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thinkific vs teachable

Written by: Nicole Colwell  | August 28, 2021

If you have been shopping around for online course platforms, then it makes sense that you would want to consider Thinkific vs. Teachable.

Both of these platforms are great for course creation, but the question is, which one is superior?

Both Thinkific and Teachable have their strengths and weaknesses.

Let's take a look at some of the various features they both have to offer and compare them. That should help you make the decision that works best for you.

But don't worry - we'll give you our final verdict too.

Thinkific vs. Teachable - An Overview

Online learning has absolutely exploded in recent years.

In fact, Global Market Insights says that it's an industry that's poised to grow to a $240 billion industry by 2023.

Teachable and Thinkific are two of the most popular options for online courses.

But in order to know which one is right for you, you need to take a look at all the features and compare them.

No worries. We've done that part for you.

Here are some quick notes about both of these course creation platforms:

Thinkific...

  • ...has more than 40,000 course creators.
  • ...has 30 million online classes.
  • ...has about 100 employees.
  • ...offers its services in more than 15 countries.
  • ...has easy set-up capabilities.
  • ...has awesome website design options that are fully customizable.
  • ...has some fantastic marketing and analytics tools.

Teachable...

  • ...has 83,000 instructors.
  • ...has 23,000,000 students.
  • ...uses a drag and drop editor to help you build your website.
  • ...offers some great analytics tools.
  • ...makes it possible to design optimized landing pages.
  • ...offers great marketing and sales pages.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's take a closer look at the features you can get with both Thinkific and Teachable and how they compare.

Performance and Uptime

There's nothing worse than taking online courses only to have the website shut down.

Well...maybe the only thing worse is having the site shut down while people are in the process of paying so they can get started on your online learning platform.

We're talking lost revenue and a tarnished brand image, which are two things we want to avoid.

Thinkific

Thinkific boasts an uptime percentage of 99.9%. That's pretty darn good.

They also monitor their website at all hours of the day and night to make sure it's running like it should.

Teachable

Unfortunately, Teachable doesn't have any information on their website to put your mind at ease about their uptimes.

They also do constant monitoring, but lots of people have reported errors, like:

  • 504 errors and latency.
  • Problems with connectivity.
  • Difficulty with updating billing info.

The Victor: Thinkific

We love the transparency shown by Thinkific when it comes to their uptimes.

Bold move; and the way their customers talk about the Thinkific site, they stand behind that statistic.

Course Creation Info

There's nothing worse than getting all excited about the course creation process only to find that the system is too hard to navigate.

Your online course platform can have all the bells and whistles, but if you can't manage to set it up, what good is it?

Thinkific

Thinkific has a lot of great features that make it easy to use:

  • Drag and drop your content.
  • No coding knowledge is necessary and you can still customize it any way you want.
  • Multimedia support is available for videos, surveys, downloads and other types of content.
  • Video content gets free hosting.
  • The use of pre-built themes.
  • Easy email marketing integration.

Teachable

Teachable isn't too shabby either when it comes to its features and their ease of use. You get:

  • The ability to add all kinds of content - video, text, images, PDF files and audio files - from cloud storage services like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Docs.
  • An easy-to-use drag and drop builder.
  • A highly responsive website.
  • Their Power Editor to customize all features.
  • Their Page Editor to instantly launch new pages with brand-new courses.
  • The ability to include many different languages for your online courses.
  • Sales templates that are optimized for conversion.

The Victor - Teachable

While both sites are good, we think Teachable wins the prize for course creation.

If you're new to selling online courses, this is where you might want to start simply because of its ease of use.

Website Design and Customization

There are a lot of similarities between Thinkific and Teachable as far as website design and customization go.

But there are also some unique differences.

Thinkific

When you sell courses online with Thinkific, you get:

  • Your choice of 10 attractive, custom theme presets that are designed specifically for the purpose of online course creation.
  • The ability to create, modify, import and export themes across various sites.
  • Access to theme code so you can modify it and make it truly yours.
  • A live preview of your site changes in real-time, so there's never any question about what your site will look like.

