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AccessAlly vs. Podia: a comparison

Our fans tell us AccessAlly allows them to earn more from their online courses and membership sites. We think you’ll love AccessAlly’s power features, along with its sophisticated interface.

If you’re curious to see how AccessAlly really stacks up to Podia, read on!


How is AccessAlly different from Podia?

AccessAlly and Podia both offer the ability to build online courses and sell them.

This is where the similarities end, and where the differences begin.

Open Source, ownership, extensibility, and how much control each LMS platform offers

With Podia, you’re hosting your website and courses on their closed platform, with no easy way to take your content with you when you cancel or decide to move on.

Because the Podia system is closed, you can’t easily extend it by installing add-ons and plugins. That means you can’t add an integrated gamification or other features that could improve the user experience for your courses.

AccessAlly took a different approach: it’s a WordPress plugin that’s open-source, so anyone can see and read the code, and it’s easy to back-up and export your content.

With AccessAlly, you can take full control of the look and feel, and add the functionality you want.

Desktop showing AccessAlly demo site and Podia membership site on phone

Sell courses, memberships, downloads, and bundles

Podia and AccessAlly both allow you to create multimedia courses, with a combination of text, video, and downloads. The differences lie in the infrastructure and flexibility of each platform.

With Podia you can upload videos directly to the platform, as well as PDF downloads and other files. Every file is tied to a Product, and you can assign products to a membership level.

Membership content is created as “posts,” so you don’t have any flexibility to organize or set up your site navigation the way you’d like.

With AccessAlly, you can also sell any type of content or structure, and access to that content is controlled by tags that get applied in your email CRM. That means you’ve got a ton of flexibility, and you can sell memberships and courses the way you want.

With AccessAlly, your videos can be hosted on Amazon S3, YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia. You can also track video views, see when members login and which pages they access, and so much more. None of these tracking options are available in Podia.

Deep 2-way street integration with your marketing automation platform

With Podia, the extent of its integration with your email platform is that you can pass new contacts over to your email system after they sign up on Podia. That’s best described as “one way” integration.

Podia is equipped with built-in email automations, with a very bare bones design. This is why they haven’t prioritized integrating with other email platforms.

With AccessAlly, you can perform any number of operations based on the actions that members are taking in your membership site.

If they login or visit a certain page, take a quiz, or watch a video, just to name a few, you can trigger an automation. The possibilities are endless and deeply integrated.

Thanks to AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration, you can use automations to create members and update their access instantly.

With AccessAlly’s use of tags, you can unlock bonus content, offer free courses, ongoing memberships or any mix of delivery imaginable.

One client's story about finding a Podia alternative...

Michael Killen Testimonials Image

When Comparing course platforms, look at both the leadership and the software

“You guys might be one of the smartest and hardest working platforms out there.

AccessAlly is so so so good. It’s literally at the core of my business!

It really is a pleasure being a customer of AccessAlly.”

– Michael Killen, 

Beautiful & customizable Out of the box

Podia’s downfall for brand-conscious entrepreneurs is their limited theme customization.

It’s great for beginners who aren’t very specific about the look and feel of their sites, but not ideal for those who want full design flexibility.

Podia has a very basic design editor that lets you choose between a few fonts and colors, and that’s it. You can’t change the structure, location of sidebars, or add content or blocks anywhere that isn’t built-in already.

Want to change what shows up on a member dashboard? Add a progress bar within a course or profile page? With Podia, you’re out of luck.

On the other hand, AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, so it offers full design flexibility by integrating seamlessly with any WordPress theme.

AccessAlly also comes with a beautiful mobile-friendly interface that you can customize, which is great for:

    • Displaying progress tracking, pie charts, and checklists
    • On-brand cross-selling dashboards
    • Affiliate centers, complete with tracking and downloads

We’ve even heard of folks hiring designers and developers to knock off AccessAlly’s look and feel, because it provides such a great user experience.

Take payments with abandoned cart follow-up, advanced coupons, and trials

Podia and AccessAlly both offer built-in Stripe and PayPal payment integration. It’s also possible to run an affiliate program on both platforms, where affiliates can earn a commission by referring people to buy your content.

Beyond these commonalities, there are a few places where the two platforms differ.

Podia offers a set of basic coupons: you can specify a percentage or amount off, and pick an expiration date. However, if you want to do expiring coupons that are unique for each person, AccessAlly is the only tool that does that.

You can also offer different types of trials through AccessAlly, and specify the length and type of trial (free or paid).

Plus with AccessAlly, you have the ability to follow up with people who start the checkout process but don’t complete their purchase. Podia doesn’t offer any of these advanced ways of increasing your revenue.

Looking for a Podia Alternative With Fewer Restrictions?

You want full control of your content, members, and their experience on your site.

So you can spend your time doing what you do best, not struggling with frustrating platform restrictions.

With AccessAlly, you’ve got all of the power and flexibility of WordPress, without any limits on your business’ growth potential either.

