When it comes to self-hosted online courses, you have two main options; Thinkific and Teachable.
In this post, I’ll compare Thinkific and Teachable 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.
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 course creation 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.
It has a small library of themes/presets you can apply for your site.
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.
Both these platforms come with visual editors.
Thinkific offers a more live preview while editing. It has more elements for the pages.
Thinkific has more design options with its theme choices and editor.
Whereas Teachable editor is also powerful but it does not feel live.
When it comes to custom domains, both these platforms offer you to use custom domains.
Here, one thing to note is that even when you add a custom domain, Teachable’s login URL contains their branding.
Although it may not be a big deal, it’s not suitable for client work.
Both these also come with the ability to customize the default texts in the site. It helps you tweak the default terms on your site that would otherwise be impossible.
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.
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 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 transaction 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 transaction fee.
The pro plans of these platforms come with almost all the features and they won’t charge you any transaction 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:|
No transaction fees
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:|
No transaction fees
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% transaction fee on every sale made with unlimited free courses (go with Teachable)
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 transaction fee)
Thinkific has its strengths in design and customization. Teachable has its strengths in marketing and course creation (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 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.