LifterLMS vs. Kajabi: a comparison
Researching learning management systems platforms and software can easily become overwhelming because there are countless options on the marketplace, all with different features, pricing structures, setups, and more.
So if you’re wondering which is best: LifterLMS vs. Kajabi? You’re in the right place.
Why We’re Comparing an LMS Plugin and a Course Platform
We’ve tested so many course software solutions for our business over the years.
When we couldn’t find a solution that would do what we needed, we dusted off our Software Engineering chops and developed AccessAlly.
And to this day, we continue to test and review the options on the market so we can share that knowledge.
Finding the right long-term learning management system (LMS) for your business can greatly impact your users’ experience, your business growth, and the overall time investment you and your team make in your LMS.
We’re the creators of AccessAlly, an all-in-one learning management system plugin for WordPress.
Kajabi and LifterLMS are just two of our competitors. We do this research so you can see which platform or software might be right for your business, even if that’s not AccessAlly.
By the end of the page, you’ll have a clear understanding of how both LifterLMS and Kajabi can support your courses, programs, digital downloads, and/or memberships.
We’ll take a deep dive into the structure of each, pricing tiers, course builders, design, learning reinforcements, e-commerce functionality, and more.
We’ll also do a side-by-side feature comparison of LifterLMS vs. Kajabi, and how they both stack up to AccessAlly.
How do LifterLMS and Kajabi Differ?
The whole philosophy of LifterLMS and Kajabi differ in a big way. Although they do have a fair amount of similarities when it comes to functionality and features, they’re different from the ground up.
LifterLMS is a WordPress plugin that’s installed on the WordPress site that you own.
The design is driven by your theme, and you have control over the flow of your content. With LifterLMS, you’re not working on someone else’s platform.
Kajabi, on the other hand, is an all-in-one platform. When you sign up for Kajabi, you have an account that you login to their platform.
From there, you can set up your business within the limitations of the platform. You don’t own the space. The infrastructure is already in place, you’re just coming in to customize and fit your business into their model, rather than build from the ground up.
The biggest decision you’ll make between LifterLMS vs. Kajabi is whether you want your online learning environment built using a plugin on your WordPress site or built on a platform.
Plugin Vs. Platform
Good question. And the answer is: it really depends.
What are your goals for your LMS? Do you have online courses, digital downloads, and a membership? Or just one of these? What do you have now vs. what do you want to have in the future? These are all good questions to ask yourself in order to prepare for this decision.
And let’s be clear if you decide to go with a platform now, but realize you want a plugin later, you certainly can move, but the migration might be costly, time-consuming, and frankly downright painful at times.
Here are some scenarios where a platform, like Kajabi, might be right for you:
- You want to have as much as possible in one system
- You want to get up and running as quickly as possible
- You’re okay with the platform’s limitations (be it in design, features, and/or functionality)
- If you find the limitations of the platform are limiting your growth, you’re willing to rebuild on a software (time, money, team resources, etc.)
Here are some scenarios where a plugin, like LifterLMS, might be right for you:
- You want a specific design, flow, and setup, built just how you imagine
- You want to do it right the first time, with little possibility of needing to migrate in the future
- You’re willing to spend a little bit more time in the initial setup (compared to what you’d spend on a platform)
- You already have a WordPress site and you’re comfortable using it, or you’re willing to get one and learn
Pricing limits on members, courses, and products
LifterLMS doesn’t offer monthly payment options while Kajabi does.
We’ll start with LifterLMS. Its pricing can be quite deceiving.
- Earth Bundle: $199 per year
- Universe Bundle: $360 per year
- Infinity Bundle: $1,200 per year
With LifterLMS, the core plugin is free. This is a great way to download the plugin, get it installed on your WordPress site, and get a first-hand look and feel for the software. You won’t be able to operate a robust online course or membership environment on this free version though. You’ll almost immediately have to upgrade or purchase individual add-ons to get basic functionality. (They do offer a 30-day trial for $1.)
The Universe Bundle that starts at $360 per year does include valuable features like design add-ons and e-commerce functionality.
Even on the Universe Bundle though, you’ll be missing features like advanced quizzing and assignment options, video features, customization, and group features.
Kajabi’s pricing is more straightforward than LifterLMS’s.
- Basic: $149 per month
- Growth: $199 per month
- Pro: $399 per month
If you pay annually with Kajabi you save some money vs. paying monthly. The tier differences are based on features, products, pipelines, marketing emails, websites, and admin users.
