When you think of the numerous online course platform options to sell online courses, the two that always seem to be at the top are Teachable and Thinkific.
More than likely, the famous “influencers” you follow use one or the other to create courses.
As someone who recently switched from Thinkific to Teachable (Pro plan for both), I can tell you that they both have similar sales and marketing capabilities that course creators would want and need to get started selling online courses.
Teachable is way better than Thinkific in some areas and vice versa.
Thinkific is way better in other significant areas.
The two platforms are great for creating and marketing courses and are priced reasonably for what they can do (and they both are better than course marketplaces. You have complete control with both platforms).
However, just because I found Teachable to suit my needs better doesn’t mean it will meet your needs.
There are particular criteria that we will go over to determine whether or not Teachable or Thinkific is for you.
That is why I decided to write this detailed comparison on Thinkific vs Teachable because I know that I would’ve wanted to know what we’re going to go over before creating my own online course.
It would’ve saved me a lot of time and money.
Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
- Teachable vs Thinkific Summary:
- Thinkific vs Teachable – Comparison Overview
- Teachable vs Thinkific Highlights
- Final Verdict: Teachable or Thinkific for Online Courses?
Teachable vs Thinkific Summary:
Thinkific is better when it comes to course creation and ease of use, but not by much. Teachable is, by far, better when it comes to sales and marketing features (it’s not even close).
Thinkific’s free plan might be better than Teachable, but it’s paid plans (specifically the Pro+Growth plan) can get very pricey and has no cap, whereas Teachable stops at $119 per month. Both have their pros and cons, which we’re going to go over now.
A Side-By-Side Comparison
|Online Business Features||Teachable||Thinkific|
|Ease of Use||4.5/5||4.5/5|
|Sales & Marketing Features||4.5/5||3.5/5|
|Site Design and Customization||4/5||4/5|
Thinkific vs Teachable – Comparison Overview
Thinkific is the bigger of the two companies. It powers more than over 50,000 course creators, in over 190 countries, and some of them being “big” names you may know, such as:
- Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness
- Dana Malstaff, BossMom
- Ryan Chynces, Hootsuite
They also have many reasons as to why Thinkific is always at the top of most course creators:
- They have responsive email and phone support
- 90% of questions are answered in less than 5 hours (COVID may delay these times)
- Super easy to use and the courses look beautiful (with their new update)
- Course analytics are great and easy to communicate with students with filters for courses.
- Great free plan option
- Zero transaction fees
Those are just to name a few.
While the smaller of the two companies, Teachable has some solid numbers. They’ve helped more than 100,000 creators who’ve sold just over $500 million in courses and coaching.
They also have a list of significant “names” that use their course platform, such as:
- Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income
- David Perell, North Star
- James Clear, Habit Academy
And a whole lot more.
Some of the reasons why Teachable is great:
- Their checkout pages are beautiful and conversion-based, and their marketing features are great.
- Their online support team is excellent with the option of live chat support (something Thinkific doesn’t offer).
- The course drag and drop editor for organizing and publishing lessons makes Teachable easy to use.
- Their course analytics and filters are great, and you can customize a lot of their automated email templates.
- Better email reporting
- Teachable has a dedicated iOS app for learning on the go.
- Teachable handles EU Digital Goods VAT Tax.
- It has direct integration with ConvertKit (my preferred ESP)
There’s a lot to talk about and expand upon, so let’s get on with it already and talk about criteria number 1.
1. Performance & Uptime Review
Performance and uptime are number one on our list of criteria because, as a course creator, we would never want our course to go offline for our students.
Downtime would mean potential students who are interested in your course wouldn’t be able to buy.
That or current students wouldn’t be able to go through the lessons you created.
If you ever want to know if Teachable or Thinkific is down, you can check these two sites:
That being said, this year, Thinkific has had a lot more outages than Teachable has.
For that reason, I’m giving the slight edge to Teachable for Performance and Uptime, but what about security?
You also want your course to be safe from hackers and scammers, right?
