When it comes to self-hosted online courses, you have two main options; Thinkific and Teachable.
In this post, It'll be all about Thinkific vs Teachable. I'll compare these two online course platforms in every aspect and help you determine which one is the best.
|Customization||It has a library of themes||Only default template is available|
|Coupons||Advanced options are available. Supports site-wide, single, or multi-course coupons||Don't support multi-month coupons, only specific pricing single coupons are available|
|Import/Export themes||You can import/export themes along with fonts and images||You can't import/export themes|
|Bulk editing features||You need to edit one-by-one||You can edit in bulk|
|Email marketing integrations||Integrates with upto 7 email marketing software||It has fewer integrations|
|Creating course bundles||Comes with advanced features, you can bundle any course||You can't bundle a primary course of another bundle|
|Creating surveys||You can survey your students||No option|
|Live preview||Allows you to preview the changes without the need for publishing||You can't preview without publishing the edits|
|Welcome and completion emails for courses||You can create custom emails on a course basisWelcome them and congratulate on completing the course.||Not present|
Both these platforms are very similar to each other, except for some differences.
As a side note, these two are self-hosted course platforms and cannot be compared with course marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare.
Well, let’s dive into the comparison.
Thinkific (review) is an eLearning platform founded in 2012 based in Vancouver, Canada. Company has over 25,000+ course creators, 11.4 million students enrolled, $100 million+ earned as per the 2018 report.
On the other hand, Teachable has been in the industry for a very long time. It was rebranded from Fedora to Teachable in 2014 by Ankur Nagpal and has its headquarters in NY, USA.
When I compare the popularity of both these platforms, Teachable comes out easily as the most popular platform.
Nevertheless, in this review, going forward, we will look at whether the platforms like Teachable and Thinkific justify their popularity.
In this section, let me discuss some of the areas where each of these platforms excels over the other.
If you are in a hurry, this section may be for you and help you make a quick choice between these.
- It has no transaction fee on any plans
- It has different themes for you to select
- It has in-built mechanisms to survey the students
- It has a feature called narrated/voiceover presentations
- It offers true Whitelabel features whereas, in case of Teachable, the branding is visible in the login page and sales page URLs
- More native integrations
- Teachable has superior course compliance features like enforcing lecture order, enforcing video watching, and graded quiz completion.
- Teachable has an iOS app for students to more effectively consume the course content
- One-step checkouts and upsells makes it highly conversion-friendly compared to Thinkific
- The inbuilt ability to handle EU VAT
- Ability to import course content from Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive
- Inbuilt course certification features
- Has blogging feature which Thinkific lacks
- Drip content unlock notifications for students
- Robust webhooks management system and more Zapier features
Teachable has some features that are crucial and you won’t get them on Thinkific like one-step checkouts, inbuilt course certification, mobile app, and also course compliance.
As a marketer, I can tell that having one-step checkout option and also one-click upsell is a conversion-monster. Teachable has more effective features when it comes to marketing and course delivery.
But the downside is that the Teachable beginner plan comes with a transaction fee of 5%. I would not worry about it as the effectiveness of one-click checkouts will suffice it.
We’ve put forward several aspects like:
- Course creation
In each of these areas, I’m gonna compare Teachable and Thinkific and explain to you what it means to you.
All the features that Thinkific offers are accessible in the sidebar. Most of the features are logically put together.
But some features are present in unconventional places, so you may end up searching for their documentation at times.
For example, I expected the “integrations” page to be under the settings section. But it’s present under “Market and Sell”. It just doesn’t please my intuitive mind.
On the other hand, Teachable interface feels more refined to me and I like their color choices. Their interface is aesthetically pleasing.
Similar to Thinkific all the features are accessible in the sidebar and are logically arranged in the hierarchy. The interface does not feel like barebones and there’s a nice touch to it.
Let us discuss what online course features these platforms offer you.
When you create a course, Thinkific offers you different formats of lectures like videos, narrated presentations, audio, text, files, quizzes, surveys. etc.
Thinkific has surveys and voiceover narrated presentations that are quite unique.