Get a Free AccessAlly Demo Experience
Two devices showing screenshots from PayPal and Stripe

Recurring PayPal payments, flexible payment plans, and changing plan prices

Although Podia has PayPal integration, it doesn’t provide you with the ability to offer recurring PayPal payments or payment plans. 

With AccessAlly you can take recurring payments through PayPal, and you’ll be notified through a “failed payment” tag if someone cancels their recurring payment in their PayPal account. This gives you the ability to follow up or revoke access.

Another interesting difference is that Podia doesn’t allow you to change plan prices once you publish a membership. AccessAlly does let you change plan pricing, and make updates to existing products as your business grows and evolves.

License your courses, teaching assistants, and have students submit homework

Podia does not offer the ability sell bulk course enrollment licenses to groups of people, which is sometimes referred to as Umbrella accounts.

AccessAlly gives you the power to sell a “package” of licenses to your courses and content, and to have a team leader assign sub-accounts.

This is great for selling corporate training or offer courses for schools. It also allows you to design a “member management” dashboard, where administrators can see the progress of their team members and where they might be getting stuck.

This way a team leader can see student progress, quiz results, and even view recorded notes or questions asked.

AccessAlly also makes it easy for students to upload homework attachments, like PDFs, Word documents, or other files for the administrator. Podia doesn’t have this feature so you cannot accept homework submissions and post replies.

Podia has a “live chat” functionality that allows students to message the course creator. These messages aren’t tied to courses or pages, so it can be hard to keep track of and help students this way.

Laptop and iPad with screenshot of different CRMs

Styled member directories, and fully integrated member profiles in your CRM

While AccessAlly started off as an “access management” tool for online courses, it quickly developed into a full-fledged membership plugin for WordPress.

That means you can create beautiful searchable member directories, sorted by your marketing automation platform tags. This allows members to opt in or out of your member directory, and even to purchase a premium listing.

You decide what you want to include in your member directory – like a biography, or even points earned, and course progress. Podia offers no member directory.

All with one click, and everything gets synced between your membership site and your CRM.

Gamification, Automation, Cross-selling Dashboards with 1-click upsells

Podia automatically creates a store that includes all of your published products, which are ready to buy. This is a public facing store, and logged in members can also see what they have access to and what else they can purchase.

AccessAlly gives you the same cross-selling dashboards, but with more flexibility in how you set up your pages and 1-click upsells.

AccessAlly goes deeper by allowing you to manipulate custom fields inside of your marketing automation platform, apply tags and trigger automations.

AccessAlly has built-in gamification for credit systems, where members can earn points for completing quizzes, sharing on social media, or being paid members in good standing.

Members can redeem points for bonus content, services, or other goodies. Plus, AccessAlly makes it easy to do all of the automation your heart desires: follow-up with members who haven’t logged in for awhile, drip courses on various schedules, and automatically generate a PDF certificate of completion when they pass a course.

Create your new quiz + answers for your audience

3 Types of quizzes, video and audio bookmarks, and certificates of completion

Podia offers a simple multiple-choice quiz functionality, and you can add quizzes to your courses easily.

However, if you want to use quizzes beyond the usual “pass/fail” approach you’ll want to take advantage of AccessAlly’s 3 quiz types. You can create Personality Tests as well as Scored Quizzes, that sort students based on how they answer questions.

You can then use this information to guide them to the right next steps, courses, or modules. Plus AccessAlly gives you the ability to design customized Certificates of Completion that students can download with their name and date of graduation or completion. Podia offers no such certificates.

Finally, with AccessAlly you can track video and audio listens and kick off automations based on people’s actions. Students can also come back to bookmarked areas easily with progress-tracking checklists. Podia doesn’t offer any audio or video view tracking or video bookmarks.

Clients share their experience with AccessAlly vs. Podia

Katie Chase

Can I just say that AccessAlly is the only software that I get giddy about new update releases?

“I mean, every time you do an update I feel my membership site gets a new super power. It’s like Christmas for my membership site.”

– Katie Chase


Until AccessAlly, I didn't have a good way to organize my private clients' access...

“One of my favorite ways of using AccessAlly is with private clients. For each private client, I create a special page for them with all the recordings, my calendar, notes, bonus training, etc.

Until I had AccessAlly, I didn’t realize how valuable this would be – for both me and my clients.”

– Cindy Schulson,

Looking for something that integrates both ways?

Marketing automation tools are here to stay.

Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.

It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.