The Growth tier at $199 per month is the most popular. And with it, you’ll get access to valuable features like 24/7 chat support, advanced automations, the ability to remove Kajabi branding, and the affiliate program management feature.
You only have access to the code editor on the Pro level. So if you do have a custom design you’ll need to budget for this tier. You’ll also need to be a skilled developer or hire one to implement your design.
Looking for a 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.
When it’s time to build a brand new course or membership site, you want the process to be easy, seamless, and intuitive. If you’re popping into your membership to add new content, the last thing you want is technical hiccups that lead to customer service emails to your team, and a headache for you.
When it comes to both Kajabi and LifterLMS, there are differences in how their course builders look and feel, but the basic functionality is the same. LifterLMS gives you more control over the flow of the course, but Kajabi will work only on its specific structure. This is just a platform limitation that’s to be expected.
With Kajabi, we’ll focus specifically on courses and memberships. Remember that since your main website might be hosted on their platform as well, be sure you’re comfortable making edits through their website builder.
All content for courses and memberships on Kajabi is added to your offers. They work on a structure of categories and posts. The categories host different posts, which make up the meat of your products.
Once you learn Kajabi’s terminology, it’s quite easy to come into your products and add materials based on their category and post structure.
They don’t offer advanced course builder features, like having content that only certain users can see based on their progress or other actions.
Every person who’s purchased a product will be able to see all the information on that specific product category and/or post.
LifterLMS has a drag-and-drop course builder that makes it easy to add new lessons, sections, or existing lessons from another course or membership. You can design the structure and flow of your content, and won’t have the category and post limitations you’ll find on Kajabi.
If you want to fully own and craft the flow of your memberships and courses, then LifterLMS is a better choice for you.
What AccessAlly Customers Are Saying...
"We moved them over from Kajabi to Access Ally and every single member loves the new site!
Access Ally is SO easy to use and integrates perfectly with Ontraport. We’ve had ZERO issues with it, which I don’t think I can say about any other software or tool or plugin we use. Plus the interface is beautiful.
We moved them over from Kajabi to Access Ally and every single member loves the new site. It’s extremely user friendly for our clients, and for us. AccessAlly is a brilliant, beautiful, user friendly platform that has had a direct positive impact on our bottom line.”
– Heidi DeCoux, HeidiDeCoux.com
"AccessAlly is the better option, hands down
“Honestly, Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi 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.
AccessAlly integrates directly with my ESP, which gives me the functionality to track progress, send reminder emails. That’s priceless.”
– Eden Fried, EdenFried.com
Integration with your Email marketing automation platform
Both LifterLMS and Kajabi strive to be all-in-one solutions for your online business. Our recommendation with both of these is that you strive to use the system to its fullest potential, without relying on integrating multiple systems to make it work. That being said, you will likely need more integrations with LifterLMS than with Kajabi.
Again, Kajabi is an all-in-one platform. So they offer a space to house your contact like you would in a CRM like ActiveCampaign, ConverKit, or MailChimp, etc. They have a visual editor and the ability to craft automations so you can send your emails at specific dates and times or intervals to specific groups.
The People feature in Kajabi allows you to see each user’s profile like you would in a CRM. Depending on the complexity of your automations, Kajabi may be all you need here. That being said, they do integrate with Aweber, MailChimp, Drip, ConverKit, and ActiveCampaign. If you choose to integrate, you’re stepping away from Kajabi’s core philosophy that they’re an all-in-one platform that can support every part of your business.
Integrating also means that you’re paying for another system and have something else to maintain outside of your Kajabi dashboard.
They also work with Zapier and ClickFunnels. Again, while this is a nice offering, remember to keep as much as possible under Kajabi’s roof if you choose them.
Even if the functionality is there to allow for integrations, you can find yourself on a slippery slope of duct-taping systems together, then down the road, you’re in a big mess that feels impossible to get out of.
LifterLMS does offer email notifications and email engagements. Notifications are all types of stock messages, where personalized data can be merged in. Email engagements are emails sent to individuals or groups based on certain criteria that are met. While these are helpful features, they don’t take the place of automations or campaigns in a CRM.
LifterLMS integrates directly with MailChimp and ConvertKit. They also offer integrations through WP Fusion, which is a third-party connector tool. From there you can connect to ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, AgileCRM, and many more.
LifterLMS has lots of known integrations with common systems like bbPress, Buddy Press, Twilio, and more.
When you’re researching LifterLMS, you’ll see the word ‘add-on’ and ‘integration’ used. An add-on is typically something within the LifterLMS software that can be added to the core plugin while an integration is something outside of LifterLMS.