Teachable

When you use Teachable, you'll find that they offer:

  • The ability to quickly set up an intuitive website without a lot of need for configuration.
  • Quick setup - all you need is an email address and the name of your school or program.
  • Quizzes and a place for student discussions.
  • High levels of customization, but you don't need to know anything about coding to do it.
  • Commenting and emailing capabilities for students so you can build your own online learning community.

The Victor - Thinkific

Thinkific wins this round because of how customizable it is.

Branding is really important, and the fact that they offer so many themes that are so easy to implement cannot be ignored here.

Security

Any time a website collects payments from people online, it should have the utmost in security features.

Fraud is a real thing, and cybersecurity attacks and breaches happen every single day.

Fortunately, these two sites have strong security measures in place.

Thinkific

Thinkific takes both an offensive and a defensive stance when it comes to security.

  • They monitor their platform all day every day to make sure they can act quickly in the event of a breach.
  • They periodically and automatically roll out security updates so you'll never miss them.
  • Your data is automatically backed up, and it is stored in the cloud, so you won't have to worry about losing it.
  • The platform has seamless, built-in SSL certificates so you can know that your content is stored in secured servers.
  • You maintain absolute ownership of your data.

Teachable

Teachable isn't too shabby either. With their course builder, you get:

  • PCI level-1 compliant payment provider integration.
  • A 2048-bit SSL certificate, so your student's data is always protected.
  • Automatic security updates.
  • Complete control and ownership of your data.

The Victor - Thinkific

Both Teachable and Thinkific are strong when it comes to data security.

But because of Thinkific's commitment to 99.9% uptime and additional security features, they are the winners this round.

Marketing and Sales Capabilities

Marketing and sales are really important when you're trying to make money online.

After all, if you can't get the word out about your online courses, how will you attract students?

Let's take a closer look at how Thinkific and Teachable do in this area.

Thinkific

Thinkific offers:

  • An affiliate marketing program (which we'll talk more about in just a minute) that allows you to incentivize other people to share about your online courses.
  • The ability to connect with whatever email provider you choose to send out personalized email marketing campaigns.
  • Easy integration with more than 1,000 external marketing tools.
  • Use data tracking to optimize your marketing campaigns.
  • Get support through analytics and ad tracking for Google AdWords, Facebook and other remarketing campaigns.

Teachable

Teachable offers:

  • Its own affiliate marketing program.
  • The ability to use coupon codes to get new users to join, or to encourage your current students to share your online course with their friends and family.
  • Customized pricing plans that include subscription payment plans, one-time fees or the ability to bulk sell courses.
  • A fantastic landing page builder feature.
  • The ability to accept payments in more than 130 international currencies.
  • Integration with marketing tools like MailChimp, Infusionsoft and others.
  • Conversion pixels that that be added to your website so you can keep track of how effective your marketing tools are.

The Victor - Teachable

Teachable wins this round because of all the marketing and sales tools it has to offer.

You really can't beat optimized and personalized marketing campaigns, and they do it very well.

Advanced Site Administration and Developer Features

Not everyone is going to need advanced site administration and developer features for their online learning platform.

But if you do, you want to know that your developers will be able to go behind the scenes and do what they need to do to make your courses shine.

Thinkific

Developers love Thinkific because it offers:

  • An app store that allows for each integration with professional tools so your site can stand out.
  • A full-featured API.
  • A single sign-on for your students using JSON web tokens.
  • The ability to create, modify, import and export site themes across many sites.
  • Full access to your theme's code with private testing.

Teachable

Teachable wasn't designed for developers.

It was designed to make it easy for everyday entrepreneurs to be able to sell courses online.

With that in mind, Teachable:

  • Doesn't have an app store or API.
  • Does not offer support for themes and a developer will not be able to import or export code.
  • Gives developers basic assess to html/css.
  • Live editing with no private testing.

The Victor -Thinkific

If being able to code is important to you - and it might be for the best possible student experience - you should go with Thinkific.

Your course content might be small now, but this capability gives your business the ability to grow.

Data Analytics

Without data analytics, any marketing you do with your online course is just a shot in the dark.

You want to know that your efforts are getting you somewhere, so the more insight you can get, the better.

Thinkific

When you choose Thinkific vs. Teachable:

  • You get easy integration with data anaylitics, and this includes Facebook, Google Adwords and other tools.
  • You can use filters to check the status of individual students.
  • You can choose select groups of people to receive email broadcasts.
  • You can run highly targeted campaigns for certain groups of students.

