AccessAlly vs. Thinkific: 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 Thinkific, read on!

How is AccessAlly different from Thinkific?

AccessAlly and Thinkific both offer a platform where you can build online courses to sell online…

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

Deep 2-Way Street Integration With Your Email Marketing Platform

With Thinkific, the extent of its integration with your email platform is that you can notify it when someone starts or completes a course.

With AccessAlly, you can perform any number of operations based on the actions that members are taking in your membership site. (And these actions work in both directions!)

For example, if someone logs in or visit a certain page, takes a quiz, or watches a video you can kick off 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. You can’t create a new Thinkific member from your email marketing platform like you can in AccessAlly.

In Thinkific, each individual course or membership is separate from one another. With AccessAlly’s use of tags, you can unlock bonus content, have free courses, ongoing memberships or any mix of delivery imaginable.

screenshots of payment gateway websites

Take Multi-Currency Payments with Abandoned Cart Follow-up, Coupons, and Trials

Thinkific has built-in Stripe and PayPal integration with coupons with a multi-step order form, just like AccessAlly.

On the two lowest tiers, Thinkific also takes a 10% or 5% transaction fee on top of Stripe and PayPal fees. AccessAlly never takes a transaction fee.

Thinkific also offers affiliate tracking functionality in their mid and high-level plans. However, it does not allow you to add swipe copy and advertising banners for your affiliates in your members area.

If you want to use Infusionsoft or Ontraport’s affiliate tracking, Thinkific’s landing pages will not track the affiliate data, so you’ll be better off using other order forms. AccessAlly, on the other hand, is able to track affiliate sales through its’ built-in order forms back to Infusionsoft and Ontraport.

With AccessAlly’s multi-currency order forms you can also offer trial offers, order bumps, and toggle between full-pay or payment plans.

Thinkific Alternative that's open source, Offers extensibility, and full control

With Thinkific, 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 Thinkific system is closed, you can’t easily extend it by installing add-ons and plugins. That means you can’t add an integrated forum, gamification, or other features that could improve 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.

Looking for an Option with less restrictions?

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

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, and there are no limits on your business’ growth potential either.

Get a Free AccessAlly Demo

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

Eden Fried

AccessAlly is going to grow and scale with me over time, and that's unbeatable


“Honestly, Teachable or Thinkific would have been the *easier* option, but AccessAlly with my WordPress theme is hands down the *better* option. It’s going to grow and scale with me over time, and that’s unbeatable.

AccessAlly allows me to provide a dashboard for all members, and it also allows me to create a member-directory (great for forming that community), an editable profile, plus lots of gamification features that can help members track their progress and reward them for their achievements.

I also love that my students can take notes right within the site. How cool is that?

The fact that AccessAlly integrates directly with my ESP also gives me incredible functionality to track my students’ progress, send them reminder emails and keep them coming back to the membership.”

The capacity to do just that ensure that I can retain members longterm by engaging with them and providing them with an experience unique to them. That’s priceless.”

– Eden Fried,

Beautiful & customizable Out of the box

Thinkific’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.

With Thinkific, you can pick from a handful of themes and make edits, but you’re limited by fonts and fixed design options.

Want to change what shows up on a member dashboard? Put the progress bar in a different location? With Thinkific, you’re out of luck.

On the other hand, AccessAlly is a plugin for WordPress, so it offers full design flexibility and integrates 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.

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. Teachable offers no member directory.

Plus, with AccessAlly’s profile editing functionality, a member can update their name, email, address, and password… or any other custom field inside of your marketing automation platform.

All with one click, and everything gets synced between your membership site and your CRM. Thinkific does not offer this in-depth integration, or easy to use interface for the member.

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

Thinkific allows you to add a limited number of other teachers, but AccessAlly doesn’t limit the number of teachers you have. Thinkific offers the ability to “license courses” to groups of people, but it limits the number of groups you can have based on your plan.

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. You can have an unlimited number of groups!

This is great for selling corporate training. It also allows you to design a “member management” dashboard, with custom operations to kick off automations directly by group administrators.

AccessAlly Pro will allow you to build out an even more robust, high-level teaching center…like if you’d like to run your courses through teaching assistants, or have someone monitoring participant progress. In this case, a team leader would be able to see student progress, quiz results, and even view recorded notes or questions asked.

AccessAlly Pro also makes it easy for students to upload homework attachments, like PDFs, Word documents, or other files for the administrator. Thinkific offers no homework submission and replies, and no team feature.

