Want to start selling memberships online? These are the 11 best subscription platforms for the job.
If you’re a content creator, creating a subscription site is a great way to share exclusive content with your followers and establish a recurring income stream without relying on sponsorships and ad revenue.
Sound complicated? It’s actually really simple. All you need is an all-in-one subscription platform for online content creators.
In this list, we’ll review and compare 11 of the best subscription platforms available to help you get started.
Table of Contents
- What is a Subscription Platform?
- 1) Kajabi
- 2) GoHighLevel
- 3) SamCart Courses
- 4) ClickFunnels 2.0
- 5) Teachable
- 6) Thinkific
- 7) LearnWorlds
- 8) Systeme.io
- 9) Podia
- 10) Kartra
- 11) Mighty Networks
- Other Subscription Platforms to Consider
- Concluding Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Subscription Platform?
A subscription platform is a piece of software that you can use to create your own website and start selling subscriptions that give users access to gated, members-only content.
There are lots of different subscription platforms on the market, and each has different features.
But at a minimum, they must include a website/page builder, tools for setting up subscription billing plans, flexible payment options, a checkout, subscriber management tools, and detailed analytics.
Some subscription platforms also come with tools to help you create your subscription products, like an integrated online course builder, paid newsletters, community spaces, etc.
We’ll tell you more about all the features each of our top picks come with as we get into the list.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into it.
Kajabi is a popular all-in-one platform that can be used to build subscription sites and host online courses, podcasts, community content, and much more.
For subscription and membership sites, Kajabi offers recurring payment options and membership management software.
You can set up flexible payment options for subscribers including weekly, monthly, or annual payments, and offer free trials to new subscribers
Kajabi is also very easy to use, especially for beginners. There are tons of resources to help you learn about the platform and even a mobile app to help you access your subscription site on the go.
GoHighLevel is an all-in-one platform that can be used to set up membership sites and sell subscription products and online courses.
GoHighLevel also offers a wide selection of marketing tools, including its new communities feature, making it a great option for creators looking to expand their network and grow their following.
From the GoHighLevel dashboard, you can do everything from managing your payments, customers, and orders to creating products and even sending exclusive offers to your mailing list with their email marketing tool suite.
The great thing about GoHighLevel is that it also comes complete with a social calendar, which will allow you to manage all of your social content and subscription content from one easy-to-use dashboard.
GoHighLevel prices start from $97/month, and there’s a 14-day free trial available.
3) SamCart Courses
SamCart has long been known as one of the best checkout platforms on the market, with everything you need to sell subscription services and manage your online business. And now, with their Course app, you can also use it to build, sell, and deliver online courses.
One of our favorite things about SamCart is its checkout. It’s probably the fastest out there and converts like crazy.
You can integrate Samcart’s checkout into any page, making it easy to start selling subscriptions through your existing website.
We also like SamCart’s powerful ecommerce features. Tools like 1-click upsells, order bumps, add-ons, and cross-sells allow you to customize the checkout process and offer more products alongside your subscriptions to increase your average order values.
SamCart also gives you the tools you need to manage your customer subscriptions. You can pause or cancel them, send out automated reminders to reduce churn, and more. With the Courses app, you also get comprehensive student management and progress-tracking tools.
4) ClickFunnels 2.0
It offers a rich feature set with a drag-and-drop website builder, landing page builder, funnel builder, course creator, checkout, workflows (automations), email marketing, CRM, customer chat software, analytics, A/B testing, and so much more.
If you were to pay for all those tools separately, you could end up paying thousands of dollars a month.
But with ClickFunnels, you get it all for one reasonably-priced monthly subscription payment. And what’s great is all their plans include unlimited courses, pages, products, and workflows.
Plans start from $127/month, and you can get started with a free trial.
Once you sign up, you’ll have everything you need to build your online course or coaching program, set up your subscription offerings, and start selling.
One of our favorite things about Teachable is how easy it is to use. The drag-and-drop site and course builders are a breeze to work with. There’s even built-in AI to help you create your course outline, write your sales copy, generate quizzes, and more at the click of a button.
It’s also one of the few subscription platforms to offer tax handling. If you use Teachable: pay (the native payment gateway), it can automatically calculate, collect, and remit sales tax for you, including US sales tax and EU/UK VAT. Trust me, this will save you from a lot of headaches.
Flexible payment options allow you to sell any way you want. Aside from setting up recurring payment plans, you can offer things like Buy Now, Pay Later options, and more.
Plans start from $39/month, but you can also get started with the Free plan. Just keep in mind that free users are charged $1+10% transaction fees on each sale. View all the Teachable pricing plans here.
Thinkific is another awesome content subscription platform and online course builder. It stands out for its flexible selling options and powerful features.
Like Teachable, Thinkific is designed mainly for creators who want to start their own eLearning business.