Teachable

With Teachable:

  • You can use its comprehensive dashboard to track student signups as well as your revenue within periods of time that you choose.
  • You can check for lecture completion rates and sort them based on your students.
  • You can export student data and revenue information to get more insight into your online business.
  • You can use Zapier to send customized, course-related events to a number of different marketing tools.
  • You can find out which marketing campaign resulted in student conversions.

The Victor - Teachable

When comparing Teachable vs. Thinkific with regard to analytics, Teachable is the clear winner.

Their suite of analytic tools cannot be beat, and they offer the best for what you need to learn more about your efforts.

The Student Experience

When you create an online course platform that your students enjoy, everyone is happy.

You make money.

They learn stuff.

It's a win-win.

Let's see how Teachable and Thinkific match up in this area.

Thinkific

We don't mind saying that Thinkific's students are pretty happy with the platform.

Here are some of the highlights they enjoy:

  • Custom emails (which can change course-by-course) to welcome them and congratulate them when they're finished.
  • Customized URLs for payment pages so your students know they're in the right place when they make payments.
  • Terrific mobile responsiveness for a seamless experience no matter what device they're using.
  • Over 30 languages available.
  • A custom student dashboard that is engaging and attractive.

Teachable

Where Teachable really shines is in student communications. Their platform:

  • Gives an opportunity for students to chat with each other.
  • Offers direct messaging capabilities.
  • Provides surveys and quizzes to gauge student learning and progress.
  • They have a commenting feature on each lecture, which is nice.

The Victor - Tie

To be honest, this one was close.

We think Teachable wins as far as communication goes, but the features Thinkific offers are really top-notch.

Customer Service Support

When you're new to creating online course content, you need all the help you can get.

Knowing that you have a stellar customer service support team behind you is awesome.

Between these two platforms, they both offer:

  • Online tutorials
  • Helpful onboarding emails
  • Facebook groups where you can get questions answered
  • A wide knowledge base
  • Support tickets

Let's see who wins between Teachable vs. Thinkific.

Thinkific

Unfortunately, Thinkific doesn't have a way of getting in touch with customer support directly because they don't offer real-time support.

That's a real bummer, but you can fill out a form to get in touch with the CS team; you just have to wait for a response.

Teachable

Teachable offers live chat support when you choose their Professional Plan.

There's really no beating that.

The Victor - Teachable

Like we said, there's no beating live support.

Teachable wins this one, hands-down.

Teaching and Site Administration

When it comes to Teachable vs. Thinkific, this is one area in which they both really shine.

Both sites offer:

  • Ease in creating, marketing, selling and managing your course platform.
  • Ownership and exporting abilities for student data.
  • Comprehensive progress tracking.
  • Reporting and analytics.
  • Unlimited students for enrollment.
  • Delivery of student course completion certificates.

But there are some ways in which they differ too.

Thinkific

When you choose Thinkific, you get:

  • The ability to organize your students into groups for easy reporting and selling.
  • Full user administration on your site.
  • Easy payment tracking so you're always in the know.
  • Custom signup fields, so you're in control over what information comes from your students.
  • Bookmarking presets so you can get real-time information on your students' progress.

Teachable

With Teachable, you get:

  • Fewer site admin capabilities, such as the inability to update student names and emails.
  • The ability to pay your site authors and affiliates as well as collect and send tax forms.
  • A lot of user permission options that go beyond the basic ones offered by Thinkific.

The Victor - Thinkific

We have to admit - we like being in control.

We appreciate the amount of control Thinkific offers you, which gives you more freedom to do what you need to do with everything from course reporting to advanced data tracking.

Payment Integrations

Robust and secure payment integration is something that people are looking for when they sign up for online courses.

Both Thinkific and Teachable accept Stripe and PayPal, but there are a few characteristics that differentiate them from one another too.

Thinkific

Have you ever encountered a failed Stripe transaction? It happens.

But Thinkific uses Stunning, which can help prevent them.

As far as taxes go, Thinkific offers reliable third-party integration with the right tools to help you get the job done.

Teachable

Teachable can handle VAT (value-added taxes) for the United States.

But it has an automatic EU VAT collection feature that a lot of experts don't like.