All in all, Kajabi has more built-in functionality than LifterLMS when it comes to email capabilities, managing contacts, and community features. If you want to keep it all under one roof with the platform limitations, then Kajabi may be a better choice for you.
All the same, functionality can be achieved with LifterLMS, through add-ons and/or integrations. If you’re sticking with the software route, spend some time mapping out what each integration will cost and the time investment to implement and maintain.
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.
Learning reinforcements: quizzes, progress tracking, homework, and certificates
Learning reinforcements are really any feature that’s going to enhance the learning experience for your students. Basic learning reinforcement features are progress tracking, quizzes and assignments, video bookmarking, and certificates, just to name a few.
Both LifterLMS and Kajabi offer learning reinforcements, but LifterLMS has an advantage over Kajabi because of its ability to customize and advanced quizzing features. Note that these features are paid add-ons with LifterLMS, or on the Infinity Plan, so if they’re appealing to you, budget accordingly.
LifterLMS offers graded quizzes, and a variety of question types from multiple-choice, true or false, picture choices, fill-in-the-blank, long and short answers, and more. Any type of quiz you can imagine can be built on LifterLMS. They offer reports on quiz results as well, be it individual per user, or a group of students. You can use these reports to see how your students are absorbing the materials.
They offer assignments, which can be a task or task list, upload requirement, or a long answer requirement. LifterLMS has certificates as well, where you can add details and merge fields. It comes with a provided background, or you can upload your own.
They don’t have advanced progress tracking built into their plugin, but you can find add-ons that provide basic progress tracking.
Kajabi does offer a few learning reinforcements to enhance the learning experience.
The assignment features allow the functionality to add different question types, like multiple choice or long-answer. These results can be viewed from your People tab under each user.
The assignments feature takes the place of any quiz or test functionality on Kajabi.
Progress tracking can be viewed from the backend, but there’s no way to display the progress to your students.
Kajabi does support videos and audio, but there’s no bookmarking.
For example, with AccessAlly, you can set a progress objective to be 5 minutes for example into a video. The user will have to watch that video 5 minutes before their objective would be complete, or you could set it up that it has to be complete before they can move on.
Nothing like that can be achieved with LifterLMS or Kajabi.
Membership site and course design flexibility
Design flexibility is a major difference between LifterLMS vs. Kajabi. Since LifterLMS is a WordPress plugin installed on your WordPress site you’ll use your WordPress theme for its design.
LifterLMS has its own theme, LaunchPad, which was specifically designed by them to support online learning environments. They have a few templates in LaunchPad to make getting your site setup as easy as possible. These templates can be a great jumping point to use to implement your own design, or just modify the colors and fonts to make the template your own.
LifterLMS also works with common page builders like Divi and Beaver Builder. They have add-ons for purchase or included in the Infinity Bundle to make a design with these page builders easy as can be. They also work with other WordPress themes, so if you have a favorite, just google compatibility between the two.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to design on LifterLMS. You can implement a fully customized design, like no other membership site with LifterLMS using your WordPress theme of choice.
Kajabi will have design limitations unless you’re on the Pro tier and using the code editor. Kajabi has templates to scroll through so you can choose the look and feel of your site. Remember, since they’re an all-in-one platform, you may be choosing templates for your main site, your member’s area, and your emails.
If you have a very specific design in mind for any part of your setup on Kajabi, you’ll almost certainly have to make concessions. Because they work off of templates, you just don’t have that one-of-a-kind look and feel to your site.
Remember that to remove the Kajabi branding, you have to be at least on the Growth tier at $199 per month.
If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you
Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.
Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.
Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.
Offering Umbrella Accounts or Bulk Licensing
Kajabi doesn’t offer an automated bulk course enrollment feature. This feature would normally support a group enrollment, such as corporate training or community enrollment.
A team leader would have the ability to purchase a bulk license number, then assign those to its team members. Each team leader could have a dashboard to see logins, progress, answer questions, and monitor their team members as they work through the programs and courses.
LifterLMS recently released a Groups add-on for an additional $199 per year. This add-on feature supports bulk course enrollment by allowing you to sell courses and memberships to a group buyer.
The group buyer can invite, enroll, and manage group members into their allotted licenses.
Group leaders can also view their team member’s progress and see reporting stats on their usage.
It’s important to note that they’ve released this add-on in phases, and right now, in Phase 1 it doesn’t include the automated group checkout experience. That means that you’ll need to negotiate the price, a number of licenses, take payment through a different system.
E-commerce and Taking Payments
When you’re running courses and a membership site, you’ll want to be able to accept a variety of payment types with known and trusted merchants. The checkout experience should never be a roadblock to your customer who’s ready to say, “Yes!”