Well, you should.
Thankfully, for this Teachable vs Thinkific battle, both offer superb security for your online courses.
Both Thinkific and Teachable have:
- 24/7 monitoring
- Instant access to updates (all updates are automatic)
- 2048-bit SSL certificates
- None of your data – you own your content and data
Although both Teachable and Thinkific offer outstanding performance and 24/7 monitoring, this year, Thinkific has had a lot more “outages” than Teachable. For that reason, Teachable wins this round.
Get started free with Teachable.
2. Ease of Use of Course Creation and Design
No one wants a robust, complicated course creation process.
You want something that you can “pick up” in minutes, and both Teachable and Thinkific are easy to use, which is great.
Both Thinkific and Teachable also have the following essential tools for creating lessons such as:
- Custom HTML/Code examples
However, they start to differ in a couple of areas.
Let’s talk about it.
Course Dashboard and Creation
Thinkific’s course creation dashboard is beautiful and easy to use.
Thinkific allows you to quickly drag and drop the order of lessons and see all your lessons while editing one.
Unfortunately, Thinkific doesn’t have bulk features as Teachable does.
For example, if you want to change the lessons setting in Thinkific, you have to go into every single lesson and modify it:
In Teachable, you can enable these similar features and settings in bulk, which is great if you have a TON of lessons.
This is one of the many convenient features in Teachable when it comes to course creation.
Here’s what the Teachable course creation dashboard looks like:
Although you cannot see the content of all your lessons and edit simultaneously, it’s still drag and drop.
Thinkific has some great features when it comes to lessons that Teachable doesn’t have such as:
- Audio recordings over PowerPoint slides
That being said, Teachable can provide unlimited customization in terms of how your lessons look and what types of content you want in your lesson.
For example, if you wanted an interactive PDF, some text, a video, a code example, and more text, ALL in the same lesson, you can do that in Teachable.
In Thinkific, you’re very limited to what types of content you have in a lesson.
You can’t have an interactive PDF and some text and a video. You can have one or the other:
As you can see, Teachable offers more features for lessons.
With Teachable, you can add all types of lessons, and in whatever order you want:
You can also add upsells to your lessons in any course!
This is a neat feature that only Teachable offers.
We’ll talk more about upsells and upsell features in the Marketing section, but this is what it looks like in your course:
Here is where you choose what Upsell you want to insert as a lesson (you create the upsell in advance).
You can create the heading text, description, and button CTA.
Here’s one that I created:
Again, this is not available in Thinkific.
If you want to make sure your students see all that you can offer to them, then this may be the feature that pushes you over.
That being said, Thinkific has more lesson options:
Also, something that isn’t talked about enough is Thinkific’s floating formatting bar:
This is extremely helpful if you have a lot of text content in a lesson.
In Teachable, you have to scroll back up to the top of the page to click on the formatting bar. Very annoying, but it’s doable.
In terms of how you can upload content to your lessons, both Thinkific and Teachable allow for bulk uploading.
However, Thinkific has a handy video library.
For example, in Teachable, you have to upload the video every time you want to upload it to a lesson.
With Thinkific, you only have to upload it once.
Both Teachable and Thinkific use Wistia to host videos (unlimited video hosting).
That being said, Teachable is the only one to support uploading from Google Drive:
You can upload directly from Google Drive and Dropbox into your lesson.
You cannot do this with Thinkific.
Student Comments and Discussions
Students can leave comments (Teachable) or post in the discussions section (Thinkific).
Here’s the difference between what comments look like in both Teachable and Thinkific, respectively:
Comments in Teachable look a lot better, in my opinion. You can quickly leave a comment, and it highlights it for everyone to see.
The Thinkific discussion is hidden behind a button. To leave a “post,” you have to go through the extra step of clicking that button, and then you can see the posts that are there.
Also, although Thinkifc does offer its community area on its website, it’s very limited.
Think of it as a forum or a Facebook group but without many features.