Get a Free AccessAlly Demo
Email marketing envelope

Your workflow on AccessAlly vs. podia:

AccessAlly Logo
  1. Set up your WordPress site with your favorite customizable theme
  2. Install the AccessAlly plugin on your WordPress membership site
  3. Run through the AccessAlly onboarding wizard to integrate with your CRM and select payment settings
  4. Create your first offering with the Offerings Wizard and add your content
  5. Create emails in your CRM or in AccessAlly
Podia logo
  1. Setup your storefront
  2. Add any connecting applications you might want to use, such as Zapier for integrations
  3. Choose your URL
  4. Migrate existing content or add new content to your website pages
  5. Add integrations such as Google Analytics or Facebook tracking pixel
  6. Customize the look and feel of your site by using the out-of-the-box editor or building something from scratch
  7. Build your online courses, digital downloads, memberships, and free or paid webinars.
  8. Setup your payments and terms of purchase
  9. Add your emails and marketing automations or integrate with a CRM

See How AccessAlly and Podia Features Compare

We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed AccessAlly to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package.

Software FeatureAccessAllyPodia
Protected course contentIncluded checkmarkIncluded checkmark
Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal paymentsIncluded checkmarkNo recurring with PayPal
Course builder for modules, lessons, and topicsIncluded checkmarkIncluded checkmark
Automatically creates tags, pages, and menusIncluded checkmark
Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and DripIncluded checkmark
Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumpsIncluded checkmarkIncluded checkmark
Cart abandonment automationIncluded checkmark
Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking contentIncluded checkmark
Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completionIncluded checkmark
Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella AccountsIncluded checkmark
Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profilesIncluded checkmark
Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login trackingIncluded checkmark
Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzesIncluded checkmark
Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsellsIncluded checkmarkIncluded checkmark
Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reportingIncluded checkmarkLimited features

The true cost of Podia

When choosing an LMS or membership platform, looking at Podia vs. AccessAlly’s pricing boxes might make Podia look more attractive.

Right now you can get started with Podia at $396/year or $900/year depending on what features you need, from affiliate functionality to selling recurring memberships.

AccessAlly starts at $990/year, but it includes a lot more out of the gate, with everything from built-in affiliate programs and recurring memberships, to team bulk licensing and progress tracking. This enables you to deliver a sophisticated user experience and start earning more from the start.

Ultimately, Podia is a great place to start but you’ll soon run into the limitations of the platform. Wee hear it time and time again from our AccessAlly clients that the software more than pays for itself!

Should I use AccessAlly or Podia?

Podia might be right for you if...

    • You need a bare-bones course website, with no plans for added functionality down the line
    • You want to have your site up and running quickly, so you can test your ideas without worrying about design
    • You don’t use a CRM like Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or Drip to do your email marketing automation
    • You don’t mind giving up full control to have a course storefront platform that handles email and course delivery all in one place

AccessAlly might be right for you if...

    • You have a discerning eye for design and love the flexibility of a WordPress theme or design plugin combined with AccessAlly
    • You want everything to work seamlessly from one end to the other (payments, courses, and memberships) with as few plugins as possible
    • You’re looking to create an amazing customer experience, that’s functional, profitable, and helps you stand out in the marketplace
    • You like to get geeky or you have advanced marketing needs and want lots of flexibility in your course platform

Marketers all over the world are loving AccessAlly

Lola Pickett


“Just want to give many props to the AccessAlly crew. I’ve appreciated the ease and functionality and simplicity you’ve put into everything. I love your product and only wish we had @#%$@#%$@#^ bought it sooner!

Even more importantly, the purchase process has been the SMOOTHEST EVER for our course launch. Zero issues with getting the payment to go through, or snags with the checkout process. I looooooove this software so much. Thank you for truly thinking of *everything* to make this solution so robust.”

– Lola & Tigre Pickett,

Jane Copeland

I simply adore AccessAlly

“I moved to Access Ally after being frustrated and experiencing many issues with the platform and membership management plugin my programs were hosted on before. Moving to Access Ally has not only been a joy but also hiccup free! When choosing which membership site to move to, I wanted to give my students a high end quality learning experience and this is exactly what I now have. Thank you for creating such a beautiful and easy to use product. I simply adore it!“

– Jane Copeland,

Migrating from Podia to AccessAlly is easy

With the AccessAlly migration wizard, you can import all of your Podia members and create their accounts quickly and easily.

You can also import members directly from your CRM or marketing automation platform, and AccessAlly’s migration wizard will ensure all of your members have the right tags and permissions.

Use the Offerings Wizard to copy over your existing course content, upload videos to Amazon S3 or other supported platforms, and you’ll be ready to showcase your new members’ area.

Take AccessAlly for a test drive

Get your own free demo sandbox account so you can experience the flexibility AccessAlly has to offer.

Yes, see it in action
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Find answers

Didn’t find an answer to your question? Just reach out to us, we’re happy to help!

Can I see examples of AccessAlly sites?

You can find videos and case studies with screenshots and descriptions of how people are using AccessAlly on our showcase page here.

Can I talk to someone about my project?

Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we’re here to help!

We can help you sort out all of the different options. We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too.

Book a free discovery call

Planning to develop an enterprise level program?

We’d love to find out more about your project and find out if AccessAlly is a good fit.

Book a discovery call to start the process, or tell us about your project and select “Enterprise” on our contact form.

Book a free discovery call