AccessAlly Offerings Dashboard

No limits on members, courses, and teachers

Although Thinkific doesn’t explicitly limit the number of courses or members you can have, their integration limits on different plans can limit your business’ growth if you want to keep all your member data in your CRM.

On their mid-tier plan, you’re limited to 500 API calls, and if you’re using a free course to build your email list (what we call The Login Optin™ Strategy), this bumps you into the more expensive plan. With AccessAlly there are no such limits. You can have as many members as you want, and as many courses or products as you want.

Plus, you can create any number of different membership, course bundles, and special offers, without ever worrying about reaching an API limit.

Thinkific also places a limit on the number of teachers or site administrators that you have, whereas AccessAlly’s WordPress foundation means you can have unlimited admins.

Gamification, automation, cross-selling dashboards with 1-click upsells

Thinkific automatically creates a member dashboard where existing clients can perform a 1-click purchase.

AccessAlly gives you a similar cross-selling dashboard, 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.

You can also show different content inside of a page based on whether someone has a certain tag, or not.

AccessAlly also sports the ability to create gamified 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.

Why Course Creators choose AccessAlly over Thinkific

Amethyst Mahoney

AccessAlly is the only membership site solution that works for both me and my clients

“I’ve tried at least 15 other membership site programs and they ALL suck. Seriously. This is the only one that works for both me and my clients.”

– Amethyst Mahoney,

Amber Vilhauer

AccessAlly is the only sophisticated solution that comes to mind

“Hands down the sophistication. I’ve used most membership softwares on the market but I needed something special, high class, sexy for this latest venture. Only one name came to mind: AccessAlly.”

– Amber Vilhauer,

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. Thinkific:

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
Thinkific Logo
  1. Sign up for your Thinkific account
  2. Create your online course
  3. Add lessons to your course
  4. Customize your course player
  5. Setup and customize your site
  6. Customize your course landing pages
  7. Create and customize your website’s home page
  8. Setup and customize your site name and URL
  9. Price your course
  10. Customize your course image and description 
  11. Publish your course
  12. Share your course

See How AccessAlly and Thinkific 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.

Protected course content Included checkmark Included checkmark
Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments Included checkmark No recurring with PayPal
Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics Included checkmark Included checkmark
Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus Included checkmark  
Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip Included checkmark  
Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps Included checkmark  
Cart abandonment automation Included checkmark Included checkmark
Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content Included checkmark Included checkmark
Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion Included checkmark Included checkmark
Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts Included checkmark Included checkmark
Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles Included checkmark  
Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking Included checkmark  
Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes Included checkmark Included checkmark
Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells Included checkmark Included checkmark
Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting Included checkmark Limited features

The true cost of Thinkific

When choosing a course or membership platform, looking at Thinkific vs. AccessAlly pricing boxes can be confusing.

Thinkific has a free plan but it limits you to a single course build and is not reflected in the chart below.

AccessAlly never takes a cut of your profits, and doesn’t charge you more for your success: there are no limits to the API calls and integrations you set up.

AccessAlly vs. Thinkific pricing comparison chart

In Summary

Thinkific 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 your courses hosted for you on a 3rd party platform that you can’t easily export or leave

AccessAlly might be right for you if...

    • You’re a developer who likes get projects done quickly, and have happy clients who love the results of your work
    • You’re a course creator with a vision for the design and flow of your courses, and want to leverage marketing automation
    • You want everything to work seamlessly from one end to the other (payments, courses, and memberships)
    • You’re looking to create an amazing customer experience, that’s functional, profitable, and helps you stand out in the marketplace

Marketers all over the world are loving AccessAlly

Marc Wayshak photo

Truly the best platform out there

I LOVE AccessAlly. It has become the cornerstone of my online business, I was on CustomerHub before AccessAlly Pro.

Since being on AccessAlly, my membership site has tripled in the number of members. The ability to do one-click upsells alone generates 1/4 of my revenue.

The mobile-friendly component is huge, as CustomerHub was not mobile-friendly. Plus, the quizzing functionality from AccessAlly Pro allows me to sell my membership program to corporations which also added an other 20% in revenue in the past year.

– Marc Wayshak,

AccessAlly is the best!

I LOOOOVE AccessAlly. I have nine courses/programs, and everything is hosted on my membership site using the AccessAlly plugin, and it’s glorious.The dashboard with the enabled and disabled icons pay for itself. It’s the best!

– Courtney Foster-Donahue,

Migrating from Thinkific to AccessAlly is easy

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

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

Then you can run through the Offerings Wizard to add existing course content, and you’ll be ready to showcase your new members’ area.

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

If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, 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. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:

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