Not to mention, it also doesn't have Stunning.

The Victor - Thinkific

There really is no contest here.

We love the fact that Thinkific integrates so well with third-party tools and its taxation capabilities are hands-down better than Teachable's.

Coupon Codes

If you remember right, we like to be in control.

So it makes sense that we would think that you deserve to have as much control over your online learning platform as possible.

Coupons give you more control, and both Thinkific and Teachable allow you to use them.

Thinkific

With Thinkific, you're in the driver's seat as far as coupons go.

You can create all kinds of discounts for your students. Here's what we like:

  • You can make your coupons apply to the entire site, or only one or more courses of your choosing.
  • Your coupons can be % or $ based - it's up to you.
  • Advanced discounting is available.
  • Your coupons can be set up to expire at a certain time that you choose.

Teachable

Teachable also offers coupons that you can use when selling courses online.

When you choose their platform:

  • You get basic coupon capabilities.
  • They do not offer support for coupons that span more than one month.
  • They offer percentage-based coupons.
  • You can offer certain percentage amounts off specific pricing plans, but that's it.

The Victor - Thinkific

Once again, Thinkific comes out on top.

Flexibility is important, and you should be able to set up your online learning platforms in the ways that work best for you.

That means having more control and ownership over your couponing abilities.

Online Course Customization

Before you choose a platform to create courses, make sure it allows for as much customization as possible.

It's important for your brand to be front-and-center, and if it's not, or if you don't have the ability to customize in other ways too, this could spell disaster for your online course.

Thinkific

Thinkific is great when it comes to course customization.

  • Your students can request courses or lesson in advance with their prerequisite lesson feature.
  • Utilize multiple course instructors in real-time so can meet the needs of various students, while boosting your revenue at the same time.
  • Use the drip schedule content feature to send out content as quickly or as slowly as you like.
  • Integrate with membership sites so you can attract more students.
  • Change course availability to private or hidden based on free or paid options.
  • Use more than one theme so your lessons always look just the way you want them to.

Teachable

Teachable is pretty awesome in this area too.

  • Quickly create intuitive web pages without a lot of configuration.
  • Customize the way your site looks and keep it brand-specific.
  • Utilize their comment and email features to create an engaging community among your learners.
  • Utilize the help of thousands of online instructors to offer high-quality courses.

The Victor - Thinkific

Though we do like what Teachable has to offer in the area of course customization, we think Thinkific takes the cake here.

They simply offer you more control, which is just what you need.

Blogging and SEO Capabilities

If you're completely new to selling online courses or operating any type of online business, then this is something you need to know...

Blogging and SEO are really important.

Let's see how these two sites match up.

Thinkific

Thinkific allows you to blog, but you'll need to use app store integration to make it happen.

But the good news is that WordPress and DropInBlog can both be seamlessly integrated with your website.

Teachable

With Teachable, you get the bonus of built-in blogging functionality.

Its SEO features are limited, so you won't get as beautiful a blog as you might get with something like WordPress, but you can get the job done with a very basic blog.

The Victor - Tie

This is one of those six of one/half a dozen of the other situations.

You should definitely have a blog on your site, or connected to it in some way.

The way you go about it is up to you, but both of these solutions can work well.

Affiliate Marketing

If you're interested in affiliate marketing as a part of your online course delivery business, both Teachable and Thinkific do it well.

Both Teachable and Thinkific have integrated affiliate marketing with affiliate dashboards and an option to set custom commission percentages for your affiliates.

Let's see how else they compare.

Thinkific

Thinkific:

  • Does not allow you to set custom affiliate percentages for different courses.
  • Does not offer very much customization.
  • Allows you to use affiliate features when building your landing pages on a different platform, but only if you know how to code.

Teachable

Teachable:

  • Offers more options for customization than Thinkific does.
  • Lets you set up custom cookies for affiliates.
  • Lets you use affiliate features when you build your landing pages on a different platform.
  • You can automatically pay your affiliates.

The Victor - Teachable

In our opinion, Teachable seems a little more user-friendly for affiliates. They're definitely the winner here.

Price

This is where we get down to the nitty-gritty.

What can you expect from Thinkific vs. Teachable when it comes to price?