All students can do is add a post and add images to that post.
You can’t filter posts into topics like a typical forum.
Thinkific communities are still a very new system, so I don’t think it’s worth choosing Thinkific over Teachable just for this feature.
I’d suggest using a Facebook group instead.
Content Dripping and Locking
Both Thinkific and Thinkific allow:
- Content dripping (spreading out lessons on a schedule you set).
- Video Progress Requirements
- Quiz Passing Requirements
That being said, both platforms offer different rules and are limited.
For example, Thinkific allows for content dripping (or locking), but there are no email announcements for students.
However, Teachable offers emails to be sent out when that new lesson is available to your students.
While Teachable is better in this sense, it’s individual lessons settings for compliance aren’t as flexible as Thinkific’s.
For example, Thinkific can have individual video lesson requirements, whereas Teachable can only enforce this, but for the entire course.
Let’s say you wanted to have all your students to watch 100% of your introduction video before moving on but only 50% for your regular video lessons.
You can do this on Thinkific but not Teachable.
Here are Thinkifics video lesson settings (individual lesson):
Again, these settings are for an individual lesson.
Teachable can enforce this “video completion percentage required” feature, but for the entire course:
Again, both Teachable and Thinkific can enforce video watching for students, but Thinkific is more flexible.
That being said, if you want to drip content to students and make sure they interact with your course, Teachable is the only one that can send out emails when your content is “unlocked” for them.
While both platforms offer mobile versions of their courses, Thinkific does not provide a mobile app as Teachable does.
For students who want to learn on the go, this is incredible.
Thinkifics online course platform, although mobile-responsive, isn’t meant for mobile consumption.
Thinkific offers a lot of features, but coaching is not one of them. Teachable recently released its new Coaching feature built directly into its platform.
After playing around with the settings, it’s straightforward to get everything set up. It currently has built-in Calendly integration also with Zoom integration coming soon.
Here’s what it looks like:
If you want to sell more than courses and bring even more value to your students, then this coaching feature is just the thing for you.
Again, this isn’t offered in Thinkific.
When it comes to course creation in this Thinkific vs Teachable battle, Teachable offers better features and is easier to use for online course creation. Whether you’re talking about its convenient mobile app, its Coaching feature, or its ability to add upsells as lessons, Teachable wins this battle.
Get started free with Teachable.
3. Marketing Features
Spoiler alert: Teachable wins this Marketing Feature battle, and it’s not even a fair fight.
Yes, Thinkific offers marketing core features, but when compared to Teachable, it’s like Thinkific is stuck in the 2000s.
If you want to see the frustration that it brings me, check out our Thinkific review video.
Both online course platforms offer:
- Coupons (create coupon codes)
- Recurring Products
- Course Bundles
However, as you’ll see, Teachable is just ahead of the game.
Teachable Marketing – Checkout Pages
The Teachable checkout pages for its online courses are a one-page design, meaning that you create your account and purchase the online course on the same page.
This is (usually) better for conversions.
As you’ll see, the online course pages are all about conversions (so it seems):
- You can add Testimonials (up to 2)
- Bullet Points
- Guarantee Seals
As you can see, the first 3 images are now part of the main checkout page (on the right-hand side).
Thinkific Marketing – Checkout Page
Now let’s look at a Thinkific Checkout Page:
You cannot customize it any further than this.
Sure, you can add below the checkout page, but everything that you see in the image MUST stay the same.
Also, it’s a 2-step process. First, they create their account, and then they can put their payment information.
Surely their upsell pages are better, right?
Thinkific Marketing – Upsell Pages
The Thinkific Upsell feature is poor.
- You can’t customize the Upsell Page.
- It’s the least conversion-based Upsell Page I’ve ever seen.
Let me just show you:
It’s just ugly. And no, you can’t customize this.
This is it.
It can’t get better than this. You can’t move the Upsell position to the top even. The students see your thank you message, their receipt, and THEN your upsell offer. It’s sadly laughable.
