So you’ve decided now is the time to launch your online course or membership.  Now come the big questions… What platform will you use to run it? What tools do you need to deliver the content?

A quick Google search will leave you with a long list of options… And trying to work out what’s right for you can be challenging. Here are a list of options I advise to my clients, depending on what is right for the online course or membership they’re creating.

Free Online Course Platforms

If you’re just testing out the concept, or don’t have a big budget then these options might work for you.

Use your website

You can host videos on YouTube as ‘Unlisted’ which means they are not publicly available on your channel and can be embedded into other platforms, such as your website (note: the YouTube branding is still displayed).  You can then create private pages on your website to host your course content that can only be accessed by those with the direct link.

If you use WordPress you might also like to investigate a WP plugin.


  • Free


  • Less secure, page links can easily be shared
  • You’ll need a way to collect payment 
  • No ability to track your students progress through the content

Use a Facebook Group

Facebook allows you to create groups setup for social learning.  Using this type of group you can setup units, and add content such as videos and downloadable files.  Users can then track their completion of the units as they navigate through the content. Facebook groups are also great for encouraging discussion and participation.


  • Free
  • Users only require a Facebook profile to join the group (and you don’t need to deal with lost passwords etc)


  • You’ll need a way to collect payment and manage refund requests
  • You’ll need to integrate payment systems with your email marketing platform to add new course students to your list

Paid Online Course Platforms

If you’ve got the budget then a more comprehensive option that has been created specifically for online courses and memberships is worth considering.


Udemy is a well known and respected online learning platform with over 100,000 courses available for purchase.  Your course is hosted on the Udemy platform and they manage the sales process, take payment, and manage user access to the course.  


  • Udemy takes care of all the technical issues such as password resets, refund requests
  • No monthly fee required for access to Udemy for hosting your courses
  • Widely known and trusted brand
  • Your course will be searchable on the Udemy website


  • There is a 60 day wait period until you get paid your commissions from each sale
  • Udemy take a percentage of every sale
  • Not suitable for memberships with recurring subscriptions 
  • Udemy retains ownership of student data, so you can not add students to your mailing list

If you are interested in finding out more about Udemy check out Sal Jade a Udemy Bestseller.


Kartra is an all in one online marketing platform that includes email marketing, landing and sales pages, checkouts, and a course or membership platform. Using a tool such as Kartra you can create your sales and checkout pages, take payment directly from purchasers, and immediately grant them access to your course.


  • Whitelabelled platform with all of your branding
  • You have full control over the content
  • All revenue goes straight into your account
  • Suitable for online courses and memberships with ongoing subscriptions
  • Directly integrated with your email marketing platform 


  • You will need support processes for users for technical issues, refund requests (Kartra does also have a Helpdesk module)
  • The monthly fee for the platform starts at $99 US / month, so you will need to ensure you’re going to get maximum use of your investment.

There are of course many other options available out there for hosting your online courses or membership. Take a moment to consider what you really need from an online course platform before making a decision.

Which online course platform is right for you?
Is your business ready for Kartra