On the other hand, Teachable offers you a file, text, quiz, code. You can include videos in the file lesson type and embed anything under the “code” lesson type.
With Teachable you have the ability to import your lectures through various popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive.
Both these platforms have drip-feed features that enable you to unlock the sections of your course over a period of time.
In Teachable, you have a feature to notify/send email announcements to the students when a new lecture is unlocked which is not present in Thinkific.
Teachable also offers you bulk editing features for you to make lectures downloadable, previewable, and more.
Whereas in case of Thinkific you need to make the changes by checking the boxes one-by-one.
When it comes to course compliance, with Teachable you have three features:
- Enforce lecture order
- Enforce video watching
- Enforce graded quiz completion
On the other hand, with Thinkific you only have the ability to unlock a lesson based on previous lesson completion.
This kind of features help you a lot in academic courses and also in marketing.
When it comes to certification, Thinkific has integrations with Accredible for certificate generation.
On the other hand, Teachable has native certificate generation features and also the ability to code custom certificates with HTML/Liquid.
Another important feature is the comments. With Thinkific, students need to click on the discussions to view the comments. With Teachable, students can right away involve in the discussion without any friction as they would do with a Facebook post.
Once you create your course, it’s very important to present your course attractively.
Thinkific has an edge over Teachable when it comes to site themes (that match different business categories). It also has a superior drag and drop builder.
Thinkific's superior drag and drop page building features helps you a lot to build attractive looking sales pages, checkout pages, and other landing pages easily with Thinkific. It's just more easy to build attractive landing pages to boost conversions.
On the other hand, with Teachable, it comes with a default template and you need to make use of their power editor to customize it in every way.
You may need to have some knowledge of basic HTML and CSS to really get hold of every aspect of your site and landing pages.
Whereas Teachable editor is also powerful but it does not feel live.
Both these also come with the ability to customize the default texts on the site. It helps you tweak the default terms on your site that would otherwise be impossible.
I would say Thinkific is easily a winner as it comes with a superior page building experience. Whereas, with Teachable you may need to make use of their Power Editor to tweak the code.
When it comes to marketing, the common features that both the platforms come with are bundling of courses, coupons, lesson previewing, upselling, and pre-launching.
In this area, I would say Teachable has more effective marketing features like:
- Bulk coupon creation enables you to create bulk coupons with ease
- One-step checkout reduces the friction while visitors are doing checkouts and dramatically boosts the conversion rates. Thinkific comes with a two-step checkout process which is not good for conversions
- One-click upsells are a great way to maximize on the sale
- Teachable allows you to have videos on the sales page (good for conversions i.e. the initial touch-point)
- Teachable gives you the ability to set up your own blog. If you are using platforms like WordPress and already have a blog, this is not applicable to you.
Both these platforms give you the ability to add filters to your list of students and email the segments. Added to this, in both these platforms you can pre-launch and test the waters before launching your course.
In the pre-launch page, both Thinkific and Teachable allow you to capture the emails of the people who have signed up.
If you want to create fully-fledged membership sites and sell digital products, you may want to check out Podia. Make sure you read my post on Teachable vs Podia.
I would say that Teachable has the best marketing features, whereas Thinkific has better customization features like drag and drop builder so on.
The better customization features offered by Thinkific may help you design conversion-friendly landing pages with ease thus helping you with marketing.
Both these platforms come with a good number of integrations. These platforms integrate well with platforms like Google Analytics, Segment, Facebook Pixel, etc.
When it comes to email marketing, Thinkific has more direct integrations with upto 7 email marketing software. Whereas Teachable has fewer integrations.
Both of these platforms have webhook and Zapier integrations.
Teachable has a more advanced and robust webhook management system. It also has more number of triggers and actions in Zapier. If you want to know more about these features, read my in-depth Teachable review.
To sum it up, Thinkific has more native integrations but Teachable has more robust and easy custom integration features like webhooks and Zapier.
Both Thinkific and Teachable comes with Stripe and PayPal. Teachable also supports Apple Pay and Google Pay and they are only available for one-time purchases and schools using Teachable Payments or the Monthly Payment Gateway
Your visitors will be able to checkout with their credit cards using the Stripe integration.