Its integrated online course builder is excellent. You can start by choosing from a wide range of course templates, then use the drag-and-drop builder to customize it and craft your lessons and chapters.
Once you’ve made your Thinkific course, you can monetize it by selling subscriptions.
And to complement your course, you can set up your own Learning Communities. These are gated, members-only forums hosted on your website where your customers/students can interact and view gated content.
If you want, you could sell access to your community space on its own, or bundle it up with a course as part of your membership product.
Thinkific is one of the only platforms to offer a free plan with 0% transaction fees. Paid Thinkific plans start from $49/month.
LearnWorlds is another all-in-one platform that’s great for creators looking to share educational content using a subscription-based model.
The tool has over 50 website templates that make it easy for creators to build out a professional-looking site. There are also tons of features that can help make your content more engaging and interactive.
Creators can also take advantage of flexible pricing models and analytics features.
Learnworlds plans start from $85/month and there is also a free trial available.
Systeme.io describes itself as an online marketing platform. However, its features go far beyond marketing.
Systeme.io can be used to host webinars, create courses and manage students, share blogs, and build professional subscription websites.
As well as this, there is also an extensive range of marketing tools to help you grow and engage with your following, such as email marketing, a sales funnel tool, and more.
Systeme.io offers a limited free plan and paid plans start from $27/month.
Podia is an easy-to-use platform that is a good choice for content creators who want to sell digital downloads and exclusive content using a subscription model.
The platform features everything you need such as an intuitive website builder and features to help you sell digital downloads manage online course content and build and manage online communities.
In addition to this Podia offers a bunch of email marketing that can help you create engaging emails for your subscribers.
Podia has a free forever plan available and paid plans start from $33 per month.
Kartra is an all-in-one marketing platform and sales builder with a robust feature set. You can use it to build your membership site, set up automations and sales funnels, and sell subscriptions.
Once you’ve signed up, you can start using the drag-and-drop builder to create your website and landing/sales pages. Then, build out your product catalog and set up your memberships.
To attract customers, you can use Kartra’s built-in marketing tools. Lead capture forms make it easy to generate leads and grow your mailing list, and you can nurture those leads with automated email and SMS offers.
Other features include helpdesks, calendars, affiliate marketing, webinars, courses, funnel mapping, a fully customizable checkout, and more.
The biggest downside is that Kartra’s a little pricier than some of its competitors. But when you factor in all the different tools it comes with, it’s still pretty reasonable.
Plans start from $99/month and you can try it out with a free trial.
11) Mighty Networks
Last but not least, we have Mighty Networks—another subscription management platform that makes it easy to build and sell courses, communities, and memberships.
Mighty Networks focuses more heavily on communities than some of the other platforms we’ve looked at.
You can start by launching your Mighty Network community—a space on your site where users can interact and view exclusive content—then create an online course for your paid community members, offer live streaming events, and more.
The coolest thing about Mighty Networks is that it’s one of the only platforms that gives you the option to create your own branded mobile apps for iOS and Android and sell access to them as part of your subscription memberships.
Plans start from $33/month and you can get started with a 14-day free trial.
Other Subscription Platforms to Consider
Although we’ve chosen the 11 best subscription platforms for content creators, there are other options available if none of the choices in this list meet your requirements.
Here are some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut:
- Uscreen – Great for video-based subscription sites
- Patreon – Good for small, close-knit communities
- Substack – Great for newsletter subscriptions
- Circle – A great choice for hosting live community events
- Buy Me A Coffee– Good for subscriptions as well as one of donations
So, there you have it—11 of the top subscription platforms for creators.
As you can see, there are lots of platforms to choose from so be sure to consider the following when deciding which platform is right for you:
- Key features
- Integrations with your other tools
- The size and needs of your community
Hopefully, this article provided everything you need to find your perfect platform and build an awesome subscription space for your online community.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about subscription sites.
What is the cheapest subscription platform for creators?
The cheapest platform will depend on which plan you choose, as many platforms have different pricing options that include access to different features.
Are there any free subscription platforms?
For example, Teachable charges their Free plan users up to 10% fees on sales. But, if you go with the Pro plan, you get additional features and 0% transaction fees for $159/month.
Although this seems quite expensive, it’s still the most economical choice if you expect to earn over $1590 per month.
What is the best subscription platform for digital products?
Podia is a great option if you’re looking to sell digital products to your subscribers.
It makes it easy to sell all sorts of downloadable content such as ebooks, course templates, videos, and more. Plus, it’s also super easy to use, affordable, and offers a great feature set.
How do I get started building a subscription site?
All you have to do is choose one of the platforms in this list and create an account. Most of the options will have a free plan or a free trial, so you shouldn’t need to commit before you’ve had a chance to try it out.
We recommend starting with Kajabi as it has a generous free trial available, it’s great for beginners, and there’s a range of courses available at Kajabi University that you can use to learn how to build a subscription site from scratch.