Teachable Marketing – Upsell Pages
Let’s look at what I created as an example:
This is what a standard upsell page looks like.
You could add even more to it if you wanted. That heading and image is just a simple text element that you see in your standard lesson editor.
I rearranged a couple of elements and deleted others such as:
- The default “Thank You” Heading.
- The default “Proceed to Your Course” button.
Again, none of this is available in Thinkific.
In my opinion, for this specific comparison, it could stop here.
However, not everyone wants or cares about these features, but if you’re someone who cares about conversion, this is very important.
I already mentioned the Upsell Lessons earlier in this comparison also.
Winner: Teachable (and it’s not even close)
Teachable is, by far, the better option if you want to optimize your checkout and sales pages. You also have better Upsell features, including the option to pitch Upsell products as individual lessons in your course, as well as coaching products.
Get started free with Teachable.
Now we have a fair fight.
When it comes to your Thinkific website (not checkout or upsell pages as discussed above), is great.
Teachable’s site customization is limited, but they both look great.
That’s pretty much all there is to customize.
Sure, you can use their drag and drop editor, although their new page builder feature still doesn’t work flawlessly.
Compared to their block editor, their page builder doesn’t have all the same features; however, their sites do look modern:
We get more customization features here, customization such as:
- Themes and variations of those themes
- Ability to customize the code
- Ability to import custom themes
Here’s a look at one of their themes:
Unfortunately, unless you know the “code” and HTML, the customization on the front-end is limited.
For example, if you want to change the button color on a page, you have to change it for every button on every page. It’s a theme-wide change.
Either way, both use sections and have the ability to move things around in many different ways.
Both online course platforms:
- Offer free and secure hosting (maintenance, backups, etc., are all handled by their staff)
- Free subdomain (e.g., xxxxx.teachable.com, xxxxx.thinkific.com)
- Ability to have a custom domain
- Change the text language on your site (some languages aren’t offered and there are some limitations)
Thinkific has a lot more customization when it comes to your website, especially when you think about customizing the code or even importing your custom theme. While both look great, Thinkific gets the edge for that customization feature.
Get started with Thinkific.
5. Payment Integrations
Both Thinkific and Teachable allow your students to purchase your online course with credit cards (via Stripe) or Paypal.
The two platforms also allow third party checkout cart software (such as ThriveCart) on certain plans.
Thinkific offers a cool tool called Stunning, which prevents failed payments on Stripe.
Thinkific also offers zero transaction fees (even on their free plan), and you get instant payouts.
On the other hand, Teachable has instant payouts, but only if you live in the U.S. or Canada.
Otherwise, you have to wait 30-60 days for your payout.
That being said, the built-in checkout gateway is better in some ways.
- You can accept payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay.
- You can accept Paypal or Stripe payments, even if it’s not allowed in a student’s country.
Also, there’s a third party tool called Back Office which handles:
- Payouts to affiliates and course authors (automatically)
- W-8/W9s and file 1099 tax forms (automatically) from your affiliates and course authors
Back Office saves you a bunch of time.
They charge a 2% fee, but that is worth it if it saves me hours of doing tax work and paying out affiliates (IMO).
Another thing going for it is it’s handling of EU VAT. It’s one of a few online course platforms that do this for you automatically.
On the checkout page, it calculates the VAT based on the students’ location and adds it to the price. It will also display this for compliance purposes.
If you wanted to do the same with Thinkific, you would have to use a third party tool.
As far as affiliate payments go, it’s pretty straightforward on both platforms.
Teachable’s process couldn’t be any more straightforward:
Both can set the commission percentage, but only Teachable can set custom cookie periods for affiliates (e.g., 30-day or 60-day).
Also, the dashboard is straightforward:
Winner: It’s a Draw
Teachable saves more time for you when it comes to paying out affiliates and because Back Office does all the “paperwork” for you. Thinkific, however, offers instant payouts, and there are zero transaction fees. Therefore, for Teachable vs Thinkific, in terms of payments, its a draw.