The e-commerce functionality between Kajabi and LifterLMS is pretty similar. The main differences will be in how those look to you, and where you find the information on the software vs. the platform.
Both LifterLMS and Kajabi accept one-time payments, recurring memberships, and payment plans. They both work with Stripe and PayPal.
Kajabi does have valuable e-commerce features like:
- Multiple currencies
- Order bumps
- Free or paid offers
Kajabi offers a Quaderno integration to calculate tax, but that doesn’t come as a standard feature. They cannot automatically calculate and collect VAT either.
When it comes to managing your orders, like refunding payments or canceling subscriptions, a lot of that is done directly in Stripe, not in your Kajabi dashboard.
LifterLMS has similar e-commerce features:
- Free and paid offers
They don’t have the functionality to offer multiple currencies, although you can change your default currencies. They don’t offer order bumps either.
LifterLMS has the added functionality of integrating with WooCommerce and Authorize.net.
Remember that in line with LifterLMS’ philosophy, each payment gateway is an additional paid add-on or an upgrade to the Infinity bundle.
If you already work with WooCommerce or Authorize.net, then LifterLMS may be the best choice for you. If you want pre-made checkout forms, and the ability to offer order bumps, then Kajabi may be the best.
Built-in Affiliate Management
LifterLMS doesn’t offer affiliate management features but will integrate with either AffiliateWP or iDevAffiliate.
Kajabi does offer affiliate management tools on the Growth or Pro plans. The affiliate program helps you manage affiliate registrations and accounts, set up an affiliate marketing system based on share links, track conversions and form submissions, calculate earnings, and create reports.
The main thing that Kajabi is lacking is the ability to build a fully customized affiliate dashboard. If you use Kajabi affiliates, they’ll have a login portal on Kajabi where they can see their clicks, form submissions, conversions, and conversion rate. They’ll also be able to find their share links. Kajabi has a feature where you can post announcements.
This will work for a basic affiliate program. But if you run a robust program with high-profile affiliates, you’ll want something specifically designed to help them convert. With Kajabi, you won’t be able to create a custom dashboard where they can download images, find copy, important dates, see a leaderboard.
You may be missing out on valuable sales opportunities if you provide a bare-minimum experience for your affiliates.
Your workflow on LifterLMS vs. Kajabi:
- Download, install and activate the LifterLMS plugin on your WordPress website
- Download the LifterLMS helper, install and activate
- Set up the design of your website using a WordPress theme
- Create your course catalog to show visitors your available courses
- Create your membership catalog where visitors can see your available memberships
- Connect your payment processor
- Set up your student dashboard
- Integrate with your payment processor
- Design your order forms
- Add additional learning reinforcements like quizzes, assignments, create certificates, and more
- Create your account, choose your Kajabi theme and make minor edits
- Set up a custom domain with a CloudFlare account for SSL
- Sign up for a Zapier account to get data out of Kajabi into your CRM
- Set up your marketing automation system
- Run through the sales Pipelines, or Course setup wizards
- Upload your videos and content directly into Kajabi
- Set up payments and the terms of purchase
- Set up more Zapier zaps to integrate with other systems for added functionality
- Or, wait for Kajabi to release the features you want to add to your courses
See How LifterLMS and Kajabi Features Compare
We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership and LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package, you’ll see where Kajabi and Mighty Networks fall short or shine in comparison:
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps|
|Cart abandonment automation|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts|
|Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles|
|Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking|
|Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes|
|Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting|
The true cost of LifterLMS vs Kajabi
The true cost of Kajabi is that you’re on a platform that will always have limitations. Although they might not stifle your vision now, they could in the future, in which case you’ll be forced to migrate and rebuild from the ground up.
The true cost of LifterLMS is that even on the Infinity Plan, you’re paying $999 per year, but still need to use integrations to support your affiliate program, allow for member directories, or gamification. At that price point, those features should be at least available as add-ons through LifterLMS rather than having to connect a whole other system to make it work.
LifterLMS might be right for you if...
- You’re looking for a membership and LMS plugin all-in-one
- You’re already using a WordPress website and looking for a WordPress plugin
- You don’t mind using a third-party tool to connect your course with your CRM
- You have a need for more advanced quiz functionality
Kajabi 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 website, email marketing, and course platform that handles everything in one place
Didn’t find an answer to your question? Just reach out to us, we’re happy to help!
Do you have comparisons to other platforms and plugins?
Yes, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Here are some options to consider:
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.