you to sell recurring products, course bundles, and even create coupons.

Teachable does a much better job than Thinkific when it comes to offering marketing and sales capabilities in the platform. Additionally, the biggest differentiator between the two platforms is the checkout process. Teachable has a highly optimized process for checkouts where users enter their personal information and accesses payment without leaving the page.

Once the payment goes through, the user can also create an account so that they can keep coming back to your website for more in the future too. You can also add custom elements to the mix like money-back guarantees, Testimonials, and more. There’s a two-step checkout process included with Thinkific, which allows a user to create an account and make payments on the following page.

Although you can still manage transactions with a 2—step process, a significant percentage of your users drop out of the process without making a payment Thinkific allows you to add a host of custom conversion elements to the checkout pages on your site too. However, it’s worth noting that from a design perspective, Thinkific just doesn’t add up.

Although Thinkific soars ahead of Teachable in various areas, it’s the Teachable checkout process that always comes out on top. Another important component of the process is a 1-click upsell strategy. This is one of the most effective ways to improve the number of transactions that you can access per customer. Both Thinkific and Teachable allow you add a one-click upsell to your “Thank You” page. Additionally, you can customize your elements and add various conversion components like CTAs, text, video, and so on.

One particularly compelling feature that makes Thinkific stand out in this area is that there are “After Purchase Flows” available, which allow users to create unique offers for customers depending on the pricing plan available. You can show a unique upsell offer for every course that you can access in Teachable. However, you can’t do this according to different pricing plans.

Thinkific vs Teachable: Affiliate Marketing

Both Thinkific and Teachable allow you to add affiliate marketing components to your website. This means that when you’re looking for ways to add more sales opportunities to your site, you can get other people involved. You could even launch a Facebook group to find affiliates and add them to your school so that they can assist with promoting courses.

Both Teachable and Thinkific give you the option to set custom commission percentages for affiliates as and when you choose. There are affiliate dashboards on each site builder too, where your users can find their affiliate links and see how much they’re contributing to your bottom line through Stripe and PayPal.

When it comes to Affiliate marketing, both of these platforms have similar capabilities, and lack a few important features too. For instance, you don’t have the option to set custom affiliate percentages for specific courses. Additionally, Teachable’s affiliate marketing components do have more customization elements available than Thinkific.

For instance, with Teachable, you can set things like custom cookies for affiliates which means that certain cookies only last for a specific period of time. Teachable also allows you to use affiliate features when you don’t build your landing pages with the same platform. This is something you simply can’t get on Thinkific unless you know a lot of Java coding.

The thing that makes the Teachable affiliate features really stand out on Teachable is how effective it is to automatically pay your marketing helpers. You can just use the gateway in Teachable to start paying your affiliates each month without having to think about it.

From a sales and marketing perspective, Teachable definitely stands out from the crowd. There are more ways to integrate marketing tools like MailChimp and beyond. Additionally, the checkout process from Teachable is just super well optimized, so you don’t have to worry about losing potential students at the last hurdle.

The 2-step checkout process and the lack of extra marketing components on Thinkific means that you could miss out on crucial conversions when you’re trying to grow your brand. However, Thinkific does give you a bit more flexibility when it comes to things like customization and subscription memberships.

Teachable vs Thinkific: Customer Support

Thinkific provides a help center, resources, and a blog for if you would like to complete your own research when you encounter a situation with the platform. The company also has a training site where you can purchase online courses for building your Thinkific site and making more money online with courses. The only problem is that these online courses are pretty expensive. It looks like it's more of a second revenue stream for Thinkific and not so much a support module for customers.

The Thinkific help center is solid, and you can also tap into the community forum where users chat about problems or tactics. Other than that, you can send in an email for direct support. There isn't anything in terms of phone or chat support.

Lastly, you can find a page for Thinkific experts if you need help with marketing, web design or anything else.

Teachable, on the other hand, offers a knowledgebase and blog for its online support. You can also find experts for things like web design and more. The primary form of direct contact information is through email, where you would be placed into a ticketing system.

Both Thinkific and Teachable have social pages as well, if that's how you like to get your support or contact information.

Overall, Thinkific seems to have better online resources than Teachable, but they are both pretty solid in the customer service department. We'll give the edge to Thinkific on this one.

Winner: Thinkific

Thinkific vs Teachable: Student Communications

Completion certificates are given in both platforms, so you're able to reward people for when they move onto a different part of the course.

Thinkific provides discussion areas and options to communicate with your students through quizzes. You also have options for direct messaging to students.

Thinkific vs Teachable

Teachable is very much the same, with forum tools for users to chat, and some direct messaging fields. Quizzes and surveys are also part of the equation, so it looks like Thinkific and Teachable are on the same playing field when it comes to student communications.

That said, Thinkific does have plenty of customer service integrations, so if you use any of those you might find that Thinkific does a better job with communication. However, it all depends on your third-party tools. When comparing Thinkific vs Teachable in the realm of customer service, it really is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Thinkific vs Teachable: Which One is Right for You?

This is one of the closest comparisons we've done on this site, and it's because when you pit Thinkific vs Teachable against each other you start to realize that they have very similar features. Both of them are pre-built website platforms made just for online courses. You can integrate with several marketing tools, and the payment processing is all handled for you. Not to mention, domain names are supported and you don't have to find your own hosting.

That being said, here are some suggestions:

  • Teachable makes the most sense if you're strictly worried about price.
  • Teachable and Thinkific has similar features, but we like Thinkific for its integrations and Teachable for its sales landing pages.
  • The template designs are amazing on Thinkific. Teachable only really has one starting design that you customize.

There you have it! That does it for our Thinkific vs Teachable comparison. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with either Thinkific or Teachable, let us know in the comments below.

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.