6. Course Analytics
When it comes to your students’ success, course analytics are things that you sometimes forget about.
Things like completion rates, quiz scores, and video completion rates are things you want to pay attention to, especially online learning courses.
It may be the difference between creating a successful, engaging course and a boring one that your students don’t want to go through.
Fortunately, both platforms offer things like reports and enrollment filters.
For example, let’s look at the platform for students reports:
You can also view the report of how long your students watch your videos (only ones uploaded – not YouTube, for example):
With Thinkific, you do get analytics and reporting, but it’s not as great as Teachable’s.
For example, you have to go into each video in Thinkific’s video library to see the analytics for a single video:
Also, while on the topic of course analytics and reporting, Thinkific doesn’t have reporting when you email your students.
For example, let’s say I wanted to email my students about a new lesson I published.
Both platforms allow me to do so, but only Teachable can show me:
- How many people opened the email
- How many people clicked the link in the email
- How many people “bounced” (% of emails that could not be delivered)
Here’s what it looks like:
Thinkific doesn’t offer this at all.
It offers a lot more reporting and analytics for your students, and it’s easier to find and use. It also allows you to see reporting for the emails you send to students, whereas Thinkific doesn’t have this feature.
Get started free with Teachable.
7. Customer Support
The Thinkific vs Teachable battle is a tough one when it comes to customer service and support.
Both have great support teams. However, only Teachable offers live chat customer support, and Thinkific provides telephone support.
Teachable has live chat customer support.
They are quick to reply and are always very helpful.
Live chat is my preferred customer service method because I don’t have to be tied to a phone call. They’re available Mon-Fri from 10am-5pm EST.
That being said, some prefer phone support, which Thinkific does offer.
However, Thinkific doesn’t market its phone support that much. If you click on their support link on their website, it takes you straight to the “email a ticket” submission form.
Anyways, here’s their number: 1-888-832-2409
They’re available Mon-Fri from 9-5 PST.
Thinkific is very friendly and helpful as well.
The knowledge base for the two platforms is excellent also.
This one is tough for our Thinkific vs Teachable battle, so I’m calling it a draw.
Winner: It’s a Draw
Both Thinkific and Teachable have great customer support. Teachable offers live chat support (my preference – but not everyone’s), whereas Thinkific offers phone support. They both offer email support too, and their knowledge bases are very helpful. It’s a draw.
8. Pricing Plans – Thinkific vs Teachable
Teachable pricing and Thinkific pricing are very similar.
The main difference between the starting pricing plans is that Thinkific has a free plan (not a free trial) with zero transaction fees vs Teachable, which charges $1 + 10% of every sale you make on said plan (not a free trial).
Teachable prices for the Pro plan are higher than Thinkific (sort of), but everywhere else, Thinkific charges more:
- Basic Plan – $39/month for Thinkific vs Teachable for $49/month
- Pro Plan – $99/month for Thinkifics vs Teachable for $119/month (but there’s a catch)
- Premier and Business Plan (respectively) – $499/month for Thinkific vs Teachable for $299/month
There are a couple of differences. However, that makes Thinkific more expensive per month than Teachable.
Not a lot of people talk about the Growth plan that Thinkific offers (behind the scenes).
The Growth Plan is very unfortunate, in my opinion, because they know they can charge extra for this. After all, they know you need these features.
It costs $0.10/per student after the first 100 students:
For example, I had about 300 students on my Thinkific account, and I was paying $20 extra per month for the Growth package.
Because of the following features on the Growth Package (these aren’t all the features):
- Zapier Actions (what I care most about)
- Bulk student emailer (can’t email students in bulk without it)
- Groups (you can easily organize students into groups)
The Zapier actions are necessary if you want to use a third-party checkout system like Thrivecart.
I also wanted to group students to email them, but I can’t without the bulk student emailer feature, so I needed the growth package.
So, potentially, depending on how many students you have, you could be paying up to $499/month for this plan!