Thinkific

First, we love that Thinkific offers a free plan because there's just no beating free.

If you want to subscribe, and you pay yearly, you'll enjoy a 20% discount on their Basic, Pro, and Thinkific Plus plans.

The starting price is just $39 a month for their Basic Plan and $79 a month for their Pro Plan.

Their Thinkific Plus Plan is customizable, and you can talk with them about your options and get a quote.

But let's not gloss over the Free Plan, because it deserves the spotlight too. You get:

  • 3 courses
  • Unlimited students
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Content hosting
  • Instant access to your funds

The best part? When you're ready to expand your business, you can easily upgrade and gain access to even more features.

Teachable

Teachable has some fantastic features that are available - even in their free plan.

Their free plan (they call it the freemium plan) offers:

  • Unlimited videos
  • Unlimited courses
  • Unlimited hosting
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Student management capabilities
  • Lecture comments
  • Basic quizzes
  • No fees
  • VAT for EU

They have three paid plans too, and each one is billed annually. You can choose from:

  • The Basic Plan - $29 a month.
  • The Professional Plan - $79 a month.
  • The Business Plan - $399 a month.

The Victor - Thinkific

Thinkific's free plan structure makes it the obvious choice as far as pricing is concerned.

We also love that it's scalable and easy to upgrade when you're ready to grow.

And you can get a lot accomplished and really build your online business with Thinkific.

What are the Pros and Cons of Teachable?

We know. That's a lot of info.

Let's break it down into some pros and cons, shall we?

Teachable Pros

  • You get a flexible and user-friendly interface.
  • They offer strong reporting tools and analytics.
  • You get live chat support.
  • Your affiliates automatically get paid without you having to do anything.
  • You won't shell out extra bucks for video hosting.
  • Their iOS app is solid and dependable.
  • They take care of everything having to do with VAT tax.

Teachable Cons

  • You're going to pay some transaction fees. Sorry about that.
  • They have much stronger course compliance.
  • They have fewer pricing options for their customers.
  • You won't be able to bulk sell courses quite as easily.

What are the Pros and Cons of Thinkific?

Is Thinkific superior? Let's break it down.

Thinkific Pros

  • There are no transaction fees. Ever.
  • Course navigation is easy for you and for your students.
  • You get a free trial period, and you don't even have to enter your credit card into their system to access it.
  • You get the flexibility of unlimited courses.
  • Free video hosting.
  • You can use your course sales widget to market your courses on your blog posts, social media pages or on other third-party websites.
  • Instant payments are available through Stripe and PayPal.

Thinkific Cons

  • Their free plan only comes with basic features.
  • You won't be able to conduct workshops or have live office hours.
  • There aren't as many advanced quiz and survey options.
  • They don't offer quite as much flexibility as Teachable.

Thinkific vs. Teachable: And the Winner Is...

In the match between Thinkific vs. Teachable, the champion is Thinkific!

In our opinion, you could set up the same course on both Thinkific and Teachable, and you'd like what Thinkific has to offer you more.

You can't beat the no transaction fees, their sales pages are awesome, and we love the little details they've thought of, like built-in course completion certificates.

Thinkific definitely gets our vote.

You might also want to check our full review about Teachable here.

Thinkific vs. Teachable: Frequently Asked Questions

Do these online course platforms have transaction fees?

Thinkific does not, but Teachable does.

Do both platforms offer course bundles?

Yes, you can bundle courses, but you have more freedom with Thinkific because you can bundle in any combo you choose.

Do both Thinkific and Teachable Include Email Marketing Capabilities?

Thinkific easily integrates with the following services:

Not so with Teachable. You have to go through Zapier for that, which is an extra expense ($19.99) each month.

Are Free Plans Available?

There are a lot of Thinkific course creators who get their start with the free plan and do very well because it has so many features.

But you can also start Teachable for free, you just only have access to the most basic features.

The Bottom Line: Teachable Vs. Thinkific - Which is the Best to Sell Online Courses?

There are a lot of online course marketplaces out there. Whether you're looking for free or paid plans, what really matters is what works best for you.

We think Thinkific is the best option when compared to Teachable, but you might find that the latter offers you more of what you're looking for.

Regardless of which one you choose, we wish you the best of luck in your online courses!

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