The payments made by your students will be directly deposited to your bank account via Stripe or PayPal.
If you are interested in integrating any of your custom solutions with Thinkific or Teachable, you can make use of their Zapier or webhooks. For example, you can let your SamCart or ThriveCart customers to get access to the courses or memberships.
Winner: Teachable, as it comes with Apple Pay and Google Pay as well.
Teachable offers you email and ticket support for all their plans. If you need to live chat customer support, you need to be in their professional plan or above.
But in the case of Thinkific, you need to only get email and ticket support. The live chat is not even present in their highest plans.
Both of these platforms come with extensive knowledge base articles and tutorials.
Winner: Teachable comes with live chat support in their higher plans
Both Thinkific and Teachable comes with free plans.
Teachable allows you to create unlimited courses in the free plan but charges you 10% transaction fee. On the other hand, you can create only upto 3 courses in Thinkific and it charges no fee. Again, both of them have their own pros and cons.
All these platforms come with basic, professional and business plans.
The basic plan of Teachable costs you $29/month, and they charge you a fee of 5% on every sale. On the other hand, Thinkific costs you $39/month and they don’t have any fee.
The pro plans of these platforms come with almost all the features and they won’t charge you any fee for the sales.
|Free Plan||Core features plus: |
Quizzes & surveys
Instant access to your funds
Integrated payment processing
10% fees on courses
|Basic Plan||Free features plus:|
Unlimited courses & students
Drip (scheduled) content
Manual student enrollment & exports
|All base features plus: |
5% transaction fees
2 admin-level users
Course creator training
Custom domain support
Drip course content
Integrated affiliate marketing
Integrated email marketing
|Pro Plan||Basic features plus: |
Unlimited courses & students
2 Site admin accounts
5 Course admins/authors
Private & hidden courses
Advanced course pricing options
Memberships and bundles
|Basic features plus:|
5 admin-level users
Priority product support
Advanced theme customization
Course completion certificates
|Business Plan||Pro features plus:|
Unlimited courses & students
5 Site admin accounts
15 Group Analysts
50 Course admins/authors
Single sign-on (SSO)
Unlimited Growth Package
|All Pro features plus:|
100 admin-level users
Priority product support
Manual student imports
Bulk student enrollments
Custom user roles
If you are going with their free plans, you should be okay with either of the following:
- Have restriction of 3 courses to create (go with Thinkific)
- Pay 10% fee on every sale made with unlimited free courses (go with Teachable)
If you compare the free and basic plans of both Thinkific and Teachable, I would say Thinkific has better value for money. On the other hand, for pro and business plans you really need to take a closer look.
If you think Teachable costs high, I suggest you take a look at Teachable alternatives that are more affordable and come with almost the same features as Teachable.
Winner: Thinkific (although the basic plan costs high, doesn’t come with a fee)
FAQs on Thinkific vs Teachable
Do these course platforms come with transaction fees?
Thinkific doesn't come with any fees. But Teachable comes with 5% transaction fees. But you need to consider if the extra features I've described are worth it
Can I export the themes?
You can export or import the themes along with images in the case of Thinkific. But you can't do it with Teachable as they have power editor like I discussed.
Can I bundle my courses to and sell them as upsells?
You can bundle the courses with both these platforms.
Do these platforms allow me to send welcome and course completion emails?
With Thinkific you can create and send custom course emails. But you can't do this with Teachable.
Do they have a free plan?
Yes. Both platforms offer free plans with limited features. Teachable has a generous free plan with unlimited students, courses, and hosting. Thinkific has course limitations with its free plan.
Thinkific has its strengths in design and customization. Teachable has its strengths in marketing and online courses (two most crucial parts). Although Teachable does not come with different themes, you can have a coder easily customize your site’s default template using a power editor.
I’ve provided you all the differences in the features and benefits of these platforms. It is now your call.
Teachable is one of the best Thinkific alternatives you can consider with more advanced features.
If you ask me, I would go with Teachable solely because of its superior course creation abilities, and also one-click checkout and upsell functionalities that are simply awesome.
I hope you found this post on Teachable vs Thinkific helpful.