Teachable pricing is set at $119/month for the same features minus a few.
Teachable now has a great free option; however, it does have fees. You only get zero transaction fees on the Pro plan and above for course sales.
That being said, the pro plan has all the features that an online course platform would need, and they don’t charge you extra per user like the other platform.
This one is tough because Thinkific doesn’t have fees for course sales on any plan, while Teachable does until you get the Pro plan.
Yet, Thinkific charges you extra for the growth plan with necessary features for most marketers.
Winner: It’s a Draw.
Yes, it’s a draw because each platform has cons that balance it out.
While Thinkific does offer the best free account plan and zero transaction fees, it’s still more expensive than Teachable for every plan except the Pro Plan. They also charge you extra for necessary features with their Growth package, which is absurd and can get pricey if you plan on growing the number of students for your course.
On the other hand, Teachable has transaction fees on the Basic Plan, but on the Pro plan, it gives you all the necessary features and is capped at $119/month, unlike Thinkific. It’s a draw.
Teachable vs Thinkific Highlights
That was a lot of comparison packed info we just went through. To recap and help you make a better decision between both platforms, I’ve listed the main highlight features you should consider before signing up for either Teachable or Thinkific.
- User-friendly features which make launching a course business simple (web hosting, cloud hosting, & video hosting are included)
- Easily design your course curriculum structure with the Teachable drag and drop builder
- Create a high-converting checkout process (checkout and upsell pages, etc.) with no design skills
- Improve your course business’s revenue by upselling related courses and products within your front-end course (easy to set up within the course builder)
- Multiple Courses: Create multiple training courses at no extra cost
- Advanced Data Tracking: You have full control over your students’ data from the sign-up to finish
- Teachable has one of the best course reporting tools for a learning platform
- Has a mobile application
- Offers live chat & email support
- There’ a transaction fee (only on Teachable Basic)
- No phone support
- Launch your business with no upfront startup costs with the Thinkfic free plan
- Easily create your course structure with their seamless course builder
- Thinkific has beautiful course website themes that make launching your courses easy
- Create unlimited courses
- Hosts all your course content (ie. course videos, web hosting, & digital downloads such as PDF files)
- You can create a membership site
- Offers phone & email support
- Feature limitations with Free plan
- Unimpressive funnel marketing capabilities
- No mobile application
- No live chat support
Final Verdict: Teachable or Thinkific for Online Courses?
Teachable vs Thinkific – for these two behemoths of online course platform companies, you can’t go wrong with either. They both offer great features and are priced pretty reasonably too.
However, each option has its pros and cons that can be deal breakers:
Choose Thinkific If:
You want to use it solely for course creation purposes, and you know you will use third party marketing tools (e.g., for checkout pages, landing pages, etc.). It’s a great course platform, but it’s stuck in the 2000s regarding its marketing tools and looks.
However, get ready to pay more because you’ll more than likely need the Pro+Growth package, which charges you $0.10/per students after 100 students. If you plan on growing your audience (which you should be), this can get pricey.
Choose Teachable If:
You want to have the best of both marketing and selling features on top of an easy-to-use course platform. Teachable knows how important checkout cart pages and upsells are for making money online with your online courses. They also don’t charge you per user if you wanted to use third-party tools (e.g., Thrivecart or Zapier) like the other platform.
It also offers better analytics and reporting for your courses. You can see who opens your emails and how many people clicked on the links inside it. It’s very helpful.
If you want an all-in-one platform to create and sell your courses, Teachable is for you.
In my opinion, this Thinkific vs Teachable battle was over after the marketing features section. Teachable has the edge by far, and in terms of ease of use and creating your courses, it’s not way behind Thinkific. In fact, in some areas, Teachable is easier to use.
It doesn’t have as many customization features, but again, if you want Teachable to do everything for you (e.g., sell, market, and create your course), it’s the obvious choice.
The winner of this Thinkific vs Teachable battle is Teachable.